TOTD – Cheap Pocket Knives

What’s that one thing you always seem to need when you’ve forgotten it? The thing that serves so many uses and makes you the hero of the moment when no one else has one? That thing that everyone should always have in their pocket or purse? That’s right. A pocket knife.

My latest everyday knife. A nice little Gerber, given to me by my Dad, Dave.
My latest everyday knife. A nice little Gerber,
given to me by my Dad, Dave.

I have so many pocket knives that I don’t know where all of them are. But, I always have one in my pocket (unless I’m in a hurry leaving and forget to grab it, later invariably suffering the ridicule of my wife when she needs it). Over the years I’ve carried a wide variety of styles, brands, and price levels of knives. I’ve come to realize that my favorites for everyday carry are the cheaper ones. Not the flea-market variety, mind you, but the cheap good ones. They serve well, typically hold up better than expected, and because they aren’t $200 Benchmades, don’t leave you hesitant to use them for the dirtier tasks that might cause them to mar or break.

The proper way to use a pocket clip. Don't hang your knife on the outside.
The proper way to use a pocket clip.
Don’t hang your knife on the outside.

Generally, avoid the no-names or anything under about $10. However, there are many manufacturers who make good quality knives in the $10-30 range that will be good pocket companions for years. Look to GerberCRKTKershawKa-BarMagnum, and others that have a long history of reliability in the business. I find it’s best to buy from a retailer that allows you to handle the knife before you buy, to be sure it feels right to your hand. If it’s not comfortable, you’ll wind up leaving it at home on purpose, and there’s no sense in that.

I prefer a pocket clip, easy one-hand opening, and a partially serrated blade for my everyday pocket knife. The clip allows it to be quickly accessible in case of need as a defensive tool, as well as the one-hand opening. The partial serration means it will rip through things like zip-ties more easily, and leave the non-serrated part of the blade sharper for more precision use. You may have other preferences, and equally well thought out reasons. Regardless of those, if you don’t have a cheap everyday knife, get one, and carry it!

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