A good pocket knife doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and the best budget pocket knife can be just as practical as one with a price tag of several hundred dollars. To save you time and money, I’ve compiled a list of the seven best affordable pocket knives based on my experience as a blade aficionado. Because, after all, a pocket knife is just one of those things that every man should own.
As someone with a handful of pocket knives under $30, I can attest to the fact that they’re one of the most versatile pieces of equipment. A little bit of cash goes a long way, and I’m here to show you the best cheap options, along with what to consider to get the most
Keep reading to uncover the seven best budget pocket knives below.
I’ve pored over dozens of sites and hundreds of customer ratings to compile this list. In terms of the best budget pocket knife, there is no beating the Opinel No. 6, and this is a hill I’m willing to die on. I have one myself, take it everywhere with me, and use it daily. This knife is the prime blend of quality, aesthetics, and a budget price point, with a carbon steel blade, wooden handle, and ten sizes to choose from if the length of the No. 6 doesn’t cut it for your purposes.
Don’t feel like fiddling with a nail nick? Opt for the spring assisted Tac Force Folding Knife, which gives you quick access to the blade without sacrificing a nice looking handle.
Read on for more of the best budget pocket knives that have been tried and tested by yours truly.
Our Top Picks
Why It’s Great: If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I love Opinel pocket knives. They’re highly versatile, beautifully crafted, and have maintained a budget friendly price throughout the years. At under $20, you can purchase a solid French pocket knife that won’t break the bank. Trust me, I have several and often give them as small gifts for men, gifts for dads who have everything, or as Yankee swap gifts.
Aside from their functionality, there are a few features to love about Opinel pocket knives: the stunning Beechwood handle, the durable carbon steel blade, and the addition of a nail nick and safety ring, ensuring no detail is left behind.
How to Use It: Turn the ring at the base of the blade to unlock the knife. Then, use the nail nick to pull the blade out from the handle. Remember to always handwash the knife rather than using the dishwasher.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: The No. 6 is the perfect size for everyday carry (EDC) with a blade just under three inches. However, if you prefer something larger or smaller, Opinel pocket knives come in ten sizes, with blades ranging from 1.4 to 4.7 inches.
Weight: 1.5 oz | Blade Length: 2.87 in | Blade Material: Carbon steel | Handle Material: Beechwood | Locking Mechanism: Ring
Why It’s Great: I always love to see a drop point blade for precision, as featured in this pocket knife. And at under fifteen bucks, it’s nearly impossible to beat the price to quality ratio. Finished with a wood overlay on the handle and a signature pocket clip, this is a top choice for the best budget EDC knife.
How to Use It: It can be tricky to find a dependable spring assisted blade on a budget, but this is the best cheap pocket knife if you want quick access. Rather than a nail nick, the three inch blade is accessed via a finger flipper, so you’ll never struggle to open it.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: You may find that this blade gets dull quite quickly, so keep a sharpening stone on hand to make the best out of it.
Weight: 6 oz | Blade Length: 3 in | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Wood with stainless steel bolster | Locking Mechanism: Liner
Why It’s Great: Japanese knives and luxury go hand in hand, so it’s rather rare to find a budget friendly blade of this variety. That is, until the brand Senbon. This is the best budget pocket knife if you want the caliber of a Japanese knife without the price tag. It employs a classic folding pocket knife design with a hand sanded stainless steel blade and an olive wood handle showcasing a stunning grain.
Complete with its own carrying pouch, take this affordable pocket knife on the go or reserve it for a specific use. Whether you use it as a paring knife or adventure companion, it’s hard to surpass this sturdy Japanese tool.
How to Use It: Use the stud on the handle to release the knife and then pull the blade from the handle. Be careful while closing the knife, as the lock can be a bit finicky.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Rather than a classic handmade Japanese knife, this is definitely manufactured. But hey, you get what you pay for.
Weight: 4.9 oz | Blade Length: 4.1 in | Blade Material: 440A stainless steel | Handle Material: Olive wood | Locking Mechanism: Frame
Why It’s Great: Though best known for producing firearms, Smith & Wesson has pumped out tactical supplies for over 170 years. Safe to say they know a thing or two about a quality knife, which shines through in the Extreme Ops model. This is the best affordable pocket knife in terms of versatility.
How to Use It: Rather than a classic blade, this knife features a serrated edge for tough cuts and jimping for a superior grip. Finished with a pocket clip and a flipper, it’s never been easier to access a pocket knife.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Be cautious with this knife because, due to the lower price point, it’s lacking a bit in the quality department. A small drop can do some serious damage to the body and blade.
Weight: 3.5 oz | Blade Length: 3.1 in | Blade Material: High carbon stainless steel | Handle Material: Aluminum | Locking Mechanism: Liner
Why It’s Great: Kershaw specializes in sophisticated tactical pocket knives that are normally at a much higher price point than the Appa model. This is the best budget pocket knife if you’re seeking a dependable option from an established brand. It’s on the smaller side with a blade under three inches, making it a handy piece of gear for everyday use and even smaller than your EDC pens. It’s also supremely lightweight (under 2 ounces) with a simple, streamlined design. This is largely due to the plastic handle, but again, you get what you pay for.
How to Use It: Without any bells and whistles, the Appa shines through with an angled reverse tanto blade inspired by Japanese design while reinforcing the knife’s spine. Finding a reverse tanto blade on a pocket knife is uncommon, making this a unique pick for the modern man and a top choice for the best budget EDC knife.
Access the blade with the flipper notch on the handle for easy opening with either hand.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: The Appa’s blade steel is prone to getting dull after a few uses.
Weight: 1.9 oz | Blade Length: 2.75 in | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Plastic | Locking Mechanism: Liner
Why It’s Great: Outfitted with a blade, among other useful functions, this is the best budget pocket knife if you want your EDC to take you a bit further.
For around twenty bucks, you get seven tools in one compact package. Ideal for taking wherever your days lead, a Swiss Army knife is a must-have for any guy and definitely makes the cut when it comes to the best cheap pocket knife. Speaking from experience, you’ll wonder how you lived so long without one.
How to Use It: Pry the blade from the handle and use it however you see fit. Do the same with the six other tools included in this single pocket knife.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Some may argue that a Swiss Army knife isn’t a pocket knife, but I guess these people have never used this game changing multi tool.
Weight: 0.7 oz | Blade Material: Stainless Steel | Handle Material: Strong thermoplastic | Locking Mechanism: No
Why It’s Great: This pick is a bit longer and heavier, with specs like a 3.4 inch blade and just over 4.5 ounces of weight, but this also enables the pocket knife to be more robust than some other cheap options. My favorite features are the discrete addition of tools embedded in the G10 steel handle, like a seatbelt cutter, a glass breaker, and, of course, a pocket clip.
How to Use It: If quick access is a top priority, this is the best budget pocket knife. Rather than a nail notch, the stainless steel blade is accessed with a flipper, allowing you to open it with either hand in the blink of an eye.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: If you’re on the hunt for a super small and lightweight pocket knife, you may find this one a bit bulky.
Weight: 4.6 oz | Blade Length: 3.4 in | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: G10 steel | Locking Mechanism: Liner
Buying Considerations for the Best Budget Pocket Knives
Blade length is among the main considerations for the best budget pocket knives as this dictates its utility. Smaller pocket knives, with blades under three inches, are great for an EDC pouch or to keep on hand for opening boxes, slicing up fruit, or emergency needs. Longer blades contribute to larger pocket knives, which are better for tactical and camping purposes.
The sweet spot for everyday use is a blade length of around three inches, though this boils down to personal preference and what you plan on using the pocket knife for.
Weight is also worth thinking about because you won’t want to be bogged down by a heavy knife in your pocket every day. Cheap pocket knives tend to be slightly heavier than their more expensive counterparts, mainly due to the materials used (which I cover below). To keep your pants from sagging, choose a pocket knife between two and four ounces that you may even forget is on your person.
Finally, the material is arguably the most important consideration when choosing the best affordable pocket knife because this plays into its weight, durability, and functionality, in addition to the overall quality of the knife.
When choosing a pocket knife on a budget, it’s essential to think about the material since cheaper blades are likely of a lower quality than their more expensive counterparts. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s still worth choosing a blade made from high quality materials like corrosion resistant or carbon steel. Both of these blade materials are strong, lightweight, and long lasting.
You should also consider the handle’s material because the last thing you want is for it to fall apart when working with your blade. Some cheap pocket knives have a wood overlay on the handle (see the Tac Force Folding Knife), while others have a completely metal frame, like the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife with a carbon steel blade and an aluminum handle.
Like most pocket knife features, the material also comes down to personal preference. That said, it’s always worth weighing the options carefully to ensure you choose a blade that works for your specific purposes.
Why You Should Trust Us
Not only do I have multiple pocket knives under $30, but I have spent an extensive amount of time researching and determining the very best options. From reading thousands of user reviews to trying out dozens of pocket knives in person, I’ve compiled my findings into this article to help you choose the best affordable pocket knife of your own.
While there are plenty of options to choose from, the Opinel No. 6 Pocket Knife will always be the top choice for the best affordable pocket knife, offering unbeatable value and a really stellar piece of equipment. The perfect size for daily carry, it has a strong carbon steel blade, a stunning beechwood handle, and a price under $20.