Last updated: August 9, 2021

Welcome to our big folding knife test 2021. Here we present all the folding knives we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best folding knife for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a folding knife.




The most important facts

  • Folding knives are suitable for you if you are looking for a small, handy knife that is safe to carry.
  • You need both hands to open these knives. Purist entry-level models are available from around 15 euros.
  • Before buying, you should consider the hardness, shape and grind of the blade, as well as the functions, the safety catch and the handle.

The Best Folding Knife: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Folding Knife

What are the advantages of a folding knife?

A folding knife is a classic pocket knife that requires you to use both hands to open it. That is why it is also called a two-handed knife.

The advantage over fixed knives is that the risk of injury during transport is considerably reduced.

Folding knives can be transported safely thanks to the folding mechanism. (Image source: unspalsh.com / will Porada)

This is because the blade lies in the handle when folded. This means that the knife can be carried in any trouser pocket.

Did you know that the famous Swiss Army Knife was actually first made in Germany?

At that time, the Swiss did not have the capacity to manufacture knives. Therefore, it was imported from Solingen, Germany.

In 1891, Karl Elsner took over the production and in 1897, the Swiss Army and Sport Knife was registered as a trademark.

Who are folding knives suitable for?

The knives are also called Veitel in Austria and Sackmesser in Switzerland. They are particularly suitable for you if you need a knife for everyday use that is small, handy and safe to carry. There are also knives designed for specific sports or hobbies, such as sailing or outdoor knives.

Do you need a knife for a snack on a hike? Do you expect a good blade for carving? You don't need any additional tools? Are you put off by the legal situation regarding one-handed knives? Then a folding knife is exactly what you need.

How much do folding knives cost?

The price of folding knives can vary greatly, depending on your expectations of the knife and its workmanship. Good pocket knives start at around 30 euros.

In the lowest price category up to 30 euros, you will find knives that are not always optimally made, but that can meet your requirements for less regular use.

If you are looking for a knife for everyday use, we advise you to look in the price range between 30 and 100 euros. Here you will find knives with good workmanship and a longer life that can be a useful companion in everyday life.

If you place very high demands on your knife, if it is exposed to heavy loads or if you want it to be a collector's item, you will tend to find it in the price segment above 100 euros. However, there is no upper price limit for collector's items.

Folding knives are not only doubly space-saving during transport, they are also completely safe because the blade can be safely picked up by the handle. (Photo: Brett_Hondow / pixabay.com)

What Types of Folding Knives are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of folding knives:

  • One-hand folding knives
  • Two-hand folding knives

While one-hand folding knives can be opened with only one hand, as the name suggests, you need both hands to open the blade of a two-hand model. Both types have advantages and disadvantages, which we will explain in more detail in the following section.

How does a one-hand folding knife work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A one-handed knife can be opened and made ready for use with one hand by means of an opening aid. The knife can also be closed again with just one hand. A distinction can be made between three types of opening aids.

With the so-called opening pin, a small, metal button is attached to the upper edge of the blade so that you can push the metal out of the lock with your thumb.

Other models of one-handed knives have a recess in the upper part of the blade instead of a pin. But the principle is quite similar to the opening pin. You can push the blade upwards with your thumb through the hole in the blade.

The third type of opening mechanism is the flipper. This is a metal pin that causes the knife to snap open when you press it with your index finger.

Advantages
  • Can be operated with one hand
  • Practical for outdoor cooks or plant collectors
Disadvantages
  • Carrying may be prohibited

The purchase of a one-handed knife is particularly interesting for you if you often need the tool in situations where you only have one hand available. This can be the case, for example, in the outdoor and survival sector. It can happen that you need one hand for luggage, for example, while you want to open the knife at the same time. And hunters also often need a one-handed knife.

How does a two-hand knife work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

To open a two-handed knife, you usually need both hands. Of course, this can be a bit impractical. In most cases, however, the temporary use of both hands is not a problem in reality.

In Germany, carrying two-hand folding knives is far less of a legal problem than carrying one-hand folding knives. This can be a real advantage, especially if you want to carry your knife frequently, if not always.

Advantages
  • May be carried
  • Safer than one-handed knives
Disadvantages
  • Slightly more awkward to open
  • takes longer to open

Whether you choose a one or two-hand folding knife, a lockable blade is always an advantage. If you also make sure that the lock can be locked in the closed position, a two-hand knife gives you an absolute guarantee that the knife will not open in your pocket and cause accidents.

Buying Criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate Folding Knives

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate folding knives. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable folding knife.

In summary, these are the following criteria:

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a folding knife under these aspects or not.

Blade

The blade is the heart of the knife and therefore one of the most important selection criteria.

All the distinctions presented below have their advantages and disadvantages, which are more or less important depending on how you use the knife. So be clear about what you want to use your folding knife for and remember: there is no such thing as the perfect knife.

Make sure you regularly care for and clean the blade. It is important for its durability.

Hardness

The two most common blade materials are stainless steel, which promises a long life, and carbon steel. The latter is more susceptible to rust, but can be sharpened. Besides the blade material, you should also keep an eye on the Rockwell hardness (HRC) of the blade.

A value between 58 HRC and 64 HRC can serve as a guide.

Such a blade is neither too soft, i.e. retains its sharpness longer, nor too brittle.

Blade shape

Although each blade shape has its specific advantages, it is also an aesthetic factor. Especially if you are looking for a knife for normal everyday use, the advantages and disadvantages do not weigh too heavily.

There are several different blade shapes. The classic shape is a blade with a straight back. With a clip-point blade, the cutting edge usually slopes slightly towards the tip. Blades in this shape allow good control of the knife due to the downward offset tip.

The tip of a drop-point blade is less sharp than in other shapes. On the other hand, such a blade is very robust. The spear-point blade is a variation of the drop-point blade that tapers symmetrically towards the point.

Type of cut

Another aspect of the blade that is important for your choice is the grind. A distinction is made between a smooth blade, a serrated blade and a half serrated blade.

On the one hand, there are knives with a smooth blade. This type of grind allows good control over the knife and is easy to resharpen. You can perform straight cutting movements very well with this blade. The disadvantage is that such blades quickly reach their limits with light sawing movements and very hard materials.

On the other hand, there are knives with a serrated edge. Since you can apply a lot of pressure with them, they are well suited for working on hard materials. However, it is difficult to resharpen such blades.

There is also the half serrated edge. The lower part of the edge is wavy and the upper part smooth. This combines the advantages of both types of grind. Such a knife is particularly useful if, for example, you often want to cut through ropes. However, such blades are also difficult to resharpen.

If you want to use your knife for ordinary work, a smooth blade is the best choice.

Functions

Many folding knives consist of a single blade.

Folding knives may have other tools in addition to the normal blade. Before you buy a knife, you should therefore be clear about what you need your knife for.

For example, if you want a corkscrew or screwdriver, look in the Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Function Knife sections. There you will find a knife that suits your needs.

Fuse

It is certainly advisable to choose a pocket knife with a lock. Since the unfolded blade is secured, the risk of injury from unintentional folding of the knife is minimised.

We present the types of lock and their advantages and disadvantages in the following table:

Type of locking Description Advantages and disadvantages
Slotted ring locking A metal ring with a slot can be adjusted so that the knife cannot fold out through the slot or cannot fold in The knife can be secured in the unfolded and folded state.
Back spring lock When the blade is unfolded, it is locked at the pawl joint with small metal teeth. The knife can be secured in the unfolded and folded state.
Rocker lock A rocker on the spring handle has a hook at one end that locks into a notch on the knife. Relatively heavy when folded shut, but stable.
Side spring lock A spring on the knife joint engages in a notch in the blade. When the spring is compressed, it disengages again. Usually with convenient push button.
Handle lock Here a part of the handle serves as a side spring. The housing only has to be pressed together for the knife to lock in place. A variety of design options.
Bolt lock When the blade is folded out, it is locked by a bolt on the joint, which engages in a recess in the blade. Suitable for left- and right-handers.

With regard to the locking mechanism, there are various distinctions, such as the lock-back locking mechanism, the side-spring locking mechanism or the handle-shell locking mechanism. However, these are mainly an aesthetic factor that is up to your personal preference.

Handle

Just like the type of lock, the handle is also primarily an aesthetic factor.

Which do you like better? A knife with an easy-to-clean metal or plastic handle? Or a more refined-looking handle made of wood or horn? On the latter, traces of wear and tear are more easily visible.

The choice of materials is wide-ranging and, apart from the purpose of the folding knife, depends above all on your personal preferences.

Perfect for gardening: the small folding knife. But be careful: folding knives with a lock that can be unfolded with one hand are prohibited in Germany. (Photo: Pexels / pixabay.com)

Image source: unsplash.com / Sebastian Pociecha

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