Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Knives from the Opinel brand are very popular. Because Opinel knives are the perfect camping and outdoor tool. The French manufacturer can draw on a tradition that goes back to the 19th century. The classic design has proven to be robust and practical, but over the years there have also been some innovations to adapt the knife to different needs without deviating too far from the original design.

Thus, there is now a wide selection of knives in Opinel's range. We have therefore compared the different knives with each other so that you can find out what to look out for when buying and thus find the right knife for you.




Summary

  • Opinel knives are numbered according to size and come with a blade length of 3.5 cm - 22 cm.
  • The classic handle is made of beech. Today, however, there are also different types of wood for the handle.
  • The blade used to be made of carbon steel, but today it is mostly made of easy-care stainless steel.

The Best Opinel Knives: Our Picks

In this section we have compiled our favourites for you. This can help you to make a purchase decision and find the right product for you.
You can then easily order it here.

Buying and evaluation criteria for Opinel knives

We would like to show you how to find the right Opinel knife for you with the help of some criteria. These criteria should help you choose your personal infusion.

Now we will explain what to look for in the criteria so that you can make a well-informed decision.

Size

We have listed the different sizes in which an Opinel knife is sold. These are numbered from number 2 to number 13.

Size blade length in cm
n°2 3,5
n°3 4
n°4 5
n°5 6
n°6 7
n°7 8
n°8 8,5
n°9 9
n°10 10
n°12 12
n°13 22

Note that the knife sizes n°1 and n°11 are no longer sold by Opinel.
Size number one was a particularly small size intended for cleaning nails or pipes. Size number 11 was discontinued because blade sizes over 10 cm were considered unusual and these were already covered by number 12. Number 13 is the particularly large "Géant" model. It was not developed for practical use and thus stands out from the range.

We recommend size 8, which is probably the best-selling model and the best all-purpose knife. Larger models are more recommended for use in the kitchen or camping. However, the Géant model is rather impractical and not really intended for use.

Blade material

Most Opinel knives today are made of stainless steel or carbon steel/carbon steel. You will always find one of these in the product description. But what is the striking difference?

Stainless steel has the advantage of being particularly resistant to rust. That is why these blades are often called stainless steel blades.
A carbon steel blade, on the other hand, is much more susceptible to rust and requires intensive care and careful cleaning. On the other hand, carbon steel blades are much harder, more robust and more resistant to cutting.

For beginners, we therefore recommend stainless steel blades, while carbon steel blades are only something for real knife enthusiasts who want to invest a lot of time in the product. If you choose this option, we also recommend a suitable knife sharpener or whetstone.

Handle

The handle of an Opinel knife is usually made of sturdy wood. The classic Opinel knives, which were developed around 1890, often have a robust beechwood handle. More modern versions of the Opinel knife, however, come in different handle variants. There are handles made of oak, walnut, olive or even rosewood.

Which handle you prefer is entirely up to you. Olive handles look more elegant and delicate. But if you want a real classic, go for beech wood.

Colour

Opinel knives are now also available with handles in different colours. Especially often in the colours: red, orange, blue and green; but also fancy colours like purple or pink.

Whether you choose a knife with a classic wooden handle that comes in the natural colour of the wood or a coloured version is entirely up to you. For a classic outdoor look, however, we recommend an uncoloured version made of natural wood.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about Opinel knives answered in detail

In the following section, we answer the most frequently asked questions about Opinel knives. This way you will be well informed if you want to buy an Opinel knife.

What is an Opinel knife?

Opinel knives are folding knives that have been produced by the French company Opinel since the 19th century.
They are made in different blade lengths and can be used for carving, camping or cooking. The blade length varies between 3.5 and 22 cm. However, only the blades under 12 cm are common.

The Opinel knife is a perfect companion for every camping trip. Its proven design makes it a real all-rounder tool. (Image source: JoschuaWoroniecki/pixabay)

A classic Opinel knife consists of a carbon steel blade and a beech handle. Over the years, however, Opinel has expanded its range and now also produces knives with stainless steel blades and various fine woods for the handle.

The knives from size number 5 (i.e. a blade length of more than 6 cm) also have a rotating safety ring, which is supposed to prevent the blade from accidentally opening or closing, thus protecting against injuries when handling the knife.

How much does an Opinel knife cost?

The price of an Opinel knife is determined by various factors. The size is the most important. In addition, the material of the blade and the type of wood used for the handle must be taken into account. This table should give you a little more information about the price range of Opinel knives:

Price range Available products
Low-priced (10 - 20 €) Opinel knives in small to medium size
Medium-priced (20 - 40€) small to medium Opinel knives with special handle or engraving
High-priced (40€ upwards) Opinel knives with case or box/ Opinel knife model: Géant

As a general rule, larger blades are also somewhat more expensive. Thus, the price of an Opinel knife increases slightly depending on the number. In addition, special woods for the handle increase the price of the knife.

What can I use an Opinel knife for?

Opinel knives have a wide range of uses. You can use it as an all-purpose tool when camping, or as a picnic knife on the road. With a suitable cutting board, a larger Opinel knife can also be used perfectly for kitchen work.

From gardening to cooking and kitchen use, there is an Opinel knife for almost every task.

Conclusion

Opinel knives are the perfect outdoor tool or optimal for a picnic outdoors.
Due to the different blade lengths and variants, there is a perfectly suitable knife for every task. However, the basic design has established itself and impresses with durability.

When making your purchase decision, you should pay particular attention to whether you would rather have an easy-care stainless steel knife or the classic variant made of carbon steel. For beginners and people who only use the knife occasionally, we recommend the stainless steel versions.

If you want to use the knife mainly for picnics, we recommend you go straight for a set with a practical cutting board and microfibre cloth for cleaning. In addition, you already get different blade variants/lengths and are well equipped for all cases.

(Cover picture: barmalyanich/pixabay)

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