Hiking, camping, barbecue: it is very practical to carry a pocket knife for these or other outdoor activities. When folded, it is small and can easily store in a backpack or pocket. When folded, it is use to cut, carve or saw small branches and even replace bread knives or chef’s knives when camping.
Many pocket knives also have extra accessories: there are pocket knives with bottle openers or small tools that can be folded. With them, you can dominate all kinds of situations.
Our 2021/2022 Damascus Folding Knives comparison shows that there is a huge selection of different types and models. In addition to the well-known Victorinox or Swiss army knife, the Herbertz pocket knives, the models of the Böker or Laguiole pocket knives are also convincing. Solingen folding knives are also known.
There are knives with a wooden or plastic handle, such as hunting knives, and in different sizes and colors such as red or black. Which folding knife is the best for you depends on several factors? You will find the most important criteria in this buying guide.
1. This is what distinguishes folding knives from fix blade knives.
By bending the blade, the dimensions of the knife are reduce. At the same time, the blade is protected and cannot be injured by accidentally touching it.
This makes a folding knife ideal to carry in a trouser pocket or another pocket. You don’t need an extra pocket for knives and many folding knives score with extra features too.
Therefore, you can not only unfold knives but also tools, nail files, small scissors or other tools. Quality is still important with a pocket knife: with simple models, the joint can be unstable and the locking mechanism can fail over time.
2. A distinction is made between these types of knives
Two-hand knives often offer many practical accessories.
There are countless models of pocket knives from more or less well-known brands and manufacturers. Whether you opt for a Herbertz knife, Laguiole knife, Doppler knife, Böker folding knife or Victorinox knife depends on the functions, handling, and other criteria. Basically, you need to choose a type of folding knife first.
At first glance, pocket knives can distinguish according to their handling and the variety of tools available: there are two-handed knives and one-hand knives. We are talking about the way the knife opens.
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3. Purchasing criteria for pocket knives
3.1. Scope and equipment: single or multi-tool knife
First of all, you have to decide very fundamentally whether you want a simple folding knife or a scoring knife with additional accessories. What makes the most sense to you depends on your intend use.
If you mainly want to cut, open or carve things with the knife, a simple folding knife is enough. If, on the contrary, you want to be prepare for different situations, a knife that has additional accessories makes sense.
Read here the advantages and disadvantages of a folding knife with additional functions, that is, a multifunction folding knife:
- With a multifunction knife, it is equip for many situations.
- You do not need to carry any additional tools with you.
- Often you even have a can opener, corkscrew, and toothpick to prepare for an impromptu picnic.
- Multi-function tools are generally only available as two-hand knives and not one-handed.
- Depending on the version, these knives usually cost more.
Pocket knives with extra tools are ideal if you carry as little as possible, but still want to well equip in every situation, for example when camping or on a hiking excursion. The selection of accessories is wide. The most common extras are:
- Second small knife
- pair of scissors
- Cable cutter
- Awl for punching, punching and sewing
- Multipurpose hook
This list could definitely go on. Some utility knives have more than 30 additional functions. These can include pens, fishermen, fishing pins, metal files, hacksaws, and more.
A very special case is the Swiss army knife, which, in the meantime, has become a cult object. The Swiss army knife is undoubtedly the best known among the multipurpose knives.
The Red Handle Swiss Cross Knife is one of the most popular two-hand knives and is now available in various sizes and designs.
This knife originally develop in 1891 by the Swiss army for its soldiers. Due to a lack of production capacity, the knife produces in America. It was not until 1891 that the Swiss company Karl Elsener took overproduction. The company is now calling Victorinox AG and it is one of the best-know manufacturers of folding and multipurpose knives.
3.2. Size also plays a role for the legislature
The overall length and length of the blade play a role in the law.
When it comes to the size of a pocket knife, you must distinguish between the overall length, the length of the blade, and the length when close. The size is given in centimeters.
For one thing, the size when folding is important. It is important for transportation. Small folding knives are typically two to three inches long.
They often have a key ring so they can be use on a key ring. Medium knives are about four inches long and will fit in your pocket. Larger models, including many hunting knives, are more likely to carry in a backpack or other bags.
The length of the blade, on the other hand, plays an important role when it comes to whether you are allowed to carry the knife with you. Aside from a chef’s knife or a bread knife, a knife could, in theory at least, always be a weapon. At least that’s how German gun law sees it.
Therefore, when buying a Victorinox knife, Herbertz knife, Doppler knife, Laguiole knife, Gerber Bear Grylls or Böker knife, always keep the length of the blade in mind.
3.3. Blade and handle material: robust and weather-resistant
Folding knives are not a new invention
According to the findings, people were already using knives in the 5th century BC. Knives were also use in Roman times. These already had various functions, for example, drop-down cutlery.
Most knife blades are made of steel. This is a robust and easy-care material. Sometimes it is even stainless steel.
This is particularly good for outdoor activities where the knife is sometimes expose to moisture. Steel also has the advantage that it can be easily re-sharpen.
Steel with the designations C75 (spring steel), 105W1 (non-alloy carbon steel) or 1.2235 (carbon steel) is particularly suitable for grinding.
Many blades are single-edge, wavy, or smooth. Smooth blades have the advantage that they are easier to sharpen. You can cut smooth materials very well with these blades.
Serrate blades are suitable for cutting fibrous materials, such as rope or packing tape. They also stay sharp longer than smooth blades. However, once they are use, they are more difficult to sharpen.
Different materials are use for the handle. Plastic is popular because it is a weather-resistant, robust, and easy-to-clean material. A folding knife with a wooden handle looks great, but wood doesn’t tolerate humidity, either. Stainless steel is also popular. This material is rust-resistant and insensitive.
4. Questions and answers about pocket knives
4.1. What does Stiftung Warentest say about the folding knife?
A winner of a razor test from Stiftung Warentest would certainly be a good investment and therefore we would like to present you the results of a razor test conduct by the consumer organization at this time. Unfortunately, the foundation has not yet conducted a corresponding test.
Perhaps certain conclusions can be drawn from a chef’s knife test conduct by Stiftung Warentest. The test cut of 22 kilograms of tomatoes show that kitchen knives with softer steel dull faster.
4.2. Where can I buy pocket knives?
You will also find something for outdoor needs. But the real bargains are generally only available online.
In a specialty store, you will definitely find a folding knife , such as a Doppler knife, a Herbertz knife, a Victorinox knife, a Böker model or a Damast Laguiole knife. You can also look at and touch other models from well-known brands such as Spyderco, Hunter, Edge, Tec, Gerber, Opinel, Walther or CampBuddy and thus perform your own folding knife test.
However, you have even more options on the Internet . There you can also find a cheap folding knife or hunting knife, because online stores offer many products at lower prices.
4.3. How old can a razor be?
Since, in theory, a folding knife can also be use as a weapon, there are precise rules about which knives you can carry with you. A pocket knife is legal if it meets these requirements ; otherwise the razor is forbidden, at least you are not allow to take it with you.
The deciding factor is the length of the blade. According to Article 42a, paragraph 1 of the German WaffG (Weapons Law), it is forbidden to use “knives with blades that can be lock with one hand (one-hand knife) or fix knives with a blade length greater than 12 cm. Exceptions apply, for example if the knife is carried for professional reasons.
4.4. How do you close a razor?
To close the knife, you need to push the blade towards the handle. Some knives have a lock that snaps into place when you unfold the blade. Then you must loosen this locking mechanism to be able to slide the blade back. There is usually a lever on the back of the knife that you need to push a bit.
4.5. How do I build a pocket knife myself?
If you want to build a folding knife yourself, you need some manual skill. You can hardly make complex models yourself.
But with an ordinary drill and grinder, you can make a model yourself from a simple folding blade. You can read here how it works.