Best EDC Pocket Knife Under $50 | We Test 15 Knives You Should Buy
So, you have $50 burning a hole in your pocket and you want a new EDC knife? Well, $50 is the new $100, but your cash doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to. However, I was able to find several gems and solid folders that are worth your hard-earned cash. Below you will find some good options in my list of EDC knives for under $50. If you jump to the bottom of the article, I go into much more detail on how I came up with these knives and why it’s so hard to actually find a great knife anymore for less than $50.
Why Trust This List of Recommended EDC Knives? I had each of these knives in my personal possession and some I have even owned for 5 or 6 years. I am a total knife nut and I am not afraid to tell you the truth about a knife, a manufacture or my honest experience with the gear I review. Each knife on this list was purchased by Tech Writer EDC.
I have had my Hootenanny for at least 5 years, maybe more. I love it and it’s a solid, all-around pocket knife. Ken Onion, the knife designer, set out to make a great EDC knife as well as a great folding hunting/field knife and I think he hit the nail on the head. This is the knife I take when we go fishing, as it has a fantastic outdoorsy feel to it. The blade has a nice swooping belly to it, and the spine has jimping about half way down the length. This enables you to use it in a very precise manner for tasks such as skinning game or other fine detail cuts. Along with the jimping, there is a finger choil allowing you to choke up and have good blade control. I like it because it’s a great slicer and has a frame lock. Not the best steel with 8Cr13MoV, but it’s polished nicely and that makes it much more resistant to corrosion. 8Cr13MoV is also very easy to sharpen to get a nice cutting edge.
I picked up the Nova after seeing a video round up by Stassa23 Knife Therapy on YouTube. He does some great reviews and videos, and (like me) he actually has the knife in hand. The Nova has to be one of the best all-around deals on this list. It’s really crazy that at the time I am writing this, the knife is only $40. Sometimes Chinese knives can be hit or miss, but this one is a winner. Brands like Civvi and Trivisa should take a lesson. The Nova I bought has G10 scales over skeletonized lines, a reversible deep carry pocket clip, a nice D2 blade that was very sharp out of the box, and well-done milling of the scales for a great fit in the hand. Many brands today actively promote their Rockwell hardness like a badge of honor, however this was not the case a few years ago. The Kubey’s 3.6” blade comes in at 61 on the hardness scale. That means it will have more than decent edge retention on top of the fact that D2 sharpens on almost anything. When someone’s wife wants a recommendation for a Christmas present, this is what I am going to tell them to buy.
Another knife that the YouTube algorithm made me buy. I will start off by saying this is a fantastic knife, I just wish they slimmed down the overall thickness. But for the $50 price tag, I can’t really complain. Another front flipper, this one is fun to open once you get the hang of it. Skip Amazon on this one and go over to AliExpress to save a few bucks. The Miguron Amazon listing says the scales are waterproof micarta, but they really seem like G10 to me. This model wears a titanium pocket clip and the blade rides on ceramic ball bearings, is 3.5” long, and made from 14c28n steel. I only have a few knives with the 14c28n steel and, in my experience, it takes an edge super easy. The blade here is coated (there is no indication with what) and it seems to stand up to wear and tear pretty well. One knife test I do is slicing a soda can, and that can leave a ton of marks on coated blades. As you can see in the picture, not a scratch for using it. It’s a good knife with even better looks. The few times I’ve used it in front of friends they all comment on it being a good looking pocket knife.
One of the cheapest knives that made the list, the Sencut Acumen is a capable folder that gets the job done while still looking like it costs more than it does. This liner lock has a flipper tab on the back as well as an elongated hole for multiple deployment options. I thought about doing the best EDC knives for $35, and I would have to put this on that list too. It is a great pocket knife and another one that is good to give to friends as gifts. It’s well built, fit and finish are awesome, and it really cuts well. The deep carry pocket clip is a little too firm, but it should loosen up over time, and that’s my only complaint here. The 3” blade is made from 9Cr18MoV, which is supposed to be high end Chinese steel, however I consider it to be more of a budget material. That being said, it works here and helps to keep the price where it is. The coated blade will prevent rust and corrosion and this is another easy-to-sharpen blade. Even those cheap little sharpeners from Lowes will put a wicked edge on it. There are four options for scale colors on their Amazon listing, all with the black blade. I also think the jade green looks very cool.
SOG Terminus XR
It’s rare to see a cross bar lock on a folding knife at this price point and that’s the main reason the Terminus made the list. It’s an ok knife that is a little rough around the edges, but what the Terminus lacks in fit and finish it makes up for in value. Even after breaking it in and using it for over a month, the blade does not deploy easily with the flipper unless you give your wrist a little snap. The flipper tab is a little awkward, but you get used to it. I like how the blade fits in hand and the jimping on the spine allows you a nice grip overall. The D2 blade will sharpen up with a few strokes on a stone and should hold its edge for a while. The pocket clip is deep carry and reversible. Rather than screwing into the side of the handle, the clip loops over the end of the knife and is tightened from the opposite side, a very cool touch.
CJRB CUTLERY Crag
If you like big folders, then the Crag is for you. It’s a substantial knife, to say the least. When I set out to make this list, I really wanted to round it out with different manufacturers across what is available. I’ve never had a CJRB knife before and they were kind enough to send the Crag to see if it would make the cut. Other than being a little on the heavy side, this is a very nice knife for just under $50. I really like the smooth carbon fiber scales and the reversible deep carry pocket clip. You don’t think about it until later, but the smooth scales really do save wear and tear on your pockets! The blade is a little over 3” and is a beast. What surprised me most here was that after a little break in period, you can really flick out the blade and it has a nice snap upon lock up. I thought the liner lock was a little thin on such a robust knife, but I had no issue with it even under hard use and pressure testing. I was surprised how sharp the blade was after cutting a bunch of rope, it could still slice some paper…the pinnacle of knife testing.
Cold Steel Voyager
One of the biggest knives on the list, and pushing into the hard-use EDC knife category, the Voyager is a stout, well-built, and fun-to-use folding knife. To me, there is just something about a tanto blade that makes any knife feel more wicked and slicey. This one comes in AUS 10A blade steel. AUS is an easy steel to sharpen to a super cutting edge. This Voyager has the Triad lock, which is like a back lock along the handle spine and is known to be very strong. I find them to be a bit fussy to close as you have to depress the lock just right to get it to close smoothly. It’s not hard to learn, it’s just not a silky-smooth operation. Cold Steel makes some awesome folders, but I don’t think many of them are very refined. That’s the case here; the Voyager is a beast and ready for some serious use, but it’s not a prom queen. I particularly like how the handle scales are rounded over and have deep texturing along the grip, it makes for a very comfortable and secure knife in hand. You can really use the knife with a lot of pressure and not feel any hot spots.
I decided to give TRIVISA a second chance after its miserable, piece-of-junk Lynx-03 I reviewed. I am not overly impressed with this model, but it does come in at $50 and at least makes an attempt to break new ground. This is more of a show-and-tell or light-duty pocket knife. I wouldn’t pry on it at all, as the tip is very thin. On the positive side, it has a deep carry clip, nice micarta scales, it flicks out fast, and really fills out your hand nicely. I do like the longer tanto blade shape and how they gave a dark and menacing look to it. You are getting sandvik 14C28N steel and ceramic ball bearings at the $50 mark, so that deserves a nod. However, don’t read too much into their Amazon listing, this is not a camping knife; I classify it as a light-duty gentleman’s folder.
Spyderco – Tenacious Lightweight
I almost didn’t put the Tenacious on the list. Not because it’s not a good knife, but because it makes every EDC knife list around! However, that should tell you something. The lightweight version is usually around the $50 mark or a few bucks in either direction. You get basic steel and a nice, user-friendly knife.Nevertheless, what you are really buying is the Spyderco brand and I say it’s worth it. I love all my Spyderco knives and they are absolutely some of the best on the market. The other reason I included it here is the price has stayed pretty consistent over the years. The action is good, it feels solid in your hand, and the knife will take abuse. The pocket clip is 4-way adjustable, meaning it will do left or right carry and tip up or down. Many knives in this price range don’t even include the feature to move the clip. As I said, cheaper steel but the 8cr13MoV is very easy to sharpen.
I had never heard of QSP knives, and when hunting around for $50 EDC knives I found them on Amazon. They had the Penguin priced just right with D2 blade steel and brass scales, which is what really caught my eye. It’s on the heavy side for the blade length but it feels solid. This is not the most flickable blade on deployment, but the copper washers definitely help out. However, I wouldn’t let that deter you from picking it up. The brass looks very cool and I love the blade shape. It’s a sheeps foot with a high grind that makes it very slicey. Other positive marks go to the reversible deep carry clip, lanyard hole, and well machined edges that feel good under hard use. I like this one so much that I want to grab one of the other models with micarta scales. My only complaint here is that the liner lock is a tad thin for my liking.
This was the surprise of the bunch and I love this knife. I almost didn’t even bother to try it out after seeing a video of another Oknife reviewed by Gideons Tactical. That one was a bust and had some issues, however the Dreaver seems to be fairly well done. During testing, the knife kept reminding me of a Benchmade 940 with its look and blade style.
The Dreaver is a liner lock with smooth G10 scales, a deep carry pocket clip, and a blade made from N690 steel. It’s a flipper that also has thumb studs and is easy to deploy with either option. I was getting frustrated trying to find decent knives at this price point, then the Dreaver showed up. For the money, I think it’s a great EDC knife. Fit and finish are well done and I appreciate the slight finger choil on the blade that lets you choke up on it.
CRKT Squid XM
I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Squid, but this larger, assisted opening knife is pretty awesome for under $50. Best of all, it’s a framelock! The XM keeps the overall look and feel of the original, but adds some much needed size. The blade is snappy when deployed and it feels good in the hand. It has CRKT’s proprietary ball bearings in the pivot, and the blade is made from D2. Once you fiddle with it and break it in, it really opens and closes very nicely.
This is an insanely popular knife with many people. I like the overall package you get for the price. I have two of these and I have given several as birthday and Christmas presents. It’s a solid, all-around, no-nonsense pocket knife. It comes in a ton of color options and a few blade steels. The one I am talking about here is the plain Jane D2 steel with micarta scales. A nice touch is the ceramic washer that helps the blade flick out in a crisp manner. Once used a bit it also closes very well. It comes with a deep carry pocket clip, however it’s not reversible and I can’t understand why not. For the money, it’s a fun little knife that gets the basics done.
You can always count on Kershaw to offer something passable under the $50 mark and the Natrix is more than just passable, it’s a great EDC knife and a steal at the $30ish range.
I picked up a micart variation of this knife a few months ago after seeing several pictures on Instagram. It seems only the blue handled G10 model hovers below the $50 mark on a consistent basis. Fit and finish are excellent, and once the washer breaks in it’s very easy to flip open with some speed. Kizer does a good job on their VG10, and it holds a good edge for a decent amount of time. The listing mentions it as a hiking knife, I think it’s better suited to a daily EDC blade. You are getting a better blade for the money than most knives in this range.
A Good $50 Knife Is Getting Hard to Find
I thought putting together a list of the best everyday carry pocket knives under 50 dollars would be a piece of cake! I was totally mistaken. When I sat down to write this list, I had planned on opening my toolbox and just grabbing my favorite edc knives. Funny thing happened when I started looking up prices: knives that I paid $30-$40 a few years ago are now $50-60 and in some cases double and triple the price.
Call it inflation, call it progress, call it whatever you want, but your pocket knife buying dollars do not go as far as they used to. Case in point, one of my all time favorite EDC knives, the Kershaw Knockout which I bought in September of 2016 for $51, is now $124 on Amazon. It’s crazy!
If you were to search Best EDC Knife Under $50, there are countless websites listing knives. The issue is that many of them don’t have any first hand experience with the blades and most have never even held the knife they are recommending. I try very hard to stick to stuff I have personally used or brands that I have a deep experience with so I know the level of quality they put out. When I started to see what other guys were recommending it was almost laughable.
I hate to trash other brands, but I purchased a few blades recently off of Amazon that were “highly” recommended by some other sites and they are absolute garbage. I wouldn’t trust the lock to hold even under medium pressure. This comes down to buyer beware! Make sure you are doing your research, reading reviews, and watching videos when possible. This is not a list of what you shouldn’t buy, but I could definitely write that too.
The other issue when you start poking around Amazon and different eCommerce sites is that there is a glut of rip-off knives and inferior quality knives being sold and marketed as top-notch. You really need to do your homework when picking a reliable EDC knife. One area that swings the price widely is knife steel. It used to be that a pocket knife with a 8Cr13MoV blade was cheap. Like $20 cheap. Now, there are a ton of knives with cheaper blade steel getting much higher prices. 8Cr13MoV and the levels around it are not terrible, but I just have a hard time forking over $50-$60 for a knife with that steel.
The knives that made my list have all been in my possession at some point and I own many of them on the list. To make this list you have to be around $50 or less, solidly built and have the ability to open the knife one handed. This is critical to an EDC knife. I am not making this a requirement for some reason of self-defense but rather rapid deployment in regular situations such as when you are holding a piece of rope or cord and need to get out your knife to cut it. Situations like these, and many others that you will encounter in your daily life, require a one-handed deployment.
There are several good YouTubers who have put together some lists, but (like I mentioned above) I really question how much testing goes into these choices. I picked up the Petrified Fish Beluga based on a video I saw, but while it has many good qualities, it is almost unusable because of the sharp edges of the handle and scales.
How The Knives Were Tested To Make This List
This is not a random list of knives from Amazon sorted by price! To be included here is a real testament to making it past my picky, some say unreasonable, knife-judging criteria. I personally handled, used, and tested each knife on this list. The ones I really loved got more pocket time, but all of them went through several rounds of cutting tasks and real world use situations. I broke down boxes, opened packages, cut a ton of rope, sliced through rounds of paracord, tried to slice paper, cut some food or fruit, and basically used the knife how I use a knife every day. I carried them in jeans, in shorts, and in dress pants when possible. I let my kids try them out and anytime someone said, “does anybody have a knife on them?”, I was the first one to whip one of these out.
It’s in the actual daily use that a knife really shines (or not). You get to see its real character and issues. During an unboxing, when you cut a piece of paper and practice flipping out the blade, almost every knife seems pretty good. It’s not until you try to cut some twine to tie up your tomato plants or have to break down all your Amazon boxes that you start to see the weaknesses and imperfections show up. Under heavy cutting or carving you would be amazed at how many knives are very uncomfortable to use or have awful hot spots. I can personally attest to the fact that every knife on this list has stood up to the riggers of hard daily use.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.