As much flak as I’ve given Gerber over the years for some of their less-than-stellar products, I have to admit that they do make some cool stuff. Add the EAB Lite to that list. It’s a winner.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. At first, I had my doubts about this gadget, which splits the difference between a folding pocket knife and a box cutter. It’s a slightly slimmed-down version of the Greber EAB, which NBC called “the best pocket knife for your home”.
Would the Gerber EAB Lite live up to its much-hyped predecessor?
Cue the dramatic music. Let’s find out.
Gerber EAB Lite: First Impressions
I have my issues with NBC’s claim, mostly because this is not, strictly speaking, what I would call a true pocket knife. With its fully removable and disposable blade, it’s really more like a utility knife, albeit an ingeniously designed one.
Call it what you will, I’ve seen comments from some real Everyday Carry diehards who have started carrying a Gerber EAB on a daily basis instead of a more traditional pocket knife. I’m not ready to go that far, but I get it.
The EAB Lite has a lot going for it. It’s small and lightweight, slips easily in and out of one’s pocket, and takes up very little real estate wherever you decide to carry it. The all-stainless-steel design feels sturdy despite its small size, and it’s surprisingly comfortable in my hand considering how many hard edges it has.
Measurements & Specs
It’s hard to talk about the specs of the Gerber EAB Lite as if it were a proper knife, but here goes nothing. It has a 1.5” blade, a measurement that really represents the exposed portion of a 2.25” contractor-grade utility blade. The EAB Lite measures 5” open, about 3.8” closed, and is 0.25” thick.
The Gerber EAB Lite weighs 2.2 ounces, really not all that much lighter than the already-light original EAB, which weighed 2.5 ounces. But you can see where they cut a little weight by thinning the pocket/money clip and adding some slight skeletonization to the handle.
Blade Style & Replacement
Again, it’s hard to talk about the blade of the EAB Light as if it were a typical pocket folder. Talking about the blade steel, shape and grind here doesn’t really make much sense, though I guess it’s a reverse tanto blade if you really want to think of it that way.
The EAB Lite uses a disposable blade—you know, those trapezoid-shaped ones that fit in every utility knife—and when it gets dull you can simply remove it, throw it away, and replace it with a new one. Honestly, there are some real advantages to that, and a big one is that you don’t have to be too precious about it. If the blade gets dinged or damaged, who cares? Having said that, I’m going to be “that guy” and point out that you don’t have to throw out your utility blades when they get dull. You can remove them, run them over a whetstone and sharpen them up good as new just like any other blade. Just sayin’.
Deployment & Lockup
The way this tool folds up and swings open is really what makes it special. It compresses to about the size of a box of Tic-Tacs (but even thinner) and deploys out to a fully functional utility knife. It’s pretty darn cool, I must say.
It snaps shut firmly enough that accidental deployment feels like a total non-issue. It also has a lock bar that holds the blade in the open position once deployed. Mine had a little trouble locking up fully when I first got it, but the lock bar just needed to be worked out a bit. Now it locks up tight and firm, and there’s no play that I can detect in any direction.
Does it deploy one-handed? Kinda, sorta. You can do it, but do it slowly and carefully. One could potentially replace the screw that holds the blade in place with a thumb stud, which would make one-handed opening a breeze, but that would also make the EAB Lite less streamlined and not quite as pocket-friendly.
Comfort & Carry
In-hand comfort is better than I expected. The steel has what feels like a satin finish, and the edges are softened enough that they aren’t totally harsh angles. That being said, if you really bear down on the Gerber EAB Lite in your palm with all your might, then yeah, it’s going to start to feel uncomfortable.
In-pocket comfort couldn’t be better. This thing is so compact that you can slip it into any pocket and completely forget it’s even there until you need it. Does it fit in that little weird hip pocket? You’re darn right it does.
The Gerber EAB also has a pocket clip, which is nice and firm without feeling like it’s going to wear through the denim of my jeans. It’s not removable or reversible, which might be a bummer for all my lefty friends.
Gerber’s promo materials go out of their way to point out that the pocket clip can also be used as a money clip. File that under “technically true” just like every other pocket clip in existence, but unless you want to separate your loose cash and credit cards from your utility knife every time you need to use it, I’d recommend just using it as a pocket clip.
Final Thoughts on the Gerber EAB Lite
All joking aside, I’m really a big fan of the Gerber EAB Lite. In addition to being a little lighter than the original EAB, it’s also noticeably more streamlined and modern-looking, so I’ll give Gerber a few extra points for improving something that was already pretty darn good.
And talk about useful. I’ve been carrying the EAB Lite pretty consistently since I got it, and for an item that takes up next to no space in my pocket, it’s astonishing how often I’ve found myself reaching for it.
Anything you would use a small blade or box cutter for, this has you covered. Opening Amazon packages and breaking down cardboard is a no-brainer, but the possible uses are endless. I happened to have to do some drywalling during the time I’ve been carrying the EAB Lite, and it was the perfect tool for that job.
Even though there’s a part of me that hates all things disposable, I have to admit that being able to easily and cheaply replace the blade is a real advantage. I’ll always prefer a “real” knife for EDC, but there are some jobs I don’t want to risk a high-end blade on, and the Gerber EAB Lite is perfect for those moments.
Did I mention it’s built like a tank? Seriously, I’m pretty sure you could back your car over it and not leave a mark. Whether you make this utility knife part of your EDC or you simply keep one in your glove box, kitchen drawer or work bench, it’s an endlessly useful tool that I can’t recommend enough.
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 client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.