Who Makes The Best Budget Folding Cleaver Pocketknife? Today we are putting the Flatiron up against the Static to see which is better.
Pocket cleavers are utilitarian as well as stylish. Their sudden spike in popularity has been one of the most surprising EDC trends in recent years.
But maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising. These are some seriously cool-looking knives, and their unique design makes them perfect for jobs that involve a lot of heavy slicing and chopping. I was excited to test two of the more popular knives in the folding cleaver category: the Gerber Flatiron and the Kershaw Static.
I ordered both knives, and they both showed up at my doorstep on the same day. First out of the box was the Gerber Flatiron, and right away I was struck by its size and weight. The Flatiron weighs a chunky 5.6 oz, and has an overall open length of 8.5 inches. For an everyday carry knife, it definitely has some confidence-inspiring heft.
The Gerber Flatiron gets its name from its strong, cleaver-shaped blade, which recalls the look of an old-fashioned straight razor. The steel has a nice stonewashed finish that I suspect would do a great job masking scratches and marks after years of use. It has an open handle design, with stainless steel on one side and black machined aluminum on the other.
The Kershaw Static is a bit smaller and lighter, but it’s not a featherweight by any means. It weighs 4 oz and measures just a hair under 7 inches when open. The handle doesn’t quite fill the hand the way the Flatiron does, but the Static’s trimmer profile feels like it would be more adept at finer slicing and cutting.
The blade of the Static has a satin finish, which looks great right out of the box, but will probably start to show its age faster than the stonewashed finish of the Flatiron. The handle is stainless steel with angled machining that gives it some solid grip and adds an interesting, high-tech aesthetic.
On looks alone, I liked both of these knives right away. It’s easy to see why cleaver style pocket knives are so popular.
Specs and Stats of the Kershaw Static and Gerber Flatiron
The Flatiron has a hollow grind, and its blade is made of 7Cr17MoV stainless steel. Simply put, it’s cheap steel. But it’s strong and corrosion resistant, and is easy to sharpen even if it doesn’t hold an edge for quite as long as one might like. A common complaint I hear from knife nerds (like myself) is that the hollow grind on the Flatiron is very uneven, and it’s a minor complaint, but I have to agree.
The Kershaw Static, on the other hand, has a flat grind, and its blade is made of slightly higher-quality 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. It’s not high-end steel by any means, but it holds an edge longer, and I definitely have to give the Static points for right-out-of-the-box sharpness compared to the Flatiron.
Although these knives look and feel like they’re very different in size, you actually get a fairly similar length of actual cutting edge on both: about 3 inches for the Flatiron, and 2.5 inches for the Static. Each knife has a comfortable finger choil that allows a good grip on the blade. The Gerber Flatiron lacks jimping on the spine of the blade, which I think is a somewhat curious design choice, but the Kershaw has a solid line of notches along the rear spine that provide extra grip for your thumb.
One component of the Static that really stands out is the pocket clip. The clip on the Static holds the knife deeper in the pocket, and is easily reversible for lefties. The Flatiron has a shorter, much less flexible clip that holds the knife closer to the pocket edge, and is so tight that I have a feeling it would wear a hole in my jeans if I carried it every day.
The Flatrion and Static Put to the Test
How do these two perform in daily cutting, slicing and chopping tasks?
Both the Gerber Flatiron and the Kershaw Static are comfortable, easy, and as it turns out, quite a lot of fun to use. Both have well-designed grips and firm locking mechanisms. Neither have any blade play that I could detect in any direction. Both knives also offer smooth, one-handed opening; although each knife uses a different system to make that possible.
The Gerber has a large and well-positioned cutout near the spine of the blade that allows it to be flicked open with ease. It’s a large thumb hole that you can easily get a good purchase on, and there’s just enough resistance to let you know that it will never open accidentally.
The Kershaw offers unassisted one-handed opening with a flipper and KVT ball-bearing. Give the flipper a little pull with your index finger, and the knife practically springs open by itself thanks to the ball bearing. I found the flipper to be a bit sticky right out of the box, but it loosened up after a day or two or repeated opening and closing.
I didn’t do anything too crazy with either of these knives. I opened some boxes, did some basic bushcraft food prep, and shaved up some tinder to make a fire. Both knives performed all these tasks with ease. Overall, the Static excels at delicate slicing that requires a bit of finesse. The Gerber is better suited to heavy-duty chores.
The cleaver blade shape makes both of these knives less likely to slip out while cutting cardboard—come to think of it, they’re very similar to the shape of an actual box cutter—which makes them perfect for that task. There’s just the slightest bit of “belly” to both blades, which also makes them good for any kind of chopping or slicing on a surface, i.e. prepping food.
Gerber Flatiron Vs. Kershaw Static: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, what’s the advantage of a cleaver-style folding knife? Some users like that they’re functional, while the lack of a well-defined point makes them less threatening in appearance. Others just think they look cool, which I have to admit, they do. I also think the lack of a point would make these knives great, safe choices for new and young knife users.
If you simply want a utilitarian EDC knife that looks cool and handles everyday tasks well, either the Gerber Flatiron or the Kershaw Static will do the job nicely. Both are mid-level knives in a similar price range, and both are made with comparable quality materials and craftsmanship.
Both knives cut a lot of paracord and performed other tasks well.
The Static was more EDC friendly because of it’s size.
If I had to choose just one, I would probably go with the Kershaw. It gets points for slightly harder steel that holds an edge longer, and I find that its smaller size makes it perfect for everyday carry and ideal for fine slicing. But if you need a workhorse knife that can take a lot of punishment and handle heavy-duty wear-and-tear, I can definitely see the advantage of the Gerber. Ultimately, it’s a question of finding what best matches your needs.