Quick Summary: If you’re looking for a capable folding knife that won’t let you down and you’re a fan of Spyderco, then buy the Endela. It’s not a budget folder or a knife with super steel, but an all-around, decent, tool knife to have in your pocket.
The only question is: are you willing to pay the $86 asking price? That’s what we’re going to find out.
I’ve had the Spyderco Endela in my pocket for a few months now and have carried it enough to know all of its finer points as well as some issues.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Endela, it basically splits the difference between an Endura and a Delica…hence the name Endela. It’s a no-nonsense, utilitarian folding knife that’s built for action.
It’s hard to go wrong with any of their lightweight models!
If you’re a Spyderco fan and like to have a complete collection, then you don’t need me to tell you this is a knife worth having….you’ll probably buy it either way.
However, if you are out there trying to decide on a great pocket knife, EDC blade, or capable folder, then this article is for you.
Trying to find the perfect pocket knife, whether for EDC, camping, hiking, or whatever, is near impossible. There are just too many awesome knives in the world at all price points.
If you are looking for the best of the best, then Spyderco has a ton of choices and it’s hard to go wrong with any of their lightweight models, which the Endela falls into.
Read Our Review of the Byrd Harrier 2 Lightweight – A Budget version of the Endela
It gets the job done!
I will start with a well-known fact, that I am a fan of all things Spyderco and, in my opinion, they make some of the best knives on the market at various price points. A quick look at my Instagram will show you I have all the basics covered when it comes to the Spyderco catalog.
Of all my folding knives, when it’s time for some serious work, I almost always grab my Spyderco Endura with a serrated blade. If I am working in the yard, going to Home Depot, building stuff, whatever the case, I grab the Endura first. It’s a knife that is simple, well made, and gets the job done.
That’s a perfect description for the Endela: it gets the job done!
It’s hard not to reference other Spyderco knives when talking about the Endela.
If you’ve ever handled a Delica or Endura, then you know exactly what’s in store when you pick up the Endela. It’s not a fancy knife and may not have the coolest look, but if you’re after a super reliable tool, then you will not be dissapointed.
Credit should be given to Spyderco for producing the Endela, as it seems it was built as a result of repeated customer requests to create something between the Endura and Delica. Spyderco is well-known for constantly evolving and improving their designs as well as keeping an open mind to what die-hard fans are looking for.
Otherwise, you have to wonder a little as to why they produced such a knife; it doesn’t break new ground and it’s not really an attention grabber. To me, this knife really was created for the Spyderco fanbase.
The Delica does everything well, as does the Endela.
If you’ve never owned a Spyderco, my personal opinion is to start your obsession with a Spyderco Delica. This simple knife has stood the test of time and embodies all the reasons why Spyderco produces such awesome blades.
The Delica does everything well, as does the Endela.
There are a few well-known Spyderco traits on the Endela. The big Spydie hole is prevalent on the blade and makes deployment easy. It has Spyderco’s well known clip, which can be adjusted into four positions.
The knife is easy to operate and has strong lock-up when opened. Closing the knife is done by depressing the lockback and disengaging the blade to return it to the folded position.
The VG-10 blade has more of a leaf shape to it, similar to the Sage5. It also has more of a ‘belly’ to it compared to any of the blades that come on the Endura or Delica. The full-flat grind makes it a nice slicer and there’s decent jimping on the backside for your thumb. The fiberglass reinforced nylon handle (FRN for short) is well-textured and has been rounded-over along all the edges. The knife fits well into medium to large hands and the contouring on the underside of the scales gives even smaller hands good places for your fingers.
The choice of VG-10 is unsurprising.
An interesting note: I experienced over the course of some heavy use that the Endela, to me, seems to have more ‘hot spots’ under really hard use along the top of the scales. I felt a noticeable difference in pressure points when doing hard cutting and carving compared to the Endura. The width of the handles are almost the same and I was performing the same task with each knife.
That was extreme, however, and under what I consider normal use, cutting, prying etc., the Endela felt great in the hand.
The overall construction and finish of the knife is excellent and is something to be expected with a Spyderco. The blade came perfectly centered inside the scales and has stayed that way even after heavy prying and cutting as well as some drops.
The choice of VG-10 is unsurprising and I have no complaints about it. Sure, I love super-steels like anyone else, but honestly, the VG-10 is so easy to sharpen and holds an edge extremely well. For a knife that is meant to be used, I think the blade steel was a good choice.
One thing the knife lacks is a finger choil. Not a deal breaker here, but just a personal preference to me. I really like the control a choil offers in detail cutting as well as choking up on the knife.
Neither Delica or Endura have a choil…but you know what does? The Byrd line of knives. Byrd is a house brand from Spyderco that is geared directly towards budget consumers. I happen to be a fan of several of their models.
They are not as refined as a full-fledged Spyderco, but for the price they are a real value. The Byrd Meadowlark is the budget version of a Delica and the Cara Cara is the Endura cousin. These, as well as other Byrd knives, are really worth checking out. The big price savings in the Byrd line comes from the use of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel.
Definitely a budget steel, but not all that bad in certain situations.
When it comes to cutting, the Endela shines in just about everything. The full flat grind makes it zip through cardboard and plastics. Slicing food and detail work was easy and the knife has enough grunt to handle heavy cord, webbing and tough fabrics. It’s a working man’s knife, for sure. The point isn’t as pronounced as some piercers out there, but you can stab and pry easy enough. In fact, the blade shape lends the Endela to perform well at digging and gouging. I know you’re not supposed to pry with a blade, but in the rare case you do, the Endela won’t let you down.
If you’re not a Spyderco fan, I think the knife is underwhelming.
All in all, the Endela makes short work of whatever you’re cutting, the VG-10 is a proven option and is a known quantity when it comes to durability, edge retention, and upkeep. The one thing the Endela lacks, in my opinion, is the wow factor….something I think both its siblings, the Endura, Delica and of course Dragonfly, definitely have.
After using the knife extensively, I can tell you, hands down, it’s a great pocket knife.
The question, “should you buy it,” still nags me a little. I really like to be cut and dry in my recommendations, and I find myself torn as to what I think about the Endela. Here is the bottom line to me: if you’re not a Spyderco fan, I think the knife is underwhelming. If you’re on a budget, or if you’re someone (normal) who doesn’t feel the need to own a hundred knives, then I think there are better options out there in the Spyderco catalog.
It’s not that the Endela is a bad knife, quite the opposite. This is a great knife that was made for a select group of folks, the Spyderco fanboys (of which I am one). As in all cases when you are spending hard-earned money, I want to be honest in my opinion so that you can make the best choice for you and your wallet.
The Endela may be a perfect choice for lots of you out there.
The Endela makes a compelling case for an EDC knife. It’s a stout setup that feels good in the hand, is a reliable performer and does more than just the basics. If you’re looking to upgrade your pocket knife from some of the cheaper options out there, the Endela is a good route to go.
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.