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Spyderco Knife Review
These Are The Spyderco Knives You Need To Add To Your EDC
Spyderco Sage 5 (AKA – The Greatest Spyderco EDC Knife of All Time)
I carry a knife everyday. It’s an absolute habit. The Sage 5 is my most carried Spyderco and, really, my most carried knife in general. If you were to define the perfect EDC knife, this one could be it. Three big reasons it’s so amazing:
- The Wire Pocketclip – I love Spyderco wire clips and how they are deep carry. Not only are they deep carry, but they are very unobtrusive and not as visibly noticeable to others when in the pocket.
- Carbon Fiber Scales – I love the smooth carbon fiber scales. After a while pocket clips and G10 handles start to wear out your pants and tear your pockets. Not so here.
- The Blade – Clearly the most important here, the blade is perfect for general EDC tasks. Its leaf shape with a choil allows you to be precise in your cuts and the blade is tall enough to be very versatile. Plus the S30V is fantastic. It’s a slicer and easy to sharpen to a great edge.
The Sage 5 is also one of those knives that hasn’t gone wild in price over the years. You get a lot of knife for your money here.
Spyderco Manix LW
I have owned my Manix LW for over 6 years and it has to be one of the best Spyderco knives in my collection. What makes this knife so special is how big the blade is considering how light the knife is. In recent years, Spyderco has come out with more lightweight variants that aren’t really that much lighter than the original model (the Tenacious comes to mind). However, the Manix LW is noticeably lighter than the standard and it’s also robust. Lots of brands have lightweight knives and typically these are for lightweight tasks, however, in the case of the Manix LW, it’s still a durable and capable folder. It checks all the boxes for me: wireclip, big blade, sharp steel, and feels great in your hand.
Spyderco Para 3 LW
You will start to see a trend in the Spyderco knives I picked for this list. The Para 3 when it first came out was an underwhelming knife to me. I know, tons of people rave about it, but I thought it was a weird shape in the hand and somewhat unbalanced. Enter the lightweight version and I am singing a different tune. I love it! The original model has been relegated to my desk drawer for opening boxes, while the Para 3 LW gets carried all the time. The best thing going for it here is how big the 3” balde is; it’s actually just shy of three inches depending on how the police officer wants to measure it. I mention the cops because this is the perfect knife for EDC in most places as many cities and municipalities limit a blade to 3” on your person. (Make sure to check your local laws).
The lightweight version comes with a wireclip, the proven compression lock, and, best of all, rounded-over FGN scales that make the knife perfect in your hand under hard use. I talked at length on why this is the better Para 3 to buy when it came out in my review here. I stand by those words today, this is one of the great Spyderco knives of the last several years.
Spyderco Delica 4
Ahh, the Spyderco Delica 4….this guy is the quintessential Spyderco with all the hallmarks of a solid knife. When I look at the very first Delica I bought, the leaf green with combo blade, I am often still amazed by the simplicity and build-quality of that knife. Today, I have at least 6 different Delicas including a Sprint Run with Cru-wear. If someone asks me for a knife recommendation, this is usually the first knife I come up with. The VG10 is not as popular now that so many super steels are on the market, but it’s a reliable blade steel that keeps an edge and is easy to sharpen, even if you’re not good at sharpening knives. This is the fourth generation of the Delica line, hence the “4,” and it’s exactly what makes Spyderco so great. Spyderco has a motto of constant quality improvement and it shows in each of the successive generations of their knives. Yes, they release many knives in new colors so knife aficionados (crazy people??) will buy them, but all in all, Spyderco makes a concerted effort to always improve their designs.
So, what’s so great about the Delica 4? Everything, I say. Let’s start with that it’s still a sub $100 knife. That says a lot. Yes, you are paying for the Spyderco name, but behind that name is a lot of work and refinement and it shows in many of their knives. Second, the Delica 4 is a workhorse in the truest sense. I have used and abused my Delica’s over the years from long camping trips in the rain to a lot of weekend warrior projects. I never oil it or clean it and, no matter what, it still keeps a smooth opening action. Think of this knife like the Honda Accord, you know it will last forever!
A side note here on the different Delica 4 versions. You can get them in four blade styles and several blade steels. My favorite blades on these knives are the Saber grind versions. Not as popular as the full flat grind, the Saber lends itself to be a tougher task knife. The blade tapers to a more robust point with a thicker spine which is better for prying and digging. Besides the full flat grind and Saber grind, you can get a combo serrated version or a full serrated version.
Remember I said this list wasn’t in any order, but if it was then the Spyderco Chaparral might need to be at the top. Hands down, this is one of my all time favorite Spyderco knives. When I need a sharp blade that’s a little more understated, I grab the Chaparral. With its thin profile and deep carry wire clip, it disappears in your pocket. If I have to wear dress pants or more formal attire, I grab the Chaparral. For the last two weddings I attended, the Chaparral was in my tuxedo. It’s an absolutely crazy slicer with its leaf-shaped blade, and tears through boxes with ease. Funny, I almost didn’t buy it because Nick Shabazz made such a fuss that the back-lock was hard to operate and hurt his thumb. He’s right about a lot, but he must have weak fingers.
The Spyderco Chaparral is the perfect gentleman’s folder: it’s capable, looks good, and with the carbon fiber scales it slides easily into your pocket. Plus, it has a finger choil which allows you to choke up for finer tasks. It has a refined look so if you have to pull it out in your office or stuffy work environment, no one will bat an eye. If you buy only one Spoyderco on this list, you owe it to yourself to make it the Chaparral.
It took me a long time to pick up my first Shaman. Probably because it got to be one of the ugliest knives out there. To me, it just looked stupid…that was until I bought one! Of any Spyderco knife on this list, or any list in the world, if hard use is what you need then this is the one to buy. There are a ton of awesome reviews on YouTube if you want the nitty gritty, but this S30V steel bladed knife is sheer perfection. I was just naive but I totally changed my mind when I got one. The rounded G10 scales have no hot spots whatsoever under hard use, and the knife fits in your hand perfectly.
The Shaman is loosely based on the Spyderco Native, which is also on this list. It takes all the awesome qualities of the Native and just explodes them into a thunderbolt. For years, the PM2 was considered the hard-use folder of the Spyderco lineup, however, the Shaman blows it away. Now, for all that extra strength it has to weigh more, and you can tell the Shaman is in your pocket with its 5.5 ounces of heft. You can easily flick the drop point blade with the Spydie hole and the knife closes smoothly when you depress the compression lock on the spine of the handle. The market for this is always hot so if you see one you like, buy it. The Sprint Run versions are gobbled up quickly and the standard bladed version is often out of stock on BladeHQ and other places.
Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 (PM 2)
Years ago I really wanted a ParaMilitary 2, but the price was always a little out of my comfort zone. When I purchased my first PM 2 it was the most expensive folding knife I ever bought. You could say it was a ‘grail knife’ and that was feeling was stoked by The Late Boy Scout and his YouTube review of a digi-camo Spyderco PM 2 where he abused the heck out of it on a camping trip, batoning and prying the blade, and all around using it beyond what I’m sure Spyderco had intended. But you know what? The knife was flawless after all the challenges he put it through. I knew then that I had to have one. It still took another year or so to pull the trigger, but I am glad I did. The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is the most popular EDC knife, with over 1 million units sold worldwide.
The ParaMilitary 2 is the first knife I grab for a hiking or backpacking trip or any serious adventure. When you use it in the backcountry or a real world environment, you really appreciate the compression lock and the knife’s one-handed usability. You can deploy the blade and lock it closed with one hand….safely and even with gloves on. My original PM 2 in digi-camo came with S30V, but now the knife has been upgraded to S45VN. The popularity and effectiveness of the knife is proven by the expanse of aftermarket accessories you can buy for it. The most common upgrades are handle scales. Slap on a pair of micarta and you have one handsome knife!
Spyderco UK Penknife
With the slipjoint pocket knife making a comeback and the United Kingdom banning locking blade knives, Spyderco introduced a few new knives in the penknife line. Hence the name, the UK Penknife does not have a locking blade, it operates just like a Swiss Army Knife. I really like these versions as they are small, lightweight, and very unobtrusive. The CTS BD1 steel is wicked sharp and very easy to get a nice edge on. This is a great pocket knife with an old-school feel to it. The knife is a little bigger than a Spyderco Dragonfly with a full-flat grind, semi-leaf blade. The FRN scales and wire clip keep it very light; it disappears in your pocket.
Spyderco Native 5 LW
I was surprised when the Native 5 made my list of the best Spyderco EDC knives, not because it’s not a great EDC blade, but for some reason I don’t carry it as much as I did when I bought it five years ago. I recently “re-found” the knife when I started to put together this list and have since revitalized my love of the Native 5. You know by now that I love the Spyderco wire clip. The Native 5 has the traditional leak clip and, combined with the FRN scales, it will tear the daylights out of your pants. I think that’s why I don’t carry it as much. But don’t let frayed pockets stop you from enjoying one of the best lock-back knives Spyderco puts out.
The Native 5 LW is the perfect combination of a stout folder in a lighter setup. It’s much smaller than a Manix LW but more substantial in the hand than a Delica 4. The leaf-style blade lends itself to more slicing and tougher cutting tasks. It’s built to take some abuse and not many pocket knives pack so much toughness into such a perfectly sized EDC package. You know a Spyderco knife is popular when there are a bunch of Sprint Runs or custom “store” brand models that are exclusive to a Spyderco dealer. I love my Delica 4, but with the Native 5 finger choil and handle shape, it definitely feels more refined for an FRN-scaled knife. The thicker blade stock also lends itself for tougher stuff.
Spyderco Byrd Raven 2
I will be brief here, I have written at length as to the benefits and awesomeness of the Byrd Raven 2. From my “buy this, not that” video to my detailed long-term review here, I firmly believe you need to go buy this knife. Byrd is the value line of Spyderco….and a value they are. Frankly, I would say that the Raven 2 is one of the greatest EDC knives ever. It’s also probably one of the least well known EDC pocket knives.
Here are the basics: the Raven 2 is a linear lock with a 3.5” CTS BD1 blade, G10 scales, finger choil, and reversible pocket clip. At 4 ounces, it’s a fairly compact and lightweight package for such a big blade. He’s a tough guy that can do it all. Read The Review For The Byrd Harrier 2
Spyderco Stretch 2 XL Lightweight
This was a recent addition to my collection. I have had the Stretch 2 for a few years and love its quirky design. You can Google the history, but it was originally designed as a folding hunting knife that you could skin game with, hence the blade shape. I liked the Stretch 2 because of the FRN scales and finger choil. It’s like Endura on steroids.
The Stretch 2 LW is exactly the reason I love Spyderco and what sets them apart from other knife makers: the constant evolution of their product lines. You can read how the Stretch 2 LW developed on their site here. You may notice that I like bigger knives that are a little lighter but still can handle the hard stuff. That‘s exactly what you have with the Stretch 2 LW. You have an almost4” blade in an under 3 ounce knife. What’s so crazy about these is that there is virtually no side to side play in the blade at the handle. You can really wrench on them and it still feels solid. The full-flat grind blade does taper to a very slender point so it’s not going to be a beast in the prying department, but I can tell you it’s a very slicy, dicey knife. I particularly like VG10 blade steel for ease of use and also how easy it is to sharpen. That’s a plus in the case of the Stretch 2 LW because that long, sharp blade is pure VG10.
The Stretch 2 LW has a 4-way reversible pocket clip so you can carry any way you like. It uses the traditional leaf/wedge-style Spyderco clip and the back lock is easy to operate when you want to close the knife.
The Mantra, too, was a recent addition. We were traveling on a plane to spend a week in New Mexico and obviously couldn’t take a knife through airport security. So, in this case, I mailed it to myself at our VRBO rental right before we left so it was there waiting for me. Yes, I’m crazy; I couldn’t go a few days without a knife. The Mantra is only OK, I wouldn’t call it the greatest Spyderco ever, and it might be one of my least favorites, but I think it will appeal to others beside myself. My big gripe is that the flipper gets in the way of the compression lock when you close the knife unless you hold it just right. Now, this may not bother some and so I put it on the list. Other than that, and the lack of a finger choil, it’s a very nice knife. It has all my hallmarks of a good Spyderco: wire clip, smooth scales, and a compression lock.
The S30V is sharp, it flicks out easily once broken in, and you can also use the Spydie hole to open the knife. With the deep-carry reversible clip, it hides in your pocket nicely. It’s an all-around great EDC knife. The other thing I didn’t like, however, was how close my fingers were to the sharpened portion of the blade when I wrapped my fingers fully around the knife. If you choke up at all it’s easy to cut your finger if you don’t pay attention. If you are used to a finger choil on your other Spyderco knives, you may want to skip this one. However, if you are a die-hard flipper fan, you will like flicking out the blade and closing it one handed.
The Ultimate List of EDC Spyderco Knives
I realized recently scrolling through my own instagram feed that I have a lot of Spyderco knives. There’s a good reason for this: I think Spyderco makes some of the best EDC knives on the market. I know, personally, when I need a knife, I usually grab one of my Spydercos first. If I am home and need something for serious use, I grab an Endura. When I leave the house, you can bet either a Sage 5 or Chaparral is in my pocket.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to handle a lot of different knives and I can tell you, flat out, that even knives costing the same amount of money can be vastly inferior to a Spyderco. In the whole world of EDC, I don’t think the phrase, “You get what you pay for,” ever rang more true than with any of the Spyderco knives. A Spyderco may come at a premium price, but you are getting an absolutely amazing knife that will go the distance.
How Do You Know Which Are the Best Spyderco EDC Knives?
Today, I put together my list of the best Spyderco EDC Knives above. Why take my advice? Well, for starters, I own each knife on this list and have had an extensive amount of time using each of them. I purchased every one of these with my own cash and this entire website is beholden to nobody but me….I love to tell you my honest opinion about knives. If it’s junk, I will tell you. Finally, I want other people to have a good experience when buying knives. I am annoyed to no end by the many affiliate sites and bloggers making lists and lists of so-called “best this” and “best that” in an effort to make money. Most of the time, they have never even handled the knife. They might not actually even use pocket knives on a daily basis! I use affiliate links all over Tech Writer, that’s not a secret. But our goal is to give an honest assessment of every item we review so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Are Spyderco Knives Worth the Money?
Yes, Spyderco knives are absolutely worth the money. Behind the brand is years of research, product refinement, quality control, and a true passion for knives. If you are judging the cost of a pocket knife by the top search results on Amazon or a bunch of bloggers who never touched the knife in question, then it’s easy to think that a Spyderco is an expensive knife. Spyderco is a premium brand and their knives are built to higher standards than most, so you can expect to pay a premium price. However, when compared to other knife brands that charge the same retail price, you will see that Spyderco knives are actually high value compared to the competition.
Where to Buy Spyderco Knives?
This is an important question. If you are going to pay a premium for a high-end knife, you want to make sure you are getting one from an authorized seller. Many sites unknowingly sell cheap knock-offs and there are whole boards on Reddit asking, “Is My Spyderco Real?” Reputable online retailers like BladeHQ and Knife Center are the first places to shop. If you know what you’re doing or can verify the quality, Amazon usually has the best prices. In this case, spend the extra few dollars to ensure you have a legitimate Spyderco product. Of course, you can also buy from Spyderco directly here.
Which Knife Is Better: Spyderco or Benchmade?
This is like the Ford vs. Chevy debate. Both brands produce some amazing knives, but if I had to pick, the facts point to Spyderco as the better knife brand. If you take a look at both companies, Spyderco is more of a knife enthusiast company. They have a bigger presence that is accessible to the public and they really give the impression that their mission is to build the best possible knives. Benchmade has a ton of awesome knives, but they come off as a little snooty. Now, is that enough to say that Spyderco is a better brand? Maybe, maybe not, but it definitely factors into where I spend my money.
How Did We Determine Which Spyderco Was Best For EDC?
First, this list includes Spyderco knives that we have personally tested and used for everyday carry and other real world experiences. We set out to make a helpful guide on picking through all of the possible Spyderco options and slimming down the catalog to a few, solid choices. The knives on this list are easy to carry, perform exceptionally well and constructed from above average materials.
What is the best material for an EDC knife handle?
When it comes to knife handles and scales, it’s a very personal choice. I like micarta scales more than anything, but if i was looking at a survival situation or hard-use scenario I would pick G10 or a FRN handle like what is on the Delica4.
Where can I buy the best Spiderco knife for edc?
There is no shortage of places to buy Spydero pocketknives, whether online or at any number of retail stores. I would start with BladeHQ. You can also check Amazon and many other online knife retailers, like Knife Center and Smoky Mountain Knife Works.
How do you choose the right size knife for EDC?
Picking a knife size and blade length is easy. First, buy a pocketknife that will be legal in your state or municipality. Many cities and local governments have laws on the books about what is the biggest knife you can carry in public. There are many places to check this info online. Second, think about how you will be using the knife. If we are talking about EDC, then really a 2.5″ to 3.5″ blade will be ideal and allow it to fold in a small enough footprint to fit in a pocket.
What is the blade material of the best Spyderco knife for edc?
From my experience and not just on a Spyderco, I think the S30V is the best all around EDC blade material. It’s the right balance between edge retention and corrosion resistance while still being easy to sharpen. I know a lot of folks will want super steel, but S30V is fantastic.
What are the features of the best Spyderco knife for edc?
These are a guide to be helpful. You can gather from my comments above on the individual knives what options and specs I like on my Spyderco knives. Here is a quick run down on the features you should pay attention to: a wire pocket clip, S30V steel or better, a finger choil and grippy handle scales.
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.