A pocket knife is an interesting purchase, in that it’s both seemingly inconsequential and also extremely important.
When you need it, it’s extremely important, and in those moments, having a good quality piece is essential. Whether you’re updating your camping or hunting kit, buying it for everyday use, or picking up your child’s first pocket knife, finding the right seller and item is a big deal.
The internet offers a huge variety of options for buying a pocket knife, but options aren’t always great to have. A huge selection means a higher probability of someone slipping in a low quality piece of garbage into the mix, and then you end up with buyer’s remorse and a broken blade. Likewise, you can’t always trust online reviews – it’s pretty easy to pay for positive feedback that ends up duping hard-working people like you into wasting their money.
What follows are our picks for the best places to buy a pocket knife, and the pros and cons of each. Depending on where you’re at in the world, some options might be better than others, and we’re going to walk through those options together to help you make the best choice.
BEST PLACES TO BUY A POCKET KNIFE
Most pocket knives are largely the same, so the biggest differences are: price, quality, availability, and materials. Naturally, you want the best quality knife at the best price, but you also need to find it from a seller that can get it to you. There might be a small town in the Amazon that’s known for its knives, but how will you get one?
Let’s see how each of these potential options meets the above needs of price, quality, availability and materials.
Shopping in 2022 is more online than it ever has been and for good reason – you can get nearly anything on the internet, especially with how much the COVID-19 pandemic shored up online marketplaces. There are thousands of online sports and outdoors shops throughout the world, but they’re not all built the same. You can find some pretty attractively cheap knives on Wish, for instance, but they’re going to break the first time you even mention using them.
On the other hand, if you live in the Florida Keys or a remote part of Montana, it might actually be easier to find an online seller. It’s a matter of need, accessibility, and reputation, and how they come together to provide easy access to a pocket knife without sacrificing quality. Buying from highly reputable sellers with a lot of genuine feedback, and who have solid return policies is the best way to protect your investment.
Pros: Buying online is simple, easy, and fast. You get your product shipped to you, often relatively quickly, and you have a wide selection of options throughout the world, with a high degree of customization and options.
Cons: There’s not a ton of incentive for unscrupulous dealers to sell you a quality item or to not fake positive reviews, which can lead to you wasting time and money.
Just about anything you want to buy can be found on Craigslist, but your mileage may vary. The issue with Craigslist is that it’s essentially a mobile flea market; all the problems you can encounter at a swap meet are present here. So yes, you may find a pocket knife, but it could be just as flimsy as one you’d find online, and it’s not going to come with a warrant.
One of the biggest downsides to Craigslist is that it’s hit and miss. Sometimes you can find some great stuff and other times you won’t find anything for months at a time. Additionally, coordinating a safe meetup can be an issue, and you should always meet in a place you feel comfortable with.
Don’t want to become a statistic over a pocket knife.
Pros: Like the internet in general, you can search for exactly what you’re looking for on Craigslist, but you can actually meet the person before buying in this scenario. This is a huge deal, since you can determine for yourself if it’s worth the price or if there are any glaring problems.
Cons: Craigslist is still somewhat shady, and a lot of times, people can be extremely difficult to pin down and actually meet. It can be dangerous if you’re not careful, though you’re far more likely to just get run around by flaky sellers.
Online stores for actual companies
While the internet itself is populated by thousands of web stores that sell things of varying quality and origin, you can comfortably shop at the websites for brick-and-mortar businesses with little worry. Scheels or another high-quality outdoors/sporting company will have a webstore that simply ships their in-store products around the country. In this way, you get the large selection of a huge store, along with reviews you can (largely) trust, and a return policy that actually matters.
Pros: Reputation means a lot and a large store’s online site is an extension of that reputation. Being backed by an actual store’s return policy is nice, too.
Cons: Returning products can be frustrating, as you often have to communicate via phone or chat to describe the problem, and then box it up and ship it yourself. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s more annoying than returning products to an actual store.
A garage sale (or flea market) is a decent place to buy a pocket knife, because most people selling them actually use them. You’re not buying from a store with thousands in stock; you’re buying from a guy who doesn’t use it anymore, or who, like you, bought a newer one. They can tell you the history, the materials, and everything else you want to ask.
Plus, garage sales are a great place to haggle and you can probably get a great deal.
Pros: You can snag a great deal on a single-owner knife and inspect before you buy.
Cons: You can’t plan on there being a garage sale with a good pocket knife when you are looking for one – it’s likely going to be a happy accident when you stumble upon one.
Do your research and buy from a trusted source
Can you get a great pocket knife from Jimmy you met on Craigslist? Of course. Will he want to meet behind the abandoned McDonald’s at 3:00 am and talk about his turtle collection? Probably, and who has time for that? Plus he might attack you which is not great.
Online shopping is good, but with a lack of transparency and accountability, you might end up with trash. Reputable online retailers are a good choice for sure, with a solid return policy and a wide selection – this is a great option for buying a new pocket knife.
Finally, flea markets and garage sales are an okay place to pick up a new pocket knife, but you can’t really plan on them being available all the time.
Be safe, think clearly and weigh your options, and find a knife that fits your budget and lifestyle, from someone you can trust.
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.