Whether you’re an enthusiast or newbie, looking for the best pocket knife under $50 is quite a daunting task nowadays. So if there are experts who not only give you detail yet understandable information but also some precious suggestions to correct your choice, why not? Read on!
Here are the best pocket knives under $50 (Sep 2021 Update):
- Best Overall: Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)
- Best For Hunting: Buck Knives 0110BRS 110
- Best For Camp Cooking: Ka-Bar Dozier Folder 3.0
- Best For Backpackers: Kershaw Cryo II
- Best For Bushcrafting: Ontario Knife. ON8848-BRK Rat-1
- Best For Daily Tasks: Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife - Black G-10
|Best Pocket Knife Under $50: Top 6 Picks|
|Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)||Read Our Review|
Best For Hunting
|Buck Knives 0110BRS 110||Read Our Review|
Best For Camp Cooking
|Ka-Bar Dozier Folder 3.0||Read Our Review|
Best For Backpackers
|Kershaw Cryo II||Read Our Review|
Best For Bushcrafting
|Ontario Knife. ON8848-BRK Rat-1||Read Our Review|
Best For Daily Tasks
|Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife - Black G-10||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)
- Kershaw’s speed safe assisted opening technology provides superior safety while doing your tasks
- The blade is coated with black-oxide finish for better corrosion resistance, edge retention and ease to sharpening
- Tight pocket clip
- The oxide coating can wear off
While we initially thought this model was just a so-so design like other inexpensive pocket knives, we came to love this style.
Out of the box, it is a tough little knife with highlighting in Kershaw’s speed safe assisted opening technology and fiber-reinforced nylon handle.
The blade is a hollow ground American Tanto made of quality budget 8Cr13MoV steel with black-oxide finish. It provides decent corrosion resistance, edge retention and ease to sharpening without compromising adding undue cost.
In general, it is not just a good value for your money but also a pleasure in use and great at hand – a perfect choice for landscapers, hikers, hunters, gardeners, anglers, and backpackers.
|Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990) Specifications|
8Cr13MoV stainless steel
Made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with the black-oxide finish
If you are in need of a decently aggressive angular style pocket knife with Tanto blade, the Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990) will put as much fight into your tasks.
Best For Hunting: Buck Knives 0110BRS 110
- Unlike other large blades, this is a good slicer and can handle many cutting tasks like a breeze -> versatile and functional
- Acute tip for efficient leading and piercing
- Comfortable handle with nice balance for ease to use and less fatigue during extended cutting tasks
- The sheath is prone to get scratches and the leather is thin
The 0110BRS 110 has been known for its signature never-go-out-of-style American classic shape – a feature that forced many competing knife brands to copy it. Buck has improved this by making the blade even sharper for superior strength and corrosion resistance.
They don’t close eyes on the handle, either.
It features a bow shape made of Crelicam® Ebony material to deliver nice balance right in the middle so when holding it, you won’t feel any discomfort.
Speaking of functionality, slicing, sawing, and piercing are on the table because this is a hunting knife. But as it also features an alchemy between the proportion and lines, the knife can perform any kind of cutting tasks, too.
|Buck Knives 0110BRS 110 Specifications|
420HC Stainless Steel
Good for detail work
Piercing and slicing
Easy to open with a nail notch on the blade
As a hunting tool, in most chores, the Buck Knives 0110BRS 110 outperforms other competitors to be the best choice for any hunters.
Best For Camp Cooking: Ka-Bar Dozier Folder 3.0
- One of the most inexpensive folding knives in the market without compromising its quality
- Made of AUS 8A steel – the ideal material that’s strong and corrosion-resistant enough for daily use
- Quickly deploy and lightweight -> easy and convenient to use
- The thumb stub is only on the right hand -> not ideal for left-handed users
- You’ll find yourself sharpening this knife periodically if you use it a lot during the day
No jimping on the bottom. No choil. The Ka-Bar Dozier 3.0 is a plain and simple folding knife priced under $20 but packing a bunch.
It features 7 ¼” of overall length with a grippy Zytel handle and a blade that is made of AUS 8A steel grade. At the price point, such quality material is incredible. We’re also glad that its deployment works smoothly and quickly, and the lockup system is nice.
It’s perfect for small tasks on camping trips, like cutting ropes, preparing meals, or preparing campfires. Nothing fantastic but nothing to seriously complain, except for a small gripe that the thumb stub is not on both sides.
|Ka-Bar Dozier Folder 3.0 Specifications|
Steel: AUS 8a SS
7 1/4 inch
Blade Material: AUS 8A
Carry System: Handle Material: Zytel
If you are finding a workable and deployable folding knife for outdoor use, like camping or hiking, don’t skip your eyes over this.
Best For Backpackers: Kershaw Cryo II
- Provide two opening ways, ideal for both left and right-handed users -> versatile and flexible
- 20% larger than the previous Cryo knife -> great for big hands
- The pocket clip is very tight
Kershaw has never disappointed us and this folding knife is NOT an exception.
It is 20% larger than the previous Cryo knife, also designed by Rick Hinderer, to provide better feel and security for big hands or those cutting tasks on large things.
Speaking of the quality, we find this knife is no different than a little powerhouse. Featuring a 3.25” functional 8Cr13MoV steel blade with Stealthy BlackWash finish and a stainless-steel handle highlighting a reliable lock bar stabilizer, secure frame lock, and 4-position pocket clip.
5.8 ounces are perfect. It’s a good heft when it comes to weight for a pocket knife, which is particularly suitable for people who prefer something substantial in their hand.
The last bonus would be its various opening ways which are two – by the thumb stub or by the flipper. Either way, it’s all quick and smooth, very ideal for backpackers!
|Kershaw Cryo II Specifications|
8Cr13MoV stainless steel
Stealthy BlackWash finish on blade
3.25” high-performance 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade
Stainless steel handle features SpeedSafe assisted opening with flipper
Designed with portability and functionality in mind, the Kershaw Cryo II is a well-worth folding knife to be in any backpacker’s pocket.
Best For Bushcrafting: Ontario Knife. ON8848-BRK Rat-1
- The cool upswept clip blade shape makes the knife more versatile to not just doing bushcraft but also for defense purposes
- The locking system gives no wiggle -> very secure and reliable
- Comfortable liner lock, it doesn’t pinch the hand
- Might get rust -> don’t keep it wet
- Wish the handle material was grippier
- The jimping up is not super sharp
To be honest, the Ontario Rat 1 meets our expectations with a couple of exceptions.
The most impressive feature is, of course, its blade – a cool upswept clip blade shape which is a very high utility to be used in a lot of different tasks, even in a defensive role. The AUS-8 blade steel keeps an edge well and its edge is sharp right out of the box.
How about the lockup and deployment? Excellent! It is super-fast and the locking system is very tight with no wiggle in any dimension at all.
One extra bonus is its comfortable liner lock which doesn’t pinch the hand.
|Ontario Knife. ON8848-BRK Rat-1 Specifications|
Open post construction for easy cleaning
AUS-8 blade steel
3.5-inch plain edge blade
While we’re not a fan of the cheesy black finish on this knife blade, it is one of the most durable and high-utility models we’ve come across and it’s perfect for bushcraft.
Best For Daily Tasks: Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife - Black G-10
- Provide superior control with confident grip to handle daily tasks more easily
- Come with a bigger size – giving better hand-feel
- A bit bulkier in your pocket
For bigger EDC folding knives, the Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife is our carry.
It has a 7.77” overall length with a 3.39” blade.
The large size might not be a minor gripe for EDC usage but the thumb ramp with some jumping on both the blade and liner strikes back for superior control and confident grip. In addition, the Spyderco thumb hole makes the knife ambidextrous.
So for those daily tasks like cutting ropes, papers, tubes, and straps, it’s unbeatable, this can handle confidently.
|Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife - Black G-10 Specifications|
8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV
The Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife is our highest recommendation for people who are seeking a functional, versatile knife for daily tasks and they don’t mind of a slightly bigger size.
How To Choose The Best Pocket Knives Under $50?
There are three options to choose from – small, medium, and large – when it comes to a knife blade length. But before making a choice, always be aware of the legal restrictions in your area to make sure you’re within compliance.
- They are commonly 2.75” of size of smaller, highlighting ease to carry and lightness, and these small knives are commonly legal in most places.
- This size range of the blade is ideal for cutting twine and opening boxes. Not to say that they’re very pocket-friendly.
- They are within 2.75” to 4” – still small enough to carry and yet, big enough to handle heavier tasks, ideal for outdoor projects to urban living.
- Needless to say, they are the bulkiest, sizing more than 4”. In turn, they can help you finish many heavy tasks and give better hand-feel and reliability. Depending on the steel grade, these knives might be heavier than the rest, not ideal for extended cutting tasks or weak wrists.
- You’ve got a wide range of options for handle materials to choose from. For example, bone, wood, rubber, micarta, steel, aluminum, celluloid, and mother of pearl.
- The key factor to consider here is whether it gives you a confident grip with full control or not. The heft and balance are two other vital features to think about.
- You should also determine the type of environment you’re going to use it on – like the blade materials. There are some handle materials that can’t handle hot or cold weather, like G-10. They are either melted by the heat or become slippery.
Think about the tasks and types of environment you’re going to use your knife before starting to consider this factor.
For pocket knives, carbon steel is the most popular material because it is good at rust resistance, edge retention, and sturdiness – unlike the ceramic which may snap because it’s very flexed.
Different grades of steel will give you different performances and quality levels and there are roughly 20 grades. If you want to learn more, read here.
Which Brands Make The Best Pocket Knives Under $50?
- Kershaw is a typical contender for a wide range of high-quality knives at under $50 that are all backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Everything about it is reliable, crafted, and solid.
- This American knife manufacturer has had over 110 years’ history in this industry and it is also the inventor of folding hunting knives. So when mentioning the term “Buck Knives”, it’s synonymous to folding Lockback knives.
- Ka-Bar was founded in 1943, has been known since its Ka-Bar Fighting/Utility knife launched to the market, and currently becomes one of the most reliable market leaders.
How long should a pocket knife under 50 last?
15 to 20 years, depending on the steel, how often you use it, and the maintenance.
Is a pocket knife under 50 worth buying?
Cheap pocket knives don’t mean of cheap quality so if they are high-quality, functional, and reliable while being so inexpensive, why not?
What is the best pocket knife sharpener?
The best pocket knife sharpener should be quality, multifunctional, and portable. If you want some suggestions from us, read here.
What can I sharpen a pocket knife with?
Some lubricant and sharpening stone. Here is how:
Can you sharpen a knife with sandpaper?
Yes, you can.
The $50 segment is always a highly competitive range with countless options available and you should be wise to pick the right one among them. Although we can’t rank them, the five best pocket knives under 50 provided here have been carefully classified to not make you go wrong.
Thanks for reading and good luck!