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Fixed Blade vs Folding Knife – Which is Best for EDC? [Guide]

Choosing an EDC knife can be a seriously daunting task. There are so many amazing knife makers in the market today, with so many amazing products, that it’s very easy to become over saturated with products. This oversaturation can lead to buyers hesitating on making a purchase because buying that cool Tanto flip knife from CRKT, might mean you have to pass up on purchasing that SOG Seal Pup you’ve had your eye on for the last few weeks.

Never fear friends. We have got your back. There are a lot of knives in the Full30 office, because everyone on the team is a member of the every day carry community. We’re going to break this topic down to the nuts and bolts, and help you decide if a fixed blade, or a folding pocket knife are what you need for your current situation. We’re going to do this by breaking down the pros and cons of each.

Let’s cut right to the chase.

Choosing The Right EDC Knife For You – Fixed vs Folding.

You’re here because you have one of three questions. You are thinking of switching from a folder to a fixed blade. You’re thinking of switching from a fixed blade to a folder. Or, last but not least, you’re here because you’re looking to add a knife into your every day carry kit. Regardless of what got you here, we’re going to set you straight and get you squared away.

Choosing the right EDC knife for you is the first and most important decision on this path. While preparing to make your purchase, you need to ask yourself some fundamental questions. These questions are, “What do I need the knife for?” “How will I carry this knife?” “What’s my budget for the knife look like?” and last but not least “How often will I use this knife on a day-to-day basis?”

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can proceed to the sections below. Be honest with yourself throughout. If all you need your knife for is opening some boxes from time to time, or occasionally cutting into plastic bags, there’s nothing wrong with that. That same blade will be just as efficient as cutting through a seatbelt in an emergency as any other blade on the market currently.

If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a great video by 1911 Syndicate to help you out.

Fixed Blade Knives.

SOG Ace Thumb Knife

Fixed blade knives are going to be the first thing we touch on in this guide. Without a shadow of doubt in my mind, these are the most overlooked type of knife in the EDC category. Why is that you might ask? Well, the answer is pretty simple. Most fixed blade knives are a bit on the large side. The average EDC aficionado is looking for a small knife they can fit in their pocket. They aren’t looking to strap something to their belt and roam around looking like Batman.

That said, there are a number of small fixed blade knives on the market that are awesome for EDC. These knives are easy to conceal, offer a lot of comfort, and have a much higher level of durability over their folding counter-parts. On top of this, with a fixed blade knife, you’re never going to have to worry about the deployment mechanism locking up on you at the worst possible moment.

Let’s get into the pros and cons of a fixed blade knife real fast.

Fixed Blade Pros.

  • Single piece of metal with no moving parts.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Easy to use.
  • Faster deployment times.
  • Generally more durable than their folding counter-parts.
  • Wider range of use. (IE. More Bushcraft use, field dressing animals, etc.)
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    Fixed Blade Cons.

  • Usually larger than folding knives.
  • Requires you to strap one more thing to your belt.
  • Also requires a belt most of the time. (Sorry sweatpants dude.)
  • Harder to conceal.
  • Slightly less convenient.
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    Folding Knives for EDC.

    Revo Knives Ness CF Thumbnail

    Folding knives are one of the most common EDC object you’ll find out there. The only items that probably beat them on the list of top EDC items are cell phones, wallets, and car keys. Some people who carry a folding pocket knife aren’t even aware that they’re part of a larger community of people who carry objects like this with them every day. That’s perfectly fine though, why should you, at the very least, carry a folding pocket knife?

    The answer is simple. You never know when you’re going to need a knife. While folding pocket knives aren’t the greatest thing on the planet for self-defense, they can still fill that role if required. They can cut through seatbelts in an emergency, and they can also be used for a myriad of other mundane tasks like opening a letter or just giving your hands something to fidget with when you’re bored at your desk. (We don’t recommend playing with your knife, even if some of us are guilty.)

    Let’s dig into the pros and cons of folding pocket knives.

    Folding Knife Pros.

  • Easy to conceal.
  • Easier to carry.
  • Small and lightweight size.
  • Perfect for routine tasks.
  • Often feature a pocket clip to keep them steadily stowed during travel.
  • No need for a sheath or extra equipment.
  • Generally very or moderately cheap.
  •  

    Folding Knife Cons.

  • Moving parts that reduce durability.
  • Easily lost in the blackhole of your car.
  • Hard to maintain.
  • Slow deployment time when compared to a fixed blade knife.
  • Small size makes them less useful in bushcraft activities.
  •  

    Why a Knife Matters in Your Every Day Carry Kit.

    A knife is a multi-purpose tool that fills in a ton of gaps. They can be used for self-defense, opening objects, cleaning meat, and are paramount in a wide-variety of bushcraft skills that can help you survive in a tough spot. If you don’t already have a knife in your EDC, then it’s definitely the time for you to make a purchase.

    We know it can be difficult to make a decision. There’s a ton of really great knives on the market. We have great news though. Knives are not generally a buy once, cry once item. While there certainly are some incredibly expensive items on the market that are well worth their cost, there’s a ton of really great knives out that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to pick up.

    If you’re hesitant to add a knife to your EDC kit because of the cost of some of the higher-end products out there, consider going a budget route. You can always replace a budget item later down the road if your situation changes, but a knife is too important of a tool to not have one when you do find yourself in the situation where you need it. At the very least, your keys will thank you for not using them to cut through a mile of packing tape every single year.

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    In Conclusion.

    At the very end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what kind of knife best suits your needs. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of both styles of knives for you, but we’ve really only scratched the surface. I know that once you start digging a bit deeper, you’re going to start getting into some really cool stuff. Like, do you want a Tanto style blade, or a blade that features a trailing point. The possibilities are truly endless, but the most important decision you’re going to make after this is adding a knife to your EDC if you’re not already carrying one every single day already.

    That’s the perspective of one writer and small team of developers though. Let us know down in the comments which style of blade you carry every day. Do you not carry a knife at all for some particular reason? We want to hear from you down below. Let us know your thoughts, because together as a community we can come together to always make the best decision with not only our purchasing decisions, but also with our every day carry gear choices. We’ll see you out there.

    21 thoughts on “Fixed Blade vs Folding Knife – Which is Best for EDC? [Guide]”

    1. markandrew88@gmail.com'

      Generally, I carry two knives. More if I have a jacket.
      Blade length can be a big deal if you have to go into Seattle, which I have to do sometimes. So I typically carry a pair of folders with 3.5″ blades. And I almost always have a Swiss Army Knife in a jacket pocket. The extra tools, especially scissors, comes in handy and it doesn’t scare the sheep.

      Spyderco Delicas are my go-to, pocket knives though. If had just one (two) non-Swiss Army knife, it would be that. But I also like the quality and sharpness of Cold Steel.

      I’d love to carry fixed blade knives but that doesn’t work too well unless I’m hiking or camping.

    2. Waiting4mylord@hotmail.com'

      It really all depends on where you live and what youโ€™re using it for. I religiously carry my CRKT M16 13Z. For me it does it all. I have Spidercos on back up and had an original first gen that I carried for years. Once you find that right knife, its hard to be without it.

      1. Always a good idea to keep a back-up. The worst thing that could ever happen is having your car consume your knife. I’ve had that happen at least twice over the past few years, even lost a really nice CRKT folder that way.

    3. k9movieguy@yahoo.com'

      First of all, I have a few knives and my intention has been to alternate them, particularly the folding knives. But for years now I carry one of those Gerber Scouts. Despite all the negative feelings about anything marked Bear Grylls, it’s been a good knife and the serrations help me cut through many things easier than the smooth edge does. In addition I often carry one of my other folders, but this knife serves me well.

      I own Gerber, Buck, SOG, CRKT, Kershaw, Schrade, Morakniv and Cold Steel brand blades as well as a few others. Most are 8Cr13MoV, 1065, 1095, AUS-8 and stainless steels. Most are drop points with a couple of spear points some Tanto tips. I don’t think the tip shape hinders a knife’s use all that much except when it comes to a cleaver which really has no tip. Anyway, most knives are drop point or modified drop point.

      I do not have or buy expensive blades, but choose the “most bang for the buck” types that provide value and quality for a reasonable price. And I never abuse anything.

      For a messy job, like lots of rope cutting or prepping veggies I’d choose a fixed blade Mora or Kershaw Antelope Hunter 2 which are easy to wash and have no moving parts to clean. They can also serve as camping, utility or bug out knives. If I was shelter building I’d go larger, but large blades just don’t fit the EDC requirements for most of us which is really about the legal carry and not arousing the attention of paranoid types or the police. But again, folders are just easier to grab and go unless we’re talking about the smallest fixed blades and even neck knives.

      1. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Buck Knives. I always see them for sale super cheap at places like Wal-Mart, but have never actually picked one up. Maybe I should fix that. Personally, for EDC I prefer a folder, but I have more than a few fixed blade knives. I keep a SOG in my truck for emergencies, have a Ka-Bar in my bug-out bag, and I keep another SOG in my truck’s get-home bag.

    4. sswulff@gmail.com'

      Yes – I personally wouldn’t be caught dead without a pocket knife ! If any touchy situation is at hand weather it be a threatening animal or questionable person, it’s ALWAYS at the ready…
      I carry a daily Kershaw assisted folder and always keep it sharp.
      I don’t think a day goes by without using it….

    5. jwfw@flash.net'

      My EDC is a Buck folder made in the USA my son gave me about six or seven years ago. It sharpens quick, holds a good edge and use it for one task or another nearly everyday.
      I also have two K-Bars, one I got over forty years ago in the Corps, the other, I bought for my dad and got it back after he clocked out fifteen years ago. When I am on the road, one of those is always with me. I also have a Nepalese Khukuri that is razor sharp and will chop what it is intended to chop with. At one time I had a Randall, but I sold it to someone more high speed and low drag than myself. He took it to more interesting places in the world and got some use out of it. Awesome blade, but did not want to be one of the storytellers whose Randall is laying in the boonies somewhere known only to the booney god.
      If I could add anything else, it would be a tomahawk, either a Winkler or one of the Contemporary Longrifle Association smiths out there that make them in the 18th/19th Century fashion.

      1. You gotta love Ka-Bar. I’ve owned three. One I lost in an IED attack back in 2009. A second one I gave to an Afghan Soldier that I was good friends with in 2011. I have a third now that I got for Christmas a few years back. I also absolutely love tomahawks. They are amazing camp tools, maybe we should do a guide to picking out a good Tomahawk? My current EDC knife is a folding from Revo, but I also own a CRKT and Spyderco that I carry from time to time as well.

    6. izh35m@att.net'

      As another poster noted ya missed checking out your local (and state) laws – one can get into ‘almost’ as much trouble with an ‘illegal’ knife as a firearm.
      Another ‘miss’ (ya had one in one of the photos though ๐Ÿ™‚ was multi-tools. Maybe a separate article?
      FWIW I tend to carry (at a minimum) a multi tool, a folder with seat belt cutter clipped in left pocket, a Swiss Army (model no longer made) 20+ years old next to wallet, another small Swiss (with a flashlight no less) in change pocket and a money clip with a multi blade. Almost forgot a neck knife, ya just never know.
      BTW – I tend to hoard knives, could probably start my own store.

    7. sammccright@aol.com'

      I carry a different folder everyday. I also carry an FB in a sheath everyday. My pocket folders are the smaller usually one blade style. I also have assisted opening that I carry in a sheaths. My FB knives are an assortment of custom builder knives. Some of the brands are kabar, Moore maker, case, kershaw, buck, hen and rooster, and others.

    8. oshaunal@derpymail.org'

      For me, it’s the small Lappland Puukko with its full-length sheath. I keep it simultaneously on my belt and in my front pants-pocket. I replaced the belt adapter with some paracord after i wore out the original. Access is quick and convenient. Concealment is good. I also have a tiny Swiss Army knife as my multi-tool.

      https://www.ragweedforge.com/puukko.jpg

    9. coletech@thedawsprojects.com'

      The yojimbo is a knife designed by Michael Janich. You can find it on amazon for $182.
      I carry a SAK, a micro-multitool, and a CRKT Homefront. The Homefront is a liner lock, has a beefy blade, is easy to open, has a large strong pivot pin and can be disassembled for cleaning.

    10. nreynoldsg19@gmail.com'

      I carry an RMJ Unmei…fixed blade…and a Benchmade Bailout….folder…..everyday. In my jeep I keep a Swamprat Ratmandu, SAK Farmer,and a Winkler Tomahawk. I very rarely carry any of my other knives now,but they still get in the rotation. I found a carry combo that works for me for edc,but if I was going hiking or camping that combo would change. I like having alot of knives so I have options.

      1. Options are always great to have. I have a good number of both fixed and folding blade knives, and just like you said, depending on the situation or circumstance what I’m carrying on any given day could change. Right now my go-to is the Revo folder that I got from BattlBox last month. Prior to that it was Spyderco. For fixed, I tend to lean towards SOG or the tried and true kabar that I’ve had for ages now.

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