Best Budget EDC Knives

Written by Blade HQ Staff Writer Maya Mortensen on 09/28/2022

Best Budget Pocket Knives

When it comes to budget folding knives it can be quite the challenge to find one that meets all your needs. Some knives are easy on the pocketbook but lack the construction and material quality to last a long time. Others, however, don’t break the bank and are made of the stuff we look for in a generally good knife (keep in mind this is a budget knives list… you’re not going to see super-steel or crazy workmanship here). This list of Best Budget Pocket Knives breaks down seven of our favorite pocket knives under $50. Each has character, something unique to offer the user, and most importantly won’t deplete your savings. Read on to see our Top 10 Budget Pocket Knives.

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1. CRKT Squid XM

CRKT Squid XM

The CRKT Squid XM tops off our list for a number of reasons, but mostly due to its blade quality. Centered perfectly, the Squid XM’s D2 blade comes out of the box razor-sharp; and since it’s D2, you know it will stay that way for a long time. The spear point blade style takes the versatility of a drop point blade, maximizes piercing ability, and maintains an attractive symmetry. Run on ball bearings, the pivot is smooth and snappy, with enough momentum when you press the flipper to rival the action of spring-assisted Squid models. The blade isn’t the only place where this CRKT folder shines—the no-frills design of the knife as a whole just works. The handle is simple and comfortable for a three-to-four-finger grip and the frame lock reliably keeps your blade open even during the toughest tasks. The final piece of the Squid XM’s fame is in its variety. If a three-inch blade is too much for you, the Squid is available in a 2.25” version. Plus, the aftermarket for the Squid is a happening place, so you can dress your Squid up to your heart’s content. Start with these scales from Flytanium in copper or brass!

  • Designed by Lucas Burnley.
  • Black G-10 scales.
  • Smooth flipper knife opening.
  • Spring assisted action.
Shop CRKT Squid XM

2. Spyderco Lightweight Tenacious

Spyderco Lightweight Tenacious

The Spyderco name is synonymous with quality EDC knives. With collectible designs in a huge variety of materials and price ranges, Spyderco accommodates top shelf shoppers and those of us who opt for the best quality without breaking the bank. The Lightweight Tenacious is proof that you can have it all. This full-size folder is built to conquer everyday tasks, and it’s available for under $50. The blade of the Tenacious is made from 8Cr13MoV, a knife steel popular among budget makers. But where the Tenacious departs from the regular budget path is in the famous Spyderco heat treatment the steel receives, leaving you with a blade that is easy to sharpen, holds a great edge, and glides through materials like cardboard with ease. The pronounced thumb ramp at the base of the blade allows you to have full control over the Tenacious for delicate work, too, like slicing zip ties. To top this design off as the EDC workhorse it is, the Tenacious features the patented Spydie thumb hole for ambidextrous fidgeting and a four-way reversible pocket clip for every possible carry option. If you’re looking for more compact but still affordable options from Spyderco, take a look at the Ambitious and Persistence!

  • Slip-proof volcano textured FRN scales.
  • Fully ambidextrous opening.
  • Solid liner lock.
  • Four-way pocket clip.
Shop Spyderco Lightweight Tenacious

3. CIVIVI Elementum

CIVIVI Elementum

We would be remiss if we skipped over the CIVIVI Elementum in the discussion of budget EDCs. Made with the same manufacturing prowess as WE Knife Company knives but with more budget-friendly materials, the Elementum is as reliable as it is affordable (and it’s pretty affordable, with most models around $50). The Elementum is evidence that a good pocket knife is more than the sum of its parts. The majority of Elementum models feature a D2 drop point blade and G-10 handle scales, which are pretty common in budget arenas, but this knife couples the lightweight handle and tough blade with incredibly smooth, bearing-driven opening action. The fidget factor of the Elementum is through the roof thanks to this. We love that the Elementum is a knife you can put in your pocket and forget about until you need it. And as far as what the Elementum can take on, we have yet to find an everyday task this knife can’t handle—from slicing open packages to cutting up your work snack. One of our employees even used hers to clean a few rainbow trout with no problems (though that’s not under the usual scope of EDC chores). Plus, there are dozens of variations to choose from, from flippers to thumb stud folders, to autos, to fixed blades. For the price, you get a whole lot of knife with this CIVIVI design.

  • Deep-carry pocket clip.
  • Under 3 ounces in weight.
  • Handle scales available in G-10, micarta, carbon fiber, copper, and more.
  • Flipper, thumb stud, button lock, and fixed blade options.
Shop CIVIVI Elementum

4. Kershaw Link

Kershaw Link

As knife people, we understand that sometimes we need to sacrifice American-made quality in order to go easy on our wallet—buying all the knives is sometimes just not a viable financial strategy. In 2015, the release of the Kershaw Link helped bridge the gap as the “missing link” between USA-made products and affordable prices. This spring-assisted folder is a Kershaw design that features several details that expand its functionality. The stainless steel blade has a modified drop point shape with plenty of belly for slicing, but with a slight downturned tip for reinforced piercing performance. The gentle curve of the textured handle also backs you up in all cutting tasks with intuitive ergonomics, so you can have full control for detail work like adding details to your desk whittling project. Finally, Kershaw’s patented SpeedSafe assisted opening technology makes deploying your Kershaw Link a snap, so you waste no time getting to the point (literally). If you’re a fan of American-made knives but don’t want to compromise quality, the Kershaw Link is the knife for you!

  • SpeedSafe spring-assisted opening action.
  • Smooth flipper opening.
  • Weatherproof scales.
  • Made in USA.
Shop Kershaw Link

5. RAT Model 2

RAT Model 2

For a company that’s been making knives for over 100 years, Ontario Knife Company (OKC for those in the know) is making EDC favorites for the knife community at large and adapting to changing needs of knife users. The RAT Model 2 (or RAT II) is the perfect example of this. It’s the younger sibling of the full-size RAT Model 1, and features a blade that’s been sized down from 3.6 inches to 3 inches. The blade is available in your choice of D2 or AUS-8, both tough options with excellent corrosion resistance. The RAT Model 2 maximizes its EDC size with incredible ergonomics, a thumb ramp for control so you can choke up on the blade with confidence, and textured all-weather nylon scales. The RAT II is an outdoor workhorse in addition to an everyday tank, taking down rope and popping bottles by the campfire (for legal reasons, we don’t suggest you pry stuff with your knife) as easily as it demolishes packages and mail. To top this design off, the RAT Model 2 is available in a huge variety of colors and several blade finishes, because affordable knives don’t have to be eyesores.

  • Lightweight nylon scales in OD green, tan, and more.
  • Tough D2 blade steel.
  • Four-way reversible pocket clip.
  • Ambidextrous thumb studs.
Shop RAT Model 2

6. QSP Penguin

QSP Penguin

We will sing the praises of the QSP Penguin for as long as we live—and once you feel this knife in hand, you’ll see this is no overreaction. The QSP Penguin is a simple folding knife, with a solid liner lock, a neutral handle shape, and smooth opening via thumb studs. The stars of the Penguin are the blade and the variety for the price. The Penguin features a sheepsfoot blade most frequently made from D2 steel. The combination of the ultra-tough, cleaver-like sheepsfoot shape and the tough tool steel make the Penguin an everyday worker; from the indoors as your go-to box cutter and clampack wrecker, to the outdoors as your gardening companion or even camp chef knife. The Penguin is also available with every handle material under the sun, with stunning picks like jade G-10, denim micarta, shred carbon fiber, and brass. As an EDC, this QSP folder carries medium to heavy in weight depending on the handle material you choose—but when you want copper scales, you want copper scales. You will be stunned that this knife only set you back around $30.

  • D2 sheepsfoot blade.
  • Scales available in micarta, carbon fiber, G-10, and more.
  • Lanyard hole and reversible pocket clip.
  • Burly construction.
Shop QSP Penguin

7. Boker Kalashnikov

Boker Kalashnikov

The Boker Kalashnikov is a formidable automatic knife, and if the idea of EDC-ing an auto turns you off of this recommendation, hear us out. The Kalashnikov hits all the EDC essentials: it’s lightweight, reliable, tough, easy to carry and deploy, and looks good all the while. Plus, what’s worse than needing your knife for a time sensitive task and having to fiddle with thumb studs when you could just push a button? While many automatics at this price point (and even more expensive) have a finite number of automatic deployments in them, the Kalashnikov doesn’t. It just keeps going. Plus, the materials are some of the best in the affordable knife business, with our old favorite, D2 tools steel, and cast aluminum scales. When closed, the blade is perfectly centered. When opened, the blade has virtually zero play. At around $50, this is a serious amount of power perfect for your pocket. Plus, the Kalashnikov is available in a variety of colors and the aftermarket is thriving. The original deep-carry pocket clip of these Boker automatic knives is excellent but check out the replacement clips from Flytanium for more customization.

  • D2 or AUS-8 dagger blade in a variety of finishes.
  • Textured aluminum handle scales.
  • Explosive automatic action.
  • Under 4 ounces in weight.
Shop Boker Kalashnikov

8. SENCUT Sachse

SENCUT Sachse

SENCUT is a newcomer as a brand but a veteran as far as knife machining goes. This line of budget-friendly knives is headed by the same knifemakers behind CIVIVI and WE Knife Co. , so you can rest assured that SENCUT knives are to the exacting standards that made you fall in love with the Elementum and the Banter. The SENCUT Sachse is a do-it-all EDC with everything you need and a little more. To start with the blade, it’s a 3.5-inch classic drop point (and we say don’t reinvent the wheel when that wheel can cut just about anything easily) and it’s made from 9Cr13MoV, a stainless steel that’s a snap to sharpen to a keen edge. The blade openers are where the Sachse shines. With a flipper, thumb studs, and a button lock with just enough resistance to make you feel secure in the lockup, the fidgeting potential is through the roof. Finally, the overall aesthetic is clean, tight, and minimalist. This is a knife you won’t mind showing off and it will hardly put a dent in your wallet, at under $50 in price.

  • Stainless steel drop point blade in multiple finishes.
  • High-quality micarta scales.
  • Smooth opening action.
  • Reversible, deep-carry pocket clip.
Shop SENCUT Sachse

9. Buck 110 Slim Select

Buck 110 Slim Select

If you’ve ever wished your Buck 110 folder was about a third of the weight, then do we have the knife for you. The Buck 110 Slim Select is the ultralight cousin to the American-made icon, the Buck 110, and a member of the Buck Slim series. This folder has the full-size functionality, versatile clip point blade, and vault-tight lockback system you love, but at around 2.8 ounces in weight. The Slim Select’s blade is made from 420 stainless steel with Buck and Paul Bos’s legendary heat treat. This means the affordable 420 blade steel has the highest hardness, edge retention, and ease of sharpening it possibly can. To sweeten the pot, the Slim Select is made in the USA and comes in at just under $30! As a performer, the Buck 110 Slim Select does everything you need it to. Featherweight FRN scales can withstand all conditions, including a trip through the washing machine (which we are all guilty of with our EDCs at one time or another). The neutral handle profile accommodates all grips so you can carve into pumpkin as easily as an apple and slice open envelopes as easily as a refrigerator box. This is a lightweight, American-made wonder that you can’t miss.

  • Deep-carry pocket clip.
  • Textured, glass-reinforced nylon scales.
  • Heat-treated 420 stainless blade steel.
  • Made in USA.
Shop Buck 110 Slim Select

10. SOG Aegis FLK

SOG Aegis FLK

Brightly colored scales, step aside and make room for this no-nonsense EDC: the SOG Aegis FLK. True to its name, which means “Protector” in Greek, the Aegis FLK is just as adept at protecting you from bad guys as from the perils of hard-to-open packaging. With a full-size 3.4-inch blade made from rust-resistant stainless steel, the Aegis pierces and slices like a pro. The handle and frame are made from stainless steel as well, so you can have the natural style of bare metal without the perils of corrosion. This version of the Aegis has fully manual operation, with smooth opening via pivot bearings and lockup is secure thanks to the ever-reliable frame lock. The Aegis FLK offers the best SOG’s foray into budget knives can offer. For the price, this is an excellent EDC in every way...and doesn’t look half bad, either.

  • Full stainless steel construction.
  • Attractive milled handle.
  • Smooth flipper driven opening.
Shop SOG Aegis FLK

Conclusion

Best Budget Pocket Knives Header 2

Buying and enjoying knives shouldn’t have to break your bank. There are tons of great knives for any budget and taste. Though this list isn’t comprehensive, it is a great place to get some ideas and something to refer to when you have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket. Whether you’re into automatics, flippers, or manual folding knives, there’s bound to be something affordable and enjoyable. Check out our full list of Best Budget Pocket Knives by clicking the button down below.

If these budget pocket knives don’t catch your eye or meet your needs, browse a wider selection of pocket knives in our Best Pocket Knives article. Or check out our Best Pocket Knife Brands article for more info!

While these are our top budget pocket knife recommendations, Blade HQ has way more knives than those featured here. Leave a review of your favorite and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for all your future knife updates.


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If these knives are still a bit outside your price range, this video breaks down the best knives at Blade HQ under $20. Watch and be amazed! There are some real gems for under twenty bucks.

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Other Best Knife Guides

Still in that information gathering phase? We've got a whole bunch more lists of all the Best Knives! Happy hunting and may you find that one special knife of your dreams!

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