Written by Blade HQ Staff Writer Logan Rainey on 08/10/2020
We’re back for another knife review! In this round, we look at the CIVIVI Elementum, break down the good and the bad, then give it a Knife Life Score.
As always, our reviews are carried out over the course of a month. The knife becomes our everyday carry and we use it for whatever tasks we see fit. Some knives are passed around and shared here at BHQ to get a better idea of how the knife works for different people with different knife preferences, and others stay with one person and reviewed based on their experiences.
The Elementum by CIVIVI is one of those knives that’s easily overlooked. It doesn’t scream out, “Look at me!” or “Hey! I’m great!”, but rather draws one in with its simple design and stellar build quality. During the month the knife was carried, I was continually impressed by its consistency, feel and functionality. It has the makings of an amazing everyday carry knife and is priced to allow many people to pick one up and enjoy it. Read on to learn more about the Civivi Elementum and why we gave this knife one of our highest Knife Life Scores!
First let's run through the stats...
- 6.99” Overall Length
- 2.96” Blade Length
- Drop Point Blade
- D2 or CPM-S35VN Steel
- Various Handle Scales
- Approx. 3.00 oz. Weight
- Liner Lock
- Made in China
KNIFE LIFE SCORE
Knife Life is all about representing your personality and passion through the knife you carry in your pocket everyday. Quality and performance are key. Tasteful design and ritzy details are also important. You can be confident carrying any knife with a high Knife Life Score.
UNIQUENESS / IMPORTANCE
It’s hard to say this knife is particularly important among a sea of other knives that fall in the same price range, but this knife offers many things to a knife nut that other knives simply can’t. For starters, it is available in many different color combinations and materials. It allows a collector to pick and choose the look they want and gives users the ability to mix and match parts to their liking. Second, the knife is made by a premium knife maker (WE Knives) and offers the same level of attention to detail and precision found in the premium knives. Finally, the knife is an amazing platform for customization. If you’re handy, it isn’t hard to make scales, acid wash the blade, and give this knife a truly one-of-a-kind look.
CIVIVI hit it clear out of the park when they chose materials for the Elementum. Lower-priced models feature a variety of G-10 handle scales with satin finished stainless steel frames and blades, while higher-priced models feature wood, metal and carbon fiber handle scales. Whichever handle material you choose feels great in hand. The metal (brass and copper) handle scales add considerable weight to the knife while the carbon fiber handle scales take some of the weight off. The knife’s stainless-steel liners are fully skeletonized giving the knife both rigidity and weight savings. Keep your eyes peeled for future iterations of the Elementum as there are always great new things coming from our friends at CIVIVI.
LOOK / STYLING
Simple lines and clean design may be boring and vanilla to some. To others, the unobtrusive looks of the Elementum add to the value of the knife and give it the ability to compliment other aspects of their everyday carry. Subtlety is important when it comes to carrying a knife and the way the Elementum looks doesn’t draw any undue attention when used. The most notable thing about the Elementum’s styling is its blade. Its shape, profile, and grind work well together to give this knife a modern look and feel.
The first time you pick up this knife it feels like it’s made to fit in your hand. Whether your hands are large or small the Elementum has the right proportions to be an excellent knife for regular use and everyday carry. It features a generous finger choil and grippy jimping on the spine. The ergonomics of the Elementum are nearly perfect except mild hotspots formed by the shadowboxed liners and the thin pocket clip. The hotspots aren’t terrible, but certainly noticeable during heavier tasks.
Deployment / Lockup
One of the most impressive things about the Elementum is its smooth flipping action. Ball-bearing washers, amazing blade weight and a substantial flipper tab give make deploying this knife incredibly easy. When open, Elementum’s liner lock keeps the blade securely in place with minimal blade movement. For a relatively inexpensive knife, the deployment and lockup are incredible.
BLADE / SHARPENING
As we carried and reviewed the CIVIVI Elementum, another thing we absolutely loved about it was the blade. D2 steel is gaining popularity among everyday carry knives and the like and has been tactfully chosen for the Elementum. The deep hollow-ground blade on this knife slices and dices with laser-like precision. It performed well during everyday cutting tasks and some larger tasks like cutting through rope and zip-ties. Elementum’s D2 steel was a bit of a beast when it came time to sharpen it. Edge retention is incredible on this knife, but the hardness of D2 gave us a challenge when we took it to our Spyderco Sharpmaker for a fresh edge. Other than that, the blade on the Elementum is incredible. It offers great control and performance and can absolutely take a beating.
Like mentioned before, the CIVIVI Elementum is made by WE Knives. Thanks to the production capabilities and easy access to high-quality materials WE Knives has been able to trickle down some of their innovations and designs to their budget brand CIVIVI. The Elementum has an amazing fit and finish. The scales on this knife fit exceptionally well thanks to four small torx bolts that are recessed into the scale. The pivot on the Elementum features a well-aligned and attractive CIVIVI logo and offers a great range of tuneability. From our experience, the brass, copper, G-10 and carbon fiber scale knives are all consistent and rarely have defects or flaws. The finish on the blade is beautiful in either satin, stonewashed or coated finishes. Overall, we are very pleased with the quality and consistency of the finish on the CIVIVI Elementum.
For an everyday carry pocketknife, the CIVIVI Elementum performs great. Thanks to its hollow ground drop point blade, it cuts and slices with ease. The Elementum makes quick work of small, everyday tasks and cutting chores. It was great for things like opening envelopes and packages and came in handy for other things like slicing veggies at lunch or dividing an apple between friends. Because this knife is small and designed for everyday carry, don’t expect it to perform well for hard use. Yes, it could do small camping tasks like feather sticking and cutting paracord, but we don’t suggest using it to baton or pry stuff. Overall, the knife performs how it should for an EDC knife.
Ease of Carry / Pocket Clip
A knife’s pocket clip can really make or break the whole experience of carrying and using it. For the CIVIVI Elementum, its deep carry pocket clip gets the job done but isn’t great. The pocket clip is thin and creates a hotspot in hand when gripped which is a huge disappointment for such a great knife. Additionally, the thinness of the pocket clip doesn’t secure the knife in pocket as much as it would if it were thicker and feels like it could break or bend easily if accidentally caught on something. With as great as the rest of this knife is, it’s unfortunate that the pocket clip doesn’t match the rest of the knife in terms of quality and function. We do love that the pocket clip is a deep carry clip and that it allows the knife to sit more discreetly in pocket.
For as much as we love the CIVIVI Elementum, it doesn’t quite check all the boxes it needs to to rank high on the ‘pocket jewelry’ scale. Elementum looks good, but not great. It has great materials, but not amazing materials. The knife is awesome, but it doesn’t have the wow factor that comes with some other knives. When compared to knives like the Chris Reeve Sebenza, Benchmade 940 Osbourne or the ZT 0450, the Elementum is just another knife. It looks great by itself, but surrounded by other knives it’s a plain, simple and ordinary knife. If you’re after a knife that draws a ton of attention from others this isn’t the knife for you. Maybe that’s what you’re after though. This knife is amazingly simple. It gets the job done with very few frills and, quite honestly, that’s a great thing.
TOTAL KNIFE LIFE SCORE: 82/100
To put it simply, the CIVIVI Elementum is an incredible knife with features hard to find on knives less than $150. It’s simple lines and utilitarian design make it stand out in a world of overthought, complicated knives. Because of this, the Elementum has solidified itself as an EDC favorite and an overall top pick for knife nuts. It’s a great knife to collect as it comes in many different styles and variations, and can easily be customized to fit your style and needs. If you’re still on the fence about a CIVIVI Elementum, just try one out. You won’t be disappointed!