It used to be a tradition for a man to carry a pocket knife up to the last century.

He might be a farmer working around his farm or an esteemed lawyer on his way to work. The thing they have in common is that their trusty knife is always in their pocket ready to save the day.


This traditional way of life has been disappearing with increased security, metal detectors in public areas and schools and of course ban on knives.
Still, it is finding its way back, mostly amongst survival enthusiasts and traditionalists.

ModelBlade lengthWeightPrice 
Kershaw Cryo 23.256.4$$Check Offer
Barrage 5813.6″ 5.20 oz$$$$Check Offer
SOG Twitch II 3.552.60$$Check Offer
TAC Force TF-469 3″ 6.5 oz$Check Offer

Spring assisted knives

I think you’ll agree with me:
Many times you don’t have both hands free to open a pocket knife.
Sure, you could open it with one hand, but that is slow, awkward and most importantly dangerous.
That is why there are knives with assisted opening. If you are planning to use the knife for self-defense or when you don’t have use of both of your hands, the spring assisted knife comes to rescue. You just start to open it with a thumb or any finger, and it springs open the rest of the way. When you want to close it, you press a button on the handle and push it close, loading the spring for the next opening, in the process.


Dimensions when closed

If you plan to have it on your person every waking hour, you should pick a knife that will fit in your pocket without any discomfort. The length and thickness should be as small as possible generally speaking, it will be more comfortable to carry and won’t look as threating if you are stopped by the police.


Blade length

This is probably the most eye-catching parameter. When your friends ask you probably won’t boast with how small the closed length is and how comfortably it fits in your back pocket, they will want to know how the blade is long.
Depending on how you plan to use it: if you plan to have it as EDC knife in the city you will probably choose a smaller knife than a camping enthusiast who will bring his only when he goes out hunting.


Handle

Here you check how is the handle designed, both the shape and material. The handle should always be ergonomically shaped to fit in your hand well and avoid pains when you use it for extended periods.
The material in cooperation with the shape should always ensure a firm grip on the tool to provide both comfort and safety when using it.
Another aspect is the visual appearance, some materials give all of the above, but are not visually pleasing or scratch easily. Some might say that it isn’t an aspect when choosing a knife, but I disagree. You should be proud of the knife you carry.


Edge type

Most knives have a straight edge as it is a most versatile one, but that isn’t the only option. First, you should decide on what you plan to use the knife. There will be a different edge suitable for whittling then for cardboard cutting or sawing branches.
You should also pay attention to the material of the blade, as some hold edge better and some are easily sharped at home.


Warranty

Is an indirect estimation of how much trust the producer puts in their knives. If you see there is lifetime warranty and free reshaping everytime you need it, then you can be pretty much certain that the knife will be top notch. If on the other hand there is no warranty included you are taking a considerable risk when purchasing.

 

1. Kershaw Cryo II – Overall Winner

The Kershaw Cryo II is the successor to the beloved original Kershaw Cryo, and it’s about 20% bigger, with a 3.25” SpeedSafe blade and a few other notable improvements. This is easily the best assisted opening knife I’ve come across thanks to its blend of excellent build quality and extra features.

What I Like

One of the best parts of the Kershaw Cryo II is that it’s surprisingly easy to carry for such a large knife. While it may be a little longer than a lot of the pocket knives you’ll come across, it has a remarkably slim profile that makes it easy to carry around in a pocket or bag. There’s also a deep-carry clip that helps ensure that the knife will stay comfortable in your pocket.

Thanks to the SpeedSafe design, you can easily flip this knife open with a single hand using either the thumb stud or the flipper. The frame lock features lockbar stabilization to ensure that the blade remains secure while it’s not in use.

As with most Kershaw blades, the Cryo II is built to high standards, and it features exceptional construction quality, ensuring that it will serve you for a long time to come.

What I Don’t Like

Unfortunately, I ran into a few minor issues with the Cryo II, but nothing major enough to overcome the positives. One of the main problems with this knife is that it isn’t as versatile as some of the competition as the blade isn’t durable enough to be used for prying or other practical tasks.

Summary

The Kershaw Cryo II continues the legendary pedigree of its predecessor. I was surprised that Kershaw managed to improve upon the design of the Cryo, but it seems like the Cryo II is better in every way. If you need a well-built knife that’s easy to open and comfortable to carry, the Kershaw Cryo II is an excellent choice.

Pros & Cons

  • Fits comfortable in your pocket
  • Surprisingly portable for its size
  • The blade is quick and easy to deploy
  • Reliable frame lock with lockbar stabilization
  • Lacks versatility

 

2. Benchmade Barrage 581 – Best Premium Choice

One of the most popular brands in EDC knives.
And for a reason!
The Barrage series was introduced in 2009 and then expanded in 2011, and still, its models are still one of the best rated and loved among knife enthusiasts. 


What I like

As any Benchtop knife, it comes with a lifetime warranty. Meaning every time you need your tool sharpened or something repaired, you just ship or bring it to a Benchmade outlet and they will handle it free of charge. That shows how confident they are in the quality of their knives.

This tool is ideal if you plan to use it hard and often. It comes in many variations, for example, serrated edge instead of the straight one or with special coatings.

What I find worth to mention is that, while the sharping is free for this tool, you won’t be needing it often as it holds edge perfectly and can go years without sharpening.


What I don’t like

Honestly, it is hard to come up with something for a tool as good as this one is. The one aspect I think could be improved is the texture of the thumb rest could be more rough, as there is a possibility of your thumb sliding off.


Overview

Barrage 581 is a hardcore knife for hardcore users with a premium price tag. If you plan to use your knife often, then this just might be the perfect tool for you.

If on the other hand, you wish to just have a knife in your pocket then this might be overkill.

Pros & Cons

  • Great quality
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Holds edge for long time
  • Free sharpening
  • Higher price
  • potentially slippery thumb rest
  • Not the easiest knife to sharpen

  

 

2. SOG Twitch II

This is a great tool for a modern gentleman, ideal for everyday carry. It is small, fill fit in your pocket easily and very fairly priced.
While not made in America, it is not made in China either, like so many of knives on the market nowadays and each unit has to pass through a quality test made by the SOG brand.
Its origin can be traced to the Vietnam war, there was a special ops unit, known as MACV-SOG, carrying a specially manufactured and designed knives. A couple of years down the road this knife inspires a starting designer to found the SOG company with the sole purpose to recreate and improve that type of knife.


What I like
This knife is perfect for EDC with a closed length of 3.55 inches and a weight of 2.6 oz.
Blade shape is drop point and edge is straight, making it very universal tool.


What I don’t like
When trying to flip it open, you have to use a lot of effort, making you conscious of how hard it is. Sure this can be fixed by opening it with your thumb, but if you are used to flipping your knife open you will be unpleasantly surprised. Also, the blade is not going right through the middle of the handle but skews to one side.


Overview
I would recommend this tool anyone getting into EDC as it is small and will not draw a lot of unwanted attention. Don’t let its price fool you; this is a quality tool. It is a bit harder to flip open then other models and the blade is resting on one side, making it prone to scratching.

Pros & Cons

  • Great value
  • Small and light
  • SpeedSafe opening mechanism
  • Higher price
  • Hard to open by flipping
  • Blade skewing to one side

3. TAC Force TF-469 – Best Budget Option


You are looking to start with EDC or don’t want to spend too much on a knife.

Sure, I understand.

That is why I have included a budget choice among the spring assisted knives.Don’t expect the world of it. After all: you get what you pay for. But I think this is a solid pick in its price range


What I like

I love that when handling this knife it doesn’t feel like a toy. So many other knives in this price category do. I don’t know why is that, but it is a huge plus.

The edge is VERY sharp right out of the box, which is again not standard with budget knives.


What I don’t like

I feel like the belt clipper is a must-have feature for all knives in this category so I didn’t even mention it, but I feel it has been done poorly on this model.
The problem is, that when you put it in your pocket, it won’t be completely concealed because of the shape and design of the clipper. That makes it not only attract unwanted attention but can cause uncomfort when wearing some types of trousers.


Overview

Great bang for your bucks. Has nice, traditional wooden look. Comes ready to action with a very sharp blade. What I didn’t like was the belt clipper making it inconceivable.

Pros & Cons

  • Low price
  • Great value
  • Sharp right out of the box
  • Poor clipper design
  • Low quality when compared to the rest

  


Buying guide


BEST KNIVES

There are dozens of types of knives, some more suitable for every day carry (EDC from now on) and some entirely unfit for the role.


Kitchen knives

The sum of all knives used by chefs or in the process of cooking foods. There are just as many if not more categories of kitchen knives as there are types of knives. One might not know the difference between a fillet knife and a boning knife, but to a chef, they are as different as a day and night.


Fixed blade knives

As the name suggests, these blades are not going to fold. Firstly it means that the cutting edge will be exposed at all times, creating the need for a sheath. Secondly, the knife will be less transportable, making it not the ideal pick for EDC.
This type of knife is very popular amongst survivalists, as there is no need for a folding mechanism making the knife much more sturdy. You also don’t risk that the knife will fold at a bad time and part you with your precious fingers.


Card knife

An excellent choice for a modern man who is a fan of EDC. These knives are usually very small and are designed to fit in your wallet in the cards compartment. Even the names are derivative from this and also the fact that when folded it looks just like a credit card, although little thicker.


Folding knives

The most popular choice for EDC knives, these knives had withstood the test of time. If you ask your father or his father, they’ll tell you that if they had a pocket knife, it was a folding knife.
It is probably the knife you see when you picture an oldtimer whittling while rocking in his chair on his porch while the sun is setting.
The folding knives come at all sizes, with different types of edges and they sometimes have more than one blade. To mention a couple of them, there are straight edges, serrated edges and dual edges.
A drawback of a folding knife is the need to use both hands to open it comfortably, which brings us conveniently to our last category and our today’s topic.

Choosing a spring assisted knife is the same as choosing any another knife or tool. It comes down to three criteria- your demands on the knife, the budget but most importantly your preferences.
I hope you have found out the perfect knife for you in the review, but don’t worry if you didn’t- there are literally hundreds of knives on the market.

Although it is a matter of choice, there are still some features which should influence your decision.


Dimensions when closed

If you plan to have it on your person every waking hour, you should pick a knife that will fit in your pocket without any discomfort. The length and thickness should be as small as possible generally speaking, it will be more comfortable to carry and won’t look as threating if you are stopped by the police.


Blade length

This is probably the most eye-catching parameter. When your friends ask you probably won’t boast with how small the closed length is and how comfortably it fits in your back pocket, they will want to know how the blade is long.
Depending on how you plan to use it: if you plan to have it as EDC knife in the city you will probably choose a smaller knife than a camping enthusiast who will bring his only when he goes out hunting.


Handle

Here you check how is the handle designed, both the shape and material. The handle should always be ergonomically shaped to fit in your hand well and avoid pains when you use it for extended periods.
The material in cooperation with the shape should always ensure a firm grip on the tool to provide both comfort and safety when using it.
Another aspect is the visual appearance, some materials give all of the above, but are not visually pleasing or scratch easily. Some might say that it isn’t an aspect when choosing a knife, but I disagree. You should be proud of the knife you carry.


Edge type

Most knives have a straight edge as it is a most versatile one, but that isn’t the only option. First, you should decide on what you plan to use the knife. There will be a different edge suitable for whittling then for cardboard cutting or sawing branches.
You should also pay attention to the material of the blade, as some hold edge better and some are easily sharped at home.


Warranty

Is an indirect estimation of how much trust the producer puts in their knives. If you see there is lifetime warranty and free reshaping everytime you need it, then you can be pretty much certain that the knife will be top notch. If on the other hand there is no warranty included you are taking a considerable risk when purchasing.


Some brands you should check

  • Benchmade
  • SOG
  • Kershaw
  • ZT


What is SpeedSafe assisted opening?
It is a patented system of knife opening by the Kershaw brand. You can open knives with SS either by pushing on the blade or pulling the flipper.

How do assisted opening knives work?
When you push the blade open a spring jumps into action, finishing the movement for you and locking the blade. When you close the knife, you set up the spring for next time.

What is the difference between spring assisted knives and switchblades?
Switchblades employ the blade with the simple push of the button. With assisted opening you must first initiate the movement, making it safer. Switchblades are illegal in most of the world’s countries.

Are assisted opening knives legal?
Yes, they are legal in most of the world.


Remember
Always buy through a certified seller to know you are getting the real deal and that the warranty applies.
Make sure that your state doesn’t have a law banning the import/ usage of assisted opening knives.
Don’t mistake assisted opening knives with switchblades; the former is perfectly legal to EDC, the latter are ILLEGAL for civilian use in the USA.