Fixed Blade vs. Folding – The advantages of a fixed-blade knife are strength, safety and reliability. A fixed blade with a full tang is the strongest type of knife made and is perfect for survival situations when durability is king. They are great for splitting wood, building shelter or use in other survival situations when a big, tough tool is what you need.
While maybe counterintuitive, a fixed blade knife is generally the safest type of knife to use as it is stronger and less likely to fail than a folding knife.
Folding knives are extremely easy to carry. Feel naked without one in your pocket? You’re not alone. Yes, folding knives are the most popular category. “The best part about folding knives is you can have many different styles and types,” Witt said. “You can match your knife, almost like shoes, from day to day depending on how you are feeling or the task at hand.”
Folding knives are great for daily carry as they are light, easy to tote, and effective tools.
Characteristics of folding knives are seemingly endless. Some folders have locking blades and some do not. Back lock, liner lock and frame lock are three common locking mechanisms to secure the blade in the cutting position.
Some brands have patented locking mechanisms that are exclusive to their knives.
Collectors – Grandpa whittling on the porch probably used something like this. Usually small, wood handled and hand crafted, collectors might look for an elegant knife as a gift or to hand down to children and grandchildren.
“I think the most important thing about collecting knives is getting one that you enjoy looking at, holding and showing to other people,” Witt said. “Custom knives and limited-edition knives are popular among collectors.”
Some people collect different variations of the same knife, while others want to collect rare or one of a kind knives. Most collections start with just one knife — and everyone knows where it goes from there!
—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Ray Witt, a category manager for camping accessories and cutlery at Cabela’s, contributed to this report.