Looking for a budget or premium blade to call your own? Or know someone who would love a new pocket knife — cough, Father’s Day, cough — check out these top blades to have in 2021.
Other than a weird year in 2019, the knife market has been scorching hot since 2018. With new brands, new platforms like “Drop,” and self-published knives from high-end custom makers, the bar for the average knife has been raised significantly.
Unfortunately, prices have also gone up.
Here are five new knives of various prices — from sub-$50 up to $300 — that would make excellent pocket companions for upcoming summer adventures or as gifts for the dads in your life.
Five Hot Knives for Summer
The Leek is a mainstream knife classic — sleek form, excellent slicer, and one of the best-selling folders of all time.
But its tip has been a vexing problem since the beginning, so frail that breakage is common. Over the years, a few limited editions were made with more robust blade shapes. Now, everyone can get a Leek with a strong point, as Kershaw has made the reverse tanto model part of its lineup.
The 14C28N steel is still decent and the overall package retains its slim carry profile. Now, if they could just get rid of the safety …
SOG’s phoenix-like rise back to enthusiast-grade knives is capped off with this knife, a sliding bar lock flipper with a deep carry clip, and an S35VN blade.
The real selling point, though, is the light weight. This knife comes in just at 2 ounces thanks to structural carbon fiber elements. That weight, coupled with the convenience of a fully ambidextrous design, makes the XR LTE an easy blade to recommend for the summer months.
The long-awaited smaller version of the classic 940, this knife is immediately the best EDC in Benchmade’s lineup, with an absolute killer form factor and decent S30V blade steel. Both the G10 and the aluminum-handled versions have a tight, dialed-in Axis lock for snappy deployment.
The aluminum is a bit powdery, attracting all kinds of marks, but it is easy enough to brush clean. If you like Benchmade knives and don’t own a 945, you are missing out.
Its smaller size and great in-hand feel makes this an ideal knife to chuck in a pair of shorts and forget about until you need it.
Quiet Carry has gone from shill site darling to cutting-edge knife maker in just a couple of years. The Drift in G10 is its best knife and one of the best blades on the market.
Not only does it run the very exotic and fully stainproof Vanax SuperClean, but this insane metallurgical feat is also coupled with a razor-thin grind and a snappy deployment. A bit more than the average knife, thanks to the crazy steel, the Drift in G10 is still a good value and will be fine hanging out near the water well into the fall.
For those that have a bit more to spend, the Rockwall, made here in America by Will Hodges of Tactile Turn, is an excellent summer blade. Light, small, thin, and classy, this is an easy carry for a party (Yay! We can go to parties again!) that lasts until the stars start shining.
If you have a wedding to go to or another shindig, the Rockwall will serve you well trimming off a stray thread or slicing up some charcuterie.
Enjoy the outdoors and be prepared!