Question of the Day: What Is Your Go-To Knife Recommendation?

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

Inevitably, it happens. Your friends, family, coworkers, etc. know that you are a knife person. One day, one of those people (lets call them NK for “needs knife”) asks for a knife suggestion. “I need a good pocketknife, what should I get?”

So what would make “a good knife” for the non-enthusiast NK? Lets assume he/she is looking for an every day carry or utility blade. The amount of money some of us like to spend on a blade can be daunting to a beginner, so something reasonably priced would be best, but we don’t want to recommend something of low quality either. Let’s steer NK in the right direction.

There are a lot of great options on the market today, but I like to recommend the full flat ground Spyderco Delica4. My reasons are below, and in the meantime, tell us what you would suggest in the comments.

Image: Spyderco.com

Price: Available at online retailers around the $60 mark, the Delica may not be cheap, but it is certainly affordable.

Ideal Size: The blade is a perfect size for EDC. It is unassisted and less than 3” long, making it legal to carry almost anywhere (caveat: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Know your local regulations).

Safety Lock: The safety provided by a strong lock is essential. The Delica uses the proven lockback mechanism. The Boye-dent that they include only improves upon this classic design. As a bonus, the lock makes the blade biased toward closure, making it less likely to come open if carried in a backpack or a purse.

Blade Shape and Grind: The blade of the Delica is a slicing machine! Whether breaking down boxes, opening blister packs, or doing a bit of food prep, the full flat grind of this blade is ideally suited for EDC tasks. The overall shape of the blade is unconventional, but the leading edge behaves much like a modified wharncliffe design, with only a slight amount of belly. Another win for EDC.

Handle Colors: While the overall shape might look aggressive to some, Spyderco offers the knife in a range of brightly colored handle options (Yes, you can still have it in black if you want) which can make the knife more palatable. Where black might scream weapon, friendlier colors such as blue or green soften that impression, making the knife more more likely to be seen as what it is, a tool.

Ambidextrous: Righties or lefties will have no problem opening the blade with one hand, and the four-position clip allows for any carry preference, whether you like tip-up or down, and right or left side carry.

Easy To Carry: The Delica is lightweight and slim, making it easy to slip into a pocket, and more likely to be carried.

VG10 Steel: This is the ingredient that really puts the Delica over the top. The dollar to performance ratio is excellent. Importantly, it is easier to sharpen than most of the supersteels out there. I love S30V as much as the next guy, but NK is probably not a sharpening guru. VG10 is a steel that performs very well, and is still easy to maintain.

There are a few other niceties that elevate the Delica’s design as well. The light jimping on the thumb ramp provides just enough traction with bare hands without feeling aggressive. The adjustable pivot will allow you to correct any blade play that develops over time, and the screw construction allows the knife to be fully disassembled for cleaning should the need arise.

So there is my suggestion. The Delica is a solid choice, whether you are a knife enthusiast or not (and it may just turn NK into an enthusiast!). It is priced attainably and can perform well even under heavy use. The Spyderco Delica is as close as it comes to the perfect recommendation for nearly anyone.

Bonus Recommendations

– If NK needs a knife with a 2.5” blade due to legal reasons, another knife from Spyderco, the Cat G10 makes a great choice. It is a little bit cheaper as well.

– If NK is looking to spend even less money, I like the ESEE Zancudo with its 3” blade, available right around $30.

Now it is your turn! What is your go-to recommendation?

comments

  1. Cubbie says:

    If they’re looking to break down boxes, open mail, and cut the tags off of clothing, the Benchmade 530 is a good choice. It also fits much better in a pair of slacks than my Kershaw Blur, which I’d recommend for heavier tasks and defense.

  2. Nathan says:

    In addition to the Delica, the Kershaw Skyline is great too

  3. Robert Evans says:

    First question I’d ask the user is: what do you want to use it for? Second, how familiar are you with knives? For a total noob, I’d probably select a very basic Swiss Army Knife. They are light, durable, cheap, stainless, versatile, and easily replaced when lost.

    1. GC says:

      That’s a great choice. Swiss Army knives also offer the benefit of generally being perceived as utilitarian and non-threatening.

      1. Papoy says:

        I agree. The Alox line is classy as hell, and very useful for EDC use.

  4. MikeH says:

    My first thought is also the Delica, even with several hundred dollar knives mine still gets carried every now and then. As Robert mentioned you can’t go wrong with a SAK, I would only recommend Victorinox though. For my lower budget folder I’d recommend an Ontario Rat 1 or 2. They have decent blade steel with AUS 8, very smooth action, fast deployment, and can be found for under $30.

  5. StuartB says:

    Just brought a Kershaw Shuffle as a surprise gift for a female NK; pink and stainless, bottle opener, cheap, and manual opening which was the clincher as she was intimidated by assisted openers. She was previously anti-knife, but loved it! It may not last long any term abuse, but its a great starter to get her comfortable and enthusiastic about knives. It isn’t what I would carry, but the deal is to understand the person and their needs.

    1. I like the look of those Shuffles!

      The first knife I bought my significant other was a CRKT Ashworth Turtle in white. She loves it, and still uses it.

  6. Roger says:

    Depending on what they want to use and the weight they’re fine carrying. A Spyderco bug, an SAK, A Cold Steel Mini-Tuff Lite, or a Dragonfly. If they want something for defense, that’s their own bag. A defensive knife needs to be good in hand and good in mind, you just can’t go suggesting something to someone without violating one of those two. That doesn’t mean I’ll offer suggestions on style and such but I won’t outright name a specific knife.

  7. I_Like_Pie says:

    I am not opposed to a Buck Prince or Squire. Small, pocket-able, non threatening, reliable, traditional looking, and good steel for about$35. Your grandkids will use it 100 years from now.

  8. Sam L. says:

    If NK isn’t planning to pry with it, an Opinel #4 or #6 ought to do. Or smaller CKRTs and Kershaws, in wanting a pocket clip.

  9. VaqueroJustice says:

    Once you determine what they need a knife for, choices get easier.
    One knife I haven’t seen mentioned yet is the foldable razor knife,
    like the superknife.
    Very good choice for a work knife in many situations, and turns blade
    maintenance into blade replacement, which removes what for many
    is the hardest thing about blade ownership into an easy task.

  10. Finn says:

    Cold Steel mini tuff lite. For a “non-knife” person that doesn’t want to break the bank and have a functional knife that they’re not going to freak out if they lose, plus will do everything much more expensive knives will do. Or even the Gerber EAB…at around $20 bucks either is a decent choice.

  11. Roy says:

    Delica, hands down.

  12. Sandbadger says:

    Probably the Spyderco UKPK or Squeak(pretty much a smaller UKPK), pretty cheap, easy to use (seen a surprisingly large number of non-knife savvy people struggle with any type of lock). Also the fact that it’s more legal than a normal locking knife here in the UK (I say more legal due to the law allowing for locking or larger knives if there is a good reason or if you’re not in the middle of a town)

  13. ChuckN says:

    A good Swiss army knife, all the way. Just ask yourself,
    was there ever a situation MacGyver could not get out
    of as long as he had one? No. I rest my case.

  14. SM says:

    My big four are: Kershaw Skyline, Spyderco Tenacious, Cold Steel (Mini) Tuff Lite and the Victorinox Super Tinker.

    It all depends on what they want to do. Out of the times I recommended one of these four knives to a new knife owner, they tend to gravitate towards the Skyline.

  15. Dr. Vinnie Boombotz says:

    Me like Spyderco!

  16. Tony H says:

    My choice is the Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite in plain edge. It’s blade is under 2 inches, the wharncliffe blade paired with AUS8-A steel makes edc used a breeze in my book. It’s $20 on Amazon, making it a inexpensive gift for the NK person. Also the Triad Lock is insanely strong for such a small knife. I usually pocket my Mini Tuff Lite in my watch pocket in my jeans.
    It’s a small knife that can still do work, yet won’t piss off most anti knife people and is light enough to carry all day.

  17. PR24 says:

    On duty is the Cold Steel Code-4, tanto blade: smooth. Fits nice in the waistband behind under & duty belt due to thin handle. Off duty is the Cold Steel 4″ tanto: smooth. Closest thing to a fixed blade in my opinion with a fat but to secure handle.

  18. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon says:

    Columbia River KISS. One hand, almost 3″ tanto blade, single-sided for a thin profile. About $40 at Mountain Equipment Co-op, probably only $29 at REI!

  19. Strmliner says:

    Typically in my experience, NK wants something to just carry in his pocket for everyday use. My answer is always a Vic SAK, from the Classic, to a Recruit, to a Tinker. Alox if they want some style. If they’re under 30, then a one-handed, single blade opener like a Buck or a Spyderco will make them happy, but you can’t use it for anything but cutting.
    If NK wants something for camping, a 91mm Vic SAK with more functions or a fixed blade Buck.

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Question of the Day: What Is Your Go-To Knife Recommendation?

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