Best Budget EDC Knife [2023]

When it comes to carrying a knife every day, it’s important to have one that you can depend on.

An EDC knife can come in handy for various tasks, such as opening packages, cutting rope, medical emergencies, or even for self-defense. However, buying an expensive knife isn’t always feasible or practical. That’s where budget-friendly EDC knives come in.

They provide a balance between affordability and functionality, making them perfect for those on a tight budget. With a budget-friendly EDC knife, you can always have a reliable cutting tool without breaking the bank.

Remember, affordable knives can also offer great performance and durability, making them an excellent investment for anyone.

Best Budget EDC Knife

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Budget EDC Knife

When choosing a budget EDC knife, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you get the best value for your money. Here are some of the key factors to keep in mind:

Blade Material

The type of material used for the blade affects the knife’s durability, sharpness, and resistance to wear and tear. Popular options for budget EDC knives include stainless steel and high-carbon steel, which offer a balance of affordability and performance.

To reduce costs, budget knives typically utilize less costly steels. However, these steels are generally still sharp and effective for cutting.

The limitations of budget steel become apparent in its susceptibility to corrosion, blade wear, and difficulty in maintaining a sharp edge. Although less expensive steel may lose its sharpness more quickly, it is generally easier to sharpen than high-end steel.

If a knife made from lower-end steel is stored while still damp or wet, it may develop rust or pitting. However, this can be remedied by using some 2000-grit sandpaper and WD40 to clean it up.

Blade Size and Shape

The size and shape of the blade should match the intended use of the knife. A larger blade may be better for heavy-duty tasks, while a smaller blade is ideal for everyday carry.

The blade shape can also affect its usefulness in different situations, such as a straight blade for slicing or a serrated blade for cutting through different types of material quickly.

Handle Material and Grip

The handle material should provide a comfortable grip and a secure hold. Common materials used for budget EDC knives include plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel.

Additionally, the handle may have textured patterns or grooves for improved grip and control.

Locking Mechanism

A locking mechanism ensures that the blade stays securely in place when in use, preventing accidental closure. Budget EDC knives may have various locking mechanisms, including liner locks, frame locks, and back locks.

Pocket Clip

Until Spyderco invented them, pocket clips were not a feature of folding knives. The inclusion of a pocket clip is now considered an important aspect of any folding knife as it allows the user to determine how they want to carry it. Pocket clips are designed to keep a part of the knife visible above the pocket line, allowing for easy access when needed.

However, this also means that the knife is more visible to others while it is being carried. In situations where discretion is important, a deep-carry clip allows the knife to be almost completely concealed in the pocket, with only a small portion of the metal clip visible on the outside.

Pocket clips can also be reversible and have multiple positions, allowing for left or right-handed use and the option of tip-up or tip-down carry. This feature can be especially useful depending on personal preference and intended use.

By considering these factors, you can find a budget EDC knife that fits your needs and provides reliable performance at an affordable price.

Top 5 Best Budget EDC Knives

Spyderco Byrd Meadowlark 2

Byrd is Spyderco’s budget line, and honestly, I find some of the Byrd knives to be even better than their pricier Spyderco counterparts. The Meadowlark is the budget-friendly alternative to the Delica, and I actually prefer it just as much as the original.

Although it uses a less expensive blade steel, the Meadowlark features a fantastic finger choil that sets it apart from other knives. This choil allows you to get in close for precise work. The knife’s value for the price is so impressive that I would confidently compare it to blades that cost twice as much. It’s definitely one of my favorite knives.

With Byrd knives, you get all the benefits of Spyderco’s excellent engineering at an affordable price point. It’s no wonder that many knife enthusiasts still choose Byrd knives for their exceptional value.

Spyderco Byrd Meadowlark 2

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

KA-BAR Dozier

This pocket knife is a straightforward, reliable option that won’t break the bank. I’ve mentioned it before because it’s hard to find a budget blade that performs as well as this one for under $20. The knife is a folding model that deploys easily with a thumb stud, and it features a sturdy lock back mechanism.

I’ve given these knives as gifts before because they’re a great option for camping trips. I feel confident knowing that the lock is secure and my boys won’t accidentally close the knife on themselves. The AUS8 blade sharpens easily and has a wicked edge that will get the job done. Overall, this is a fantastic knife to keep as a backup or emergency blade in your glove box.

KA-BAR Dozier Folding Hunter

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

An interesting note about the Ka-Bar Dozier: One of the Marine Corps MWTC Instructor staff members trusts the Ka-Bar Dozier as their everyday carry knife. They shared their thoughts on the knife.

I like it because it is lightweight, thin, and sharp as a razor, right out of the box. A friend of mine who was an elk hunting guide called me from Colorado and said that he had completely dressed and quartered an elk with a Dozier and didn’t sharpen it one time. He said no one had ever seen that done before.

As a survival blade, I prefer a drop point that is a one-hand opening, and a lanyard hole is a must. As you know, most gear packed in a survival kit never gets used and when it does, it is for short periods. I have yet to find a superior replacement for the Dozier, so I’ll continue to use it, while knives that cost 10 times as much sit in the drawer.

SOG Traction

The SOG Traction is a budget-friendly folding knife that follows the classic design of many other pocket knives. It features a sturdy blade and handle with a reliable back lock mechanism, which has been proven to work well time and again. The Traction doesn’t have any flashy features, but it’s a trustworthy EDC knife that will get the job done.

The deep-carry pocket clip on the Traction is a great feature, and the thumb stud makes it easy to open with just one hand. The 3.5-inch blade is made of 5Cr13MoV, a durable steel that holds up well over time. While this budget blade steel may not be the best on the market, it’s easy to sharpen and can provide a long-lasting cutting edge.

You’ll often find the SOG Traction in the pockets of many contractors and DIY enthusiasts because it’s readily available in the tool section of popular home improvement stores like Lowe’s. If you’re looking for a solid and reliable budget EDC knife, the SOG Traction is definitely worth considering.

SOG Traction All-Purpose

at SOG Knives
Prices accurate at time of writing

Available on Amazon for ~$27.39


Move over flashy knives, the SOG Aegis FLK means business when it comes to everyday carry.

Living up to its name which means “protector" in Greek, the Aegis FLK is a formidable tool that can keep you safe from both danger and stubborn packaging.

It boasts a full-size 3.4-inch blade constructed with stainless steel that resists rust and can handle piercing and slicing with ease. The handle and frame are also made of stainless steel, providing a natural metal look without the risk of corrosion.

The Aegis FLK features manual operation, opens smoothly thanks to pivot bearings, and has a secure lockup due to the reliable frame lock. With the Aegis FLK, SOG has created a budget knife that offers the best of its features. This is an excellent EDC knife in every way, and it also looks quite decent.


at SOG Knives
Prices accurate at time of writing

Available on Amazon for ~$34.26

RAT Model 2

The RAT Model 2, a smaller version of the RAT Model 1, is a great example of an excellent budget EDC knife.

Its blade has been scaled down from 3.6 to 3 inches, and is available in either D2 or AUS-8, both highly durable and resistant to corrosion.

The RAT Model 2 is designed with ergonomics in mind, featuring a thumb ramp for control and textured all-weather nylon scales for a comfortable grip. This knife is not just a reliable everyday tool, but also a workhorse for outdoor activities, capable of cutting through rope and opening bottles with ease.

Despite its affordable price tag, the RAT Model 2 comes in a wide range of colors and blade finishes, proving that a budget knife doesn’t have to be an eyesore.

Ontario RAT 2 Folder

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing


It’s crucial to have a budget EDC knife for those who want to be ready for everyday tasks and unexpected situations. With a budget-friendly option, you can have a functional and reliable tool without overspending.

In this post, we have highlighted the essential factors to consider when selecting a budget EDC knife, such as blade material, size and shape, handle material and grip, locking mechanism, and pocket clip. By keeping these factors in mind, you can find an affordable knife that delivers excellent performance and meets your needs.

Our research and experience have led us to recommend the Spyderco Byrd Meadowlark 2 as the best budget EDC knife. It offers a perfect balance of affordability, functionality, and durability, making it an excellent choice for anyone on a tight budget.

To sum up, it’s important not to underestimate the value of a reliable and affordable EDC knife. By choosing the right one for your requirements, you can ensure that you always have a dependable cutting tool available when you need it.

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