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Published Mar. 2, 2021

Spyderco knives have earned a solid reputation for quality and performance, and the way knife enthusiasts talk about them, you might be tempted to think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. The company got its start during America’s bicentennial year and settled in Golden, Colorado, the company’s long-time hometown, two years later. After littering the country with its Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, Spydrceo introduced its first knife, the C01 Worker, in 1981 with the company’s classic round thumb hole in the blade. Since then, the company has produced high-quality knives bof legendary fame. Their use of top-tier steel, smart engineering, and a variety of shapes and sizes make Spyderco EDC knives some of the best on the planet.

But are they the very best? We’ll let you duke it out with the Benchmade and Kershaw fans out there. In the meantime, quit whining about the cheap hunk of junk you’ve carried around since middle school and slip a Spyderco EDC blade into your pocket instead.

While slightly expensive, the Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight may be the best all-around Spyderco EDC knife for the majority of users. It boasts a 2.875-inch blade made of VG-10, a Japanese steel with a solid combination of edge retention and corrosion resistance that barely compromises in its toughness. The traditional Spyderco leaf pattern on this blade also sports a straight edge with a full flat grind, giving the Delica 4 Lightweight quite a bit of versatility. When folded, the blade rests safely inside the 4.25-inch skeletonized stainless steel handle with its textured FRN grip scales, and the included metal pocket clip can be positioned in four different locations for a truly custom carry setup. Once opened, the blade stays put thanks to the sturdy back lock, and the jimping on the spine provides textured real estate for a solid grip. The Delica 4 Lightweight comes in a variety of handle colors.

While finding a Spyderco knife for under $50 is a little easier than finding a fish flopping around in the Sahara, the Spyderco Tenacious usually sits just over that threshold, making it an affordable option. This particular knife uses stainless 8Cr13MoV steel for the 3.39-inch blade, a great value material that is easy to sharpen. The combination edge features a full flat grind and includes both straight and serrated sections for added versatility. The handle boasts black G-10 grip scales, and the blade sports a black, non-reflective finish to match. The four-position pocket clip offers multiple carry options, and the liner lock provides stability and security once the blade is deployed. While it may not have many color options, the relatively large blade and attractive price tag make the Tenacious a great EDC option for those on a budget.

The Spyderco Para Military 2 may be the most popular Spyderco offering available on today’s market and with good reason. This folding EDC knife boasts a straight edge with a full flat grind for excellent versatility, and the 3.42-inch blade consists of CPM S30V steel, one of the best metals available with a strong combination of hardness, toughness, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. The top and bottom jimping on the blade and the G-10 scales provide an excellent gripping surface, while the integrated lanyard tube and four-position metal pocket clip provide for a truly custom carry setup. Spyderco’s patented Compression-Lock® secures the blade in place once deployed and allows for an easy release when the time comes to store the blade again. This knife may not be the most affordable option available, but its quality and American origin should be more than enough to soothe the initial sting. Still, if you simply need something smaller and lighter, check out the Spyderco Para 3, a natural evolution of this blockbuster.

Rope, webbing, and other coarse materials may prove to be too much for most common EDC knives, but the Spyderco Harpy is an uncommon knife. This offering from Spyderco employs a 2.75-inch hawkbill blade with Spyderco’s two-step serration pattern (one large, two small). The blade is made of VG-10 steel, a solid all-around material and boasts a hollow grind to maximize its sharpness even after multiple resharpening sessions. The Harpy’s handle consists of solid stainless steel and hosts a back lock, lanyard tube, and four-position metal pocket clip. In addition to promoting pull cuts through coarse materials, this Japanese-made knife can also double as a defensive karambit should the need ever present itself. While it usually carries a triple-digit price tag, the Harpy is still reasonably priced for a Spyderco EDC knife.

Looking for an affordable, compact knife that can handle virtually anything and doesn’t run afoul of draconian blade length laws? Then the Spyderco Dragonfly 2 is the solution you’ve been seeking. This lightweight knife comes with a compact 2.3-inch blade with a full flat grind for excellent all-around use. The leaf blade is built with VG-10 steel, a solid jack-of-all-trades in the world of knife steels, and features jimping on the top and bottom for extra grip with thumb and forefinger. The ergonomic handle sports dual FRN scales with integrated texturing for excellent grip. The back lock provides safety and stability while the blade is deployed, and the metal pocket clip orients the closed knife in a convenient tip up position. This Japanese-built blade comes in a variety of scale colors for a personalized EDC folder.

Related: 7 of the best EDC knives money can buy

Why should you trust us

I have been collecting, using, and abusing knives since graduating from training wheels, and while I am always on the hunt for the perfect knife for any given task, EDC knives receive most of my attention due to their versatility and practicality. Whether for dealing death to product packaging or preparing for unexpected emergencies, I rely on my EDC knives day in and day out. I believe in using only the best EDC gear I can afford, and this applies to knives, flashlights, watches, and more.

Types of Spyderco EDC knives

Utility knife

A Spyderco knife designed for general utility is the quintessential EDC blade, a knife designed to serve as a jack of all trades. Not designed with any specialized use beyond the nine-to-five daily grind or the campsite to-do list, these knives are an excellent option for the general EDC practitioner. Most often, this EDC knife will rely on the general purpose drop point blade or a similar design, such as the leaf or clip point blades. Both straight and partially serrated blades are common, although fully serrated blades are much more rare.

Tactical knife

EDC knives designed for tactical situations, such as self defense, military, or law enforcement applications, still often utilize a versatile blueprint, although some may be dedicated defensive knives with an aggressive design. While fixed blades serve best in this role, plenty of folders also exist with many taking advantage of quick deployment systems, well-engineered storage setups, and specially-designed grips and scales. Blade shapes can range from more generic drop point and clip point designs to more aggressive tanto, spear, hawksbill, or talon patterns.

What to look for when buying a Spyderco EDC knife

Blade steel

Spyderco knives are known for their quality, and this is due in large part to the quality of steel they employ in their blades. According to Knife Informer, blade steel usually comes in the form of carbon steel, tool steel, or stainless steel, and each is measured according to five main factors: hardness, toughness, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. (For more information on blade steels, also check out Blade HQ and Gear Junkie.)

Blade shape and edge

Knife blades come in a wide variety of shapes and edge profiles, and each design has its strengths and weaknesses. Blade edges fall into one of three categories: straight, serrated, or partially serrated. Straight edges slice well, while serrated blades specialize in cutting through coarse materials. Most EDC knives rely on the versatile clip point and drop point blade shapes or the tactical tanto pattern. (Check out this Knife Buzz article for more on blade shapes.)

Grip

A knife’s grip provides the direct interface between the blade and your hand, locking each together in perfect harmony. At least, that’s the goal. Whether or not the knife achieves that goal depends on how ergonomic the handle and grips are. Spyderco EDC knives feature a metal frame (usually steel) to provide in-hand stability and most rely on grip scales made of FRN (fiberglass-reinforced nylon), G-10, or FRCP (fiberglass-reinforced copolymer) to provide solid traction.

Carry and deployment

What good is an EDC knife that is difficult to carry and deploy? Folding Spyderco knives use the trademark thumb hole for easy, one-handed deployment, and once open, your blade will stay in place thanks to one of nine available locking mechanisms. Most folding Spyderco EDC knives feature a pocket clip that makes locating your knife more predictable than a second lieutenant getting lost on patrol.

Do you need a Spyderco EDC knife?

A Spyderco EDC knife can solve a wide range of problems from the most mundane to the extreme. If we’re honest, most of us use our EDC knife for opening boxes and similar packaging with the most exotic of jobs amounting to cutting ropes or punching holes in various materials. That said, a quality EDC knife must be ready to handle much more without breaking a sweat. Different knives are designed with different tasks in mind, but any good EDC blade must be ready to tackle emergencies of all kinds. Slicing through seat belts requires a sharp, tough blade, while self-administering first aid may require that same blade to handle critical support roles, such as cutting splints or shearing bandages. Of course, the right Spyderco EDC blade doubles nicely as both an outdoor companion and a self-defense tool. No matter what your field, an appropriate Spyderco knife provides more confidence than having your own personal A-10 on call overhead.

Pricing ranges for Spyderco EDC knives

Spyderco knives possess a well-deserved reputation for quality. The same can be said for their price tags as well, and Spyderco EDC knives are no exception. True Spyderco knives will easily run you a pretty penny, although there are plenty of relatively affordable options available for less than $75. These knives tend to use lower quality materials by Spyderco standards, although they are still solid products. That said, most Spyderco EDC knives will run anywhere from $75 to $150. These knives include a variety of blade shapes, locking mechanisms, and more, all with their own Spyderco touch and high-quality materials. Any Spyderco knife over $150 will tend to be a knife with top-tier or specialized features, such as a unique or unusual blade shape, compared to the company’s more affordable offerings. This price range also boasts some uncommon collaborations between Spyderco and custom knife makers, resulting in some one-of-a-kind, limited edition blades.

How we chose our top picks

When reviewing new gear, we much prefer to go the hands-on route, but sometimes, a lack of resources may thwart our attempts to get our mitts on some cool gear. To make sure we don’t let you down, we take the time to listen to those who have firsthand experience, combing through reviews on Amazon, professional publications, enthusiast blogs, and more to bring you the best intel available. We sift through it all, keep the gold, and toss the rest. For this review, we found the folks at Spyderco, A.G. Russell Knives, BladeHQ, EDCNinja, The Firing Line, Gear Junkie, Knife Buzz, Knife Depot, Knife Informer, KnifeSharpenerGuy.com, and Shooting Mystery to be extremely helpful.

Related: 9 of the best survival knives money can buy

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