There are many great folding knives (aka pocket knives) for Everyday Carry that will fit any budget. Even on a modest budget you can buy a quality knife that will be an asset to have in your pocket each day.
This article features 30+ folding knives under $30. These knives offer blades that are plenty sharp and durable enough for daily use but still have an affordable price. These knives have the features you need in an Everyday Carry knife. All have a pocket friendly size, versatile blade shape, and ease of deployment.
The under $30 knife category is very competitive with lots of offerings from many companies. This article will help you wade through all of the choices available in the market these days. The knives I’ve selected below are ones I’ve personally had experience with or friends and relatives have enjoyed. There are also several tried and true models in the list that have stood the test of time to become pocket knife classics.
I hope you find this article enjoyable. Please leave a comment about what your favorite EDC folding knife under $30 is.
30 Best Everyday Carry Folding Pocket Knives Under $30
Knife Blade Comparison
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Knife Feature Comparison
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Buck 524 Alumni
Why you should buy the Buck 524 Alumni:
The Buck 524 Alumni is a fairly new model from Buck. It is a very slim, lightweight, and compact knife. I like this style of knife because it is super easy to slip in your pocket and forget about it until needed.
Buck used aluminum handle scales (get it Alumni…) in this knife to keep weight low. Buck offers it in four anodized colors: black, silver, blue, and gold. The knife features an easy to use lockback design to keep the blade secure when deployed. I also enjoy that the 524 Alumni is made in the USA with a forever warranty.
I’ll add the two knives below as nice alternatives if you’re looking for a slim small classic designed folder
Where you should buy the Buck 524 Alumni:
Buck 110 Slim Folding Hunter
Why you should buy the Buck 110 Slim Folding Hunter:
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is a classic knife design that is durable and dependable. Buck has modernized the classic knife with their new Slim version making it even more EDC friendly.
The knife still has a classic shape and Buck’s top quality 420HC steel for the blade but have added a deep carry pocket clip and thumb studs for one handed opening. Don’t scoff at Buck’s 420HC steel. Their heat treat is one of the best in the biz making their knives perform way better than standard 420HC.
I like the new handle design that uses G-10 material with some simple texturing. The Slim Hunter still features Buck’s secure lockback design. The Slim Hunter is made in the USA and has Buck’s forever warranty.
Where you should buy the Buck 110 Slim Folding Hunter:
Why you should buy a Buck Vantage:
The Buck Vantage has always been a great looking and performing knife. Buck has offered the Vantage in several configurations but the affordable 420HC steel version is a fantastic option for under $30. The Vantage has two sizes depending on what you’re looking for at 3 1/4″ or 2 5/8″ blade length.
The Vantage blade can be deployed via the thumb slot or a flipper which is nice if you prefer one over the other. I enjoy the handle design on the Vantage because it feels solid with a small index finger notch. The Vantage is made in the USA and features Buck’s forever warranty.
Where you should buy a Buck Vantage:
Byrd Robin 2 FRN
Why you should buy a Byrd Robin 2:
Byrd knives are made by Spyderco as their budget line. This is nice because some of their higher end knife designs are translated down to Byrd. The ergonomics of the Byrd Robin 2 knife are almost the exact same shape as the Spyderco Dragonfly 2 (an EDC favorite of many). The jimping and finger choils on this knife are very nice and gives you a secure feeling when held.
The big difference in price between the Robin 2 and the Dragonfly 2 comes from the fact that in the Byrd line of knives you get 8Cr13MoV steel instead of VG-10. The steel used in the Robin 2 is still great for everyday tasks and is easy to sharpen when it gets dull.
I like the FRN handles on the Robin 2 which are available in several colors. You can also get the Robin in other handle materials for more than $30. The Robin 2 has a solid lockback mechansim and 4-way clip that is nice to see at this price point.
Where you should buy a Byrd Robin 2:
Why you should buy a Case Sodbuster:
The Sodbuster is a classic designed knife that I enjoy for it simplicity. It’s a no frills knife that was designed for the working man. Case makes the Sodbuster in two blade sizes 3.625″ for the standard Sodbuster and 2.8″ for the Jr model.
The Sodbuster is available in a plethora of handle colors to fit your style or preference. I like that the Sodbuster has a lightweight polymer handle which slips in your pocket nicely.
This a knife your father or grandfather probably carried and I really like the nostalgia feeling of using one. The Sodbuster is made in the USA
Honorable Mention: Bear and Son Farmhand
Where you should buy a Case Sodbuster:
Cold Steel Pro Lite
Why you should buy a Cold Steel Pro Lite knife:
Cold Steel’s Pro Lite knives are fantastic for Everyday Carry. They offer one of the strongest lockback mechanisms on the market with three different blade styles in two handle colors.
Cold Steel designed these knives to be sturdy and durable. You can feel that as soon as you pick one up. The GFN (glass-filled nylon) handles fit in your hand nicely. The blade is easy to deploy via the large thumbstud. The German 4116 stainless steel used in these knives is great for all EDC tasks. The blade is easy to bring back wicked sharp after it is dulled too.
The pocket clip is set up for tip-up carry which is great and can be set up for right or left hand use. Wish it was more deep carry though. I like that they also include a lanyard hole as well.
Where you should buy a Cold Steel Pro Lite knife:
Cold Steel Tuff Lite
Why you should buy the Cold Steel Tuff Lite:
Like the Pro Lite above the Tuff Lite from Cold Steel is an excellent choice for EDC. The Tuff Lite is compact and has a utilitarian wharncliffe blade shape that is highly useful in many day-to-day cutting tasks.
The Tuff Lite is available in five colors. You can get it with a plain or serrated blade edge. The Tuff Lite features AUS 8A stainless steel which many of you will know is a great steel at this price range.
The Tuff Lite is easy to use thanks to the big thumb hole to deploy the blade. The pocket clip is reversible, but unfortunately tip down carry only. The Tuff Lite also features the super strong Tri-Ad lockback mechanism for secure blade lockup.
Where you should buy a Cold Steel Tuff Lite knife:
Why should you buy a CRKT Drifter:
I think the CRKT Drifter is a solid choice for Everyday Carry because it is an affordable knife with a well thought out design. The drop point blade is highly versatile with a nice top swedge for style. 8Cr14MoV steel is used for the blade steel. The handles are available in G10 or stainless steel as shown above. Both plain and serrated blades are available for the Drifter.
The Drifer is a slim knife that slides in the pocket well. A pocket clip and lanyard hole are options for pocket storage. The framelock works well on the Drifters I’ve used providing secure lockup.
Where you should buy a CRKT Drifter:
Why you should buy a CRKT M16:
The M16 series of knives from CRKT is very prolific thanks to the original designer Kit Carson. He created a knife that had great tactical looks with practical durability.
The M16 knives from CRKT are great for EDC because the deployment is quick thanks to the flipper and you have a wide array of blade shapes and sizes to choose from to suit your specific needs.
There are many M16 knife options under $30. These knives feature 8Cr13MoV steel but for a little more $ you can get their 12C27MoV steel. I feel it is worth the extra coin in my book for the upgraded steel because it has better edge retention.
Where you should buy a CRKT M16:
Why you should buy a CRKT Pilar:
If you’ve been on my Instagram you’ll recognize this knife. I carry this knife quite often in my EDC rotation. It has such a great feel in the hand and stout blade that I have become quite fond of it.
The knife was designed by custom knife maker Jesper Voxnaes for CRKT. It feels like it was designed by a talented knife maker when you hold it and use it too. The large finger choils offer great control. The blade thickness on top supports your thumb well.
The framelock is very secure on the ones I’ve had. It is easy to flick open via the thumb hole as well. The pocket clip is tip up or tip down carry with a lanyard hole to boot. Remember to pronounce it “Pee Lar” not “pillar”.
Where you should buy a CRKT Pilar:
CRKT Ruger LCK
Why should you buy a CRKT Ruger LCK:
Ruger and CRKT have been collaborating on knives for a bit now, often based around Ruger’s gun models. The LCK (Lightweight Compact Knife) takes its cues from the Ruger LCP .380.
The knife is slim and trim. Easy to carry in the pocket and the flipper deployment is very smooth and fast. The LCK is available in the droppoint above or the all black sheepsfoot version below. I’m partial to the sheepsfoot version myself.
The handle features nice texturing and is very lightweight. Great options at this price point.
Where you should buy a CRKT Ruger LCK:
Why you should buy a CRKT Squid:
The Squid is a great compact, stoutly built knife that was designed by custom knife maker Lucas Burnley. It is a nicely affordable knife available in several blade and handle color combinations.
I enjoy the choice of going with an all black version as above or a satin blade. The top of the blade has some chunky jimping for grip. It’s a simple small knife that is easy to carry and operate.
Where you should buy a CRKT Squid:
Why you should buy at Gerber US1:
Gerber has a lot of great knives at this price point; LST, Pocket Square, Evo Jr, and the new Kettle Bell. All great knives. I went with the small, lightweight, and US made US1 for my pick though.
I like the thin profile of this knife mixed with the great index finger choil for control. The extra jimping on the top of the blade works well for gripping with your thumb. The rubber coating on the handles also helps with grip, even in wet conditions.
Where you should buy a Gerber US1:
My favorite place to find the best deal on this knife is Amazon.
Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter
Why you should buy a Ka-Bar Dozier:
Bob Dozier is well known in the custom knife world. He’s also well know for this knife in the budget EDC world. The Ka-Bar Dozier knife is always in the list of suggested EDC knives under $30.
The knife features nice AUS 8A steel which is known for edge retention and strength. The handles are made out of lightweight Zytel material with a diamond checked pattern for grip.
I like the fact that this knife like a few others on the list is available in a myriad of colors and blade finishes. Easy choice for many people to pick this knife as one of the best budget knives you’ll find for the money.
Where you should buy a Ka-Bar Dozier:
Why you should buy a Kershaw Chill:
The Chill is an affordable knife with all of the features you need without a high price tag. It has been around for some time now but is just as worthy now as it was when it first came out.
The blade is 8Cr13MoV which is easy to put a keen edge on. The blade is easily deploy via its flipper tab.
The knife overall is very slim which I enjoy. The G10 handles are pretty standard fare with enough grip and not a lot of added weight. I like the large index finger choil that designer RJ Martin added to this knife. Gives a secure feeling in the hand when in use.
Where you should buy a Kershaw Chill:
Why you should buy the Kershaw Cryo:
The Cryo is a classic EDC budget suggestion (it was Knife of the Year by Blade Magazine). It was designed by “the” Rick Hinderer of Hinderer Knives.
The Cryo is available as a drop point and tanto, black or satin blade, G10 or metal handles, and even a bigger version the Cryo II. I’ve always enjoyed the grey titanium carbo-nitride finish on this knife. It just looks great.
This knife benefits from Rick’s experience as a knife maker. It fits well in your hand with generous jimping. Deployment is via Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening, which is nice to have when you need to use the knife one handed quickly. The frame lock design secures the blade well for secure use.
Where you should buy a Kershaw Cryo:
Why you should buy the Kershaw Fraxion:
The Fraxion is a newer knife from Kershaw that I thought needed to make the list. It’s a really contemporary looking knife designed by one of my favorite knife makers, Jens Anso. It is one of the lightest knives on my list, hence the Fraxion name (fraction of the weight…).
I like that Kershaw went with their KVT ball-bearing pivot on this knife. SpeedSafe is great but some people don’t enjoy it. The Fraxion flips open nicely on those bearings and has a liner lock for security. The Fraxion is available in several colors now like, blue, green, and tan.
Where you should buy a Kershaw Fraxion:
Why you should buy a Kershaw Method:
The Method is another fantastic Jens Anso designed knife with another lightweight build. The blade and handle shape of this knife has always strongly appealed to me. At under $30 you get a ton of style for your money with this knife.
It has a manual KVT ball-bearing pivot system on the blade which opens cleanly with the flipper tab. The blade is standard 8Cr13 but with a nice BlackWash finish. The handle design on the Method fits well in the hand with interesting machining done to the G10 handles for textured grip and style.
Honorable mention: Kershaw Atmos which is similar in many regards but a little over $30
Where you should buy a Kershaw Method:
Why you should buy a Kershaw Shuffle:
The Shuffle is a nifty little knife that is handy for everyday carry. The knife features a bottle opener built into the handle and the lanyard attachment loop can be used as a flathead screwdriver.
The Shuffle is a compact knife that you can still grip really well thanks to the finger grooves and the textured handle. This makes the knife feel secure in the hand even if is a little on the stubby side. Great small utility knife to throw in your pocket.
Honorable Mention: Kershaw Pub knife – along the same lines as the Shuffle, the Pub knife makes for a great cheap small pocket knife with a built in bottle opener.
Where you should buy a Kershaw Shuffle:
Kershaw Skyline XL
Why you should buy a Kershaw Skyline XL:
The Skyline XL is a Blade HQ exclusive. It is a bit bigger than the standard Skyline and it is also more affordable. The Skyline blade shape and handle design are classic versatile designs for EDC tasks. I like simplicity of this knife much like the Chill.
Deployment is via thumb stud or flipper which is nice to have the choice. Solid well done knife at an affordable price.
Where you should buy a Kershaw Skyline XL:
The only place to buy this knife at is Blade HQ.
Ontario Knife Company RAT
Why you should buy an Ontario Knife Company RAT:
If you’ve done much research into budget pocket knives you’ll undoubtedly come across the Ontario RAT (Randall’s Adventure and Training) as one of the most prominent suggestions. It is for good reason. It is one of the most well executed and manufactured knives at this price point and above.
The RAT is available as the Model 1 which is came out first and the Model 2 which came out later and is smaller. Under $30 you get AUS-8 steel which is a great steel at this price point and works really well for EDC. For another $10 you can get the RAT in D2 tool steel for even more durability and edge retention.
The knife features excellent ergonomics with a nice index finger choil and spine jimping for grip and control. The pocket clip is 4-way mountable for versatility. The RAT is also available in a myriad of handle and blade color options.
Where you should buy an Ontario Knife Company RAT:
Opinel No. 8
Why you should buy an Opinel No. 8:
Opinel knives (pronounced Oh pee nel) are incredibly simple and virtually unchanged since the late 1800’s. These knives are very affordable and come in 12 sizes.
You can get Opinel knives in both 12C27 MOD Sandvik stainless steel or carbon steel. The handles are also available in several wood types like Oak, beechwood, olive wood, and others.
A special blade lockout called a Virobloc is available on all sizes larger than No. 6. The N0. 8 model is their most popular seller. I prefer the No. 6 or 7, personally.
I really like these knives for their simplicity, multiple handle sizes and materials, and affordability. The blade is very thin and slicey too.
Where you should buy an Opinel N0. 8:
Rough Rider Moose Titanium
Why you should buy a Rough Rider Moose Titanium:
A list of budget knives wouldn’t be complete without a Rough Rider mention. Rough Rider may not offer the most glamorous blade steel but they do offer a lot of nice knife patterns and their fit and finish is actually really good.
At their price point it’s hard to find their type of quality and charm. The new titanium line is my favorite from them. They have nice looking titanium coated 440A stainless blades with nickel bolsters.
Where you should buy a Rough Rider Moose Titanium:
My favorite place to find the best deals on Rough Rider knives is Smokie Mountain Knife Works.
Why you should buy a Ruike P801:
Ruike is a relatively new brand but their knives are well designed and have received glowing reviews. The P801 framelock knife gets my vote for the best of their EDC options under $30.
The P801 comes features 14C28N stainless steel which is hard to find at this price point and performs better than standard 8Cr13. The index finger choil and thin width feel good in the hand.
Where you should buy a Ruike P801:
Why you should buy a SOG Salute:
SOG makes some great knives. Not many are under $30 though. The Salute is my favorite option due to its sturdy build and unique adjustable thumb stud. The thumb stud can be moved back and forth to custom fit to your needs.
The Salute is available with a satin finished blade or for a little more you can get a blacked out blade. I like the G10 handles with finger grooves. The lockback is very secure as well.
Where you should buy a SOG Salute:
Why you should buy a Spyderco Grasshopper:
Small knives have their place in everyone’s Everyday Carry rotation. They are great as a backup or can be handy to have if you’re traveling to locations with blade restrictions.
The Grasshopper from Spyderco is their best small budget knife. It has a really comfortable handle and the blade length is still useful for many EDC tasks.
The Grasshopper is a slipjoint knife which is called SLIPITS by Spyderco. You can still open them with one hand via the “spydie hole”.
Where you should buy a Spyderco Grasshopper:
Why you should buy a Tangram Amarillo:
Tangram is Kizer’s budget brand. They came out with a few budget models that I really like.
The Amarillo has a versatile clip point blade made out of Acuto 440 stainless steel. Not a common steel to see in the market but it is essentially Japanese 440C.
This is a flipper knife that opens swiftly thanks to its steel ball bearings in the pivot. The handle has a great contoured design that fits in the hand very nicely.
Where you should buy a Tangram Amarillo:
My favorite place to find Tangram knives is on Amazon.
Tangram Sante Fe
Why you should buy a Tangram Sante Fe:
The Sante Fe is another great budget knife from Tangram. I really like the wharncliffe-like blade shape. It pierces easily and allows you to see what you’re cutting clearly.
The Sante Fe features the same Acuto 440 blade steel as the Amarillo. The handle is more simple than the Amarillo but it is still thin with a small index finger choil.
Where you should buy a Tangram Sante Fe:
My favorite place to find Tangram knives is on Amazon.
Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet
Why you should buy a Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet:
Choosing a favorite under $30 Swiss Army knife from Victorinox is a really tough task. They make a lot of great knives at this price point and everyone has their own needs for what tools they’d like to have in their SAK. The Cadet with Alox handle scales is the ticket for me but there are plenty of other great models like the Tinker, classic SD, Camper, and Tourist.
- Large Blade
- Nail File with Nail Cleaner
- Can Opener
- Small Flathead Screwdriver
- Bottle Opener
- Large Flathead Screwdriver
- Wire Stripper
- Key Ring
Victorinox knife steel is a bit of a legend. From Wikipedia “The martensitic stainless steel alloy used for the cutting blades is optimized for high toughness and corrosion resistance and has a composition of 15% chromium, 0.60% silicon, 0.52% carbon, 0.50% molybdenum, and 0.45% manganese and is designated X55CrMo14 or 1.4110 according to Victorinox. …the blades achieve an average blade steel hardness of 55-56 HRC. This steel hardness is suitable for practical use and easy resharpening, but less than achieved in stainless steel alloys used for blades optimized for high wear resistance.”
It is a great steel to use, very slicey, and easy to sharpen. Victorinox knives are great because they also come with a lifetime warranty.
Where you should buy a Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet
Western Active Honey Badger
Why I should buy a Western Active Honey Badger:
The Western Active Honey Badger is one of my favorite new knife finds. It is available in three sizes and three colors. Small, Medium, and Large with black, green, or tan handles.
I really like the options they offer. I prefer the medium size overall but all sizes have their uses. The handles themselves have a nicely raised honeycomb pattern. It’s really unique and provides great grip.
The blade is able to be deployed via the flipper or the generously sized thumb hole.
The Honey Badger has plenty jimping on the knife which is really nice to see. Makes for a really secure feeling knife in your hand. I like that the front choil has jimping for choking up on the knife.
The pocket clip is a nice deep carry design with the option for a lanyard.
Where you should buy a Western Active Honey Badger:
The best place to buy the Honey Badger knife is on Amazon.