The best pocket knife 2018: from single blades to multi tools

A good pocket knife is a friend for life, taking on all manner of tasks with ease. Take your pick from our guide to the best (and safest) pocket knives

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While almost any knife could pretend to be a pocket knife, the best of the genre are  – perhaps inevitably – easy and legal to carry most of the time, so they’re on hand when needed.  

We’ve assembled a group of options that take very different approaches here, but the overall winner is the Pioneer Nespresso Dharkan, which in spite of the name is not a coffee machine but an excellent all-rounder pocket knife with style thrown in to boot.  

How to buy the best pocket knife for you 

The most important thing to consider when buying a pocket knife in the UK is how to not break the law, which is heavily rigged against people carrying knives, perhaps unsurprisingly. 

Therefore, the first to think about is whether you need a blade for everyday use –such as on a key-ring for opening parcels and packages, – or one for a dedicated use, such as fishing, hunting or camping. The difference is considerable in the eyes of the law. 

The word of the law is that knives for everyday use must not be fixed or locking blades, and must be under 3 inches (7.62 cm). Carrying anything else in public is a big no-no unless you have ‘good reason’ to be carrying it, such as a chef carrying a chef’s roll of knives to work.  

That said, the ‘good reason’ defence is one that you’d have to produce in court if stopped, so best play it safe from any perspective. 

Beyond that, it’s a question of whether you need bells and whistles (aka a multi-tool), or are happy with a simple blade for opening parcels and recalcitrant jiffy bags. 

Either way, we have something for you among our collection of the best pocket knives out there right now. 

The best pocket knife to buy right now 

Best pocket knife: Pioneer Nespresso Dharkan

1. Pioneer Nespresso Dharkan

The best pocket knife for eco-friendly types

Specifications
Weight: : 70g
Length: :93mm
Height: 12mm
Reasons to buy
+Quality tool+Environmental creds
Reasons to avoid
-Paying for style 

In spite of the name, this is an excellent knife from arguably the best in the pocket-knife business. 

Legal to carry in the UK, the main blade is augmented by the Victorinox screwdriver/can opener attachment, as well as a larger screwdriver/ bottleopener/wirestripper, and a handy reamer/punch-type spike. 

Slim, stylish and practical, this is hard to beat for an everyday companion.

Best pocket knife: Lansky World Legal Knife

2. Lansky World Legal Knife

A proper knife that’ll cut through pretty much anything outdoors

Specifications
Weight: 153g
Length: 17.78cm
Blade length: 6.9cm
Reasons to buy
+Proper knife+Technically legal
Reasons to avoid
-Most likely to get you arrested 

The World Legal was created by Copenhagen’s Mikkel Willumsen – famed for his gritty Urban Tactical designs – with the idea that it would be technically legal worldwide. 

The result follows the letter of the law, but the aggressive design might well invite unwelcome attention if waved about in urban areas. 

The 2.75 inch Stainless Blade, nylon handle and pocket clip, combined with a traditional slip-joint, results in a robust cutting tool that’ll deliver anywhere. 

Best pocket knife: Spyderco C133P Bug Stainless Steel Slip Joint Micro Knife

3. Spyderco C133P Bug Stainless Steel Slip Joint Micro Knife

The best pocket knife with an ultralight feel

Specifications
Weight: 17g
Length: 4.1cm
Blade length: 3.2 cm
Reasons to buy
+Tiny yet useful+Ultra light
Reasons to avoid
-Too small for heavy work

Renowned knifemaker Spyderco has applied themselves to the question of what to usefully hang on your key fob, and come up with this tiny work of art. 

Although the tiny 32mm blade is razor sharp, it's perfectly legal too, and for slicing into tricky biscuit packets, parcels and the like it’s absolutely ideal. 

A full stainless build will brush off key-chain scrapes, and there’s a small lanyard hole to keep it safely attached. Simple, useful and always in your pocket. 

Best pocket knife: Victorinox CyberTool Lite

4. Victorinox CyberTool Lite

An ideal choice for the workstation survivalist

Specifications
Weight: 173g
Length: 9cm
Height: 3.4cm
Reasons to buy
+Amazing toolkit+Nothing else like it 
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Do you really need a pocket winch?

Taking the multi to multi tool, this Victorinox monster is aimed squarely at geeks, and other folk who might need a torch, torx wrench set, pliers, magnifier and a pen. Which frankly is just about everyone at some point in their lives. 

If there was a pocket toolkit to repair a MacBook, this would be it. 

With a dizzying array of 32 tools, a legal length blade, and the confidence that the components won’t snap off when you use them, this is the office toolkit to rule them all. 

Best pocket knife: Leatherman Juice CS4

5. Leatherman Juice CS4

The best pocket knife from the multi-tool giant

Specifications
Weight: 159g
Length: 8.26cm
Blade length: 5.77cm
Reasons to buy
+Multi tool for the masses+Solid brand reputation 
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Chunky for a pocket carry 

Lighter than a full-fat Leatherman, the Juice range is intended for casual use, rather than the original’s engineering bent. 

The CS4 is the second largest Juice model, and revels in a range of different grip colours and textures, designed to appeal to all. 

The range of tools might only number up at 15, but needle nose pliers, a saw and a corkscrew cover off nearly all social situations, especially paired with a range of screwdrivers and an awl. 

The stainless blade is a UK legal 2.27 in/5.77 cm to boot. As a tool to stash in the car, leave in your work bag or drawer, it’s a sure-fire winner. 

Best pocket knife: Whitby SlipJoint Zebra Handle Knife

6. Whitby SlipJoint Zebra Handle Knife

A stunning pocket knife with a minimalist design

Specifications
Length: 8.89cm
Blade length: 6.35cm
Reasons to buy
+Keenly priced+Beautiful wood grip
Reasons to avoid
-Single blade knife only 

Whitby have been making knives for a few years (since 1961), and this slip joint folder is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. 

A tactile zebra wood handle with quality stainless steel bolsters holds a 2.5 inch legal carry stainless blade in an incredibly simple but effective package. 

A small eyelet allows the knife to be strung on a lanyard, but that's all the complexity you can add. Sometimes, simplicity is best.