10 Types of Pocket Knives That Will Cut Through (Almost) Anything

They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. They are carried every day by police officers, hunters, shoe salesmen, and even kids. They are among the most useful tools that human beings have managed to invent. They are pocket knives, and they are ubiquitous. Much has been said about the utility and function of the mighty pocket knife over the years, and it seems that nearly every man can tell you a story about the first one they ever owned. It could be said that one’s first pocket knife is like a rite of passage – that first, stumbling step from childhood to adulthood. But if you’ve never owned one, that’s okay, too! Nothing, after all, is preventing you from picking one up today. (And we highly recommend it).

A Pocket Knife is Extremely Useful and Versatile

If you don’t think that a pocket knife is all that useful, allow us to offer our counterargument. Here are seven things you can do with a pocket knife:

Slice an Apple – C’mon, it is the epitome of cool to casually slice an apple with your pocket knife before eating it straight from the blade. We’re not saying this is a manufacturer-recommended way to use your knife, but sometimes you gotta color outside the lines.

Whittle Something – We suppose that the art of whittling is somewhat lost to the newer generations, but it is a relaxing and enjoyable pastime. And if you get good at it, you can move beyond “slightly sharpened wooden sticks” and create something amazing.

Cut Through Irritating Packaging – You know the kind of packages we’re talking about. That unacceptable, impossible-to-open clamshell packaging that drives you to madness. We’re not sure if a pocket knife is the “right” tool for the job, but then again, what is?

Cut Open Delivery Boxes – Stop ruining your good kitchen knives and leave your meat scissors for the whole chicken you bought from Sam’s Club. With a handy-dandy pocket knife, you can easily slice open your latest online purchase.

Remove Tags – You ever get halfway through your work day and realize that the tag on the neck of your shirt is driving you entirely mad? If you try to rip it off, you could damage the shirt. With a pocket knife, you can make a clean cut.

Open a Letter – Most of our traditional mail goes straight into the trash can these days, but every now and then, something useful shows up in the box. Instead of making a mess of the envelope, you can smoothly cut open that thoughtful letter from your aunt with a good pocket knife. Oh wait, it’s just a bill.

Defend Yourself – A pocket knife is probably not going to pass the laugh test if you’re talking to a true self-defense expert, but hey, something is better than nothing.

Of course, that really just scratches the surface. The truth is that there is practically no end to the ways you can use a pocket knife to make your life easier. In fact, the most exciting thing about carrying a knife is coming across situations that you would have never dreamed of. Once you make a pocket knife part of your Everyday Carry (EDC) arsenal, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

But what kind should you get? Well, let’s jump right in and take a look at the many different styles of this wonderful tool.

10 – The Peasant Knife

If the modern pocket knife has a grandfather, it would probably have to be this simple, fixed blade knife that came of age in the 18th century. Known variously as a penny knife, a farmer knife, or a sodbuster, this knife transformed from its humble origins into a tremendously popular folding-blade pocket knife in the 19th century. From there, it served as the starting point for many of the knives we’ll cover in our list today. Though the peasant knife is not particularly popular right now, you can still buy both classic and modern models from knife outlets.

9 – The Barlow Knife

Is there something deep in your psyche that connects the pocket knife with American history? You can probably thank the Barlow knife for that. You may not know the name, but you almost surely know the pattern; it has been one of the most common pocket knives in the country for many generations. It’s been seen in Mark Twain novels, it was supposedly featured in one of Abe Lincoln’s stories of his youth, and it wouldn’t surprise us if your own dad carried one in his pocket. It could be that your very first pocket knife was a Barlow. Usually consisting of nothing more than one or two blades, this knife has long reigned as an outstanding example of (simple) machine excellence.

8 – The Congress Knife

If your gag reflex is triggered by the thought of a knife named after America’s least favorite political institution, we can’t say we blame you. Take heart, though; the name of the congress knife likely has nothing to do with the fine folks up on Capitol Hill. Congress, the word, invokes a “coming together,” and that’s the perfect way to describe what the blades do on one of these knives. This workhorse of a knife was popular across the South in the days of the plantation, and it is ordinarily comprised of two bigger sheepsfoot blades and a couple of secondary blades. Why create a knife with two identical blades? Well, it allows you to go longer between sharpening sessions! Besides, wouldn’t you expect a knife called the congress to have some redundancy?

7 – The Pen Knife

Wait, you say, isn’t a pen knife just another name for the common pocket knife? Well, yes and no. Culturally, sure, a lot of people casually refer to any and all pocket knives as pen knives, but those people are wrong (and you should tell them so). The pen knife was actually a common desk tool back in the day when people were still using quill pens for their correspondence. The simple, small blade would be used to cut the pen and keep it functional. Today, no one really ever needs this tool, but the pen knife is still widely beloved. Generally speaking, if your folding knife has only two blades – one of which is a small pen blade – then you likely have a pen knife. More tools or blades than that, and it’s some other type of pocket knife.

6 – The Canoe Knife

Said by some to have been designed out of appreciation for Native American culture, the canoe knife is called such because it (sort of) resembles a canoe when the blades are folded in. You don’t have to be a history buff or a canoe owner to find a use for this wonderful knife, of course. With its two blades (a large, straight drop point and a small pen blade), this pocket knife was second only to the mighty Barlow in its heyday. The top knife manufacturers in the country still make this beauty, though, and if you’re in the market for a simple pocket knife, you could definitely do worse.

5 – The Tactical Folding Knife

We semi-joked above that your pocket knife could be used for self-defense in a pinch, but it really wasn’t that much of a joke. Indeed, as a wise man once said, the best tactical knife is the one you have on you when trouble comes. Whether that’s a simple Barlow or an actual tactical folding knife, you’ve gotta work with what ya got. American soldiers, outdoorsmen, and preppers often turn to this knife for their EDC, perhaps because it was made popular by the explosion of documentary-style shows about prepping and tactical lifestyles. Its major feature is the serrated edge on its large blade, which can make it very useful in situations where a traditional straight blade would not be sufficient.

4 – The Trapper Knife

With some exceptions, there is a simplicity to the naming of pocket knives that you just have to appreciate. Consider the trapper knife, with its two blades, each of which folds from the same end. It’s called a trapper knife…because that’s who used it! Fur trappers and cattlemen put these knives to great use in the American West. Back in those days, the trapper knife would typically include a long Spey blade recommended for slicing and a smaller clip point blade with a piercing sharp end. Today’s manufacturers can create a trapper knife out of just about any two blades that you’d like, though, so that’s not the last word on these jackknives.

3 – The Peanut Knife

Named for its small size, the peanut knife has a history dating back more than a hundred years. Typically designed with two jackknife blades, a clip point and a drop point, these knives are usually created with precise measurements and high-quality materials, which is why they’re prized in knife circles. What it lacks in size, the peanut more than makes up for in quality. Also, some people will find a standard-size pocket knife a little too bulky for everyday carry purposes. If you want something with a smaller profile that will still get the job done, the peanut might be for you.

2 – The Stockman Knife

This slip joint, double-ended knife is practically synonymous with the generic term “pocket knife.” With at least three blades and two internal springs, the Stockman can handle a variety of situations. Whether your purpose was cutting food, sawing through tough hide, or push cutting, you had the blade you needed at your fingertips. Today, it’s the same deal, which is why these knives remain popular among cowboys and others who make their living in the field. If you ask an expert in the field to name the “best” pocket knife, you’re going to get this answer more often than not. If you’re looking for the gold standard in pocket knives, you should get yourself a Stockman.

1 – The Multitool Knife

Who among us was not mesmerized by the Swiss Army knife when we were kids? They were right up there with switchblades and those funky knives you’d see movie ninjas whipping around in 80s action flicks. The Swiss Army knife is the most popular version of what’s called a multitool, which technically doesn’t need a knife blade to earn its name (though one is usually attached). Like any other folding pocket knife, the multitool’s tools can be folded neatly into the handle. And what an amazing assortment of tools there is! From corkscrews to scissors to built-in bit drivers, you can find multitool knives with almost everything under the sun included. Leave your heavy toolbox in the garage and put one of these bad boys in your pocket, instead!

Share this post

Save & Share Cart
Your Shopping Cart will be saved and you'll be given a link. You, or anyone with the link, can use it to retrieve your Cart at any time.
Back Save & Share Cart
Your Shopping Cart will be saved with Product pictures and information, and Cart Totals. Then send it to yourself, or a friend, with a link to retrieve it at any time.
Your cart email sent successfully :)