submitted by Adam Molina
For many people in the EDC community, the pocket knife is their most used tool. That’s because a good knife serves you well, whether performing everyday utility cutting and slicing tasks or leveraging a sharp edge in critical life-saving applications during emergencies. It’s easy to see why having a reliable and sharp blade can be useful, but not all knives are built the same. If speed is important, and you want to bring a knife to bear on a task quickly, you will want to EDC a spring-assisted knife.
Our Top Picks
The Best Spring-Assisted Knives
1 – The Best Overall Spring-Assisted Knife: CRKT Burnley Squid XM2 – The Best Spring-Assisted Knife on a Budget: Kershaw Cryo II3 – The Most Premium Spring-Assisted Knife: Benchmade Mini Barrage4 – The Toughest Spring-Assisted Knife: Zero Tolerance 0350TS5 – The Best Spring-Asssisted Knife for Lefties: SOG Flash AT6 – Ontario Knife Company RAT 1A Spring-Assisted Knife
The Best Overall Spring-Assisted Knife: CRKT Burnley Squid XM
The Best Spring-Assisted Knife on a Budget: Kershaw Cryo II
The Most Premium Spring-Assisted Knife: Benchmade Mini Barrage
The Toughest Spring-Assisted Knife: Zero Tolerance 0350TS
The Best Spring-Asssisted Knife for Lefties: SOG Flash AT
Ontario Knife Company RAT 1A Spring-Assisted Knife
Kershaw Clash: The Kershaw Clash features a 3.1” drop point blade with a serrated portion that makes tougher cutting tasks a breeze. Because it’s a Kershaw, it also has SpeedSafe assisted opening for quick deployment.
SOG Knife SlimJim XL: The SlimJim XL is a thin, unique knife with a clip-point blade shape and 420 stainless steel skeletonized handle. Despite the thinness, it has a 4.18” blade ideal for daily use.
Kershaw Leek: The Kershaw Leek features an EDC-friendly 3” blade of 14C28N steel. This flipper is easy to use one-handed and features a Tip-Lock that keeps the blade safely stashed away when not in use.
Benchmade Barrage: The Benchmade Barrage pulls no punches and has a partially serrated blade for tougher tasks. Unlike the Barrage Mini on this list, this one has a black Valox handle and a tanto-style blade.
Kershaw Filter: The Kershaw Filter also features Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening, so you know you can count on a quick deployment. The stonewashed steel also adds to its practical, no-nonsense aesthetic, perfectly matching a practical EDC knife like this one.
How Do Spring-Assisted Knives Work?
Spring-assisted knives (also called assisted-opening knives) feature a spring mechanism built into the pivot or handle of the tool that takes over and speeds up the process of opening everything up. To operate an assisted-opening knife, you start opening it up, usually with the thumbstud or a flipper index tab. Once you get to a certain point manually, the stored energy in the spring assist mechanism causes the blade to flip open fully without you having to manipulate the knife all the way. The result is a blade you can open quickly and conveniently, usually only with a single hand.
Spring-Assisted Knives: Features and Qualities
Thumbstuds are helpful for quickly deploying blades with only one hand. It takes a little practice, but deploying a blade with one hand is useful when your other is occupied. If the blade has thumbstuds on both sides, it makes the knife easier to handle for lefties. It doesn’t take much force for the spring to take over and finish opening the knife.
Not all blades are made to withstand anything you throw at them. Some are more than good enough for everyday tasks like opening packages or cutting some paracord, but if you’re a first responder or spend a lot of time out in nature, you might need something more robust. A knife designed for heavy-duty use typically has tougher handles, better steel that will stay sharp for longer, and a larger blade than is typically allowed in most cities. However, checking your local knife laws is always a good idea to ensure what is allowed.
Strong grip handle
A handle with an excellent grip is a must-have for two crucial reasons. The first is safety. A poor handle can lead to slipping and accidental cuts, which is the last thing you want when opening a package that may or may not contain another new knife. The second reason is that having a handle with a good grip makes it easier to deal with demanding cutting jobs.
Spring-Assisted Knives vs. Automatic Knives
While spring-assist mechanisms are faster than a standard manual opening knife, these EDC knives should not be confused with automatic knives (also known as “switchblades”). With an automatic knife, all you have to do is press a switch or button that’s completely separate from the actual blade to get it open. And while the technology in assisted-opening EDC knives now rivals the speed of automatic knives, that mechanical difference makes spring-assisted blades generally easier to EDC and legal to carry in more locales than automatic knives, which are usually more restricted. But as always, research and check your local laws to ensure a spring-assisted knife is legal to carry where you live.
Now that you know what makes assisted-opening knives unique and desirable for everyday carry, you might wonder what the best spring-assisted knives are. The good news is that there are many options for picking a spring-assisted knife, so you can select the ones that suit your needs. To help you find the best spring-assisted knife for your EDC, we’ve compiled the list above of our recent favorites for you to consider.
What is a spring-assisted knife called?
A spring-assisted knife is also sometimes called an assisted-opening knife. It refers to the mechanism of deployment. When a knife opens fully only after an initial force is applied to it to begin the action of opening, it is called a spring-assisted knife.
What is the blade length of a spring-assisted knife?
There is no set length for a spring-assisted knife. That said, most spring-assisted knives typically fall between 2” and 5” just because those are the average sizes of EDC knives.
What is the difference between a spring-assisted knife and a switchblade?
The opening mechanism is the main difference between a spring-assisted knife and a switchblade. A switchblade is an automatic knife deployed by pressing a button or pushing a switch. A spring-assisted knife only assists the user. So the user must begin to deploy the knife by applying pressure before the mechanism kicks in to finish the job.
[h3] How do you open a spring-assisted knife?
There are a few different ways you can open a spring-assisted knife. The most common methods are applying pressure downward on a knife’s flipper tab and applying outward force to its thumbstuds or thumb hole.
How We Picked
Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.
What is Everyday Carry?
Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily life. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise in the industry and familiarity with design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.