submitted by Chris Van Hoven
There are only a handful of companies that EDCers would blindly trust because of the level of quality and craftsmanship they’ve come to know and expect from them, and one of those companies is Spyderco. Founded in 1976 by Sal and Gail Glesser, Spyderco has grown from selling one or two knife models to becoming one of the leaders in the cutlery industry.
In this guide, we’ll be talking about our top Spyderco knife choices. Since Spyderco has such a wide variety of knife models that suit nearly every budget and purpose, we’ll break each one down per category, and give you a brief overview of some Spyderco knives you should definitely consider adding to your collection. Note that although we have specific knife recommendations in this guide, the same model is usually available in a variety of different steels, handle materials, and colors, so feel free to choose one that suits your personal taste.
Our Top Picks
The Best Overall Spyderco Knife: Shaman 15V [Buy]
The Best Spyderco Knife on a Budget: Roadie [Buy]
The Most Premium Spyderco Knife: Para Military 2 15V [Buy]
The Best Spyderco Knife for the Outdoors: SpydieChef [Buy]
The Very Best Spyderco Knives
With such a wide variety of models covering different use cases such as hunting, culinary, tactical, or rescue scenarios, narrowing the list down to just 15 choices can be tricky. We’ve chosen the models that offer the most versatility, value, and function among Spyderco’s offerings, making it easier for you to pick one that suits you best.
1 – The Best Overall Spyderco Knife: Shaman 15V2 – The Best Spyderco Knife on a Budget: Roadie3 – The Most Premium Spyderco Knife: Para Military 2 15V4 – The Best Spyderco Knife for EDC: Dragonfly 25 – The Best Spyderco Knife for the Outdoors: SpydieChef6 – Military 27 – Lil’ Temperance 38 – Stok Fixed Blade9 – Ambitious Lightweight10 – Tenacious Lightweight11 – Native 5 Salt12 – Para 3 Lightweight13 – Manix 214 – Delica 415 – Chaparral
The Best Overall Spyderco Knife: Shaman 15V
The Best Spyderco Knife on a Budget: Roadie
The Most Premium Spyderco Knife: Para Military 2 15V
The Best Spyderco Knife for EDC: Dragonfly 2
The Best Spyderco Knife for the Outdoors: SpydieChef
Lil’ Temperance 3
Stok Fixed Blade
Native 5 Salt
Para 3 Lightweight
Founded in 1976 by Sal and Gail Glesser, Spyderco is considered to be the grandfather of the modern EDC or tactical knife. Many of the features found in modern tactical folding knives were first introduced by Spyderco, such as the pocket clip, serrations, and thumb openers. Spyderco is known for its unique blade designs and use of high-quality materials, like VG-10 and S30V steel, known for their durability and resistance to wear and corrosion. Spyderco also offers a wide range of knives, from folding and fixed-blade knives to various specialty knives for different applications, making it possible to narrow down a knife that perfectly fits your particular use case and budget.
Types of Spyderco Knives
Collectible: These knives can feature unique materials used in either the blade or the handle itself, such as premium-grade high-carbon steels. They can also showcase special designs and unique colorways.Everyday Carry: EDC knives are known for being practical in design. Compact and portable, these knives are meant to be easy to carry with you, whether in your pocket or a bag.Gentleman’s: Small, simple, and stylish, these knives honor the best of traditional knives, focusing on the quality of materials without compromising performance.Fishing/Hunting: These knives are usually corrosion-resistant, featuring special handle materials for extra grip even with wet hands.Culinary: Meant for cooking tasks, these knives come in several variations depending on their use, whether slicing through hard-crusted baked goods, chopping vegetables, or carving meats.Marine: These knives are usually made of H1 and LC200N blade steel, which are highly resistant to corrosion and perfect for use in ocean- or other saltwater-related applications.Outdoor: Outdoor knives are ideal for camping, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and more. These knives prioritize high-grip handles, ensuring that you’re in control of the cutting in various weather conditions.Rescue: Spyderco pioneered the concept of the purpose-designed rescue knife by combining the safety of a sheepsfoot blade profile, a serrated edge, and lightweight convenience.Survival: Similar to outdoor knives, survival knives need to be highly versatile, designed to be the knife of choice for emergency situations where you don’t have many tools available.Tactical: Tactical knives are designed to meet operational requirements of duty-bound personnel, integrating features like the pocket clip, serrated edge, and one-handed opening capability while using muted or darker colors.Throwing Knives: These knives are designed to be thrown and to stick to their target, featuring exceptional balance with blades tempered to a tough spring hardness.
What to Look for When Buying a Spyderco EDC Knife
Blade size and shape: Consider the size and shape of the blade based on your needs. For example, a smaller blade may be more convenient for everyday carry, while a larger blade may be better for heavier-duty tasks.Blade material: Spyderco offers different blade materials, such as VG-10, S35VN, and LC200N, which have different properties in terms of durability, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.Lock mechanism: Look for a reliable and easy-to-use locking mechanism, such as the Compression Lock, which is found on many Spyderco knives. Also consider which locks work best if you’re left- or right-handed.Handle material and ergonomics: Consider the handle material and ergonomics of the knife for a comfortable and secure grip. Spyderco offers various handle materials, such as G-10, carbon fiber, and titanium, which have different properties in terms of durability and weight.Pocket clip: Pocket clips are convenient if you need to carry your knife in your pants pocket or clip them to your bag, but they can sometimes alter how the grip and feel of a knife. They also make the knife heavier and bulkier, taking up more real estate in your pocket. Like its lock, also consider if the model of your choice lets you carry and clip it according to your dominant hand.Price: Spyderco knives come at different price points, covering a wide range of budget considerations. Find a knife with a price you’re comfortable spending without compromising on its ability to do the tasks you need done.
Blade Shape and Edge
Spyderco knives come in a variety of blade shapes. Here are some of the most common blade shapes you’ll come across:
Drop Point: A curved edge that drops down to a point. It’s a versatile blade shape that’s great for general use.Clip Point: A blade shape with a concave curve on the back of the blade, which creates a thinner, sharper point. This is a popular blade shape choice for hunting and tactical knives.Spear Point: A symmetrically shaped blade that tapers to a point, good for piercing and slicing.Tanto: A blade shape with a straight edge and a chisel point, which makes it excellent for piercing tough materials.Sheepsfoot: A blade shape with a straight edge and a curved spine, resembling its namesake sheep’s foot. This is a popular blade shape for rescue and emergency response knives.Wharncliff: A blade shape with a straight edge that curves gradually to the point. This is an excellent blade shape for precision cutting tasks.Hawkbill: A blade shape with a deeply curved edge resembling a hawk’s beak. This blade shape is popular for its ability to make short work of tough materials.Leaf-Shaped: A blade shape wide at the base and tapers to a point, resembling a leaf. It’s a versatile blade shape that is good for slicing and piercing.Reverse S: A blade shape with a reverse curve creates a hooked tip. This is a popular blade shape for specialized cutting tasks like rope cutting.
These are just some examples of blade shapes that you’ll find featured on Spyderco knives. There are many other unique blade shapes as well.
Carry and Deployment
When it comes to Spyderco knives, “carry” typically refers to how the knife is carried on your person or in your gear, while “deployment” refers to how the knife is opened and made ready for use.
Carry: Spyderco knives can be carried in various ways, depending on the model and your personal preference. Some Spyderco knives are designed for pocket carry and feature a pocket clip that allows you to clip the knife to your pocket or waistband. Other Spyderco knives are designed for sheath carry and come with a sheath that can be attached to your belt or gear.
Deployment: Spyderco knives are known for their unique Round Hole opening, allowing for quick and easy one-handed blade deployment, even while gloved. To deploy the blade, you simply place your thumb in the thumb hole and rotate the blade open. Many Spyderco knives also feature various locking mechanisms, such as the Compression Lock or the Ball Bearing Lock, that help to ensure the blade stays securely in place when deployed.
Overall, Spyderco knives are designed with both carry and deployment in mind and are often highly regarded by knife enthusiasts for their ease of use and reliability.
Spyderco has one of the widest ranges of knife handle materials, including:
Carbon FiberCarbon Fiber/G-10 LaminateCarbon Fiber/TitaniumFRCPFRNG-10MicartaN/ARaffir NobleStainless SteelTitaniumTitanium/G-10WoodAluminum
Each material offers a different aesthetic as well as a different feel in your hand, due to varying textures and weights.
Price Ranges for Spyderco Knives
One of the great things about Spyderco is that their knives encompass price points for any budget, from the $30 C133 Bug to the (now discontinued) Slysz Bowie priced at $500.
How We Picked the Best Spyderco Knives
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.
Choose the Best Spyderco Knife!
Now that you’re armed with the information you need on Spyderco knives, we hope you’ll be able to find the perfect knife that suits your needs. 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 with the industry and familiarity in design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.
Is Spyderco better than Benchmade?
Spyderco and Benchmade are reputable knife brands with unique features and strengths. Spyderco knives are known for their ergonomic designs, high-quality blade steels, and a wide range of blade shapes and sizes that cater to all budgets. Benchmade, on the other hand, tends to be more premium and is known for its attention to detail and craftsmanship. Ultimately, the choice between Spyderco and Benchmade will come down to your personal preferences regarding design, materials, features, and of course, budget.
Are Spyderco knives any good?
Spyderco is one of the biggest names in the knife world, with a strong following of loyal owners. Known for their innovative designs, high-quality materials, and attention to detail, Spyderco also has one of the largest selections of knives regarding handle materials and price points, ensuring that you can easily find the perfect knife your budget and your use case.
What knife is better than Benchmade?
Arguably better alternatives to Benchmade include Spyderco, WE, and Zero Tolerance knives. Extremely high-end knives like Chris Reeve and other custom knifemakers are strong contenders too. Ultimately, the best knife brand for you will depend on your preferences and needs, so it’s important to research and choose a knife that suits your specific requirements.
What is the rarest Spyderco knife?
Spyderco has produced a number of limited edition and rare knives over the years with some particular examples that are highly sought after by collectors, such as the Spyderco Nirvana and C60 Massad Ayoob which were produced in limited quantities. The rarity and value of a knife can vary depending on a number of factors, such as its condition, age, and historical significance.