Budget Pocket Knife Review


Nov 14, 2007
Knives are a funny thing, similar to cigars, we often pay a premium to have a name brand.  That's not to say the high quality knives or cigars are not worth the price, just that sometimes a solid product at a good price point is what one needs...
...or you lost one of your favorite knives and the wife would flip if you dropped coin on its replacement at the moment.
It was a good run, but now its gone

Although I will never be happy losing any tool, it served me well for 6+ year, I'm able to start looking at other options for my EDC. I've always like the look of some of the Hinderer designs but have never been able to get hands on with one.  Combined that with my wife's overwhelming desire for hardwood floors and new furniture and anything less than a budget knife would be meet with scorn.  Fortunately there are some really nice offerings in the sub $40 range, with a lot of nice feature that should last and function for a while.
Emerson Thermite
Was my choice.  When I ordered it last week, the plain model was approximately the same cost and had a shipping time of a month. I went with the black wash and Prime.

I've been carrying this for a couple of days and I'm pleased with it.  For being ~$30, it comes with a lot of features one would not expect, such as belt/pocket clip that is movable for right or left handed operation, as well tip up or tip down carry.  This model features Kershaw's SpeedSafe Assisted opening and a small flipper.  The blade pivots and deploys easily with one hand and should do so for a longtime, as the knife has phosphor-bronze bushing normally found in more expensive knives. The assist isn't as "snappy" as some of my other assisted openers, but is more than adequate.  Out of the box the blade is "arm shaving" sharp (only my ZT350 has ever been that sharp straight out of the box) and is made of decent, if less than exotic material.  The interwebz seems to agree the blade material isn't the toughest, nor does it hold the sharpest edge, but seems to feel that sharping it should be easy for a beginner.


The knife has frame lock and is pretty substantial.  Also in the pictures you can see the screw holes allow you to change the clip placement. The knife sits pretty deep in pocket, but the large frame hole allows a lanyard should you wish.
Size wise the knife carries well, as it is long and on the skinnier side.  The scales are textured just enough to be grippy but not so abrasive as to prevent you from putting anything else in your pocket.
Link to more In-depth review

Here is a picture for size comparison (top ZT 350;  Mid ZT 200; Bottom Kershaw Thermite)
Despite the similar lengths, the Thermite carries much better than the ZT 200
Kershaw has done a great job with its collaborations with various knife makers.  Their Emerson line is another excellent choice and also readily available via Amazon Prime.  In the other thread the CRKT M-16 is getting lots of praise. I've never personally handled one, but I have a couple other CRKT offerings and have been pleased.
The bottom line is to skip the cheapy $10-15 flea market/knife show tactical folder, do a little bit of research and you can get a high quality pocket knife for less than $40. 
Some more knife Porn


Top: Emerson LaGriffe.  Comes with me when I run or bike, since I hate things swaying in my pocket.
Bottom: you can read.  Carry this a lot when wearing a suit and tie, as the wife hates the look of the pocket knife clip.

Brothers Drake Peanut Butter and Jelly Mead.  Comes to us out of Columbus Ohio. Not really my thing, my wife loved it.  No shit tastes like Jelly up front and roast peanuts on the finish.


You're unique...just like everyone else
Mar 21, 2012
bfreebern said:
This is what I carry as an EDC, does a great job:
I had the same knife and loved it. However, Gerber sent me a recall due to the locking mechanism sometimes failing so I sent mine in with the understanding that I would get a new one returned to me. Seeing your post reminded me that I haven't received my replacement yet.


Habeas Punkus
May 6, 2008
Is there a knife in the first picture?  All is see is really great bourbon!


Shut up baby I know it!
Sep 25, 2014
punk_lawyer said:
Is there a knife in the first picture?  All is see is really great bourbon!
Took me a minute to find when I first saw the pic.  My eyes kept drifting to the bottle as well.


Quietly getting back into the cigar culture.....
Jun 5, 2007
Nice review!
I am starting to get into the EDC mindset.
I have to look around and take a much more intentional approach to my life, EDC fits right in.
I switch between my CRKT M16 and a SOG Twitch II as my EDC.
Just got 6 really really budget Gentlemen's Lock Back folders to be used and abused as tools.


Quietly getting back into the cigar culture.....
Jun 5, 2007
Funny how things work, but I just lost my CRKT M16.
Think after doing lots of looking around I might have setteled on the SOG Flash II Tanto Straight
Feb 21, 2007
Here are my EDCs...

Case Peanut and Mini Trapper


I own quite a few knives. The Kershaw Leek was my everyday carry for years. I love the little Case Peanut though, especially with the CV steel blades. It's small enough that you can barely tell its there, but it does anything I need it to do on a daily basis. These aren't my prettiest folders... But these are my budget friendly ones.


Habitual Threadjacker!
Feb 2, 2008
I carry a Kershaw Blackout 1550 that has served me well for a number of years.