If your search for a new EDC pocket knife is becoming a little, well … dull, then it might be time to sit down with our side-to-side review of the Best 6 Spyderco Knives of 2021, curated from a collection of the popular brand’s 40 best-selling models.
From every day carry pocket knives to full-featured emergency blades, Spyderco knows how to make them sharp, stylish, and durable. Since their inception nearly a half century ago, Spyderco has made it their mission to provide top of the line folding knives at a price point that would allow all sorts of people to keep one in their pocket.
But let’s cut to the point. Choosing the best Spyderco Knife is no easy task, especially if you have actually seen how thick their catalogue is. To continue our quest to educate the masses, we present you with the following review guide, followed by a set of handy tips that you can use when shopping for EDC knives, boating knives, or of course, anything made by the folks at Spyderco.
Most Popular Spyderco Knife – Spyderco Delica 4
As a gear reviewer, you sometimes can’t ignore the sheer popularity of a particular product. The Delica 4 grabbed our attention for no other reason than the thousands upon thousands of positive reviews that it has garnered over the last couple of years. Once we got our hands on it, however, it became clear what all the fuss was about. This is a versatile VG-10 steel knife (as opposed to the H1 steel that in the Atlantic Salt knife) that is simultaneously strong and lightweight.
It arrives sharp as a tack right out of the box, and Spyderco’s top-notch hardening process means that you can rely on it to keep a blade for months at a time. The bi-directional texturing on the knife’s handle (available in a ton of different colors) is “sticky” enough to prevent accidental dropping but is not too rough to get easily in and out of your pocket, like some of the cheaper survival pocket knives on the market. The only drawback is the blade-lock, which works well, but not quite as well as the compression lock system that you find on their more expensive models.
Best Spyderco Serrated Edge Knife – Spyderco Atlantic Salt
There are a couple of things that make the Spyderco Atlantic one of the best boating knives in existence, and a few more things that make it simple one of the handiest tools to have around for other applications as well. The SALT series of Spyderco Knives eliminates the problem of saltwater-caused rust issues with a groundbreaking, nitrogen-based steel. They’ve got two different varieties of “nitro-steel”, but the Atlantic uses the H1, which is the slightly lesser expensive of the two. Boaters, kayakers, and fishermen will appreciate having a knife that can saw as well as it can cut, whether it is through a snagged trawling line, a tangle fishing net, or the straps of a flotation device in an emergency situation.
The best thing about the Atlantic Knife is no doubt the hollow grind serrated edge, but the fact that they’ve managed to not only improve upon the design of a serrated blade but also manage to shrink it down to this size is what is truly amazing. The Atlantic does share the same primary issue as the Delica 4, which is a blade-lock system that leaves a little something to be desired.
Best Spyderco “Hawksbill” Edge Knife – Spyderco Tasman Salt 2
The TASMAN 2 is the latest release in Spyderco’s SALT series of knives … a cool brand of blades that utilize innovative nitrogen-infused steel that has a greater rust resistance than any other steel, pretty much ever. Like the Atlantic knife that we reviewed above, the Tasman 2 utilizes the H1 nitro-steel, which is just as sharp as more traditional steels like 420HC and undergoes the same Spyderco hardening process that gives them their signature blade retention. The first thing you will notice about the Tasman 2 is the unique “hawkbill” shape. By giving the blade surface a concave shape, the hawkbill knives can “capture” the thing that they are trying to cut.
Usually, this is boat cording or ropes. The concave shape also maximizes the cutting surface area which can lead to remarkably fast and efficient cuts. This is certainly the right knife for anyone who is spending a significant amount of time on the water. The only bad thing about hawkbill knives is that they are more difficult to sharpen.
Best Spyderco Crescent Tip Knife – Spyderco Police
Over the last few decades, the unique shape of the SPYDERCO POLICE has been emulated by dozens of different manufacturers looking to copy its slender profile, long cutting edge, and stainless steel construction. Unsurprisingly, very few have them have come close to creating a comparable blade. The Spyderco Police was designed in the 1980’s for the unique needs of law enforcement professionals.
This means a lightweight but sturdy construction with ablade steel (H10) that can hold up to all sorts of emergency tasks, from slicing seat belts to opening boxes of doughnuts. The medium price point of this particular knife is also a huge selling point … surely one of Spyderco’s better blades under one hundred and fifty bucks. While the stainless steel construction makes for a really strong knife, the added weight makes this a bit too heavy to be some people’s choice for every day carry.
Best Bang for the Buck – Spyderco Resilience
|Material||8Cr13Mov Stainless Steel|
At just under sixty bucks, the RESILIENCE is one of Spyderco’s most affordable knives, which is surprising to us for no other reason than just how awesome this knife actually is. First off, it’s got a 9.4” total length when open, which is one of the longest knives from Spyderco, if not the longest in its class. The slight downgrade in steel to 8Cr13Mov means that you are not getting the same level of sharpness or hardness as in other models (like the Spyderco Kapara, which we will look at next) but it is a great steel for the price and we doubt you are going to notice much of a difference.
If anything, you’re just going to have to sharpen it more often. Users are saying a lot of good things about the G-10 composite handle, which offers just enough grip but is not as aggressively “scaled” as some of the other blades that we looked at. Best feature: a 4-way pocket clip that can be moved around based on the user’s preferences. Worst feature: it’s simply too big for EDC.
Best of the Rest – Spyderco Kapara
|Material||CPM S30V/140 Steel|
It might be one of the more expensive Spyderco knives on our list, but this is one case where we can say with full honesty that it is worth the extra few bucks. This is truly a superb folding knife for anyone that is looking to upgrade from their entry-level model into something with a more professional grade construction. The design is both beautiful and functional. Great pivot-brushing action makes for a knife that is easy to open and close.
The handle is made from a carbon fiber weave that provides both incredible strength and adequate flexibility, or in other words, a nearly indestructible blend of design features that make it far above the nylon or steel handles of other models. While we love compression locks, and the Kapara has a really strong one, it does take some time to break in before it opens easily. But adding a touch of oil and messing with the pivot screw can make it easier for some users.
[Buyer’s Guide] The Best Spyderco Knives – 2021 Edition
If you’ve made it this far, then we can safely assume that you are in the middle of your hunt for a new folding blade, and secondly, that you have already decided that Spyderco is the brand that you want to go with. Well, kudos to you. You sound like a consumer of good sense and taste.
Spyderco, Inc. was founded in 1976, and since then they have been making some of the best EDC blades on the market. With a focus on good products at an affordable price, they have managed to become one of the best-selling knife brands of all time, and it doesn’t look like their popularity is going to start waning anytime soon.
The best thing about Spyderco knives is that they are all a really impressive blend of function and value. If you put a Spyderco knife up against its closest competitor by price, there is no doubt that you will be getting a better blade if you go with Spyderco.
This isn’t to say that they are the best knife brand of all time, or even that their knives are the best on the market. They are simply a great high-value knife company that has a tendency to improve their product lines over time … which is certainly not the case with some companies.
How to Choose a Spyderco Knife for EDC
If you’ve spend any amount of time shopping for a knife, then you have no doubt been forced to read about someone’s new “EDC”, which is a shortened way to say Every-Day Carry. Back in the day we used to just call it a “trusty pocket knife” … the blade that you had on you at all times.
When setting out to find your new EDC folding knife, you should pay attention to some of the following factors:
While there are literally dozens of different varieties of steel out there, and sometimes a half dozen within a single brand, choosing a blade steel preference is not an easy task. However it is also not entirely necessary, as once you decide on a brand you can trust, you can rest assured that you are getting a quality product.
Having said that it is important to note that there are significant performance differences between different varieties of steel, and the better steel tends to be significantly more expensive.
The SALT series of knives utilizes an all-new type of nitrogen-infused steel, the H10, and the 100% rustproof quality of this metal impresses a lot of people. However, so far it seems as if the H10 doesn’t offer the same degree of edge retention as other steels.
420HC is what you have likely seen on a lot of entry-level folding knives, but you aren’t going to find it on many Spyderco knives.
CPMS30V/140 is the steel used in the Kapara, which is by far the sharpest and hardest steel of all the knives we featured here.
VG-10 is a fairly highly rated knife steel and offers incredible edge retention and durability, and is only slightly more expensive than some of the budget-level steels out there.
If your folding knife doesn’t have a blade lock, then you should invest in a big old pack of Band-Aids. Blade locks are there to prevent the blade from flipping outwards when you don’t want it to … such as, oh we don’t know, when it’s in your pocket!
There are a couple of different styles of blade lock, and Spyderco uses a blend of them. Here is what each type is good for:
- Liner Locks -- Simple & affordable; quite common
- Frame Locks – Strong & reliable
- Back Locks – An older type of lock, but quite reliable
- Axis Locks – Ambidextrous & strong
- Compression Lock – Developed by Spyderco; very secure
Spyderco utilizes a number of different materials for handle construction.
Stainless Steel handles, like on the Spyderco Police Knife, are super strong but also a lot heavier than the average blade handle.
Composite handles are probably the most common, because they offer a good balance of strength, comfort, and affordability.
Carbon Fiber handles are popular in higher end knives. While more expensive, carbon fiber can be as strong as stainless steel but significantly lighter.
Pocket Clip Configuration
Any good pocket knife should feature the ability to remove the pocket clip and reposition it to your liking. Usually this simply means flipping it around to the other side … if you are left-handed for instance. But some folks also prefer their knives to go in up-side down (or right-side up, depending on where you stand).
Most Spyderco knives have pocket clips that can be repositioned or swapped around, but it’s always a good idea to check if it is a feature that is important to you.
Editor’s Pick: The Best Spyderco Folding Knife in 2021 [Conclusion]
There are a lot of knife manufacturers out there, and even more knives and blades between them. Even if you were to limit the list to Spyderco-made products, you would still be hard pressed to even look at all of them in a day, much less make any kind of meaningful judgments about them.
The 6 Knives on our list represent some of the best knife and steel technology that Spyderco has to offer, even if it is a less-than-exhaustive list of what this reputable cutlery company has to offer.
If you ask us (and you kind of are, by being here) we think that the Spyderco Kapara is the best of the lot. It’s quite a bit more expensive, but anyone looking for a reliable knife that they’ll be keeping in their pocket for years to come should know that it is more than worth the money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing a knife for EDC is not particularly easy, especially considering the staggering number of new pocket knives to hit the market over the last few years. Indeed it feels as if there is a new knife company popping up every week, and they’re all trying to capture their own little slice of the market by introduction new shapes, new steels, and innovative design updates.
For EDC the starting points are: 1. Weight 2. Size 3. Profile (Thickness)
As you can see, it’s all about how well it fits in your pocket and how easily you can both retrieve it and open it with one hand. In our opinion, there is no other knife from Spyderco that offers the best blend of all these features than the Spyderco Police, which we reviewed above.
A knife’s ability to stay sharp over time is a direct result of its hardness, which has more to do with the manufacturer’s process than it does with the specific base steel. While this is a bit of an oversimplification (as there are plenty of other factors that play their own small roles) it is helpful to illustrate the concept.
From what our team could deduce, the knife with the best edge retention on our list is going to be the Spyderco Kapara. When it comes to pocket knives, you really do get what you pay for, and the extra few bucks for the Kapara will provide its user with a harder, sharper, and more reliable blade than any of the other folding knives on our list.
Our team’s preference is carbon fiber, like the handle of the Kapara. However there are plenty of composite materials that offer good grip, durability, and comfort without the added price of advances carbon fiber. The G-10 composite of the Spyderco Resilience is a great option, for instance.
Stainless steel handles like the one on the Spyderco Police offer a truly unmatched strength, but the added weight makes these blades too heavy for EDC (for some people).
All Spyderco folding knives have a blade lock, though the specific type of locking system will vary from knife to knife. Our personal preference is the compression lock, which utilizes a spring-tensioned clip-thing that needs to be pressed in in order to release the blade. These are the easiest type of blade lock to activate with one hand and they are generally very reliable.