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In the ideal world, we’d all love to carry a Rambo knife for maximum protection and preparedness. Some of us are lucky enough to be in a line of work where we can pull that off, but it’s safe to say that most people will need to go with a more discrete option. Ergo, we have the EDC (everyday carry) knife — a compact, lightweight blade that ensure there’s always a trusty knife within reach.
There are a million good reasons to carry an EDC knife, and all of them circle back to the old Boy Scout motto that we recited around campfires growing up: be prepared. Having a versatile knife within arm’s reach ensures you’re ready for anything that life or mother nature decides to throw your way. Like most other EDC essentials, a knife is a convenient tool to help us get out of a little pickle; but sometimes, it can mean the difference between life and death.
When you’re shopping for an EDC knife, quality is king. Functionality and versatility are important, but you need a durable, dependable knife when you’re in a life-or-death situation.
Here are a few things to look for in a good EDC knife:
Out of dozens of knives that we tested, we’ve selected two of the best EDC knives under $50 with three functions in mind: self-defense, survival, and versatility. Our top pick is the ideal choice for self defense and survival, while the second choice offers a wider range of useful features beyond knife fights and cutting things.
Gerber has been manufacturing quality knives and tools since 1939. They’re an iconic American brand with a global reach. You’ll find their knives in the hands of soldiers, hunters, and tradesmen around the world. Their gear reflects decades of innovation and dedication to the craft. Every life-saving, problem-solving tool that they produce is designed with specific activities in mind.
Gerber’s Ghoststrike collection is engineered for stealth defense. The ability to discreetly carry these knives lies at the heart of every design, ensuring they’re on hand and ready at a moment’s notice. Ghoststrike collection knives are lightweight with a slim profile and easy to access, so they can be discreetly transported in your pocket, on your belt, on your ankle, or around your neck.
The Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife is an ultralight self-defense knife with a fine-edge blade made from durable 420HC steel. Its compact skeletal frame makes it surprisingly light in hand, and the diamond-texture rubber overmold ensures a firm grip. The knife features a black ceramic coating to reduce reflection and corrosion, and a modular sheath system that you can wear horizontally or vertically.
Like all of Gerber’s knives and gear, the Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife is manufactured in Portland, Oregon. It’s also backed by Gerber’s limited lifetime warranty, so you know you’re making a solid investment.
Sometimes you need more than a knife to handle life’s challenges. The Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife may be the best EDC knife for self defense and survival, but the Rev Multi Tool from Leatherman is hands-down the most versatile EDC knife you can get for under $50. From life-saving moments to everyday tasks, you just can’t beat the versatility of a Leatherman multi-tool.
When most Americans reach for a multi-tool, chances are they’re reaching for a Leatherman. In fact, the name Leatherman is pretty much synonymous with multi-tools now, so the company’s reputation speaks for itself. They’ve been manufacturing quality knives and multi-tools in Portland, Oregon since 1983, and like Gerber they’re an American heritage company with a global reach.
The Leatherman Rev features a 2.6-inch stainless steel blade that locks into place when fully deployed. You can attach the multi-tool to your pocket or belt loop with the replaceable pocket clip, or you can remove the clip to carry the tool in a pocket or sheath instead. The Rev also features tools that are accessible from the folded/closed position to mimic the feel of a pocket knife.
The Rev aims to put a viable toolbox in your pocket that’ll come in handy whether you’re at work, in the woods, in the garage, or around the house. Inside, you’ll find 14 indispensable tools, including a stainless steel knife, needle nose pliers, regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, wire cutters, a package opener, a wood/metal file, a can opener, a bottle opener, a 1.5-inch ruler, a Phillips screwdriver, a medium screwdriver, a small screwdriver, and a wire stripper.
If you’re looking for an EDC knife primarily for self-defense and survival, go with the Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife. It’s stealthy, lightweight, and easy to grip in a knife fight. It’s tough to carry in your pocket with the sheath, but you shouldn’t be sticking an EDC knife in your pocket if self-defense is your main concern. Attaching the sheath to your belt is the better way to go to keep the knife easily accessible.
If you’re looking for a pocket knife that’s more useful in everyday situations, go with the Rev from Leatherman. You’ll find the Rev far more useful than the Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife when you’re at work, fixing up the house, or tinkering in the garage. Should you find yourself in need of knife for self defense or survival, the Rev’s 2.6-inch blade can still do the trick.