This post was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2023 to include newer models and more knives.
We all know that folding knives make the best knives for EDC — they’re often lightweight, easily concealable, versatile and can be folded up into the pocket.
However, a small but growing number of people are ditching folders for fixed blades as their EDC knives. Why? A fixed blade can be more reliable, stronger, and a bevy of new designs means it can be just as compact and lightweight as a pocket knife.
If you’re thinking about starting to carry a fixed blade as an EDC in lieu of a folder, here are 10 of the best EDC fixed blade knives to start with. I may update it in the future with a list of 20 since I left off many good ones. (You can also check out our list of the top small fixed blade knives)
Let’s kick things off with one of the most popular EDC fixed blades around: the ESEE Izula. There’s something about the small US-made neck knife that’s won over so many fans. The blade is a mere 2.63 inches with a versatile drop point blade design. The handle on the basic version is untouched, leaving users the option for customization. But you can also pick up some Micarta scales if you desire.
While I opted to put the Izula here, other ESEE knives warrant a look for EDC, including the Izula II and the Candiru.
Cold Steel Urban Edge
It might seem crazy to put a push dagger on this list of best EDC fixed blades because it’s really only designed for one thing, but you’d be surprised at just how versatile the knife actually is.
This version of the Cold Steel Urban Edge has a 2.5-inch blade with one edge plain and the other serrated. This gives it an extra level of functionality when wielding around the house. Need to open a box? Use the plain edge. Need to cut some rope? Use the serrated edge.
Since it weighs under 2 ounces, it can hang lightly around the neck until you need it.
What makes a good EDC fixed blade is a knife that’s small, slim, and lightweight. That perfectly describes the Biwa.
Designed originally as a hunting and fishing knife, the Biwa was created by Alan Folts (whose other knives you will see later on in this list). It has a 3.02-inch blade and a resin-infused handle. It only weights 1.6 ounces but is tough enough for all types of outdoor and indoor tasks.
It’s a visually striking knife that gets the job done without being too much money.
KA-BAR BK11 Becker Necker
I only wanted to include one KA-BAR Becker knife because there are so many good options. I decided to go with the BK11 Becker Necker but it was neck and neck (pardon the pun) with the BK14 Eskabar. Both knives have the same 3.25-inch drop point blades made from 1095 CroVan steel but converge with the handle.
The BK11 has a bottom opener at the butt whereas the BK14 has a handle similar to the Izula. It’s really a matter of opinion, but the BK11 adds some variety. And if you want something even smaller, the KA-BAR BK13 Becker Remora is a good option at 5.125 inches overall.
Case Leather Mini Finn
Besides neck knives, hunting knives are another popular option for EDC fixed blade. Take the Case Mini Finn, for example.
This knife boasts a classic design with a stacked leather handle and a smaller 3.13-inch mirror-polished Tru-Sharp steel blade. While it’s advertised as a hunting knife, it really excels at everyday tasks around the house.
The leather sheath makes taking out and putting away the knife as effortless as pulling a folder out of your pocket. As always, you can expect Case’s reliable quality.
Spyderco Subway Bowie
When we first made this list back in 2017, the Spyderco Street Beat occupied this spot because it was a smaller version of the popular Street Bowie. While the Street Beat was a good lightweight version of the Street Beat, it was still a tad too large.
So Spyderco and designer Fred Perrin came back with the even smaller and more carryable Subway Bowie.
Coming in at a mere 1.45 ounces, the Subway Bowie has a 2.8-inch blade that uses LC200N steel for a nearly rust-proof experience. If this knife is too small, the Street Beat still makes an excellent EDC with a 3.5-inch blade.
Not all EDC fixed blades have to be tiny. The ESEE-3 is the perfect example of a larger fixed blade that is still easy to carry.
The blade on the ESEE-3 is a reasonable 3.38-inch drop-point blade made from 1095 carbon steel. It has a finger choil on the blade that lets you choke up on the blade for finger tasks. On the other end, its Micarta handle is comfortable and strong for those times you need to whack away at some branches.
Sure, it weighs 5.2 ounces, but it attaches to your belt with a sheath, so it’s fairly straight forward and easy to carry.
One of the themes of fixed blades perfect for everyday carry is minimalism. With that term right in the name, the CRKT Minimalism is a no-brainer for EDC. The Minimalist is a small and lightweight fixed blade that cuts down on the bulk of the knife without sacrificing functionality and versatility.
The 2.125-inch blade comes in three different styles: clip point, wharncliffe, and tanto. The magic is in the handle that’s ergonomically designed to feel big in the hand without taking up much space. The Minimalist is frequently on these lists and now you know why.
In the past few years, CRKT and Alan Folts have made a ton of variations on the knife, each with its own advantages.
More recently, the larger Minimalist Katana with a 3.56-inch blade, making it even more versatile.
KA-BAR BK16 Short Becker
A while back someone pointed out that this list only had small fixed blades, but a few select larger fixed blades can also work as an EDC if you don’t mind a little more size and weight. If we’re stretching the limits of an EDC fixed blade, the BK16 is a worthy exception.
Featuring a 4.3-inch blade, the Short Becker is a highly capable fixed blade that can work well in harder outdoor tasks or around the house. Its Ultramid handle feels absolutely great in the hand.
You’ll notice that a lot of the knives on this list are actually neck knives, and the Kershaw Brace is no exception.
This budget-friendly fixed blade has a small 2-inch blade made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. It has a stainless steel handle with a removable glass-filled nylon overlay for extra comfort and security.
With its molded sheath, you can carry the knife in a couple ways, depending on your preferences.
Boker Plus PryMate Pro
Boker Plus makes a ton of knives, including many that could make appearances on this list, but I narrowed it down to a few designed by the great Jesper Voxnaes who CRKT calls “a master of minimalism and Nordic knife design.” I decided to go with the Boker Plus PryMate Pro.
The PryMate Pro is a small but burly fixed blade that can be put through the ringer and come out on the other side as good as new. It has a small 2.95-inch blade but with a beefy 0.19-inch thick blade.
Gerber Tri-Tip Mini Cleaver
Sometimes a good EDC fixed blade is also one with a unique design. That’s where the Gerber Tri-Tip comes in.
The Tri-Tip was modeled after a cleaver, and it proves just how handy cleavers can be for everyday tasks. This mini cleaver has a 2.8-inch blade that is almost a chisel blade design. It has a gently curving cutting edge along with strong point. The end of the blade also features a chisel edge for those times you need some scraping.
The handle is highly textured and ergonomic enough to keep it in your hand regardless of what you’re doing. It’s also available with a black blade.
Cold Steel Finn Bear
Yes, Cold Steel is probably best known for its massive and intimidating folders, but it does make a few models that are quiet, understated, and simple, such as the Finn Bear. Like the Rhino and WM1, the Finn Bear features a design that hails from Scandinavia. The blade is long at 4 inches but the design is thin and streamlined. The polypropylene handle is exceptionally grippy and durable. The whole package comes in at under 3 ounces.
KA-BAR TDI Original
The KA-BAR TDI Original is another design that thinks outside the box.
Initially designed as a last-ditch self-defense tool for law enforcement, the TDI has morphed into something more. Thanks to its unique handle shape that’s meant to mimic the feel of a pistol, the knife is easy to pull out of the sheath and put back in after use.
The blade is 2.31 inches long but can be used for all types of tasks.
Spyderco Bow River
Finally, there’s the Bow River from Spyderco. This knife is definitely the largest on the list with a blade of 4.36 inches.
Despite its larger size, this highly refined fixed blade has a slim design with a slightly upswept blade and layered G-10 handle. With a very reasonable price of $49 (a real steel for Spyderco knives), this fixed blade makes an excellent EDC.