Updated: May 29, 2015
Best Pocket KnifeBefore the TSA began confiscating everyone's pocket knives at the airport, it seemed like everybody had them these days. Little Swiss Army or pocket knives attached to their keychains -- little blade, little pair of scissors, maybe a little screwdriver. Came in handy when you need a tool on the run. The original Swiss Army knives were built in, you guessed wrong, Germany. When a Swiss cutlery maker named Elsener discovered this, the real Swiss Army knife was born and he began supplying the Swiss Army in 1891. This became the Victorinox company that still exists today, proudly manufacturing the same distinctive red knives. Their multi-function pocket knives have been used now for over a century, doing everything from opening corked bottles to driving screws to scaling fish. But they face competition in the knife world, from makers of hunting knives, camping tools, and especially from the Leatherman multi-tool over the last 2 decades.
You can browse the up-to-date list of best-selling pocket knives here.
Leatherman Multi-Tools - Leatherman Wave and Leatherman Sheath
Leatherman makes a variety of hunting knives, like the Ukiah, Nehalem, Steens, and Klamath. The Steens hunting knife for example come with a diamond coated sharpening stick to keep the blade sharp, a 3.75" fixed steel blade, a gutting tool, and a bone saw, all built into one solid, compact piece. The Steens costs $120, while the Ukiah is $99. They also make a variety of other models like the h500, c300, k502, and e302. Most of these come with slightly smaller blades and a few other tools, like a bottle opener, screwer driver with multiple bits, and file and can opener. But the most popular Leatherman product is the Leatherman Core Multi-Tool. The Leatherman New Wave Multitool is another best seller (pictured at right). The Leatherman Multi-tools are basically a pair of pliers with all sorts of additional tools built into the handles, which all disappear and fold up compactly to fit into your pocket. The tools included in the Core model are: Needlenose Pliers, Regular Pliers, Wire Cutters, Hard-Wire Cutters, Stranded-Wire Cutters, Electrical Crimper, Clip-Point Knife, Serrated Knife, Wood/Metal File, Saw, 5/16" Screwdriver, 7/32" Screwdriver, 1/8" Screwdriver, Phillips Screwdriver, Awl w/Thread Loop, Ruler (9 inches/22 cm), Bottle/Can Opener, Wire Stripper, Lanyard Ring. You can see why they call it a multi tool! Folded up, it is 4.5" long and weighs almost 11 ounces, making it bigger than most Swiss Army knifes. They make a couple of different models with names like Core, Surge, Juice Squirt, Micra, Wave, Crunch, and Blast. The Crunch for example is mostly built around a big pair of locking pliers capable of grabbing a 1" diameter pipe. The Squirt is a small model that can hook on your key chain. The Surge sells for $79, the Leatherman Core sells for $59, and the Kick sells for $29. The entire Leatherman Multi Tool line is here.
Victorinox Swiss Army KnifeAs mentioned above, Victorinox is the company that makes the Swiss Army knife. Their official website is SwissArmy.com. Getting there, though, you can almost miss the knives! All kinds of flashy pictures highlight things like a laptop pack, a chrono watch, fleece zip neck shirt, and suitcases - talk about brand extension! But once you find the multi-tool section of the site, you'll finally come face to face with the world famous Swiss Army Knife. They have models designed for Do-It-Yourself, Sports and Leisure, Outdoor, Executive, Garden, Scouting, and Everyday. Some of the sports and leisure knifes are pretty wild, like the Altimeter Plus knife for $120. It has 2 knife blades, wire stripper, cork screw, toothpick, tweezers, scissors, hook, and of course a digital altimeter good up to 15,000ft. The Fisherman and Angler knifes are both priced closed to $50. The Fisherman has additional tools like a ruler and fish scaler and hook disgorger. What makes the Swiss Army pocket knives so versatile is the fact that you pick the model that is best suited for your needs - some have saw blades, some have pliers, but most have the same common tools that any pocket knife needs. You can check out the entire collection of Name Your Link.
What is the best Swiss Army Knife? Well if you want all the bells and whistles, check out the Swiss Champ SOS Set for $160 - from sewing needles to matches to signal mirrors, it has it all in one package. They have specialty knives too - one we liked was the little Swiss Army Golf Tool, with a divot repair tool, ball marker, nail file, blade, scissors, and toothpick. True, at over $50 it is not cheap, but it looks good and is built solidly and should last you thoughout your golf lifetime. Also check out EBladeStore.com for both Swiss Army and Leatherman products, or Knife-Depot.com for any kind of knife you might want - survival knife, folding knives, bowie knife, fillet knives, diving knife, hunting knives, machetes, and much more.