6 Different Types of EDC Knives

Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

If you like to spend time in the great outdoors—hunting, hiking or camping—having a knife for everyday carry is a given. Outdoorsy enthusiasts already know that these kinds of knives are for more than opening or breaking down boxes, or cutting strings or cables. In addition to preparing a fire, cutting food to roast and other outdoorsy activities, this cutting tool is a camper’s go-to for self-protection (if the need arises). 

This everyday carry knife, or EDC, is a compact knife you can put in your pocket and take with you everywhere. Most often, these knives have folding blades so that you do not accidentally injure yourself when it’s not in use. However, there are variations in size, locking mechanism, blade, and visibility. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or not, you can use one of them, too. Find out more about EDC knives below, and which one makes the most sense for you.

How to Choose an EDC Knife

Before you buy an EDC knife, look at the blade composition and locking mechanism. Does the knife fold up, or do you need to have a sheath to keep the edge from accidentally cutting you if it’s in your pocket? Depending on how you plan to carry it and how often, having one over the other could be a purchasing deal-breaker. But that’s not the only feature you need to be aware of.


There isn’t a lot of variation in the choice of blade composition. Most commonly, pocket knives have either a stainless steel or carbon steel blade. Stainless steel is rust-resistant, cost-effective, and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

A carbon steel blade is the most common. It keeps an edge longer, and is suitable for using tough materials and wood. It also requires regular maintenance.

Because both of these options are steel, there is a risk of shock if you use it around electrical equipment. Be very careful if that is your area of occupation. As an alternative, consider a knife with a ceramic blade. These blades don’t rust; they are non-conductive. For added safety, a ceramic blade is also more finger-friendly.

Locking Mechanism

As mentioned, the more common EDC knives have a locking mechanism that allows you to fold down the blade to avoid a potential injury in your pocket. 

A Lockback locking mechanism is a locking bar found in the spine of the handle. It locks the blade in place when it is open and must be pressed to close the edge.

A liner locking mechanism holds the blade in place with a piece of bent metal. The small metal piece slides behind the knife tang when it opens and holds it in place.

Common Types of EDC Knives

There are many different types of everyday carry knives. The more common types include a multi-tool knife, folding knife, and fixed blade.

Multi-Tool Knife

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The multi-tool knife is one of the most versatile options you could choose. This type of knife is beneficial because it has more than just the knife blade. These knives can have a screwdriver, bottle opener, and a wire stripper. Others may have a corkscrew, magnifying glass, or scissors.

Folding Knife

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A folding knife like this one is one of the most common types of EDC. This knife has a blade that folds into the handle from a pivot point where the blade and handle connect. The folding knife is popular because it is compact and can be used in various daily activities.

Fixed Blade Knife

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A fixed blade knife is similar to a folding knife with one significant difference. You cannot close the knife by tucking the blade into the handle. You need to have a sheath to cover the edge when you are using it. There are different types of fixed blade knives, including hunting, combat, and dive knives.

Unique Types of EDC Knives

There are other types of EDC knives that you can pick. These knives are not obvious due to their design. Yet, they are still an option for consideration.

Card Knife

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Knife enthusiasts might enjoy owning a card knife. These knives are small and thin. Their size and shape look like a credit card, and are designed to be carried in the wallet. Card knives are meant for those who want a thinner blade that is a lighter weight than a traditional pocket knife.

Lapel Knife

Another unique EDC knife is the lapel knife. The thin design is for someone who wants the protection of a blade without the conspicuousness of a pocket knife. Instead, it can slide into a tie, lapel, or sock with ease. Because it doesn’t have a large handle, you should be sure that you know how to use one safely.

Wallet Knife

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A Wallet knife is similar to a card knife. However, it is designed to look like a knife. The size allows you to conceal it in your wallet. Unlike the lapel or card knives, this knife could also have additional tools similar to the multi-tool knife. It is not designed for heavy use.

Starting off with a traditional EDC knife may be a better choice if you’re not sure which one of the above to choose. Unique knives, such as the card or lapel knife, can be helpful, but they are more for the look. Once you’re used to the more popular versions, then feel free to get creative and test out a few more based on your needs.