The Best EDC Fixed Blade
If you are reading this, then chances are that you are looking for something reliable and sturdy. Something that can be used for more than just prying open boxes or cutting through twine. Oh, the perks of owning a decent fixed blade.
If I were to get a dollar every time I have thanked myself for choosing one over a folding knife, I’d be a millionaire now.
My EDC fixed blade, (oh yes, I am one of those rare guys who carries an EDC fixed blade every day and considers it to be a companion rather than hiding it under the car seat), is the worry stone in my pocket. It has many a story to tell. From cutting rope to thwarting a mugger, it has been there and done that.
But I don’t carry a survival knife, mind you. Not unless I am looking to lop someone’s head off. And I reserve those messy tasks for my weekends. The other day, I pick from one of my several smaller fixed blade EDCs that lie dormant in the drawer, waiting for a new challenge to face and a new tale to tell. They slip away into my pocket. Discreet, compact but capable, nevertheless.
First timers often draw a comparison between their faithful folding knives and the unbending fixed blade knives and are on the fence about making a choice. Here’s a little literature that can help end the conundrum.
The Fixed Blade EDC vs. the folding knife
I absolutely hate it when a casual folding knife EDC aficionado talks like a savant and propagates the advantages of owning it. The most usual ingredients in this lopsided argument are the size advantage, folding knives being discreet, portability and the worst one of them all, durability. That makes it sound like the only people who carry fixed blade EDCs are tribesmen or former green berets who use it to hunt elephants.
The fact is that an EDC fixed blade wins the argument hands down and scores over a folding knife EDC in all the above mentioned factors.
They are discreet: Knife manufacturers understand the importance of catering to the large and ever growing urban male demographic, who prefer compact sized EDC knives. So, there are a plethora of fixed blade knives with blades that are less than 4 inches. These will slip away easily into the corner of a pocket or can be slipped into your ankle holster for those unexpected surprises.
They are unbreakable: Lesser the moving parts on knives, the less you have to worry about breakage. Try batoning with a folding knife and you have every risk of cutting yourself or breaking the pivot and lock. Not with a fixed blade. That’s a single piece of solid unbreakable steel for you. Perfect for batoning and a lot of other things too.
Easy to clean: You will spend less time cleaning a fixed blade EDC and more time using it. No grime in the grooves.
Tactical use: A fixed blade EDC is a much superior tool in a tactical situation. It can be the difference between life and death if it ever comes down to that.
Survival: A fixed blade knife, no matter how small the blade is, in essence a survival knife. It can be useful in a variety of situations that a folding EDC is guaranteed to fail in. A folding knife’s utility is further limited due to the folding design which compromises in blade strength and shape.
Cheaper: You can get a decent quality EDC fixed blade at a pocket-friendly price tag. A folding knife with the same price tag would most likely break down in a span of months.
If that convinced you to go with a fixed blade EDC and you’ve decided to go knife shopping, then you will be overwhelmed at the number of choices you have. With knives being churned out at the rate of knots, the landscape is becoming more difficult to navigate, especially if you are new to it.
Having used and collected hundreds of fixed blade and folding EDC knives in the past 15 years, I thought of creating a list of the best EDC fixed blade knives in the market. While this isn’t the most definitive list by a long shot, it is a collection of my personal favorites which have also been picked on the basis of their versatility and popularity among EDC carriers on the internet (forums, user groups and online retailers)
When it comes to survival EDC fixed blades, Tops Knives are industry leaders. They are tough, built for the outdoors and now designed for everyday use too. Their collaboration with Tom Brown has resulted in some of the most popular fixed blade knives. The Scout is their offering for the EDC user looking for a compact sized survivor that packs a punch in performance.
Originally designed to be a hunting knife, the tracker scout is a versatile fixed blade that can be a lifesaver in more than one situation. Crafted from 1095 carbon steel with an epoxy coating that deters rust, the scout is light-weight but extremely tough.
The drop point blade is a mere 3” and the overall length is a comfortable 7-1/4″ that allows it to slip into your pocket and go undetected.
The full tang construction gives it the strength you desire in the outdoors when you are batoning or skinning. To ensure that you get the perfect grip, it features the Micarta grooved handle which allows you to feel the weight of the blade as you hold it.
The Tom Brown Scout comes in an all-black kydex belt sheath. But there are a plethora of aftermarket leather sheaths available, for people who can’t think beyond leather.
There is very little that you cannot do with the Tom Brown Scout. The full tang and the carbon steel are a powerful combination. If you are using it to start a fire, use the tip on the blade side, though.
- Compact sized EDC fixed blade
- Drop point blade with a full tang design
- Micarta handle for a perfect grip without any hotspots
- Kydex belt sheath
EDC Rating: The best! For fixed blade enthusiasts looking for an EDC that’s discreet, sharp and strong, the Tom Brown Scout is the best choice.
Some of my best EDC knives come from Tops. And despite trying my best, I absolutely cannot put the Spyderco, which is quite popular among knife buffs, before this one. This is the Baja 3.0, which retains all the signature elements of a TOPS fixed blade, but offers a little extra in the form of a wider blade than normal.
The Baja 3.0 is a pygmy sized fixed blade that is only 6 1/4″ long but boasts of a 3″ blade. That’s almost half the length of the knife. With a longer blade than normal, it slices through most of the things with a surgical precision. This is a quality that outdoorsy people will love. Take it camping or for cooking your catch in the wild, the Baja 3.0 is just what you need.
It features a 1095 high carbon steel blade that has a distal taper from the handle to the tip of the blade. This gives you better control and dexterity in tasks that demand finesse, like carving. The contoured handles with the flat and grooved scales fit perfectly into the hand.
The jimping on the spine is uncanny of Tops, but gives you the additional support for tasks that demand the backing with your thumb.
The Tops Baja 3.0 comes with a leather sheath which is ambidextrous, can be carried vertically as well as horizontally and retains the knife securely. An insert has been added to the bottom of the sheath to prevent the knife from cutting through. Considering that the Baja 3.0 comes laser sharp out of the box that is a neat little addition.
Utility: The compact size, large blade and the perfect geometry make the Baja 3.0 an ideal all-purpose knife. From everyday tasks like cutting strings, packaging, and opening boxes to the more specialized ones like dressing game and cooking, it performs flawlessly making it a great EDC fixed blade.
The Best Features:
- 6 ¼ “ fixed blade with a 3” cutting edge and 1/8” thickness
- 1095 high carbon steel blade
- Micarta slab handles
- Good quality leather sheath
- Laser sharp
EDC Rating: The best! The Baja 3.0 is a complete package that comes ready-to-use out of the box. It can very easily become your go-to EDC fixed blade for everyday use.
Spyderco is a well-known name among knife buffs and the Street Beat is one of their most perfectly engineered knives that has been designed by Fred Perrin, an ex-commando who also enjoys an unprecedented fan following in the world of tactical knives. The Street Beat is true to Spyderco’s slice-centric designs and has enough features to make it a versatile EDC fixed blade.
The Spyderco Street Beat features a full-flat-ground, Japanese-made VG-10 blade that is 5/32″ thick. It has a slightly extended but uniform jimping on the spine that gives you a firm grip while using your thumb. While the hardcore knife buffs will furrow their brow, I have personally never experienced any issues with the VG-10 blades not retaining their edges. The uniform edge gives it a slick appearance that is often lacking in many EDC knives.
The mini-bowie clip point will impress you during thrusting with the enhanced control it offers. The concave/convex Micarta scaled handles are extremely comfortable to grip and most users will be surprised at the size of the blade left on the front. For the compact size, the Street Beat packs in a lot of blade.
The deep finger choil evokes mixed feelings from knife users. Personally, I feel that it serves its purpose as a hand guard. I doubt the efficacy that it brings in to the handling or control though.
The full tang construction does make it a strong everyday carry. But the thin pointed tip may not be the best of choices for prying.
The Boltaron sheath with the G-clip is somewhat of a letdown for an otherwise flawlessly designed fixed blade knife.
Utility: From camping to cooking, the Spyderco street beat will serve the purpose with elan. I wouldn’t use it for tough prying jobs. But a lot of people have used it for similar chores without any problem.
The Best features:
- Compact sized, beautifully designed knife
- Full-flat-ground Japanese-made VG-10 blade that 3-1/2″ in length and 5/32″ thick
- Fits perfectly on your belt and can be used as a discreet EDC fixed blade
- Micarta scaled contoured handles
- Deep finger choil
- Full tang construction
EDC Rating: Good. This wouldn’t go down too well with a lot of other people. But I feel that the Baja 3.0 scores slightly better than the Spyderco Street Beat as a fixed blade EDC. Having said that, the Street Beat is a superbly designed flat blade with a slew of impressive features. It is compact, has a great grip and cuts through most things. You would be hard pressed to make a choice among the top three.
It is not every day that you get to hear about a new blade launched by Kabar. When the Globetrotter was announced, it created a lot of anticipation among knife enthusiasts. Designed by Jesse Jarosz, the young Nebraskan knife maker who’s already carved a name for himself in very little time, the Globetrotter is designed to be the quintessential EDC. It is small, powerful and sharp.
Crafted from 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel, which is used in a lot of Kabar knives, the Globetrotter measures 7.5625″ overall and has a 3.5” cutting edge. The steel retains its edge for a long time and is pretty easy to sharpen too. The drop point blade has a flat blade grind and is 0.17″ in thickness.
It is true to the name, ‘Globetrotter’ because it is designed for versatile use. Something that you can throw into your travel gear and carry with you to handle a bundle of odd tasks that may come up.
The handle is made from Ultramid polymer and fits softly and comfortably into the hand. There are no grooves on it. But it is a pretty decent fit.
It comes with a nylon sheath that is MOLLE compatible and has a Velcro strap attachment on the reverse. A plastic insert in the sheath prevents the knife from cutting through and there is a drainage hole on the sheath that allows the water to drain if you ever use it in the rain.
The Kabar Globetrotter is made in the USA.
Utility: Jesse Jarosz has posted a video on his YouTube channel where he uses the Globetrotter in the woods as a bush crafting and camping knife and you can see that it is a very strong and versatile knife. It can cut, skin, carve and pry. The blade is perfect sized. It is not too small or too big that makes it seem unyielding.
The Best Features:
- Compact sized EDC fixed blade
- 5” drop point cutting edge
- Molded polymer handle that gives a good grip
- Nylon sheath with a plastic insert to protect the blade
- Great value for money
EDC Rating: Good! This is a value-for-money purchase. It is priced under$100 and is very similar to a custom made knife from Jesse which is priced at $170. So, the Kabar Globetrotter can be a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile EDC fixed blade without breaking the bank.
My list of the best EDC fixed blades would never be complete without a Buck. These guys know how to craft a good hunting knife, have been around forever and they offer a ‘forever warranty’ on their knives, which is excellent. The Ranger Skinner is one of those knives that I carry for field hunts. Never leave my home without it.
As you take it out of the box and hold it, you can feel that this is a solidly constructed knife. Very ‘Buck like’. You don’t expect anything lesser from Buck and they don’t disappoint one bit. The Ranger Skinner has a 420 high carbon steel drop point blade that is 3 1/8 inches in length.
It has a belly that is typically seen in skinner knives and fits in perfectly in the hand. The handle is ebony diamond wood, which is a combination of wood and plastic. It has a walnut finish and looks very sleek. There is no jimping on the knife but there is a finger choil that gives you a good grip for your push cuts.
The blade is razor sharp. You can take it out of the box and shave with it. It’s that good. Add the full tang construction and you have a very strong field knife that you will love to carry.
It comes with a black leather sheath that has a belt loop. The sheath has a plastic insert that protects the blade and you can hear a clicking sound as the blade fits snugly into the sheath.
Utility: The Buck Ranger Skinner is the perfect compact hunting knife that is ideal for skinning, dressing up game and field dressing. But that is not to take away its utility in an urban setup. It can be used for almost anything including prying open large boxes.
- Small sized EDC fixed blade with the Buck logo
- 420 high carbon steel drop point blade that is 3 1/8 inches in length
- Proven steel used in several buck models
- Ebony diamond wood handle
- A groove that doubles up as a hand guard
- Black leather sheath with a belt loop
EDC Rating: Good. If you have used a Buck knife before then you’d know straight away that you are investing in a quality product that has a great reputation. This is a very compact and sturdy fixed blade knife that can be used for multiple tasks. To top it off, it is priced under $60. Great buy!
Things to consider before buying a fixed blade EDC
Buying any EDC is a matter of personal preference over anything else. I can rant for hours about the inherent qualities that make a knife the best choice for you. Unless you take a liking to it, chances are that you won’t buy it.
Rather than making a buying decision based on the shape of the knife or the size of the blade, there are two very important things that you must consider before buying a fixed blade EDC.
The Steel: The steel is the single most important factor that can affect the performance of the knife. There are many different types of steel that are used in making EDC knives. The difference in the composition of the steel and the varying level of additives affect the hardness, ability to retain its edges and resistance to wear and tear. It would be impossible to cover all the different types of steel in this article.
Some of the common varieties that you need to be aware of are:
- Tool Steel: These are typically used in industrial tools and are characterized by their toughness, abrasion resistance and hardness. Some of the commonly used varieties of steel in this category are D2, O-1 and CPM 3V.
- Carbon Steel: Tough, durable and lightweight, carbon steel knives are preferred by the serious outdoor enthusiast. They are more expensive than stainless steel though and can retain a sharp edge for much longer. But, they are prone to corrosion due to the low chromium percentage.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is carbon steel with at least 13% chromium. These are easily the most popular variety of steel used for making EDC knives.
It would be fair to say that none of these steels are better than the other. In most cases, it is a tradeoff between some features. While some are harder and tougher, but more prone to corrosion, others are more resistant to wear and tear but can bend or break easily.
The Tang: The Tang is the second most important factor and it is how the handle is attached to the blade.
- A full tang, is the most preferred type of tang and the blade extends all the way till the edge of the handle in length and width. The handle is added for a better grip and for decorative reasons. A full tang EDC fix blade is a brutal knife that can take a pounding.
- A half tang blade which may also be known as a rat’s tail gets narrower as it nears the end of the handle. It may be welded or threaded at the end. A half tang fixed blade knife is not as durable as a full tang one and is more likely to break or slip especially during hard use.
- No tang or hollow handle knives are the weakest and there is nothing inside the handle. The blade is welded to the handle and these knives are the weakest among all EDC fixed blades.
Those are the best EDC fixed blade knives in the market now. They have a proven performance and you cannot go wrong with these. I hope you enjoyed reading this list and it helps you get a knife that does the job.