The best Spyderco knife

Bob Beacham

Regular sharpening will keep your knife in peak condition. Spyderco produces a range of stones specifically designed to create a fine edge with minimal fuss.

If you're looking for a high-quality knife, few can rival Spyderco. Their reputation for excellence puts them among the best in the world, and their extensive range offers solutions for the most demanding of users.

We've been looking in detail at what makes these knives special, and we've chosen a few favorites, which you'll find at the end of this article. Our top pick, the Spyderco Para Military 2, is a fine example. Steel of extraordinary quality for the blade and a secure, comfortable grip combine for great flexibility and usability. For everyday use, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better knife.

Considerations when choosing Spyderco knives


You'll usually see quality knife blades described as stainless or high-carbon steel. Both are better than ordinary carbon steel, but don't tell you a great deal about actual composition. Spyderco are different, marking the exact steel used on all their blades, so you know precisely what you can expect from the cutting edge.

8Cr 13MoV is a high-value chromium steel that's great for general-purpose knives.
ZDP-189 is a stainless steel known for producing a razor-sharp edge.
CPM S30V is a hardened and sintered stainless steel, considered by many experts as the best blade steel in the world.
H1 and LC200N are highly corrosion resistant, and used on Spyderco's Salt series knives.

A few are even coated in titanium carbon nitride (TiCN) for greater hardness and reduced friction.

Handles are often stainless steel. Fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) is also used for its strength and reduced weight. High-end Spyderco knives have G-10 handles in which woven glass fiber is injected with epoxy. The result is a tough, nonslip surface that is unaffected by either temperature of chemicals.


Most Spyderco knives have a slender blade with a flat grind that lets it slide easily as it cuts. Some are critical of this design, because blades don't have the sideways strength of thicker designs. While that's true, Spyderco knives are focused on cutting, not opening paint cans. Serrated edges are also available.

A Spyderco folding knife is great for everyday carry (EDC), and are available in non-locking and locking models, the latter offering a high degree of safety from very secure mechanisms.

Spyderco fixed knives offer a complete choice of blade styles -- clip point, leaf, sheepsfoot, etc. -- and blade lengths from around 2.5" to over 10.5". Sheaths are leather, or hard-wearing polymer. The range also includes a hatchet and hand axe for serious outdoor enthusiasts. Cooking enthusiasts will want to check out Spyderco's kitchen knives.


There isn't really any such thing as a cheap Spyderco knife, though you can get a classic penknife for under $30, and their multitools for a few dollars more. Most of the range is between $100 and $200, which is competitive for a knife of this quality. One or two exceed this, and fixed-blade models can be as much as $450 -- but that is for a very large knife.


Q. Are there any legal restrictions on carrying a Spyderco knife?

A. You're usually fine with a folding pocket or utility knife that has a blade less than 3" long. The confusion comes with some fixed blades that could be interpreted as weapons. The law varies from state to state. Sometimes a knife that is legal when carried openly is illegal if concealed. Unfortunately, the only way to be absolutely sure is to check local statutes.

Q. Why does a Spyderco knife have a hole in the blade?

A. It was designed to make opening the blade much easier and quicker -- rather than struggling to grip a shallow recess with fingernails. Along with the spider logo, it has become something of a brand trademark, so it appears on fixed Spyderco knives as well.

Spyderco knives we recommend

Best of the best: Spyderco Para Military 2

Our take: Spyderco's highly rated Military Model, as a compact, folding knife.

What we like: CPM S30V blade steel provides a superb cutting edge. Handle offers secure textured grip and great ergonomics. Strong, reliable locking mechanism. A terrific EDC knife.

What we dislike: Not much. Expensive. Some don't like how fine the blade is.

Best bang for your buck: Spyderco Clipitool Folding Knife

Our take: Solid construction, versatile functionality, and very affordable.

What we like: Durable all-steel design with pocket clip for convenience. Corrosion-resistant stainless steel blade, bottle opener and flat blade screwdriver. Inexpensive introduction to Spyderco knives.

What we dislike: Great for Spyderco fans, but other multitools offer more for less.

Choice 3: Spyderco Dragonfly 2

Our take: Updated version of the brand's classic compact, lightweight EDC knife.

What we like: Perfect for pocket, belt, pack or purse. Tough, ergonomic FRN handle. Flat ground blade is ZDP-189 steel. Tip-up carry for rapid deployment.

What we dislike: Nothing really, but it's important to realize how small it is.

Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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