Jul 15, 2023
The Best Keychain Knives
A knife is, without a doubt, the most crucial component of your Everyday Carry (EDC) equipment. The sheer versatility it brings to your day-to-day activities makes it indispensable. From the simplest
A knife is, without a doubt, the most crucial component of your Everyday Carry (EDC) equipment. The sheer versatility it brings to your day-to-day activities makes it indispensable. From the simplest tasks such as opening packages, cutting strings or food, to the more demanding situations where survival or self-defense might be necessary, a knife consistently proves to be an invaluable tool.
The constraints of space, particularly when you don’t have sufficient room in your pocket for a full-sized folding knife, shouldn’t deter you from including one in your everyday carry. In such instances, a keychain knife serves as a perfect alternative. It combines the utility of a functional blade with the convenience of easy portability, essentially taking up no more room than an average-sized key fob, thereby integrating seamlessly into your daily gear.
When you delve into the world of keychain knives (and keychain tools more broadly), you’ll find an extensive range of options. The selection spans from novelty blades that are more about aesthetics than function, to tactical knives designed for specific tasks or survival scenarios. You’ll also find miniature versions of bigger folding knives, capturing all their functionality in a much smaller package, alongside a vast array of other variants.
The type of keychain knife you choose to attach to your key ring will largely depend on your personal needs and preferences. For example, if you frequently find yourself needing to open packages or cut through materials in your daily routine, a blade designed for general utility might be most suitable. Alternatively, those who enjoy outdoor activities or often find themselves in survival situations might lean towards a tactical keychain knife.
This guide aims to assist you in narrowing down the abundant options to a few selected ones that are likely to cater to a wide array of users. No matter what your needs or tastes are, there’s a high chance that you’ll find a keychain knife that is not only highly functional for your cutting and slicing needs but also integrates well into your EDC setup.
These are some of the best keychain knives to add to your everyday carry.
Opinel’s smallest knife, this keychain folder comes with a 1.36-inch blade that’s big enough to handle plenty of everyday tasks. It takes on the same familiar silhouette as the Opinel’s other knives, all while measuring under two inches when folded, so it takes up very little space in your pocket. The downside of being that small is it doesn’t incorporate the outfit’s Virobloc safety ring, which is what secures the blade in place whether it’s open or close, so you will need to be more cautious using this compared to the outfit’s bigger models.
Measuring 3.1 inches when slid into its sheath, this knife is designed to look like a thumb drive while it hangs on your keychain. Pull it out of the sheath, though, and you get a sharp 1.3-inch D2 blade in a wedge-style shape that looks just as fit for self-defense as it is for everyday cutting duties. It is really small, though, so only use for defense in desperate situations. When pulled out, the sheath stays on the keychain, so you can use the knife freely without having to deal with keys hanging off the back. It also comes with a lock mechanism that you’ll need to press before the knife can be pulled out, so it won’t accidentally come off while sitting in your pocket.
We love the uniquely compact silhouette of this folder, which measures just 1.7 inches long when closed. It has an equally tiny 0.68-inch blade that’s just big enough to let you rip packages with ease, although you can also use the edge for similar light-duty cutting tasks. There’s a frame lock, so you can safely use this for any cutting job, as well as a quick-release clip that lets you remove the knife from the keychain if you need to use it without a bunch of keys getting in the way.
When closed, this knife sits on the bigger side at 3.5 inches, but a good chunk of that length is made up of the built-in key ring at the end where you can slip on all your keys. That extra length, though, means you get a lot of grip for a secure hold when cutting and slicing, with the 1.8-inch clip point blade able to perform a good range of everyday knife duties. It has a lockback mechanism to keep the blade in place when you’re using the knife, while the button release makes it easy to deploy in a pinch.
We’ve heard some people call this the best keychain knife around. While we won’t quite go that far, it is an incredibly handy folder to have in your pocket. The shape and texture of the 2.4-inch handle allows for a really good two-finger grip despite the small size, while the 2-inch stonewashed tanto blade really delivers on the job. Not to mention, you don’t see many tanto blades offered at this size, which makes this pretty special. The locking mechanism is also very solid, so much so that it feels overkill for a knife this small, but we highly appreciate the extra beef they threw in on that end. The only struggle here is the blade deployment, which feels stiff and nearly impossible to do with one hand, but you can easily overlook that because of how good everything else is.
The Squid is popular for good reason – it’s compact, it’s affordable, and it’s got decent build for the price. This keychain folder is an even more compact version of that, coming in with a 2.9-inch closed length and a 1.75-inch blade, so it’s small enough to serve as a key fob, all while getting the same assisted flipper and IKBS ball bearing pivot for quick and easy deployment. It comes with a frame lock, so you can use it without worries of any accidental closing, while friction grooves on the blade allow for added grip when you need just a little more leverage. Like the regular Squid, there’s nothing flashy about it, but the conventional silhouette and proportions will allow you to get the job done.
This fixed blade keychain knife measures just 3-inches long, so it can sit in your pocket without taking up too much room. You do need to slip it in the included leather sheath, though, since that tiny blade will slice your leg up if you’re not careful. We love the charming looks of this knife, which should handle light-duty tasks with no trouble. Do note, the outfit designed it for a very specific purpose – to open brand new vinyl records, which probably makes it more hipster than you’d like. Despite that, you should be able to use it for most tasks where using a standard utility knife makes for a good option. Features include AR-RPM9 stainless steel blade, rosewood handle, and a big hole at the end for slipping on a key ring.
Yes, it’s incredibly expensive. If you have money to spare and want a highly-functional keychain knife, though, this is definitely a good option to consider. Spyderco calls it a “proof positive that function is a matter of design, not size.” We wholeheartedly agree, as the knife’s 2.33-inch closed size and 1.52-inch blade allow for excellent utility for its size. The combination of the scalloped spine and wide grip allows for both scalpel-like precision and impressive cutting power, allowing you to use it for most everyday tasks, even ones that many keychain knives will likely struggle doing. Features include a Wharncliffe blade made from CTS XHP stainless steel, Reeve Integral Locking mechanism, a lined hole for integrating in your keychain, and an hourglass clip if you’d rather secure it to the edge of your pocket.
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