Keychain knives play an integral role in the everyday carry world, especially for those who either prefer to carry light, or for those who have simply run out of usable pocket real estate.
Can keychain knives perform up to the standards set by their larger folding knife counterparts? Probably not. But the best keychain knives will certainly do in a pinch — whether it be opening your latest Amazon Prime package, cutting the tags off of a newly-purchased pair of pants, or defending yourself against a pack of wild stray cats. And they’ll do so from the convenience of the keychain setup you’re more than likely carrying in your pocket at this very moment.
The best part is that none of these keychain folders will break the bank. They will, however, render you a bit more prepared for whatever the day should bring than you were before, all while keeping your everyday carry lightweight yet functional. To help you slim down your EDC keychain setup, here are the 20 best keychain knives we could find at this particular moment in time.
Cold Steel Micro Recon 1 Knife
When Cold Steel crafted a miniature version of their popular Recon 1 folding knife years ago, they we’re also giving us what many consider to be the best keychain knife on the market.
Just like it’s Recon 1 big brother, the Micro Recon 1 sports a heat-treated, AUS 8 stainless steel blade — in a more compact, keychain-friendly design. It’s 2-inch blade features a black teflon coating that resists both rust and glare while providing a consistent lubrication during cutting tasks while G-10 handles, a heat-treated spacer, and Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad lock blade-locking system render it a suitable backup keychain knife to it’s larger counterparts.
For seamless integration into your current keychain, Cold Steel ditched the standard pocket clip and opted instead for a small key ring. Available in your choice of a spear point or a tanto point blade design. – Buy It
CRKT Delilah’s P.E.C.K.
When it comes to EDC keychain knives, it can prove difficult to find one small enough to carry comfortably on your keychain yet up to the rigors of everyday cutting tasks. Luckily, there exists CRKT’s Delilah’s P.E.C.K. — a suitable keychain knife alternative to the popular Micro Recon 1 Knife above.
The Delilah’s P.E.C.K. (short for Precision. Engineered. Compact. Knife.) weighs in at less than ounce, meaning it won’t weigh you down during the day, while a closed length of 2.625 inches takes up a minimal amount of pocket real estate. Finally, a sharp 3Cr13 steel, frame lock Wharncliffe blade is more than adequate for tackling daily cutting tasks. – Buy It
SOG Key Knife
Shaped like any standard house key found on your keychain, the SOG Key Knife inconspicuously blends in with the rest of your keychain until you’re ready to deploy the folding drop point stainless steel blade it cleverly hides within. While it may not render you the victor in a knife fight, it’s a winner when it comes to everyday tasks such as opening boxes and letters, or cutting fishing line on your next outdoor excursion. – Buy It
In the full-size EDC knife category, its our belief that Spyderco’s folding knives just can’t compete with the likes of larger, better-built folders from brands like Cold Steel, Benchmade, or Zero Tolerance. But Spyderco knives have their place in your everyday carry and really shine in the keychain knives category.
The Grasshopper knife has almost everything required of the perfect keychain knife — precision engineering and a razor sharp, extremely compact, 2-inch 3Cr stainless steel blade paired with matching stainless steel handles. It’s more than functional enough to serve your EDC well without bulking up your existing keychain. Pair it with a brown leather bifold wallet and a matching stainless steel keychain flashlight for a classic look. – Buy It
Gerber GDC Zip Blade
Gerber has a knack for crafting some of the most innovative EDC knives and tools on the market, including the likes of the Ghostrike Fixed blade knife and their knife-toting GDC money clip. If you’ve never carried a Gerber knife on your person before, a great way to ease into the habit is with their GDC Zip Blade. Part of their unique GDC line, the GDC Zip Blade is small enough to fit onto your keychain, inside the palm of your hand, and, it’s intended destination, the zipper of your jacket or backpack.
A quick-release clip removes the Zip Blade from it’s integrated fob to reveal a super-compact, .68-inch fine edge blade that is perfect for stripping wire and slicing through packages like butter, while a frame lock secures the blade when its in use and keeps everything solid and tight. It’s small, lightweight, and highly-efficient. Everything you want in a potential keychain knife. – Buy It
Bandit Titanium Keychain Knife
Bryce Alexander didn’t invent everyday carry, but he very well may have perfected it with the Bandit Titanium Keychain Knife. Roughly the size of a standard house key, the Bandit consists of a grade 5 lightweight titanium body that houses a lockable 1.2-inch blade made from hardened AUS-8 stainless steel. All day carry in your pocket is comfortable thanks to it’s rounded edges and slim design, while attachment to your keychain or jacket zipper is made possible via an integrated keychain loop. – Buy It
Porter Key Knife
An everyday carry favorite, the Porter Key Knife is a key-sized utility folding knife with an integrated bottle opener. While small in size like the other keychain knives on this list, it is a formidable addition to any everyday carry collection, essentially replacing both your bulky EDC knife and bottle opener in one fell swoop while integrating seamlessly into your current keychain setup. – Buy It
Kershaw Cinder Keychain Knife
We’re big fans of the folding knives Kershaw has to offer, and even bigger fans of Kershaw’s SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism. But it’s their keychain-friendly Cinder Knife that has us really excited, especially as we transition to a keychain-focused everyday carry.
The Cinder Keychain Knife was designed by none other than Rick Hinderer himself for real-world usability — a refreshing idea in a market full of gimmicks and user-unfriendly designs. It boasts a 1.4 inch blade that features a useful upswept tip that makes every inch usable during cutting tasks, a textured, glass-filled nylon handle with unique cutouts for an improved grip, a simple-to-use liner lock, and an oversized lanyard hole for easy attachment to your keychain. – Buy It
SOG Centi II Knife
If there exists a keychain knife comparable to Cold Steel’s Micro Recon 1 in terms of everyday functionality and keychain-friendly design, its SOG’s new Centi II folding knife. At only 2.1 inches, the Centi II’s stainless steel blade is quite easy to deploy for the most common of cutting tasks, while a trusted lock back design keeps the blade locked in place while in use. Attach it to your existing keychain to free up some pocket space, or throw it in your front pocket as a compact yet capable everyday carry knife. – Buy It
SOG Micron 2.0
Building a functional everyday carry collection doesn’t have to break the bank, it only need to be functional. For less than $20, SOG’s slimmed-down Micron 2.0 will do the trick. It’s overall length of 5 inches renders it just compact enough for carry on your keychain, while a 2.25 inch, 420 stainless steel blade with a stealthy hardcase black finish adds a bit of tactical flare to your existing keychain. For more serious cuts, however, make sure you’re carrying a larger, more capable folding knife in your pocket as a backup. – Buy It
Spyderco Ladybug 3
The second Spyderco knife to land on this list is the Ladybug 3, the smallest lightweight locking knife that the brand has to offer. As mentioned previously, Spyderco knives make the most sense when carried on a keychain, and the Ladybug 3 is no exception. A hollow ground VG-10 stainless steel, modified clip-point blade paired with a fiberglass-reinforced nylon resin handle renders the entire Ladybug 3 knife a mere 0.6 of an ounce — a weight you’ll barely notice as you go about your regularly-scheduled work day. – Buy It
Gerber GDC Hook Knife
Another unique yet effective keychain knife by Gerber is the GDC Hook Knife — the smallest keychain knife on this list and obviously the most keychain appropriate. It’s design is simple: wrap your finger around the knife’s integrated ring while pressing your thumb against the thumb grip, and easily make powerful cuts to packages, boxes, fishing line, and anything else the day throws your way. When you’re done making essential cuts, the GDC Hook Knife’s sheath provides adequate protection on your keychain throughout the day. – Buy It
Buck Knives Metro Keychain Knife
There’s not much to the Metro Keychain Knife by Buck Knives, and that’s what makes it so appealing. An anodized aluminum handle keeps the knife’s weight down to 1.5 ounces, while a small, 1 1/8 inch drop point 420HC steel blade tackles cutting duties with ease. Where the Metro Keychain knife really shines is it’s unique ability to open craft beer bottles — a feature not found on most keychain knives, and one that you’ll much appreciate after a long day at work. – Buy It
Opinel Keychain Knife
Opinel wood-handled pocket knives have been around for nearly 120 years, and for good reason. Firstly, they’ve been field tested time and again, and their affordable price means anyone with any budget can easily own an EDC knife to carry. The keychain Opinel is their smallest and lightest version yet and features the same beloved beechwood handle, a 2 inch stainless steel blade, and an integrated key ring for conveniently attaching to your keychain. It’ll be within arms reach when you need to make quick cuts, while it’s dashing good looks will receive multiple compliments from those who catch a glimpse of it. – Buy It
Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife
The two best features of Gerber’s Paraframe series knives are their pocket-friendly low weight and how easy they are to clean. Both of these features are directly connected to the Paraframe’s minimalist, open frame design.
The smallest in the series is the Mini, a compact folder with a stainless steel handle, stainless steel blade in various configurations, and both an integrated clip and lanyard hole for carrying on your belt, in your pocket, or on your keychain. While not the best knife on this list in terms of pure cutting power, the Gerber Mini Paraframe will last much longer after heavy use than some others on this list thanks to it’s all-steel design. – Buy It
Deejo 15 Gram Folding Knife
If you’re looking to keep your keychain carry simple yet effective without all of the bells and whistles, then the 15 Gram Knife is a step in the right direction. This sleek minimalist pocket knife is crafted in France from 420 stainless steel, boasts a lanyard hole for attaching to paracord or your existing keychain, and weighs a mere 0.53 ounces — light enough to forget it’s even in your pocket or dangling on your keychain. – Buy It
Swiss Army Classic Knife
The classic Swiss Army Knife is the grandfather of Keychain knives. Swiss Army Knives have been around since 1891 and provide the most bang for your buck in terms of pure functionality thanks to a collection of integrated stainless steel tools which include scissors, a knife blade, a screwdriver, a nail file, tweezers and a toothpick. Of course, an integrated key ring provides simple keychain integration so you’ll have a miniature toolbox at your disposal throughout the day. – Buy It
Buck Knives Nano Bantam Folding Knife
Just like use, Buck Knives takes your everyday carry seriously, and your keychain setup is no exception. Their USA-made Nano Bantam Folding Knife carries just as well on your keychain as it does in your pocket — a closed length of only 3 inches makes this a reality — and features a heat-treated, corrosion-resistant 420HC steel drop point blade, a modern lockback design, and a contoured handle for a superior grip despite it’s small stature. – Buy It
Kubaton Keychain Knife
Gimmicky? Perhaps. But sometimes you just don’t want anyone to know that your keychain knife is in fact, a knife. In these cases, the Kubaton Keychain Knife makes perfect sense in your everyday carry. It’s lightweight, black aluminum handle isn’t much of a weapon, unfortunately, but it’s stainless steel blade will tackle normal cutting duties as needed. A functional blade coupled with it’s inconspicuous design is a great way to stay under the radar while keeping a slicing tool within arm’s reach. – Buy It
Pocket Samurai Titanium Keychain Knife
While StatGear’s aluminum tactical pen was a great step forward for the brand, they truly hit a home run with the Pocket Samurai Keychain Knife. The knife’s design was inspired by Samurai swords — weapons known for their supreme strength and sharpness.
Grade 5 titanium handles keep things lightweight while a 440C stainless steel tanto blade cuts through boxes, rope, and letters like nobody’s business. Additional features include a stainless steel pocket clip that doubles as a money clip for your spare cash, a thumb stud for easy blade deployment, and an integrated key ring for attaching to — you guessed it — your keychain. – Buy It
Maxam Falcon IV Keychain Knife
If you’re on a budget but still need cutting power on your keychain, then consider adding the Maxam Falcon IV Keychain Knife to your arsenal. One can be purchased with the loose change found in between your couch cushions, and it won’t matter too much if you destroy it by putting it to good use. It’s keychain-friendly size of only 2 1/2 inches blends in well with your keys and other keychain tools while a 420 stainless steel, half-serrated blade serves a multitude of utility purposes. – Buy It