7 Best Pocket Knives for Women

Did you know that Medieval women always carried knives?  They were long, pointy things that were made for piercing meet since proper eating utensils had yet to make their way to the table.  Once the fork managed to leave the kitchens and enter the dining rooms, the knives disappeared.

However, knives are starting to come back in style!  Women are finally beginning to understand how handy a pocket knife is for opening packages, dealing with emergencies, camping, and all kinds of stuff.  In fact, all the women I know carry a pocket knife, even if it only sits in their car in case of an emergency on the road.

You really should consider carrying one at all times, though.  It seriously makes opening those Amazon packages that keep mysteriously showing up on the doorstep a lot easier to open.

But which pocket knife is the best everyday carry knife?

Obviously, that’s subjective.  However, when looking for pocket knives for women, ladies have a few things to consider that men don’t usually have to worry about when it comes to finding a knife to carry every day.

Table of Contents

Women vs Pocket Knives: Large Knives and Tiny Pockets

When it comes to knives, men have really screwed women over in two ways: knife handles and women’s clothing.

Men, you need to face the facts.  You’d never design clothing for yourselves the way you do for women.  Yes, women fashion designers have jumped on the bandwagon of tiny pockets, but this trend was started by men.

The rabbit hole of how this got going is very interesting.  At first, both men and women carried pouches for their things.  This is what the Romans and everyone all through the Middle Ages did.  Your dress, toga, pants, etc. didn’t come with pockets.  True equality for all.

But then men decided they didn’t want to deal with carrying the pouches anymore, so in the 17th century, it became more convenient to just sew the pouches into the clothing itself.  Since people were able to have actual wardrobes around this time instead of wearing whatever rags they owned until they weren’t even fit to scrub the pots and pans with, attaching the pouches to garments wasn’t that big of a deal.  Total convenience for all!

Unless you were a woman.

In the 17th century, women typically wore two layers of undergarments and a petticoat on top of them.  The ‘pocket’ would be tied around the waist, between the undergarment and petticoat.  This meant that women had to practically undress to get to their pockets, which meant they couldn’t retrieve anything in public.  Women were expected to tend to the home, which meant they shouldn’t be carrying money or trinkets around with them like men.  I can’t help but wonder if that sentiment lingers in the backdrop today…

Anyway, for a time the Rational Dress Society campaigned for more practical women’s clothing, and the Suffragette’s Suit from the 1910s featured six pockets!  Real pockets, too, not those dainty things you struggle to fit that penny you found on the sidewalk inside of.

After the two World Wars, however, the men returned home and decided they didn’t want women wearing clothing baggy enough for pockets.  This is when women’s clothing morphs into the Incredible Shrinking Garment.

Women’s clothing was expected to be form-fitting to emphasize those womanly features that draw men’s gaze.  According to an article I remember reading but cannot find now, this was also partially done to save the dying baggage industry.  By forcing women to carry purses in order to be able to have things like money or car keys, it meant that handbags couldn’t go the way of the dinosaurs.

Nowadays, it’s probably done largely to cut costs when it comes to designing women’s clothing.

Sorry for the tangent (Reese and I love history), but all this means that you have two options if you want bigger pockets:

  1. Find women’s clothes with real pockets.  They exist, they’re just hard to find.  I wear cargo pants as often as I can, personally.
  2. Buy men’s clothes.  Yes, the baggier crotch area is a pain, but in return, you get way more room.

The other way men have screwed women over is that we’re often overlooked in the knife industry.

…And the diving industry

Basically, most knives (and scuba gear) are made for men – men’s hands, men’s proportions.  When women complain and say that we want stuff for us, people in the industry respond by assuming women mean they want a fresh coat of sickly pink paint coated over the pre-existing designs.

Can you say ‘ugh’?

No, making your knife look like you planned to market it to little girls growing up in the 1990s isn’t a great way to get grown women on board.  I don’t care if it’s pink, has little heart shapes, or has been dunked in gobs of glitter.  All I want is for it to fit my hands and fit in my pockets.

Other Stuff You Should Consider When Selecting a Pocket Knife

Now that I’m done complaining about large knives and itty bitty pockets, time to go into the more general things you need to consider when picking out your ideal pocket knife.  Obviously, if you insist on wearing things with tiny pockets, you’re not going to be focused on a more limited range of knives, but you should still be able to find something that lends itself well to your daily needs.

And just as a heads up, if you want a deep dive into this stuff, we have in-depth guides to blade shapes and blade steels for you.  If you’re feelings super nerdy, you can even check out our edge grinds page, but that’s not necessary for most pocket knives.

Blade Shape

The shape of the blade is going to do a lot to determine what you can and cannot do with your knife.  Some designs lend themselves well to a variety of tasks while others are really good at one or two things and suck at everything else.  Whatever blade shape you choose will have to complement the things you want to use it for.

While we have a page dedicated to this topic here (complete with pictures), I’ll give a quick rundown of the most common blades you’ll find on pocket knives.

  • Drop Point: This is the most common kind of blade shape in pocket knives.  It has a large area, called a belly, for slicing and is good for doing just about anything you want to do.  They’re easy to sharpen and maintain, too.  The only thing you need to be aware of is that they aren’t that great at piercing material, so if you need to do that a lot, then maybe something like a clip point blade is better for you.
  • Clip Point: Clip points are similar to drop points, except it looks like part of the knife was clipped off to make a more definite point.  I personally love clip points, but that’s I like a decent point.  While the point can’t pierce anything tough, it’s great at piercing soft material.
  • Tanto Points: These are less common for EDC knives because they’re really only good at one thing: stabbing harder materials.  They aren’t great for slicing, and while they can cut reasonably well, they aren’t as great at it as some other knives.  They look cool, though.
  • Sheepsfoot Blade: The interesting thing about a sheepsfoot blade is that it has no point.  Sometimes they’re modified to give a tiny little point for those who really need it, but a true sheepsfoot blade will have none.  This is great if you’re an emergency worker, as it means you can cut around seatbelts and stuff without worrying about stabbing the trapped victim.  Farmers and people with hoofed animals also like them because they were designed for trimming hooves without stabbing the poor animal in the process.
  • Wharncliffe Blade: These are similar to sheepsfoot except they have something of a point, albeit not a very robust one.  They’re meant for woodworking, so if you’re into that, this is a good blade for you.
  • Straight Back: Exactly as the name says, these have straight backs and are made for cutting.  They do that really well, and the straight but unsharpened spine means you can apply pressure with your fingers if need be.  They can be difficult to control, though.
  • Hawkbill or Talon Blade: This is one of my favorite shapes.  They look like raptor claws or eagle beaks, hence the name.  They’re fantastic at piercing (although the tip dulls), cutting, and slicing.  Not great at chopping, though, and a pain to sharpen.  I still love ’em, though!
  • Needle Point: These are fairly rare in pocket knives and are mostly for tactical use, which we don’t really recommend here.  Regardless, if you need to stab a lot of stuff, this is the blade for you.
  • Spear Points: Similar to needle points but sturdier and slightly more versatile in their use.  Kind of like little daggers, you can find pocket knives that feature them, though maybe not as many as some other blades.
  • Spey Points: Similar to sheepsfoot but most often found on multi-tool knives.  They have little points, but those points aren’t very functional.

Serrated vs Straight Edges

You should also consider whether you prefer a straight edge or a serrated edge.  Straight edges make cleaner cuts and slice well, but if you need to cut something tough (think rope or thick cardboard), they aren’t going to serve you very well.  Serrated edges are great for cutting through tough material, but they leave jagged edges.  They’re also a pain to sharpen in comparison to straight edges.

Some knives have hybrid edges, but be aware that these knives give you smaller areas to work with, being divided between straight and serrated edges.

Steel Type

Depending on how you plan to use your knife, you should also consider what kind of steel the blade is made from.

As a general rule, harder metals retain their edge longer and are quite sharp, but they chip more easily and take a long time to sharpen.  Meanwhile, softer metals can take more abuse (think of rubber car tires and how they’re more vulnerable to rocks and debris on the road if they’re filled too full) but dull much faster.  On the bright side, they’re easier to sharpen.

Some metals don’t corrode as easily as others, too, so if you plan on working around water or in the rain with your knife a lot, take that into consideration.

Okay, let’s get down to business.  I could probably pick out the top 20 best pocket knives for women, but most readers seem to want a smaller number, which means I can’t include knives of all kinds of shapes and purposes.  These knives mostly fit into the criteria of being easy for smaller hands to handle and can fit into smaller pockets.

Elk Ridge ER120 Folding Knife

Specs

  • Total Length: 6″
  • Blade Length: 2.5″
  • Blade Material: 3Cr13
  • Blade Shape: Clip Point
  • Deployment: Manual
  • Lock Type: Liner Lock
  • Handle Material: Aluminum

The Elk Ridge ER120 fits perfectly into smaller hands, having a handle of about 3″.  I thought I wouldn’t like a blade of less than 3″, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been disappointed with this knife.  It was cheap and I didn’t expect much of it, but it’s done everything I need it to and was already pretty sharp when it first shipped to me.

I just realized that we don’t have 3Cr13 steel on our steel page (we’ll fix that), but this is a very cheap steel.  Despite that, it also manages to be a very hard steel with a 54 on the HRC scale.

It’ll slip easily into most women’s pockets, making it a fantastic little knife.

Buck Knives 284 Bantam

Specs

  • Total Length: 4 3/8″
  • Blade Length: 2 3/4″
  • Blade Material: 420HC
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Deployment: Manual
  • Lock Type: Lockback
  • Handle Material: Black Textured Thermoplastic

If you’re looking for an EDC that balances budget with craftsmanship, then bantams are a good choice.  As for the 284, I love the textured handle (makes me feel like I’ve got a real grip on it) and the sturdiness of the blade.  The handle isn’t very wide, either, so if you have particularly small hands you’ll have no problem opening it with one hand.

420HC steel tends to vary depending on the metallurgist, but in this blade, it comes across as a harder steel that holds its edge very well.  Buck also manages to make this alloy corrosion-resistant, so I like to bring it camping and hiking with me, and the drop point shape means I can use it for everything from trimming plants to opening Amazon packages.

If I wind up losing it, it’s no big deal to replace thanks to its low cost.

Women with larger hands probably won’t like the 284 Bantam as much because of how small it is, but for those of us with smaller hands, this is a good fit.

SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II

Specs

  • Total Length: 4.8″
  • Blade Length: 2.65″
  • Blade Material: AUS-8
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Deployment: Assisted
  • Lock Type: Lockback
  • Handle Material: Aluminum (Wood Optional)

The SOG Twitch II is small and unobtrusive, even in tiny little pockets.  It cuts extremely well and the AUS-8 alloy gives it both good hardness and resistance to corrosion.  However, it still manages to be easy to sharpen when it eventually dulls, and the drop point style help in that matter.

The lock works well, though I know some people who don’t like it, and the assisted open if very fast and easy to deploy.

I don’t care for how smooth the handle is, but I didn’t grab the version with a wooden handle.  Maybe that one is easier to hold in your hand, but I went the cheap route and skimped.

All in all, this is one of my favorite blades.

Spyderco Ladybug 3 Hawkbill

Specs

  • Total Length: 4.313″
  • Blade Length: 1.875″
  • Blade Material: H-1
  • Blade Shape: Hawkbill/Talon
  • Deployment: Manual
  • Lock Type: Back Lock
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon

I love boating, diving, bushcraft, camping, and hiking, meaning I love this knife.  The Spyderco Ladybug 3 is water-friendly and serrated, so it can do all the tough work I want it to do.  Whenever Reese and I go hiking or camping, he usually takes along a multi-tool knife of some kind and a dedicated pocket knife.  I take this.

This knife is tiny.  As in, it takes up about as much room as car keys.  Small handles have a tendency to slip around in even small hands, but not this one.  It’s got an excellent grip that anyone, even men with big hands, can hold onto with confidence.  There’s a slight downside in that there’s no clip, but it slips easily into pockets and has a lanyard hole so you can hook it to your key ring.

A great EDC knife and a great knife for anyone who spends time outdoors.  Did I mention I love this knife?

Kershaw 1660ST Leek

Specs

  • Total Length: 7″
  • Blade Length: 3″
  • Blade Material: 14C28N
  • Blade Shape: Modified Drop Point
  • Deployment: SpeedSafe Flipper
  • Lock Type: Liner Lock
  • Handle Material: 410 Stainless Steel

The Kershaw Leek is a lightweight EDC pocket knife.  It’ll dull somewhat faster than other knives, but for women who work in offices and such, you’ll find this knife will serve you well.  It has a modified drop point blade that some consider to be more of a Wharncliffe blade shape.

Pocket knives for women should be small, and while the Spyderco Butterfly 3 is smaller, this knife should fit in most pockets.  The only real downside is that the handle slips around if your hands are wet.

Deployment is easy and the 14C28N steel makes this a knife that resists corrosion well.  It’s also partially serrated, which is always nice, even if it makes sharpening a bit harder.

Spyderco Dragonfly 2

Specs

  • Total Length: 5 7/16″
  • Blade Length: 2.38″
  • Blade Material: K390 Microclean Carbon Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Deployment: Manual
  • Lock Type: Liner Lock
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon

The Dragonfly 2 from Spyderco is a little knife that handles like a larger knife.  It’ll slip into even women’s pockets without trouble and is so unobtrusive, you might even forget it’s there!  Like the Kershaw Leek, it’s perfect for office workers and people who need to open packages and such.  Maybe not so great for bushcraft due to its leaf-shaped blade.

Ultimately, this is a great knife that I carry often, especially in the winter when I’m not outside doing a lot.

FantastiCAR 15 in 1 Multi-Tool

Specs

  • Total Length: 3.85″
  • Blade Length: Varies by Tool
  • Blade Material: N/A – Some Kind of Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Deployment: Manual
  • Lock Type: N/A
  • Handle Material: Aluminum and Stainless Steel

So, for some context, Reese is playing Uncharted 3 while I work on this and periodically calls out, “Don’t forget a multi-tool!”

Reese, you see, has some sort of fixation on multi-tool knives.  I fully anticipate that one day I’ll find a package in the mail containing a $1,000 Swiss Army Knife that’s chock full of tools he’ll never use. Still, he’ll insist that it’s better to be safe than sorry before tossing it into our workshop’s knife drawer for all eternity.

That being said, multi-tool knives can be handy to have around.  While most people will gravitate to either Victorinox or Leatherman brands, but I’m going to introduce you to this little thing.  I got it for my cousin’s kid when she turned 10 and wanted a pocket knife like her brothers.  This is a sturdy little knife that’s great for lightweight use, so I decided to get one for myself, too.

Before we go in, let’s list all the tools it comes with:

  • Main Blade
  • Square Blade Screwdriver
  • Bottle Opener
  • Saw
  • Fish Scaler
  • Hook Remover
  • Scissors
  • Can Opener
  • Nail File
  • Needle Threader
  • Ice Chisel
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Wine Opener
  • Key Ring

That’s quite a bit packed into it.  It’s not as heavy-duty as a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, but the FantastiCAR is far from a terrible substitute.  My biggest problems were that I needed to sharpen the main blade when it first arrived (no big deal) and that it can be a pain to get the tools out.  They’re thick and stick in place well.

This tool comes in purple, pink, and black colors, so there’s a bit of variety to choose from.  That’s always a nice thing.

Final Thoughts

I tried to give a nice variety of different knives that cater to women and the small pockets we’re cursed with (if we choose to be fashionable, anyway) while still being useful and not just ‘cute’.

That being said, there’s one more thing I must ask you to do: look up your local laws!

Before you decide to carry around a knife, even if you have no intention of going Psycho on someone, you need to make sure that your intended knife is legal.  Just because you can legally own a knife doesn’t mean that you can wander around with it in your pocket or car.

We have our own page of knife laws here or you can check out the American Knife & Tool Institute to ensure that the knife you’re interested in is legal.

I hope you enjoyed this and found something that piques your interest!

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