Best Swiss Army knife

Gear

The first mention of a multi-use pocketknife dates back even before Victorinox. In 1851, Herman Melville wrote in “Moby Dick” about a pocketknife “with screwdrivers, corkscrews, tweezers, awls, pens, rulers, nail-filers and countersinkers.”

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Which Swiss Army knife is best?

The Swiss Army knife is a multitool pocketknife originally made by Victorinox. It is particularly useful because it features multiple blades and tools, such as can openers, scissors, screwdrivers and much more while staying relatively lightweight and compact. It has become such an iconic tool that it is now used broadly to refer to any object or idea with multiple uses or applications.

Out of all the different Swiss Army knives, our top choice is the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife. This is the model most people are familiar with, comes with only essential tools and is small enough to fit on your keyring.

What to know before you buy a Swiss Army knife

Variations

The small Swiss Army knives are the most popular, but Victorinox also sells larger tools with more utility. Some may feature additional blades, tools such as a screwdriver or a wine corkscrew, and some are better fitted for hunting or camping. The Wenger Swiss Army Giant Knife has 87 implements and 141 functions, making it almost 9 inches wide.

Victorinox is the official Swiss Army knife manufacturer

These days, countless manufacturers make multitools, from Leatherman to Gerber. However, Victorinox produces the original iconic Swiss Army knife. The company was founded in 1884 by Karl Elsene, a Swiss knife maker for the Swiss Army. In 1908, the Swiss government split up the contract between Victorinox and Wenger, another company that continues to make reputable Swiss Army knives today.

Sharpening and care

Although Swiss Army knives are made from high-quality steel, you should continue to care for it properly to ensure it lasts a long time. To sharpen it, use a whetstone at a 15-20-degree angle. Clean it with warm water and once dried, add a drop of oil in the locking mechanism. Do not clean a Swiss Army knife in a dishwasher.

What to look for in a quality Swiss Army knife

Versatility

Consider the applications for which you will be using your Swiss Army knife. Each model is finely outfitted with various tools, from a sewing awl to a Philips screwdriver. Determine which of these tools you most likely would use.

Durability

Swiss Army knives tend to be made using stainless steel, ensuring they last several years of wear and tear without losing functionality. You could even drop it multiple times and the knife should still work as you expect. However, the scales that hold the blades and tools are made of plastic, which is likely to scuff over time.

Compact profile

The beauty of the Swiss Army knife is that you can slip it in your pocket, attach it to your keys or throw it in a purse. Of course, the more tools included, the bigger and heavier it is, but even the most popular commercial versions remain portable. Consider staying on the lighter side if you don’t need a lot of different tools.

Victorinox quality

The original Victorinox knife is unmatched in terms of quality support. Each knife comes with a lifetime guarantee against defects as well as a money-back guarantee.

How much you can expect to spend on a Swiss Army knife

The most basic Swiss Army knife costs only about $16, with just the essential tools and a slim profile. The most expensive tools may cost up to $200 and feature stainless steel construction and heavy-duty tools such as pliers or ratchets.

Swiss Army Knife FAQ

How sharp is the knife?

A. With proper care and sharpening, the simple knife can cut paper or fruits with ease. Bigger multitools also come with bigger, sharper knives you can use when on a hunting trip.

Can you bring it with you on a plane?

A. While the Swiss Army knife and similar pocketknives were banned after 9/11, in recent years, some policy changes, such as by the FAA, now allow small knives on commercial planes. This does not apply to tactical or hunting knives.

What’s the best Swiss Army knife to buy?

Top Swiss Army knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

What you need to know: Perhaps the most popular version of the Victorinox pocket knife, this multitool features a small blade, scissors, a nail file, a 2.5-mm screwdriver, keyring, toothpick and tweezers.

What you’ll love: This knife weighs less than 1 ounce and is only 2.3 by 0.4 inches. You can easily secure it to your keyring.

What you should consider: It is on the more basic end of Swiss Army knives; other knives tend to have far more tools.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Swiss Army knife for the money

Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocketknife

Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocketknife

What you need to know: If you’re looking for more functionality per dollar spent, the SwissChamp has 33 functions, including a bottle opener, screwdriver and pliers.

What you’ll love: Whether you’re out camping or doing work at home, this tool can be of use.

What you should consider: If you’re only looking for a few blades or tools, this may be overkill.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Victorinox Hunter Pro M Alox Folding Knife

Victorinox Hunter Pro M Alox Folding Knife 

What you need to know: If you’re focused more on the blade than the other tools, the Hunter Pro M Alox folding knife has a more sturdy blade.

What you’ll love: The blade measures out to 3.88 inches of steel, making it perfect for hunting or crafting.

What you should consider: This isn’t a multitool, so don’t expect to see a pair of scissors, pliers or any of the other tools found in a common Swiss Army knife.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Leo Herrera-Lim writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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