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To assess the quality of a knife blade you would have to consider the blade type, the material it is made of, size – the same rule applies to the handle. Each material has its own characteristics, while maintenance is just as important, you want durability, good looks, and maximum performance when it comes to a new knife.

Carbon fiber is not the most popular knife handle material, but it is definitely one of the most qualitative ones. It is extremely durable and can last for a lifetime. It looks good and has a nice 3D effect. It is lightweight and will never put any strain on your hands. But then, it is on the expensive side.

It is also strange that many address knives with the handle made of carbon fiber, as ‘carbon fiber knives’.  I have rarely heard anyone calling a knife ‘g-10 knife’ because it had the handle made of g-10. Regardless, from here own when I say carbon fiber knife, I imply the knife handle is made of carbon fiber.

What are Carbon Fiber Knives?

Buck Knives 841 Sprint Pro, Easy Opening Ball Bearing Flipper Liner Lock Folding Pocket Knife with Removable Stainless Steel Clip, Marbled Carbon Fiber, Black, 3-1/8" S30V Blade

Carbon fiber is a material based on thin strands of carbon. They are as thin as human hair. They are woven into specific patterns, then covered in resin for durability.

The manufacturing process is extremely complicated. Once the strands are drawn, they are sealed off against oxygen and exposed to some extreme heat. The heat will clear out non-carbon atoms and purify the material. This process ensures the strands are tightly put together. Once done, the carbon fiber gets its dark gray color.

All these fibers are woven together extremely tightly and again and again. Resin is applied with pressure and high heat.

Now, you may be aware that carbon fiber is an excellent choice when it comes to car parts, but why is it so useful in knives?

The material is 70% lighter than steel and 40% lighter than aluminum. It has great tensile strength and will most likely last for a lifetime. It can resist stretching, as well as heat. It can easily resist corrosion over time, even if you fail to look after it.

The strength to weight ratio is incredibly high, while the beautiful appearance kicks in to top everything off.

Any knife can have a carbon fiber handle, but I have only seen outdoor knives (EDC/camping/hunting/tactical, etc) with carbon fiber handles, except for a few chef knives like Brooklyn Knife Co. 8″ Chef Knife shown below
Brooklyn Knife Co. Chef Knife - Carbon Fiber Series - Japanese AUS-08 HC Super Steel - Sheath, 8-Inch

Should you go for a knife because it has a carbon fiber handle? I don’t think so. You need to make sure the knife is suitable for your needs, so focus on the blade first. Regardless here are some of the best-rated knives with carbon fiber handles.

Best Carbon Fiber Knives in 2021 for Outdoor

The first 6 are folding knives and the last one is a fixed blade knife, all come with a carbon fiber handle.

Southern Grind Spider Monkey Drop Point Folding Knife

The beautiful appearance – You look at this knife and you fall in love with everything. The carbon fiber in its composition is extraordinary, while the Damascus steel makes the blade stand out in the crowd. You can also opt for the same knife with a completely black blade – no patterns or fancy designs.

Excellent blade – Quality leaves no room for mistakes. You have S35VN steel. Not only is it tough and can resist stains, but it is also known for its impressive edge retention. The blade has a sharp tip and razor sharpness. It measures 3.25 inches. When it comes to care and maintenance, you have to wash the knife manually – never in a dishwasher. Dry it before closing it.

Dependable handle – The carbon fiber in the handle makes all the difference in the world. You know you can always count on this knife to deliver. The grip is perfect. It has an ergonomic design in the shape of your hand – plus, you have a handguard for safety. The handle adds to the lightweight profile of the knife – just 3.2 ounces. It is 4.19 inches in length.

Extras – A thumb stud on the handle ensures easy opening, which is great when you face an emergency. The kinetic opening capability is smooth. Moreover, you will love the titanium lock and liner, while the pocket clip is great to secure it. Based on its features, this knife is suitable for tactical, fishing, camping, survival, hunting, and military applications.

Pros

  • Durable and qualitative materials
  • Impressive appearance
  • Great edge retention
  • Ergonomic and easy to use
  • Kinetic opening capability

Cons

  • The pocket clip is a bit too short

Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife

Multiple designs – Kershaw’s best carbon fiber knife is suitable for all kinds of operations, whether it comes to hunting, survival, camping, or just various operations around your home. Apart from the classic carbon fiber design, you have a bunch of other colors and styles to choose from.

Solid steel – The blade is based on CPM 154 steel. It has a stonewash finish that makes it look rugged. It has a super sharp tip and a razor-sharp edge. It can resist scratches and wear without showing any signs. It also has corrosion resistance, as well as extra toughness. The blade measures three inches in length.

Comfortable handle – The handle is made to last. Based on carbon fiber, it has four screws to hold the mechanism in place, as well as a lanyard hole. You have speed safe assisted opening to ensure immediate results when in need. Furthermore, it makes no difference if you are left or right-handed.

Balance and maintenance – The knife is very well balanced. Since the handle is lightweight, most of the balance is towards the tip, meaning you will not have to put too much pressure on it when in use. As for care and maintenance, make sure you clean it manually and dry it completely before closing it. Dishwashers tend to get the blade dull.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable handle
  • Speed safe assisted opening
  • Multiple styles available
  • No signs of wear and tear

Cons

  • Might feel a bit stiff during the first few uses

Zero Tolerance 0450CF – Titanium and Carbon Fiber Handle

Versatile uses – Zero Tolerance does stand up to its name – there is no zero-tolerance for issues and performance problems. This folding pocket knife is extremely durable and made to last. It is only available in one style and can be used for all kinds of applications. It makes a good tool to have around your house, but it is also helpful in your outdoor adventures.

Quality blade – The blade measures 3.25 inches. It is based on S35VN steel, which is super tough and can resist chipping. Edge retention will pleasantly surprise you. The drop point blade has a sharp tip and a razor-sharp edge. Other than that, it has a beautiful DLC coating that gives it a dark appearance.

Easy to use – The handle makes this knife very easy to use, with or without experience. The handle consists of two materials. You have carbon fiber on the front, as well as titanium on the back. It feels comfy as you use it and features great proportions. It has an ergonomic shape and proper support for your thumb.

Mechanism and maintenance – The folding knife is easy to open and close. There is almost no effort involved. You can carry it around in your pocket without having to worry about accidentally opening in your pocket. Make sure you clean the knife manually and never in a dishwasher. Also, dry it up before closing and storing it.

Pros

  • Good looking design
  • Durable materials
  • Comfortable and ergonomic handle
  • Easy to open and close
  • Suitable for more applications

Cons

  • Not super smooth in flipping

Spyderco Tenacious-  G10 Handle covered with Carbon Fiber

Classic and simple design – Spyderco’s best folding carbon fiber knife is great for hunters, campers, outdoor adventurers, and general knife users. It is only available in one style. Also, it is designed to fold into a pocket knife, so storage and transportation will never be a problem.

Excellent blade – The blade may look a bit small, but you could never go wrong with something like that. It measures 3.5 inches in length and it is made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. It will resist rust and corrosion and it will not require any maintenance. It has a very sharp edge, as well as a sharp tip – so be careful when you unpack it.

Durable handle – This handle will last for a lifetime. The G10 unit is one of the highest-rated options in the industry these days. It is covered in carbon fiber and features a lightweight profile. In fact, the whole knife barely weighs five ounces. All in all, you have a lanyard hole, as well as a pocket clip for easy transportation. The handle is 4.38 inches in length.

Extras and maintenance – The knife is pretty basic, yet it does have a few extras. The lanyard hole is a plus, not to mention the thumb pull. Opening and closing the knife is a piece of cake too. When it comes to looking after it, stainless steel does not require too much care. However, you should clean it manually and dry it up before closing it.

Pros

  • High-performance materials
  • Agile and well balanced
  • Good sizing standards
  • Little to no maintenance required
  • Thumb pull

Cons

  • No assisted opening

CRKT Avant EDC – Lighweight Carbon Fiber EDC

Solid and durable – CRKT is one of the top players on this market for affordable knives. The unit is lightweight, modern, powerful, and sturdy. It is great for hunting, survival, and other outdoor activities. It is a folding knife with a solid mechanism and a smooth operation. It feels well put together as you hold it.

Classic blade – The blade is modern and good looking. It features a beautiful satin finish and a super sharp tip. It has support for your finger and will retain its sharpness for ages. Besides, sharpening this knife is fairly simple. It is made of steel, hence the impressive durability. Furthermore, the side close to the handle has a small hand guard for protection.

Excellent handle – The handle is made of carbon fiber. It is powerful, and it feels very lightweight. Most of the balance is towards the tip, so it requires no pressure when you use the knife. The handle has an ergonomic shape and will never slip out of your hands. Overall, the knife weighs just under 5.5 ounces, so it is quite light for its size – 7.5×1.51×0.52 inches.

Extras – There are a few interesting extras worth being mentioned. The IKBS ball bearing pivot is certainly an innovation. It allows an almost instant blade deployment for quick operations. You also have a liner lock, not to mention the reversible pocket clip. Make sure you wash this knife manually to avoid dulling the blade.

Pros

  • Innovative ball bearing pivot
  • Modern satin style
  • Lightweight profile
  • Comfortable to use
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • The pocket clip feels a bit too tight

Benchmade 940 EDC

Multipurpose tool – Benchmade surely knows what versatility means in knives. The 940 EDC model will most commonly draw attention with its carbon fiber design, but its capabilities are not overlooked either. Built with simplicity in mind, this knife is classic and useful under any circumstance – great for hunting, camping, everyday activities at home, survival adventures, and so on.

Superior blade – Made in the USA, the blade features high-quality CPM S90V steel. It comes with a consistent microstructure, so the edge is literally flawless. Moreover, edge retention will never be an issue, while sharpening the blade is a matter of minutes. You have a reverse tanto blade that measures 3.4 inches in length and adds to the versatility.

Lightweight handle – The handle is based on carbon fiber. In other words, it looks great. Carbon fiber is also durable and extremely lightweight. The texture ensures a perfect grip – the knife will never slip out of your hand. You can open and close the blade in a second and the axis locking mechanism can prevent unhappy accidents. Altogether, the knife weighs 2.39 ounces, so you will not even feel it in your pocket.

Pros

  • Can be used for all kinds of activities
  • Super lightweight for its size
  • Superfast blade deployment and closing
  • Durable and efficient blade material
  • Easy to sharpen and look after

Cons

  • You might need to center the blade a little every now and then – easy to do by tightening the screws

Spyderco Proficient FB36CFP – Fixed Blade Carbon Fiber Knife

Versatile – Spyderco’s Proficient FB36CFP is built with performance in mind. It has a bulky appearance, but it is ergonomic and easy to use with no fatigue in the process. Designed by Chris Claycomb, the innovative knife is a reliable solution in outdoor activities – hunting, survival, or camping adventures. It has a fixed blade and weighs just over 6.3 ounces.

Reliable blade – The blade is superior to other similar knives. Based on vanadium-rich CPM S90V, this type of stainless steel is rust and corrosion-resistant. It is not the most popular material in knives, mostly because it is more expensive. However, the price brings in amazing cutting performance. The blade comes with a full flat grind, meaning friction is almost inexistent. The blade is four inches long.

Comfortable handle – The handle adds to comfort and reliability. It is a bit thick, so it will not slip out of your hand. It ensures a great grip and covers the full tang blade, holding it in place with a couple of bolsters. It is made of solid carbon fiber – not coated in it. The contour is designed to clear out hot spots for a more comfortable experience. In terms of extras, a premium leather sheath is included in the package too.

Pros

  • Comfortable and ergonomic handle with no hot spots
  • Durable blade and good edge retention
  • Ideal for outdoor adventures
  • Excellent sizing standards
  • Well balanced

Cons

  • Some may find it too small for certain fixed knife uses

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can carbon fiber break easily?

Not really. When done by the book at the highest quality standards, carbon fiber is easily tougher than steel. At the same time, it is extremely safe and durable. However, when made incorrectly, its components can break when least expected.

Carbon fiber is not like other materials. When overtightened, most materials go stronger and more durable. Carbon fiber is different and will end up shattering down. This is one of the reasons wherefore you should choose the best carbon fiber knife from a reputable brand with high-quality standards.

Are there any materials stronger than carbon fiber?

Graphene is often referred to be the miracle material out there. It is relatively new and it is not so common in many applications because many tests are still ongoing and its long-term efficiency is not known. Its strength is extreme, but at the same time, it is super lightweight too and can definitely outweigh carbon fiber.

However, you are less likely to find graphene knives out there. The material is considered quite innovative, and a few automotive manufacturers currently use it for parts.

Does carbon fiber weaken with time?

Carbon fiber is incredibly strong, but some of its strength is given by the resin required to hold everything together. The resin is likely to degrade over time. It will not happen within a few years but over a lifetime. Of course, it also depends on the quality standards and the uses of your knife.

Carbon fiber is more likely to experience degradation in car parts, for example. A knife is not that exposed to outdoor factors, so you will probably never experience any issues whatsoever.

What are the drawbacks of carbon fiber?

From many points of view, carbon fiber is close to perfection. However, it has one major drawback that puts people off – its actual cost. The material is more expensive than others, but value for money is great, as it brings in a plethora of advantages. Besides, over the past few years, it has become more affordable, yet repairs can be pricey.

The labor required and technology make it expensive. The result? Exquisite durability, super strength, and a lightweight profile. Besides, there will not be too much carbon fiber in a knife anyway, so the price will not be that high. 

Does carbon fiber fade?

Carbon fiber can, indeed, fade. But unless you store your knife outdoors in direct sunlight, it is less likely to happen. You can maintain that stunning glossy finish for years. Besides, many handles are clear coated for protection anyway, so you are less likely to experience such problems.

Conclusion

Choosing the best carbon fiber knife boils down to what kind of knife you need and what you want it for. Carbon fiber is relatively pricier compared to other handle materials, hence these knives are expensive.