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It is not always the best idea to invest in a big knife. There are times when even a small knife can play an important role. Easy to carry and hold, a small knife can cut plastics and cardboards easily and also can protect you, although it is not designed as a self-defense tool.
While there are many small knife designs, keychain-sized knives are highly versatile. They are an ideal alternative to bigger knives for outdoors, as they are compact and discreet.
A keychain knife is designed to look similar to just one more set of keys to fit inside a wallet or a pocket. Many survival enthusiasts and other knife enthusiasts prefer to keep their everyday carry knives with them wherever they go.
However, this seems to be quite impractical to carry a big blade always. Luckily, technology has evolved significantly to allow carrying a keychain knife. This is pretty cool! This guide focuses on how to buy the best keychain knife so that you can buy one easily and satisfactorily.
2021’s 3 Best Keychain Knives Reviewed
Kershaw Cinder Pocket Knife
Weighing 1.6 ounces, this knife is powerful. The 1.4-inch blade features an unswept tip that offers sufficient cutting edge. It is built using reliable 3Cr13 stainless steel to keep corrosion at bay and yet stay sharp. The sharp blade, upon closing, goes back into the tough handle of glass-filled nylon and three-finger secured grip.
The blade’s stunning stonewash finish simply balances performance and style. It is not only stunning but also highly functional, as it is responsible for ensuring a durable blade at the time of use. It is also resistant to fading and masks the look of fingerprints, scuffs, or smudges, which retains the shine intact.
A fast deployment requires manual action through the thumb hole and is pretty safe. This knife also comes with a keychain hole and a bottle opener.
- Balance of style and function
- Sharp blade
- Secure grip
- Easy to sharpen
- A bit flimsy lock
Gerber STL 2.0
STL stands for Strong, Thin, and Light with just one ounce of weight. This is the identity of this Gerber keychain knife, which is not less than a powerhouse for specific jobs anywhere. Its highly thin profile makes it slide comfortably in a wallet.
The drop point blade is made using surgical-grade stainless steel and has a drop point design. It comes coated with titanium for more cutting strength and better corrosion resistance.
The handle is also of stainless steel and ensures stability. A distinct frame lock takes care of your safety by not allowing the blade to close when in use. The blade is around 2.1 inches long. You also get a lanyard hole.
- Extremely thin
- For detailed tasks
- Lanyard hole integrated
- Two hands required to use the frame lock
Cold Steel 27TDS Micro Recon 1 Spear Point
The compact design marks the specialty of this knife from Cold Steel. Measuring four inches when opened, this small knife comes with a sharp blade made up of sturdy AUS 8A Japanese stainless steel. It is also coated using tuff ex, which makes it highly durable.
The Griv-Ex handle is made using G-10 material and features textured groves. There is also a finger notch to ensure safe and snugged cutting. You also get a pocket clip for quick carrying.
- Slim design
- For small tasks
- More durable than usual
- A bit pricey
Why Choose a Keychain Knife?
Carrying a small pocket knife with you, particularly while traveling abroad can be risky due to stringent rules and regulations. Nevertheless, it is also true that traveling without one such knife, specifically, if you will be trekking or camping, is likely to be unsafe.
Moreover, travelers will also be concerned about the weight as well as the size of things to be carried. Carrying a big blade is not only illegal but is also potentially harmful. It can even instill fear in people surrounding you.
Considering all the legal and personal issues, it is ideal to have a small, unconscious knife. The best way to do so is to invest in a keychain knife. A keychain knife is a handy little tool that can be worn via a beaded chain around your neck so that it does not bother anyone and is yet there to help you anytime.
As these knives are tiny, those who are buying for the first time may think as to whether they are of any use. Well, while they cannot stand against those knives, nobody can deny that they provide better value than their bigger versions.
These easy to conceal knives are useful for many purposes, ranging right from protecting from wild cats to opening a package. Usually, they weigh a bit more than a keychain but are highly reliable.
Their versatility comes from the fact that they, too, come with small built-in tools. This is perhaps because keychain knives are close alternatives to the conventional pocket knives. Thus, you will find many models with tools along with cutting blades.
The tools integrated into their body include toothpicks, scissors, and tweezers. This is how the value of these knives enhances when you hang to your chain. You are likely to find yourself accessing it for one task or another quite often.
When you are outside, there is a high probability of cutting a variety of objects intermittently. While you can cut or open some by hand, the rest will require some kind of a cutting tool. This is where a special knife can do the job. This is none other than a keychain knife, as they can easily cut sharp items. Amazing, isn’t it?
Even for adventurers, a small keychain knife is beneficial. This is recognizable when there is an emergency. With the ability to perform many functions, this tool can cut wires and ropes for defense and help get rid of branches, strings, and twigs on the way.
Apart from the versatility of these knives, you will also appreciate them for their affordability. Yes, buying these knives will not break the bank.
While you can invest significantly in everyday carry knives, most keychain alternatives will perform in the same way for less money. They will just not make you miss most abilities of big knives.
They will keep you somewhat more prepared for anything that comes forward than a functional, light everyday carry knife.
Buying Guide For Choosing The Best Keychain Knife
Different types of keychain knives can be seen in the market today. Each of them differs in size, price, and features. As a fact, no two keychain knives are identical in terms of performance. One of them is likely to be better, as per the blade, tools, and finish.
There are a few popular brands whose keychain knives come with everything that is required. Initially, it might seem a bit easy to select the best keychain knife, as you may feel like picking the most affordable as well as a visually appealing one. This is the same experience while buying a keychain.
However, buying one such knife based on these two factors can be dangerous. This is because some of these keychain knives can be irritating to use and can cause you harm if the design is terrible, and the quality is poor.
Thus, it is essential to select a keychain knife carefully by keeping an eye on the finest quality. A keychain knife of such a quality is most versatile in terms of functions it can perform. It is possible to buy such a knife by considering all the factors contributing to its overall quality. So, let’s look at them:
You will be looking for a small size that does not impose any kind of burden while carrying the knife with you. Rather, it should be comfortable for you to carry. The best keychain knife is light in weight and compact in size so that you can easily and swiftly add it to a lanyard or even a keychain.
After all, it is made to be disguised as a keychain while being carried by you. Ideally, the size should not be bulkier or bigger than a set of few keys.
Most models are approximately four inches long and become smaller when folded. The ideal weight must not be over three ounces when closed and over four to five inches while in use.
It is wise to check the customer reviews. Some reviewers share a photo too and comment on the knife’s size. This is useful!
The ideal blade has a length ranging from one to two inches. When closed, the knife length is between 0.5 and 0.7 inches. Further, it is built using a sturdy stainless steel material, as it is light and resistant to corrosion.
The material is also responsible for rendering a sharper edge that retains itself for a longer time than usual. This means you do not have to frequently re-sharpen. In case the knife becomes wet, the material resists rusting. You should wipe it dry. Look for blades made up of 420C, 3CR13, or AUS 8A stainless steel.
Considering the small size, the simplest shape for the blade is the drop point. However, you will come across other shapes, too, including the serrated ones.
The handle of a keychain knife can be made using either natural or synthetic materials. The synthetic ones are light and strong due to which they are ideal for those who are looking for a slim design.
Glass-filled nylon as a synthetic material is a perfect choice, as it is too rigid and is resistant to impact due to dents and scratches. It ensures ease of use and utmost durability.
At times, you may also find that the handle consists of stainless steel so that it becomes strong and more elegant. It is likely to be polished with a distinct look to keep the scratches and fingerprints at bay. Such handles are usually a part of the Swiss army keychain knives from Victorinox.
It is up to you to choose the handle material. No matter which one you choose, ensure that it is of good quality so that your knife tends to last longer.
The branded keychain knives typically come with many attachments in the form of small tools. Most of them have a bottle opener and a key ring. However, a few also have scissors, tweezers, nail filer, toothpick, and screwdriver.
If you are going to use these tools quite frequently, it is wise to get one such keychain knife acting as a multi-utility tool. It will also save you money and storage space, as you do not have to spend on these tools separately.
Can I carry a keychain knife anywhere; is it legally okay?
Yes, for most states! A keychain knife is nothing but a small blade useful for small cutting tasks or self-defense. The blade’s small length does not trigger any legal conflicts in most regions in the United States.
Even on flight, such knives can be carried if it allowed by the airline policies. Still, it is wise to know and check the laws regarding carrying knives to ensure hassle-free traveling.
Are stainless steel blades coated?
While most keychain knife blades are composed of stainless steel, a few come with a coating. This coating makes them resistant to rust and corrosion that may happen if they remain wet. In this way, they become more durable.
Titanium is a famous coating material used to make keychain knives sturdier as well as sharper for cutting hard stuff. Just look for the product specifications to know the materials used.
Keychain knives are for those who like to stay prepared for facing any situation or are serious about survival tools. Although seeming to be small and trivial, the best keychain knife can be a treasured pal in.
When it comes to buying the best keychain knife, consider thinking about its uses and then analyze whether a promising keychain knife is capable of fulfilling those requirements or not.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.