Anyone who has a diverse experience in using knives can easily tell the difference between superior and inferior craftsmanship. When it comes to superior craftsmanship, a rugged handle, sturdy build material, and a precision blade together ensure lasting functionality, regardless of how often you use the tool.
If you have started researching well-established knife brands, you are likely to come across Spyderco, a brand with a focus on top-quality craftsmanship and creative tool characteristics since its commencement over 40 years ago.
Although commenced as a simple endeavor, Spyderco now has international acclaim for its different knife designs appealing to different users. In the world of top-class knives, it is recognized for introducing the concept of Everyday Carry (EDC) knife.
Today, you can immediately identify a Spyderco via its unique design, shape, and functionality. The range of knives is also diverse, including unique collectibles. A Spyderco is for you if you need a cutting tool with a striking lineage of realistic applications and devoted exploration.
An Overview of Spyderco Evolution
Established officially in 1976, Spyderco was founded by the Sal and Gail Glesser couple. The couple started designing a product named Portable Hand to help craftsmen such as jewelers working with small parts.
Then, the company started making cutlery items, especially knife sharpeners. In 1978, it came up with its first knife, the C01 folding tool. Even this tool had the brand’s signature, the round hole.
After settling in Colorado, the company started manufacturing more folding knives by exploring new material options as well as designs. Both the company and quality status witnessed tremendous growth. Today, the brand has its independent facilities in the U.S., Southeast Asia, and Europe.
Just like several other specialized knife designers, Spyderco has retained its emphasis on upholding strong connections with knife enthusiasts as well as collectors. Its official website has a myriad of resources to educate its visitors regarding the different types of knives and buying them.
To facilitate fair and frank interaction, an informative forum exists on the website. The brand has also launched the Mule Team Project through which the naïve knife designers or custom designers can tailor their knives using a Spyderco blade. Mostly, fixed blade designs are available through this project.
When it is a matter of warranty, the brand offers what is considered as a regular deal from several trustworthy manufacturers. You can expect protection against craftsmanship or material defects. If any kind of misuse or abuse is detected, the warranty stands void.
At present, the range of products from Spyderco covers many accessories such as lanyards and sharpeners, and tools including knives. Apart from its reputable folding models, it provides a commendable collection of fixed blade knives. These collections include the gamut from bread slicers to tactical and heavy-duty designs.
However, the brand’s backbone is the collection of its folding knives. Many of them are mainly for EDC or tactical purposes and are made up of top-class materials.
Being both smart and functional, these designs usually come with reliable and sturdy lock as well as deployment mechanisms. Further, Spyderco is admired for its ergonomic handles.
The Reasons behind Spyderco Popularity
Over its course of progress and evolution, Spyderco has spent tremendous time as well as money on exploring new designs, handle materials, and blade materials for making more useful products.
Right now, there are diverse knife designs available. For example, the Military collection is for the defense force, while the Endura and Delica ones are good EDC knives at economical prices.
Many users across the globe prefer Spyderco knives due to great hand feel and strong blades resistant to wear and tear. Another reason that makes Spyderco a beloved brand is its unflinching dedication to incessant quality advancement.
The brand continuously comes up with creative knife designs and is committed to improving them. It is truly commendable to refine a design that was applauded for its innovation just a year ago.
Based on the growing popularity, it is becoming common to come across several fake or imitated Spyderco knife designs. Thus, it is wise to buy directly from its official website or other reliable e-retailers. The company also offers free sharpening for knives with plain edges, which is another reason for its increasing popularity.
3 of Our Favorite Spyderco Knives
There hundreds of Spyderco models available online. Unfortunately, we cannot cover them all. Here are our 3 favorite knives from Spyderco in no particular order.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Signature Folding Knife: Best Folding Military/Tactical Knife from Spyderco
Consider this made-in-USA signature tool if you wish to have the typical characteristics of a military knife into a small design. It is a tough knife used for cutting hard things. Thus, it is just not for faint-hearted users.
Long G-10 Handle
The 4.82-inch handle of this paramilitary knife from Spyderco is quite long despite being a part of a compact design. Its forward finger coil facilitates choking up on the blade so that you can have additional control. The G-10 material is admired for its grip and resilient profile, while the narrowness at the end ensures improved ergonomics.
This proprietary lock is highly friendly when it comes to locking the blade in its place. For this purpose, it uses the steel liners of the handle, the ramp on the tang of the blade, and the stop pin. The appearance of this mechanism is similar to a liner lock. However, how it fits against the tang makes it more durable than a liner or frame lock.
Super Steel Blade Construction
The blade, with a drop-point edge and full-flat grind, is made using S30V, which is a super steel. This first-generation steel is considered sturdy but is vulnerable to chipping. Spyderco has overcome this issue by making it a bit soft. Thus, you get a durable folding model.
This versatile clip along with a big lanyard tube and the standard hole facilitates carrying the knife in different positions.
- Super sharp
- Great grip and edge retention
- Resistant to water
- Available in different steels and edge profiles
- Value for money
- A bit tough to sharpen
Spyderco Dragonfly 2: Best Small EDC Knife from Spyderco
This is the knife known for its lightest feel whose importance is something that hikers and campers know. No other Spyderco knife is lighter than the Dragonfly 2. This knife has all the features of a full-sized folder.
Japanese Steel Blade Construction
The 2.28-inch long blade is made using an exotic Japanese super steel, ZDP-189 that consists of 3% carbon and is admired for its edge retention and toughness. The latter benefit means highly acute cutting bevel, which indicates extraordinary cutting performance. This also makes this knife a great slicer.
The other versions of this same knife have a blade made using VG-10 steel. However, this blade stays sharp for a much longer time than the VG-10 models. This blade also features flat bevels from the spine to the edge due to which it cuts like a pro and minimizes drag at the time of cutting.
Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN) Handle with Bi-directional Texturing
FRN is a polymer having glass fiber that is light and sturdy, which along with bi-directional texturing, ensures reliable use during wet and dry conditions. These ergonomic features along with the index-finger coil deliver a secure, cozy grip regardless of the and size.
The 50/50 forward finger coil delivers a four-finger grip for more control and comfort. In simple words, you can use this knife for a long time without any cramps or hotspots. Jimping is included on both the coil and thumb rail for a solid feel.
The clip, round hole, and the strong back-lock mechanism ensure one-handed use and convenient carry.
- Light such that the user forgets its existence
- For dry and wet use
- Great edge retention
- One-hand operation
- Available in different handle variations
- Very small for heavy-duty tasks
Spyderco Aqua Salt: Best Fixed Blade Knife from Spyderco
As the name indicates, this is the knife designed for use in salty water such as in seas and oceans. This means it is ideal for a water sport adventurer. It is the knife with more-than-expected cutting power and highly advanced ergonomics.
The blade of this knife reflects both quality and creativity to help you perform a variety of tasks. Although designed for use inside as well as around water, it is truly a general-purpose utility knife. The credit goes to the modified sheepsfoot blade. The fixed blade can easily split boxes, cut ropes, perform light batoning, and make feather sticks.
H1 Blade Construction
H1 steel is what makes this knife specifically interesting. This steel replaces carbon with nitrogen, which makes Aqua Salt blade rustproof. Thus, this knife is an ideal tool for survival in the wilderness wherein it is easy to maintain. Even in less extreme situations, the H1 blade with a deep hollow grind performs well. There is also a layer of titanium carbonitride that is non-reflective, which is useful in dark conditions.
The injection-molded FRN handle along with the bi-directional texturing ensures a super solid grip. The grip delivers reliable traction at the time of pulling or pushing the knife while being covered by different fluids. It is also convenient to hold the knife when gloves are worn on medium or large hands.
The Aqua Salt knife ships with a polymer sheath as well as a G-clip. Both these features allow you to carry the knife vertically, horizontally, and tangentially.
- Ideal size
- Rustproof and waterproof
- For dry and wet use
- Good edge retention
- Good balance in the hand
- Sharpness not retained for long when put in the sheath
Different Types of Spyderco Knives
Spyderco produces a wide array of knives and other related products
- Tactical or self-defense knives with high-tech features like Spyderco Police Model Signature Folding Knife
- Survival knives with tough handles as well as blades while in the woods or challenging environments like Spyderco Moran Fixed Blade Knife
- Rough and rugged outdoor knives with durable materials to perform any outdoor activity like Spyderco Persistence Value Folding Knife
- EDC knives for daily use anywhere you go for cutting a lot of things like Spyderco Tenacious Value Folding Knife
- Kitchen knives for slicing, cutting, and chopping a variety of food items like Spyderco Lightweight Kitchen Utility Knife
- Collectables with visually appealing designs and quality handles for knife enthusiasts like Spyderco Kapara Folding Knife
- Knife sharpeners like Spyderco Tri-Angle Premium Sharpmaker Set
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Spyderco Knife
Now that you are looking for the best Spyderco knife, it is wise to consider the buying factors. Knowing them and using them to compare different knives, make it easy for you to choose the right one. Following are these factors to consider:
Genuine Spyderco knives feature a jumbo-sized hole without which the fans cannot imagine buying a real Spyderco. This is regardless of the blade type you need. The hole aids in opening a folded blade and facilitates comfortable use. If there is no hole, the knife is perhaps not a Spyderco.
You should select the blade length as per the job you intend to use it for. A larger one is more versatile, meaning you can use it for more variety of tasks. However, you end up compromising weight and portability.
You may be looking for a knife for cutting tough branches, making food, or for a specific project to be done at home. The good news is that Spyderco has a blade for almost all such uses.
For each application, you need a blade of a specific shape. Thus, Spyderco offers straight edge, serrated, curved, and s-shaped blades so that you can easily pick a blade shape as per your needs.
This is a worth looking factor, as it is directly responsible for the blade’s lasting performance as well as lifespan. A blade is affected significantly by different situations in which it is used. Despite that, how long its edge lasts or how consistently good is its performance depends on the material using which it is made up of.
Spyderco knives are made up of steel. Well, there are different types of steel and, at times, a single brand uses a half dozen of them. Thus, selecting the right steel material is a bit challenging.
Nevertheless, it is not necessary to face this challenge always. This is because once you choose a reliable brand, you can be confident about buying a quality knife. However, you need to know that each steel performs differently and that steel with better performance is usually more expensive.
When it comes to buying the best Spyderco knife, you will come across the following steel materials:
- 420HC, which is commonly a part of many entry-level folders although not on many Spyderco tools
- VG-10, which has a fair rating for its remarkable edge retention and toughness, and is a bit costlier than a few budget-level steels
- CPMS30V, which gives pretty hard and sharp knives
- H10, which has nitrogen to deliver 100% rustproof blade
A folding knife is harmful without a blade lock. In short, without it, you are likely to use your first-aid essentials quite frequently. A blade lock is necessary to avert the blade from moving outwards when it is not required to do so. For example, it should be locked when it is inside your pocket.
In the world of folding knives, different lock styles are available. Luckily, Spyderco offers most or mix of them. Following are the different locks for you to consider:
- Liner, which is common due to its simplicity and affordability
- Sturdy frame
- Back, which is an old-style but reliable
- Compression, which is a secure, proprietary mechanism
- Axis, which is sturdy and ambidextrous (both left- and right-hand operations supported)
Handle material is as important as a blade material when it comes to comparing Spyderco knives of a single collection. Fortunately, the brand uses different materials for making handles, which are as follows:
- Composite, which is quite commonly used due to the best mix of comfort, sturdiness, and reasonable price
- Stainless steel, which gives super sturdy handles but also increases its overall weight
- Carbon fiber, which is found inexpensive knives and is lighter than stainless steel although the strength level is the same
This is a must-to-have feature if you are looking for an EDC or a pocket knife. A good model will allow you to remove the clip and relocate it as per your preference. In other words, it means you can flip around the clip to the other side if you are using your left hand to operate the knife.
However, a few users prefer up-side-down or right-side up, as per where they are standing. Luckily, most Spyderco knives come with clips that you can swap around or relocate. Still, you should only consider this feature if you feel it is useful to you.
When it comes to Spyderco, regardless of whether you buy a classical or a modern model, you are assured of supreme quality and lasting performance. Hence the best Spyderco knife for you the one that will fulfill your needs within your budget.