There is no rule against having them all. But what if you were only able to choose just one of these knives?
That is where I come in with today’s comparison.
Here is the ultimate swiss army knife vs pocket knife showdown that should help you to make the best decision at the end of the day.
Table of Contents
To Choose a Swiss Army Knife or Pocket Knife?
I don’t want to be the one to tell you what to do – or which one to not pick. So, I have delved into each knife builds under different headings with as unbiased of a comparison review as I can muster.
At the end of it all, you should be better equipped with information that allows you to make the best decision.
The best knives for self-defense are usually folding knives.
Swiss army knives might have the ‘army’ operator in their name, but that does not mean it is as great for combat.
Don’t get me wrong. You can do a lot with a swiss army knife too. However, consider the fact that you can easily flick a pocket knife open with one hand but might need other fingers to get the different tools in a swiss army knife out of the shell.
Thus, the speed of use that a folding knife offers here makes it the better choice.
PS Make sure you look through these open carry knife laws to ensure you are within safe legal parameters before carrying any of these knives with you.
Random Cutting Uses
Both kinds of knives are great for cutting things that you randomly come across. Being a specialty tool with only one blade, though, the stainless steel in a folding knife is usually of high quality.
If I was hard-pressed to only carry one of these knives, the pocket knife will be the best pick for me here.
I don’t even need to spend so much time on this one.
The basic swiss army knife comes with a blade and a series of other tools in the mix.
Depending on the model that you get and the brand behind it, the tools on the Swiss army knife could vary wildly. I have even come across some that carry a USB on them, among other electronic tools.
Thus, a swiss army knife is a fine tool to have when you are unsure of what you might run into. Most of the time when you need a handy tool, one of the additions to these kinds of knives will come to your rescue.
I could easily use my pocket knife to cut through a seatbelt, tear through cardboards or perform similar tasks in an emergency. However, that is about as far as I could get.
Bring in the swiss army knife and I have a small screwdriver, a USB stick, a flashlight, and more.
With that alone, you can see how the swiss army knife would be the best bet in an emergency.
If you have been following my buying guides for a while, you will know that I am usually particular about the price. To put that in another way, I dislike paying over the top for something that I could get at an affordable price.
Should you decide to go with swiss army knives, know that they are often more expensive when compared to folding knives of the same quality. Because the average swiss army knife setup will pack a lot more tools than the single blade on the folding knife, this price difference makes a lot of sense.
Again, this is where the intended usage of the knife will come into play to decide what you’ll get. Thus, justifying the budget.
Ease of Maintenance
I did an entire piece on how to clean and maintain a swiss army knife. The tips in there sound like the basic things that you should do, but you might not need a lot of those steps if you were working with a standard pocket knife.
So, if high maintenance is a dealbreaker for you, stick with the pocket knife. Apply the basic knife care tips to this knife, once in a while, and you are good to go for longer.
Before anything else, both knives are, well, knives.
Looking at their blades, the pocket knife is the clear winner here.
The budget that you invested into your folding knife went into the blade and handle. For the swiss army knife, the same budget is shared across the blade and other tools in the setup.
There is no way you can expect to get the same level of quality from both units that way.
Swiss army knives can get bulky – and fast. Pocket knives shave off all that weight by only featuring one blade, on most models, or up to three on others.
That way, they are easier to lug around with you without feeling too conscious about carrying a fat knife build around with you.
This might not matter when you are going into the woods and you need all the help that you can get from all the amazing tools on a swiss army knife. If you were just interested in a knife that could go anywhere with you, every day, there is no better bargain than what the folding knife offers.
I was never going to rule this out.
No matter what I tell you, and where this piece tends towards, your personal preferences must not be neglected.
Maybe for the cool factor, appeal, or any other reason, you might prefer one of these knives over the other.
Even if everything I am saying here tends in support of the other knife, you might rule it all out based on your personal preferences. After all, who says I’m not being biased in the way I have approached this anyway?
Let’s not leave your lifestyle out of this either
If you were a banker, for example, I don’t see what you’re doing with a swiss army knife in your pocket.
That does not mean some bankers don’t require such multiple tools, but it is not as common. Well, relative to, say, a construction guy, someone that works with electrical components all day and such other professionals.
Sometimes, it is just best that you go with something that makes your daily lifestyle easier without bringing all the bells and whistles that you won’t use at the end of the day.
So, which should you pick?
That is left to you, at this point.
If you cannot make a solid decision yet, maybe you should get both. Check out these Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Knife and CRKT M16-14SFG EDC Folding Pocket Knife which are the picks I would recommend in both categories. They are also well-made and great for entry-level users, so you can get familiar with what they both offer from there.
Should you fall into the category that bought both knives from above, you’ll be able to make a better decision on which one to continue with in the future. Or, maybe, keep buying both.
As I said, the ultimate decision is yours.