The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

CRKT Squid Review

A compact, affordable blade for every day carry; it has excellent construction and a decent blade, especially for the price.
CRKT Squid
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $35 List | $18.68 at Amazon
Pros:  Compact, burly, inexpensive
Cons:  Short blade, heavy
Manufacturer:   CRKT
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 24, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 19
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 6
  • Ergonomics - 20% 4
  • Portability - 20% 7
  • Construction Quality - 20% 6
  • Other Features - 10% 0

Our Verdict

There are less expensive knives in our test, but none of them are nearly as appropriate as an everyday carry and everyday use knife. The CRKT Squid is a full-function knife that is both compact and very affordable.


Compare to Similar Products

 
CRKT Squid
This Product
CRKT Squid
Awards   Editors' Choice Award   
Price $18.68 at Amazon$128.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$127.50 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$108.89 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$123.71 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
52
100
0
75
100
0
75
100
0
73
100
0
71
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Compact, burly, inexpensiveGreat blade, classy wooden handleIncredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionalityProven and well-respected blade, smooth, comfortable ergonomicsImmaculate materials, assisted opening, fully symmetrical performance
Cons Short blade, heavyExpensive, no assisted opening functionPricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitiveLarge, no assisted openingLarge in your pocket, expensive
Bottom Line A compact, affordable blade for every day carry; it has excellent construction and a decent blade, especially for the price.A solid little knife for all-around “every day carry”. With assisted opening, this model would be similar enough to our Editors' Choice to really complicate our assessment.Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task.Full-size, basic folding pocket knife with immaculate construction.The full size version of our Editors' Choice is less portable with minimal but real gains in usability. If you know you need a full size pocket knife, the Barrage 580 is a great choice.
Rating Categories CRKT Squid Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Benchmade Griptilian 551 Benchmade Barrage 580
Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ergonomics (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Portability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
5
Construction Quality (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Other Features (10%)
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
Specs CRKT Squid Benchmade 15031-2... Benchmade... Benchmade... Benchmade Barrage...
Weight (ounces) 3.4 oz 3.2 oz 3.4 oz 3.9 oz 4.2 oz
Blade Style Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Opening Style Ambidextrous Thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb-stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud
Lock Mechanism Frame lock Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis)
Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket Clip, lanyard hole
Blade Material 8Cr13MoV stainless steel CPM-S30V stainless steel 154CM Steel 154CM steel 154 CM stainless steel
Handle Material Stainless Steel w/Stonewash Stabilized wood Plastic Plastic Valox
Blade Length (inches) 2.1 2.9 2.9 3.5 3.8
Closed Length (inches) 3.1 3.9 4 4.6 4.8
Overall Length 5.7 6.9 6.9 8 8.5
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches) 0.34 0.53 0.57 0.6 0.7
Other Features or Functions None None None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Squid from the Columbia River Knife and Tool company (widely abbreviated, even in their branding, as CRKT) is a compact, price-point pocket knife for every day carry. It is sturdy with a blade that belies its price point. For this cost, it brings better materials and construction than many other products we have used.

Performance Comparison



For a tiny package  the CRKT Squid packs a burly punch.
For a tiny package, the CRKT Squid packs a burly punch.

Blade and Edge Integrity


Price-wise, the Squid is best compared to toy knives or gas station sold, mass-produced knockoffs. Concerning blade integrity, however, the CRKT is almost in the same league as the much spendier products. We select our tested products for performance, not for price. When a product with this price has a carefully tailored blade, we are impressed. Because of the variables and trade-offs that dictate a blade's performance (steel type, hardening process, blade geometry, mainly), a formulaic, business-informed decision-making process doesn't do well. Great blades are the result of a human touch.

Optimizing for blade performance requires the craftsmanship of an experienced and trained human. When that optimized blade can be made for a low price, that is amazing. Because of the human touch and its benefits in optimizing blade performance, blade and knife designs are often branded in conjunction with their designer's pedigree. Known knife sensei Lucas Burnley designed the CRKT Squid. That a budget product like this is marketed with its designer's name speaks to the intricacies of design. The result is a blade that works well, at an affordable price.

The blade of the Squid is made of the same Chinese 8Cr13MoV steel as some much more expensive knives. The 8Cr13MoV steel is known to be an Asian interpretation of much more expensive AUS8 steel. Performance attributes, prior to heat treatment, of these two steels are about the same. CRKT is a company that makes high-end knives, and this price point product. Their heat treatment process and equipment is shared by nearly all the products.

The budget-friendly Squid receives the same great heat treatment as CRKT's much more expensive knives. On the other hand, Buck makes discount products and occasional higher-end products. Their higher end products are subject to the same heat treatment designed for the high volume budget products. All else equal regarding materials and construction and design, it is worth considering the sophistication of the heat treatment of the blades on knives from the boutique manufacturers. Heat treatment is that important.

For heavy cutting the short handle requires a fairly stout grip. For lighter tasks like cheese and veggies  the little handle is no liability.
For heavy cutting the short handle requires a fairly stout grip. For lighter tasks like cheese and veggies, the little handle is no liability.

Ergonomics


The Squid is a large compact knife or a small regular knife. In some ways, it is an awkward size for usage. It is too large and heavy to be a keychain tool, but it doesn't fill the hand like proper full-size tools. Other online reviews have suggested that a beaded or knotted lanyard can make the knife larger in hand without making it carry any larger. In our experience, this works, but not perfectly. For routine and heavy use, a larger knife is more appropriate.

We found a short beaded or knotted lanyard made the handle of the Squid effectively larger in the users hand  without increasing the pocketed bulk by very much. This makes the CRKT perform "larger" than its raw dimensions.
We found a short beaded or knotted lanyard made the handle of the Squid effectively larger in the users hand, without increasing the pocketed bulk by very much. This makes the CRKT perform "larger" than its raw dimensions.

The tiny form of the Squid should not detract from the excellent construction quality. Nor should the intentionally "distressed" look of the tumbled exterior corners.
The tiny form of the Squid should not detract from the excellent construction quality. Nor should the intentionally "distressed" look of the tumbled exterior corners.

Portability


Portability is a function of size, weight, and carry options. The Squid is mid-sized, as compared to the rest of our test roster. It is considerably smaller than ideal for most usage. However, it is smaller in your pocket than all but the micro knives we tested. It is the shortest knife we tested that also has a pocket clip. For valuable pocket space, the Squid is a worthy consideration.

Portability is directly at odds with ergonomics, for the most part. The primary determinant of portability is size, as a small knife is easier to carry around.

The Squid  in pocket carry mode.
The Squid, in pocket carry mode.

Other Features


The Squid has no features besides the blade.

Construction Quality


Construction quality is the scoring metric in which we see the least variation among the tested knives. In short, by the time we make our initial diligent product selection, we are left with great products. This isn't the case across the board. Not all knives are well made. Buyer beware. This also means that we have little to discuss in this section. The CRKT Squid has smooth hinges, burly side plates, and a great blade.

Each manufacturer and product has its own way of instilling confidence in the user. The CRKT Squid is, in a word, beefy. While it is smaller than most others, it is among the heaviest we reviewed. There are no knives smaller than this that weigh more.

Value


The only knives in our test that are less expensive are also far less robust in construction. These less expensive knives also have smaller, less sturdy blades.

The Squid in an average adult male hand.
The Squid in an average adult male hand.

Conclusion


The Squid is a rock-bottom budget option that performs like something much more expensive. For the cost of a "gas station" knife with performance imbued by careful design, the CRKT Squid is an easy consideration for the budget shopper. Overall, in our best-of-the-best review selection, the Squid comes out near the bottom. Now, this is a bit misleading, as the price of the Squid is just so much less than the other top scorers. The only other less expensive knives mainly score lower than the Squid. The less expensive knives are also compromised in size or function or both.


Jediah Porter