Kershaw Link Review
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|Pros||Excellent blade quality, solid construction, great grip design||Incredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionality||Light, simple, well-made, full size blade, full-function||Beautifully constructed, assisted open, good value||Small, portable, well-constructed|
|Cons||Heavy and bulky, assisted opening requires some force||Pricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitive||Expensive, low profile handle, flexy plastic construction||Slender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragile||Not made for heavy-duty use|
|Bottom Line||This top performer has a large blade and ergonomic handle for big cutting jobs and all-day use||Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task||For a full-function, full-size pocket knife, this is as light as it gets, and is the premier option for all sorts of human-powered adventures||A slender, svelte pocket knife with great materials and a reasonable value||A tiny, multi-function pocket knife|
|Rating Categories||Kershaw Link||Benchmade Mini-Barr...||Benchmade 535 Bugout||Kershaw Leek||Victorinox Classic...|
|Blade and Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Kershaw Link||Benchmade Mini-Barr...||Benchmade 535 Bugout||Kershaw Leek||Victorinox Classic...|
|Weight||4.7 oz||3.4 oz||1.9 oz||3.1 oz||0.8 oz|
|Blade Length||3.2 in||2.8 in||3.0 in||2.9 in||1.4 in|
|Blade Material||CPM 20CV steel||154CM stainless steel||S30V stainless steel||Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel||Proprietary Stainless (between 440A and 420)|
|Handle Material||Anodized aluminum||Plastic||Grivory||410 stainless steel||Plastic|
|Blade Style||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight|
|Blade locks closed?||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Opening Style||Assisted, flipper||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud; back-of-knife finger tab||Fingernail|
|Lock Mechanism||Liner lock||Proprietary (Axis)||Proprietary (Axis)||Frame lock||None|
|Carry Style||Pocket clip, Lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Keyring|
|Closed Length||4.4 in||4.0 in||4.2 in||4.0 in||2.3 in|
|Overall Length||7.6 in||6.9 in||7.4 in||7.0 in||3.8 in|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip)||0.5 in||0.6 in||0.4 in||0.3 in||0.4 in|
|Other Features or Functions||Lanyard hole, modular clip||Lanyard hole, modular clip||None||None||Scissors, nail file, small screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, key ring|
Our Analysis and Test Results
One of the bulkiest and heaviest pocket knives we have tested, the Kershaw Link stands out with a large blade and ergonomic grip for big cutting jobs that may take hours.
Blade and Edge Integrity
The Kershaw Link's blade is 3.2 inches long and is constructed with 20CV stainless steel, one of the strongest metals used to make knives. This means that the blade's sharp factory finish will last longer than other knives on the market, and the blade won't dent or deform easily. The blade doesn't bend or flex when faced with a hard-cutting task, making cutting easier and more efficient. It's also a relatively thick blade, which only adds durability.
The Link's long, strong blade is overkill for users who want a simple blade for occasional cutting like opening packages. But if you need a knife to handle extended outdoor use, endless food preparation, or professional performance, this blade is up to the task. After days of use, we couldn't detect a reduction in blade sharpness and weren't able to damage the blade during normal heavy-duty use.
The Kershaw Link is an ergonomic knife that is easy to use. The pocket clip is oriented with the tip of the blade facing upwards, meaning you don't have to rotate the knife in your hands after removing it from a pocket before opening the blade. This is our preferred orientation of the pocket clip. The assisted opening feature is initiated by pulling down on a small tab with the index finger, and the opening action is fast and secure.
Once the blade is open, the grip fits comfortably into the palm. The knife is 0.5 inches thick, which is thicker than most other knives on the market, making it easier to use for serious cutting tasks where you need to maintain a solid grip on the tool. The pocket clip stays out of the way of the fingers wrapping around the grip, which is an added bonus. Our testers felt very secure holding this knife for consequential cutting tasks.
The Kershaw Link is a heavy knife, and its large blade creates a bigger footprint than other knives on the market. The result is a large-than-average package that is noticeable when worn in a pocket or carried in a backpack. For professional users, serious outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and hunters, the portability shortcomings are worth the hassle, since the knife's performance is so strong.
Many users looking for a pocket knife will only use the tool for everyday carry and occasional use, cutting tape away from packaging and similar tasks. For these users, a much smaller and lighter pocket knife will do. This is a seriously strong knife geared towards heavy-duty use, and as such, it has a larger footprint and heavier weight than most other pocket knives on the market. Everyday users will appreciate this strength and size, but occasional users won't.
This knife is built to last. The Link's housing is built from aluminum, which is nothing to write home about, but the 20CV stainless steel in the blade is seriously strong. It is one of the hardest metals used in knife production, and the thick blade only tapers down to an edge at the last moment, meaning the blade is strong and can take a beating. There is no detectable flex or bend in the blade during use.
One downside to the design of this knife is the locking mechanism. Like other knives, the blade is locked into the open position by a thin internal metal flap that bends into place when the blade is open, preventing the knife from folding closed. This flap must be pushed to the side in order to close the blade. This is generally a great locking mechanism, but in the case of the Link, the flap only moves about a millimeter into the locking position, which is less than other knives. This means that it takes less debris to get stuck in the flap to render it impossible to unlock the blade and close the knife. This is a very minor concern, and the only flaw we could find with this tool.
Like most pocket knives, the Kershaw Link is rather light on additional features. It does, however, have a modular and removable pocket clip. With a small allen key, the clip can be removed and placed on the other side of the housing, to allow for more ergonomic storage on either side of the body. When set up correctly, the pocket clip allows the knife to be oriented with the tip of the folded knife pointed upwards, and the index finger directly over the pull-tab opening device when removed from the pocket.
The knife also has a small hole for the attachment of a key ring or lanyard for safe keeping. Other than that, the knife has no additional features, but this is typical for most pocket knives on the market.
Should You Buy the Kershaw Link?
This large-bladed knife comes at a great price, considering its quality construction, excellent blade steel, and ergonomics, and is a worthy investment for anyone who uses a pocket knife on a daily basis. If you work outdoors, camp, hunt, or cut things regularly, and need a trusty knife that won't let you down, then the Link is a great choice. But if you are looking for a low-profile pocket knife for everyday carry and occasional use for mundane chores, this knife is overkill, both in terms of price and weight.
What Other Pocket Knives Should You Consider?
If you want a dependable and well-constructed knife with a smaller footprint and lower weight, we love the Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 for everyday use, and even for some heavy-duty jobs. If you are looking for the most portable option for very occasional use, the Benchmade 535 Bugout is our go-to when we are on the go. And if you're on a tight budget, the Sanrenmu 7010 can't be beat for its value. That said, the Kershaw Link is our top choice for cutting professionals and heavy-duty cutting work.
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