Spyderco Delica 4 Review
Cons: Bulky pocket carry, slim handle in use
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Spyderco Delica 4
$83.00 at Amazon
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$144.00 at REI
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$21.90 at Amazon
|Pros||Big blade, excellent steel, four pocket clip positions||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||Sharp looking and cutting, good materials, inexpensive|
|Cons||Bulky pocket carry, slim handle in use||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||Less-than-ideal pocket clip orientation, sharp stowed edges wear clothing|
|Bottom Line||A modern classic folding pocket knife with proven materials and proven performance attributes; maybe not the perfect model, but it will do well for most||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 budget knife that leads its price range in performance and downright impressive quality|
|Rating Categories||Spyderco Delica 4||Benchmade Mini-Barr...||Benchmade 535 Bugout||Kershaw Leek||Sanrenmu 7010|
|Blade and Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Spyderco Delica 4||Benchmade Mini-Barr...||Benchmade 535 Bugout||Kershaw Leek||Sanrenmu 7010|
|Weight||2.3 oz||3.4 oz||1.9 oz||3.1 oz||3.2 oz|
|Blade Length||2.5 in||2.8 in||3.0 in||2.9 in||2.7 in|
|Blade Material||VG-10 stainless steel||154CM stainless steel||S30V stainless steel||Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel||8Cr13MoV stainless steel|
|Handle Material||Plastic||Plastic||Grivory||410 stainless steel||Stainless Steel|
|Blade Style||Clip point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Straight|
|Blade locks closed?||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Opening Style||Ambidextrous Thumb hole||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud. And back-of-knife finger tab.||Ambidextrous Thumb stud|
|Lock Mechanism||Lock back||Proprietary (Axis)||Proprietary (Axis)||Frame lock||Frame lock|
|Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole|
|Closed Length||4.1 in||4.0 in||4.2 in||4.0 in||3.7 in|
|Overall Length||7.0 in||6.9 in||7.4 in||7.0 in||6.5 in|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip)||0.4 in||0.6 in||0.4 in||0.3 in||0.4 in|
|Other Features or Functions||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Delica 4 is the latest (at time of publishing) in a long line of Delica models. It started out innovative and has lasted with minor tweaks along the way. The latest version feels a little "behind the times", but is surely worthy of your consideration. It is a "modern classic" with some practical benefits and proven attributes and materials.
Blade and Edge Integrity
The Delica 4 blade is thin, steeply tapered tip-to-bolster, and made of VG-10 steel. VG-10 is Japanese high carbon steel commonly used in high-end kitchen knives. Spyderco's resulting blade is readily sharpened and comes tuned for finer tasks while its depth lends sturdiness. Much of the depth is included to accommodate the large thumb-opening hole.
The handle of the Delica 4 is full length. 4.1 inches is pretty long for a typical pocket knife. On paper, we like that size. To consider a pocket knife full size we generally look for a handle length of at least 3.5 inches. The one-handed thumbhole opening is simple and at one time led the field in terms of opening innovation.
Our primary wish is the handle of the deployed knife was larger in width. In a tightly clenched fist, the handle still seems a little small for sturdier use. In use, the shape of the back of the blade is optimized for thumb pressure. This is good. That same deep section of the blade sticks out considerably when the knife is closed. The handle could be made a little bulkier, in a good way, without really changing the pocket dimensions of the knife.
For a full-length pocket knife, the Spyderco is pretty light and compact. 2.3 ounces is featherweight for the size. The folded knife is thin (0.4 inches) but wide. It is almost 2 inches wide in its folded configuration. For the relatively narrow in-use handle, the Spyderco Delica takes up a disproportionate amount of space in your pocket. The pocket clip is tight and fully customizable. The Delica is one of only a few knives on the market that offers four different carrying orientations with the pocket clip. If you don't yet know how you like to carry your knife, full customization as on the Delica is great.
Initial impressions of knife quality are often tied to their weight. A heavy knife feels sturdy. All metal components make for a denser package and lend a sense of confidence. In practice, a knife doesn't have to feel sturdy to be sturdy. The Delica feels light. All components are tight and optimized, but the overall package is pretty lightweight. Longer-term GearLab testing has revealed no issues. Decades of Delica use, by others, prove its integrity.
There are no other features on the Delica 4. It is a simple, single-blade pocket knife.
The Delica 4 is not inexpensive. However, you get what you pay for. The blade material alone makes it worth the investment. The long Delica legacy proves its value as much as anything. Some other knives bring refinements that enhance their appeal, relative to the Delica and at this price point. But none of these others are as proven and widely revered as the Spyderco Delica.
The Delica model and basic design is decades old and marked an important step in pocket knife evolution. The entire market of one-handed opening, pocket-clipped locking blades owes much of its existence to the initial development of the Delica. The Spyderco Delica 4 lags behind some other even more modern competition, but it also still has its place on the market.
— Jediah Porter
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