Spyderco Delica 4 Review
Cons: Bulky pocket carry, slim handle in use
Compare to Similar Products
Spyderco Delica 4
|Price||$84.00 at Amazon||$185 List||$114.50 at Amazon||$178.75 at Backcountry||$73.21 at Amazon|
|Pros||Big blade, excellent steel, four pocket clip positions||Great blade, classy wooden handle||Incredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionality||Small, excellent materials and construction||Beautifully constructed, assisted open, good value|
|Cons||Bulky pocket carry, slim handle in use||Expensive, no assisted opening function||Pricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitive||Short blade, issues with opening the blade, expensive||Slender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragile|
|Bottom Line||A long-time classic, enduring for its solid design, significant customization options, and continuous improvements||A compact yet "full size” pocket knife for day to day use and all but the heaviest of tasks||A high end construction of a knife carefully tuned to optimize portability and function||This high-priced knife makes a statement when you purchase and carry it||This thin knife disappears in your pocket, tackles most tasks, and is easy on your wallet|
|Rating Categories||Spyderco Delica 4||Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork||Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585||The James Brand the Chapter||Kershaw Leek|
|Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Spyderco Delica 4||Benchmade 15031-2...||Benchmade...||The James Brand...||Kershaw Leek|
|Weight (ounces)||2.3 oz||3.2 oz||3.4 oz||2.8 oz||3.1 oz|
|Blade Style||Clip point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight|
|Blade locks closed?||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Opening Style||Ambidextrous Thumb hole||Ambidextrous thumb-stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud||Thumb stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud. And back-of-knife finger tab.|
|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||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip||Pocket Clip|
|Blade Material||VG-10 Stainless Steel||CPM-S30V stainless steel||154CM Steel||Crucible S35vn stainless steel||Sandvik 14C28N|
|Handle Material||Plastic||Stabilized wood||Plastic||6al4v titanium||410 stainless steel|
|Blade Length (inches)||2.5 in||2.9 in||2.9 in||2.7 in||2.9 in|
|Closed Length (inches)||4.1 in||3.9 in||4.0 in||3.8 in||4.0 in|
|Overall Length||7.0 in||6.9 in||6.9 in||6.5 in||7.0 in|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches)||.4 in||.5 in||.6 in||.3 in||.3 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