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

How We Tested Pocket Knives

By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor
Friday April 12, 2019
Measuring the various dimensions of the knives.  Manufacturers numbers don't compare as easily  so we took all the tabled sizes from our own measurements.
Measuring the various dimensions of the knives. Manufacturers numbers don't compare as easily, so we took all the tabled sizes from our own measurements.

Like "real-life" usage, our testing included a variety of tasks like cutting apples and cheese and opening packages. Incidentally, note that cutting cardboard is one of the more abrasive routine tasks one can ask of a knife. Cardboard, while appearing soft and innocuous, usually includes many impurities picked up during its construction (dirt from the logging process, metal filings from machinery, etc.). This is the primary reason that those working in environments where cutting cardboard is a daily task use "box cutters" with disposable blades.

To test these knives in more demanding tasks, we cut rope and webbing, carved and whittled wood, and bored holes with the tips of the blades. The tools with more than just a blade were tested in their diverse applications as well. In the interest of full disclosure, note that we did not bash through glass with the tactical knife. We'll take their word for it. Finally, it is worth noting that the lead tester owned the Victorinox knife as a kid. He received the Classic model at a very young age and used it for several years. Like young kids will, he abandoned the Classic until this test.

The Victorinox SwissChamp is one of the heaviest knives in our test  but it's super versatile. When assessing portability we looked at weight and size  as well as options for secure yet handy carriage.
The Victorinox SwissChamp is one of the heaviest knives in our test, but it's super versatile. When assessing portability we looked at weight and size, as well as options for secure yet handy carriage.