4(ish) Premium Folding Knives to Line Your Tuxedo Pockets

A premium knife sitting on a wallet, next to a watch and a leather bracelet on a wooden table.
Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Do you have too much money in your pockets, but not nearly enough knives? If so, I envy your problems, but that won’t stop me from helping you. Here are four (or five) of the best premium pocket knives out there.

Whether you’re a collector, or you just want to splash some cash on the only knife you’ll ever need, you might think you want a high-end knife. Unfortunately, giant Bowie knives went out with the 19th century, so for this list, our focus is on folding pocket knives.

Why Go Premium?

It’s a fair question. A super pricey knife from a renowned creator is quite different from something you grab on sale at the bait shop. However, they’re both sharp bits of metal, and they both cut open an Amazon Prime box just fine.

So, why go premium? Allow me to answer this question with another question: why buy a Rolex? Actually, I’m not sure why, but people do. The point is, the Rolex doesn’t give you more or better time. A cheap digital watch probably keeps time more reliably. Sometimes, a person just wants something special or rare, instead of something cheap and mass-produced.

If that sounds like you, then you probably see the value in a $500 pocketknife. If it doesn’t, I threw in a couple of great ones that cost significantly less, but they’re still what I’d call “high-end.” They’re kind of like a nice Swiss Army watch—good manufacturer, solid construction, reliable, but not much of a status symbol.

Best Overall: Emerson Sheep Dog

The Emerson Sheep Dog Folding Knife

This is my personal favorite, and not just because I love dogs. The Emerson Sheep Dog blends a lot of really nice features shared by other knives on this list. It has a 3.5-inch blade and an 8.4-inch overall length when opened. It’s a good size for everyday carry. Unless you work at an airport pretzel shop, in which case do not carry the knife every day.

Much like a real sheepdog, the Sheep Dog is robust. However, this knife has an easy-open flipper and ambidextrous thumb studs (features I can’t shoehorn into another knife/dog analogy).

This knife also comes with a ball-bearing deployment system, which means you can open it smoothly. In theory, you could bust this knife open and harvest the ball bearings to make your skateboard faster. But since it typically costs over $200, that’d be a silly thing to do—even if you were strong enough to do it.

One of my favorite things about the Sheep Dog is the groove/bolster for your index finger and thumb. This is great for indexing the blade, and it prevents your hand from sliding up the handle and onto the edge. It gives the knife a “combat-ready” quality that’s also handy for practical use. If you want to stab a can of lima beans without cutting yourself, the Sheep Dog is probably your safest option on this list.

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