For many people, a good automatic knife is an indispensable tool. From rescue workers to campers and sailors, there are just so many reasons why a good automatic knife is so important. When you need to cut something real quick, you’ll always be delighted that you have your automatic knife with you. You might also be interested in our articles about the best electric knife sharpeners and the best tactical backpacks.
Despite having a history of being a tool of violence, automatic knives are used for many purposes and are designed accordingly. The best thing about automatic knives -also known as switchblades- is the fact that they can fit in almost any pocket. Once you need them, they can turn from a compact item that fits in your pocket into a blade with the press of a button. Some of the automatic knives that are designed specifically for rescue workers have large buttons so they can be easily opened with a glove on. Despite the different uses that these automatic knives are designed for, they have one thing in common, which is practicality. With their flexibility and compact design, they’re just one of the best available cutting solutions out there.
Despite having so many automatic knives on the market, good ones aren’t really that common, and that’s why we’ve created this guide. Before we show you the best automatic knives that are currently available on the market, we’ll first tell about the things you should keep in mind when you’re purchasing a new automatic knife. Let’s just agree that not all automatic knives were made for all people. The following are top things you should pay attention to before you purchase your new automatic knife:
1. Getting a knife of the right size.
The bigger the better isn’t something that’s applicable here. If there is one thing that you should know about automatic knives, it’s the fact that they come in many different sizes. The question of which size is better for you depends mainly on your use.
Before you purchase your automatic knife, think about the blade size. Will it make using your automatic knife easier or harder? Sometimes, a really small blade is the best fit for your needs. Keeping that in mind while you purchase your new automatic knife will keep you from making the wrong decision and will help you get the one that truly works for you.
2. The right blade for the job.
What are you planning on using your automatic knife for? It’s true that all knives “cut things” however, some knives are better are cutting some things more than others. For examples, if you plan on using your automatic knife mainly for cutting ropes, a knife that is designed for that would be much more convenient to use than a knife that “can cut ropes”.
If you’re a rescue worker and plan on using your automatic knife solely for that, a sheepsfoot blade is always your best bet. Not only are these types of blade designed specifically to cut through all kinds of ropes with ease, they’re also designed to not injure or stab people by accident. Before you choose your blade, make sure it’s for the job that you’re getting it for. Getting a great automatic knife that isn’t designed for your intended use is definitely the last thing you want to do.
3. The opening mechanism: side opening vs OTF (out the front).
When it comes to the opening mechanism of automatic knives, there are two types to choose from, which are side opening and out the front (which is abbreviated as OTF). As you can probably tell from the name, the blades of side opening automatic knives flip from the side when you press the release button, while those of OTF blades just spring out forward. The question of which is the right one for you to get depends on your personal preference.
While some people prefer side opening automatic knives, others love the OTF knives way more. You just need to be aware that these 2 different opening mechanisms exist so you can choose the one that you like most.
Now that you’re familiar with what to look out for when you’re buying a new automatic knife, it’s time to have a look at some of the best options that are currently available on the market.
TAC Force is one of the most well-known automatic knife manufacturers. If you’re looking for a hunting knife that offers an exceptional value for money, this is one of the best available options on the market.
This is a side opening automatic knife that can be deployed and disengaged really quickly. However, being a 3.25-inch blade means that it isn’t by any means a small blade. If you’re looking for a compact blade, there are better options out there. Other than that, if 4.5-inch size is ok with you, this is an automatic knife that you should definitely consider.
Being made of stainless steel, this blade is durable as it gets and is definitely suitable for day-to-day use. The ergonomic handle also makes this blade easy to hold and operate. In addition to the knife functionality, it has a glass breaker on the back.
The knife also came fairly sharp out of the box. You might need to sharpen it further depending on your liking however, we found it fine as it is. If you plan on using this knife for something like hunting, it’s definitely an excellent choice.
However, if you need it for something like cutting ropes, there are other automatic knives out there that are better suited for this function. Overall, this is an overall good automatic knife with great value for money.
- 3.25-inch stainless steel blade
- 4.5 inches when closed
- Has a glass breaker in the handle
- Suitable for use as a hunting knife
Gerber is another great knife manufacturer that has been making great knives for decades. This model is definitely one of the most versatile and reliable models that they make and is a worthy addition to any knife manufacturer’s collection.
The first thing that you’ll notice about this knife is the classic Applegate-Fairbairn design. Not only does this automatic knife look really nice, it is also very comfortable to hold. The innovative opening mechanism allows for an easy deployment using one hand, which is very convenient.
The patented Forward Action Spring Technology (F.A.S.T) that is used is this automatic knife allows for an extremely quick deployment without jeopardizing safety. Thanks to the accidental opening safety feature, you won’t have to worry about this automatic knife deploying when you don’t want it to.
Another great thing that we’ve really loved about this knife is the fact that it’s titanium coated. In addition to giving the knife an overall nice look, it also makes it super-durable, which is definitely a good thing to have. If you’re looking for an automatic knife that could last a lifetime, you won’t be disappointed by what this Gerber knife has to offer.
As for the size, this automatic knife has an overall length of 8.5 inches when open and 3.7 inches when closed. The compact size of this automatic knife when it’s closed makes it perfect for day-to-day use.
- Titanium coated
- Applegate-Fairbairn design
- Patented Forward Action Spring Technology
- Compact size
This Smith & Wesson automatic knife is ready for just any situation. If you’re looking for a day-to-day knife that you can rely on in different situations that you might encounter, this is definitely an option that is worth considering.
With an overall length of 7.5 inches while open, 3.2 inches while closed and weighing a mere 3.9 ounces, this is an automatic knife that you’ll barely feel in your pocket. The combination of small size and lightweight material makes this automatic knife an excellent daily companion.
Despite its compact size, this knife has an array of features that make it super-reliable. The first thing that you’ll notice when you hold this automatic knife is how secure it feels in your hand. Thanks to its excellent blade-to-handle ratio, the shape of the handle and its finish, this is an automatic knife with an excellent grip.
To make carrying this knife around even more convenient, it has a convenient clip that allows you to clip the knife to your clothes or just put it in your pocket. Another great thing about this automatic knife is the fact that it can be opened with both the index finger or the thumb, which makes it really convenient to use.
Safety isn’t forgetter about in this Smith & Wesson automatic knife model. Thanks to the safety lock with its clear red indicator, you won’t have to worry about this knife accidentally opening in the wrong hands (or even in your pocket).
- Weighs only 3.2 ounces
- Can be deployed with the thumb or the index finger
- Excellent safety mechanism
If you’re looking for a high-quality, compact automatic knife that can last a lifetime, the Anvil Bladesmiths – Bullshark G-10 8CR13 is one of the best available knives on the market. Being made in Canada, this is an automatic knife that takes quality to a whole new level.
Being designed as an all-around knife that’s suitable for daily use, this Anvil Bladesmiths automatic knife has plenty of features that make it up to the task. With a length of 3.5 inches while closed and 8.25 inches, while open, this knife is suitable for carrying around on a daily basis. The design of this automatic knife makes it easy to deploy it and close with one hand so you won’t have any problems in that regard.
On top of that, the overall form of this automatic knife makes it feel really natural in your hand. The texture of the handle also allows for a very secure grip. In addition to its convenient size, this automatic knife has a clip that makes it easy for you to clip it to your clothes if you feel like it.
As this knife has a glass breaker, it is perfect for use in emergency situations, which adds to its overall functionality as a day-to-day knife. Depending on your needs, you can choose between a straight and partial-serrated options, which makes this knife a really versatile choice.
With a color variety of black and, silver, this automatic knife can appeal to all tastes. If you’re a looking for a well-made automatic knife that you can rely on in any situation, we highly recommend this Anvil Bladesmiths model.
- Suitable for day-to-day use
- Comes in straight and partial-serrated models
- Comfortable to hold
- Glass breaker
It’s really hard to mention high-quality folding knives without bringing up Kershaw. This manufacturer has a strong reputation for making high-quality knives that -with proper maintenance- can easily last a lifetime.
The first thing that really got attention when we first saw this knife is its simple design. A high-quality blade and a comfortable handle with a minimalist duotone design, which is everything we’d ever need from a folding knife.
The performance of this automatic knife is on par with its great looks. As you’d typically expect from a Kershaw knife, the blade is made from high-quality powdered steel. Whether you want to use this knife for cutting fruit or cleaning game, it won’t let you down.
The anodized aluminum handle of this automatic knife provides a secure grip while being lightweight at the same time. Whatever conditions you are using this automatic knife since it’ll provide a solid performance that you can rely on.
A great thing about this pocket knife is the fact that it comes with a partial serrated and non-serrated options so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. It also comes in a black and an olive color varieties so it can accommodate different tastes.
- Premium build quality
- Powdered steel blade
- Anodized aluminum handle
- Secure grip
This another Kershaw automatic knife that offers a great balance between portability and quality. With a size of 3.1 inches when folded and a weight of just 4 ounces, this is a knife that is super-convenient for carrying around on a daily basis.
Thanks to the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism on this Kershaw model, this knife can be flipped open super-fast using either the thumb or the index finger by pulling back the flipper.
To make using this knife super-comfortable for right and left-handed people alike, the position of the blade can be changed thanks to the pre-drilled holes that connect the blade to the handle.
The partially serrated blade of this automatic knife is perfect for cutting ropes and wires. This flexible functionality combined with a lightweight and compact size makes this knife suitable for most uses.
Whether you’re looking for an automatic knife to take with you on hiking trips or while hunting, this model can handle anything you throw at it. Another thing that we’ve particularly liked about this model is the fact that its handle has this nice weight to it. The result is a handle that has a great balance and can be controlled accurately.
- Compact size (3.1 inches when closed)
- Weighs just 4 ounces
- The blade can be flipped
Benchmade is an American knife company that is well-known for its quality knives. If you’re looking for a high-quality made in the USA automatic knife that is designed to last a lifetime, this is a great choice.
One of the features that make this foldable knife such a great choice is the unique Axis Assist feature, which allows you to deploy or close the knife really quickly using one hand. Being partially serrated makes this knife suitable for all kinds of use. If you prefer a plain edge, this knife also offers a plain edge variant.
The build quality of this knife is what you’d typically expect from a Benchmade knife that’s made in the USA. The stainless steel blade is very tough and highly resistant to rust. The blade also comes in a black coated and a satin finish, both of which look really great.
To make carrying this automatic knife with you even more comfortable, it has a clip that can be used for attaching it to your clothes. As it weighs just 4.5 ounces, you’ll barely feel it’s even there.
With such a compact size, you can either attach the knife to your clothes or place it in your pocket without being a burden, which is something you’ll come to appreciate if you carry your knife with you for long periods.
- Excellent build quality
- Fast opening and closing with Axis Assist
- Made in the USA
- Weighs 4.5 ounces
The last automatic knife on our list is another great model from Smith & Wesson, the SWMP4LS. Designed to be a knife that’s suitable for any situation, this is an automatic knife that definitely deserves a place in any knife lover’s collection.
Thanks to the M.A.G.I.C opening technology that is used in this knife, opening it with one hand is very easy and very fast. All you have to do is pull the flipper/finger actuator and the M.A.G.I.C system will deploy the blade in an instant.
Having a partially serrated blade makes this knife suitable for different types of use. Whatever you intend to use this knife for, it can handle it. There is one thing that you should keep in mind though, which is the size factor. With 8.6 inches in length when opened, this is by no means a small knife.
The signature safety lock of Smith & Wesson knives can also be found in this model. Once the safety lock is activated, the knife cannot be deployed. Disabling the security lock and deploying the knife is very easy using just a single finger so you just get the added safety without hindering the knife’s use.
To make this knife truly suitable for all situations, it has a glass breaker in its handle that can literally save your life one day. If you’re looking for an all-situation automatic knife with exceptional quality, this is an option that is definitely worth considering.
- M.A.G.I.C opening technology
- Glass breaker
- Safety mechanism
- 8.6 inches long when deployed
- Partially serrated blade