The best EDC knife under 3 inches [Buyer’s Guide]

What’s in your bag?

Or your pocket, or even in your hand?

For most EDC fans, having a knife on hand for practical and self defense purposes is a must. But for many people, they don’t want to go too crazy with blade length.

In this post, I’ll break down my 3 picks for the best EDC knife under 3 inches.

In a hurry to get to my top choice? Click here to check out the Benchmade Mini Griptilian over on Amazon now.

Finding the best EDC knife under 3 inches

Best Overall: the Benchmade Mini Griptilian

Benchmade - Mini Griptilian 556 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife Made in USA, Drop-Point Blade, Serrated Edge, Satin Finish, Black Handle

Benchmade’s Mini Griptilian offers a drop point design that makes this a very versatile knife.

It features CPM-20CV stainless steel, an AXIS lock, and Benchmade’s Lifetime Warranty. However, at 2.9” the blade is longer than most of the other knives on this list.


  • Edge retention
  • Corrosion resistant
  • G10 grip means the handle will withstand wear and tear
  • AXIS locking mechanism means the blade flicks open smoothly
  • The lock system is ambidextrous


Some users have reported the knife arriving with the blade off center

The Verdict:

I’ve you’ve read any of my reviews here, you know I love Benchmade as a knife manufacturer. So it’s natural that I would choose one of their blades as the best overall.

You won’t be disappointed!

Check out this great knife over on Amazon.

Best for Beginners: Spyderco Native 5

Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight Signature Knife with 2.95' CPM S30V Steel Blade and Black FRN Handle - PlainEdge - C41PBK5

Spyderco’s Native 5 is a great knife for those looking for a simple, easy to use beginner knife.

The Native 5 features CPM S35VM steel, a small footprint, and a 4 position clip. However, the Native 5 is so small that it requires the use of a finger choil, which may throw some users off.


  • Edge retention
  • Corrosion resistance
  • 4” when closed
  • Weighs 3.4 oz
  • G10 grip which is virtually indestructible


  • The lockback is so strong it can be difficult to snap out the blade
  • The knife can’t be gripped without a finger choil
  • The hole in the blade is sharp enough that some users have reported it nicking their thumbs

The Verdict:

Overall, though, this is a great starter knife for EDC that’s on the smaller end of the scale. Spyderco is known for its great quality, and the Native 5 is no exception.

You can read my full review of this knife here.

If you want to read user reviews and check out the best price for the Native 5, click here to go directly to Amazon.

Best Stylish Pick: SOG Vulcan Mini

SOG VL02-CP Vulcan Mini Folding Knife, Black

SOG’s Vulcan Mini offers a stylish pocket knife for those of you looking for an everyday carry.

The Vulcan Mini features high-quality materials with its blade made from VG-10 steel along with top of the line design. It’s patented Arc lock can hold over 1,000 lbs of force, meaning this is a rugged knife that you can carry with you anywhere you go.


  • Arc lock mechanism is extremely powerful
  • One-handed opening and closing
  • Edge retention
  • Corrosion resistant


The blade is larger than the other knives on this list, which may be a problem for those of you trying to stay as small as possible

The Verdict:

SOG doesn’t disappoint with this great little knife that goes perfect in any EDC kit. It’s got a cool-looking handle and tons of great features that make it both practical and deadly when the need arises.

Check it out over on Amazon to get one for yourself.

EDC knives under 3 inches - what to buy?

This is the knife that you carry every day – better make it a good one

EDC knives are quickly growing into a movement that’s becoming increasingly popular with both new and old generations alike.

Although pocket knives have always been a handy, utilitarian piece of equipment to carry around, the rising popularity of the EDC movement has ensured that knives are being taken to a whole other level.

Knives were once used to simply slash, cut, or carve. Now, they’re used for even more!

Some popular traits seen on EDC knives include:

  • Ambidextrous clips
  • High-quality steel
  • Comfortable hand grips
  • Smaller sizes for easier portability
  • Durable lockback mechanisms

If you’re new to the site, you may be wondering, what exactly is an EDC knife?

Keep reading to find out!

Choosing a great edc knife under 3 inches

What is an EDC Knife?

If you haven’t heard of it yet, EDC stands for “everyday carry.”

Like the name suggests, an EDC item is something that you consistently carry around with you on an everyday basis.

Some common EDC items include:

  • Wallets
  • Keys
  • Pens
  • Sunglasses
  • Watch

… And, of course, knives!

Although EDC technically just refers to items you carry around every day, EDC specific items tend to share similar traits.

  1. They tend to be small.
  2. They tend to be lightweight.
  3. They tend to be multifunctional.

When choosing your EDC gear, you want something small and light enough that it won’t get in the way of your daily activities while being as useful as possible.

EDC items also tend to be tough and durable, so that you can use them while on the go.

Features to look for in an EDC knife

When shopping for an EDC knife, there are several features you’ll want to look for.

These are:

  • The type of steel the blade is made of:
    This is extremely important because the grade of steel will decide how well the knife cuts and how often the blade will need to be maintained. Good steels will resist corrosion and maintain edge retention, while bad steels will have you reaching for a whetstone every other day!
  • What kind of hand grip the knife has:
    The hand grip decides how comfortable the knife sits in your hand, so you want one that’s
    durable while still being comfortable. A good hand grip will resist moisture and maintain its durability while still allowing the user to easily maintain a firm grip.
  • What kind of lockback mechanism it uses:
    The lockback mechanism is important because it dictates how the knife opens. A good lockback mechanism will allow the blade to swing forth easily when needed while keeping it sheathed when it’s not.
  • What kind of features it offers:
    This is a personal preference. Some users prefer a knife packed with extra capabilities such as seat belt cutters, while others prefer a smaller knife they can carry around easily.

PIcking the best knife for your edc

The Winner – what’s the best EDC knife under 3 inches?

All 3 knives listed above are the best in their class, however, the best one depends on your own personal needs.

Although it may be a problem for larger knife users, for those with smaller hands and who want to go as light as possible, the Spyderco Native 5 is the ideal blade. The use of the finger choil and hole in the blade have ensured that the Native 5 is one of the most minimalist blades out there.

For those looking for the best all around blade under 3 inches, the Mini Griptilian is a great option with its drop point design and ambidextrous lock. Benchmade’s Lifetime Warranty means this knife will keep going as long as you do!

Last but not least, the SOG Vulcan Mini is an excellent choice for the blade fanatic who’s picky about what they carry. The stylish design makes this blade stand out while the larger size makes it more easily used for day-to-day activities.

Which knife is your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know!

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