When I first started doing knife reviews, I did so many Spydercos you’d think that’s pretty much all I owned. Truth be told, both Elise and I are Spyderco fanatics to the max, and while we do have a great deal of knives from other companies nowadays, we absolutely always have a soft spot for those leaf-shaped blades and that perfect thumb-stud alternative – the Spydie-hole.
As a result of having done such a large number of Spyderco reviews (you can find them all here), I’ve been asked my thoughts about what the best Spyderco knives are too many times to count. Answering is never simple, as I always prefer to tailor my answers to individual tastes, and thus when I get this question, I usually ask things like, “Which handle material do you prefer?”, “What will you be using it for?”, and “How large are your hands?” before giving any recommendations.
Choosing knives for “best of” lists like this one isn’t an easy task for me, but it’s particularly tricky when we’re talking about Spydercos since the quality of pretty much all their offerings is top-notch. I often have to make decisions that eliminate great knives from the running simply because, well I can’t choose them all. On top of that, being so into Spydercos myself, I’m obviously biased toward my personal favourites. The Spyderco Delica 4, the Stretch 2, the Endura 4, the Military, and the Sage 2 are some of my absolute favourites, but while I was tempted to just fill this entire list with them over and over for each category, it’s definitely something I know I shouldn’t be doing to remain at least a touch unbiased!
Nonetheless, being such a huge Spyderco fanatic does make me uniquely qualified to comment on what the top Spydercos in the industry are, particularly because I own so many. And as I’ve said, while I’m incredibly positively biased toward some Spydercos over others, I’m also well aware of this bias and when working up “best of” articles tend to remind myself of these prejudices constantly so that I don’t end up showing too much favouritism to the knives that are quite blatantly my favourites. I do own the vast majority of the knives listed below, but there are some I have not picked up, and others (like the Spyderco Dodo) that I have not bothered to review because of their already limited availability and a lack of requests for a review of those knives.
At the end of the day, of course, everyone has their own biases. And so what you and I will consider to be the best Spydercos available on the market will obviously vary. That being said, I know I’m not the only Spyderco junkie in this community – a lot of you who are regular readers of my posts also have quite a large number of Spydercos yourselves, and some of you actually have enormous collections, much bigger than my own (I’ve seen those pictures you Tweet!).
Whether you have one Spyderco or many, don’t hold back – let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments! Which do you think are the best Spydercos of all time, for EDC, for tactical applications, etc.? Keep your ideas in mind and see how they compare to my own list…
The Single Best Spyderco Knife: The Paramilitary 2
As I’ve mentioned in my article about the best EDC knives currently on the market, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is ultimately the best folding EDC knife on the market currently offered by any company, let alone just Spyderco. While this is obviously my own opinion, it seems to be quite a popular one to hold amongst knife-lovers. Visit the multitude of forum threads on the topic of “best Spyderco EDC knife” or even just plain “best EDC knife” online and much more likely than not, you’ll see a litter of Spyderco Paramilitary 2 responses after the OP.
What makes it pretty much the single most highly recommended Spyderco knife? On paper, it’s pretty flawless. It does an excellent job at being above-average at pretty much any task you can imagine, works as a tactical option while not looking overly tactical, is relatively well priced, is a great cutter without being a light-saber, and is essentially the best well-rounded knife you could possibly imagine. Keep it in mind to pick up to test out if, like us, you’ve got a soft spot in your heart for Spydercos, and yet you haven’t tried handling a PM2 in a knife store before. While I can’t guarantee you’ll fall in love with the knife (I myself didn’t even though it’s, like I said, pretty perfect on paper), there’s more of a chance it will end up striking your fancy than not.
And so, with the Spyderco Paramilitary 2, our lists of the best Spyderco knives begin…
Best Value Spyderco Knives
Lovely budget option that has an edge that goes all the way down to the ricasso, which is unusual for Spydercos, as they tend to feature prominent choils. The Tenacious shook up the industry when it was released (first made in China Spydie!), but I can’t imagine the Spyderco line up without it anymore.
Read our review of the Spyderco Tenacious
Are there cheaper options? Sure. But you get a lot of cutting power for the price with this knife, so to me, the value of the Spyderco Endura is excellent. Most knives in the sub $100 price point do not have lean full flat ground blades or years of constant refinement (the Endura is on its fourth iteration!). I own 2 of them and have never felt like I paid more than what the knife is worth.
Read our review of the Spyderco Endura 4
Again, not a true “budget” option, but the Sage 1 offers great bang-for-buck value. Premium materials with carbon fiber (layer on top of G-10), great American made steel (CPM-S30V), and that fantastic Taichung fit and finish (which, in my opinion, is better than any of the other Spyderco manufacturers including its own Golden, Colorado factory).
Read our review of the Spyderco Sage 1
Looking for more high value, bang-for-buck knife recommendations? Check out this article.
Best Spyderco Knives to EDC
Wildly considered to be the textbook reference for a solid EDC by many knife aficionados – including me. I never did fall in love with the knife myself, but I have never doubted its performance nor design ethics, and for that reason it has always been my default recommendation for the top EDC – not just by Spyderco, but by anyone else for that matter.
Read our review of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2
By far and large my personal favourite EDC. It’s the perfect sized knife in a lightweight package with a full flat ground blade and cuts like a laser; what could be more perfect? I own 3 for a reason!
Read our review of the Spyderco Delica 4
I really loved the original Stretch, and considering the Stretch 2 seems to be a straight up upgrade, can’t really go wrong! Designed and carried by Sal Glesser is the best advertising I can give to this knife. Absolute best in its class ergonomics with the only drawback being its presence in pocket (a touch too domineering compared to the Spyderco Delica).
Best Tactical Spyderco Knives
Bad intent personified. No knife in the world (let alone another Spyderco) comes close to this level of viciousness. It was designed from the ground up to tear people open with minimal training and questionable motor skills. Drag towards target and you’re pretty much done. Nothing else needs to be said.
Very neat and unique knife. I snapped one up a while ago with no real expectations, but in practice it’s a pretty mean slasher with reversible (hence the name) handles to allow for a dramatic switch in grip styles/stance: a definite plus for those of you who are into martial blade craft.
Entry level option for those who love the Spyderco Civilian, but can’t quite stomach the cost. I will say that the more robust tip does lend the Matriarch to more utilitarian tasks, unlike the Civilian, should it be required.
Best Lightweight Spyderco Knives
I have handled it and was very impressed. Very light in the hand with a great blade, and that fantastic bi-directional FRN texture.
Yes, I know it’s not super lightweight, but the Spyderco Military offers a lot of cutting power relative to its weight thanks to its nested liner construction. One of my all time favourite knives, and in my opinion a true modern day classic.
Read our review of the Spyderco Military
Elise absolutely loves this thing, and whilst it’s certainly not my cup of tea, I will say that when I received it in the mail, I thought the box was empty. Surprisingly light and pocket-able, with excellent grinds on that blade.
Read our review of the Spyderco Des Horn
Best Left-Handed Spyderco EDC Knives
The Delica 4 is a completely ambidextrous knife, which is great for “wrong” handed people out there! One of the best EDC knives on the market, so it makes me happy it’s one that everyone can enjoy.
Read our review of the Spyderco Delica 4
The Dragonfly is much like the Delica, but with a more pronounced leaf blade in a little-big knife package. Out of all the Spydercos with oversized choils, the Dragonfly makes the most sense to me.
Read our review of the Spyderco Dragonfly 2
I didn’t love the FRN version of this knife due to questionable (blocky) ergonomics, but the G-10 version is a solid choice with no downsides for lefties to boot.
Read our review of the Spyderco Manix 2
Left handed? Looking for more recommendations? Check this article out.
Best UK-Legal Spyderco EDC Knives
If you’re interested in taking a look at more UK-legal knives, see this article here for my UK-friendly recommendations. The article includes both Spydies and non-Spydercos.
The original Spyderco slip joint. For those of you who can’t EDC a locking folder, this is the yardstick by which all other knives are measured.
Read our review of the Spyderco UKPK
My G-10 version from Japan had questionable fit and finish, but this Italian made one has good reviews. I look forward to picking one up!
Read our review of the Spyderco Urban
3. Spyderco Bug
This teensy little tyke is great for when you really want to be on the safe side with regards to the law and sheeple perception. Even the stoutest anti-knifer will be endeared with this little sliver of steel. Barely qualifies as a knife based on size, but in practical terms, it’s surprisingly functional (within its limits).
Read our review of the Spyderco Bug
Best Titanium Framelock Spyderco Knives
Absolutely love the Spyderco Sage II. T8 screw construction throughout with an all business/no frills design. Pure utility and my favourite Ti framelock from any brand by a huge margin.
Read our review of the Spyderco Sage 2
Out of all the new Spydies, this is the one that strikes my fancy the most. A very sexy blade with a very sober handle design. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Never been the biggest fan of flippers, and when the Southard came out, I considered it blasphemous to the all-holy Spydie hole. But, I’ll have to admit, it slowly won me over. Works fantastically with a nice crisp detent, and the result is a flawless deployment.
Read our review of the Spyderco Southard
Best Fixed Blade Spyderco Knives
I actually EDC’d this knife in my pocket for 6 months straight (no clip, just in my pocket). The sheath is amazing in terms of quality and the blade is fantastically versatile. A greatly under appreciated knife.
I loved the original (expensive) Street Beat, so when Spyderco released this affordable alternative, I basically swooned. Super Fred Perrin design with those great ergonomics and that aggressive-yet-functionally-sound blade. A definite winner in my books.
Never handled it, but this knife ticks all the right boxes except for price. Super steel, super ergonomics (based on my experiences with the Spyderco Bushcraft), and super grinds. I doubt I will get it due to price, but it’s for sure a fantastic fixed blade.
Most Unique Spyderco Knives
The Dodo is by far and large the most unique Spyderco, and knife for that matter, that I own. It’s unfortunately extinct and getting one is both annoying and expensive, but its unique design in all respects makes it worth the hassle. I shan’t be selling mine so don’t bother asking!
The Spyderco Balance is quite literally balanced in terms of symmetry, is essentially a triangle when completely closed, and yet somehow manages to remain completely functional to top it all off. I love this knife on principle alone, and if you’re obsessive compulsive to the point where everything that lines up neatly strikes your fancy, then this knife is certainly for you. Originally intended as a self-defense folder (as far as I know), it has morphed into one of the oddest/coolest concept Spydercos around.
Read our review of the Spyderco Balance
3. Spyderco ROC
It’s a folding cleaver. Literally a folding cleaver. Do I need to say anything more?
What do you think are the best Spydercos?
Now of course to turn this over to you. In your personal experience, what do you think are the best Spyderco knives?
Which are your favourites in your collection? Have you tried any of Spyderco’s fixed blade knives? Do you use specific Spydies for specific purposes? Which do you think is best general purpose Spyderco?
Let us know in the comments!