Best Kershaw Knife Review: Is It The Best Knife Brand?

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If you have an adventurous spirit or want a trusty pocket knife for life’s everyday situations, a Kershaw knife is an excellent choice. Kershaw designs and builds reliable, durable knives that are well-crafted and backed with a limited lifetime warranty. From everyday pocket knives to innovative knives meant for gardening, sporting, or camping, a Kershaw is built to last.

The winner of this product round-up, the Kershaw 1660 Leek, sports a versatile, slim 3-inch stainless steel blade in a compact, easy-to-use body style you can take with you anywhere. The handle is comfortably contoured to fit in your palm, and the blade itself features an anti-scratch finish, while the torsion bar opening system makes it easy to use one-handed.

To find the best Kershaw knife to fit your needs and learn about these useful knives’ specific features and designs, read on below for our full product round-up and review.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS rating  Price
Best OverallKershaw 1660 Leek Kershaw 1660 Leek
  • Weight: 3.04 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3 inches
9.9
Premium OptionKershaw 1870 Knockout Kershaw 1870 Knockout
  • Weight: 3.36 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.25 inches
9.8
Kershaw Link Kershaw Link
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.25 inches
9.6
Kershaw Blur S30V Kershaw Blur S30V
  • Weight: 4.0 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.4 inches
9.8
Kershaw Emerson Kershaw Emerson
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.25 inches
9.5
Best Budget OptionKershaw 3840 Freefall Kershaw 3840 Freefall
  • Weight: 4.1 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.25 inches
9.4
Kershaw 1760 Skyline Kershaw 1760 Skyline
  • Weight: 2.5 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.125 inches
9.6
Kershaw 1945 Barge Kershaw 1945 Barge
  • Weight: 5.4 ounces
  • Blade Size: 2.6 inches
9.6
Kershaw 1905 Induction Kershaw 1905 Induction
  • Weight: 3.68 ounces
  • Blade Size: 3.125 inches
9.5

Product Reviews

Kershaw 1660 Leek, 3 inch Sandvik 14C28N Blade – Best Overall

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Kershaw 1660 Leek
5,101 Reviews
Kershaw 1660 Leek
  • Versatile 3 inch blade made with Sandvik 14C28N Steel, one of the highest performing knife steels in the world, for increased hardness, corrosion resistance and edge retention
  • 410 stainless steel alloy handle provides resistance to corrosion and extra strength and hardness
  • Frame lock gives the knife a slim sleek style while holding the blade open during use; tip lock keeps blade closed during carry
  • SpeedSafe Assisted opening allows opening with Minimal effort and maximal functionality; simple pocket carry and tactical engagement with strong or weak hand
  • Blade length: 3 inches; Closed length: 4 inches; Open length: 7 inches; Weight: 3 oz.

The Kershaw 1660 Leek is the winner of this product round-up thanks to its slim, compact size that fits into any pocket, razor sharp 3-inch blade that promises reliability, durable stainless steel construction, comfortably contoured handle, and easy opening design. The 1660 Leek is a trusty knife perfectly built for outdoor excursions or everyday tasks alike.

The Leek measures 7 x 1 x 1 inches when opened (4 inches when folded) and weighs just a little over 3 ounces, so this knife promises to be easy to carry around.

With its contoured handle, the Leek is also comfortable in hand. The handle itself is constructed of a stainless steel chromium alloy, which feels durable and well-made. All of these features add up to a knife that is a joy to use.

The blade itself measures 3 inches and is a drop-point style with a slim profile and is good for slicing and piercing. This is made of Sandvik 14C28N steel, which promises high performance, resistance to rust and corrosion with increased nitrogen content and sharpness.

The blade is also coated with a “bead-blasted” matte finish on its surface to prevent scratches and create a smooth appearance.

With a “SpeedSafe Assisted” torsion bar opening design, the knife opens easily and quickly with only one hand. Simply push on the flipper button with your thumb to move the torsion bar out of the way, and the blade will open smoothly and lock. There is a built-in frame lock that keeps the blade open securely when in use.

For safety, the knife also features a tip lock slider to keep it closed and prevent accidental opening. Finally, the Leek features a reversible pocket clip, so it can be carried on either side with the tip facing up or down. Check our Complete review here

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact (good for pockets)
  • Stainless steel for durability
  • Contoured handle
  • Good for slicing, piercing, and small details
  • Easy to open with one hand
  • Tip lock for safety (prevents unwanted opening)
  • Frame lock keeps the blade open when in use.
  • Stainless steel resists corrosion and keeps sharpness.
  • Reversible pocket clip

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • No rubber on handle (less grippy)

Kershaw 1870 Knockout: Most Premium Option

Kershaw 1870 Knockout
325 Reviews
Kershaw 1870 Knockout
  • Lightweight anodized aluminum handle features Kershaw’s patented Sub-Frame Lock, ensuring secure blade lockup
  • 3.25” modified drop-point blade made of Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel for good edge retention, strength and resistance to corrosion
  • Stonewash blade finish provides a handsome, rugged appearance and helps hide scrapes and fingerprints
  • A great companion for hikers, gardeners, hunters, construction workers, hobbyists and anyone in need of a strong, lightweight everyday carry
  • Strong tool for various tasks like opening packages, making fire kindling, animal defense, cutting zip-ties, peeling fruit, cutting cord and stripping wire

The Kershaw 1870 Knockout is the most premium option in this product round-up, featuring the SpeedSafe fast opening system, 3-position pocket clip, anti-scratch finish on its high-performance stainless steel blade, aluminum anodized handle, and secure locking system. This is a knife that is sure to stay sharp and reliable.

The Kershaw Knockout is easy to deploy with just one hand, as it sports the same fast torsion bar SpeedSafe assisted opening system found in the Leek above. It also boasts a slim, sub-frame locking system for added security and safety. When fully opened, the Knockout measures 7 ⅞ inches long compared to 4 ⅝ inches when folded up.

Made of black anodized aluminum, the contoured handle resists scratches and stains. The knife feels solid and strong in hand without being heavy, as it only weighs 3.36 ounces.

With a 3.25 inch drop point blade made of shining stainless steel, the Knockout is versatile and reliable while maintaining its sharpness and resisting rust. The matte finish coating also helps prevent scratches on the blade.

Lastly, the Knockout also features a 3-position reversible pocket clip.

Pros

  • Durable blade
  • Easy to open with one hand (torsion bar SpeedSafe system)
  • Lightweight and compact when folded
  • Locks open securely
  • Contoured handle
  • Handle resists scratches and staining.
  • Matte finish coating on blade to prevent scratches
  • Reversible, 3-position pocket clip

Cons

  • Discontinued
  • Expensive

Kershaw Link: Most Variations and Style Options

Kershaw Link
4,535 Reviews
Kershaw Link
  • Retractable steel blade has carbon and chromium for strength and corrosion resistance. BlackWash finish creates worn look that hides scratches and prints
  • As Kershaw’s patriotic model number 1776, the Link is made to be the best collectible utility knife of its kind
  • For accessibility and safety, Link has a reversible pocketclip, liner lock, SpeedSafe assisted opening and built-in flipper
  • With closed length of 4.4 inches, Link is the go-to tool when scouting, hunting, fishing or working around the home or office
  • Both sharp and sturdy, the Link is discrete with one-handed opening for personal defense or protection during lifesaving emergencies

The Kershaw Link comes in the most variations, namely four different styles and colors. This makes for a versatile, stylish knife that also happens to be equipped with a durable and well-crafted blade.

The Link features a 3.25 inch plain-edge drop point blade and weighs just 4.8 ounces. The blade is made out of an alloy of chromium mixed with carbon for added strength and resistance to rust and wear. The blade sharpens rather easily and maintains its durability over time with its Blackwash black oxide finish.

With handles made of lightweight aluminum, the grip is comfortable and feels well-made in the hand. The Link also features Kershaw’s SpeedSafe opening system for one-handed use on the go, as well as a liner lock for added security. For added convenience, you will also find a reversible pocket clip.

Pros

  • Four different color options
  • Lightweight
  • Chromium and carbon blade resists corrosion and is easy to sharpen.
  • The black oxide finish on the blade is durable.
  • Comfortable, contoured handle with plenty of grips
  • Assisted SpeedSafe opening system (easy one-handed open)
  • Reversible pocket clip for easy carrying

Cons

  • No rubber on the handle (less grippy)
  • Slightly expensive

Kershaw Blur S30V: Longest Blade

Kershaw Blur S30V
1,509 Reviews
Kershaw Blur S30V
  • Manufactured with premium materials and built to last a lifetime
  • Premium S30V powdered steel blade, takes and holds an extremely fine edge for increased longevity
  • Ideal for a wide variety of tasks including cleaning game, cutting rope, bushcrafting, slicing fruits and vegetables, cutting zip ties and more
  • Stonewashed blade and basic black anodized aluminum handle with grip-tape give the S30V Blur its discreet, rugged appearance for a stealthy EDC
  • The handle provides secure gripping power in almost any environment and is ideal for hunters, backpackers, fisherman, hobbyists, wilderness guides, farmers, homesteaders, or first responders

The Kershaw Blur S30V is an excellent choice if you’re seeking a slightly longer blade than the other products here. The blade on the Blur is a drop point, plain-edge style measuring 3.4 inches in length and has a stonewashed finish to keep scratches at bay. The blade is made of S30V steel, which has higher amounts of carbon for sharpness and resistance to scratches.

As it weighs only 4.0 ounces, this is a lightweight knife. The overall length of the Blur is 7.9 inches in total when unfolded. The Blur opens quickly and smoothly with the torsion bar in the Assisted SpeedSafe design, so it is slightly easier to open than the manual flip-open knives. It features an inset liner lock to keep the blade secure when in use.

The contoured handle is a black anodized aluminum type and features grip tape sections for easier carrying. Aluminum has a solid, durable feeling in the hand that resists scratches and marks. The Blur also has a reversible pocket clip for your convenience.

Pros

  • Slightly longer blade
  • Lightweight and compact when folded
  • Reversible pocket clip
  • Contoured handle
  • Liner lock for security
  • Assisted SpeedSafe torsion bar opening design
  • Grip tape on the handle for easier carrying

Cons

  • Expensive

Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K: Heaviest Option

Kershaw Emerson
824 Reviews
Kershaw Emerson
  • 3” blade is made of 8Cr14MoV stainless steel with dual blade finishes offers excellent edge retention and wear resistance
  • Modified clip-point blade is ideal for delicate handiwork, opening packages, cleaning small game, aggressive animal defense and preparing kindling
  • Designed by Emerson Knives and precision engineered by Kershaw for uncompromising function, fit and finish
  • Versatile pocket carry and ideal companion for wilderness guides, hunters, backpackers, landscapers and knife enthusiasts
  • Manual blade opening with a thumb disk, Emerson’s patented “wave shaped feature”, a favorite feature among military, rescue and law enforcement

The Kershaw Emerson is the heaviest of all the knives in this product round-up. Weighing in at 6.4 ounces, the Emerson feels hefty and well-constructed while still being a breeze to use.

The Emerson is easy to hold with a contoured handle that features dual-sided textures, with one side made of steel and the other with a rubberized texture. This really adds to the grip of the knife.

Dimensionally, the Emerson overall measures 7.75 inches long when fully unfolded and 4.9 inches when folded. This makes it one of the larger options in this round-up, although it should still fit inside your pockets.

The Emerson features a well-crafted clip point 3.25 inch blade of stainless steel for resistance to corrosion and wear over time. It is also easy to sharpen, and there is a stonewashed finish along the blade itself to prevent scratching.

There are two options for opening this knife. First, the knife can deploy manually with the easy flick of a thumb, but it also has a “wave” opening feature where a hook catches on your pocket as you pull it out. This way, the blade engages immediately when you remove it. There is also a frame locking feature to keep it securely open.

Lastly, the Emerson is equipped with a standard pocket clip for easy attachment to your clothes.

Pros

  • Heaviness feels durable and strong
  • Dual-sided handle with different textures for grip
  • Contoured handle for grip and comfort when holding
  • Pocket clip
  • Two ways to open it (manually or “wave” feature)
  • Stonewash finish prevents scratches on the blade

Cons

  • More noticeable in the pocket
  • Opens manually (although still easily)

Kershaw 3840 FreeFall: Best Budget Option

Kershaw 3840 Freefall
611 Reviews
Kershaw 3840 Freefall
  • SpeedSafe, an award-winning opening system designed by Ken Onion for Kershaw, guarantees smooth opening and quick locking when one-handed function is necessary
  • 8CR13MOV stainless steel blade forged with extra carbon for hardness, wear resistance and a notably sharper edge
  • Carry options include reversible pocket clip, enlarged lanyard hole and a unique deep carry clip for discreet, secure stowage in pocket, purse, backpack or briefcase
  • Liner Lock secures blade with steady, reliable force; steel plate moves behind open blade to prevent wiggle and unexpected fold back
  • Blade length: 3.25 inches; overall length: 7.5 inches; weight: 4.1 ounces

The Kershaw 3840 FreeFall is the best option if you’re on a tight budget, as this knife currently costs only $29.19. Despite its low price point, the FreeFall comes in an ergonomic design with a great performance.

The FreeFall is a tanto tip blade measuring 3.25 inches long, with an overall body size of 7.5 inches when open (4.25 inches long when closed). It weighs just 4.1 ounces.

The blade is crafted with a more budget-friendly alloy of stainless steel with extra carbon mixed in for advanced hardness and resistance to wear over time. It also features a stonewashed finish on the blade for scratch resistance.

This knife also sports the SpeedSafe torsion bar opening system for fast ease of use with only one hand, and it also has a quick locking system to keep the blade secure and to prevent wiggling when trying to cut.

The handle is made of a textured glass-filled nylon polymer that promises strength and grip. It also resists wearing down from heat or scratches.

Finally, the FreeFall features a lanyard hole and reversible pocket clip as well.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Lanyard hole and reversible pocket clip
  • Stonewash finish on the blade
  • Grippy, textured handle that resists scratches
  • SpeedSafe torsion bar opening system for one-handed use

Cons

  • Lower quality stainless steel may not be as durable overall

Kershaw 1760 Skyline: Lightest Weight Option

Kershaw 1760 Skyline
1,355 Reviews
Kershaw 1760 Skyline
  • 3.1” blade made of high-performance Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel, offers excellent strength, corrosion and wear resistance
  • Lightweight G-10 handle scales offer a secure grip with texture and a deep index-finger contour
  • The drop-point blade offers good balance and a strong, hard tip. The rugged Stonewash finish is capable of hiding scratches and fingerprints
  • The perfect EDC for cutting tasks such as opening difficult packages, breaking down boxes, removing zip-ties, cleaning small game, aggressive animal defense, slicing fruit, and stripping small wire
  • An excellent gift idea for any hunter, hiker, hobbyist, carpenter, angler, backpacker or any knife enthusiast in need of a highly reliable, American made pocket folder

The Kershaw 1760 Skyline is the most lightweight option in this product round-up, so it’s perfect if you want a knife that is always easy to carry yet still feels durable. With a 3.1 inch, versatile blade and a closed length of only 4.25 inches, this blade is built for perfect pocketability.

The Kershaw Skyline weighs only 2.5 ounces, so it is nearly unnoticeable in your pocket. The Skyline is very slim and easy to grip with its rubber G10 textured handle. In the handle, you’ll also find a deep index finger contour space, making the knife even easier to hold onto. This, plus the lightweight nature of the blade itself, feels overall very secure in the hand.

The 3.1-inch blade on the Skyline is a drop point, plain-edge style finished with a stonewash that prevents scratches from showing up, so your blade will always end up looking its best. It also features a liner lock to keep the blade open when in use. While it does open manually with the press of a button, it doesn’t require you to flick your wrist for the blade to engage.

The Skyline also features the reversible pocket clip for versatility and easy carrying.

Pros

  • Slim and lightweight (2.5 ounces)
  • Easy to hold with index finger contour on the handle
  • Reversible pocket clip for convenience
  • Liner lock to keep it open
  • Anti-scratch stonewash finish on the blade itself
  • Textured rubber handle has plenty of grips

Cons

  • Opens manually (not as easy with one hand)
  • Discontinued

Kershaw 1945 Barge: Smallest Blade Option

Kershaw 1945 Barge
145 Reviews
Kershaw 1945 Barge
  • Includes a pry bar for otherwise blade-damaging pry tasks, including but not limited to removing nails, spreading boards and opening cans
  • Flat style Wharncliffe modified blade for cutting and utility tasks
  • Built in screwdriver for around the house tasks, quick last minute fixes and emergency repairs; renders the Kershaw Barge a true multi-tool without the characteristic excess bulk
  • Manual opening gives users control while handling, ensuring safe operation and protection
  • Frame lock keeps knife blade secure, safe and open while in use and closed while carrying between uses

The Kershaw 1945 Barge is the best option if you are looking for a shorter blade, as it measures only 2.6 inches. When opened, however, the full length of the Barge is 7.3 inches.

The blade on the Barge is a straight-edge Wharncliffe designed as a versatile utility knife blade. To engage the blade itself, there are dual thumb buttons along the sides for manual opening. The stonewash finish keeps scratches at bay as well.

Along the handle, there are two separate sides. One side is black and made of a glass-filled nylon for added grip, while the other side has a steel construction that really adds a feeling of heftiness and durability. The Barge is the second heaviest knife in this review, as it weighs in at 5.4 ounces.

For easy carrying, the Barge also features a lanyard hole and a reversible pocket clip.

Pros

  • Shortest blade
  • Two differently textured sides on the handle
  • Stonewash finish on the blade prevents scratching.
  • Lanyard hole and reversible pocket clip

Cons

  • Opens manually (more difficult with one hand)
  • Slightly heavy
  • Blade may be too short if you’re looking for a longer blade
  • Not as compact when considering the entire length

Kershaw 1905 Induction: Best Bang for Your Buck

Kershaw 1905 Induction
95 Reviews
Kershaw 1905 Induction
  • Fully manual opening allows users full control over the function of the pocketknife, including increased stability and excellent security for peace of mind.
  • Pre-drilled holes allow for reversibility of the knife where the pocketclips are located for ambidextrous carry.
  • A sliding pen embedded in the knife, called the Hawk Lock, slides in place with flick of a switch to keep the blade securely in place.
  • Rough gripped handle allows for easy carrying in all conditions: wet, slippery and muddy, or dry, hot and sunny.
  • Black-oxide and satin finish steel helps prevent rust, allowing increased longevity and lifespan of the pocketknife.

The Kershaw 1905 Induction pocket knife offers the best bang for your buck, as it comes in at only around $35 but has most of the features of Kershaw’s more expensive blades.

The Induction features a 3.1-inch long blade made of stainless steel with a drop point, sharpened plain edge. The blade itself also features black oxide coating to protect the steel from damage, creating a stunning appearance.

To keep the blade open once engaged, the Induction is equipped with the “Hawk Lock” to keep it in place securely. The blade easily folds back as well with use of a slider on the lightweight, anodized aluminum handle with rubberized front for added grip.

A lightweight option, the Induction weighs only 3.75 ounces. The Induction sports a lanyard hole and reversible pocket clips for convenient carrying as well.

Pros

  • Black oxide coating on the blade for added strength and durability
  • Reversible pocket clips and lanyard hole for transportability
  • Grippy rubber on the handle
  • Hawk Lock keeps the blade secure when in use.
  • Lightweight and compact style

Cons

  • Discontinued
  • The manual opening may be slightly more difficult

Buying Guide: Kershaw – Is It a Good Brand?

Advantages of Kershaw: What did we like about this brand?

Compact and Lightweight

One of the strengths of this brand is that Kershaw has designed and constructed a wide variety of compact, easy-to-carry knives that fit easily into your pocket. Most of these knives have a folded length of around 4 inches.

Also, many of Kershaw’s knife models sport a reversible pocket clip for ambidextrous use and convenience if you prefer to carry the knife on a belt loop or hooked to a pocket.

Most of Kershaw’s designs are also lightweight, with the most lightweight options in this product round-up being the Skyline, Leek, and Knockout. These will be the ultimate choices in pocketability, basically disappearing in your pocket with their minimal weight.

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Durability for the Price (Value)

Kershaw designs knives with quality in mind, especially when considering the low price of most of these products. Most of their knives are constructed with a reliably built stainless steel or chromium alloy blade for further durability. Many of their blades are also finished with a matte stonewash finish to help prevent scratches in the metal.

The handles are also well-constructed and durable, many of them with rubber texture for added grip and resistance to corrosion or staining. This will help your knife stay in tip-top shape over years of heavy use.

More: Best Pocket Knife Sharpener On The Market [Review and Buying Guide]

Ease of Use and Safety

Many of these Kershaw knives we reviewed are equipped with features that enhance their usability. This includes the SpeedSafe assisted opening system, which uses a torsion bar to make opening the blade easier and faster with only one hand needed.

Many Kershaw knives also have a locking mechanism to keep the blade in place once it’s engaged, as well as a system to keep the blade locked safely while the device is closed or folded.

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Limited Lifetime Warranty

Kershaw backs its knives with a limited lifetime warranty that guarantees the knives against defects in manufacturing or construction, as long as the knife has been appropriately used, for the duration of its lifetime. This does not include normal wear and tear or accidental damage to the knife.

Disadvantages of Kershaw: What didn’t we like about this brand?

No serrated blades

If you are looking for a serrated edge to your knife, none of these Kershaw models we discussed will be your best bet. For a better option for sawing or other purposes best suited for a serrated blade, check out other models from the brand, like the Kershaw Tactical Blur.

Blades may be too small for some purposes

If you are in search of a much larger blade, these models may not be the best options in this scenario. While a 3-inch blade is more convenient to carry and is still useful for outdoor adventures or for everyday tasks like opening mail or boxes, a shorter blade may be less useful in the kitchen if that is your intended usage.

More: The Best Headlamps for Hunting And Fishing [Review and Buying Guide]

Slight lower quality materials

While the stainless steel and aluminum alloys found in the blades and handles of Kershaw knives are well constructed, these are usually considered lower-budget metals. Especially when compared to higher quality materials, such as titanium and carbon fiber, stainless steel may not hold up to wear and tear as long or stay as sharp.

However, Kershaw builds its knives with price and value in mind, and stainless steel provides a good amount of durability for how little it costs to produce.

More: The Best Camping Fan Review On The Market

Conclusion

For all your outdoor adventures or in everyday use, a Kershaw pocket knife is a practical, easy-to-use, reliable blade that promises versatility and durability without breaking the bank.

The winner of this product round-up, the Kershaw 1660 Leek, wins the title thanks to its compact size, lightweight style, ruggedness, comfortable handle, rust-resistant steel blade, torsion bar SpeedSafe opening system, locking mechanism to keep it secure, and reversible pocket clip for easy carrying.

If you are seeking the most lightweight knife possible, the Kershaw 1760 Skyline weighs only 2.5 ounces but still packs a punch. The Skyline features a 3.125 inch blade, a grippy, contoured handle, a stonewash finish to hide scratches, and the reversible pocket clip as well.

Another excellent option is the Kershaw 1870 Knockout, which has a 3.25 inch blade and also sports the SpeedSafe opening system, a safe locking system, and contoured anodized aluminum handle for comfort and longevity.

No matter which knife you choose, hopefully this product round-up has helped determine the best Kershaw knife for your lifestyle.

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Tim Fox

Tim Fox

Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here

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