Editor’s Note: This list has been updated with new picks for 2017. Our previous picks can be found on page two.

A good folding knife, first and foremost, needs to be functional. It needs to handle what you throw at it, day in and day out, unscathed. But beyond functionality, a truly great folding knife has the looks to back up its function. If you’re going to invest in a knife, it should be one that you’re proud to show off — whether you’re opening boxes or slicing pieces of artisanal cheese. It doesn’t need to cost four figures (though it can), and great knives can be had at just about any budget.

Additional contribution by Amos Kwon, AJ Powell and Michael Finn.

Opinel Slim No. 8

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Each Opinel has been crafted in France since 1890. In fact, the word Opinel was added to the French dictionary and is synonymous with “folding knife.” The Slim No. 8 is more ergonomic than the standard No. 8, though the blade is also more flexible. It’s great for light duty, everyday tasks like opening boxes.

Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Blade Material: stainless steel
Handle Material: olive wood
Weight: ~1 ounce

Case Abalone Tribal Lock Knife

Case Knives has been a fixture of American manufacturing since 1889 — three years after Coca Cola’s founding. Case makes hundreds of knives for all sorts of applications. The Tribal Lock is a standout in the EDC category for its simple construction, pocketable size, and mesmerizingly beautiful handle made of an abalone shell, an alien-looking mollusk species.

Blade Length: 4.1 inches
Blade Material: stainless steel
Handle Material: abalone
Weight: 3.3 ounces

Zero Tolerance 0055

Designed with the help of Gus T. Cecchini, the mad genius behind GTC Knives, the 0055 is a head-turning folder with lines seemingly inspired by some kind of futuristic concept car. Its unique sleekness is owed partly to Cecchini’s signature SLT hidden flipper tab, which stays tucked away when not in use.

Blade Length: 3.75 inches
Blade Material: stone-washed steel
Handle Material: titanium
Weight: 5 ounces

CRKT Gusset Black

Here’s another impressive folder designed by a mad genius boutique knife maker. Ken Onion, a Hawaiian knife maker credited as the creator of the first commercially successful assisted-opening mechanism, came up with the Gusset while riding in a dune buggy. It is exceptionally strong, thanks to the open architecture, and exceptionally light for the same reason.

Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Blade Material: black oxide stainless steel
Handle Material: stainless steel
Weight: 4 ounces

Benchmade Presidio II Family

Benchmade is well known for its tactical combat knives (try not to spit out your coffee when you see the Infidel). The newest Presidio II, one of Benchmade’s most popular combat knives, has been upgraded to be lighter and stronger than ever before. It’s best suited for those who require all-around backcountry performance but prefer a tactical aesthetic.

Blade Length: 3.7 inches
Blade Material: stainless steel
Handle Material: aluminum
Weight: 6.1 ounces

Bear & Son Cutlery MC-100-CB2-LD

Bear & Son Cutlery is a relatively under-the-radar company that deserves your attention. Case in point: the MC-100-CB2-LD. The whole knife — blade, handle, locking mechanism and all — is made entirely in Bear & Son’s shop in Jacksonville, Alabama. The cocobolo wood and Damascus steel lend it a very special look and feel.

Blade Length: ~4 inches
Blade Material: Damascus steel
Handle Material: cocobolo wood
Weight: 4.5 ounces

Gerber US-ASSIST S30V

Gerber’s “smoothest, most consistent deployment to date,” according to the brand; the ball bearing system is Gerber’s most refined assisted-opening system ever, providing a buttery-smooth opening every time. It has thumb studs on both sides, which will appeal to ambidextrous knife users. And, like most of Gerber’s products, the knife is entirely designed and assembled in Portland, Oregon.

Blade Length: 3 inches
Blade Material: stone-washed steel
Handle Material: glass-filled nylon
Weight: 3.9 ounces

Spyderco Domino

The Domino takes design cues from knives by the late Kit Carson, one of the greatest knife makers of the 21st century. It is a modern folder with an integrated high-strength Reeve Integral Lock, built to get the job done for generations.

Blade Length: 3.1 inches
Blade Material: stainless steel
Handle Material: carbon fiber laminate, titanium
Weight: 4.2 ounces

SOG Aegis Mini

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If you’re looking for a reliable, durable, high-performance everyday carry knife, the SOG Aegis Mini is tough to beat. The clip point is a great all-around design, and the belly on the blade makes it great for everyday use. The deployment is fast and smooth thanks to the high-tension coil springs — a useful trait in any situation.

Blade Length: 3 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8
Blade Type: clip point
Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
Weight: 2 ounces

Kershaw Launch 3

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The Launch 3 features a fully automatic plunge-lock design for fast deployment. A bit of jimping on the spine of the blade provides plenty of grip regardless of conditions. The aesthetic of the knife is also a huge plus; the handle is sleek and minimalist, with just enough of a tactical appearance to keep things serious.

Blade Length: 3.4 inches
Blade Material: CPM154, DLC coating
Blade Type: drop point
Handle Material: Anodized aluminum
Weight: 3.4 ounces

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