US Made Budget Friendly EDC Knives


Every day carry, or EDC knives, are variable and diverse as any tool on the market.  Blade size, handle type, and overall weight are the usual determining factors for the common carrier.  Selecting a blade that suits your hand with a blade style that suits your usage is key to proper knife choice.  A cornucopia of options are provided by various knife makers.  10$ cheapos that break, bend and lose sharpness at the first sign of a cardboard slice or rope cut negate the point of carrying a blade by failing to perform when you need them the most. 

If you’re ready to take the next step in your EDC, the following models are guaranteed to serve you for a lifetime.  Edge retention, durability, function and a modest price point are the name of the game, here.  Wisconsin outdoor enthusiasts require equipment they can count on, and the knife is perhaps the most often utilized.  The following five knives won’t break the bank, but will serve most everyone who works and plays in the Wisconsin outdoors.

These knives are all proudly manufactured in the USA.  


Case Sodbuster

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This nigh indestructible folder is an American classic.  It’s far and away the easiest knife to find in this list.  Don’t let all that shelf space at Tractor Supply fool you into thinking this knife isn’t worth it- Sodbusters are the true workhorse of the pocketknife world.  Entry level will set you back around 40$, but the array of handles and blade designs can suit just about everyone’s feel and design tastes.  The simple folding style is attractive for the low-maintenance, no frills crowd.  Unfold, get to work, fold back up and be on your way.  This knife shows up to work hard when you need it.  

The Sodbuster is a large and fairly heavy knife.  It boasts 3.7 inch stainless steel blade and tips the scales at 3.3 ounces.  If that’s too much clanking in your front pocket, the Sodbuster Jr. is available for around the same price point, but with less material and heft. 

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Buck Spitfire

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This familiar manufacturer of all things blades and pockets long ago established a reputation of value, tradition and quality.  In fact, my dad still calls any pocketknife a ‘Buckknife’ regardless of who makes it.  The Spitfire line parallels these storied Buck traditions.  Featuring a dependable lockback design and a blade capable of holding an edge, the Spitfire will maintain usefulness for the entire trip into the woods. 

Excellent for heavy duty use in the outdoors, the thick 3.25 inch blade can withstand serious punishment.  The thumbhole design in the blade allows for one-handed opening.  You’ll need two to close it, however, as the locking mechanism is a ‘lockback’ located on the back of the handle. The Spitfire is available in a few different styles and ranges from 50$ to around 100$  

Where to Purchase

Kershaw Leek

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The Leek is a true cutter.  The enticing aspects of this knife revolve around sharpness and weight.  A full ounce lighter than the Sodbuster and Spitfire, the Leek is forgotten in the pocket until you need it.  ‘Razor sharp’ is bandied about quite a bit in the knife world, but the Leek lives up to that nomenclature.  Be careful! If you look too closely, it’ll cut you. 

The ‘assisted opening’ style is not for everyone, as the spring loaded blade snaps into place at around the speed of light.  If you’re comfortable with that design, the awesome snick upon opening will melt your heart. The locking mechanism is located by the index finger.  This allows for one-handed (with practice!) opening and closing.  The Leek has a safety catch to prevent unwanted openings in the pocket.  Good thing, too- for safety’s sake.  This is a knife you want closed until it’s time to work. 

The light weight of 2.4 ounces is made possible by a very thin blade.  High quality stainless steel makes the Leek both slim and durable.  This knife will cut all day long and still provide you with a close, comfortable shave before bed.  For 80$, it’s hard to find an equal.  

Where to Purchase

Benchmade Mini-Griptilian

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Tough, sharp and tactical.  The Griptilian family of knives use a very hard steel for excellent edge retention.  This does make it harder for the average joe to sharpen, but will hold up for longer.  A smooth one-handed opening is made possible by a thumb stud.  The locking mechanism is an Axis, which operates with a slide lock on the top of the handle.  With a little practice, you can close this knife with one hand. 

At 125$, the Mini-Griptilian is on the high end of the affordability scale, but that money goes where you want it.  The blade locks into place with authority and has zero give.  The opening mechanism is smooth and durable.  At 2.8 ounces, the benefits that make this knife such a great outdoors tool aren’t going to weigh you down. 

Where to Purchase


For those of you who like a little something different, check out MikesDamascus. He forges damascus steel blades and sells them through Etsy.  Damascus steel is gorgeous.  It’s made by folding layers of steel together, and the resulting pattern from the forged knives is individual to each piece.  I reached out to Mike to ask him a few questions about his work, and he explained “The customer gets a unique hand forged blade that doesn’t look like everything else off the shelf. There is care and thought in each blade” 

This is function meets art.  Mike’s impeccable customer service is matched with quality blades that stay sharp and look absolutely stunning.  If you like to be noticed, to have a little flash with your tools, look no further.  These knives will garner plenty of attention and admirers.  

You can purchase one of these beautiful knives for low-end 70$, but Mike can also attach his blades to manufactured handles from well-known brands like Spyderco or Kershaw for a little over 100$.  

Where to Purchase


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