Under 3-inch pocket knives are helpful for everyday cutting needs and may be suitable for official places like offices, unboxing, and minimal cutting. Under 3-inch pocket knives are easy to carry around as they easily fit in your pockets, wallet, key holder, etc.

If you are struggling to choose the best pocket knife for your needs, come with us to the next section as we look into the essential factors you should consider before picking one.

How to choose under 3-inch pocket knife

Before you purchase an under 3-inch pocket knife, here are essential factors you should look into.

Blade steel

Most pocket knife blades are made from steel. However, there are different types of steel in knife making. With that in mind, take time to understand the properties of the steel used to make the brand of pocket knife you want to take home.

For the best choice, consider the corrosion resistance, toughness, edge retention, wear resistance, and ease of sharpening the steel, depending on your needs.

Suppose you want to buy a knife used in highly corrosive environments. In that case, the steel you choose should offer high corrosion resistance properties.

My overall quality blade steel recommendation will be stainless steel with good edge holding properties that don’t need frequent sharpening.

Varieties of pocket knives with these steels CPM S35VN stainless steel, CPM S45VN stainless steel, VG10 stainless steel will not disappoint.  

Handle

Knife handles are made of different materials, including wood, rubber, Grivory, aluminum, Derlin, bone, to mention a few.

Choosing the right handle can be challenging with the many options to choose from. To make the best choice, consider a knife handle that is comfortable with a quality grip and easy to carry.

You will not go wrong with any of these three options; Spyderco FRN handles are lightweight and highly durable.

G10 scale, on the other hand, is not as light as FRN, but it does provide excellent grip even in wet conditions. Micarta is another composite material that will offer a good grip and survive demanding applications.

The Pocket Knife opening mechanism

The opening mechanism is another important consideration when buying an under 3-inch blade pocket knife. For the best experience, purchase a knife that opens quickly and smoothly. Some fast opening mechanisms include thumb stud, assisted opening, or automatic opening.

However, some knife opening mechanisms like automatic opening are illegal in some states. Therefore, you should research to ensure that the kind of knife you want to buy is legal in your location.

The pocket knife Locking mechanism

Another important consideration when purchasing a pocket knife is the locking mechanism. If you have made the right choice regarding the opening mechanism, settle for a blade that does not lock accidentally. You do not want a knife that keeps on snapping on your fingers.

There are different locking mechanisms to choose from including, liner lock, ring rock, lock back, frame lock, and lever lock. Most pocket knives use the liner locking mechanism and frame locking mechanism.

These two are incredibly safe, and you won’t have to worry about them. However, you can choose any other locking mechanism as long as it is effective and upholds your safety.

Blade shape

There are different blade shapes to suit the needs of every knife. Some of the most commonly available under 3-inch blade shapes include tanto, drop point, and sheep’s foot.

A tanto blade is perfect for piercing and puncturing as it offers a solid broad point.  A drop point is a multipurpose blade type used indoors and outdoors. A sheep’s foot will be most suitable for slicing but not piercing. 

Other blade types include but are not limited to Clip points, trailing, Wharncliffe, spear point, modified drop point, and the popular Spey blade. The choice of blade type should be based on the use scenario of the pocket knife.

Blade edge

There are three major types of blade edges, including plain, fully serrated, or partially serrated. The best one for you depends on the cutting you will be doing. 

Plain edges are suitable for push cuts because they allow for clean cuts. Fully serrated cuts are best for pull cuts, the opposite of plain edges, and best used on wood and ropes.

Lastly, partially serrated blades are versatile and can perform push and pull cuts because the blades are half plain and half serrated.

Blade Grind

A blade grind is basically how a knife cutting edge is shaped. Each blade grind has its specific job, and none is referred to as the best since they are all used for different tasks. Read more on the Blade Grinds here 6 common types of knife Blade Grinds

Cost and Knife brands

There are many knife brands today. Some brands have been in the market for a long time and have built a good reputation. In contrast, others are upcoming and manufacture reliable knives as well.

The brand you go for depends on your preference and your budget. Top brands like Spyderco, Kershaw, Victorinox, to mention a few, are costly but are proven and have a mass following.

Conclusion

An under 3-inch pocket knife is an asset as you can use it as a small office EDC blade; however, choosing the best one for your needs can be daunting.

We hope that this guide will help you make an informed purchase decision. Here is my recommended list of under 3-inch knives to satisfy your needs.

Best under 3-inch pocket knives

  1. Benchmade Mini Griptilian 

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  1. Kershaw Scallion 

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  1. Spyderco Dragon Fly 2

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