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If you have been looking for a quality knife for yourself or as a gift it can be difficult to decide what type and brand are best. There are many different kinds of knives available and each has unique characteristics that set it apart making it more useful for some people and less for others. The most popular small, portable knives generally fall into three categories, the automatic knives, assisted opening, and fixed blade knives.

The automatic knife will open with the press of a button and is often called a switchblade. This blade is easy to use with just one hand and is fast and functional. The internal spring mechanism pivots the blade outward with just the press of a button. There are few safety measures with this knife, so proper handling and storage is essential. Some versions come with a locking mechanism that allows you to lock the blade closed so that it can be carried and stored with greater safety. Frequently used by military, EMS personnel and law enforcement, these knives are reliable and versatile.

Assisted opening knives do not flip open quickly the way that switchblades do, instead they require the use of pressure at the flipper or thumbstud to open. These knives also contain an internal spring mechanism that will fully open the blade once it has been partially opened by the user. These knives can also be used with just one hand, which can make them an ideal work tool. Safer and easier to use than the switchblade, these knives are fast and easy to use this extra bit of safety make them ideal for every day use. These knives are compact and easy to carry, and since there is no chance of them springing open they can be carried in a pocket or in your gear bag without concern of an accidental opening.

Unlike assisted open or switchblade knives the fixed blade knives do not fold or slide open and shut. The blades of these knives are fixed in one position, which can increase their strength and durability. The handles of these knives can be made of a variety of materials such as steel, rubber, zytel, wood, bone, and thermoplastic each with a different feel and look for you to choose to your personal taste. The blades are often made of steel, including stainless steel, or steel alloy which means that these blades are both strong and durable. Fixed blade knives are most commonly used for hunting, fishing, camping combat and law enforcement.

With fixed blade knives you will also need a sheath or a case to protect against exposure or damage when not in use. It is also key to safety since an exposed blade is an accident waiting to happen. Many of the knives come with a sheath or case which has been designed specially to match the blade and handle, but you can purchase individual cases and sheaths. Some sheaths are designed to be worn on a belt, leg or ankle for added convenience and accessibility.

Perhaps the most popular knife ever invented, the pocket knife, has been a staple of hikers, hunters, Boy Scouts and all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts for hundreds of years. The nature of these folding knives as small, light and portable make them ideal for sticking in a pocket or a bag for every day use. These knives have one or more folding blades, occasionally a pair of scissors or a bottle opener instead of a second blade, and are usually around four inches in length. They can be used to slice fruit and vegetables, whittle, cut string or twine, double as a screw driver and come in handy in many cases. Most of these knives open using a thumbnail groove and do not lock. The few blades that do lock are generally single blade pocket knives as the locking mechanism takes up space in the handle. Simple, easy to use, small and light to carry but sturdy enough for most daily tasks, the pocket knife is an ideal addition to your collection.

A set of quality kitchen knives is an essential ingredient in a kitchen. In a kitchen knife set each knife is designed to handle specific tasks common in preparing meals. A serrated bread knife, a small paring knife, a lightweight fillet knife to the most important chef knife each blade is designed to make your job in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. The most heavily used and most versatile knife is usually the chefs knife, used for slicing meat and chopping vegetables it is the workhorse of the kitchen. These knives have a blade that is 8-10 inches in length and are solid, strong and durable. The variety of materials used in the knives includes carbon steel, laminated/layered steel, ceramic, titanium and stainless steel. These blades are extremely sharp and tough while each has their own qualities allowing the chef to choose what they like best in their kitchen.

A good set of kitchen knives is essential to the serious chef. Designed to handle specific tasks around the kitchen, these knives range from the solid chef knife to the serrated bread knife, lightweight fillet knife and small paring knife. A quality kitchen knife can be made from carbon steel, stainless steel, laminated/layered steel, ceramic or titanium. Each has their own qualities and are sharp and tough enough to get the job done, so it is a matter of what the chef likes at a personal level.

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