The 10 Best Swiss Army Knives

Updated June 20, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Swiss Army Knives
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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. A longtime favorite among campers, hikers, motorists, and the military, these Swiss Army knives put a variety of tools conveniently in your pocket, backpack, or glove box, keeping you ready for just about anything. Between them, these tiny tool titans come with countless functions, including blades, saws, bottle and can openers, pliers, and even ballpoint pens. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best swiss army knife on Amazon.

10. Champion Plus

Be prepared for just about anything with the Champion Plus, which can tackle tasks of all types with its 30 stainless steel tools. It has a panel that can be engraved, making it a great choice as a gift for a special occasion.
  • comes with tweezers and toothpick
  • a bit thick for some pockets
  • doesn't include pliers
Brand Victorinox
Model 54525
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Rugged Knife Company Multitool

Cheap but not flimsy, the low-frills Rugged Knife Company Multitool makes a suitable alternative for those looking to stray from the Victorinox brand. It features basic tools including can and bottle openers, a corkscrew, a screwdriver, and a nail file.
  • available in pink and black
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
  • knife and scissors are a bit dull
Brand Rugged Knife Company
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Explorer Boy Scout

The Explorer Boy Scout is a classic choice that you will find yourself using every single day. It makes daily tasks much easier, whether you're peeling a piece of fruit, opening a bottle of wine, or trying to read a menu with small print.
  • acid-resistant plastic and aluminum
  • engraved with scouts emblem
  • plastic magnifier feels cheap
Brand Victorinox
Model 54781
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Hammered Classic SD

If you need a gift for the guy or girl who has everything, look no further than the Hammered Classic SD. This compact, elegant option contains five stainless steel tools, including a 1.25-inch blade, a nail file, and a pair of scissors.
  • stylish sterling silver case
  • nail file has a screwdriver tip
  • considerably expensive
Brand Victorinox
Model 53029
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Grand Harvest

The all stainless steel Grand Harvest is a rugged alternative rescue and survival tool, as useful in day-to-day life as it is in the great outdoors. It features standard tools like blades and saws as well as more unusual ones like a leather punch and needle.
  • includes bottle can and wine openers
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • belt clip is a bit flimsy
Brand Grand Harvest
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Hardwood SwissChamp

Never go camping without the Hardwood SwissChamp. It provides almost everything you'll ever need in your campsite or around the home, including a wood saw, a fish scaler, scissors, a ballpoint pen, and much more, and has an elegant wooden housing.
  • includes miniature pliers
  • has a total of 33 tools
  • screwdriver tip is a bit dull
Brand Victorinox
Model 53526
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Victorinox Trekker

For a pocket-sized option that packs a big punch, get the Victorinox Trekker. It is ideal for lovers of the great outdoors who don't need to have 96 tools on hand, but rather want the nine or 10 essentials that come in most handy in the wilderness.
  • sleek black casing
  • large blade that locks
  • weighs just over 3 ounces
Brand Victorinox
Model 54854
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. SwissChamp XLT

The SwissChamp XLT is so large it's hardly a pocket knife, but assuming you demand a unit that really does have just about every possible tool, this mini behemoth is a strong choice. Among many other things, it includes a ruler, a wire crimper, and a pair of pliers.
  • offers 49 different functions
  • bit wrench with 10-bit case
  • pressurized ballpoint pen
Brand Victorinox
Model 53509
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Traveller Lite

The Traveller Lite has all the great features of its pocketable peers. What sets it apart is its digital display, which adds an amazing array of capabilities including alarm clock functionality and measuring temperature, humidity, and altitude.
  • white led flashlight
  • translucent ruby red housing
  • batteries are easy to replace
Brand Victorinox
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Rescue Tool

The Rescue Tool is the perfect thing to have on hand in case something goes wrong, ranging from an auto accident to a natural disaster. Named "Knife of the Year 2007," it features vital emergency tools like a seatbelt cutter and car window breaker.
  • easy to use while wearing gloves
  • three serrated blades
  • unmissable bright yellow casing
Brand Victorinox
Model Rescue Tool
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Accept No Imitation

There is nothing that can replace the functionality, simplicity, and joy of a Swiss Army Knife. Pocket knives and multi-tools abound, in massive sizes and at absurd prices, but also at simpler configurations and rock-bottom prices. It's gotten to the point where it's nearly impossible to evaluate true quality among them.

In a case like this, the best thing to do is to go with the standard bearer, and that's what the Swiss offer. Just imagine how Aron Ralston would have fared if he'd had a saw tool instead of that dull baby's knife in his multi-tool.

What makes a Swiss Army Knife special isn't just the versatility of its allotted tools, but the innovation of their configurations and the incredible durability of each knife. Victorinox AG, the company that manufactures Swiss Army products, continually improves upon the basic designs that reach back over a century, bringing modern innovations like digital thermometers into their current lineup.

At its heart, a Swiss Army knife is a pocket knife designed to aid in your survival in the wilderness. The knives themselves are sharp and strong, and the simplest among them come with scissors and files. From there, the options for additional tools have almost no end, with some standards including a saw tool that's great for cutting through wood, a pair of tweezers, can openers, and screwdrivers. And that's just among the basics.

The tools slot next to each other in a small red frame, and each tool snaps firmly into place when in the extended position. Some tools collapse right back into the knife when you apply pressure from their dull sides, while other, more dangerous components require you to operate a simple safety release to retract them.

Tools Tuned To The Individual

You may have heard of a certain type of person who maintains a constant state of vigilance and preparedness in the face of what they will claim is an impending apocalypse. Perhaps it will be the governments that collapse, or an alien invasion, or sudden nuclear fallout. Whatever the cataclysmic event, these doomsday preppers have everything they need to survive after the bottom falls out.

One can assume, then, that they have a pretty nice collection of Swiss Army Knives. It's unlikely that they have one knife for the entirety of their needs, since such a knife would be enormous beyond practicality. It's that question, that balance between functional handling and abundance of features, that is going to determine the Swiss knife for you.

Swiss Army Knives come with almost endless configurations for effective survival in the field. Of course, not everybody plans to head into the woods and try to live off the land. Some of us just need a good knife at arm's reach throughout the day.

The knife itself will probably be useful daily, but outfitting your knife with a good set of weekly useful accessories is the best way to go. For example, if you drink a lot of wine, you might want to get a knife that has a built-in corkscrew. This is also a great tool for anyone that wears glasses, as Victorinox uses the negative space inside the corkscrew to store a very small flat-head screwdriver. Also, for wine drinkers, the punch tool (which looks useless, at first) is great for removing that foil at the top of the bottle.

If you are an avid camper, and you want to start a fire in the wild without flint and steel, and without destroying the skin on your hands trying to rub sticks together, you can get a magnifying glass in your Swiss knife to focus the sunlight onto your kindling.

A list of recommended uses for all these tools could go on for pages and pages, but the lesson from what we've covered so far is that there are certain, indispensable tools for everyone, as well as a good number of standard tools for certain types of people, depending on your intended use.

Built For The Swiss Army

As its name implies, the Swiss Army Knife was developed for use by Swiss soldiers. The Swiss government set out to reissue the knives supplied to each of its soldiers in the late 1800s, with the intention of providing each soldier with effective means to open canned food and to disassemble and reassemble their standard service rifles.

The first run of Swiss Army Knives was produced by a German manufacturer, as Swiss fabrication was not up to the government's standards. Rather quickly, Karl Elsener, founder of Victorinox, seized upon an opportunity before him and updated his manufacturing processes to take over the contract from the Germans. Elsener also began the innovative process of installing tools on both sides of a single knife using the same spring for security.

If you have a Swiss Army Knife made between 1908 and 2005, it has about a 50/50 chance of being produced by either Victorinox or Wenger, as the Swiss government split its contracts between the two companies in 1908 in an attempt to control costs. In 2005, however, Victorinox acquired Wenger, consolidating all production of Swiss Army goods under their brand.

Later, in 2007, the Swiss government opened the contract up for competition once again. This time around, a slew of companies brought forth competitive models that endured extensive testing in the field and in the laboratory. Victorinox won the day, however, despite tremendous innovations from its competition, and they retain their contract today.

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Last updated on June 20, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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