This week, it’s a return to form with a future classic from Spyderco and an irresistably cool Ontario budget folder, plus a video overview from David C. Andersen of all the greatest new knives, big and small. Read on and let’s dive in!
Another month, another King to crown! We rounded up the best new knives to hit our shelves last month and compared them head-to-head, with the winners decided by popular vote on our Instagram page. We started with eight great knives, but there’s only one crown. Read on to see how it all went down!
Round 1: Cold Steel SR1 Lite vs. Spyderco Endela Wave
First up, two new iterations of proven designs from heavyweight brands:
In the left corner, the Cold Steel SR1 Lite takes everything that made the original SR1 such a beast and dials down the price with materials that get the job done without breaking the bank. Weighing in at 6.3 ounces, it features a 4” 8Cr13MoV steel blade that measures nearly 5mm thick. With a Tri-Ad lock backing things up, this is one seriously strong folder. Cost: $59.49.
In the right corner, the Spyderco Endela falls in line between the smaller Delica and the larger Endura and is sized to suit just about everyone. Retooled with an officially-licenced Emerson Wave-shaped opener and tough flat saber grind, the new Endela Wave also features VG-10 steel and an ambidextrous backlock for safe, strong lockup. Cost: $96.60.
Depending on who you ask, the quirks of each knife were either an advantage or a disadvantage. Commentor @a.morpheus wasn’t impressed with the size and strength of the Cold Steel, sarcastically writing that “…if I wanted my pants to fall down all the time when it’s in my pocket… the Cold Steel wins.” On the other hand, the Wave feature on the Endela was polarizing, with @spiderfiend12 declaring “Out with the wave in with the Cold Steel. The Cold Steel won’t attempt to break your pocket or cut you when you bring it out the pocket unlike the wave.”
Ultimately, however, the only thing that mattered was the vote count, with Spyderco cinching the round with 54% of the votes.
Round 2 – Odd Openers: Civivi Exarch vs. Fox Radius G10
In the left corner, the Civivi Exarch is a minimalist EDC design made with attention to detail. Coming in at 2.6 ounces with a 3.2” D2 blade, it’s a perfect pocket companion thanks to its easy-to-use front flipper that stays out of the way whether the blade is open or closed. The blade itself is hollow ground and keen to cut. Made in China for $49.30, it’s easily one of the best value executive knives on the market.
In the right corner, the Fox Knives Radius G10 takes the innovative Radius design and trims the price down with utilitarian materials that make it much more accessible. Coming in at 3.7 ounces with a 2.9” N690Co blade, the heart of the Radius is its unique button lock / thumbstud mechanism that allows you to open and close it with the push of a thumb, without ever putting your hand in the path of the blade. Made in Italy for $164.25, it’s the most affordable version of the Radius yet.
Many of the commenters shared the same sentiment as @isssaiahh_18g, who wrote that “Design wise the Radius wins, budget wise the Exarch wins.” Budget is a powerful motivator – when a knife is both great AND inexpensive it’s hard to argue with. And in the end, the voters agreed, with the Civivi Exarch securing 55% of the vote for the win.
Round 3 – Fixed Blades: Condor Bush Slicer vs. Kershaw Camp 5
In the right corner, the Condor Bush Slicer is designed to be the ultimate camp kitchen knife. Coming in with a 6.4” blade made from tough 1095 steel, the Bush Slicer combines the balance of a cleaver, the belly of a chef’s knife, and the strength of a survival knife into one versatile tool. It even lifts hot pots (and opens bottles) with the notch cut into the spine of the blade! Made in El Salvador and priced at $110.48.
In the left corner, the Kershaw Camp 5 is a refined design fit for just about any outdoors adventure. Coming in with a 4.8” blade made from D2 steel, the Camp 5 has an intuitive, easy to control blade shape that slices well without sacrificing the durability you want in a fixed blade. We can see this knife working well for just about anyone who needs a high performance companion blade on a budget. Made in China and priced at $59.95.
This was a close contest. Had the voting continued longer than 24 hours, it may have even been a draw. It came down to just 14 votes, with the Condor Bush Slicer pulling ahead at the finish line for the win!
Knife Fight Round 4: Victorinox Farmer X vs Boker Genios
Round 4 was all about the two-handed openers:
In the left corner, the Boker Genios is a gentleman’s folder with a few tricks up its sleeve. Coming in at 1.6 ounces with a 3” VG-10 blade, it features an “S-grind” to help reduce friction as it passes through material. The spring for the back lock is cleverly hidden inside the titanium handle scales, eliminating the need for a bulky backspacer. This is a unique and impressive choice for anyone looking for a gentleman’s folder. Cost: $134.96.
In the right corner, the Victorinox Alox Farmer X makes one of the best pocket multitools even better with the addition of scissors. Coming in at 3.8 ounces with a blade, sharpened awl, wood saw, can and bottle openers, screwdrivers, and now scissors, the Farmer X is equipped for everyday jobs and more. Cost: $59.99.
This round took us by surprise – frankly, we predicted that the Farmer X would sweep the match. After all, Victorinox is the most popular knife brand in the world, and the Farmer is one of their most popular tools. It was close, but the votes don’t lie: the Boker Genios won with 51% of the vote.
With the qualifying rounds in the rear view, the winners of the first four rounds faced off in the semifinals, leaving the utilitarian Spyderco Endela and the minimalist Civivi Exarch as the last contestants standing.
So, it’s the end of the line, the last stop, the FINAL ROUND: one of these knives will be this month’s King of the Ring!
And the Best New Knife of June Is…
We have a winner! It was a close contest, but the Civivi Exarch eked out a narrow victory over the Spyderco Endela Wave to take home this month’s crown. As decided by our Instagram followers, the Exarch is the best new knife of the month! Congratulations to Civivi, and thank you to everyone who voted, commented, and played along. We’ve got big plans for next month’s contest, so stay tuned. The King is dead; long live the King!