After completing our search, we decided the the top choice for most men was the Victorinox Tinker. It doesn't have as many tools as options like the Swisschamp or Huntsman, but it has more than enough for most men.
It's also very reasonably priced, making it accessible at all budgets. We don't believe that many men need the majority of tools available on larger SAK's. Instead, we'd recommend a lighter and more convenient option. Obviously, if you work in construction or hunt, you might want to check out the Swisschamp and Huntsman.
History of the Swiss Army Knife
Swiss army knives are pocketknives or multi-tools that are created by Victorinox or Wenger. Victorinox acquired Wenger in 2005, up until that point the two companies had competed for contracts and market share.
These days you’ll struggle to find a SAK that isn’t created by Victorinox. The name ‘Swiss army knife’ came about because American soldiers couldn’t pronounce the German name for the product.
The tools were admired by American soldiers and taken from enemy soldiers when they had the chance.
The original knives were designed to be used to open canned food and to be used in self-defense as a last measure.
They were popular because they were much smaller than standard issue military knives and could be conveniently folded away for safe keeping.
In modern times they have been developed to include tens of different tools in one handle. This includes; knives, saws, screwdrivers, clippers, nail files, scissors, can openers, chisels and tweezers.
There are plenty of different models available, each with a unique selection of tools. Depending on what you need, one model might be far better for you than another.
Swiss army knives are recognizable because of the flag of Switzerland on the side of the handle. This is usually surrounded by a rounded square for Wenger models or or a white crest for Victorinox models.
Swiss army knives are so valuable because of the range of tools that they include in such a compact and convenient handle. Whatever your needs are, there’s a good chance that your SAK will have you covered.
They are such a valuable and famous tool that they have been recognized in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The design is just as popular as the brand itself and the term ‘swiss army knife’ has become an adjective for anything that has multiple purposes.
What to Consider When Buying a Swiss Army Knife (SAK)
If you’ve already decided that you want a Swiss army knife instead of a multi-tool or a large knife, then you’re probably wanting convenience and a range of tools.
The three main factors you should consider are; size, tool selection and price.
You can find options that weight less than a pound and you can find much bulkier heavy duty tools too. If you’re planning to keep this in your pocket at all times then you might not want to largest knife, you might be willing to sacrifice a few tools to cut down on size and weight.
Deciding on the tools that you want is the most important decision. We’d all love to have as many tools as possible, but for the sake of convenience and cost, you need to figure out which you can’t live without.
This is going to decide mainly on your career and the lifestyle that you lead.
Most of us prioritize a blade, a screwdriver and a bottle opener. However, if you’re going to be constantly requiring a small saw, you’ll need to ensure that you pick the Hiker or a similar model.
How we Ranked the Products
With so many different options and a wide variety of potential users, it’s difficult to to decide how to rank each of the models. With this in mind we chose to heavily consider the options that are best for the largest amount of people.
You will have your own individual requirements that mean one option may be better than another. However, just because you need a laser pointer, it doesn’t mean that everybody else does too!
What we considered when searching for the best swiss army knife:
Price - The price difference between even the most common models is very large. Most users aren’t looking for the most tools, they are looking for basic tool that gives them a variety of options.
Tools - Not only did we consider the number of tools available, we also factored in which tools were in each product. Some of the combinations are more suited to specific jobs or lifestyles, making them overkill for the large majority of us.
Size - With more tools the knife obviously becomes larger and heavier. We tried to factor a balance of tools and size into our analysis. The idea of a SAK is to be able to have a portable selection of tools, if it becomes too big for most of us, it begins to lose its value.
The 7 Best Swiss Army Knives
The Tinker by Victorinox is their most popular model. It’s also, in our opinion, the best swiss army knife on the market. It includes 12 tools, more than enough for the majority of us, and manages to remain small and portable. The build quality of the Tinker is excellent. Sometimes, the cheaper models on a line have cheaper materials, but this is just as good as their most expensive options.
It’s available in a wide range of colors, although the classic red is often the one you’ll be able to find. Some of the most important tools you’ll find are the blade, a can opener, bottle opener and a Philips screwdriver.
Most of us won’t require anything more than this, making it the perfect everyday carry (EDC). You want your EDC to only have the bare minimum. It needs to remain pocket sized and light.
At 3.58 inches in length it’s a great size for your hand, but small enough to hide in your pockets or attach to your keys. Weighing 2.19oz it’s heavier than the smallest options, but light enough that you’ll barely feel it in your pocket.
As you’d expect from Victorinox, the tools click solidly into place. This prevents this from sliding back in when they are used, as you experience with cheaper alternatives.
This Swisschamp is the ultimate swiss army knife. It comes with every tool that you could ever desire. It’s the perfect option for someone working a trade, who needs more than the Tinker can offer.
Complete with 33 functions, the Swisschamp has a much wider range of features than any other Victorinox knife.
You’ll find things like; a small saw, scissors, pliers, magnifying glass, nail file, corkscrew, wire stripper, pen, ruler and tweezers.
Obviously, there’s many other tools but those are some of the most useful that you won’t find in the cheaper models.
The reason that we didn’t rank the Swisschamp above the Tinker is because it’s noticeably more expensive. It’s also overkill for the average office worker. However, if you work in construction or in the field, you might need the range of options the Swisschamp gives you. In that case, it’s the best swiss army knife for you.
With all those extra features you do get some added size and weight. It’s 3.58 inches in length and 6.5oz in weight. That’s almost triple the weight of the tinker. It’s quite heavy and you wouldn’t want to use this as an EDC unless your work requires it.
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic
The Classic is the basic option from Victorinox. It comes with only three attachments, but they double up for other features. There’s a sizable blade, a nail file that doubles as a screwdriver and a pair of scissors that double as tweezers.
For most of us, this gives us the majority of features that we would want. It wasn’t ranked higher because it’s so lightweight and doesn’t have the same strong feeling that most of us expect from a SAK.
At only 2.25 inches in length and weighing a tiny 0.74oz, this is small enough to put on your keychain and forget about. It truly is tiny and is excellent for anyone working in an office who might need to open packages or cut string.
It doesn’t have the same features that the Tinker does, but it’s a little cheaper and a lot smaller. Depending on your lifestyle this could be a decent option for you.
It comes in a ridiculously wide range of colors, perfect for the style conscious among us.
If you’re on a budget and are looking for the absolute essentials then this is a great choice. It’s not fancy and it won’t change your life. It is simply a small multi-tool that you can hook onto your keys and forget about (in a good way).
Each of the Victorinox models is designed for a different lifestyle. The huntsman is designed for anyone working in the field or spending their time camping.
It comes with some tools that are specific for these activities; large saw, large scissors, corkscrew and a can opener.
The saw is surprisingly effective and a key feature of the Huntsman. This knife is designed for someone who is out and about. If you work an office job then there is no reason for you to consider this, it’s overkill and will be heavier and larger than you need.
The huntsman is essentially one huge saw with some other handy features. The saw is clearly the most important tool in this selection and for good reason.
It’s strong and thick enough to cut through wood, plastic and even light metals.
As you’d expect from Victorinox, the build quality is excellent. Reviewers have noted that even after dropping it from huge heights the metal didn’t break.
This knife fits the middle ground between the Tinker and some of the large blades. It does have a saw that the tinker doesn’t have, making it better for campers and outdoorsmen.
The Hiker is a cheaper and slightly less well equipped version of the Huntsman. It’s aimed at a similar demographic, outdoorsmen, for the Hiker is perfect for someone who isn’t going to be hunting or foraging.
It doesn’t include a pair of scissors, a huge issue for plenty of us. However, it’s a lot lighter and also a bit cheaper.
We would recommend the Hiker for someone who is looking at the Tinker but needs a saw. Otherwise, there are better options.
The Hiker is mainly popular because it has the saw and two blades. However, most people won’t need all these options and if they are willing to take the extra weight they’d be better going for the Huntsman.
This could be a good EDC if it was a little lighter, but for most of us it’s too heavy and without scissors is less useful than it could be.
The Victorinox Executive is probably the most useful knife they have released. Followers of the brand might joke about it being a pencil-pushers knife, but most of us aren’t constantly skinning dead animals.
The Executive has the tools that you’re likely to need. It’s designed for office workers and executives who need scissors, a small blade, nail file, toothpick and an orange peeler.
You might be surprised how many people use their knives primarily to peel an orange in the office.
Well, enough that they’ve chosen to include it! The specific citrus peeler is actually particularly useful. It’s a small serrated blade that can also double to open tough packages.
Don’t be persuaded to buy a knife that has features you don’t need. If you work in an office there is almost no need to have a saw. Something like a small citrus peeler might seem stupid, but you’ll get more use out of it than a saw or screwdriver.
Without the extra blades it’s much lighter than most SAK’s. Weighing in at only 1.55oz it’s perfect to attach to your keys and carry with you throughout the work day.
The Cadet is an interesting option that is designed for military cadets. It’s smaller than it’s older siblings and has a few less features.
However, it’s got an elegant design that is far more appealing than the traditional red and white pattern. Unfortunately, it’s let down by its price and lack of functionality.
For this price you can buy knives with far more features. Unless you’re specifically looking for this type of design there is no need to pay this much.
You’re better off paying the same amount and choosing the Huntsman or alternatively saving some money and buying the Tinker. The Tinker has almost the exact same set of tools, isn’t much heavier and is available at a cheaper price.
The Cadet doesn’t appear to fill a particular use in the market. Most of the Swiss army knives that Victorinox make have a very specific purpose, this just seems like a more expensive Tinker.
Due to that, it’s one of the only options we would suggest you avoid. Instead, look at Victorinox’s other options, all of which are fantastic and specifically designed with a lifestyle in mind.