When it comes to your EDC knife, size matters. And bigger isn’t always better. A knife that’s too big can be unwieldy to use and carry, not to mention illegal depending on where you live. On the flip side, a knife that’s too small might take more effort for even simple tasks. For a lot of you, the best EDC knife is just under 3″ long. In this guide, we’ll break down why you might want a smaller knife, what to look for in a compact EDC, and highlight 10 EDC knives around the 2.5” to 3” sweet spot that are a cut above the rest.

What to Look for in a Compact EDC Knife

The Best EDC Knives Under 3" in 2017

  • An ergonomic handle: Smaller blades means smaller handles, and less room for error. Make sure to choose a knife that’s comfortable to hold and makes use of jimping or smartly placed finger notches for a better grip.
  • A legal blade length and lockup: Be aware of your local knife laws as they vary from place to place. Some places don’t allow you to carry locking knives, while others don’t allow any knives to be carried at all. A good EDC knife can be a super useful tool, but it won’t do you much good if it gets confiscated.
  • A space-saving design: While it’s important to consider the cutting length of the knife, don’t gloss over how big it is when it’s closed. Folders and flippers are great at saving space, which is why they’ve found their way into the pockets of many EDC’ers.
  • A sturdy, low-riding pocket clip: If you’re going to be carrying your knife in your pocket, it’s a good idea to be aware of the clip orientation of the knife. Do you prefer tip up or tip down? Are you a righty or a leftie? Pocket clips are great for keeping your knife easily accessible while freeing up space at the bottom of your pocket.

The following knives are some of the most popular and widely recommended options for EDC that measure in around the 2.5” to 3” blade length range.

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