Everything You Need to Know When Shopping for a Swiss Army Knife

Photo credit: Victorinox
Photo credit: Victorinox

From Best Products

Now synonymous with versatility, the Swiss Army knife dates all the way back to 1884. It was then that a man named Karl Elsener set up a knife shop in the Swiss village of Ibach-Schwyz. Three years later, he patented a multifunctional Swiss officer’s and sports knife, and thus, the iconic Swiss Army knife was born.

Photo credit: Victorinox
Photo credit: Victorinox

Elsener had the unwavering support of his mother Victoria - a fact that had a major impact on the creation of the company’s name in 1921. Victorinox combines the words Victoria and inox, a reference to the stainless steel used in the making of the knives.

Today, the Swiss Army knife is deservedly a popular everyday-carry object for many. It offers a blend of impeccable usability and craftsmanship at a reasonable price point. Rather impressively, every product is backed by a lifetime warranty, which covers the materials and the workmanship used in its making.

In addition to a high-quality blade, just about every Swiss Army knife has a keychain ring - as well as removable tweezers and toothpick - among its available features. There are literally hundreds of Swiss Army knife variants to pick from, ranging from tiny ones you can attach to your keychain all the way to full-size offerings with a multitude of tools for professional and outdoor activities.

Below are some of our favorite picks for every lifestyle and budget, all meticulously crafted in Switzerland.

Note: Check your local laws before purchasing or carrying a pocket knife.

Best Overall

The Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ pocket knife is our favorite pick for most prospective buyers. The pocket knife has a timeless design and 33 tools, which make it highly versatile and perfect to carry every day. Among its many tools are a 2.45-inch blade, a pair of scissors, a wood saw, a metal saw, a ballpoint pen, and a magnifying glass.

Victorinox offers the Swiss Champ in a plethora of color options. In addition to the brand's signature red finish, you can opt for it in black, or in red and blue options with a modern-looking translucent finish.

If you are looking for a more modern Swiss Army knife iteration, consider this pick from the Evolution series instead. It has over 30 tools and a slightly comfier handle. The latter includes ergonomic scales for enhanced comfort.

Best Budget Buy

The Tinker pocket knife is a great entry-level option by Victorinox Swiss Army. Priced just a tad above $20, it has the brand's timeless design featuring 12 essential tools, headlined by two different blades (one of which is a 2.45 inches) and a duo of screwdrivers.

The knife weighs just a fraction more than two ounces, so it's as easy to carry around as it gets. There are multiple colors to pick from, including options that support charitable causes.

Best Splurge

The splurge-worthy Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ XAVT is a poster child for the storied manufacturer's design and engineering prowess. With a mind-bending 83 tools on board, the Swiss Champ XAVT can help you tackle just about any daily task.

In addition to the usual set of blades, screwdrivers, and openers, the knife has several built-in sensors, whose data you can read on a digital display. They include a thermometer, a barometer, and an altimeter. A digital timekeeping device is also on built in.

Designed for avid Swiss Army knife collectors, is weighs more than 12 ounces, so it's a conversation piece, not an everyday-carry object. But it’s sure to make you smile every time you us it!

Best Compact Pick

The Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD pocket knife is an almost impossibly tiny (it weighs less than an ounce), yet incredibly capable tool for everyday carry. In addition to the ubiquitous tweezers, toothpick, and keychain ring, it has a small 1.25-inch blade, a nail file that doubles as a screwdriver, and scissors.

The Swiss manufacturer offers the Classic SD knife in more than 20 color options, so it's easy to find one that suits your taste. With a price tag far less than $20, the Classic SD is also a great Swiss Army knife for newbies, just like the Tinker we already mentioned.

In case you're looking for even more practicality, Victorinox is offering a similar Swiss Army knife with a built-in ballpoint pen. Dubbed Signature, it costs only a few dollars more than the Classic SD, but it’s not available in as many color options.

Best Full-Size Pick

The Swiss Army RangerGrip 78 is a big pocket knife, designed for demanding users. It features 12 built-in tools, which include a 3.9-inch lock blade you can open with one hand, as well as a 4.2-inch wood saw. Despite its size and rich set of tools, the knife weighs just a feather more than 6 ounces.

Victorinox has equipped the RangerGrip 78 with component scales for an exceptional grip., making the full-size knife an excellent tool for hiking and camping.

Best Travel-Friendly Pick

Designed with frequent travelers in mind, the Swiss Army Jetsetter pocket knife lacks a blade, but still brims with handy tools. They include a bottle opener, a magnetic Philips screwdriver, and tiny scissors alongside the usual Victorinox staples. The affordable and compact Jetsetter weighs less than an ounce, so it’s a great addition to any keychain.

Best for Tech Enthusiasts

The Swiss Army Cybertool S pocket knife has a built-in set of wrenches, perfect for tinkering with your tech gadgets when necessary. Of course, the decidedly modern tools complement a long list of Victorinox staples - the knife has a total of 27 functions.

In a manner befitting its high-tech nature, the Swiss Army Cybertool S comes in a modern-looking, transparent red color. A more capable variant of the knife with even more tools and an optional transparent blue finish is also available.

Best for Wine Aficionados

As its name suggests, this Victorinox Swiss Army knife is designed with wine enthusiasts in mind. In addition to a full-size locking blade, the knife has a high-quality corkscrew, as well as a foil cutter for wine bottles, among its tools.

The Wine Master is available in a duo of distinct finishes: olive wood or walnut. It comes bundled with a beautiful leather pouch. Overall, this is handily the best Swiss Army knife for outdoor dining connoisseurs.

Best for an Ergonomic Wooden Handle

The Victorinox Swiss Army EvoWood 14 has a beautifully crafted walnut handle with ergonomic scales. Combined, they give the pocket knife a classic look, which will develop a nice patina as it ages.

This particular EvoWood variant of the knife has 12 built-in tools, headlined by a 2.5-inch blade. More versions of the pocket knife are also available, including a compact option with fewer features and a lower price tag.

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