Best Opinel knife

Gear

Opinel knives were originally considered a shepherd’s knife and used by sheepherders in the French Alps.

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Which Opinel kniFE IS best?

Pocket knives are one of those items that will forever be useful. There’s a reason the basic principle has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Opinel knives are one of the most classic knives out there, and with good reason. Their high-quality design ensures that these knives have stayed a classic for 130 years. The top pick for the best Opinel knife is the Opinel No. 8 Carbon Blade Folding Knife, a classic multi-use folding pocket knife made of strong, long-lasting carbon steel. 

What to know before you buy an Opinel knife

History

Opinel knives were first designed in 1890 by Joseph Opinel in the French Alps. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Opinel wanted to create a knife manufactured and refined using modern technology. The first knife size in the line was the Opinel No. 8, the original size designed by Opinel. The blades have become an icon of French culture and design. Pablo Picasso was rumored to sculpt with an Opinel knife. The company is still going strong today and the knives remain as popular as ever, with countless models and options from pocket knives to kitchen knives to even more specific styles available to consumers.

Uses

There are seemingly endless pocket knives to choose from, many with high-tech features and multiple blades. But a solid, high-quality knife doesn’t need to have bottle openers and nail files to be valuable. A good blade can be used for many functions, from food preparation to sculpting to letter opening to wilderness survival. Many people use their Opinel knives as everyday knives, meaning they see plenty of action and wear many hats. 

What to look for in a quality Opinel knife

Metal

Opinel knives come in carbon steel and stainless steel. Carbon steel holds a sharper blade for longer due to its high carbon content but needs to be cleaned and oiled regularly as it’s vulnerable to rust. Stainless steel is highly resistant to rust and corrosion but doesn’t hold nearly as sharp of a blade as carbon steel. Choose the steel that most suits your lifestyle and knife use.

Wood

The original Opinel handle uses beechwood, which is a handsome-looking material. But Opinel knife handles are made in many custom materials, from more exotic woods like olive, oak and walnut to other materials like horn and bone. Be warned, these materials come at a higher cost than the traditional beechwood handle and might require special care. 

Size

Opinel knives come in many sizes. The original model, the No. 8, clocks in at a blade length of 3.28 inches. Standard blade lengths vary from a petite 1.5 inches to 4.82 inches for pocket knives. Opinel also makes specialty knives that come in a variety of sizes depending on their intended use. The user’s lifestyle and needs may sync better with one knife size than another, so pay attention to what you need.

How much you can expect to spend on an Opinel knife

Opinel knives are very affordable, especially compared to some of the high-tech, feature-heavy knife options out there. The standard Opinel knife is just under $20, though options with different materials for the handle can increase the price to upwards of $40. Smaller blades are cheaper, down to $10.

Opinel knife FAQ

Is it legal to carry a knife? 

A. It depends on your location. Different countries, states, counties and municipalities have different laws regarding the carrying of weapons, so what’s legal in one place might get you in hot water elsewhere. Be sure to check the laws where you live before you purchase any blades.

How do I care for my Opinel knife?

A. Knives, particularly carbon steel, require regular care to avoid rust and keep them sharp and shiny. After using your knife, before folding it back up again, carefully wash and wipe it down to make sure it’s dry. Occasionally oiling the blade with mineral oil can also go a long way here. Use an oil that won’t go bad but won’t injure you if ingested, particularly if you ever use your knife for food prep.

What ARE THE best Opinel kniVeS to buy?

Top Opinel knife

Opinel No. 8 Carbon Blade Folding Knife

Opinel No. 8 Carbon Blade Folding Knife

What you need to know: The classic Opinel knife has a quality, generous blade size at an affordable price. 

What you’ll love: The carbon steel blade will stay strong and sharp with proper care, and the beechwood handle will wear nicely. This is just the right size for a daily use knife.

What you should consider: The carbon steel blade will require extra care to keep it from rusting. Some reviewers also found the blade too long for everyday use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Opinel knife for the money

Opinel No 4. Carbon Steel Folding Knife

Opinel No 4. Carbon Steel Folding Knife

What you need to know: These smaller blades come at a lower price point without sacrificing quality.

What you’ll love: The tiny size makes them easy to carry around and suitable for delicate work. They’re a super affordable option for those who want a smaller knife.

What you should consider: The blade may be too small for those who want to use the knife for more substantial tasks. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Opinel No. 9 Luxury Wood Folding Knife

Opinel No. 9 Luxury Wood Folding Knife

What you need to know: These Opinel knives have handles made of luxury wood instead of the standard beechwood. 

What you’ll love: The beautiful, luxury wood options here include olive, oak and walnut, and lend a warm patina to the knife. They may be more durable than the beechwood handle.

What you should consider: The high-quality wood comes at a slightly higher price than the standard knife.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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