Swiss Army Knife. The Ultimate Guide

swiss army knives
The legendary Swiss army knife… As long as I’ve known myself, this pocket knife was always at arm’s end. You probably think there is nothing special aboutit. I wouldn’t even say that it is an eye candy, too. But the fact remains – it’s always there: in a glove compartment, a jacket, a pouch bag or a backpack. The thing you realize in time – we actually rarely notice the most essential tools in our everyday life. Same goes with the old good Victorinox. It is budget, high-quality, useful, you should have one and there is about a million other things I want to say about this knife. But first, let’s draw the line between this blade and other EDC knives we are well familiar with.

Definition

Victorinox Spartan
Victorinox Spartan

A peculiar thing I notice about Victorinox army knives: people sometimes call them multi-tool blades. And they are right. Well, almost right. Truly, the earliest contemporary examples of multi-tools were supplied by Victorinox and Wenger. Although, later on Tim Leatherman presented his first folding Pocket Survival Tool with pliers and stuff. Since then, the term ‘multi-tool’ shifted from a classic Swiss army knife to the goods produced by Oregon Company. The overall aesthetics of a Victorinox pocket blade indicates that it is a Knife first of all (not a bunch of attached metal objects). Hence, the title remains – Swiss army knife.

The benefits

Now you definitely think, why would I talk and talk about the definitions and all that boring stuff and never get to the good part?! Glad you asked. You see,Swiss army knife knowing the definition bears the understanding of matter. And by that, I mean the benefits of having a blade like this (with all the tools). Now you think why would I want a pocket knife with so many functions and not even the pliers? For that I’d rather advice you buy a pair of pliers and a good Swiss blade. Don’t ask why. Just hold a while, take a deep breath and move on to the interesting part of the review.

There are many reasons for owning an original Victorinox. First of all – you don’t see that many knives with a toothpick and tweezers. Actually – there are none. Well, except for numerous china replicas. But, trust me, you don’t want a knife fail on you during some emergency. Let alone an ugly Victorinox knockoff like that. Secondly, every Swiss knife has a blade, sharp as hell and cutting even when dull. I’ve been using my SD model for years, opening boxes, cutting cardboard, carving wood. Heck, I don’t recall honing it ever once. The rest of the tools vary, depending on what model you prefer most. And we’ll talk about it later.

Victorinox Spartan
Victorinox Spartan

Another nail in the coffin of the cool and funky EDC knives is the blade material. Million times, I have praised those expensive steel grades. Obviously with,

for example, S30V you get a superior cut and edge retention. It is, however, the basic Sandvik, 8Cr13MoV or carbon blades that I just love working with. Besides, a premium grade is always a chore to sharpen. When in Rome, do as Romans do. So you can’t just go, take a ceramic rod and hone a knife like Spyderco Manix. You need at least a Spyderco Triangle. And that is just another 100 bucks in the sack. You get the idea. With Sandvik on Victorinox it is always a pleasure to sharpen and maintain the blade. And for daily chores it is more than enough. Not that you need a freaking Kryptonite blade to cut a letter open.

Victorinox Climber
Victorinox Climber

A thing I couldn’t help mentioning is the overall quality. Man, you can doubt Spyderco or Ontario knife quality, but just try and find a failure in a Swiss blade from the box. They are all literary the same. Every time you buy a Swiss army knife, you can forget about the assembly or grind work on the blade. Because they are perfect and will serve for years to come. Speaking of which, I got my first Victorinox Climber from dad. And it was my grandfather, who bought it long ago on some exhibition in London. All in all, the blade has been serving its owners for the whole 3 generations. Nuff said.

The people

I’ve recently been arguing with my friend. He told me, only few people need knives. Yes, people don’t need many EDC blades, but they do need a Swiss army knife. To make things clear, there are hundreds of Victorinox models. Still I consider even the basic ones worthy enough to be in your travel bag or pocket. Whether you are an office worker, an engineer or a tourist – having a tool like that will definitely come in handy. Sooner or later you will have to use a screwdriver, a pair of scissors or basically a knife. And when that time comes, the Swiss army knife will be there to make job done. So when people say, they don’t need knives – that is because they don’t have a Victorinox, yet.

My experience

I’ve been using my Victorinox as one and only EDC blade for a long time. Well, yes, I sometimes through a Spyderco into the pocket. Still the only knife that travels with me constantly everywhere is the Spartan and the SD I bought about 5 years ago. I also owned the 110 mm versions like Nomad and Trailmaster. Size wise they just didn’t work for me (for a bigger blade I can switch to Spyderco Tenacious with a longer cutting edge and one hand opening). So I finally decided to stick to the basic 91 mm (and less) Victorinox knives.

victorinox spartan
victorinox spartan

First of all, Victorinox Spartan has been used as a tool around the house a LOT. What can I say – it is perfect. Screwing the loose bolts, opening wine bottles, prying nails are among the things I did with a little fellow like Spartan. Secondly, the knife works perfectly while camping or kayaking. You don’t have to worry about rust because of the overall stainless construction. Plus, tools like can opener, piercer and corkscrew help out a lot in the wilderness. Same goes with the two blades. The smaller one is used for more precise work like carving or package opening. The bigger blade can deal with the rest. The SD mini Victorinox is always there on the key chain. With the scissors it makes a good addition to a Spartan bigger sized knife.

 

#1.  Victorinox Spartan

You’ve probably guessed already, Victorinox Spartan is my favorite blade of all three. It is compact, dirt cheap, quality made and is a real workhorse. Practically every tool of this knife will find its use and will do the job. Victorinox Spartan has two blades, a piercer, a corkscrew, a bottle and can opener. Which in turn include the flat and Philips head screw drivers. Additionally Swiss Spartan has numerous handle scale variations to choose from. Whether it is classic red, sharp black or military camouflage, you can always pick this top selling Victorinox blade in any color you like.

swiss-army-knife

Victorinox Spartan  >>   Check Price

Here’s a great video Victorinox Spartan Review

Victorinox Spartan  >>   Check Price

 

#2. Victorinox Huntsman

The Huntsman model is a horse of quite a different color. This here chunky blade is a real savior in the wilderness. Compared to the Spartan, Victorinox Huntsman additionally has a saw, a hook and a pair of scissors. Not much, but when it comes to bushcrafting this knife shines at its best. The saw is one of the sharpest you’ll find on the market. It goes through wood like knife through butter, and in about a minute can saw down a 2 inch branch. Originally created for carrying heavy parcels, the hook can also be applied to bending knots. The scissors on the Huntsman are bigger than on the Classic SD model and can easily cut paracord. In general this knife feels like a substantial step from the Spartan model with a design suitable for camping and backpacking. Victorinox Huntsman is available in a number of gloss handle colors. However I’d recommend choosing the Eco-Lite version with scratch resistant sand-paper- like red scales. Looks cool, functions even better.

swiss-army-knife

Victorinox Huntsman  >>   Check Price

Here’s a great video Victorinox Huntsman Review

Victorinox Huntsman  >>   Check Price

#3. Victorinox Bantam

Now it’s Bantam time!!! The dictionary gives the definition of bantam as following: a small and feisty or quarrelsome person. Well, indeed – it is a small and hell of a feisty knife. Being an 84 mm smaller blade than classic Spartan, Victorinox Bantam is the best entry level urban Swiss knife you can think of. It includes only the blade and the opener. But, trust me, there is a lot more you can do with it than cut things and open tin cans. At least I managed to remove cable isolation and level up the tiles with it. And for its price, I guess you won’t find a more useful EDC blade ever.

Swiss army knife

Victorinox Bantam  >>   Check Price

Here’s a great video Victorinox Bantam Review

Victorinox Bantam  >>   Check Price

#4.Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster

It is true when they say “A saw is something the Climber lacks”. Not that a mountaineer needs one, but a compact tooth blade usually comes in handy when less expected. The other day I was walking around mall and came across a specific Victorinox knife model. The day was five years ago and now I can definitely say that Fieldmaster is the ultimate Victorinox folding knife model every scout should have.

Victorinox Fieldmaster is one of numerous 91mm classic models in the company’s catalogue. The knife is compact, lightweight and extremely functional. It surely does not have pliers but 105 grams is something worth trading for. Like the acclaimed Climber model, Fieldmaster is equipped with a pair of blades, a hook, scissors, a bottle and can opener. What makes it distinct and unique is the saw and Philips screwdriver. The latter I used frequently in the city. Plus the overall compact format easily made this Victorinox my everywhere-to-go bag companion. Still a plain screwdriver would never earn the name Fieldmaster for a knife like. A true centerpiece of this Swiss knife and where it really shines is the tooth blade.

The story with all Victorinox saws, either medium or compact ones, is the same. You go into the woods for a walk and leave the usual compact saw in your car. Or you are just tired enough not to go looking into the backpack. You take the swiss blade and that’s where fun begins. To be short, using Fieldmaster saw is a pleasure. It is sharp, firm and keeps edge. And, big surprise, there is no locking mechanism here. The saw just stays in place. The closed tooth blade protrudes at the end so you will have no troubles opening it.

Frankly speaking, sawing 5 to 7 mm branches has never been that easy. So having a knife like that in the wild can help do feather sticking, cutting, filing and finally making fire. Scissors is another cool thing many underestimate when choosing their Victorinox knife. Remember – you won’t find better compact scissors in one bundle with a knife ever. Believe it or not, I switched to Victorinox scissors once I got my first Classic SD knife.

Besides, having uncut nails in a mountain trip can become real bad experience. Additionally these scissors are good at cutting rope like paracord. Now that Victorinox Fieldmaster travelled more than a dozen times backpacking, I can assure you – saw and scissors have never been there just
for kicks.

Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster
Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster

Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster  >>   Check Price

Here’s a great video Victorinox Fieldmaster Review

Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster  >>   Check Price

#5. Victorinox Classic SD

Talking about best key chain knives has never been easy. Not many people actually treat them as useful EDC blades, even less consider buying any at all. However, putting away all the prejudice and our love for big-super- tactical-survival- black-stonewash blades, hands down the best example of a compact EDC knife is Victorinox Classic SD. So let’s have a quick look at what this knife offers for an average price of 15$

A true Swiss knife should have a toothpick and tweezers – and our guest has all the items listed. A knife? Sure it has a tiny blade that cuts like hell and is perfect for opening packages. Forget about rope slicing and wood battoning – leave that to your full size fixed knife. Then there are scissors – a very useful and cool feature not many compact blades can be proud of. Like I mentioned previously – these are the BEST scissors you’ll find on the market, period. Finally, there is a low-grain file. That is if you have to round some rough edges on your nails.

To sum up, Victorinox Classic SD is what a perfect key-chain knife must have. It is cool looking little blade that a baby can handle. What is more important – Victorinox Classic SD is a light and urban friendly knife with a familiar contour. It won’t bother your neighbors or post office workers if you flick it open elsewhere in public. And if you still wonder what can become a bright attachment to an ordinary-grey pile of keys – there you have
it, an all-time Classic Victorinox SD.

 

 

Victorinox Classic SD
Victorinox Classic SD

Victorinox Classic SD  >>   Check Price

Here’s a great video Classic Victorinox SD

Victorinox Classic SD  >>   Check Price

 

#6.Victorinox Deluxe Tinker

Recently we reviewed the acclaimed Victorinox Fieldmaster model. We called it the best multifunctional scout knife your money can buy. However, it is a well known fact that the world of Swiss knives is boundless, so today we talk about another cool blade – the Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker.

Victorinox Tinker, like the traditional Climber model, is a medium-sized (91mm) pocket knife with a similar set of tools. A pair of blades, a hook, a Philips screwdriver, scissors, a bottle and can opener – all that can be found in almost any classic Swiss Army knife. Well, there is also a piercer, a toothpick and tiny tweezers, but again–ordinary tools. What truly puts the model aside from others are the pliers. Not those pliers you notice on Leatherman and bigger Victorinox multi-tools. But the pliers one could easily compare (size-wise) to the scissors. Screwing nuts, picking small objects, even prying nails can become a no-timer with the Victorinox Tinker pliers. In other words, it is a truly irreplaceable tool for detail work.

As you can see, Victorinox Tinker is not the ultimate survival weapon. However, truth be told, at the end of an average office workday, you probably won’t find yourself on the edge of civilization. So take your time and consider Victorinox Tinker as an option for daily commuting tasks.

 

Victorinox Swiss Army Deluxe Tinker
Victorinox Swiss Army Deluxe Tinker

Victorinox Tinker >>   Check Price

Here’s a great video Victorinox Deluxe Tinker

Victorinox Tinker >>   Check Price

Conclusion

With Swiss army knives it has never been the number of tools that defined the awesomeness. No matter what blade length your knife has, whether it has lock or one hand opening, it can be legally carried absolutely in every state and country. It is plain, simple and friendly. The shape and form factor of the Victorinox makes it clear for everyone around – what you have is no tactical blade with gimping and stuff, no panic on board. In a nutshell, if you want a reliable pocket tool for commuting, backpacking or daily chores – there isn’t actually much to think about and look for. Hopefully my review will help you save time and choose the most suitable Swiss army knife for your purposes. Good luck and stay sharp.


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