Fixed Blades vs. Folding Blades

Fixed Blades vs. Folding Blades

Posted by Clayton on Jun 15th 2023

Knives have become tools with a wide variety available, depending on your individual tastes. When buying a knife, you have to take into consideration the blade length, tang, blade material, and many other variables. One of the most debated aspects of knives is whether you should get a fixed blade or a folding blade knife. The debate over fixed blades and folding blades has been around for decades. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Fixed Blade Advantages

Fixed blade knives have a blade that extends into the handle of the knife. The blade can be either full tang or partial tang, meaning that the blade can either extend the entire length of the handle or partially into the handle. Typically, full tang knives are stronger and more durable than partial tang knives. Regardless of the tang, fixed blade knives are inherently stronger and more durable than folding blade knives. The fact that the blade is firmly anchored in the handle allows fixed blades to be used to address many situations that folding blades could not.

The superior strength of fixed blades is advantageous in many situations. For example, hunters typically use fixed blades because their strength allows them to break through a deer’s pelvic bone. Something like that could simply not be done effectively with a folding blade. Fixed blades are also much easier to clean and maintain than folding blades. The lifespan of fixed blades is typically longer as a result of their durability and easy maintenance, allowing them to be used for years without the need of a replacement.

Fixed Blade Disadvantages

Not all tasks need the strength and durability of a fixed blade. In some situations, the size and weight of the blade may be a disadvantage if the same tasks could be accomplished with a more convenient folding blade. Fixed blades lack the portability and ease of carry that folding blades have. Fixed blades cannot be stowed away as conveniently and may be open to the elements more often than a folding blade. These are not deal breaking disadvantages, by any means, but they are something to be aware of when purchasing a knife.

Folding Blade

The fact that folding blades are not anchored in the handle of the knife results in a less durable blade. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of the folding blade. However, the folding blade is not typically used in the same situations as a fixed blade. Whereas a fixed blade is used for hunting or camping, the folding blade is suitable for everyday use. The fact that the blade folds into the handle makes them much more convenient and safer to carry around. Additionally, some folding blades have locking mechanisms that make them quite durable and suitable for use in situations where a fixed blade is typically used.

There are also various types of folding blade knives, including:

  • Lockback - A lockback knife is a type of folding knife that requires two hands to close. There is a mechanism that needs to be pushed on the top of the knife handle so that the blade can be pushed closed. Lockback knives provide lock open
  • Liner lock - Liner lock knives are able to be opened and closed with one hand. As with the lockback, liner lock knives allow for lock open These knives are suitable for activities where you might only have one hand available, such as climbing.
  • Pocket knives - Most pocket knives do not lock open or provide lock open Pocket knives are typically kept as a utility tool. They may meet the needs of various everyday situations, such as opening boxes. Additionally, pocket knives often have more features than just the blade, allowing them to be used in a number of ways.

Overall, folding blade knives are very useful tools. They fulfill a variety of needs very well, and are more convenient and easier to carry.

Final Thoughts

The differences between fixed blades and folding blades are important to know when considering which knife to buy. Fixed blades are typically stronger and more durable. They can take abuse and still function as they should. Fixed blades are also usually easier to maintain.

Folding blades add convenience and safety to the knife. It is much more convenient to use a folding blade for everyday carrying. Some folding blades even have robust locking mechanisms suitable enough for the rough use for which most users employ fixed blades. Ultimately, the decision regarding which knife to buy comes down to what the knife will be used for and personal preference.