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Fixed blade knives have been around for longer than any other type of knife for good reason. There are many advantages to fixed blade knives, most of them practical, but there are also some disadvantages in some circumstances. We will investigate the advantages and disadvantages of fixed blade knives so you can decide if one of these knives meets your requirements.
Fixed blade knives are durable, robust, and reliable, making them suitable for outdoor and rough work and heavy-duty tasks. There are some distinct disadvantages to fixed blade knives, mostly regarding legal issues, social acceptability, and practicality for certain tasks.
Fixed blade knives are popular among knife users because, in certain situations, a fixed blade provides superior performance compared to folding knives. If you are deciding between a fixed blade and a folding blade, check out our pros and cons of a fixed blade before you make your decision.
If you are interested in checking out the best fixed blade EDC knife we recommend trying Ka-Bar Becker BK2 made be well-known KA-BAR Knives in NY, USA. You can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
What Are Fixed Blade Knives Used For?
The fixed blade knife design is as old as the first knife ever made. In the early days of human knife use, fixed blades were the only option.
This history means that fixed blade knives have many uses and have become an integral part of our daily lives.
A fixed blade knife is typically where the blade extends into the knife’s handle, and the blade has no folding mechanism to fold it into the handle. In a full tang fixed blade knife, the steel from the blade extends all the way through the handle, and the handle material is fixed to either side of the tang.
Hidden tang fixed blade knives are where the tang of the knife only extends partially through the handle, and the handle is usually a single piece of solid material.
Whether hidden tang or full tang, fixed blade knives are used every day in some way or another. The following are some ways we use fixed blade knives.
- Kitchen knives. All kitchen knives are fixed blade knives because of their stability and durability.
- Hunting. Fixed blades are robust and have a good size blade for processing game on a hunt.
- Fishing. Processing fish is easier with a fixed blade due to the blade length.
- Survival. Reliability is important in a survival knife, which is why fixed blades are preferred for this application.
- Combat. Soldiers carry fixed blade knives because of their durability and reliability, especially for hand-to-hand combat.
- Scuba diving. Their always ready-to-use characteristic means that a fixed blade is preferred by scuba divers who cannot fumble with a folding knife in an emergency.
- Camping. Fixed blade knives make a useful tool in any camping situation, with the larger blade being more useful than folding knives with smaller blades.
These are just a handful of the main uses we have for fixed blade knives, and I am sure you can add some more uses of your own to the list!
TIP: Many knife owners are unsure about knife sharpening, which causes them to leave knives longer than they should before sharpening. Check out why it is important to sharpen a knife before use in the article below:
4 Reasons Why It Is Important To Sharpen A Knife Before Use
Are Fixed Blade Knives Better?
Fixed knives and folding knives both have their usefulness in different circumstances. This makes answering the question about which is better very subjective, depending on the reason you need the knife.
Fixed blades are better for situations and circumstances where a larger, more durable, and robust blade is required.
Fixed blades are better in situations where twisting or prying motions are required due to their more robust construction, especially between the blade and handle.
Are Fixed Blades Better Than Folding Knives?
Fixed knives are better than folding blades in situations where a knife must be open and ready for use at a moment’s notice.
As soon as a fixed blade is retrieved from the sheath, it is ready for use, unlike a folding knife where the blade must first be opened.
The folding mechanism of a folding knife is the weak point of these types of knives. The folding mechanism can fail, become clogged with dirt and debris, and requires maintenance to function optimally.
Folding knives have advantages over fixed blade knives, mostly in that they are easier to carry, are more socially acceptable, and in some cases, are not limited by legal constraints. However, a fixed blade knife is the better choice, where durability and reliability are important.
TIP: Carbon steel and stainless steel are common steels used to manufacture knives and other cutting tools. Check out the main differences between these two steels in the article below:
Stainless Vs. Carbon Steel Knives: 12 Differences & Best One
Pros Of A Fixed Blade Knives
Fixed blade knives have several benefits and characteristics that make them popular for many tasks and activities.
- Durability. Because of the way fixed blade knives are constructed, they are more durable than most other knives. The steel used in the blade is generally thicker than that used in folding knives.
- Stronger. Fixed blade knives have more robust construction than folding knives, making them more suitable for rough work than their folding counterparts.
- Easy to sharpen. A knife with a fixed blade is easy to sharpen because of the larger size of the blade.
- Larger blades. Larger blades are beneficial for many outdoor and rugged tasks, increasing the knife’s versatility in these circumstances.
- Last longer. The durability of fixed blade knives means they have a longer lifespan than folding knives. A well-maintained fixed blade knife can last a lifetime!
- No moving parts. Since a fixed blade knife has no moving parts, there are no mechanisms that can cause a problem or fail when the knife is needed most. This characteristic increases the reliability of fixed blade knives over folding knives.
- Safer to use. Larger knives are safer to use for larger tasks. There is less likelihood of the knife slipping or losing your grip at a crucial moment. A fixed blade will not accidentally close on your fingers, as some folding knife designs are prone to do.
- Easier to deploy. A fixed blade knife is ready to use immediately after it is taken out of its protective sheath. You do not need to waste additional time trying to open the blade.
TIP: If you are interested in checking out the best fixed blade EDC knife we recommend trying Ka-Bar Becker BK2 made be well-known KA-BAR Knives in NY, USA. You can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Cons Of A Fixed Blade Knives
As with any knife, fixed blade knives have some disadvantages, which make them unsuitable in certain circumstances.
Some of the disadvantages of fixed blade knives are the main reason that these knives are not always used for everyday carry or EDC.
The main disadvantages of fixed blade knives include the following.
- Difficult to carry. Fixed blade knives are large and must be carried in a sheath fixed to your belt. They cannot be carried comfortably in a pocket the same way that folding knives can be carried.
- Legal issues. There are legal implications for carrying a fixed blade knife in certain locations. Certain jurisdictions limit the length of fixed blade knives that can be carried and whether they can be concealed on your person or not.
- The blade can be too big for smaller tasks. Fixed blade knives are typically larger knives and may not be suitable for certain fine or delicate tasks.
- Less socially acceptable. Certain buildings or establishments will not allow you to walk in with a fixed blade knife on your hip, but the same places generally do not have a problem with a folding knife in your pocket.
- Weight. Fixed blade knives are usually heavy, making them cumbersome for EDC
- A damaged blade cannot be replaced. If a folding knife blade is damaged, it can be replaced with a new blade. This option is not available on a fixed blade knife.
- Cost. Fixed blade knives are typically more expensive to purchase than folding knives.
- Safety. Due to a fixed blade always being in the “out” position, it is easier for accidents to happen when the knife is carried or handled by children or inexperienced people.
BTW: If you are interested in buying the best cutting board, you can find our recommendations below:
- The best overall: Virginia Kitchen Boys Cutting Board (Amazon link). This fantastic cutting board is made from sustainable walnut wood from the United States and brings almost perfect safety when cutting with your knives.
- Alternative: Yoshihiro Cutting Board (Amazon link). Professional traditional Japanese cutting board that chefs around the world use.
- Cheaper option: Shun Cultery Cutting Board (Amazon link). Another Japanese cutting board stands out, especially for its simplicity and affordable price.
Fixed blade knives are useful, and for certain tasks, there is no replacement for a good quality fixed blade. However, fixed blades are not appropriate for all situations and carry conditions and have some disadvantages in this regard.
Most knife owners prefer to have both fixed blade and folding knives available and use the appropriate knife that the circumstance demands. Of course, this is also the excuse that knife owners use to justify their knife collection!
TIP: A lanyard on a knife can benefit safety, grip, accessibility, and storage and prevent you from losing your knife. Find out explanation why is good to use a lanyard on a knife in the article below:
5 Reasons Why To Use Lanyard On Your Knife & How To Use It