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Opinel knives have become an iconic pocket knife, almost as well known as the Swiss Army Knife. The Opinel range of pocket knives has a distinctive, unmistakable design that makes it easily recognizable. What makes these knives so popular, and why are they so cheap?
Opinel pocket knives are popular because of their simple, practical, and useful design. The knives are made with quality materials, but the manufacturing processes are kept simple to keep the costs low. The knives come in a range of sizes, offering versatility and affordability!
Most people are suspicious of a product sold at a lower price than similar products on the market. The concern is that it is a substandard product, which is reflected by the price, but this is not always the case, and Opinel knives are a prime example of the exception to the rule.
If you are interested in checking out the best Opinel pocket knife, we recommend knife No. 8. You can find this knife by clicking here (Amazon link).
What Makes Opinal Knives Popular And Affordable?
Anyone interested in knives has heard of the Opinel brand or the knives the company produces. Opinle began producing pocket knives, which is how the brand grew in popularity, but they have progressed to making many other bladed tools for the kitchen and garden.
The popularity of the Opinle knives, however, is due to the range of pocket knives produced by the company. The unique design of the knife and the styling of the handle make it instantly recognizable to most people with a keen interest in knives.
As we look more closely at these knives, it will become apparent why they have become popular among knife owners and how the company manages to keep its product affordable when the prices of other knives continually increase.
Where Are Opinel Knives Made?
Opinle knives were developed in 1890 by a young French entrepreneur Joseph Opinel. Opinel spent several years perfecting the knife’s design to produce a practical, simple, effective pocket knife.
Joseph Opinel’s motivation was to produce a knife that could be easily manufactured using modern tools and produced using a repeatable pattern to create consistent quality and affordability.
His father gave him a corner of his workshop to use to perfect his design but was skeptical of his son’s ambition to produce such a knife. Little did he know how iconic the design would become!
Opinle knives are still produced in France, sourcing local steel for the blade and wood for the knife handle.
In 1950, Joseph Opinel’s son, Marcel, added a new design feature to the knife. A locking ring was added, which allows the blade to be locked in the open or closed position. This was a critical safety advancement in the knife’s design.
Initially, the locking mechanism was only introduced on a few models, but all models produced since 2000 feature this safety mechanism.
TIP: Due to the varied uses of pocket knives, what steel is the best choice for these versatile knives? Check out the complete comparison in the article below:
Pocket Knives Blade Steel: The Best One & How To Choose
What Makes Opinel Knives Popular?
Several aspects of the Opinel range of pocket knives contribute to the longevity of the popularity of this knife design.
- Simplicity. The simplicity of the build and manufacturing of the knife makes it a work of art. Very little can go wrong with the knife because of its simplicity.
- Ease of use. The knife is basic and easy to use. It is a no-nonsense EDC tool that is robust and ready for use at a moment’s notice.
- Practical design. The knife is designed for practicality rather than beauty, but the design has achieved beauty in its simplicity and practicality.
- Comfortable to use. The shaped handle fits nicely into your hand and feels comfortable to use in a range of positions.
- Range of sizes. The Opinel pocket knives come in a range of sizes, making them suitable for many hand sizes and a variety of tasks.
The usability and simplicity of these knives, combined with the quality materials used in manufacturing these pocket knives, have contributed to their lasting popularity.
What Makes Opinel Knives So Affordable?
The Opinel company is dedicated to creating a working man’s knife. They have kept the design simple, the materials basic but high quality, and the manufacturing process as low as possible.
These knives are very affordable but are not your typical cheap knife. They are durable, well made, easy to use and sharpen, and will last a lifetime if cared for properly.
The price is difficult to beat in other knife brands of similar size and workmanship.
TIP: Lubricating your pocket knife can add years to its lifetime. Find out the step-by-step guide on lubricating pocket knives in the article below:
Lubricating a Pocket Knife in Three Steps: Can You Use WD-40?
How Many Opinel Models Are Available?
There are ten sizes of Opinel knives available, ranging from the No. 2, the smallest pocket knife, to the No. 12, the largest model produced.
The following summarizes the pocket knives available by size (Amazon links).
|Opinel Knife Model||Blade Size||Handle Size|
|Opinel No. 2||1.36 inches / 3.5cm||1.86 inches / 4.7cm|
|Opinel No. 3||1.57 inches / 4cm||2.20 inches / 5.6cm|
|Opinel No. 4||2 inches / 5.08cm||2.68 inches / 6.8cm|
|Opinel No. 5||2.36 inches / 6cm||3.14 inches / 7.9cm|
|Opinel No. 6||2.87 inches / 7.3cm||3.63 inches / 9.2cm|
|Opinel No. 7||3.07 inches / 7.8cm||3.93 inches / 10cm|
|Opinel No. 8||3.28 inches / 8.3cm||4.31 inches / 10.9cm|
|Opinel No. 9||3.51 inches / 8.9cm||4.67 inches / 11.7cm|
|Opinel No. 10||3.92 inches / 9.9cm||5.08 inches / 12.9cm|
|Opinel No. 12||4.82 inches / 12.2cm||6.22 inches / 15.8cm|
Are Opinel Knives Any Good?
Opinel knives are an excellent balance of simplicity and quality, proving that good knives do not need to be expensive.
The blades come in a carbon-steel or a stainless-steel version, but both are quality steel products with excellent performance.
I prefer the carbon-steel option, but that is a personal choice rather than the carbon-steel being higher quality than the stainless-steel version.
TIP: Opinel No. 8 is one of the best alternatives for classic Swiss army pocket knives. Check out the other alternatives in the article below:
Best Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Alternatives You Should Try
What Is The Most Popular Opinel Knife?
The most popular version of the Opinel pocket knife is the No. 8, which is the perfect size to keep in your pocket as an every-day-carry or EDC knife, with a blade size versatile enough for most tasks.
The No. 8 model is the crossover model between the smaller knives in the series and the larger ones from No. 9 and upwards.
Your preference may differ depending on your hand size and what you need the knife for, but for most people, the No. 8 fits very nicely, and the blade size is handy.
Opinel pocket knives are simple but well-made and durable. Their affordability puts them well within reach of most people’s budgets, offering a quality EDC knife at a reasonable price.
The Opinel pocket knives are highly recommended, and you cannot go wrong by having one of these knives in your pocket at all times.
TIP: The best method to sharpen your pocket knife is with dedicated workbench-top tools to put a fine-tuned edge on the blade. Check out the best methods in the article below:
6 Best Ways: Sharpening A Pocket Knife With & Without Stone