I’ve been keeping an eye on the Kershaw Leek folding pocket knife, and it’s on sale again, this time for $32.02.
You should buy one.
At this point, you might have one of three most likely reactions. Some of you might say 1) “yep, got one and I love/like/hate it, and if so, please chime in! Or, 2) “Never!” Maybe not, those of you in the never camp probably skipped this post entirely. Then there’s the biggest group, saying 3) “I’m listening…”
There’s also some of you saying “you’ve hurt my wallet enough this week!” To you, I say: look away! Absolutely do not follow this link and refrain from becoming a new knife owner.
The Kershaw Leek was my gateway knife, and it might be yours too. Or, you could stop here – the Leek checks a lot of boxes and might be the only non-utility knife you ever need.
(For a closer look at the Kershaw Leek pocket knife, check out my review here.)
Here’s a summary of why you should buy one:
- Useful blade shape, sharp out of the box
- Very compact and pocketable
- Fast opening (assisted opening)
- Great quality
- Modest aesthetics
Why shouldn’t you buy one? This is a smaller knife, and the assisted opening mechanism won’t be for everyone.
Do you even think you need a pocket knife? Honestly, figure that out first. Where are you on the fence? If you’re just shy of 50:50 yay to nay, I’d say skip this deal. Tell me what you might be looking for, and that will help me set the order for 2021 testing and reviews.
For those of you thinking “this might be my first real knife,” as opposed to a multi-tool knife blade, utility knife, or whatever you can get at the home center for $10, I do have one warning for you. This is a very versatile and well-made knife, and you’ll probably love it. But…
One day you might change your mind. I still have my Kershaw Leeks, and a more recent teal-handled Leek too. I use them on occasion, but I’ve also graduated from them. It’s a great knife, but after a while it started me down a path as I learned more about my preferences. Once you change your mind, and start looking for your next knife, that’s when things start to get expensive.
This is a great knife, but at this point it’s not the best knife for me. It took buying and owning this knife, and its partially serrated blade family member, before I started to figure out my preferences.
Why might the Leek be *the one* for you to start out with? It’s useful, reliable, and I like that it’s made in the USA. It also helps that it has a modest appearance. There are other decent knives in the $30 to $40 price range, but this still remains my favorite. It’s a good “budget buy” that hasn’t let me down.
Even if you went a different path for your pocket knife or knives, I love the Leek’s blade shape. As mentioned, I still use mine, and with great results.
If you don’t want an assisted opening mechanism, you will usually need to spend more for a manual opener that works as smoothly. The Leek also has a safety lock for keeping it closed when you don’t want any chance of an accidental opening.
This is a good deal right now.
Regular Pricing: ~$44
Sale Price: ~$32
Reminder: you are responsible for knowing your local knife laws before buying or carrying any pocket knife. Here’s a good resource to start with. Assisted opening knives are sometimes mis-categorized and misinterpreted. When in doubt, full-manual knives are the safer choice.
How does a knife work for those who EDC it?
I have a leatherman on my hip and I just don’t see the “use case” for adding something like this as another item to have on my person.
Do you carry both? Abuse the knife as a screwdriver? Mainly open boxes?
(I feel I’ve asked this before, but I just don’t “get” what it gives you beyond a multitool even if it IS a much better blade.)
A knife takes up less pocket real estate and weighs less than a multitool most of the time. People outside of certain trades or industries don’t want multitool pouches on their belts. Most people I interact with that use hand tools prefer regular pliers or screwdrivers over the multitool version, like preferring individual screwdrivers over multi-bit drivers.
Essentially much better blade and faster deployment. I used to carry both a leatherman wave and an EDC blade. The blade is much easier to sharpen. Faster to deploy. Better ergonomically for most cutting tasks. I actually got to the point where I would have gladly given up the blade on my wave in place of more/better tools like really good scissors or a better screwdriver.
Also, the cost of something like this is much lower than a high-end multi-tool. If your worried about really good blade steel you don’t have many low-cost options in multi-tools. If you take the blade out of the equation a lot more options open up. Heck, even the low-end Leathermans are getting pricy.
As for the Leak specifically. I think it’s a great knife for no knife people. It’s slim, feels good in the hand, and opens very easily. I’ve given away several as gifts, but never actually carried on myself. I’ve always been drawn to different designs.
I EDC a kershaw knife, a pen size flashlight, and a gerber suspension nxt and a leatherman wave+.
You may think that’s a lot. But as a LTL truck driver I find myself using a good knife and good multitool every single day. I prefer kershaw knifes, and leatherman tools. However I have a rather large smattering of EDC tools. Mostly because they wear out/ break. So while I take full advantage of the warranties from said companies, I still need tools and knifes in the meantime.
The only tool I can’t seem to find a quality version of is a pen light for under $20.
Streamlight Stylus Pro? There are occasional deals. https://toolguyd.com/brand/streamlight
I’d like to hold one in my hands before I buy one. So I tend to buy in store vs online. I’m picky that way. But thank you for the recommendation.
Have carried mine every day for almost 10 years. Always expected the fine tip to break but never has.
I carry a Leatherman Wave in my other pocket as well. I do not use the plain-edge blade on the Wave much nor do I keep it that sharp after a bad cut on my thumb received when the Wave fell through my grasp. I use that as my “probably should use something other than a knife blade for this” knife blade — like cleaning corrosion off of battery terminals.
Some people carry both, other times it’s one or the other.
I moved up to a pocket knife when I realized that I was carrying a larger multi-tool sometimes just for the knife.
I like to recommend the Leek because it’s an excellent and affordable model to test the waters with.
I EDC a Leatherman Charge+ TTI, Benchmade Griptilian 551-1, ZebraLight SC600w Mk II L2, FourSevens Quark Pro QPLC Gen 2, and Springfield Armory XD-S 3.3″ 9mm along with keys and various other small items.
I don’t know why, but it’s nice to have both a multitool and a regular knife. The knife comes out for cutting tasks and the multitool comes out for non-cutting tasks.
I like a fixed blade edc and a wave for whatever else. Bark River all the way
I would also recommend the Bradford Guardian – https://toolguyd.com/bradford-guardian3-fixed-blade-knife-review/
ease of carry. I mean to your question no it’s not as all around useful but there are times I either can’t or don’t want to carry a multi-tool on me.
This will sound odd at first. but depends on the multitool. I have a leatherman wave 2 and a skeletool and usually I carry the skeletool depending on where I am and the pants I’m wearing. Bear in mind that also determines my firearm choice of the day too.
But there are times when I know it’s fairly doubtful I will need pliers, screw driver, etc of a multitool but I might need a knife. This is 80% of my going to the office work days. to that I will sometime trade the skeletool for a basic knife.
If I was to buy a basic knife today this is one I would consider.
Still my favorite edc
I have several knives and this is my go-to everyday carry. It is thin and light and I keep it clipped on the corner of my front pocket. I can easily remove my minimalist leather wallet without knocking the knife out. The blade is thin, but long enough to carve an apple into wedges. The quick access allows me to open packages with ease. This is actually my second one since my wife used it to open a bottle of muriatic acid for the pool. It discolored the matte finish. I sent it in and had it replaced. On the weekends I usually carry a more durable heavier knife that I can beat the hell out of keeping my Leek pristine for weekday carry.
Another knife that Amazon will not ship to my primary residence – I guess because it is assisted opening. Barring COVID – we might have been in Florida for Christmas – so I might have considered some as stocking stuffers – pity.
I used to carry a leek. Personally, I hate them now.
The lock is a joke, totally inconvenient and something you will never use.
Without the lock, the knife has the occasional tendency to deploy while still in your pocket. I’ve personally had a few pockets ruined and had a small cut from this.
The quality of the knife is good for $32, but the spring assist paired with useless lock ruins it for me.
first time I’ve heard of a Kershaw lock not working. I edc a Kershaw Whirlwind – same assisted opening and liner lock design.
I mostly agree. I find the lock works fine for keeping the blade closed, but that defeats the purpose of having a quick opening knife. I tried carrying it for a short time with the lock off, but one time coming open in my pocket & nearly stabbing my thigh was enough for me. I like the knife, but it’s been relegated to my “dress up” knife instead of EDC.
I like my Leek, and having used it for a year now, want to stay at that same level of capability/flashiness/price-point, but I find myself really wanting an extra inch of blade. What’s the 4″ Leek equivalent? (In the sense of moral equivalent; I’m not too concerned about manufacturer or CoO.)
The Leek is the largest Onion-designed knife of this series.
There aren’t many 4″ options, but there are plenty of ~3.75″ and similar. Look for Wharncliffe blade shape knives.
For ~$60, there’s the Stedemon ZKC CO2 “reverse tanto”.
CRKT Apoc: $57
Civivi Brigand: $59.50 – looks too tactical/tacticool for my preferences
Spyderco Endura Wharncliffe – via Amazon, via KnivesShipFree
Perhaps the Civivi Baklash would be right for you. I have one incoming and it gets overwhelmingly positive reviews.
I got mine yesterday – ordered from Amazon at comparable pricing. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CR8XNJ1/?tag=toolguyd-20
The blade shape is completely different though; it’s more of a standard drop point blade compared to the Leek’s Wharncliffe-like style.
That’s very true! I thought the virtue of them both being excellent slicers and the sharp tips may be close enough, but that’s for ToolGuyDan to decide. I think BladeHQ had the better included goodies, like a keychain tool and tag, a titanium pen, and sticker, but sadly I only found the Baklash after many of these were sold out. The sticker is finding a home with me, though. The shipping is definitely slower, though.
I love BladeHQ, but was taking into account their free shipping threshold of $99+.
I also considered the blade shape to be a constraint, otherwise there are too many other options.
I think this speaks to exactly the problem that I’m experiencing: because I’m not a “prosumer” in this space—let alone an expert—not only do I not know what I want, I don’t even know what it is that I like about what I do like. Maybe it’s best to treat this like when one first starts dating: try lots of combinations until you start to notice a pattern in what you like. Thank you for being my Shadchan; I’ll go invite a few of your recommendations out to Applebee’s and report back. 🤣
A few options aren’t a bad idea. I believe Stuart would agree that it makes sense to sample, and both Kershaw and Civivi are strong contenders in the budget category. BladeHQ is offering free shipping currently, and some promotions with several knives and brands. I’d set a budget, and see what catches your eye! Hope this helps!
That’s the part that gets expensive.
You could always create a competition bracket-type chart and narrow down a group of options to just one.
You need some criteria.
BladeHQ has a great filter where you can narrow down the styles, brands, properties of knives you want to browse through.
OR, start one one offering in the $35 price range.
I started with the Leek. Then a Benchmade mini Griptilian. Then a Spyderco Delica. And from there… oh boy.
YES, it makes sense to sample, but the options are too broad to try different things at once. It’s best to start with one knife, maybe two, and then see where things go with a few weeks or months of use.
The Leek variants with colored handles and serrated blades cost quite a bit more on the linked Amazon page.
I have the serrated model and it’s incredibly sharp. It’s small which makes it great for carry and light use.
Most Kershaw knives I’ve purchased appear to have grinder grooves on the blade from factory but are sharp as a razor. How can this be?
Most knives will have grinder marks on the cutting edge, as it takes considerable work to go from a ground-sharp blade to a mirror polish and without proportional benefits for the added expense.
Consider brushed metal – if the scratches are fine enough, you won’t be able to feel them and the surface will be perceived as smooth.
The Leek was certainly my gateway knife. With a little practice I could unlock it with my pinky while pulling it out of my pocket. Definitely an extra step to re-lock it when putting it away, but I like the peace of mind.
I hate the look of pulling out some hyper-aggressive knife, especially to cut mundane things. The Leek (along with a few other Kershaws and several Civivi knives) are really high quality knives that don’t take up much pocket room and can constantly be found under $50.
I don’t have the Leek but I do have the Kershaw Skyline and love it. Even if you’re a knife snob (like me) don’t sleep on Kershaw. Really good stuff and a ton of value.
Just Bought It.
I’m not a huge knife guy, but this is my favorite knife I’ve ever owned. Found out about it on here last sale, bought 2 more for gifts.
I edc a Kershaw Whirlwind – I wanted the textured scales not the smooth design of the Leek. I use it every day – mostly opening boxes or breaking them down. The first week or so I slowly practiced opening and closing it one handed, built up calluses on my thumb and index finger, now I don’t even look at it opening and closing. I liked it enough I bought two spares when they went on sale.
I’m a big fan of Kershaw, but not a big fan of slippery metal scales.
Not a fan.
Like Robert Adkins writes above the knife is beyond slick. And that helps in EDC how? Also, I cannot see an efficiency to the tip / blade shape unless you’re into harpooning pieces of printer paper. With a better finish and a more usable blade you’d have a Skyline 1760, spend a few more bucks and you will.