Folding knives, sometimes referred to as the tool of the 20th Century, are a great investment and can be very handy in almost every situation. Since the day's knives were invented, people have carried them consistently and the same holds true today. A good knife in the modern sense, is a universal product that can be carried easily to give you access to a tool that can be used to help in literally any setting or situation.
The underlying factor for an exceptional "Folding Knife" is to make it safe and easy to carry preventing the risk of cutting someone or something that was not intended. With precaution and safety in mind, folding the blade into a base or handle ensures that the tool is not going to cut anything accidentally until one safely removes and unfolds the blade for use. This simple concept allows you to carry these tools almost anywhere and do so safely.
Most people who carry a knife daily express that "Self-Defense" is the last intended or expected use for this tool. The reality is that these tools come in handy in so many practical ways and conditions, from the great outdoors, in the field, at work or simply at home that users tend to express it in one simple phrase: "Don't leave home without it"! User applications are endless and "Folding Knives" have been voted #1 tool year-after-year by specialists as the ultimate survival tool if you could only pick one.
Many modern folding knives have evolved and tend to consist of additional tools for added safety, benefits and additional advantages. Depending on perception, this actually makes them a multi-tool all their own, but never deviating away from the basic fact of it being a folding knife. An example would be a folding knife (with a serrated blade to cut wood as well), a glass breaker or punch on the edge of the base or handle, safety razor and flathead screwdriver all-in-one. While these types of additions might give them the ability to be described as a multi-tool, make no mistake that they are primarily designed to perform as a folding knife.
Unfortunately, there are a great many considerations that should be taken into account when selecting the right folding knife. Most important consideration to take in account before purchase is what kind of metal the actual blade consists of? For example, a "Stainless Steel" blade might be rust resistant and provide for a longer life-cycle, but if you're considering an "outdoor survival" factor in your choice, then it is very difficult to get a spark off a "Stainless Steel" blade from a flint stone. Realistically, one needs to start with the basics and put some thought into exactly what the knife will do (what activities, conditions, tests and circumstances will the knife be put through) and then begin looking for the knife that best suites those needs. In addition, always keep in mind that not all knives will be made by reputable and quality manufacturers, they are not all equal and not all materials and tools used will always be durable, so selecting the wrong knife can easily lead to a broken blade or tool that can and will fail in the field.
Some manufacturers stand behind their work and will help provide additional services to ensure your folding knife is always reliable and performs the way it was intended too vs. other manufacturers who simply mass-produce cutting products. Take into consideration that if you're seriously looking for a good, durable and efficient folding knife, then take the time to understand the manufacturer's warranties as well as their track record based off products available.
Like all other tools, a common misconception with knives are there endless use and longevity of life. This is very misleading and like everything else, they require maintenance by consistently cleaning and sharpening them in order to maximize their effectiveness and lifespan. Some manufacturers will even perform these tasks for you free-of-charge (customer pays S&H). However, because of this unavoidable fact, we usually recommend buyers to purchase two of the same kind, meaning you always have a second one as back-up no matter what the circumstances are. This way, when the time comes to maintain one, or even send it to the manufacturer for updates and adjustments, you aren't completely left without your knife during these time periods.