Best Victorinox Swiss Army Knife: Which Model for General Use and Every Day Carry
New Victorinox models are safer and more functional than their classic designs. This article only covers Victorinox Swiss Army Knives (SAKs). For simplicity, Wenger brand SAKs are not considered.
The new 111mm (the length, equivalent to 4 3/8 inches) large frame format pocketknives sport modern features such as
- locking blades for safety, the blades won’t accidentally close on the hand
- one-handed opening for quick access, and safety: for situations where a second hand is not available
- large contoured handles for a firmer, safer grip (the distinctive grip is the easiest way to identify the 111mm knives)
On the Victorinox website, these 111mm models can be found under the category “locking blade”. They all have the same basic handle shape and size, differing in the selection of tools carried, weight and thickness (those with more tools are obviously thicker) and color.
The 111mm models may seem unusually large in real life, to those not used to full sized tools. Internet shoppers should be aware of this. Testing out a knife in a shop is the best way to gauge whether or not they are too big for an individual.
This is the basic model chosen as standard issue by the German Army, reason enough to make this model worthy of serious consideration. These 111mm models have a reasonable number of the most often used tools, providing good functionality without being too large and heavy.
There are a few variants of the One-Hand Trekker, and the list is constantly changing.
Major differences between variants are
- Non-serrated or partially serrated blade.
- With or without removable tweezers and toothpick. The German Army model is without, probably because these items are too easily lost.
- Corkscrew or Phillips cross head screwdriver.
- With or without curved, serrated seat-belt cutter (for rescue models).
Aside from the blade, most variants will have a
- Wood saw (sometimes replaced with seat-belt cutter, other models have both)
- Screwdriver / bottle opener / wire stripper
- Reamer (sharp-edged spike for poking holes)
- Can opener / small screwdriver
Other Locking Blade Models
There are other 111mm locking blade models, but many lack one-handed opening blades.
One-handed opening is an important safety feature that should not be casually discarded when choosing a model. One-handed models can be easily identified by the large hole at the top of the blade.
Workchamp and Workchamp XL
These are the 111mm locking-blade rough equivalents of the classic SwissChamp everything-but-the-kitchen-sink models.
They are thick and heavy, good for the toolbox or car glove compartment, but not for the pocket. Like the SwissChamp, they are so thick that they can be unwieldy to hold. Only a hands-on test will tell. Photographs don’t fully convey the bulkiness of these models.
Unfortunately, they lack one-handed opening blades.
It is common for countries to outlaw the carrying of folding knives
- with locking blades
- with blades longer than 3 inches
The 111mm models will violate both of the above conditions. Buyers should check local laws before purchasing.
To comply with such laws, one of the smaller non-locking models will have to do.
Best Swiss Army Knife
The best SAK will obviously depend on individual requirements. For those without specific requirements, one of the One-Hand Trekker models with a non-serrated blade (for easier sharpening) is a good all-round choice.
It has the most commonly used tools, without being too large and heavy, suitable for Every Day Carry (EDC). The locking blade and one-handed opening make it safer, and versatile enough for emergency use.