I reviewed all of the best Swiss Army knives and found the Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster to be the best overall choice.
The Fieldmaster has all the best tools available in a Swiss Army knife, and it is surprisingly affordable. This is one of the best Swiss Army knives to keep in your pocket daily. It is useful at the campsite as well as around your home, office, or even in a survival situation.
I have owned some of the best Swiss Army knives for nearly 40 years. I got my first when I was a boy and interested in bushcraft. I used it around my campsite on our property to make a shelter, table, bench, and a few other tools.
My first knife was one of the early 1980s Huntsman models. Since then, I have used a bunch of other Swiss Army knives and multitools. While my preference has changed slightly from that first knife, it is still the one I reach for.
With so many different models available, how do you choose the best one for you? In this guide, we will show you which tools are the most useful so that you can pick the best one for you.
Keep reading to find out how to pick the best Swiss Army knife for you.
Quick Comparison of our Favorite Swiss Army Knives
Best Swiss Army Knives
Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster – Best Swiss Army Knife Overall
- Size: 3.6” x 0.8” x 1”
- Weight: 3.5 oz
- 15 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Scissors, Phillips Screwdriver
The Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster is the best overall Swiss Army knife.
The combination of size, tools, functionality, and price make this the best choice for most people.
This is essentially the same knife as the Huntsman, except it has a Phillips screwdriver instead of a corkscrew.
I have had my Huntsman Swiss Army knife since I was a boy. As I got older, my only gripe was that it did not have a Phillips screwdriver. Yes, you can use the flat end of the can opener on a Phillips screw, but I never had much success.
The Fieldmaster takes away that only issue, making it the best. It has a wood saw, scissors, and of course, two knives, a bottle opener, and a can opener. The toothpick and tweezers are also included.
It is small enough to carry in my pocket if I want and is a great tool both in everyday life and out in the woods. If you are unsure which Swiss Army knife to get, get this one.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster is for anyone looking for a great all-around Swiss Army knife for EDC or outdoor use. This one has all the functions most people need.
Tools on Back are Stiff
Victorinox Swiss Army Signature Lite – Best Swiss Army Knife for EDC
- Size: 2.3” x 0.7” x 0.5”
- Weight: 0.8 oz
- 7 Functions
- Notable Tools: Pen, Scissors, Flashlight
The Victorinox Swiss Army Signature Lite is the best Swiss Army knife for everyday carry (EDC).
While our top pick is certainly a great EDC knife, I don’t typically need a saw or a reamer throughout a normal day.
What I do need all the time is a small flashlight and a pen. I never have a pen when I need one, and the small flashlight is handy for looking for something under my desk or in my truck at night.
This knife is small enough to carry on my keychain, and I barely notice it is there. It has a small knife, nail file/screwdriver, and a great pair of small scissors.
My ideal EDC is this knife paired with a larger knife. The larger knife is usually a single-blade lock-back style knife.
If you travel a lot during your daily life, then you may want to also consider carrying the Fieldmaster. If you get separated from your vehicle and your get-home bag, then at least you will have a Swiss Army knife with a good combination of tools.
This Swiss Army knife is super useful and great for everyone. While the classic SD was the standard keyring knife for many years, this one is much better.
Keep in mind that if you put this on your keychain, it will get abused over time since your keys will be constantly hitting it.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Signature Lite is for anyone looking for a practical EDC pocketknife that you will use daily. It also makes a great gift since everyone will find it useful.
Blade is Very Small
Durability over time
Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ – Best Swiss Army Knife for Survival
- Size: 3.6” x 1.3” x 1.0”
- Weight: 6.5 oz
- 33 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Scissors, Magnifying Lens, Metal Saw, Pliers
The Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ is the best knife for Survival.
This knife is the ultimate tool to have with you in a survival situation. In our buying guide below, you can see how useful all of the tools really are in the woods.
This knife has the standard long and short knife, can opener, bottle opener, scissors, and screwdrivers. The tweezers and toothpick are great for hygiene during an extended outdoor trip.
It also has a wood saw that can be used with a fire-starting kit to create fire tinder and strike a Ferro rod. The awl and hook are great for making what you need from just wood and some cordage.
The magnifying lens is really what sets this knife apart from the others. In a pinch, if you have nothing else, you can create fire tinder with the wood saw and an ember by focusing the sun on it with the lens. With the ember, you can start a fire.
The pliers and metal saw/file are added bonuses if you need to work on a vehicle. After you catch some fish, you even have a fish scaler ready to go. It even has a pen that could be very useful for leaving a note for someone or writing down coordinates from a map.
This knife has 33 tools and is still not ridiculously huge, only 1.3” wide. It is about twice as large as the field master, though, so not great for your pockets. If you have cargo or bushcraft pants with a few extra pockets, it is easy to keep handy.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ is for anyone that wants to be prepared. Keep this knife in your vehicle, bushcraft pack, or bug-out bag. It is the ultimate survival tool, and the price is not much more than the others on this list.
Too Large for EDC
Victorinox Swiss Army EvoGrip 18 – Best Swiss Army Knife for Bushcraft
- Size: 3.3” x 0.9” x 1”
- Weight: 3.3 oz
- 15 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Scissors, Phillips Screwdriver
The Victorinox Swiss Army EvoGrip 18 is the best knife for bushcraft and camping in the woods.
This knife has the exact same tools as our top pick, the Fieldmaster.
What sets this knife apart from the Fieldmaster is the grip. The grip on this knife is contoured and has a black textured grip on the sides.
When I am using this for detail work or really working the knife or the saw, this knife feels much more stable than the standard Swiss Army Knife grip.
Often my hands are wet or dirty, and the textured grip really helps to keep my hand from slipping.
This knife does not have a hook. If you plan to make a lot of tools, structures, or an elaborate bushcraft shelter at camp with lashings, you may want to consider one of the others instead (or just use a frapping stick).
However, I still think that the textured grip combined with the saw, scissors, and sewing awl/reamer make this the perfect bushcraft knife.
The Victorinox Swiss Army EvoGrip 18 is for anyone that likes to spend time in the woods bushcrafting or camping. The set of tools and the textured grip makes it the perfect choice.
No Magnifying Lens
No Hook Tool
Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker – Best Budget Swiss Army Knife
- Size: 3.6” x 0.7” x 1”
- Weight: 3.0 oz
- 14 Functions
- Notable Tools: Scissors, Phillips Screwdriver
The Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker is our pick for the best budget Swiss Army Knife.
This knife is the same as our top pick, the Fieldmaster, except it does not have a wood saw.
While the wood saw is one of the essential tools for survival, it is really not needed for everyday carry.
This knife is a little thinner than the Fieldmaster, which makes it great for carrying in your front pocket.
I like that this one includes the legendary Swiss Army knife scissors. I find that I use scissors a lot more than the other tools. Ensure you are getting the “Super Tinker” model, as the standard Tinker model does not have the scissors.
I also like that this knife is so affordable. With all the functionality, it is a great value.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker is for anyone looking for the best Swiss Army knife for the money. This has all the best tools for the best price.
No Wood Saw
Victorinox Swiss Army Trekker
- Size: 4.4” x 0.7” x 1.4”
- Weight: 4.6 oz
- 12 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Phillips Screwdriver, Lock back Blade
The Victorinox Swiss Army Trekker is not a normal-looking Swiss Army Knife.
With the trekker, Victorinox has modified the design of the traditional Swiss Army Knife to include two key items that I look for in a pocketknife.
It has a lock-back main blade, and you can open the main blade with one hand.
It essentially combines a lock blade main EDC knife with a traditional Swiss Army knife.
I like that it includes a wood saw, a Phillips screwdriver, and a reamer/awl. It also has a toothpick and tweezers that are traditionally included.
I do not like that this knife does not have scissors. To me, this knife would have been better if it had scissors instead of the wood saw.
I also do not like the serrated blade. I prefer a non-serrated blade that is much easier to sharpen.
If this knife had scissors and a non-serrated blade, it would likely be my favorite.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Trekker is for someone looking for a Swiss Army knife with a main locking blade. It lacks some tools, but the sturdy main blade that can be opened with one hand is something the others don’t have.
Locking Main Blade
One Hand Open
More Expensive than Others
Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer Alox
- Size: 3.7” x 0.6” x 0.9”
- Weight: 3.0 oz
- 9 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Reamer/Awl
The Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer Alox is a smaller Swiss Army knife with textured Aluminum grips.
I really like the grips on these knives. They feel great and are more durable than the traditional polyamide plastic grips. The grip on my classic SD Swiss Army knife is busted from riding in my front pocket for many years.
While I have read that the Farmer is the top choice for Bushcraft camping, I disagree.
This knife does have a wood saw and a reamer/punch. But it is really lacking the other tools that I need when out in the woods.
I do not like that there is only one blade and no scissors. The reamer is on the same side as the knife, which makes it awkward to use compared to the Fieldmaster or Swiss Champ.
It also does not have a toothpick or tweezers. While some people think these are gimmicks, they are the same people that do not spend time in the woods. I have gotten a splinter in my hand on the first day of a one-week trip and was so glad that I had tweezers.
I do like the size of this knife. It is thinner than most and is easy to carry in my pocket. I would say this knife is a great EDC or backup bushcraft knife if you like the looks of the grip.
It is more expensive than other similar knives, though. For the tools you get, it is hard to justify unless you need a durable grip and like the looks of it.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer Alox is for anyone looking for a smaller, durable Swiss Army knife. While it is not the best for bushcraft, it is a good-looking knife that is easy to carry.
Higher Price than Others
Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X Alox
- Size: 3.7” x 0.6” x 0.9”
- Weight: 3.3 oz
- 9 Functions
- Notable Tools: Scissors, Reamer/Awl
The Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X Alox also has the Aluminum grips like the Farmer knife above.
Basically, this knife is the same as the Farmer Alox, except it has scissors instead of a saw.
In my experience, this makes it a great EDC knife. Some swear by this knife and carry it every day.
The Aluminum grips make it durable enough to keep in your pocket with your keys or change. It will last much longer than the traditional red grips.
For me, the price makes this one hard to buy over our top pick, the Fieldmaster. If you really like the Aluminum grips and want to carry a knife every day, this is the one to get.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X Alox is for anyone looking for a good-looking and durable EDC pocketknife.
Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman
- Size: 3.6” x 0.8” x 1”
- Weight: 3.4 oz
- 15 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Scissors
The Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman is the classic Swiss Army knife that has been popular for years with most outdoorsmen.
The Huntsman was my first Swiss Army Knife. My Dad got it for me when I was 8 or 9. Nearly 40 years later, I still have it, and it works great. It has been my companion on many trips out into the woods for hiking, camping, hunting, or whatever else I find myself getting into.
My Huntsman was made before 1991 when Victorinox added the hook to this model.
I bet your question is, why isn’t this Swiss Army knife your top pick?
Well, I have one word for you, the corkscrew.
The Huntsman is the exact same knife as the Fieldmaster, except instead of the Phillips screwdriver, it has a corkscrew.
For me, the screwdriver is much more useful and for most people than the corkscrew. That is why I think the Fieldmaster is the best over the Huntsman.
Now, if you are a wine enthusiast and never want to be without a corkscrew, this is definitely the knife for you.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman is for anyone looking for the best all-around Swiss Army knife and wants the iconic corkscrew instead of a Phillips screwdriver.
No Phillips Screwdriver
Victorinox Swiss Army Ranger
- Size: 3.6” x 0.9” x 1”
- Weight: 4.2 oz
- 21 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Scissors, Metal Saw
The Victorinox Swiss Army Ranger is somewhat of a compromise between our best overall pick, the Fieldmaster, and our best Survival pick, the Swiss Champ.
The Ranger has the same tools as the Fieldmaster in addition to a metal saw/file, a 4mm chisel, and a 2.5mm screwdriver.
I like that it is only 0.1” wider than the Fieldmaster. The added width is hardly noticeable.
I do not like that a corkscrew on the Ranger has replaced the Phillips screwdriver. If this had the Phillips screwdriver, it would probably be my top pick.
You can also say this knife is the same as the Huntsman but adds a few more tools that could be useful without adding much width.
If you like the Huntsman knife with the corkscrew, also consider this one. The price is hard to justify, though, which makes the Huntsman much more popular than the Ranger.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Ranger is for anyone looking for a medium size Swiss Army knife with a corkscrew and metal saw.
No Phillips Screwdriver
Victorinox Swiss Army Hiker
- Size: 3.6” x 0.6” x 1”
- Weight: 2.7 oz
- 13 Functions
- Notable Tools: Wood Saw, Phillips Screwdriver, Reamer/Awl
The Victorinox Swiss Army Hiker is similar to our top pick, the Fieldmaster. The only differences are this knife does not have Scissors or a hook.
The Ranger is only 0.6” wide, which makes it 25% smaller than the Fieldmaster.
I do not see the benefit of saving a little size and weight over not having the scissors. The hook I could live without, though.
I like that this knife has a wood saw and is the cheapest on our list. It would make a great addition to a fire-starting kit since it has a saw and is compact. I have used the saw to make fire tinder and strike a Ferro rod.
Instead of a striker that comes with a Ferro rod, put this knife in your kit instead. It could be your “fire knife.” Not only can you start a fire, but you have a backup knife as well.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Hiker is for someone looking for a compact knife with a wood saw. This knife is a great addition to a survival fire-starting kit.
Best Swiss Army Knife Buying Guide
Victorinox is the world’s largest maker of pocket knives. It was founded in Sweden in 1884 and still manufactures the Swiss Army Knife in Sweden today. While Wenger also made the Swiss Army Knife for many years, Victorinox acquired Wegner in 2005.
The Swiss Army Knife (SAK) was very popular in the 1980s. I still remember watching MacGyver every week in amazement at what he could do with one. Need to diffuse a bomb? Good thing you have a Swiss Army Knife!
I also remember my Dad bringing home Jimmy Buffett’s Last Mango in Paris album in the summer of 1985. Right there on that big record cover was Jimmy with a Swiss Army Knife. As we listened to the cover song, sure enough, Jimmy woke up in Africa with just his Swiss Army Knife.
I got my first Swiss Army Knife soon after that as I began spending more time in the woods. By the time I was 10, I had a full Bushcraft campsite out in the woods on our property. I felt like I could do anything with my SAK.
Over the years, I have owned a few different Swiss Army Knives and used them for nearly everything imaginable. I now have a few different multitools as well (I like Leatherman and Gerber multitools) and have found that the SAK still has its place.
With so many different models to choose from, which is the best? You can spend days trying to figure out which one has the best combination of tools.
Below I will break down what you can do with each tool and where they are useful. I will then go through what combination makes the best for EDC, Survival, Bushcraft, and any other outdoor activity you may enjoy.
First, just like most things today, there are cheap knockoffs. Before you buy, make sure you are getting a true Victorinox. The imitations made in China are made with cheap materials and will not be as durable as a true Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. A Victorinox comes with a lifetime warranty as well.
If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Most Swiss Army Knives range between $30 for the smaller ones to $100 for the larger ones. If you find a Swiss Champ for $25, it is probably not a Victorinox.
Consider what you will use your Swiss Army Knife for. While our best overall pick is the best for most, there may be a different model that will work better for you.
If the main use of your SAK is just for everyday carry, the model you choose probably doesn’t need a saw. If you are looking for a backup knife for your bug-out bag, a saw is a good idea.
It may be that multiple SAKs are best for you. I have one for EDC, one for camping and bushcraft, and one for survival purposes.
Along with purpose, the size of your Swiss Army Knife is an important consideration. The large Swiss Champ is not something you will put on your keychain. It is way too big and heavy.
For EDC, smaller is better. I like the combination of the Signature Lite model and a larger lock-back single-blade knife for EDC. In this case The Victorinox Swiss Army Trekker is a good option.
For camping and bushcraft, if you plan to craft or make any tools, consider how thick your Swiss Army Knife is. A thinner one with fewer tools will be easier to hold than a thick one. Carving out a small notch with a thick SAK is awkward, and you can’t control it well, either.
If you can only buy one, the Fieldmaster is a good compromise. It is small enough to be comfortable to carry in your pocket but has enough tools for almost every task. I have carried this size for years.
Here are some of the notable tools that come with Swiss Army Knives. Each has its place depending on how you plan to use your SAK.
A Knife is an essential tool not just for survival but for everyday tasks. A folding knife that is a backup to your full tang belt knife is needed for bushcraft or when camping, hiking, or in a survival situation.
Most Swiss Army Knives have two blades, one about 2.5 inches long and the other about 1.5 inches long. Some tasks can’t be done with a larger knife, like first aid, carving, or making repairs, so the smaller blade is great. I frequently use the small blade on mine for craving small details that my belt knife is too big for.
Reamer or Awl
An Awl is very handy for bushcraft and survival. It can be used to drill holes in pieces of wood to make a toggle, for example. An Awl with a hole in it can be used to repair a canvas tent or a survival tarp in a pinch with some fishing line or bank line.
Once you start making your own tools and implements at camp, you quickly realize all the useful things that the awl can be used for. It allows you to deliver a lot more power in a smaller area to drill into an object.
The saw on the SAK is probably one of the most useful tools in a survival situation. It is smaller than a typical folding bushcraft saw and is great for smaller cuts and detail work. It is also great for making shavings for fire tinder.
Not only can you use it like a saw to make fine shavings, but the spine of the saw is very useful as well. It has a sharp edge and is a great scraping tool. You can scrape shavings from fat wood or bark for fire tinder. It also makes a great Ferro rod striker. Even if you lose your belt knife and your striker, you can still use it to make a fire.
The scissors are probably the most underrated tool on the Swiss Army Knife. Most multitools have terrible scissors, but the SAKs are great. The scissors on my 40-year-old SAK still work fine.
For EDC, scissors are great for cutting open small bags when a knife is too large. They are also great for cutting thread, fishing line, or small bank lines.
For a long-term bushcraft or camping trip, they are great for trimming your nails or cutting a bandage for first aid. I recommend getting a SAK with scissors since they have so many uses.
While most Swiss Army Knives have a corkscrew on them, I can’t figure out why. It may be that the Swiss soldiers like to drink wine a lot. Regardless, I have not found much use for the corkscrew except for one.
When I was in boy scouts, I saw a scoutmaster use the corkscrew to attach his knife to a long stick. He then used the knife on the end of the stick to retrieve a fishing lure stuck high up in a tree. I have also seen videos where people use this setup to cut tree limbs up high (not sure why?).
While a useful idea, I find that a Phillips screwdriver instead of the corkscrew has more value. In my experience, I need a screwdriver much more than I need to retrieve a fishing lure or open a bottle of wine.
In today’s world, with so many electronic devices, it seems like I need a screwdriver all the time. For EDC, a screwdriver is a definite must-have. I find that using the flat end of the can opener for Phillips head screws usually doesn’t work very well. It is easy to round off the screw head if it is very tight at all. Then, you can’t remove the screw.
As I mentioned above, the Phillips screwdriver in place of the corkscrew is a must-have for me in daily life.
When camping, hiking, or even out on a road trip, it is very likely that you will need a Phillips head screwdriver for something. Many camping and survival tents have screws on the joints or poles.
Even for bushcraft or hunting, you may need a small screwdriver for setting the declination on your sighting compass or for changing the batteries in your GPS unit.
At first, the magnifying lens seems like more of a gimmick than a useful tool. But I have found two great uses for it that make it a must for a survival Swiss Army Knife.
The first is for first aid. If you or someone else has a thorn, splinter, or stinger suck in their skin, the lens makes it easier to see and remove (yes, the tweezers are up next).
The second is for starting fires. The lens is powerful enough to ignite tinder shavings in full sunlight.
If you have nothing else but a SAK with a saw and a magnifying lens, you can start a fire. This is huge in a survival scenario when you really need a fire.
Tweezer and Toothpick
The tweezers and toothpick also seem gimmicky as well, but they are really useful for hygiene and first aid. As I mentioned with the lens, tweezers are great for removing small objects from the skin.
If you do leave a splinter in your skin, it can become infected. After a few days, it can become a big problem.
While you can use a stick to clean your teeth, the toothpick has rounded edges and is much easier to use. It is also a great tool to have for small tasks like cleaning debris from a wound or fishing bank line through a hole. I have also used it to push paracord through a hole on a toggle.
Many Bushcraft Books also recommend the SAK just because of the Tweezers and Toothpick. Don’t underestimate their value. They’re one of those things you don’t think you need until you really need one. (Try camping for days with a splinter under your fingernail and tell me you don’t need tweezers.)
The hook is probably one of the most overlooked tools on a Swiss Army Knife. It is very handy for helping to tighten lashings. It takes the small line that would normally be slipping through your hand and gives you the power of your full hand to pull. While you can also use a frapping stick for this, in my experience the hook is quicker.
You can also use the hook to help pull tent stakes out of the ground. I keep a small length of paracord on my stakes and the hook gives me more leverage to pull them out of hard ground.
How to Sharpen a Swiss Army Knife
I have the Victorinox field sharpener and it is a great little sharpener to keep in your pack. On one side it has stone with both flat and curved sides. With this you can touch up a Swiss Army knife or any other knife for that matter.
On the other side it has two ceramic disks that are set at the same angle as the grind on Swiss Army knife blades. This makes it easy to sharpen your blades without having to worry about the angle.
The price is great and it really is a must have if you use your knife much at all.
What is the Best Swiss Army Knife for EDC?
The best Swiss Army knife for EDC is the Victorinox Swiss Army Signature Lite.
This knife has tools that I need and use every day. It is small enough to fit on my keychain, so I am sure to carry it. A flashlight, pen, and scissors are much more useful than just a knife.
Unless I am planning to be in the woods, I do not need a large Swiss Army knife with a wood saw during my daily life. I do stay properly prepared for anything and have other knives in my gear that I can quickly grab no matter where I am.
Personally, I also carry a Huntsman Swiss Army knife or a smaller multitool every day. I typically wear pants that have multiple pockets, so the size of these is not an issue.
What is the Best Swiss Army Knife for Bushcraft?
The best Swiss Army knife for Bushcraft is the Victorinox Swiss Army EvoGrip 18.
It has a wood saw, scissors, and an enhanced grip that is better than the standard Swiss Army knife grip. It is textured and allows me to control the knife much better in wet conditions.
The main use of this knife is as a backup to my belt knife and for tasks that my belt knife is too large for. I use the smaller blade, wood saw, and punch/awl for small detail work when making wood tools or implements around camp.
What is the Best Swiss Army Knife for Survival?
The best Swiss Army knife for survival is the Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ.
The main feature that sets this knife apart from the rest is the magnifying lens. I can use it to start a fire or for first aid. It also has a metal saw/file and pliers that are handy in the woods.
It even has a pen that I can use with my survival compass and a map in case I need to map out a path to safety.
The video below demonstrates how you can start a fire using just this knife and no other tools.
What is the Best Swiss Army Knife for Camping?
The best Swiss Army Knife for Camping is the Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster.
This knife has all of the features that I typically need around camp, and it is affordable.
The screwdrivers are useful for working on my camp stove or vehicle, and the wood saw is handy for making fire tinder if it has been raining for a few days.
Pick the Best Swiss Army Knife for You
Victorinox has hundreds of different models to choose from. I have summarized the best Swiss Army Knives here that I find practical for almost anyone.
You really can’t go wrong with the Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster. It has the most useful tools, no matter if you are camping in the woods or on a road trip. The price is great for the 15 functions. You really can’t find any other tool that is more practical out there.