Best Rescue Knife (Folding) 2022

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Being able to get to someone when they really need you in an emergency is great. But, arriving to find out that you don’t have the right tools to help them? Not so great.

Imagine this scenario. You’re the first responder at a car accident. The driver is in need of medical attention, but you need to cut through his seatbelt before he can go to hospital in an ambulance.

Without swift rescuing, he could lose too much blood and die.

The way to prepare for that and other emergencies is to be fully equipped with the best possible tools.

A folding rescue knife makes for an excellent Every Day Carry (EDC) that you can always keep at hand whenever the need should arise.

We’ve been checking out some of the best rescue knives out on the market today. And, after much deliberation, we were able to handpick our top 5 favorites to review for you.

But we absolutely get that choosing one can be tricky. Especially if you’ve never really looked into it before. Which is why we’ve also got a handy buying guide for you coming up a little later.

And then, we’re going to top that off with yet another handy section where we answer some of your more frequently asked questions on the subject.

Let’s get straight to it!

In a hurry? Check out our top pick.

1. Victorinox Rescue Tool Multi-Tool

Victorinox Traveler Multi-Tool Pocket Knife with LED Light in Red

Truth be told, you never really know what emergencies you need to be prepared for. Which is what makes this such a great rescue knife. It has a whopping 13 different features, with different blades for different needs.

There’s a large 3.5 inch blade, two thirds of which is serrated while the bottom third is flat. It features a large hole which makes it much easier to open if you have gloves on. It can cut through rope no problem. 

There’s a dedicated seat belt cutter with a serrated blade, which features a nub to help open and close it. It can effortlessly get through a seat belt in seconds.  

There’s a window breaker to puncture a hole in a glass window, and a shatterproof-glass cutter to saw through the glass. (Yeah it’s hard to believe a knife can cut through glass, but this baby does!) 

There’s also lots of nice bonus features, including a bottle opener, wire stripper, a flat-head screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, a hole punch, tweezers and a toothpick. .  

So, not only is it perfect for the scenario described in our introduction, but it can have a great many uses beyond that.

It comes with its own pouch which has a large loop for securing to a utility belt. But if you don’t wear a belt, you can instead use the included keyring and keep it on your key fob. 

But when folded it measures 4.375 inches, so you could fit it into a long trouser or jacket pocket if you have one. And it’s very easy to find in an emergency because the high visibility yellow covering glows in the dark.

Pros:

  • Excellent 3.5” combination blade
  • It has a dedicated seat belt cutter
  • Can puncture and saw through glass
  • It has several nice bonus features
  • Keyring & pouch with large belt hoop
  • It glows in the dark so you’ll find it easy

Cons:

  • Premium product at a premium price

Victorinox Traveler Multi-Tool Pocket Knife with LED Light in Red
  • 4 3/8" CLOSED
  • FLUORESCENT YELLOW HANDLES
  • LOCKING LARGE BLADE
  • PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER
  • WINDOW BREAKER


2. Spyderco Assist Lightweight Folding Knife

Spyderco Assist Lightweight Folding Knife with 3.69' VG-10 Steel Black Blade and Black Lightweight FRN Handle - CombinationEdge - C79PSBBK

Spyderco is one of THE top brands in folding knives. In the 1980s, they were the first to pioneer a round hole in the blade, which makes it easy to open the blade one-handed. They also feature a clip, so you can guarantee it won’t fall out of your pocket.

Moreover Spyderco knives are backed by a lifetime warranty, and they will sharpen them for you free of charge.

This is the knife they’ve produced especially for fire and rescue professionals looking for flawless performance.

The 3.875 inch blade is made with high-carbon VG10 stainless steel, and has a combination knife edge, mostly serrated with plenty of teeth for cutting through tougher materials, but with a plain edged tip. The nose is blunt in order to prevent any accidental injury.

The handle is also very nice, made from fiberglass reinforced nylon, and with curves for your fingers for more comfortable use.

But that’s not all. The star feature of this particular blade is how the handle has a survival whistle built into the butt end. Perfect for alerting others as backup to where they are sorely needed. And it’s very effective because it’s shrill and high-pitched.

And that’s not all either, lol. It also features a retractable carbide-tip glass breaker, so if someone is trapped behind any sort of glass barrier, you will be able to break the glass and rescue them.

It’s a very lightweight blade, coming in at just 4 ounces. And it measures a mere 4.875 inches when folded, making it very easy to store when not in use. 

Pros:

  • Comes from a top brand in the industry
  • 3.875 inch combination stainless steel blade
  • Large hole for easy one-handed opening
  • There’s a high-pitched survival whistle built in
  • There’s a retractable carbide-tip glass breaker

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a sheath
  • Premium product at a premium price

Spyderco Assist Lightweight Folding Knife with 3.69" VG-10 Steel Black Blade and Black Lightweight FRN Handle - CombinationEdge - C79PSBBK
  • ALWAYS READY KNIFE - The Spyderco Assist Black Blade is a lightweight folder for emergency fire/rescue professionals and the well-equipped citizen who rely on knives to be straightforward in use and perform flawlessly.
  • DOUBLE DUTY BLADE - The blade is coated in non-reflective black carbon nitride with a blunt-nose shape made from high-carbon VG-10 stainless steel and loaded with teeth. It has 3-3/8" serrated cutting edge with PlainEdged tip.
  • FRN HANDLE - The black lightweight Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN) handle with a survival whistle built into the butt end, shrill and high-pitched enough to get you noticed and reinforced wire pocket clip attaches through the handle on either side.
  • DEPENDABLE - The Cobra Hood is a metal cap that guides the thumb over the hole for quick, by-feel opening then doubles as a textured leveraging platform for your thumb during cutting.
  • ICONIC DESIGN - A retractable and replaceable carbide-tip glass/ice breaker is housed inside the handle and is exposed when the closed blade is squeezed into the handle, retracting when pressure is released.


3. StatGear T3 Tactical Auto Rescue Tool

StatGear T3 Tactical Auto Rescue Tool - knife, seatbelt cutter, spring-loaded window punch, light. sheath included

Now, this is an amazing rescue tool for the price! Very well priced, easily affordable, and great value for money.

Designed by an NYC paramedic, it has some of the most important features of a top quality rescue tool.

Of course one of the main features is the blade. It’s just over 3 inches long, is made of 440c stainless steel, and is razor sharp. The bottom part is serrated for those hard to saw through items, while the upper part has a plain edge.

There’s also a dedicated 440c stainless steel seat belt cutter, and a spring-loaded window punch, that will break a window in a cinch, should the need ever arise.

It also features an LED light which only comes on when you want it to. It’s a great tool for first responders who look at pupil size to assess consciousness or toxicity.

When folded, it measures a mere 5 inches, and is very lightweight, coming in at just 6.38 ounces. You’ll barely notice you have it on you.

It comes complete with it’s own sheath, which has a loop to go through your belt, so you don’t ever need to worry about it falling out of your pocket.

Amazon occasionally has deals on this particular rescue knife, simply click on “Check price” to see if there’s a deal on now.

Pros:

  • Very affordable & great value for money
  • 440c stainless steel combination blade
  • Dedicated stainless steel seat belt cutter
  • Spring-loaded punch for breaking glass
  • It also features a handy LED light

Cons:

  • No hole to open the blade one-handed

Sale
StatGear T3 Tactical Auto Rescue Tool - knife, seatbelt cutter, spring-loaded window punch, light. sheath included
  • 440c Stainless steel serrated blade
  • 440c Stainless steel seatbelt cutter
  • Spring-loaded window punch
  • LED light for emergency light
  • Heavy duty nylon sheath


4. Spyderco Atlantic Salt Rust Free Serrated Edge Knife

Spyderco Atlantic Salt Lightweight Utility Folding Knife with 3.68' Corrosion Resistant H-1 Sheepfoot Blade and Durable Hi-Viz Yellow FRN Handle - SpyderEdge - C89SYL

As we mentioned in an earlier review, Spyderco is one of THE top brands in folding knives.

In the 1980s, they were the first to pioneer a round hole in the blade, which makes it easy to open the blade one-handed. They also feature a clip, so you can guarantee it won’t fall out of your pocket.

Moreover Spyderco knives are backed by a lifetime warranty, and they will sharpen them for you free of charge.

And this is not just any folding knife. It has a superior blade, 3.6 inches long, made with precipitation-hardened H-1 steel. It’s hollow-ground and is fully serrated from handle to tip and offers remarkable cutting performance.

And rather than being made of more traditional carbon steel, it contains nitrogen instead, and this has significant implications. It cannot rust.

Not even around freshwater or saltwater. This makes it the perfect rescue knife for water borne first responders and rescuers.

The molded fiberglass reinforced nylon handle is highly visible and easy to spot in marine yellow. When folded it’s just 4.59 inches long, and the knife remains entirely secure.

Amazon occasionally has deals on this particular rescue knife, simply click on “Check price” to see if there’s a deal on now.

Pros:

  • Comes from one of the top brands in the industry
  • 3.68 inch H-1 precipitation-hardened steel blade
  • Made with nitrogen so that it will not ever rust
  • Features a reversible secure metal pocket clip
  • Large hole for easy one-handed opening
  • Offers remarkable cutting performance

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a sheath
  • Premium product at a premium price

Sale
Spyderco Atlantic Salt Lightweight Utility Folding Knife with 3.68" Corrosion Resistant H-1 Sheepfoot Blade and Durable Hi-Viz Yellow FRN Handle - SpyderEdge - C89SYL
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY - It is made from H1-Steel which is a precipitation-hardened steel containing nitrogen instead of carbon, which cannot rust.
  • FRN HANDLE - It is textured with a Volcano Grip pattern, the molded fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) handle is visible marine yellow, equipped with a reversible titanium pocket clip for right or left- handed use.
  • GAME CHANGER - The serrated hollow-ground blade offers remarkable cutting performance in and around fresh and saltwater.
  • DEFENDS AGAINST CORROSION - The knife is completely ambidextrous and utterly impervious to corrosion.
  • SPECIFICATION - It has a overall length of 8.25", blade length of 3.6" and a weight of 2.75 oz. This knife is made from Japan.


5. Swiss Safe 3-in-1 Fire & Rescue Tactical Knife

Swiss Safe 3-in-1 Fire & Rescue Tactical Knife for Fire Fighters and First Responders

Now, this beauty is a prominent bestseller with the leading online retailers in the category of tactical knives. There have been well over 1,000 individual customer ratings on Amazon alone.

And better yet, the average customer rating still comes out at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of 5.

At first, we thought it’s popularity was primarily due to the incredibly affordable price, but then we looked into it and saw that it has quite a lot to offer.

The blade itself is 3.5 inches long and made of 3mm thick heavy-duty stainless steel. It has a combination edge, serrated at the bottom for tackling thicker materials, with a plain edge toward the top.

Although there’s no hole present for one-handed opening, there is instead a spring assisted rapid opening for speedy one-handed deployment.

But that’s not all. It also features a handy glass breaker on the other end, along with a dedicated seat belt cutter, that can also easily cut through wires too.

The handle is very good too, made with machined aluminum together with a hard anodized coating.

When folded it’s a mere 5 inches long, and is very lightweight at under 5 ounces. The knife also has a very secure locking mechanism, and there’s a pocket clip attached, so you never have to worry about it falling out of your pocket. 

It comes in a very knife box, making it perfect for gifting.

We also appreciate how it’s backed by a 100% money back guarantee, so if you give it a try and you’re not happy, you can get your money back in full.

If you find yourself on the product page, you should totally scroll down and check out all the other great products from Swiss Safe.

Pros:

  • Best seller with excellent customer ratings
  • Bargain affordable price, great value for money
  • 3mm thick stainless steel with combination edge
  • It’s spring-assisted to be opened one-handed
  • Has a handy glass breaker and seatbelt cutter

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a sheath or pouch

Swiss Safe 3-in-1 Fire & Rescue Tactical Knife for Fire Fighters and First Responders
  • NEW 2021 DESIGN: High Performance Steel Blade with Lightweight Aluminum Handle and Pocket Clip
  • MULTI-FUNCTION 3-in-1: Built in Glass Breaking Tip, Seatbelt Cutter & Stainless Steel Knife Blade
  • DIMENSIONS: 3 ½" Stainless 3mm Thick Steel Blade, 5" Closed Length, Fits in Swiss Safe EMT Holster
  • SECURE: Built in Safety Lock, Spring Assist, and Hand Grip Made for Emergency Rescue Situations
  • 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: Full refund offered if not 100% satisfied with product for any reason!


Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. You can use it as a quick checklist before you buy. Here are some things to consider.

Quality Blade Vs Multifunctional Rescue Tool

You may have noticed that in our shortlist of best folding rescue knives, we included a mixture of top quality folding blades, alongside some great multifunctional tools.

Some rescuers really appreciate the value of a top quality blade and are often prepared to high prices for them, and we can certainly see where they are coming from.

Higher priced blades are often of far better quality than their lower priced counterparts.

However, there’s also a lot to be said for multifunctional tools. If the goal is to be prepared for any kind of emergency, then the more tools you have to hand, the better prepared you will be for the unknown.

Type of Blade Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular types of blade steel, especially for EDC knives. It’s essentially carbon with chromium added for better resistance against corrosion.

But it’s not your only option. Carbon steel, without the added chromium, is both tough and durable, and has the added bonus of being easy to sharpen.

Type of Edge

A plain knife edge is fine for most everyday tasks. But if you ever need to cut through rope or foliage, a serrated edge is much better. You can also get knives with a combination edge, for the best of both worlds. 

Locking System

We believe that your chosen folding rescue knife should have a good locking mechanism, so that you don’t inadvertently end up cutting a hole in your trouser pocket.

One-Hand Opening

We also believe that one-handed opening can be a really great feature in a rescue knife. You may need another hand free to deal with something else, like putting pressure on a wound.

Dimensions When Folded

If you’re going to carry a knife in your trouser pocket, you don’t want it to be so long that it falls out every time you sit down. So think about where you’re going to keep your rescue knife when you’re on the move, so that this does not happen to you.

Other Features

Another feature we quite like in rescue knives is a hole in the handle, so that you can attach it to a keyring or belt clip. Unless it already features a belt clip of course.

You may want to consider knife tools that have other useful rescue features beyond its cutting ability, such as the ability to break through a glass window, or perhaps a dedicated seatbelt cutter.

Brand

Some brands of rescue knives have really earned their stellar reputation. You won’t have been surprised to see some top brands in our shortlist, like Spyderco, Benchmade, and Swiss Safe.

Value For Money

Even products as simple as knives can really vary in price. You can get some for under $10, and some for over $100. And the moral of this story is that you should check prices as you go along, so you can learn what features your money can buy you, and then you can make a good, well informed decision about how much your budget should be.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is The Best First Responder Knife?

You know what? This is a really tricky question to answer. All of the folding rescue knives that made our shortlist have a selection of valuable advantages…

The more expensive, higher-end blades are of unquestionable better blade quality and sharpness.

But, on the other hand, knives that have additional functions are far more useful than ones that merely cut. Some of the items in our shortlist can be used to break a glass window, or to cut through something really tough like a seatbelt.

You could also argue that the best first responder knife is the one that you can afford. If you haven’t got the budget for a high quality knife, and you have to settle for something a little more ordinary, then the ones in our shortlist should do just fine for you.

Are Folding Knives Legal To Carry?

Now, this is a very important question, so I’ll gladly answer it for you…

It turns out that US citizens can carry a folding blade knife, but fixed blades must be carried in a sheath at the waist. And the knife cannot be disguised as another object.

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