We’ve featured tons of different knives over the years, as well as proper care for those knives, and our shop has a few that we liked so much we had to get ourselves. One thing that continues to impress us is the variation available in the blades. Each design has its advantages and disadvantages, which means something that works for those of you working out in the fields every day are probably going to use a different knife than the guy puttering around an office. And there are absolutely going to be guys in between. But don’t worry. Our ancestors saw fit to invent dozens of different knife blades, all suited to different jobs and lifestyles and all with something to contribute when used as EDC.

clip-blade

Clip

The drop point serves a similar function to the clip point and is another general purpose blade. The dull back of the handle has a gradual down-slope, creating an easily controlled point, increasing precision usage. It can also be used for hunting tasks, performing well in skinning and slicing jobs.

drop-blade

Drop

The drop point serves a similar function to the clip point and is another general purpose blade. The dull back of the handle has a gradual down-slope, creating an easily controlled point, increasing precision usage. It can also be used for hunting tasks, performing well in skinning and slicing jobs.

tanto-blade

Tanto (aka Chisel Point)

The tanto point is one of the stronger blades, its shape giving it special proficiency when it comes to piercing jobs and push cuts, similar to the action of chopping wood. It’s a great blade if the job you’re looking to do requires significant piercing and push cuts, but otherwise, this probably shouldn’t be part of your EDC.

spear-point

Spear

The spear point has equal slopes on both sides, putting its point in the direct center of the blade. Knives with spear blades may or may not have both sides of the blade sharpened. If both are, then the point is extremely sharp and excellently suited for piercing. It performs moderately well with slicing, though that’s not its intended purpose.

blunt-tip-blade

Blunt Tip

Nearly identical to the spear point, the blunt tip includes a flat tip as a safety precaution. They’re mostly used by kayakers and boaters, and are mostly specialty blades with limited usage.

trailing-blade

Trailing

Mostly used by hunters, the trailing blade’s back has a steep upward curve that forms a deep belly. It makes skinning and slicing incredibly easy and is a lightweight knife, but all this comes with a tradeoff. This style has one of weakest points in the industry, making any kind of piercing a shaky proposition at best.

hawkbill-blade

Hawkbill

The hawkbill blade is almost the exact opposite of the trailing knife. Its longest side is the back, with a concave blade that’s more specialized than most blades. It’s not going to be a great candidate for everyday usage. But if you find yourself often cutting cords and stripping wires, this is your absolute best option.

straight-back-blade

Straight Back (aka Normal)

This is the blade style you’ve probably seen the most, since it’s the shape most kitchen knives follow. It’s sturdy, both in practice and tradition, being one of the oldest blade shapes. It’s perfect for chopping and cutting. Of all the styles on this list, this is the one you’re safest buying.

wharncliffe-blade

Sheepsfoot

Plenty of emergency personnel carry this blade, mostly because of the combination of practicality and safety. The blade cuts well and works in close quarters, but the dull point and back make it much more difficult to hurt yourself and others while you use it. Originally, the style was used to trim sheep hooves, so it lends itself well to whittling as well.

wharncliffe-blade-2

Wharncliffe

There’s little difference between this blade and the sheepsfoot blade, with most difference being made in the aesthetic department. The wharncliffe has a more gradual slope that starts closer to the handle. Otherwise, the functionality is largely the same and the blade should be used for carving wood and cutting.

needle-blade

Needle

This is the one style on this list that lends itself more to combat than practical usage. The needle’s shape makes it excellent at piercing and slashing, though it is definitely on the fragile end of the spectrum and will break under improper stress. There doesn’t seem to be much reason for the average person to carry a blade like this.

pen-blade

Pen

The slope of the pen blade gives the knife a similar appearance to the spear point. It started as a tool for maintaining old pens and quills, making it one of the more common knife styles, as well as the one most suited to everyday use.

spey-point-blade

Spey-Point Blade

Another blade rooted in specialty usage, the spey-point started as a tool for spaying livestock. Its unique tip gives it an element of precision and the straight edge and steep curve of the blade make it well-suited to skinning animals.

gut-hook

Gut Hook

Probably the most morbidly named blade, the gut hook is a blade explicitly designed for hunting and field dressing. The belly of the knife makes skinning exceptionally easy with this style and the back of the knife features the blade’s namesake, a sharpened hook designed to open the insides of an animal without damaging muscle.

serrated-blade

Serrated

Serrated is less of a single blade type and more of a feature multiple blades have, but we thought we should include it thanks to its increasing prevalence. This blade feature allows the user to saw through tougher objects like wood or coarse rope. It’s a style that’s becoming more common, but still sees limited use thanks to the difficulty associated with sharpening the serrations.

ulu-blade

Ulu

The ulu is one of the less common blade types, but it’s by far one of the most interesting. Its uses include scraping and chopping, and it is world’s ahead of the other blade types when it comes to strength. Its origins are in the Inuit culture and the blade is traditionally used by women in household tasks.

head-knife

Head Knife

The main difference between the ulu and the head knife is how far the curve of the blade extends. The head knife is semi-circular and is used in leatherworking. It thins the leather as well as allows the user to make precise cuts for designs other than straight lines.