If you’ve spent any amount of time researching a pocket knife purchase, you’ve more than likely come across the Opinel line of beautiful pocket knives. Opinel makes some of the most impressive pocket knives on the market based on classic peasant knife heritage and more than two hundred years of history. Their story alone makes them one of our favorite pocket knife brands. But they more deliver in the performance department as well. The Opinel No. 8 is probably the blade you’re most familiar with, but they have almost a dozen other options for all your cutting needs.
What Makes an Opinel Knife an Opinel Knife?
The Opinel knife–regardless of number/size–is an instantly recognizable object made in and beloved in France and around the world with a non-locking (No. 2 – No. 5) or locking (No. 6 – No. 13) carbon/stainless steel blade of varying lengths with a wooden (typically beechwood) handle. In terms of the sizing, Joseph Opinel originally had the idea of making his knife into different sizes which would be suitable to different hand sizes or used for various tasks, which is why there are so many options these days.
Here are all the currently available Opinel options broken down into categories.
The Small Utility Knives (Non-locking)
Opinel No. 2 Knife
No.02 Stainless Steel Pocket Knife
Blade Length: 1.36″
Handle Length: 1.89″
Opinel’s smallest model could be described as cute on account of its tiny size and bright color options, but this keychain knife is also a workhorse when it comes to opening letters and packages.
Opinel No. 3 Knife
No.03 Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Blade Length: 1.68″
Handle Length: 2.20″
The just under 2″ blade on the Opinel No. 3 makes it the perfect easily pocketable, always carryable knife that’s great for all your everyday carry tasks.
Opinel No. 4 Knife
No.04 Stainless Steel Pocket Knife
Blade Length: 2″
Handle Length: 2.68″
The two things we love the most about the No. 2–the optional keychain and the wide variety of color options–are also available on this knife with a larger blade and handle that makes it more comfortable for larger hands.
Opinel No. 5 Knife
No.05 Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Blade Length: 2.36″
Handle Length: 3.14″
The largest, non-locking knife in the Opinel collection, the No. 5 features a 2.36″ Sandvik stainless blade, beech wood handle and an overall length of 5.5″ that makes it perfect for all your letter/box/package opening tasks. Along with making it perfect for all your other everyday cutting needs.
The Everyday Carry Knives (Virobloc Locking Ring)
Opinel No. 6 Knife
No.06 Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Blade Length: 2.87″
Handle Length: 3.63″
The smallest Opinel option built with their Virobloc Locking Ring technology, this 2.87″ blade knife is easy to carry while also being suited for all your everyday tasks and looking great on a cheese or charcuterie board.
Opinel No. 7 Knife
No.07 Stainless Steel Pocket Knife
Blade Length: 3.07″
Handle Length: 3.93″
The Opinel No. 7 Knife might not be available in as many handle options as the No. 6. But this option more than makes up for it with the same locking mechanism, a blade just over 3″ and an overall length of 7″ that makes it perfect for EDC knife use.
Opinel No. 8 Knife
No.08 Stainless Steel Pocket Knife
Blade Length: 3.28″
Handle Length: 4.31″
All of that brings us to the one and only Opinel No. 8 Knife. The Opinel No 8 is the brand’s most iconic piece for good reason. 3.28″ Sandvik stainless blade. Beech, Olive, Walnut, or Oak wood handle. Virobloc locking ring. It’s also easy to pocket, sharpen, and use, along with being the ideal size for just about everything.
The Larger (but still pocketable) Work / Camping Knives (Virobloc Locking Ring)
Opinel No. 9 Knife
No.09 Stainless Steel Blade Folding Knife
Blade Length: 3.51″
Handle Length: 4.67″
The first in Opinel’s line of “large” knives, the Opinel No. 9 Knife has a blade length of just over 3.5″, an overall length of just over 7.5″ and a weight of 2oz. That makes it–in our opinion–the perfectly sized Opinel folder for everything from bushcraft and meat prep to cocktail accouterments and everyday cutting.
Opinel No. 10 Knife
No.10 Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Blade Length: 3.92″
Handle Length: 5.08″
Want a set of seriously stylish steak knives that can also be folded up and easily stored in your kitchen drawers? Look no further than the Opinel No. 10 Knife. At 9″ in total open length, it’s hard to consider it a pocket knife. But it will certainly impress your guests when you bust out a set to cut up that perfectly prepared Wagyu.
Opinel No. 12 Knife
No.12 Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Blade Length: 4.82″
Handle Length: 6.22″
If you love the classic French design, construction and quality of an Opinel knife but want something a little larger in the blade department, you won’t find better than the Opinel No. 12 Knife. With an almost 5″ long blade, a wood handle and an overall weight less than 4oz, this is, quite possibly, the greatest camping knife built in the last century.
The Big Boy
Opinel No. 13 Knife
Opinel No.13 Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Blade Length: 8.875″
Handle Length: 11″
Even Opinel describes this knife as “The Giant” because it’s almost 20″ long when open and does double duty next to the grill or as a machete.
What about Opinel No. 1 and No. 11?
You might have noticed that there were a few missing numbers from the collection. The Opinel No.1 and No. 11 knives were both discontinued during the 1930s. No. 1 was designed to be a pipe or nail cleaner, but its teeny 2cm blade was deemed to be too small. No. 11 got the axe because it was just too similar in size to No. 10 and No. 12.
Want to read more about pocket knives? Click here for Cool Material’s Guide to Pocket Knives.