Spyderco VS Cold Steel: Head to Head


Over the last few decades, the EDC knife industry has become increasingly competitive with a number of companies vying for the top spot. Two manufacturers that shine bright on the scene are Spyderco and Cold Steel.

Both of these American companies have gained a solid reputation and are able to provide access to great quality cutlery suited to various purposes. While it’s tough to directly compare Spyderco vs Cold Steel because their knives are somewhat different, they both do have several knives that fall into the same realm & use categories.

Both manufacturers make knives in a variety of categories, and both of them make knives at the higher quality levels compared to some of their competitors. Let’s learn a little bit more about each and then take a look at some of their best-selling models.


1. More About Spyderco

Dating back to 1981, Spyderco has now been in the knife manufacturing industry for over three decades. During that time, the manufacturer gained huge popularity and developed a great range of innovative, high performance knives in various styles. It went on to become one of the industry leaders in this field.

While Spyderco has made a large following out of their pocket knives (like the ones featured here), they also have a number of knives that fall into the fieldcraft knife category as well as tactical knives and survival knives.

2. Popular Products & Specifications

You will find a number of different product ranges when you shop through Spyderco. There are knives available to suit a variety of activities and purposes. The categories you can choose from include:

The Junction Knife: You can choose from a range of fixed-blade knives from Spyderco. This includes the Junction, a knife designed by Gayle Bradley with a versatile blade ideal for a wide variety of purposes. The blade, which measures 4.15″ (the knife’s overall length is 8.45”), is made of a specialty steel known as PSF27 steel.

PSF27 is an improved version of the more popular D2 steel that boasts greater toughness and superior wear resistance. The Junction has a full flat grind, weighs 4.1 oz, and comes with a lightweight but highly ergonomic G-10 handle. It is a great general purpose fixed blade knife that can handle both delicate tasks and rugged ones.

A Boltaron sheath is provided with this premium survival knife. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued by Spyderco, but you can still buy it from Amazon and certain outdoor gear retailers while supplies last.

The Assist Salt: When you buy from Spyderco you can choose from locking and non-locking folding blades. One of the folding knives you can opt for is the Assist Salt, which comes in a range of handle colors. It is a corrosion resistant folder specifically designed for people working in salt water. As Spyderco put it, with this folder in one’s arsenal, other similar knives “can rust in peace.”

Designed for use in sea emergencies and fire rescue, the Assist Salt is made from VG10 steel with a 3.68” blade. It is a hollow-grind knife with a back lock. The overall length is 8.55” when fully open. It also has a rounded tip so you don’t accidentally stab yourself or other people when rescuing them or accidentally puncture your inflatable boat.

The ceramic carbide glass breaker tip and emergency whistle can be both handy additions in disaster situations. These nifty features lack on a less expensive but similar model, the Atlantic Salt. Professional divers, sea rescue workers, and fishermen will love this tool.

The DICE EDC: An excellent choice of quality knives can be found within Spyderco’s EDC category, one of which is the Dice, a 15% smaller version of the knife maker’s tremendously popular Domino flipper (now discontinued).

The Dice is a small plain edge flipper with a 2.52” blade made from CTS XHP steel. Its overall length is just 6.57” and it has a full-flat grind and a carbon fiber/G-10 laminate handle. Being a higher end knife, its price its quite steep. Unfortunately this knife too has been discontinued by Spyderco.

We don’t know the reason, but we believe that a scandal regarding the Spyderco Advocate might have something to do with it. However, this knife’s fans are confident that both the Domino and the Dice will make a comeback with a revamped design. We keep our fingers crossed but we wouldn’t hold our breath until then. Meanwhile you can still buy this elegant folder from several retailers, including Amazon.

The Harpy: If you are keen on fishing and hunting, you will benefit from the quality and performance of the knives in this range. One of the products you will find here is the Harpy, which is a stylish and versatile knife. The knife is made from VG-10 steel and the blade is 2.75” in length. Overall, the knife is 6.5” and has a hollow grind and stainless steel handle.

The Jumpmaster 2: Survival knives need to be tough, durable, and easy to handle. You won’t be disappointed with the options in the survival range from Spyderco, which includes the Jumpmaster 2. A high-performing and versatile knife, this comes with an H-1 steel blade measuring 4.48”. Its overall length is 9.36” and the knife has a hollow grind.

The Lightweight Saver Salt: The knives in this category are designed for a variety of rescue situations. Amongst the choice available in this range is the Saver Salt Lightweight, which offers a choice of handle colors. The H-1 steel blade measures 3.09” and the overall length of the knife is 7.18”. It is a hollow-grind folding knife with a back-lock mechanism.

The Delica 4 Lightweight: Designed for tactical use and training, these pocket knives are tough, solid, and easy to handle. One of the tactical training knives you can opt for is the Delica 4 Lightweight Trainer, which is a purpose designed product with a blunted blade for training. It is made from AUS-6 steel and the blade is 2.75” in length. The overall length is 7” and the product has all the same mechanisms as the live version for use in real life tactical situations.

These are some of the key categories and products that you will find available from Spyderco. All these boast high quality and versatility, making them great value.

Read More: Best Pocket Knife for EDC [2020]: 21 Folding Knife Reviews

3. More About Cold Steel

Cold Steel was also founded at the beginning of the 1980s, and like Spyderco, it has more than 30 years of experience in this field. The company prides itself on being at the forefront of innovative knife designs that have had a real impact on the industry as a whole.

You can choose from various categories from this manufacturer and a good selection of knives within each one. Cold Steel has a variety of knives to choose from, whether you spend time out in the bush or if you are just looking to throw some knives at a stationary target at the family cabin on a lazy weekend away.

4. Popular Products & Specifications

The product range from Cold Steel is extensive, so you should be able to find exactly what you are looking for. The categories available include:

Cold Steel Trail Master: You can benefit from versatility and quality with one of the fixed-blade knives from Cold Steel. One of the models in this range is the Trail Master, which is made from O-1 High Carbon steel. The blade is 9.5” long the knife weighs 17.4 oz. It also comes with a 5” long Kray-Ex handle.

Tuff Lite Plain Edge Folding Knife: You will find some great, compact folding knives available from Cold Steel including the Tuff Lite Plain Edge. This knife offers superior grip with its Griv-Ex handle. The blade measures 2.5” and is made from Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel.

Weighting just 2.5 oz., this is an ultralight folder with an overall open length of 6”. The Tuff Lite Plain edge is a great tool knife for everyday carry or a trustworthy backup knife in one’s bug out bag that feels amazing in hand and comes razors sharp straight out of the box. It closely matches the performance of more expensive similar knives, and at its current price ($30), this tiny workhorse is an absolute steal!

Black Bear Bowie Machete: There are over 30 options within this category, with machetes available in a choice of styles and sizes. One of the products is the Black Bear Bowie Machete, which comes with a 1055 carbon steel blade and an anti-rust matte finish. It has a 12” blade and is 17.75” overall. This machete weighs in at 18.1 oz.

Steve Austin & Steven Seagal Collaborations: You will also find a selection of knives that have been designed in collaboration with celebrities to create unique signature products. This includes collections that have been designed with input from Steve Austin and Steven Seagal.

Perfect Balance Thrower: Cold Steel offers a choice of throwing knives, one of which is the Perfect Balance Thrower. This boasts 1055 carbon steel construction and a rust resistant finish. It weighs 15.4 oz. and the blade length is 9”

Finding the right knife for your needs should be simple and fast with Cold Steel. These products offer versatility and affordability in addition to quality and performance.

5. Which Manufacturer Should You Pick?

With both companies having roughly the same amount of experience in the field, it can be a challenge deciding which one to go with. Spyderco does offer an extensive range of categories and knife options, with an emphasis on higher end tools, which often translates into higher prices.

Cold Steel has fewer categories but still offers an impressive choice of knives as well as machetes, swords, celebrity-designed knives, and more. Pick Cold Steel if budget is tight but you still want an EDC that will not die out on you after the first few uses.

All in all, both U.S. knife makers are committed to innovative design, high-quality construction, and excellence in terms of performance. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

Featured image credit: brian.ch on Flickr

You Might Also Like: How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife Properly: Hunting & Survival Blade Sharpening Tips

The Out sider

See Also

Related Reads

Recent Posts