Cold Steel could well be the knife brand that offers the best blade for the buck. Even if your budget is under $100, you’ll still be able to find that EDC pocket knife you’re looking for.
With the recent improvements they have been making, there’s never been a better time to buy a Cold Steel knife.
Back in 2015, the company made a decision to switch from Australian Aus-8 to American CTS-XHP. This is definitely an upgrade and you can see their cutting tests here. Field reports also confirm the CTS-XHP is tougher with better edge-retention.
Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad locks have been around for a few years now. Many still haven’t changed their opinion that this is the strongest lock on the market.
In the reviews below, you’ll find videos of some serious weight being hung from these locks.
So let’s jump right in with our list of the best Cold Steel folding knives for 2017.
6 of The Best Cold Steel Folders
|Black Talon 2||4" Blade|
CTS XHP Steel
|Rajah 2||6" Blade|
CTS XHP Steel
|Ultimate Hunter||3.5" Blade|
CTS XHP Steel
|American Lawman||3.5" Blade|
CTS XHP Steel
8 1.8" Total
|Code 4||3.5" Blade|
CTS XHP Steel
6061 Aluminum Handle
|Voyager XL||5.5" Blade|
CTS XHP Steel
Cold Steel Black Talon II Review
If you’re looking for a “Combat Folder”, with a large-enough edge for self-defense and a great lock – the Cold Steel Talon II is it.
Similar to the Spyderco Civilian (but with a reinforced tip and thicker spine), the Talon makes use of the “Reverse S” design. This design suits people who are perhaps not trained in knife fighting. It allows them to rip, cut and slash and then get the hell out of there!
Here is an older video of the Talon 1. It’s still useful to see what to expect from this blade design.
That’s not to say the Talon II will not perform in utility tasks. It will! Its serrations will let you cut through cardboard, zip ties and even metal fasters like paper. And at just 4.8 oz, it’s actually lighter than many smaller and less powerful combat folders.
“The Pocket Chainsaw”
The blade itself measures 4”, plenty of real estate for most daily cutting or sawing tasks. Some users have nicknamed it “The Pocket Chainsaw” for its ability to shred nearly any material.
One of the biggest complaints you’ll see with serrated edges on EDC knives is how difficult they are to sharpen. But with the next-generation Carpenter CTS XHP steel, the mileage you get out of one sharpening has increased by orders of magnitude.
If you have large hands, the Talon’s generous 5.5″ G10 handle will let you find a sure grip. The textured G10 is also contoured with a nicely apportioned finger choil for improved control and safety. As you can see from the picture, there is also a generous amount of jimping on the top of the handle as well.
The blade is locked by Cold Steel’s patented Tri-Ad locking system. The Talon II can withstand deliberate, maximum strength pounding of the blade’s reverse side while extended without spontaneous buckling. There is also a thumb-stud to help you get the blade out quickly when you need to.
A downside to this knife is you need to take care with the sharp, hawkbill blade. It’s tip heavy which makes it great for defensive slashing, but closes faster than expected. So get those fingertips out of the way!
If you’re looking for a 4″ Combat folder that has great steel, a great lock and a great price, the CS Talon 2 ticks all the boxes.
- CTS XHP semi-stainless steel
- Serrated blade, hawk-bill point
- 4” blade
- G10 handle
- Ambidextrous pocket clip
- Tip heavy so closes fast
Cold Steel Rajah 2 Review
The Rajah 2 is a pocket kukri. Let that sink in for a second! A pocket kukri. Rather be over-prepared than underprepared? Then prepare to fall in love.
We talked about how effective the Nepalese Kukri is on the battlefield elsewhere. Cold Steel also know a fair bit about how to make a decent kukri. Their fixed blade version we reviewed here is one of the best you can buy for the money. But how does their pocket-version stack up?
Well, first check out the video. You’ll be amazed by how fast the knife deploys for such a giant folding knife. And look at them hanging 405lb’s of weight off the damn thing.
As you can see, the Rajah 2 performs exactly as you’d expect the fixed-blade version too. It chops through meat like butter and the blade geometry give it a tremendous amount of piercing power too.
This would make the perfect knife to take with you out into the wilderness. Perhaps when camping, hiking or when you want the reassurance of carrying a “do everything” knife that means business.
As far as specs go, the Rajah 2 was made with AUS-8 but was recently upgraded to CTS-XHP steel. A blade size of 6″, makes it a very large folder. Snapping it open would make just about anybody reconsider their life choices, but you need to check local laws (and park laws) for its legality.
The handle is made of “Grivory”, which sounds nice but is a thermoplastic similar to FRN. As you can see from the above video, it’s 8″ allows for a number of different grip positions. This will allow you to either chop with full-force power or get some really fine control over the blade. Just like with a traditional kukri.
The sheer size of the Rajah 2 wouldn’t put it top of most people’s EDC list. However, it can go in the back of your jean pockets, on a belt or lashed to a pack.
If you shop around online (and it is listed on Amazon) you can get the Cold Steel Rajah 2 for a great price in 2017.
- Pocket Kukri
- Super Durable
- Fast Opening
- Tri-Ad Lock
- Awesome chopping power
- Too large to EDC comfortably
Cold Steel Ultimate Hunter
Tested by real hunters over a 3 year trial period, the Ultimate Hunter has been refined for the tough and dirty work of cleaning and skinning game under real-world conditions. It’s no-nonsense, functional design makes it a favorite for hunters and EDC users alike.
The blade is made from carpenter CTS XHP steel with a hardness rating of 61. This makes it a much better steel than say Aus-8, which you find in many folding knives. And unlike other “Super Steels”, the CTS XHP is quick and easy to return to a razor-sharp edge in the field.
The handle provides plenty of gripping room at 5”. The G10 material is textured and contoured, providing a solid grip even when the knife becomes covered in blood, rain or snow. The flat grind comes razor sharp out of the box and the drop point tip penetrates thick skin like it was Saran Wrap. Just click the thumbnail to see it cutting thick leather with ease:
There’s also an ambidextrous pocket clip able to be worn on the left or right side. It also features Cold Steel’s patented Tri-Ad locking mechanism which ensures the blade will stay locked even under the heaviest blows. As you can see in the above video, it holds 150lb with ease.
Despite all its ruggedness, the Ultimate Hunter is still very light at just 4.9 oz. This makes it a great EDC knife as well as easy to take on the trail.
Some buyers may be put off by the price. But especially with knives of this kind, you really do get what you pay for.
Between the advanced materials and the nearly flawless design, the Ultimate Hunter is just what it claims to be – the ultimate pocket folder for hunters. It’s well worth the premium.
- Super CTS XHP steel, HRC 61
- 5”, G10 handle
- Drop point, flat grind
- Tri-Ad locking mechanism
- Ambidextrous pocket clip
- Expensive for Cold Steel
Cold Steel American Lawman Review
You expect a knife to be dependable. Well, the Cold Steel Lawman is solid, with great steel and a powerful lock up. Add in Cold Steel’s patented Tri-Ad locking mechanism and you really have a knife you can rely on.
When you consider the Lawman weighs an amazing 1.6 oz, it’s an ultra-light folder which is perfect for EDC. As unbelievably light as it is, the Lawman has passed Cold Steel’s brutal torture tests with flying colors. This is truly a next-generation folding knife.
Just click the thumbnail to see for yourself:
CTS XHP “Supersteel”
TheColdsteel Lawman makes use of one of the newest production steels on the market, Carpenter CTS XHP. This steel has some remarkable properties including enormous tensile strength and a 62 hardness rating.
It also has spectacular edge retention far beyond what the hardness rating alone implies. The extreme strength allows for a knife with just a 3.5mm thick blade. The blade is hollow ground for maximum cutting power with a drop point tip. Due to CTS XHP not being technically stainless, the blade is covered in a black, diamond-like coating (DLC) finish. Given the already corrosion resistant nature of the steel, this makes the blade impermeable to rust.
Moving on to the handle, it’s G-10 with nicely done scaling and contouring including a generous finger choil. It feels great in the hand and provides a superb, high-friction grip.
People will point to the Lawman being made in Taiwan as it’s main drawback. However, as we mentioned over on the Spyderco page, Taiwan has a history of making some pretty decent blades. It’s also worth pointing out the blades from Taiwan are in a different class to those from China.
Overall, the American Lawman is in a new genre of ultra-light, ultra-strong folding knives that actually outperform their much bulkier peers. And at just $83.34 – it really shows the great value that you get with Cold Steel.
- Carpenter CTS XHP “super steel”
- G10 Handle
- Diamond-like coating
- Tri-ad locking mechanism
- Made in Taiwan
Cold Steel Code 4 Review
Designed primarily for law enforcement, the Code 4 has great cutting power, is extremely durable and has a great locking action.
At just 0.35″ it’s thinner than a disposable lighter, which makes it a great knife for EDC purposes. The pocket clip, smooth gunmetal finish and backward sweep of the knife make it a pleasure to carry. It will sit comfortably in the rear of your pocket, yet still be easy to get to in a hurry.
Like many of Cold Steel’s updated range, the Code 4 uses Carpenter CTS XHP steel. With an HRC rating of 61 and incredible edge retention, it’s hard to ask for a better steel at this price point.
Just check out Cold Steel’s promo video to see the cutting and torture tests.
Did you see how it went through that meat? The only thing I didn’t like was the slow opening mechanism. The Tri-Ad lock can be a bit stiff initially. As we discussed elsewhere, a fast opening and closing action is optimal for a tactical EDC and this is a bit disappointing.
Still, everything else about the knife if great. The handle is made of 6060 aluminum and is 5” long, plenty for even larger hands to grip. It’s nicely contoured with a large finger choil to prevent choking up when piercing and stabbing.
With a blade length of 3.5”, it’s easily concealable, yet large enough to provide for serious cutting capacity. It also makes it legal to carry in many states.
The spear point blade is great for skinning game and many other tasks you’d expect The Code 4 also comes in a tanto, clip point and combo edge to suit your fancy,
The downside to the Code 4 as mentioned is the stiff opening and closing mechanism. But there’s no doubt, once its locked and in place this is a knife you can really rely on when the SHTF.
- Carpenter CTS XHP steel
- 6061 aluminum handles
- Tri-ad Lock
- Ambidextrous opening stud
- Ambidextrous, stainless pocket clip
- Stiff Opening / Closing Mechanism
Cold Steel Voyager XL Tanto Review
At over 12″ long, Cold Steel Voyager XL really is a pocket machete! It is surgical-scalpel sharp, yet it’s light weight makes it a favorite EDC for many.
The Voyager’s design makes it a great knife for self defense. The tanto design reinforces the tip so it’s deadly effective at piercing and stabbing. And a handle length almost 7 inches gives you an extended range.
The 5.5” blade is chisel-ground for maximum sharpness. Beware – At 12.25” total length, it’s a beast – but also a lot of fun too 🙂 CS has somehow managed to keep the weight down to just 6.5 oz.
The steel on Voyager series has been upgraded from Aus-8 steel to Carpenter’s CTS XHP. This is a much better steel as it will hold an edge longer, yet still be easy to sharpen.
You do need to be really careful of the blade steel, because some online listings are shipping the older AUS-8. Also, the newer versions have removable pocket clips which is a big plus.
The Voyager XL comes with Cold Steel’s patented Tri-Ad locking system. This is one of the strongest liner locks in the business and is torture tested to extreme tolerances. This blade will stay locked no matter what you subject it to. There’s also an ambidextrous opening stud and reversible pocket clip to make things easier.
Cold Steel describe their Voyager series as for “Everyman”, being perfect for camping, fishing, hunting and EDC. Here’s their promo video and torture test of the Voyagers.
The only real downside of this knife is for the price you could buy 4 lesser folders. However, given the quality and capabilities of this beast, you won’t regret picking up a Voyager XL.
If size is a problem, check out the 3″ version.
- AUS8 stainless steel
- Tri-Ad lock system
- Removable pocket clip
- Fast opening, ambidextrous thumb stud
- Extended Range
- Takes up a lot of pocket space