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Here to help you find the best Swiss Army Knife

Various Swiss Army Knives

Source Wikipedia

Just about everyone on this planet has heard of the Swiss Army Knife, a legend since the late 1800′s that is still strong as ever today.

So why is that a knife that was originally designed over 100 years ago is still being used today? Because I cannot think of many other products that have thrived, or even survived during this last century – especially as we are now well in to the digital age. To be honest it is not really difficult to work out why, the knives are so compact and versatile, fitting right in your pocket. It is like having a whole toolbox with you wherever you go.

If you have had any experience with Swiss Army multi tool knives you will know that there are many different models with different tools and gadgets for people doing all sorts of things. To help you find the best knife for you we have created the table below of the top 10 best selling Swiss Army penknives.

You can click on any of the pictures of the knives in the table below to read our full and in depth review.

Note: Rating is out of 5 and is provided by

1Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Huntsman

The Victorinox Huntsman is the ideal for companion for camper, hunters, hikers and backpackers alike. It has 15 multi purpose tools

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L: 91mm
W: 27mm
H: 21mm
2Victorinox Spartan Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Spartan

The Spartan by Victorinox is based on the original Officer's Knife from the very later 80's

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L: 91mm
W: 26.5mm
H: 15mm
3Victorinox Champ Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Champ

"Champ" as this knife is so aptly named features a champion 33 different tools

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L: 91mm
W: 27mm
H: 33mm
4Victorinox Hiker Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Hiker

This one is the Hiker's companion featuring 13 multi purpose tools

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L: 91mm
W: 26mm
H: 16.5mm
5Victorinox Escort Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Escort

It may not look like much but don't underestimate the lightweight "Escort" knife and its 6 various tools

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L: 58mm
W: 18mm
H: 8mm
6Victorinox Mini Champ Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Mini Champ

If the Champ is too big and heavy or has tools you don't need take a look at the Mini Champ as an alternative

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L: 58mm
W: 20mm
H: 15mm
7Victorinox Climber Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Climber

A compact climber's companion that features 14 versatile tools to help get you to your destination

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L: 91mm
W: 27mm
H: 18mm
8Victorinox Swiss Card LiteVictorinox Swiss Card Lite

The Swiss Card Lite is such a clever design allowing 13 useful tools to fit in to your wallet or purse taking no more room than a couple of credit cards

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L: 82mm
W: 54.5mm
H: 4.5mm
9Victorinox Rescue Tool Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Rescue Tool

Winner of the "Knife of the Year Award" in 2007 this knife was developed in collaboration with rescue services

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L: 122mm
W: 34.5
H: 21mm
10Victorinox Swiss Soldiers KnifeVictorinox Soldiers Knife

The updated version of the Swiss Soldiers Knife with all new special grip. Bigger and more versatile than ever before

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L: 111mm
W: 34.5mm
H: 18mm

Why Swiss Army Knives make such great presents

There is always that one really awkward person to buy for in the family. He or she pretty much has everything, or they just don’t know what they want. But whatever their profession or whatever their hobbies there is always one thing you could get them; a Swiss Army Knife. They are ultra versatile and there are so many different models with various different tool combinations that is literally one for everyone. Here is a list of short hobbies and professions a pocket knife would be an ideal partner to:

  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Box packing
  • Caravanning
  • Motorhoming
  • Marathon running

Just take a look at the best sellers list above and I bet you can think of someone in your family for each one. If you are feeling really generous and want to treat someone to the Guinness World Record holding knife it will cost you around £700!

What sorts are available

Victorinox have done a really great job of expanding the pocket knife range to more than just knives. I mean they do still have knives in them but they are far more sophisticated than the original models that were made some 100 years ago. They are available as tiny pocket knives with a few tools like a knife, file and tooth pick, while others have some 40+ tools including wacky things like compasses and nail clippers. They also now make the Victorinox Swiss Card which is a credit card sized multi tool that normally has about 10+ different applications. You can see an example of one in the top 10 list above.

A little bit of history

Modell 1890

Modell 1890 (Source Wikipedia)

The knives originated in the late 1880′s as a result of the Swiss Army wanting to upgrade the pocket knives that were issued to the soldiers. It was to include many versatile tools that would aid them in missions and on the battle field. The standard Swiss service rifle had to be assembled using a screwdriver and it just wasn’t practical giving each and every soldier one of those. And so the “Modell 1890″ (photographed right) was born. It was made of dark oak wood that would later be replaced by a more durable ebony wood. It consisted of a total of 5 tools including; knife, screwdriver, tin opener, grips and a reamer.

In 1891 a business owner named Karl Elsener whose company manufactured surgical equipment took on the venture to make the knives in Switzerland and by the end of the year was responsible for the all of the orders placed by the Swiss Army. Karl Elsener was an ambitious man and dreamed of a pocket knife so versatile that it could be released on to the open market too. By 1896 he had developed a revolutionary (at the time) spring system that allowed him to attach tools on either side of the knife meaning that more tools could be added – the knife now had twice as many applications as the original Modell 1890. This new knife was completed in 1897 and a patent was submitted  for “The Officer’s and Sports Knife”although it was never part of a contract with the military forces.

In 1893 a new player started selling a similar product thus offering some competition for Elsener and during the next few decades Elsener and Wenger (the other company) would battle for market share of this revolutionary product. Everything changed when in 1908 the Swiss government decided that to avoid any issues they would halve the contract between Victorinox and Wenger to supply the knives to which both companies agreed. Wenger would sell the knives using the tagline “Genuine Swiss Army Knife” while Victorinox would use “The Original Swiss Army Knife”.

The shield and cross logo used today is the same that Elsener used back in the later 1800′s and has become a true icon in the market. In the 1909 the company was renamed “Victorinox” in memory of Karl Elsener’s later mother Victoria. The name was a combination of his mother’s name and the French word for stainless steel inox.

Many years on in the April of 2005 Victorinox acquired Wenger and once again became the sole distributor of the knife. Victorinox even today still supply knives to the Swiss armed forces.

When do Swiss Army Knives come in handy?

Who uses them and who should use them are two completely different things. In my experience, these little knives are a must have for most people. There are circumstances that occur nearly ever day for people where a multi tool knife would come in really handy. Here is a list of a few of the situations you may find yourself without one:

  • You can’t find the bottle opener – we have all been there, just got home after a long and hard day’s work and all you want is a nice cold beer. You know they’re in the fridge ready and waiting for you. You grab one out and start rummaging through the cutlery and utensils draw in search of the bottle opener, but to your horror, the bottle opener isn’t there.
  • There is a knot in your favourite necklace – You finish getting dressed and add the finishing touches to your appearance ready for your meal out tonight when you notice a knot in the skinny chain of your favourite necklace, its the one you had planned to wear, the one that suits your outfit. You have managed to untangle it before using the sharp point of a pocket knife – if only you had one.
  • You’ve lost your pencil sharpener – Your in the office busy taking notes from a client who is rambling on down the telephone when the lead snaps in your pencil… typical eh! Good job you are organised and keep a pencil sharpener in your top drawer… well you did, but someone has borrowed it without returning it. A nice sharp knife would get you out of a muddle right about now.
  • Your screwdriver is too big and clumsy - You just never seem to have a screwdriver small enough for some of those jobs. Either the gap is too narrow to fit the screwdriver in, or the screw is buried deep in a narrow hole. The screwdriver you have is too big and will never fit in any of those little holes. A small pocket knife with built in screwdriver would do the trick – best put one on your Christmas list then.
  • You broke a nail and left your file at home – Sometimes you just can’t stand it any longer. That nail you broke earlier is catching on your clothes and is causing some immense pain and discomfort. Normally it would be okay becasue you could just file it down, that is if you hadn’t of forgotten your nail file. Most of those little Swiss Army Knives have a file built in.
  • The cork breaks off inside the bottle – You are out having a nice romantic picnic with your significant other and you decide it is a worthy celebration and so you bring out that lovely aged bottle of wine you’ve been dying to try a drop of. But as you open it the top of the cork breaks off leaving the bottom half lodged in the neck of a bottle. If only you had something long and pointy to negotiate it out.
  • And the list could go on forever…

Okay, so you get the idea. Those a just a few of the (very cheesy I might add) every day occurrences where having a Swiss Army Knife in your pocket would have rescued you. I say rescue, but you know what I mean. Talking of rescue – there have been numerous occasions where these clever little knives have actually rescued people, sometimes even from death. Victorinox has collated and published them on their website to show people just how you too could need the help of a trusty pocket knife - great idea! You can find the stories here that they published.

Your turn

Do you own one? or are you thinking of buying one? We would love to know which model and how you are getting on with – please leave us your messages in the comments section below.

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