Most of the time, a knife is a handy convenience to have. But when you really need it—and I mean need it, like you’re being dragged deeper underwater by your diving gear and slicing a cord will save your life, or you’re struggling to get out of your seatbelt after a crash—a good knife can make all the difference.
So of course, when Fox Cutlery claims to make tough, versatile EDC knives at the forefront of “quality and innovation,” we want to put that to the test to verify it for ourselves.
In this Fox Cutlery review, we’ll look at the brand overall, select a few knives that caught our attention, and share the pros and cons of these tools so you can know exactly if these are the blades and tools you want on your belt or in your pocket when the time comes.
The Fox Cutlery Difference
Fox Knives (also known as Fox Cutlery) is a subdivision of Fox Group, a knife designer company that specializes in combat-ready knives and tactical gear (via their Defcon 5 brand).
The company, founded in 1977 by Oreste Frati, lives up to its motto of “We make knives sharp!” It combines technological innovation with tried-and-tested Italian forging and blacksmithing processes dating back more than 1,000 years.
From the town of Maniago where the company was established comes some of the best blades (used for knives and scissors for top-name brands), but Fox Cutlery has become a leader in its industry. In fact, it is even an official supplier to NATO (yes, that NATO!) and has won multiple awards for its knives, including the IWA International Knife Award and Blade Magazine Award (as “Overall Knife Of The Year” for both 2018 and 2019).
As the company makes clear on their website: “Each FOX knives product undergoes careful analysis and strict controls that guarantee quality.” As a result of their high manufacturing standards and the tough-as-nails steel used in their blades, Fox Cutlery has earned a reputation as a brand that produces reliable knives designed to last for years of rough-and-rugged use.
Our Favorite Fox Folding Knife: Saturn
Folding knives are the go-to for most users, who want a tool that’s compact enough to fit into a pocket (or on their tool belt) but still has a blade large enough to whittle, carve wood, butcher game, or for self-defense. So we had to test some in our Fox Cutlery review.
The Fox Saturn is one of the best folding knives we’ve had the chance to try. The double-edged blade is fairly small—just 2.56 inches long—but it’s thick enough (at .12”) that it can stand up to hardcore use (like cutting through animal hides or carving wood). Though it weighs just 4.59 ounces, it’s made from M390 stainless steel, which means it’s incredibly durable and holds its edge.
M390 Stainless Steel (also called Böhler M390) is an Austrian-made metal considered a “specialty steel.” Originally made for ball bearings, injector moulds, and jet engine parts, it’s incredibly resistant to wear and tear and has amazing sharpness retention. It’s also hardened to high hardness without breaking, and can take a thinner edge than other stainless steels. Really, the only downsides are that it’s expensive and requires a ceramic or diamond-coated sharpener to put an edge on it.
The HRC 59-61 hardness rating means it will stand up to any use and won’t be damaged by saltwater, freshwater, blood, or animal digestive juices. The black titanium handle and pocket clip are both equally tough, and have been PVD-coated to both increase grip and extend the knife’s lifespan.
The double edges cut, pierce, slice, and slash with beautiful efficiency. The knife has been designed for quick one-handed deployment (using your thumb), so you can always whip it out in a matter of seconds for any situation.
What we like:
- Ultra-tough metal won’t stain, rust, or scratch
- Very hard to chip or damage; point won’t break
- Compact and lightweight
- Excellent sharpness retention
- Fits into any pocket, pack, or vest
- Designed in both left- and right-handed configurations
- Quick deployment
What we don’t like:
- Hard to sharpen (requires ceramic or diamond-coated sharpener)
- Blade may be too short for all outdoors/job site/combat applications
Our Favorite Fox Fixed-Blade Knife: Bushman
Fixed-blade knives are more practical in hunting, combat, diving, and survival situations. They can also be used as throwing knives, sheathed on your belt, or even tucked into your boot as an easily accessible self-defense tool. They’re sturdier and can handle chopping, cutting, breaking glass, skinning and butchering game, prying windows and doors (great for a construction site!), and even hammering in tent stakes, food prep, eating when camping.
The Fox Bushman was one of the first Fox Knives we tested in our Fox Cutlery review, and it still remains our favorite to this day. Yes, it’s too long to be fully portable (that’s why we tested folding knives, too), but for any camping, hunting, fishing, diving, or even hiking/climbing trips, it’s a knife we always make sure to have handy for any situation.
The knife blade itself is 6.3 inches long, with the handle adding another 5.12 inches. The blade is just 0.2 inches thick and all together, knife and handle weigh just over 13 ounces. Like the Saturn, it has a hardness rating of HRC 59-61, which makes it perfect for a wide range of uses. However, instead of using the same M390 stainless steel as the Saturn, it’s forged from D2 stainless steel instead.
D2 stainless steel is a “high carbon, high chromium” steel, one of the chromium-alloyed steels that were first invented in the late 1800s. It was frequently used by the British in World War I for a wide range of applications—including combat knives—and thanks to its high cobalt content, set the standard for its corrosion-resistance, great hardness, and above-average edge retention. It’s also a budget-friendly steel used in many knives due to its reliability.
The handle is made from Micarta, an interesting composite material that combines fabrics (like linen, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and/or canvas) in thermoplastics, which harden to form a pressure-resistant, heat-resistant, durable solid material. The handle offers excellent grip and has been contoured to fit snugly in your fingers. It’s also tinted OD green to match the color of military uniforms.
The knife blade ends in a straight-back point, which offers both a long cutting edge, excellent stability of the blade itself, and a very sturdy point great for stabbing and slicing both. It’s an ultra-versatile knife that will be incredibly handy in every application from combat to hunting to diving to on-the-job uses.
What we like:
- Very well-built and sturdy design
- Solid D2 steel holds its edge and resists damage
- Affordable cost
- Good heft, swings and stabs well in your hand
- Excellent grip design
- Reliable, won’t break, bend, crack, or pit
What we don’t like:
- Too long for EDC carry
- Steel may lose its sharpness quickly, requires regular sharpening
- Blade is on the shorter side for outdoors/survival/combat use
Our Favorite Fox Statement Knife: Karambit Titanium
Our favorite knife in our Fox Cutlery review is the Karambit Titanium. It’s designed entirely for slashing and hooking motions, used almost exclusively in combat or self-defense applications (though it is suitable for gutting fish and skinning game). The short, hooked blades and the back ring make it quick and easily deployable in a situation where you find yourself fighting for your life.
The blade of the Karambit Titanium is just 2.56 inches long, ending in a hawkbill point that can serve for piercing/puncturing applications, though it’s chiefly a slashing and hooking blade. When folded out, the entire blade is just 6.89 inches long, and folds down small enough you can stow it in a pocket, on your vest, or even in a boot-top. Best of all, it weighs just 2.8 ounces and the blade is 0.12” thick, making it ultra-lightweight and perfect for carrying with a lot of tactical or combat gear.
The handle is made from carbon fiber on a titanium frame, and the back ring is also made from sturdy, impact-resistant titanium. The knife blade itself is made using Elmax stainless steel.
Elmax stainless steel is a powdered-steel made by Bohler, the same company that makes M390 (used for the Saturn). The combination of chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum into the steel produces an alloy that has incredibly high wear resistance, industry-leading resistance to corrosion, and high compressive strength. It also retains its size and form after hard wear and both holds its edge and is incredibly easy to sharpen.
What we like:
- Excellent sharpness and edge retention
- Doesn’t dull often, and is easy to sharpen
- Quick and easy to deploy
- Compact, lightweight
- Great for combat and self-defense applications
- Sturdy handle offers excellent grip
- Durable steel won’t break, crack, or rust
What we don’t like:
- Blade is very short
- Hooked blade not suitable for multiple uses—pretty much only functions for combat or self-defense
- Pricey compared to competitor blades
Fox Knives Honorable Mentions
There were a few Fox knives that we tested for our Fox Cutlery review and though they weren’t our absolute favorites, we still thought they deserved an honorable mention for their quality, reliability, and versatility:
Fox Knives Mini Fox
This short folding pen knife makes for the perfect desktop ornament, great for slicing open packages or envelopes in style. The blade is just 1.97 inches long, and when opened, the entire knife is only 4.61 inches—small enough to fit in any penholder or desk organizer. However, the palisander wood handles and nickel silver bolsters give it a truly elegant look that will complement any office décor. The 420C stainless steel blade is both affordable and guaranteed to last a lifetime (with frequent sharpenings, of course).
Fox Knives Military Explorer
This fixed-blade knife is ideal for combat situations, and is one of the toughest, most reliable tactical knives on the market. The straight point is ideal for slicing and stabbing both, and the serrated back-edge has serious sawing power. With its 7.28-inch, 13.23-ounce blade made from 440 stainless steel, it’s a knife ready for any rough-and-rugged situation.
Fox Knives Gurkha
Designed in the classic, ultra-effective Gurkha knife style, this machete is the ideal tool to take camping, mountain climbing, adventure trekking, or jungle exploring. The 440 stainless steel blade has been coated with black Idroglider to reinforce the steel against pitting, rust, breakage, or chipping, and the FRN nylon reinforced fiberglass and moulded rubber handle sits firmly in your hand through every swing, chop, and slash. It’s the ultimate portable alternative to an axe, great for chopping firewood or cutting branches to set up a shelter.
Our Thoughts on the Fox Cutlery Knives
In preparation for writing this Fox Cutlery review, I was fortunate enough to test out a few of the knives for myself. As a lifelong knife aficionado (though let’s be honest, what young man isn’t?), I was eager to put these blades to the test in real-life applications and circumstances where they’d be able to shine.
And I wasn’t disappointed!
Every one of the knives I tested held up to seriously hardcore use. I pushed each to the max, testing their edge retention, tensile point, damage-resistance, and even left the Karambit Titanium soaking in water for a week to see if it would develop rust. Time and again, the knives proved that they were worth their premium price tag.
Are Fox Cutlery Knives Worth It?
Absolutely! The price tag on these knives are a bit higher than you’d pay for even mid-ranged knives. They’re priced significantly above “average” compared to other U.S., German, and Japanese-made knives. If you’re thinking budget-friendly, Fox Cutlery isn’t the brand for you.
But if you’re looking for a knife (or three) that will last you a lifetime and hold up to any application, Fox is the brand to consider. Every time I’ve put these knives to the test, they’ve proven they truly are designed with just the right combination of age-old techniques and innovative materials that make them superior to many other knives I’ve tested.
Who are Fox Cutlery Knives For?
Fox Cutlery is for anyone who is willing to pay a bit more for a knife that will hold an edge, withstand hardcore use, and offer years of reliability. Fox Cutlery is a brand used by NATO and other military forces, with many of their knives designed specifically for combat, tactical, and self-defense circumstances.
However, their broad range of knife designs makes it easy to find the right knife for any purpose: hunting, camping, EDC, fishing, urban use, survival, diving, adventure travel, hiking, climbing, trekking, backpacking, cooking, and even for display.
Fox Cutlery Knives Final Thoughts
From the moment I opened the box until I sat down to write this Fox Cutlery review, I was enchanted and delighted by the knives I was fortunate enough to test. While they’re far from budget-friendly, I was left with no doubt they’d be up to any task I needed them for, and would withstand years of hard use.
I can easily see someone (myself included) buying these knives to carry around every day, use on a job site, or take into the great outdoors with them. They’re just so darned reliable and designed for every application. Quality and innovation, indeed!