Frame Lock vs Liner Lock: Which is The Best Pocket Knife?

Pocket knives are necessary equipment that you should carry while hiking or roaming somewhere. They are quite easier as well as convenient to move with. But there are a number of pocket knives available in the market with a wide range of diversified design and locking mechanisms.

Frame lock knives and liner lock knives are extensively popular among people nowadays. They have tremendous parities and disparities and choosing among them based on your personal preferences can be an overwhelming experience.

So in this Frame lock vs Liner lock comparison guideline, we shall evaluate the intricate and minor details of each brand to unveil their respective values. So, let’s start with its key features and conveniences.

Key Features of Frame Lock

Unlike Lockback knives or liner knives, frame lock knives are a recent invention. It is designed by Chris Reeve, the famous designer of Sebenza. Frame lock bears his name since many people know these knives as Reeve Integral Locks. What are the features that make frame locks different? These are as follows:

  • Frame locks are exquisitely sharp. So they slice through different sorts of objects easily. However, they are not as sharp as kitchen knives.
  • It’s made of thick metal. So the chance of security and strength is pivotally increased.
  • The locking mechanism is much easier due to its design. And using one hand is enough to close or open it. 
  • Much easier to clean frame locks compared to other knives, such as Inkosi or Axis

These features simply make this pocket knife something to be reckoned with. However, liner locks are not laggard though. They have their distinctive knot as well.

5 Best Frame Lock knives

Key Features of Liner Lock

Liner lock’s history dates back more than a century. It was extensively used in the military then. And through years of improvement, liners have come to this state of excellence now. Let’s have a brief look at their staggering features.

  • The liner lock offers two-sided handles. So it gives you a better grasp while cutting.
  • Its locking system is superb due to its side spring bar. That means it won’t be off due to some excessive pressure.
  • Unlike frame, it provides a number of variations including two-sided blades.
  • Easy openable and closeable using only one hand.

There are other minor but subtle features as well. But these features perhaps cannot make you decide which one is better than the other. So we need to compare and contrast some of their qualities and specifications to come to a conclusion about their worth.

4 Comparing factors of Frame Lock vs Liner Lock

So, let’s now look more closely at the 3 major comparing facts and figures to evaluate which one of them is better. We shall judge their material, handle, sharpness, durability, locking mechanism, and price one by one. 

1 .Material Handle and Design

Material:  It is unnecessary to mention here that material is of utmost importance to manufacturing any sort of equipment. High-quality materials give the product a solid strength and the ability to work better.

Frame lock knives, also known as Skinlock, are usually made out of Titanium slabs. This 3-milliliter slab layered and coated with flax fiber over it. The layer is not a thicker one; yet, it makes the knife thick enough to be flexible. It gives an aesthetic look as well.

On the other hand, Liner lock knives are mostly made of Titanium and steel alloy. And there are no such coatings to strengthen the knife in liners. However, it doesn’t make the liner fragile and brittle.

Handle: On the first look, you may not find any difference in the handle structure of both knives. However, there are a few simple disparities. 

In frames, Titanium made handles are traditionally designed. It may be a comfort for many. Liners look almost the same; but they are more steely. So they are good for hunting purposes.

Design: There are no big differences in the designs of both knives apart from the fact that liners come with a wide range and varieties to choose from.

Comparison Table: Material, handle and design

Factors    Frame Lock      Liner Lock
1.MaterialPure TitaniumSteel and Titanium alloy
2. HandleTraditionalTraditional and exquisite
3. DesignDelicate and fineDelicate and fine

2. Sharpness and Durability

Knives are meant to be sharp. Pocket knives need to be edgy and keen as well. These two types are not as sharp as kitchen knives, but they are sharp enough to be your campaigning companion. 

Both knives have near equal sharpness. But frame locks are more durable due to its better layering. However, it should be remembered that sharpness and durability walk through the opposite roads. So if you happen to meet one, you’ll surely miss the other. 

Comparison Table: Sharpness and Durability of Frame and Lock

FactsFrame lockLiner lock
SharpnessQuite sharpEqually edgy
DurabilityMore durableComparatively less durable

3. Locking Mechanism

Here comes the most subtle and important part of a pocket knife: the locking process. If it works properly, the knifesmith of a particular knife can be declared excellent.

The locking mechanism of frame lock is such that a portion of frame will be engaged to lock the knife’s blade. So the frame itself bent to give hardiness to the pointing blade. 

Contrarily, the liner locks usually have a small liner to support the underneath of the blade during its projection. But these knives use spring bars to prevent them from being closed suddenly. It works, but makes it vulnerable in long-term usage.

As far as the locking and closing procedures of both types are concerned, frame locks can be a better choice since it won’t be easily closed due to excessive pressure. Despite having the same outward appearance, the frame has more inner strength. But it makes the knife a bit heavier and it is prone to closing with a bit of hassle.

4. Price Evaluation

Budget is a significant matter before choosing any product, especially Frame Lock vs Liner Lock. So the price of a knife is crucial for many. And the money you will spend is worth spending or not is a matter of consideration as well.

Frame locks offer from low to high budgeted knives. Kershaw flippers are most common in frames due to their mediocre price. It also offers Zero tolerance flippers of high-quality knives at an expensive price. Interestingly, they have lower priced knives as well.

On the other side, liners are generally of mediocre budgeted knives and their products are quite affordable. Spyderco is most common among them. So, the liner is budget-friendly and the frame is, because of the quality, a bit pricey.

Comparison Table: Price of Frame and Liner knives

FactorsFrame LockLiner lock
PriceExpensive, medium and low budgeted availableMostly average price

Do all these nuisances of details can make you a bit hesitant? Yeah, it’s an awkward affair to decide. So to facilitate your decision now let’s put side by side two distinctive knives of both types to look at their respective qualities and defects. Then you can pick up the most suitable one you prefer.

Kershaw Leek vs Spyderco Tenacious

These two are widely used knives and can be considered as the vanguard of frame and liner lock. They are good equipment to carry wherever you go out. Kershaw manufactures frame locks and Spyderco manufactures liner locks. Through looking at them at close quarters, you may find out and decide the temerity of each type.

Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife 1660

Kershaw manufacturers are dominating the realm of pocket knives today. It is a frame knife of high quality and exceptional ability. Their knifesmith has been proven many times since they use innovative design and incredible strength. Unlike Zero Tolerance, they are affordable as well.

Leek knives are modified versions of Kershaw frame lock, having good slicing capacity and flexible flipping. Sandvik 14C28N steel is normally used to increase sharpness and to resist corrosion.

This knife can be used in one hand due to its secure and smooth opening and closing. The specifically designed torsion bar attached in the frame itself moves and locks the blade to avoid any unexpected closure. And you know perhaps, unnecessary closures can be dangerous.

The handle provides enough grip and the chance of slipping or missing any cut is likely not to happen. Kershaw designed the frame lock with two identical metal pieces on both sides of the blade. While opening you the metal automatically moves to prevent closing. To close it, you need to push the side frame to allow the blade to be folded into the handle.

Few Specifications:

  • 14C28N corrosion resistive sandwich steel
  • Weigh 0.19 pounds
  • 3 inches blade length, enough for hunting
  • 7″×1″×1″ HWD dimensions
  • Speedy but safe opening and closure

Pros:

  • Versatile and durable
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Both hands oriented
  • Stable frame lock mechanism
  • SpeedSafe Assisted Opening

Cons:

  • Locking failure for prolonged usage
  • Vulnerable if not used for a long time
  • Pricey a bit

Spyderco Tenacious 3.39″ Folding Knife

From the foundation of Spyderco in 1976,  Tenacious has proven itself to be a game changing product of liner lock mechanisms. It is tough, hardy and worthy to be used in any given situation. It is a staggering EDC (every day carry) knife with good performance and reliability.

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This liner lock knife uses an 8Cr13MoV blade of superior quality. The blade is, of course, stainless and is layer with a non-reflective coating. It makes the knife incredibly stable.

The hand is laminated with G-10 that enhances the ergonomics in case of long-term usage. It’s especially designed to be pocket friendly: an easy equipment to carry.

The most aesthetic feature of Spyderco is perhaps the round hole in the blade that lies at the thick part of the handle. However, the handle itself is not thick or bulky to be irritating.

Walker Linerlock has made it smooth for the liner to lock the blade properly. Continuous cutting won’t make it something unworthy; yet, prolonged periods of perfect usage can make this knife (and other knives as well) less efficient. This drawback is quite common in the knife market and it should not stop you from buying them.

Few Specification:

  • 6″×1″×1″ HWD dimensions
  • Multiple serrations and diverse design available
  • 3.39″ Blade length
  • Aesthetic round hole of .51″ in the blade.
  • Solid 8Cr13MoV steel

Pros:

  • Aesthetic and dashing look
  • Manufacturer warranty
  • Sharp blade and hardy handle
  • Affordable price
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Not as robust as frame locks
  • Not suitable for novice

Comparison Table: Kershaw Leek vs Spyderco Tenacious

FactorsKershaw leek knifeSpyderco folding knife
1.LooksTraditional lookAesthetic look
2.WeightWeighty and hardLightweight
3.WarrantyLifetime warrantyWarranty not specified
4.PriceExpensive and priceyAffordable

When you should buy for Frame Locks

Now it is an important question to ponder over: when you should buy frame knives? The answer lies in your  personal preferences and choices.

If your wallet is a bit thicker then you should obviously try for frame lock. It will give you sharpness, stability and lifetime warranty. Tasks like hunting and hiking would be much easier using these sorts of knives.

Frame Lock vs Liner Lock

But if you have the task to open and close the blade more frequently then it is not a better choice. The frame locks the blade tightly enough not to be closed easily. It is designed thus to give rigidity to the blade. And for the low budget, it is not a good choice either.

When you should buy Liner locks

This is also a pivotal question for you as a potential buyer for Frame Lock vs Liner Lock. The query needs to be answered. But, to be frank, it also depends on what kind of product and what sort of service you expect.

When you have a tighter budget, when your wallet is thin, you should opt for liners. That doesn’t mean you’ll get some bad products. Liners have proven their worth many times.

Frame Lock vs Liner Lock

They are robust and hardy. Their locking mechanism is quite easy and simple. And the price is not beyond your grasp. So what do you want more from Liner locks?

Now, we are optimistic that you can firm your eye on either frame or liner without much hesitation.

Quick Tips

It is always advisable to use knives with enormous care. Don’t use too old equipment for hunting. And try to sharpen the knives every six months. Without sharpening knives, the quality of the knives will be reduced.

Apart from sharpening, you need to beware of your fingers while slicing and cutting something. Your fingers may have minor cuts and damages in case of sheer negligence. Don’t use knives in bone-like hard substances as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Frame Lock vs Liner Lock

This part of the article is quite important. It is because this part compiled all the basic confusion about the product. We Hope, we could answer all of your questions in this part. let’s find out more about this FAQ.

How does a liner lock knife work?

While opening the blade, a liner spring bar moves inward and prevents the blade from closing. While closed, the bar prevents unwanted opening.

Are liner lock knives legal in UK?

Unfortunately, you cannot move with liner knives in public places in UK; unless you have some good reasons and excuses. In other countries, like USA, it is permissible.

What is Axis lock knife?

Axis lock knife is a kind of pocket knife that uses liners at the rear of the to lock it. While opened, the tang portion engages and stops from abrupt closure.

Are liner locks safe?

Liner locks are safe and secure to use for short-terms. But since they rely on a particular piece of metal, it is vulnerable to extensive use. The blade quality is also of comparatively weaker. For new knife users, it is not a good choice.

What is the strongest knife lock?

There are five common locks widely used today. They are liner, frame, lockback, axis, slip joint & friction folder. It is quite difficult to decide; yet, frame locks can be considered as strongest.

What is a slip joint pocket knife?

Slipjoint knife is a knife with two distinctive blades within the handle. In countries such as Germany and Britain, due to security issues, Slipjoint knives are a good alternative.

Is Speyderco made in China?

Spyderco knives are made in both China and the US. However, the Chinese made are quite affordable and reliable retaining the quality.

Conclusion:

Both locks actually follow the same concept and design. Nevertheless, the frame lock knives are stronger than the liners because they use more metals. And the liners useless metal; so it becomes a bit weaker than the frame. Therefore, they give you products at a lesser cost.

If your hand is a smaller one and you are not accustomed to weightier knives then we would like to advise you to choose the liner-oriented knives.

But some people prefer a bit heavier products. Others even have big hands. For them, frames can be optimum preferences. Frames are also good for longer periods of use.

Hopefully, Frame lock vs Liner lock guidelines has helped you to decide your lovely knives according to your preferences. All knives have drawbacks of their own. But you should choose based on their respective benefits. I hope that you get your desired and favorite type of knife.

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