Celebrate the Best Knives of 2021 with the 4th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards

Presented by: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpeners

[UPDATED 1/20/22]: Adjusted deadline dates for the SpydieChef contest, updated instructions for Instagram participation

It is that time of year again: the KnifeNews Readers’ Choice Awards are back, brought to you by Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpeners! We can’t wait to see what you will choose for your favorite knives of 2021.

Last year we altered the categories somewhat, ditching the Most Innovative award in favor of a Kitchen Knife category. This year there are no further changes to categories themselves, but as you’ve noticed we moved the awards back a bit, the better to incorporate last minute releases. Sometimes a knife that was announced earlier in the year takes a while to become actually available (especially with pandemic supply issues), and you never know when a manufacturer might have a late year surprise up its sleeve. Rather than wait for the next year to include these knives, we hope to give them a crack at the awards for the actual year of their release.

Tell Us Who You Want to Be in Each Category, Tell Us Why, Win a Cool Knife

As in previous years, the winners in each category will be chosen through a poll (details on when/how to vote below). When we choose which knives to list in each poll, we work hard to be as inclusive, fair, and wide-reaching as we can – but there’s always the risk that we miss out on something that deserves to be on there. We include a Write-In option to give these overlooked knives a fighting chance, but this year we want to go a step further.

We would love it if you gave us a little (just a couple of sentences) write-up about one or two of your 2021 favorites. These are the Readers’ Choice Awards, after all, so tell us what you liked best and why. We’ll go through these writeups to help ensure we put the most deserving knives in each category, but we’re also going to pick out our favorite write-ups and include them in the announcements for the winners if they pertain to that knife; if they’re for a knife that didn’t win, we’ll put them in a “Best of the Rest” wrap-up piece after the awards are over.

Please post your favorites on the SpydieChef Instagram post here. Here are the two main criteria any of your picks need to meet:

  1. Has to have been released, or become generally available, in 2021
  2. Must not be a custom, limited edition, or one-off mid-tech

If you send us your Best of ’21 write-ups (whether we include them in the articles or not), you will be entered into a drawing to win a Spyderco SpydieChef, provided by the extremely cool crew over at KnivesShipFree. The deadline to enter is 10pm EST on Monday, January 24th, so make sure you get your entries in by then. The winner will be announced the next day.

How and When to Vote

As for the final voting process, things will proceed just as they have in years past. We’ll open the polls on the main KnifeNews page this Friday, December 30th, at 9am EST; they’ll be open until Monday, January 3rd, at 9am EST. Everyone gets one vote for each category and, as mentioned above, write-in options are available as well.

Then, starting that Monday afternoon, we’ll begin the announcements, with a new one each day, five days a week, starting with Best New Tactical Fixed Blade and ending with Best Overall Lineup on Friday, January 14th. You can see the complete schedule below. Thanks for being a part of this with us, we can’t wait to see what you pick and why – and good luck!


Monday, January 3rdBest New Tactical Fixed Blade

Tuesday, January 4thBest New EDC Fixed Blade

Wednesday, January 5thBest New Outdoors Fixed Blade

Thursday, January 6thBest New Kitchen/Culinary Knife

Friday, January 7th: Best New Slipjoint/Non-Locking Knife

Monday, January 10thBest New High-End Knife (MSRP of $300 or more)

Tuesday, January 11thBest New Value Folder (MSRP of $100 or less)

Wednesday, January 12thBest New Folder

Thursday, January 13th: Best Knife Upgrade

Friday, January 14thBest Overall Lineup