ULTIMATE FOLDER SURVEY: Top 10 Favorite Knife Handle Materials

KnifeNews Ultimate Folder Survey Results Part 2: Knife Handle Material

Brought to you by BladeHQ

Last week we reported KnifeNews readers’ favorite Locking Mechanisms and it was a close race for top spot among three contenders. But when it comes to Handle Material preferences, there was a dominant winner: G10 came out on top with 3 out of 4 respondents saying they prefer to see the material on their folders. The data also revealed that all four synthetic materials were in the top 5 preferred handle options on a folding knife according to our readers. 

#1: G10 Knife Handle
Made from multiple layers of woven fiberglass bound together with epoxy resin, G10 tops our list of preferred handle materials on a folder.  In addition to being easy to grip, waterproof, and strong, “G10 is inexpensive, lightweight, and very durable,” says Morgan Donaldson at BladeHQ.  “There is a lot of customization that can be done with G10 scales, and you can find them in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your taste.”

#2: Carbon Fiber Knife Handle
Carbon Fiber is an extremely lightweight and rigid material made from woven carbon filaments.  Carbon Fiber is also used in aircraft and race car parts, where stiffness and low weight are a priority.  Carbon Fiber is more expensive to produce and machine than other common handle materials, so it tends to be a more expensive choice, and the twill-like pattern of the weave has a luxurious look for many.  

#3: Titanium Knife Handle
A springy, strong, corrosion-resistant and non-magnetic metal, titanium comes in at #3 on our list.  Although titanium isn’t as lightweight as aluminum, it is more than twice as strong.  It is often used in frame or liner locks because of its strength and relative low weight, as well as its ability to bend again and again without weakening from fatigue. “Titanium is a great handle material, and anodization can do wonders aesthetically, though a metallic handle isn’t for everyone,” says Donaldson. “Titanium also comes with a higher price tag.”

#4: Micarta Knife Handle
Micarta, like G10, is made from layers of woven material laminated together with epoxy resin.  Instead of woven fiberglass, however, Micarta is made from natural fabrics such as canvas, linen, paper, or burlap.  Micarta is one of the oldest ‘plastics,’ originally developed by George Westinghouse as early as 1910 for electrical insulating applications.  Legendary knife maker Bob Loveless popularized it as a handle material on his famous drop-point hunting knives.

#5: FRN Knife Handle
FRN is short for ‘Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon,’ and is synonymous with the brand name ‘Zytel’.  It is a strong and lightweight injection-molded plastic found on many production knives, including the Spyderco Endura, Delica, and Cold Steel Voyager series. FRN is waterproof, and comes in a myriad of vivid colors.

Stay tuned to KnifeNews for the Ultimate Folder Survery Results Part 3

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 10 Handle Materials on a Folding Knife

Knife featured in image: Deviant Blades Chinese Friction Folder