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Kershaw Link Review

This top performer has a large blade and ergonomic handle for big cutting jobs and all-day use
kershaw link pocket knife review
Credit: Kershaw
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $160 List | $85.10 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent blade quality, solid construction, great grip design
Cons:  Heavy and bulky, assisted opening requires some force
Manufacturer:   Kershaw
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 5, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 18
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 8.0
  • Ergonomics - 20% 8.0
  • Portability - 20% 5.0
  • Construction Quality - 20% 8.0
  • Other Features - 10% 2.0

Our Verdict

The Kershaw Link is a heavy-duty pocket knife with a large, strong blade and a comfortable grip, and it's our favorite knife for professional use. The cutting edge is made from high-quality steel, meaning this blade stays sharp longer than most others on the market. The ergonomics of the grip, the assisted opening system, and the modular pocket clip are excellent, making this knife easy to use. When the job demands a solid knife that will comfortably cut all day long, we reach for this blade every time.

If you need a large blade for heavy-duty use or extended cutting tasks, or you need a useful cutting blade for your profession, this is a great choice. But if you are looking for the best pocket knives for occasional use, or a useful multi-tool with more features, look elsewhere.

Compare to Similar Products

 
kershaw link pocket knife review
This Product
Kershaw Link
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $160 List
$85.10 at Amazon
$190 List
$219.99 at Amazon
$180 List
$162.00 at REI
$100 List
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Pros Excellent blade quality, solid construction, great grip designIncredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionalityLight, simple, well-made, full size blade, full-functionBeautifully constructed, assisted open, good valueSmall, portable, well-constructed
Cons Heavy and bulky, assisted opening requires some forcePricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitiveExpensive, low profile handle, flexy plastic constructionSlender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragileNot made for heavy-duty use
Bottom Line This top performer has a large blade and ergonomic handle for big cutting jobs and all-day useImmaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every taskFor a full-function, full-size pocket knife, this is as light as it gets, and is the premier option for all sorts of human-powered adventuresA slender, svelte pocket knife with great materials and a reasonable valueA tiny, multi-function pocket knife
Rating Categories Kershaw Link Benchmade Mini-Barr... Benchmade 535 Bugout Kershaw Leek Victorinox Classic...
Blade and Edge Integrity (30%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Ergonomics (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
3.0
Portability (20%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Construction Quality (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Other Features (10%)
2.0
2.0
0
0
6.0
Specs Kershaw Link Benchmade Mini-Barr... Benchmade 535 Bugout Kershaw Leek Victorinox Classic...
Weight 4.7 oz 3.4 oz 1.9 oz 3.1 oz 0.8 oz
Blade Length 3.2 in 2.8 in 3.0 in 2.9 in 1.4 in
Blade Material CPM 20CV steel 154CM stainless steel S30V stainless steel Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel Proprietary Stainless (between 440A and 420)
Handle Material Anodized aluminum Plastic Grivory 410 stainless steel Plastic
Blade Style Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? No Yes No Yes No
Opening Style Assisted, flipper Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud; back-of-knife finger tab Fingernail
Lock Mechanism Liner lock Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Frame lock None
Carry Style Pocket clip, Lanyard hole Pocket clip and lanyard hole Pocket clip and lanyard hole Pocket clip and lanyard hole Keyring
Closed Length 4.4 in 4.0 in 4.2 in 4.0 in 2.3 in
Overall Length 7.6 in 6.9 in 7.4 in 7.0 in 3.8 in
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) 0.5 in 0.6 in 0.4 in 0.3 in 0.4 in
Other Features or Functions Lanyard hole, modular clip Lanyard hole, modular clip None None Scissors, nail file, small screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, key ring

Our Analysis and Test Results

One of the bulkiest and heaviest pocket knives we have tested, the Kershaw Link stands out with a large blade and ergonomic grip for big cutting jobs that may take hours.

Performance Comparison


kershaw link pocket knife review - the kershaw link easily cuts large vegetables on camping trips.
The Kershaw Link easily cuts large vegetables on camping trips.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Blade and Edge Integrity


The Kershaw Link's blade is 3.2 inches long and is constructed with 20CV stainless steel, one of the strongest metals used to make knives. This means that the blade's sharp factory finish will last longer than other knives on the market, and the blade won't dent or deform easily. The blade doesn't bend or flex when faced with a hard-cutting task, making cutting easier and more efficient. It's also a relatively thick blade, which only adds durability.


The Link's long, strong blade is overkill for users who want a simple blade for occasional cutting like opening packages. But if you need a knife to handle extended outdoor use, endless food preparation, or professional performance, this blade is up to the task. After days of use, we couldn't detect a reduction in blade sharpness and weren't able to damage the blade during normal heavy-duty use.

kershaw link pocket knife review - the link's blade is thick and long enough for heavy-duty cutting jobs.
The Link's blade is thick and long enough for heavy-duty cutting jobs.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Ergonomics


The Kershaw Link is an ergonomic knife that is easy to use. The pocket clip is oriented with the tip of the blade facing upwards, meaning you don't have to rotate the knife in your hands after removing it from a pocket before opening the blade. This is our preferred orientation of the pocket clip. The assisted opening feature is initiated by pulling down on a small tab with the index finger, and the opening action is fast and secure.


Once the blade is open, the grip fits comfortably into the palm. The knife is 0.5 inches thick, which is thicker than most other knives on the market, making it easier to use for serious cutting tasks where you need to maintain a solid grip on the tool. The pocket clip stays out of the way of the fingers wrapping around the grip, which is an added bonus. Our testers felt very secure holding this knife for consequential cutting tasks.

kershaw link pocket knife review - we enjoyed the ergonomics of the kershaw link's comfortable grip...
We enjoyed the ergonomics of the Kershaw Link's comfortable grip position. The clip doesn't impact the grip security.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Portability


The Kershaw Link is a heavy knife, and its large blade creates a bigger footprint than other knives on the market. The result is a large-than-average package that is noticeable when worn in a pocket or carried in a backpack. For professional users, serious outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and hunters, the portability shortcomings are worth the hassle, since the knife's performance is so strong.


Many users looking for a pocket knife will only use the tool for everyday carry and occasional use, cutting tape away from packaging and similar tasks. For these users, a much smaller and lighter pocket knife will do. This is a seriously strong knife geared towards heavy-duty use, and as such, it has a larger footprint and heavier weight than most other pocket knives on the market. Everyday users will appreciate this strength and size, but occasional users won't.

kershaw link pocket knife review - the kershaw link (top) is much larger and heavier than smaller...
The Kershaw Link (top) is much larger and heavier than smaller "everyday carry" pocket knives, shown below.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Construction Quality


This knife is built to last. The Link's housing is built from aluminum, which is nothing to write home about, but the 20CV stainless steel in the blade is seriously strong. It is one of the hardest metals used in knife production, and the thick blade only tapers down to an edge at the last moment, meaning the blade is strong and can take a beating. There is no detectable flex or bend in the blade during use.


One downside to the design of this knife is the locking mechanism. Like other knives, the blade is locked into the open position by a thin internal metal flap that bends into place when the blade is open, preventing the knife from folding closed. This flap must be pushed to the side in order to close the blade. This is generally a great locking mechanism, but in the case of the Link, the flap only moves about a millimeter into the locking position, which is less than other knives. This means that it takes less debris to get stuck in the flap to render it impossible to unlock the blade and close the knife. This is a very minor concern, and the only flaw we could find with this tool.

kershaw link pocket knife review - a close-up look at the link's high-quality construction and small...
A close-up look at the Link's high-quality construction and small locking tab.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Other Features


Like most pocket knives, the Kershaw Link is rather light on additional features. It does, however, have a modular and removable pocket clip. With a small allen key, the clip can be removed and placed on the other side of the housing, to allow for more ergonomic storage on either side of the body. When set up correctly, the pocket clip allows the knife to be oriented with the tip of the folded knife pointed upwards, and the index finger directly over the pull-tab opening device when removed from the pocket.

kershaw link pocket knife review - the kershaw link has a modular clip that can be removed or switched...
The Kershaw Link has a modular clip that can be removed or switched to the other side of the housing with two screws.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

The knife also has a small hole for the attachment of a key ring or lanyard for safe keeping. Other than that, the knife has no additional features, but this is typical for most pocket knives on the market.

Should You Buy the Kershaw Link?


This large-bladed knife comes at a great price, considering its quality construction, excellent blade steel, and ergonomics, and is a worthy investment for anyone who uses a pocket knife on a daily basis. If you work outdoors, camp, hunt, or cut things regularly, and need a trusty knife that won't let you down, then the Link is a great choice. But if you are looking for a low-profile pocket knife for everyday carry and occasional use for mundane chores, this knife is overkill, both in terms of price and weight.

kershaw link pocket knife review - the kershaw link is a great knife for users who need a heavy-duty...
The Kershaw Link is a great knife for users who need a heavy-duty blade for industrial or professional use, or who want a sturdy tool and don't mind the large footprint.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

What Other Pocket Knives Should You Consider?


If you want a dependable and well-constructed knife with a smaller footprint and lower weight, we love the Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 for everyday use, and even for some heavy-duty jobs. If you are looking for the most portable option for very occasional use, the Benchmade 535 Bugout is our go-to when we are on the go. And if you're on a tight budget, the Sanrenmu 7010 can't be beat for its value. That said, the Kershaw Link is our top choice for cutting professionals and heavy-duty cutting work.

kershaw link pocket knife review - elegant and strong, the kershaw link is an excellent choice for...
Elegant and strong, the Kershaw Link is an excellent choice for serious knife users.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Jeff Dobronyi
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