Reviews You Can Rely On

Opinel No. 8 Review

A high value, low-weight, classic, and simply designed pocket knife for camp kitchen and everyday use
opinel no. 8 pocket knife review
Opinel No. 8
Credit: Opinel
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $18 List | $18.00 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, simple
Cons:  Two-handed operation, thin blade is flexible
Manufacturer:   Opinel
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 25, 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
44
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#18 of 18
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 6.0
  • Ergonomics - 20% 4.0
  • Portability - 20% 5.0
  • Construction Quality - 20% 4.0
  • Other Features - 10% 0.0

Our Verdict

If you were to line up all the best pocket knives included in our review, the Opinel No. 8 would immediately stand out visually. The simple, light-colored wood handle is something different. Look closer, and you see even more differences. First, the price belies the overall utility and construction quality. Next, the design optimizes household and camp kitchen use, while the modern trend in pocket knives is to lean towards more robust "tactical" style uses. Most of us who carry a pocket knife use it far more frequently to cut an apple than we do to slice our way out of a cargo net booby trap. For "normal" use, the Opinel No. 8 hits the sweet spot. For everyday carry and as part of your backpacking kit, the Opinel No. 8 is perfect. It is affordable enough to have a few in different places.

Editor's Note: We updated this review for Opinel No. 8 on August 25, 2022, with an assessment of overall value and suggestions for other comparable products that may better suit your needs.

Compare to Similar Products

 
opinel no. 8 pocket knife review
This Product
Opinel No. 8
Awards  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $18.00 List
$18.00 at REI
$100 List
$54.94 at Amazon
$30 List
$29.95 at REI
$19.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$10.00 List
$10.66 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
44
65
56
52
49
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, simpleBeautifully constructed, assisted open, good valueSerrated blade portion, carabiner carry option, lightweight, good blade steelSmall, portable, well-constructedInexpensive, functional, heavily featured
Cons Two-handed operation, thin blade is flexibleSlender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragileRudimentary construction, primitive lockbackNot made for heavy-duty useUnremarkable construction, low quality steel, bulky
Bottom Line A high value, low-weight, classic, and simply designed pocket knife for camp kitchen and everyday useA slender, svelte pocket knife with great materials and a reasonable valueThe best knife we have tested for rock, ice, and alpine climbingA tiny, multi-function pocket knifeA fully-featured tactical pocket knife at an unbeatable price, but it lacks high quality construction
Rating Categories Opinel No. 8 Kershaw Leek Petzl Spatha Victorinox Classic... Albatross EDC Tactical
Blade and Edge Integrity (30%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
5.0
Ergonomics (20%)
4.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
5.0
Portability (20%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Construction Quality (20%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Other Features (10%)
0
0
0
6.0
4.0
Specs Opinel No. 8 Kershaw Leek Petzl Spatha Victorinox Classic... Albatross EDC Tactical
Weight 1.5 oz 3.1 oz 1.5 oz 0.8 oz 3.8 oz
Blade Length 3.3 in 2.9 in 2.7 in 1.4 in 2.5 in
Blade Material Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel Proprietary Stainless (between 440A and 420) 440 stainless steel
Handle Material Beech wood 410 stainless steel Nylon Plastic Stainless steel
Blade Style Clip Point, Straight Drop point, straight Drop Point, hybrid straight/serrated Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? Yes Yes No No No
Opening Style Fingernail Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud; back-of-knife finger tab Ambidextrous thumb hole; ridged traction ring Fingernail Assisted, flipper
Lock Mechanism Virobloc ring Frame lock Lock back None Liner lock
Carry Style None Pocket clip and lanyard hole Carabiner hole Keyring Pocket clip
Closed Length 4.3 in 4.0 in 4.2 in 2.3 in 3.9 in
Overall Length 7.6 in 7.0 in 7.0 in 3.8 in 6.5 in
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) 0.8 in 0.3 in 0.5 in 0.4 in 0.4 in
Other Features or Functions None None None Scissors, nail file, small screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, key ring Seatbelt cutter, glass breaker

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our overall scoring matrix rewards the all-purpose product. With a long, well-reputed history and decades of subtle refinements, the Opinel No. 8 knife design brings a very high overall performance, given its low price.

Performance Comparison


opinel no. 8 pocket knife review - for camp cooking, the opinel is just what the doctor ordered.
For camp cooking, the Opinel is just what the doctor ordered.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Blade and Edge Integrity


On some level, you get what you pay for with blades. However, in an economy of scale and with careful materials selection and design, a great blade can be made for a low price. Opinel has refined the blade of their knives for over 100 years. With patience and an eye to value and all-around function, the result is a thin, convex-ground, clip-point blade shape. The stainless steel, straight-edge blade we tested (they also sell serrated and carbon steel designs) holds an edge but responds well to attentive resharpening.

The blade grind is so narrow that the final edge bevel is virtually indistinguishable. Again, this blade's most salient characteristic, especially compared to the more "contemporary" designs we test, is its narrow profile. This knife is a dream for cutting food and other softer items. The blade virtually cuts under its own low weight. For tougher tasks, like cutting rope and webbing, the narrowness of the blade, the friction-hinge, and the natural give in a wooden handle feel a little flexible. It does the job, but it sometimes feels as if you are pushing harder than the knife is designed for.

opinel no. 8 pocket knife review - for a picnic, the opinel is just right. the thin blade slices...
For a picnic, the Opinel is just right. The thin blade slices through all kinds of food with ease.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Ergonomics


Open and in use, the Opinel No 8 is similar in dimensions to a small steak knife. (Opinel makes this same general design in a whole range of sizes. You can get an Opinel blade from 3.5 cm to 22 cm. The "No 8" we tested is the most popular size and has an 8.5 cm blade). The blade opens with a traditional fingernail slot and locks with a proprietary "Virobloc" safety ring. The Virobloc is a rotating steel collar with a slot for the blade.

With the collar slot lined up with the blade, you can open and close the blade. The blade cannot be opened or closed with the collar slot turned aside. This is elegant in its simplicity. The disadvantage of the opening method and locking collar is that all operations require two hands.

opinel no. 8 pocket knife review - opening the opinel requires two hands. this is a little more...
Opening the Opinel requires two hands. This is a little more primitive than some of the newer offerings.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Most knives with a more "modern" design can be opened and locked with one hand. Assisted opening springs in our favorite knives make deployment easier. The top-scoring knives in our review have assisted opening function and one-handed thumb stud blade deployment. The Opinel No. 8 doesn't stand out quite as much compared to the other inexpensive knives we reviewed.

This image shows the locked configuration of the opinel. The silver...
This image shows the locked configuration of the opinel. The silver collar is turned such that the blade is blocked from hinging closed.
Here the "Virobloc" ring of the Opinel is turned to allow the blade...
Here the "Virobloc" ring of the Opinel is turned to allow the blade to close and open through its slot.

Portability


With the wide range of sizes available, you should be able to fit an Opinel knife into any part of your life. As the "standard" size, the No. 8 is fairly "average" regarding portability. At 1.5 ounces, the weight will be barely noticeable. The round profile handle takes up more pocket space than a flatter-handled style. The main disadvantage of the Opinel No. 8 knife is that it has no pocket clip or lanyard hole. The only viable way to carry it is loose in your pocket. Thankfully, the low weight and smooth wooden external profile make this a reasonable proposition.

Among similar knives with blades this long, the Opinel No. 8 is super lightweight. Most models with such a long blade weigh twice as much as this knife. The only knives coming close in weight have much shorter blades. We wish the Opinel No. 8 had a pocket clip, though that would interfere with the classic, simple design appeal.

opinel no. 8 pocket knife review - the classic, enduring design of this opinel knife is visually...
The classic, enduring design of this Opinel knife is visually pleasing, unassuming, and backed up with a serviceable design.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Construction Quality


In a field dominated by sturdy, stiff "tactical" tools, the lightweight and wooden construction of the Opinel No. 8 feels a little underwhelming. When pressed to cut rope or whittling, the flex inherent in the wooden handle, friction-fit hinge, and narrow blade profile is noticeable. That said, our long-term testing and the thousands of Opinel knives still in use after decades and decades proves that the simple design, though lightweight, holds up to heavy use.

Something is appealing about wood and steel construction. We can easily tell that the Opinel No. 8 is just five pieces; blade, handle, hinge pin, and the two metal collars that serve as the "Viroblok" locking mechanism. This simplicity is lightweight and proven to be reliable.

opinel no. 8 pocket knife review - for whittling we wish for a thicker blade and more robust overall...
For whittling we wish for a thicker blade and more robust overall construction. Clearly the Opinel works, but a more rugged knife feels better.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Other Features


There are no other features on the Opinel No. 8. Opinel makes versions that include bit drivers or a corkscrew. However, the simplicity of the version reviewed here is its primary appeal.

Should You Buy the Opinel No. 8?


Somehow, Opinel is selling this well-made, functional, and stylish piece of equipment for about what you'd expect to pay for a mass-produced, low-quality "gas station counter" pocket knife. It has limitations, but the overall value relative to performance is worthy of your consideration. For many OGL readers, the Opinel No. 8 will be an excellent value and all you need for camping and household use.

What Other Pocket Knives Should You Consider?


Even though the Opinel No. 8 falls at the bottom of the barrel, you must understand that we are reviewing some of the best knives on the market. This knife only scored low relative to the stiff competition it was pitted against. The only option with a comparable performance at this price point is the Sanrenmu 7010. If you are looking for a stronger knife with a dirt-bag price tag, then the Petzl Spatha is well worth your consideration.

Jediah Porter
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More