For a decent budget knife, CRKT and Gerber are both competing for Sub-80 Dollar knife budget. Both have some interesting knives, and both are knife companies I used to hate. But when you kinda start to groove on these new mini-cleaver type folders, these companies are a great choice. But which one is better?
Let’s look at their two very popular options. CRKT’s PILAR in size Large. The Large PILAR isn’t much bigger than standard PILAR, but it’s enough to make all the difference in everyday use. I am quite fond of it, and it makes small cutting tasks kinda fun. It’s a delightful knife.
The Gerber Flatiron is just cool. The blade shape, the handle shape… It’s a great knife to hold on too… and if your cutting jobs are mundane, this is a cool way of taking care of that work. You just like HOLDING it.
Both knives are of the same construction type… An asymmetrical frame lock on one side and composite scale on the other. Both sport a pocket clip. But that’s where the similarities come to a screeching halt. Because, let’s be frank here… The Gerber’s pocket clip blows. And as of yet, know one has stepped up to make a replacement that might work better. It carries just fine, but getting it to clip over your pocket is a real PITA, and I’m not talking about the bread. It almost ruins the knife.
Overall, the CRKT is the easier knife to carry, open, close and put back into the pocket. It fulfills the function of a folder better. And I think the build quality is a bit better too. The blade steel is D2, which is an advantage. Though, the Flatiron is available in D2 as well. But D2 out of China is pretty much just meaning its made out of some sort of actual steel and not just melted tin cans.
Once both knives are open though, the edge (sorry) goes to the Gerber with it’s longer cutting edge and straight razor geometry. It cuts better and can take a finer edge than the PILAR. And that sounds like it makes the Flatiron a clear winner… But the problem is that it’s stiff to open, even after a redesign has improved it. It’s stiff to close, even after a redesign to improve that as well. And again, the Clip is the worst thing in the world. It’s so bad, that I’d rather take it off completely and just carry it in a sheath… which doesn’t exist.
So which one wins? The CRKT wins. Overall it’s the better pocket knife – which is what these are. And it’s fun to use. Whereas the Flatiron just because a pain in the ass.