Victorinox knives are world famous. But, if you’ve never heard of Victorinox before, you’re not alone. So how exactly can a company be relatively unrecognizable, yet “world famous?” Easy! By making one of the world’s most famous pocket knives of all time: the Swiss Army knife!
Victorinox Swiss Army knives have been a pocket mainstay for the better part of a century. Professional militaries, casual campers, boy scouts, and more have all taken advantage of the versatility and longevity that these knives offer.
But are all Swiss Army knives created equal? That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about! And today, we’re checking out a micro entry to the Swiss Army knife family: the Victorinox Classic SD.
We’ll get started with a little bit of history about the company, but feel free to click here to skip right to our review!
Table of Contents
Click on any of the links below to jump to the desired section!
- Victorinox: The Maker of Swiss Army Knives
- What’s Special About Victorinox Swiss Army Knives?
- Which Swiss Army Knife Should You Choose?
- Swiss Army Knife Review: The Victorinox Classic SD
- Is the Victorinox Classic SD Good for Camping?
- Is the Victorinox Classic SD Good for Everyday Carry?
- Victorinox Knives FAQs
- Conclusion: Are Victorinox Knives Like the Classic SD Worth It?
Victorinox: The Maker of Swiss Army Knives
Victorinox has been around for a long time. According to the company, it was founded by Karl Elsener in 1884 to combat unemployment and emigration in Switzerland, which was a relatively poor nation at the time.
It didn’t take long for the company to find success, and a few years later, Victorinox produced its first military knives for the Swiss Army.
Victorinox Knives Are Made in Switzerland (Surprise!)
Ironically, the first “true” Swiss Army knives were actually made in Germany in the late 1800s because Switzerland didn’t have the industrial capacity to produce them. Eventually, this changed, and all Swiss Army knives were either made by Victorinox or Wenger (which was eventually bought out by Victorinox).
Today, all authentic Swiss Army knives are made in Switzerland.
Bonus: Victorinox Also Makes Watches
Victorinox is also known for making mid-range and luxury watches.
What’s Special About Victorinox Swiss Army Knives?
Victorinox wasn’t the first company to make pocket knives, but they may have been the first to gain global acclaim. The classic ABS shell and Swiss cross are instantly recognizable.
As for the quality, Victorinox knives have earned a solid reputation as medium-to-high end options.
Authentic Swiss Army Knives Are Made With Victorinox Steel
Victorinox keeps the exact composition of the steel it uses in its knives under wraps. That said, the steel likely incorporates a fair amount of chromium as the knives have fantastic corrosion and wear resistance.
Additionally, Victorinox knives score relatively well in terms of hardness, edge retention, ease of sharpening, and general durability. Compared to other types of knife steel, we’d say Victorinox steel is probably above average, but many options offer improved performance.
Victorinox Makes 3 Classes of Swiss Army Knives
Victorinox breaks up its Swiss Army knives into 3, somewhat vague categories.
Small Pocket Knives (Like Our Victorinox Classic SD)
Small Swiss Army knives, like our Classic SD, range between 2” and 3” and generally feature six or fewer tools. These pocket knives emphasize portability over performance.
Medium Pocket Knives
Medium-size Swiss Army knives are the most common option and balance performance, cost, and portability. Most are about 3.5” to 4.5” long and feature between six and 10 tools on average.
We recently reviewed the Victorinox Spartan if you want to see a good example!
Large Pocket Knives & Multi-Tools
Finally, “large” Swiss Army knives are at least 4.5” long when extended and feature anywhere from six to a few dozen tools (some are almost hilariously large). These pocket knives directly compete with other popular multi-tools made by companies like Leatherman and Gerber (check out our Gerber multi-tool review).
Bonus: Victorinox Cutlery (for Cooking)
In addition to their pocket knives, Victorinox also makes high-quality kitchen and chef’s knives.
Which Swiss Army Knife Should You Choose?
There are three points to consider anytime you’re picking out a new knife.
1. It Depends on Your Needs
Unless you’re a knife collector, we always recommend basing your knife purchases on your needs. If you’re looking for an everyday utility knife, medium-size Swiss Army knives probably make the most sense as they offer the best balance of features, size, and pricing.
We already have a suite of multi-tools and everyday carry knives (check out our Kershaw Blur review if you want to see one of our favorites), but we don’t have too many mini knives so the Victorinox Classic SD fit our needs best.
2. Consider Function Over Form
If you’re new to knife collecting or everyday carry, you’ll find that a lot of knife brands and makers have a tendency to mask poor-quality steel, mediocre handle materials, or shoddy craftsmanship with neat-looking designs (some call these “mall ninja” knives).
Don’t let looks deceive you: a basic design made with high-quality materials will almost always outlast flashy knives made from lesser quality steel, etc.
Fortunately, this isn’t a huge consideration for Victorinox knives. Most options have an almost classy look and feel, and they’re solid in the performance department!
3. Lastly, Set a Budget
Depending on the brand, pocket knives cost anywhere between $10–$400 or more—a very wide range. Most Victorinox Swiss Army knives cost between $50–$100, which really isn’t bad for a high-quality knife.
Swiss Army Knife Review: The Victorinox Classic SD
Okay, so it’s important to remember that the Victorinox Classic SD isn’t like most Swiss Army knives. This pocket knife is mostly intended as a backup option—it’s something compact and lightweight that you can keep on a keychain without a second thought.
Dimension-wise, it’s only about 2” long (and closer to 3.5” with the blade extended) and weighs less than an ounce. That said—and without giving too much away—this is a surprisingly high-quality multi-tool that feels just as sturdy and well-made as its larger counterparts.
Here’s our full review!
First, It Comes in a Lot of Different Colors
Here are just a few options (note: clicking on an image will bring you to the knife’s listing).
What Kind of Tools Does the Classic SD Have?
Our Classic SD packs a lot into such a small package. Despite its size, it has a:
- Straight-edge blade
- Scissors (or wire cutters)
- Nail file
- Flathead driver
- Lanyard hole with (very) small key ring
Overall, the build quality of the Classic SD Swiss Army knife is solid.
When we ordered ours we weren’t sure whether it would match the quality of standard-size Swiss Army knives or if it would be a lame novelty piece. Fortunately, the former proved true and the Classic SD really does feel and function like a normal Swiss Army knife despite its tiny size.
We did notice that the blade bends if you put a decent amount of pressure on it—nothing that affects its performance, but enough to be noticeable. On the other hand, this is a thin piece of steel that’s only about 1.5” long, so it might be more surprising if it didn’t bend.
In terms of portability, the Victorinox Classic SD is practically the opposite of our clunky USMC KA-BAR (see our KA-BAR review). The only knock we have against this knife is that because it’s so small, it does tend to get lost in your pockets.
Obviously, standard-size Victorinox Swiss Army knives are much more functional than the Classic SD. However, the whole point of this mini–Swiss Army pocket knife is to be as compact and portable as possible. The fact that Victorinox was able to fit as much as they did into this knife’s design without sacrificing its quality is impressive.
If you want a more substantial Swiss Army knife, our Victorinox Spartan review highlights a better option.
At about $20, the Victorinox Classic SD is cheaper than most Victorinox knives.
This might seem like a lot for such a small knife—and you can probably find cheaper options that offer similar features—but we’ll say it’s worth the price. The quality is there, and the tools all function as intended.
Plus, Victorinox offers a limited lifetime warranty for material and manufacturer defects—something cheaper brands rarely offer.
Overall Quality: 4.75/5
Again: even though this is a mini Swiss Army knife, we really don’t feel like Victorinox lowered their standards when designing it. Ultimately, the Classic SD feels like a real Swiss Army knife because it is a real Swiss Army knife.
The bendable blade is slightly concerning, but this pocket knife isn’t intended for heavy-duty use. It’ll still handle the occasional tasks it’s meant for, and though it costs a tad more than we’d like it to, we expect ours to last a long time.
Is the Victorinox Classic SD Good for Camping?
Yes and no. The Classic SD shouldn’t be your only option, but it’s an effective backup that can handle non-heavy-duty tasks without issue.
Is the Victorinox Classic SD Good for Everyday Carry?
It really depends on your needs (what is everyday carry, anyway?). We bought the Classic SD Swiss Army knife for our editor’s wife because her EDC needs are pretty minimal.
If your requirements are limited to opening boxes or packages, the Classic SD works well. If you need something that can handle a bit more, then we’d either recommend a full-size Swiss Army knife or another EDC blade entirely (again, we really like our Kershaw Blur for general use).
Victorinox Knives FAQs
Before we finish up, here are a few answers to Victorinox knives FAQs.
Are Any Victorinox Knives Made in China?
Nope! Some Victorinox accessories are made elsewhere, but the knives themselves are made in Switzerland.
Do Chefs Use Victorinox Knives?
Sure! Victorinox cutlery offers a great balance between cost and performance—and they’re much better than what you might find at your local big box stores.
Can You Put Victorinox Knives in a Dishwasher?
We generally advise against putting any knives in dishwashers. Even if a knife is dishwasher-safe, the harsh action can dull your blade and, in some cases, weaken the handle (wood handles especially.
Does the Swiss Army Use Victorinox Knives?
Yes! All soldiers in the Swiss Army are issued a Victorinox knife.
Can You Sharpen a Swiss Army Knife?
Of course! The steel used to make Swiss Army knives is generally easy to sharpen, too.
Are Wenger and Victorinox the Same Company?
Sort of. Victorinox acquired Wenger in 2005 to keep the company, and their knives, based in Switzerland.
Conclusion: Are Victorinox Knives Like the Classic SD Worth It?
We definitely think so! The Victorinox Classic SD does exactly what it’s supposed to: it’s a tiny multi-tool that prioritizes portability without sacrificing the quality Victorinox knives are known for. While some might balk at the $20-ish price tag, we’re confident that the quality will win buyers over.
On the other hand, the Classic SD isn’t intended for your average camping or everyday carry needs. Like we said before, this is a solid backup option that handles minor-duty tasks like a champ.
Ultimately, there are better knives and multi-tools on the market, but few offer the same performance-per-size ratio that the Classic SD offers.
The operators of Renegade Camping may receive a commission for purchases made through links on our site. But that doesn’t mean we’re shilling random crap! We thoroughly research and/or own all the products we review on our website. We want to build unshakeable trust with our readers, and that means offering honest, transparent reviews and guides. Cheers!– The Renegade Camping & EDC team
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