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The Best Knife Oil for Rust-Free Blades and Fast Opening


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Last Updated: May 22, 2020

A quality knife will last you a lifetime – if you look after it.

There are two good reasons why you should oil your knife:

  • A knife’s worst enemy is rust. If you live near the coast or your knives get anywhere near salt water, this is likely to be a particular issue.
  • Lubricating the pivot on a folding knife will keep the opening mechanism operating fluidly, so your knife snaps open.

There are plenty of different oils and lubricants available. Some are designed for kitchen knives, others specifically for folding knives.

In this article, we’ve rounded up the best knife oil for every application.

Our Top Pick

Yoshihiro TSOIL Tsubaki Japanese Knife Maintenance Oil

Perfect for keeping your blades rust-free and safe enough to eat.Check On Amazon

Best Lubricant

Benchmade Blue Lube

A few drops will keep your folding knife slick and snappy.BladeHQ

Knife Oil Reviews

Best Oil for Fixed-Blade Knives: Yoshihiro TSOIL Tsubaki

If you use your knife for pretty much anything involving food, then you want to make sure that the oil you’re using on the blade is food safe.

This knife maintenance kit comes with a 3.4 oz bottle of Tsubaki oil – a popular choice for kitchen knives.
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Yoshihiro TSOIL

The oil is viscous enough that you can squeeze just a drop out of the bottle, which is enough to coat one side of a large knife. Rub the oil over a clean, dry blade and you’re done!

Also included in the kit is a cloth and a small rust eraser. The eraser is a bit of a gimmick (a full-size one will be more effective), but together with the oil, they form a neat little kit that’s small enough to keep in your car emergency kit or, at a push, your Bug Out Bag.

Pros

  • Food-grade oil
  • Protects blades from rust
  • A little goes a long way
  • Cloth and rust eraser included

Cons

  • Expensive compared to mineral oil

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Best Oil for Folding Knives: Benchmade Blue Lube

This is the lubricant of choice for many knife enthusiasts, who swear by it for keeping their blade action super snappy.

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benchmade blue lube

It comes in a small 1.25oz bottle, but a little bit goes a long way. As is perhaps obvious from the name, the lube is blue, meaning it’s easy to spot where you’ve applied it (it dries clear).

It has a good balance of viscosity – it won’t run away but it’s fluid enough to slip between washers – and it doesn’t leave a sticky residue, meaning it won’t pick up dust and dirt.

Benchmade claims it also prevents rust and corrosion, so it can be used as an all-in-one product, however, there isn’t much evidence to back this up.

It’s also not food safe so you may want to refrain from using it on blades. As a knife oil for folding or assisted opening knives though, it can’t be beaten.

Pros

  • Extremely effective at smoothing pivot mechanisms
  • Odorless
  • Doesn’t pick up dust
  • Cheaper than some comparable products

Cons

  • The nozzle could be thinner

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Best Oil for Folding Knives (Runner-Up): KPL Knife Pivot Lube

KPL is another popular pivot lube for folding knives. There’s not much to choose between it and the Benchmade Blue Lube, other than the Benchmade is slightly cheaper.

However the KPL is made in America by a small family firm, so you may feel it is worth the trade-off.

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KPL Knife Pivot Lube

In terms of performance, the needle applicator allows for very precise oiling even in tight spaces, and you should only need a couple of drops to keep the pivot mechanism running smoothly.

It also smells good – so good, you might find yourself sniffing your knife just to get another whiff.

It is quite a thin lube, which some people aren’t a fan of. If you’re looking for something more viscous, then check out the KPL Heavy.

Pros

  • Excellent applicator
  • Only need a small amount
  • Smells nice
  • Made in America

Cons

  • Some users find it a bit thin

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Best Budget Knife Oil: Food Grade Mineral Oil

For keeping knife blades oiled and rust-free, there’s a surprisingly simple – and cheap – solution. Food-grade mineral oil is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It’s non-toxic, won’t go rancid and you can buy it in bulk.

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Food Grade Mineral Oil
As well as using it to look after your knife blades, it’s also great for wooden-handled knives. Rubbing mineral oil into the handle will prevent the wood from cracking.

Mineral oil also has multiple purposes around the house, from restoring and protecting butcher blocks and wooden counter tops to oiling soapstone’s.

Is there a downside?

Well, although it does have some lubricating properties, it’s not as effective as some of the specialist pivot-lubes. It’s also low viscosity, so it may be a bit more fluid and fiddlier to apply.

Pros

  • Food-grade oil
  • Inexpensive
  • Multiple uses
  • Good for wooden-handled knives

Cons

  • Not as effective at lubricating pivots as specialist oils

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Best High Viscosity Lubricant: KPL Heavy

The KPL Heavy is a higher viscosity version of the best-selling KPL Knife Pivot Lube. It’s designed specifically for lubricating knife detents and detent tracks.

Because it’s more gel-like, the lube sits in and around the detent, refreshing the lubricant on the detent ball every time you open and close your knife.

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KPL Heavy
The high viscosity also makes it resistant to being washed away. This means you won’t need to apply it as often as you would pivot lube. In addition to using it for detents, you may want to use it for heavier blades if you prefer a slow, gliding action.

Pros

  • Specifically designed for detents and detent balls
  • Gives a smooth, gliding action
  • Doesn’t need to be applied every day
  • Made in America

Cons

  • Not suitable for all-around use

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Best Oil to Prevent Rust: Aegis Solutions EDCi Everday Corrosion Inhibitor

High carbon steel keeps an edge longer than stainless steel but it’s not so good at resisting corrosion. It’ll rust quicker, particularly if it’s exposed to acids or saltwater. Even if you don’t live near the sea, you may find that you struggle to keep your knife dry enough to prevent rust build-up.

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Corrosion inhibitor

That’s where the Aegis Solutions corrosion inhibitor comes in. It coats your blade in a water-repellent layer that protects your knife and prevents corrosion from getting a grip on the steel. Just spray it on, rub it in and wipe it off.

If you’re not convinced, check out this video which shows the impact of salt water on your knife blade and how EDCi can prevent rust developing.

The corrosion inhibitor isn’t cheap, so it’s best saved for expensive knives made from steel that’s vulnerable to rust. It’s also a good option to protect knives that you don’t use very often.

Pros

  • Effective at preventing rust and corrosion
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Doesn’t leave an oily film that’ll attract dust

Cons

  • Not guaranteed food safe
  • Not a lubricant – i.e. it’s not the best oil for pivots and screws

Check On BladeHQ

Pick the right oil for the job

We’ve covered different oils for different jobs in our reviews above. If you’re looking for one product to do everything (or don’t like the look of our recommended products!), here are a couple of things to bear in mind:

  • If you’re oiling a kitchen knife or any knife which you could use for food preparation, you’ll want to use a food-grade knife oil. This means it’s odorless, flavorless and non-toxic.
  • Synthetic oils are generally better than organic oils (such as olive oil). This is because dust and fluff tend to stick to organic oils whereas synthetic oils repel dirt. Olive oil can also go rancid over time.
  • Not all oils are designed as lubricants, and you may be better off using a different product to keep your blades rust-free than to lube the joints of your folding knives.

See here for more on how to clean a pocket knife.

Conclusion

Knife maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming or onerous, but it’s better to stay on top of it to prevent rusting or blades locking up.

In addition to cleaning and oiling, you’ll also want to keep your knives sharp. Find out the best tools to do that in our guide to the best knife sharpeners.

 

Meta description:

Having your knife lock up could spell disaster. Keep your knife’s mechanism snappy and the blade rust-free with our guide to the best knife oils.

 

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