Old Bear vs Opinel

A pocket knife is a versatile tool that has been an essential part of human history for centuries. From everyday tasks to outdoor adventures, these compact and practical devices have been used for a wide array of purposes. 

Among the numerous brands available in the market, Old Bear and Opinel stand out as popular choices for their unique features and quality craftsmanship.

Both Old Bear and Opinel knives offer a range of models designed to cater to different preferences and needs. The primary goal of this article is to provide an in-depth comparison of these two renowned brands, focusing on the materials, construction, design, and performance of their pocket knives.

Embark on a journey with us as we explore the intricate world of pocket knives and unravel the key differences between these two iconic brands. Discover the fascinating history, innovative designs, and exceptional performance that set Old Bear and Opinel apart, making them the top choices for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Opinel vs Old Bear- Comparison Table

FeatureOld BearOpinel
Company HistoryFounded in 1925 (under Antonini Knives)Founded in 1890
Blade MaterialStainless steel and carbon steelSandvik stainless steel and carbon steel
Handle MaterialWalnut, olive woodBeech, walnut, oak, olive, and others
Locking MechanismPatented brass safety ringPatented Virobloc safety ring
Popular ModelsClassic, Olive, CarbonNo. 6, No. 8, Trekking Series
Design and AestheticsTimeless, traditional designSimple, functional design
Price RangeAffordable, slightly higher than OpinelAffordable, more budget-friendly
Warranty1-year warrantyLifetime warranty
Best UsesEveryday tasks, collectiblesEveryday tasks, outdoor adventures

Old Bear Pocket Knives

Company background and history

Old Bear is a brand under the renowned Italian knife manufacturer, Antonini Knives. Founded in 1925, Antonini Knives has been dedicated to crafting high-quality knives with a focus on tradition and innovation. Old Bear knives are known for their blend of timeless design, functionality, and attention to detail.

Materials and construction


Old Bear knives are made with a variety of blade materials, including stainless steel and carbon steel. Stainless steel blades offer excellent corrosion resistance, while carbon steel blades are known for their superior edge retention and ease of sharpening.


Old Bear handles are typically made from hardwoods, such as walnut or olive wood, providing a comfortable grip and a natural, rustic appearance. Some models also feature brass bolsters for added strength and durability.

Locking mechanism

One of the signature features of Old Bear knives is their patented safety ring, which allows users to lock the blade securely in the open or closed position. This ensures safe handling and prevents accidental blade closure during use.

old bear knife

Popular models and their features

  • Old Bear Classic: This traditional folding knife features a stainless steel blade, a walnut handle, and a brass safety ring. It is available in various sizes to suit different preferences and needs.
  • Old Bear Olive: Similar to the Classic model, the Olive variant features an olive wood handle, adding a touch of elegance to its design.
  • Old Bear Carbon: This model boasts a high-quality carbon steel blade, providing exceptional edge retention and easy sharpening.

Pros and cons of Old Bear knives

  • Beautiful, timeless design
  • Quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Patented safety ring for secure handling
  • Available in various sizes and styles
  • Carbon steel blades require more maintenance to prevent rust
  • Limited selection compared to Opinel

Opinel Pocket Knives

Company background and history

Founded in 1890 by Joseph Opinel in France, Opinel is a family-owned company that has been producing knives for over a century. Known for their simplicity, functionality, and affordability, Opinel knives have become a symbol of French culture and have even been featured in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Materials and construction


Opinel knives feature Sandvik stainless steel blades, which are known for their excellent corrosion resistance, sharpness, and edge retention. Some models also offer carbon steel blades for those who prefer the benefits of this material.


Opinel handles are made from various types of wood, including beech, walnut, oak, and olive. These handles are not only visually appealing but also provide a comfortable grip during use. Some limited edition models also feature synthetic or exotic wood handles, offering a unique look and feel.

Locking mechanism

Opinel knives are famous for their patented Virobloc safety ring, which locks the blade in both open and closed positions. This innovative mechanism ensures safe handling and prevents the blade from accidentally closing during use.

Opinel Knife

Popular models and their features

  • Opinel No. 8: This iconic model features a stainless steel blade, a beechwood handle, and the Virobloc safety ring. It is the most popular size in the Opinel lineup, making it an excellent choice for everyday carry.
  • Opinel No. 6: Slightly smaller than the No. 8, the No. 6 model is perfect for those who prefer a more compact knife.
  • Opinel Trekking Series: Designed for outdoor enthusiasts, the Trekking series offers a variety of handle colors, a leather lace for easy attachment, and a stainless steel blade for durability.

Pros and cons of Opinel knives

  • Simple, functional design
  • Quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Patented Virobloc safety ring for secure handling
  • Wide range of models and sizes
  • Affordable pricing
  • Traditional design might not appeal to everyone
  • Carbon steel blades require more maintenance to prevent rust

Comparison: Old Bear vs Opinel

Blade materials and performance

While both Old Bear and Opinel knives offer stainless steel and carbon steel blades, the performance differs slightly. Opinel uses Sandvik stainless steel, known for its superior corrosion resistance and edge retention.

Old Bear stainless steel blades are also corrosion resistant, but the edge retention might not be as good as Opinel’s. In terms of carbon steel blades, both brands offer excellent edge retention and ease of sharpening.

Handle materials and ergonomics

Both Old Bear and Opinel knives feature wooden handles that provide a comfortable grip and a classic appearance. Old Bear handles are primarily made from walnut or olive wood, while Opinel uses a variety of woods, including beech, walnut, oak, and olive. The choice of handle material is a matter of personal preference and aesthetics.

Locking mechanisms and safety

Both brands utilize patented safety rings to lock the blade in the open and closed positions. Old Bear uses a brass safety ring, while Opinel features the Virobloc safety ring. Both mechanisms provide secure handling and prevent accidental blade closure during use.

Design and aesthetics

Old Bear knives showcase a timeless, traditional design with beautiful hardwood handles and brass bolsters. Opinel knives, on the other hand, feature a simple, functional design that has remained largely unchanged since their inception. The choice between these two designs comes down to personal preference and aesthetics.

Price range and value for money

Both Old Bear and Opinel knives are known for their affordability, making them accessible to a wide range of users. Opinel might have a slight edge in terms of pricing, as their knives are generally more affordable than Old Bear’s. However, both brands offer excellent value for money, given their quality materials, craftsmanship, and performance.

Best uses for each brand

Old Bear knives are suitable for everyday tasks, such as opening packages, cutting rope, or preparing food. They are also a popular choice among collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate their traditional design and craftsmanship.

Opinel knives are versatile and can be used for a wide range of purposes, including everyday tasks, outdoor adventures, and even as a backup knife in survival situations.

Warranty and customer support

Both Old Bear and Opinel offer warranties on their products, ensuring that customers receive a quality product that is free from manufacturing defects. Old Bear provides a one-year warranty, while Opinel offers a lifetime warranty, giving buyers added peace of mind.

In addition to their warranties, both brands are known for their excellent customer support, ensuring that any issues or concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently.

Disassemble Opinel Knife

Factors to consider choosing between Old Bear and Opinel

Intended use

Consider the tasks you plan to perform with your pocket knife. If you need a knife for everyday tasks or as a collectible item, an Old Bear knife might be a better choice due to its timeless design and aesthetics. If you are looking for a versatile knife suitable for various outdoor activities, an Opinel knife could be a more fitting option.

Personal preferences

Take into account your preferences for design, blade material, and handle material when choosing between Old Bear and Opinel. Each brand offers unique aesthetics and materials that cater to different tastes.


Both Old Bear and Opinel knives are affordable; however, Opinel generally offers more competitive pricing. Keep your budget in mind when deciding between these two brands.

Tips for making the right choice

  • Research each brand and their popular models
  • Read reviews from users who have experience with both brands
  • Visit a local store to handle the knives in person, if possible

Importance of testing and personal experience

Nothing can replace the value of personal experience when choosing a pocket knife. If possible, test both Old Bear and Opinel knives in person to determine which one feels most comfortable and suits your needs best.


Are Opinel knives good for camping?

Yes, Opinel knives are an excellent choice for camping due to their versatility, durability, and lightweight design. The Trekking series, in particular, is designed for outdoor enthusiasts and features a leather lace for easy attachment to gear.

Are Old Bear knives suitable for heavy-duty tasks?

While Old Bear knives are well-made and can handle many everyday tasks, they may not be the best choice for heavy-duty tasks due to their traditional design and construction. For more demanding tasks, consider a knife specifically designed for heavy-duty use.

Can I carry an Old Bear or Opinel knife in my pocket?

Both Old Bear and Opinel knives are designed to be compact and portable, making them perfect for everyday carry in your pocket. Just ensure that the blade is locked in the closed position using the safety ring to prevent accidents.


When choosing between Old Bear and Opinel pocket knives, consider factors such as intended use, personal preferences, and budget. Both brands offer unique designs, quality materials, and excellent performance, making them top choices for pocket knife enthusiasts.

Old Bear knives stand out for their timeless design and beautiful hardwood handles, while Opinel knives are known for their simplicity, functionality, and versatility.

Ultimately, the choice between these two iconic brands will come down to your individual needs and preferences. By considering the factors discussed in this article and testing the knives in person if possible, you can confidently make the right decision and invest in a pocket knife that will serve you well for years to come.

I'm Justin, co-founder of AllofKitchen and your knife and steel specialist. My extensive experience ensures accurate and hands-on advice on every topic. Turn to me for insights on selecting the best knife or maintaining your steel tools to perfection. Knives aren't just tools; they're an extension of the chef, and I'm here to guide you to the perfect fit.

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