Liner Lock vs Frame Lock (Pros and Cons)

One of the most important factors to think about when purchasing knives for folding is the mechanism for locking. There are various locking mechanisms, however frame lock and liner locks are most popular for pocket knives.

Every locking mechanism has its pros and cons which make them suitable for various needs. In this post we will examine the different features of frame locks and liner locks, in addition to their advantages and disadvantages to assist you in choosing the right one according to your requirements and preferences.

Liner lock

The mechanism of the liner lock was developed in the 19th century and is among the most commonly used locks used in folding knives as well as pocket knives of today. It’s distinguished by the spring bar (liner) that is located on the left on the edge of the blade.

When it is closed when it is closed, the spring bar remains in place under tension while it is bent to the side. After it is opened the tension pulls it (liner) towards the back and it is able to contact the blade’s tang edge that holds it in position, and stops its closing.

In order to close the knife in this position, use a manual force to pull the liner closer to the scale and allow the blade to fold back in a controlled manner.

Liner locks have seen changes and modifications by different knife manufacturers, each of which gives the lock a unique name however the basic idea remains the same. Kershaw For instance, it comes with one with an insert liner lock that is aimed to reduce weight.

Micheal Walker Liner lock, possibly the most popular and most effective variant to date, comes with an internal detent ball within the liner mechanism which allows the blade a smooth, smooth motion.

It lets the blade to be held in only one point. when closed completely the ball will fall into a tiny hole inside the blade.

Spyderco offers its own kind of liner lock variant typically referred to by the term inverted liner lock referred to as an compress lock.

Are liner locks safe?

Liner lock knives are safe to carry and use. The liner lock mechanism is an established concept that is used in a variety of folding knives. Liner lock knives will not let itself open while carrying , unless you open it manually.

The liner bar is sturdy enough to not allow knives to collapse using it unless you manually release. If you require a more durable folding knife, purchase a frame lock it is identical to the liner lock.

The advantages of liner lock

  • The knives can be equipped with two handles.
  • It is used in high-end as well as entry-level knives.
  • The lock appeals to knife-users who are new as well as those who are avid
  • You can shut the knife by using one hand.

Liner lock’s disadvantages

  • Liner locks aren’t durable enough to withstand the rigors of heavy-duty work
  • They are prone to wear since they are made from tiny pieces of metal

Frame lock

The mechanism of a frame lock is very like the liner lock. Frame locks use a portion of the knife’s handle to act to lock. Frame locks are more secure than liner locks due to the fact that the handle is primarily a more robust metal.

The frame’s one side is cut in the middle. The metal that was cut is bent to snap into place when the blade opens by securing the tang in place.

The closing of the frame lock follows the same process as closing the liner lock. In this case, you apply pressure to pull the frame away from the blade. Once the lock is opened the handle is compelled to snap onto the blade due to the force of the lock.

Pros of Frame Lock

  • Frame locks are a solid lockup , making knives ideal for cutting and perforating.
  • The knife can be operated by using only one hand
  • The knives have an individual look
  • They don’t wear out as quickly since they are made of thick metal

Cons of Frame Lock

  • Mostly found in mid-range to top-end knives.
  • If there’s a mistake in coordinating the angle of the blade to the lock, the lock might not engage to the greatest extent it can, which could reduce the efficiency of the knife.

Differentialities between liner lock and frame lock

  1. Knives that have Liner locks utilize spring bars, while frame locks use a part of the knife’s handle to serve to serve as the locking.
  2. Liner locks are constructed from tiny pieces of steel, frames are constructed of thick metals and provide more durable locking.
  3. Liner locks allow knives be equipped with two different sides unlike knives that have a frame lock, which just have one edge since the other side functions to act as a locking mechanism.
  4. Liner locks are prone to wear and tear, and can break easily, whereas frame locks are durable and last for many years.

Things to take into consideration when purchasing frame lock knives and liner knives

The choice between knives that have frames or liner locks could be difficult. Use these tips to help you make the right choice:

The material of the handle

As previously mentioned frames lock use a portion of the handle to serve as the lock. The substance used to create the handle determines its efficiency.

Be sure you ensure that the handles is made of an extremely strong and durable material. Frame locks made of titanium are sturdy and very robust. However think about the material that is that is used to create the liner of the liner lock so that it won’t be too thin that it is able to slide back onto the frame.

The function of the knife

If you’re buying knives that are designed for tough tasks think about the frame locks that are available because they are constructed from heavy metals, which makes them more durable. However Liner locks are ideal for small tasks since they lack the strength required to tackle the most difficult tasks.

Cleaning is easy

The strength of locks are determined by tension between the handle or spring bar as well as the knife. It is affected through lubrication and dirt; so, you should choose a knife which is simple to wash.

Liner lock vs Frame lock Which is the better choice?

Both locks, liner and frame are secure and serve their purpose perfectly. The choice between them will depend on the purpose for which they are used. A frame lock is more suitable over a liner lock in more demanding applications because it’s more sturdy.

A liner lock is more secure over a traditional frame lock when it comes to accessibility and opening. Liner locks with different variations specifically that of the Michael Walker liner lock, enable rapid single-handed opening and closing. Frame locks are more rigid due to the sturdy handle built into it.

Concerning safety Both are secure to carry and use but one could suggest that the frame lock is more secure when used. When it is opened by your hands, the frame is forced the frame lock into place, which means there is less chances of it returning to its closed position.

Both locking mechanisms pose the risk of your finger getting in the way of the blade as you close the knife. This is the primary reason for concerns with locking mechanisms.


Both the frame lock and liner lock are based on the same mechanism. Both are secure and have been proven be efficient due to their huge use of folding knife. Both have similar capabilities however frames lock is better suited to tasks that are demanding because it is more durable.

About the author

Hi, my name is Jaba Ray. I'm a knife expert and researcher. I am the creator of, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I love people who need suitable steel or knife for their cook because I'm also a food lover. I work with a team of people who've always had a passion for knives and blades on this site.

Leave a Comment