Spyderco Native 5

9.0
9.0 score
(TheGearHunt) score (9.0)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 8.4 / 10
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Spyderco Native 5 Review Facts

In the world of knives, there are a few brands which get repeat buyers and are built with such quality that they deserve higher scrutiny to explain why. Among these types of products Spyderco sits affluently and continues to draw attention time and time again with every line, they bring to the table. Although not always number one, they are most assuredly in the top ten and quite often within the top three to five blades worth purchasing in their brackets. Price wise they also tend to draw attention as they don’t try to take every penny they could with their blades. We even feel it is worth mentioning that when they do use a metal or build that does not satisfy their customers, they correct the issue without raising the cost. They uphold the value of quality to the customer over the profit they could easily try to gain on such situations. We find this commendable and will likely mention it again in future reviews when it comes to their products.

So, what is it that makes them stand out in quality? Well first off, they value customer input. This means if something doesn’t work right, they fix it so that the knife is more reliable. Secondly, they use quality construction, so while it happens, as with any company, it isn’t a common occurrence that something needs to be remedied. It is usually done right to start with. Lastly, they not only offer a variety of high-grade metals as an option to all their blades, and if they see a way to improve that metal, they try it and even have types that came from their own creation. That means it is a great way to know you are getting a good blade from the start. With all of that said, let us head into the nitty-gritty of what sets the Native line, and specifically the Native 5, out for something worth buying.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Brand
  • Options
  • Balanced
Cons
  • Clip visually unappealing
Primary Use

Primary Use

The products made by Spyderco are made to be high-quality everyday use pocket knives. They are designed to perform tasks that you would need a knife for, though each one is designed with a particular theme in mind. So, while they are not multi-tools, they are quite effective at what they do. The Native line was first brought to the table in the late ’90s and has been a constant ever since. Originally more rugged, an unable to close, this knife wasn’t what one would have looked for in a pocket, or every day, knife. Fortunately, the company had the foresight to know this could potentially become a great lightweight pocket knife and continued to update it as needed to get to where it is today. It is meant to perform as a constant use blade for life in a quick paced environment, allowing it to work as easily at cutting food as it does at tearing through packages without running into an issue. While you may be able to use it for outdoor activities like hunting, fishing or camping, it really wasn’t designed for that. This is truly a traditional thought pocketknife.
Blade

Blade

This blade was given a traditional leaf shape with a small inner crescent which has a more toothy tearing grip to it. The blade comes standard S30V steel, but like any of their products, has other options available depending on what you need or want. In this particular review, we will go over the more commonly purchased options in greater detail but will not cover every available option in this manner- since we have done this in other reviews of Spyderco knives. Another major thing to note, specifically to the blade, is its length. This is a 3-inch blade, and it is, in effect, the smaller version of another line in Spyderco. This smaller version actually holds its edge just as easily and is steady in your grip, zipping through anything you might need it to without a hitch!
Accessories

Accessories

The standard metal offered here is the S30V, as are most of the products manufactured by this company. However, you can also get this blade in varying other types of metal which include S35VN, S110V, and Maxamet. So, what’s the difference? Well, the quality level of the steel as well as the process to make it. Of course, we feel that sometimes the rate of quality is not entirely justified, seeing as we all have different needs and wants- so what makes one type of steel worth more to one person, may not be what would be considered quality to someone else. Therefore, while we will put what it is considered, we will explain where it actually has its strengths and weaknesses, so you can decide better what is quality to you.
S35VN is considered a premium quality metal and is an upgraded version of the S30V. It has an above average ability to hold its edge as well as resist any form of corrosion. It has an average rating when it comes to how easy it is to sharpen back up when necessary. What makes this steel stand out is that its ratings actually make it the cheapest way to get great quality steel, since they perform so well despite being considered at the same level as its predecessor.
The S110V is considered to be the best of the best in steel, however, it is actually also one of the most expensive, making it not very popular among buyers. It has what is considered perfect edge hold, slightly above average resistance to wear and poor ease at sharpening. This blade will hold its edge seemingly forever, which is why it is considered to be as good as it is, however, it is arguably not worth its fame because getting it to that edge- or back to that edge- is as close to impossible as it gets. Another reason why it isn’t very popular is that you would need patience, special equipment and a lot of time to get that edge back once it is gone.
Finally, we have the Maxamet Steel. This is one of the first times we have actually seen low-end steel being offered by Spyderco, and it actually is quite a bit on that side. Despite the fact that it holds its edge, and is as sharp as S110VN, it is powdered steel. This means it corrodes much more easily. The worst part? While you may think it would be easier to sharpen, it isn’t. Instead, it is just as difficult to sharpen as the S110VN, meaning it fails in two of the three categories that metals tend to be ranked in for knives. The upside is that it is a lot cheaper, and if you can keep up on its maintenance, that edge will last you a very long time and do just as much work.
Durability

Durability

This is a topic that is difficult to discuss, considering it is really covered both in the description of the blade itself, as well as in the accessories by the type of steel. The build of this particular product is durable and tends to last- but the real question is in the durability of the blade end of the knife for most. In the case of anything purchased from Spyderco, it boils down to what type of steel you chose for your particular knife. Depending on the quality of material you chose for its handle, which also has options, is how much you can expect it to take as well. Of course, no matter what you choose, you can expect quality from the make and to know if it is cared for properly, you will have a knife that lasts. No one will argue too much that Spyderco doesn’t provide a tool that you can rely on to work as an all day everyday companion.
Weight

Weight

The Native 5 is a smaller lightweight version of another blade produced by Spyderco which has a lot of fans already. At a full length of about 7 inches when open and a weight of 2 and a half ounces it definitely falls into the lightweight category. While other lightweight knives may feel unbalanced, this one is perfectly balanced, even with the seemingly oversized clip which visually runs counter to the overall design of the blade. Though it isn’t likely to break on you, the fact that the knife is made of lighter weight material and its smaller size can make some feel like a good heavy squeeze will crumple it up as easily as a thick piece of cardboard. Considering the quality of most materials (especially the blade itself) we wouldn’t suggest testing this- since you are more likely to get damaged than it is. It’s lightweight and size makes this perfect for carrying along and can even aid in some activities you might nee it for when camping, though it is more designed for home and office use.
Finish

Finish

No matter what color you go for on these blades, either metallic silver or black, you will not find yourself disappointed. When it comes to their knives, this company takes special care that each one they send out looks as good as it performs. If you somehow get a blade that has a bad quality to it, you may want to check for it being counterfeit or check to see if it is actually a new, unused blade. There are ways to check for either- firstly the seller matters. If you are purchasing online, Spyderco has its own store on Amazon as well as an official website. No matter how you buy it, check the stamp against the official manufacturer's methods and where it came from, you should be able to tell if you have been had- and so far there are little to no complaints when the genuine tools are purchased.
Safety

Safety

This is a ‘lock back’ style of tool, so what does that mean exactly? Well, we decided that, once again, we would make it easy for you and go looking for the answers. A lock back mechanism means that this knife locks into place when fully opened, and it only opens when you push on the flat back area where part of the metal can be seen. The knife is centered, so it holds perfectly and only slips into the lock when it is fully closed or fully open- which means you have to be trying to open it- which is still easy, to get it that way, and trying to close it for it to close. Both directions are easy to use and neither has a stuck feeling to it. Another safety is the way the handle is textured for most versions- the rougher texture may seem odd at first, but it grips in your hand and won’t accidentally slide as other knives might. This is a definite plus to this particular product as there are quite a few knives that don’t give you a solid grip in both shapes and handle texture as this one does.
Price

Price

As with any of their products, the Native 5 varies on price based on your selections in its build. They also have a very pricey anniversary addition of this knife which has a gorgeous visual appeal to both the blade and the handle. For your standard version of this particular knife, however, expect to pay around $94, but if you go for premium’s you can end up around $234 in the end. It all depends on what you want in the steel, handle and finish for the blade. There are a lot of options, and if what you are looking for is to get your hands on the anniversary edition of this model you are looking at about $368 in the end. The quality is great no matter what you go for, the real question is, how much do you want to have your blade for show, and how much of your purchase is actually on having a working everyday tool?
Key Features

Key Features

-Steel options
-Quality build
-Handle options
-Lock back style
-Larger belt clip
-Balanced
-Lightweight
-Reputable company
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

If your focus is a quality everyday use blade, the Native is perfect. Built to be a solid pocket knife for day to day office and home use, it can work for other uses such as camping or fishing, but it is still best for day to day tasks. Its small size and weight make it a perfect companion as a pocket knife, however, if what you are looking for is a tactical knife or something for hunting, there are other Spyderco blades that may be a slightly better fit.