Also known as a ZT knife, the best Zero Tolerance knives are made for skilled individuals that rely on high-quality tools. The first zero tolerance knives were designed with military personnel, responders, firefighters, police, and other roles that may save the lives of civilians. The purpose of Zero tolerance Knives is to ensure the survival of the tool itself even in the harshest conditions.
This may include exposure on the front line, in fire and rubble, and many other scenarios whereby the knife is pushed to its limits. These types of knives have quite literally filled a hole in the market and serve a wide purpose to a range of consumers. Today, they are a popular knife that has evolved over recent years, with many brands building upon the initial design. This is to guarantee a stealthy model from the point blade to the fiber handle, ensuring quality when it’s needed in the most critical moments.
Able to thrive in a crisis, Zero Tolerance knives have grown to be loved by many. While on the more expensive side when compared to other types of knives, they withstand far more and are way tougher. The best zero tolerance knives boast a blade capable of cutting through paracord, seatbelts, and much more.
They are designed to tackle just about any emergency situation and are combat-ready too. Below, we have compiled a list of the best zero tolerance knives available for those that require a tool that they can rely on. Read on to find your ultimate survival ZT knives options.
The ZT brand
Designed by Ken Onion alongside Strider Knives, the ZT range of tools utilize different designs with a heavy duty model of knife. The company prides itself in using only the best material in each component of the tool to ensure its overall longevity. From the steel used to craft the smooth or serrated edge blade to the high grade titatnium and carbon featured in the handle desgins, each knife is perfectly crafted.
1. Zero Tolerance Knife 0450
Blade Length: 3 3/16” | Overall Length: 7 3/8” | Weight: 3.04 oz
First up on our list we have the 0450 which was one of the first zero tolerance knives to break the mold. However, with this said it is by no means flimsy weighing in at half a pound. If you’re planning on carrying this via a pocket clip, you may need to wear an extra strong belt! The 0450 is based on the 0454 model which has won numerous awards, unlike the 0454 however, this knife is far more compact measuring 7.4 inches in length.
The 0450 zero tolerance knife comes in a number of variations with the original being a titanium model with a ZT embossed near the pivot. Both slim and sleek in appearance, this high-quality ZT features a gently curved handle with an inverse one to the spine of the knife. The knife is essentially a modified drop point that has a higher centerline as well as a flat grind. It also comes with a long swedge that gives this particular model its needle top.
A KVT ball bearing is used in the 0450 as well as a lock bar made of stainless steel that acts as an overtravel stop. It also features anodized standoffs and has a tip-up spring clip which provides impressive retention. Overall, this is a zero-tolerance knife that is going to serve you well in any type of survival situation.
2. Zero Tolerance 0770CF
Blade Length: 3.25″ | Overall Length: 7.50″ | Weight: 3 oz
Intended to be Zero Tolerance’s simple EDC knife, the 0770CF is seriously impressive. Featuring everything you’d expect from the brand, this is one of the most popular knives and it’s not difficult to see why. The carbon fiber handle ensures a comfortable grip onto the ZT when in use and it provides a less tactical feel when compared to other survival knives.
The stonewashed appearance of the Zero Tolerance 0770CF knife makes it a versatile option and nonaggressive in its appearance. It features ELMAX tool steel which is a ZT trademark showcasing quality materials at their finest and ensuring a razor-sharp edge once the steel has hardened. In fact, the blade on this knife is going to serve you well in just about any critical situation, ensuring that you can cut through the materials that you need to.
This brand showcases plenty of spectacular knife models, but the 0770CF is a pocket piece that you won’t want to miss out on.
3. Zero Tolerance Les George Titanium 0900
Blade Length: 2.7″ | Overall Length: 6.6″ | Weight: 4.3 oz
The 0900 Les George Titanium zero tolerance knife is one to watch out for. Slate grey and sophisticated in its appearance, this knife bears an impressive blade designed to eliminate fatigue when cutting. The scales on this particular model are crafted from titanium and they perfectly hold the S35VN steel blade allowing you to easily open and close the knife.
Each line is intended to line up in your hand when you are completing your task, whether it’s cutting away thick fabric or something else tiring. You won’t have to worry about overdoing it with the motions with one of these ZT knives. The knife has a flipper type open which will require manual controlling, nonetheless, it’s as easy as ever with a sleek KVT ball bearing and comfortable fiber handle.
This versatile pocket clip ZT is the perfect companion for any type of work-oriented task that requires a smooth and durable blade.
4. Zero Tolerance 0801
Blade Length: 3.5″ | Overall Length: 8.2″ | Weight: 5.85 oz
This discrete zero tolerance knife is among the sleekest from the brand and it offers a fantastic frame lock for ultimate safety. The blackwash finish only adds further to its stealthy appearance while the blade offers a precision cut with minimum effort. Capable of cutting through even the toughest materials, the 0801 is constructed only with quality in mind.
With a titanium handle that is smooth in the hand, this knife boasts an ELMAX point blade with a high chromium blend for an impressively lightweight and razor edge. This isn’t a zero tolerance that is going to corrode easily either, in fact, the materials used to ensure its longevity as a companion to keep by your side far into the future. Cleaning this one is also a breeze, you’ll simply need some blade oil to get the knife shining bright again.
For added convenience, you will find a lanyard hole on the knife which allows it to be worn on the waist too. Overall when it comes to ZT knives, this model really does take the show.
5. Zero Tolerance 0560
Blade Length: 3.75″ | Overall Length: 8.8″ | Weight: 5.8 oz
Measuring almost 9 inches in total, this is a larger ZT knife and it is designed for the most brutal conditions. While it will likely affect your movement if placed in a pocket, it is a zero-tolerance knife worth packing into a bag and bringing along with you where it could be needed. The blade on these knives ZT is made using ELMAX steel for guaranteed durability and precision and they have a blackwash finish for extra sleekness.
You will appreciate the KVT ball bearing featured on the knife which provides an easy flipping motion for the user experience and convenience. The blade will flip back down into its frame lock with minimum effort meaning you won’t have to be concerned about any manual handling.
The 0560 is a knife you’ll be proud to carry and is certainly one of the best Zero Tolerance knives out there. With its refined appearance and fantastic perfect knife for all types of scenarios.
6. Zero Tolerance 0095
Blade Length: 3.6″ | Overall Length: 8.4″ | Weight: 5.3 oz
This speedy knife is truly one of the best Zero tolerance knives available and it delivers a superb cut with each use. With an extendable handle and a smooth curve to grip onto, the knife’s blade is truly impressive with an inward curve too. Many of this knife’s physical attributes are most commonly seen in tool knives and kukuris, making this a unique knife.
The handle of this knife boasts sleek aluminum which is lightweight and offers superb durability when cutting. You won’t need to worry about knife maintenance either, as this best ZT is capable of withstanding the worst weather conditions. Featuring a drop point blade, this as smooth an EDC cutter as any and the added frame lock ensures safety.
Overall, this model of ZT is a top product in this range that won’t ever let you down. We appreciate just how versatile this tool is and what is has to offer in any type of scenario.
7. Zero Tolerance 0562
Blade Length: 3.5″ | Overall Length: 8.25″ | Weight: 5.5 oz
Designed by Rick Hinderer, who is one of the most well-known names in customized knives, the 0562 seriously has a lot to offer. With Rick’s signature slicer grind, this model of ZT is designed to cut through the toughest of materials. With a plunge line that begins at an even level as the pivot , it intersects the swedge for a dramatic overall aesthetic. This knife is available in two different options – the 0562CF and the regular 0562.
The difference between the two models you ask? The regular use G10 steel while the CF uses CPM-20V steel. Price-wise, you won’t pay heaps more for the upgrade and it’s certainly worth it for the carbon fiber elements too. You will appreciate the solid construction that this ZT boasts as well as the Hinderer style lockbar insert for added safety when in use.
8. Zero Tolerance Combat Folder Framelock
Blade Length: 3 3/4″ | Overall Length: 5 1/4″ | Weight: 8.6 oz
Last but not least we present you with the ZT combat folder which comes with an impressive framlock and heaps of other features. This folding knife is particularly ideal if you are seeking a carbon fiber pocket tool that is lightweight enough to carry around on the job. With different signature ZT trademarks including a SpeedSafe opening and Tungsten DLC coating, this knife guarantees absolute durability and safety,.
The 3D handle’s composition incorporates quality titanium making it comfortable to grip EDC, while the addition of a pocket clip adds further convenience. With a smooth blade coated with carbon fiber, this knife is capable of cutting through the toughest materials and will always serve you well.
As a firm favorite among this brand of knives, it’s not difficult to see why. Despite its smaller size, this knife delivers big on all the aspects you’ll need.
Is this your first time buying a Zero Tolerance knife? If so, you probably have a few questions on what to look out for. Don’t sweat! We have you covered with our buyers guide below which contains everything that you need to know about these particular knives.
Zero Tolerance knives have a reputation when it comes to drop point blade quality. Designed for continual use they are coated often using an anodizing process. The anodizing coating gives extra durability to the knives and blade steel ensuring that it can be used in all types of survival scenarios. This electrolytic process manipulates the oxide layer of the blade which creates a colored surface.
In addition to this, the knife blade is sprayed with a special layer of glass and aluminum oxide beads. This process takes place under high speeds and pressure to smooth out the blade surface and affects whether the blade is lighter or darker in color.
ZT also has a blackwash blade range which produces the impression of a well-used knife. This finish on the knife helps to prevent scratches from occuring on the blade and adds further blade protection too. There is also a Tungsten DLC coating that uses properties similar to that of a diamond on the blade. While this coating certainly adds to the overall aesthetic, it is not used for solely this purpose. Instead, it adds high wear, hardness, and extra resistance to the blade.
There is also a range of other blade finished including a PVD coating, Satin finish, Stonewashed finish, Two-tone finish, and Working finish.
Zero Tolerance knives are all designed to be extremely durable and stable at the same time. They are also designed to be extremely lightweight in order to be carried around with ease. Different models also include 3D handles which provide better grip and comfortable contouring to improve grip.
Carbon fiber – In carbon fiber handle knives ZT, the material produces an extremely lightweight feel. Carbon fiber atoms are bonded alongside crystals in long strands that are then woven together into fibers.
Titanium – A titanium handle is lightweight and corrosion-resistant but they also provide a high amount of strength. ZT knives use a titanium handle, liners, lock bars, and as part of their certain coatings too.
G10 – This epoxy filled glass filler is stable and unaffected by temperature changes. The material makes excellent handles for knives and offers comfort at the same time.
Most ZT knives offer users a fast and easy way opening mechanism that only requires a single hand. Most models come with either a KVT ball bearing system or a SpeedSafe opening that is assisted. However, some of these knives do come with other opening systems and different ways to access them.
For those that prefer to open their knives using their index finger, a flipper action system is for you. The flipper is essentially an extension found towards the back of the pivot and it can be found on both manual and assisted folders. To open the framelock flipper using a single hand you simply hold the knife vertically in one hand and place the index finger onto the flipper tab. Then you just apply gentle pressure onto the flipper and the SpeedSafe mechanism opens the knife quickly and easily.
The different opening actions found across ZT models vary. These pocketknives provide a smooth way of opening and provide knife safety at the same time. A manual opening with a KT ballbearing relies on the ring of caged balls that surrounds the pivot. This mechanism makes opening the knives as easy and as smooth as possible.
ZT also sell knives with manual washer openings, they function without springs or ballbearings and instead rely on washers as well as a pivot. They can be opened with a thumb stud, nail nick, or flipper.
One of the most popular types of opening mechanisms found on a ZT knife is the SpeedSafe assisted opening. As the name probably suggests, it ensures a speedy yet safe opening for the user. It functions using a manual thumb stud or flipper and when closed the torison bar creates a bias.
Locking mechanisms on a folding knife must operate in a sense that they keep the locked until the user chooses to open the blade. Most ZT most knives utilize a detent towards the bias which enables safe closing when carrying. If the knife that you choose features a frame lock, this means that its ‘frame’ uses two plates of material positioned on each side of the knife’s blade.
When the carry knife opens with a frame lock, the lockbar moves up towards the back part of the blade and prevents it from closing. If you want to unlock a titanium framelock, you should hold the knife using a single hand and turn the knife so that the interior of the handle is facing you. Next, on the left side of the handle you can locate the lock and using your thumb you should press it down. With the other hand now, hold the back of the blade and begin to guide it back into the titanium handles.
ZT knives come with two types of edge including plain and partially serrated. The plain edge of a blade is sometimes best known as ‘straight’ or ‘fine’ Most ZT knives have a plain edge though some do offer serrated blades too.
Plain edge – A plain blade edge is a style that almost all are familiar with. The blade’s steel is ground down and sharpened to a fine point along the edge. The sharpened edge will be visually a bit lighter than the rest of the blade, and it carries multiple benefits. The general-purpose cutting edge offers multi purposes, is great at a push and slice edc cuts, and is super easy to look after.
Partially serrated edge – The partially serrated edge on a ZT knife is particularly useful for cutting up materials such as rope and in some cases wood. Sharpened on a single side, like that of the plain blade, the serrated edge is even sharper and has serrations on it which help to cut through the toughest materials. The benefits of using this type of edc knife include extra versatility, easy cutting, and sharp serrations.