Budget EDC
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Budget EDC Buyer's Guide

Here at Budget EDC we are big believers in the saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." And, well, we can't help with your opportunity but we know for sure you'll be prepared when it comes.

This site is specifically focused on budget everyday carry. With very few exceptions, every item on this site will be the best gear we know about in its respective category, under $50. This is a short, single-purpose site; for more pen and refill information check out Unsharpen.com.

Best EDC Pen

EDC Pen Material Why? Refill Price
Zebra F-701 Stainless Steel Cheap & tough Fisher Space Under $7
Tombow AirPress Plastic Grip & size BR-SF33 Under $11
Fisher Bullet Coated brass Size Fisher Space $16
Fisher Astronaut Coated brass Classy Fisher Space $32
Machine Era Brass Cheap & tough G2 Refill $38
Parker Jotter Steel Classic Parker $12

We may live our lives on our smart devices, but a pen is still incredibly handy to have around. After all, they never run out of batteries and they work no matter where you go. Here are some of top EDC pens, without any of those ridiculous "tactical pens" that are huge and awful looking!

1. Fisher Space Pen

The Space Pen is a great choice for budget EDC because it's sturdy, writes anywhere and on any surface, and they are reasonably price given the design and build quality. The worst thing about the Space Pen is that it's available in so many varieties that it can be hard to find the right one. Our favorites are the X-Mark because of its matte black finish and use of a clip; the Space Pen ST Space-Tec, with its rubber coating and $10 price tag; and the Raw Brass Bullet Pen, which trades off some function for form but is quite striking and develops a great patina.

2. Machine Era Solid Brass Pen

If you go purely by Amazon feedback, the Machine Era solid brass pen might be a no-brainer. Selling for under $40 it's at the high end of "budget" EDC but we love its near-flawless reviews, use of the Pilot G2 refill, and its all-brass build. If you want something classy that's going to fit in your your EDC kit while not looking out of place in an office or with a tie, keep this on your list. Two serious issues with it that are worth pointing out: it doesn't have a clip and brass is soft, so if you drop your pens consider steel!

F701 EDC Pen
Original Zebra F-701 (with plastic top) // Get Price

3. Zebra F-701 Retractable Pen

Dollar for dollar, the Zebra F-701 is perhaps the best EDC pen ever made. Why such a strong statement? Try to think of another pen that is A) entirely metal B) under $8 C) easily moddable and D) works with a pressurized Fisher cartridge. Come up with anything yet? Didn't think so -- the F-701 is unique in the value it offers. It also looks and writes great, plus it has a really nice weight to it.

The F-701 skews a bit on the functional side, even for an everyday carry tool, so it won't be as ideal in an office setting or signing your next big contract. That said, the tough steel can take a drop, the knurling on the body means it's works with gloves on, and the Fisher cartridge works in any conditions -- hot, cold, wet... whatever.

If you want the F-701 in an all-metal design, then check out the F-xMD from Zebra. It's a bit new and not widely available (in the US it will be sold as the "Steel Series" F-701) but it's a great pickup. This is basically the new and improved F-701.

4. Rite in the Rain All-Weather Clicker Pen

Whether you write in the rain very often or not, this is a good use of $13. This pen has a hard black exterior and an metal body. Think that's tough? Your expectactions are too low! It also works at up to 35 feet under water and anywhere from -30 degrees F to 250 degrees F, regardless of the angle. No matter how crazy your EDC gets, this pen has you covered.

5. Parker Jotter Stainless Steel Ballpoint

If you want a pen that is simple and classy that's under $15 then the Parker Jotter can't be ignored. The pen is full stainless steel (thread included) with a classic Parker look that fits in well in the pocket of a work shirt or in in the cup holder of a truck. It works with ballpoint or gel Parker-style refills and is just about the perfect size for EDC use.

More Top EDC Pens

Still looking for the right pen? Unsharpen.com has huge database of pens and deep articles on EDC pens.

Top EDC Pen Shootout: Rotring 600 vs Hexomatic

Above is a comparison of two popular EDC pens: the new for 2018 Rotring 600 ballpoint and the Retro 1951 Hexomatic. Both are handsome, rugged pens with a great -- and clearly related -- design. They have hefty brass bodies and work with the popular Parker-style "G2" refill.

Best EDC Knives

Almost every EDC (everyday carry) kit includes a knife of some sort because a cutting tool is useful in a huge variety of situations. The ones we've chosen are just that: useful tool, nothing too big, too small, to expensive, or too flashy. And nothing custom that is too expensive to use.

To fit our paramaters for the best budget EDC knives, we're going to keep the knives foldable, with under 3.25-inch blades, and under $30.

Kershaw Cryo II
Cryo II EDC Knife // Get Price

New Addition: Kershaw Cryo II

At just $25 the Kershaw Cryo II BlackWash is a compelling addition to any EDC kit. The "blackwash" color is an awesome looking faded black that matches nicely with any of your used everyday carry, plus it wears quite well. The knife has a 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade, a sturdy pocket clip and a great frame lock design. This is a winner.

Best EDC Tools

Best Budget Flashlight

A good flashlight is part of almost every EDC, even if you don't want to spend too much. That's because a light source is super important under so many occassions (even during the day). Plus today's flashlights have gotten so nice that most of them are a pleasure to carry, even if you only use them now and them. Serious buyers tend to buy based on battery type (AA, AAA, CR123, CR2, etc.) but we don't need to get into that now.

Best Budget Wallet

Wallets tend to be expensive and non-functional. All too often you get an expensive piece of leather that is sensitive to, well, everything. Sure it looks nice but it's not ready for anything except a day at the office. And the design is the same as your dad's wallet. We'll be avoiding those and looking for affordable, versatile credit card storage devices.

The EDC wallet list will focus on models under $20, but we know wallets are often associated with success and are popular gifts so we are going to throw in a few higher end models (under $40).


This site is all about being prepared for whatever may come, most especially the situations that are inevitably going to arise, as we all live our lives. That's because tires go flat, bikes breakdown, and all sorts of other things happen every day, so your EDC is about being prepared. It's also about having trust and pride in the tools you carry with you. We are firm believers in the fact that this can be done on a budget without sacrificing quality or reliability. And, because your tools represent you, quality and and a presentable nature are also important to us. There is no question about it: EDC has a style all to its own.

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