Fixed blade: Mora, Cold Steel, Bark River, Kabar, Condor
Folder: Spyderco, Cold Steel, Opinel, Victorinox, Wenger, CRKT, Kabar, Case
Bowie: Cold Steel
Machete: Cold Steel, Tramontania, Condor. The new Cold Steel machetes are big improvement over the old ones. I am big fan of the new models.
Fixed blade: TOPS. They seem to design knives that I can use for defense, hunting, and camping.
Folder: Spyderco. Simple designs, tough on EDC, and easy to sharpen
Bowie: Kabar. Hard to break a good Kabar, especially with a larger blade.
Machete: Not too sure, but probably Cold Steel. I haven't had too much time with machetes
-Just for kicks, I'll add my favorite brand for automatic knives: Microtech! Their prices always make me a sad panda, but man those knives are well built. Yesterday, for the first time, I got to handle a Microtech HALO! :smile: I had no idea they were as huge as they are. very well built, and when you deploy it, it kicks like a .22!
I like my Imacasa machete and kershaw folder. the SOG fixed blade seems ok. I doubt many would say they are "the best" as people tend to like spendy priced brands of gear. I can't see spending 270 dollars on a pocket knife I will probably break or lose. lol
Spyderco for folders, but I haven't ever really found a favorite for fixed blades. I've had many good fixed blades and still have quite few, but haven't ever found the fixed blade yet that makes me not need to look further. Currently I'm pretty happy with my Benchmade Nimravus that is one of my bugout knives, but I still look at other knives. Spyderco has made it so there's no reason to with my Manix. It really is all I need in a folder. If anything I've been wanting another as a spare. For machete's the Cold Steel Latin machete I'm carrying now is pretty damn good, but it's not the end of all machete's for me either. I've got my eye on a few pieces out there right but may just opt for having something custom made if I've got the money to spare coming up. Getting back into martial arts again and looking to study the sword more, I might just pop for a John Gage Beast if I feel frisky.
For the average guy in a utility knife a Gerber blade is hard to beat for the price. They are good steel, hard but easy to keep sharp and inexpensive enough that you can afford to own more than one. Gerber knives come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and features. I particularly like their skining blades with the broad curve required to do big and medium jobs. Their folding knives are the same grade steel and are, in my mind the ultimate in affordable pocket knives. While there are "better" knives available the finish on the Gerber blades is as good as any mass produced knife on the market.
My daily knife for my blue jeans is a Spyderco completely outfitted with their round-serrated teeth. I didn't know how this edge was going to work out, but you can saw through plastic tubing in two or three passes. I believe they have improved their entire line.