For light duty a folding knife is certainly easy to work with. Simple carving, whittling, opening boxes, envelopes…these duties are pretty simple and straight forward and are not too demanding on the carriage or the lever. Folding knives are easier to carry (and loose) plus there are many in different price ranges. Fixed blade knives are heavier duty by far, and they range in many different sizes and weights for different tasks. Lack of moving parts makes fixed blade knives entirely more durable.
Folding knives have casing which covers the blade like a sheath that should be periodically cleaned, and the pivot screw should be oiled especially with outdoor use. This is usually where most of the folding knives fail after prolonged use break or rust shut. Many of us have used these in place of a screw driver and broke the tip off at the end of the blade. Have you ever used a folding knife that didn’t have a lockout mechanism? I used one to scrape and pry off old caulk from windows and when I put pressure on the wrong side of the blade, it snapped back on my fingers…and it hurt. Of course there are decent and functional folding knives that are part of multi purpose knives, but the little blades in those usually don’t have lockouts, so they are equally as notorious for closing when you least expect it.
Don’t get me wrong, fixed blade knives break too. Usually it has more to do with the application – or wrong application thereof. You will find that even the finest of fixed blade knives for cutlery will often twist and break off at the tip if you suddenly find yourself having to use one as a flathead screwdriver. They are harder to carry around unless you have a carrying case, so they usually stay in the toolbox.
Many of your folding knives are used in the streets for the ease of carrying around and the ability to conceal. In some states having a knife over 6 inches is a crime so watch what you purchase if you plan on having it on your person. Usually hunting and larger type serrated knives are perceived more as tools as opposed to folding knives.
Quality of anything you purchase is usually the result of what you are willing to pay for. This pertains to fixed blade knives, as well. It is easy to find reasons to favor one over the other or vise-versa; if it fits within your budget, try not to go cheap on your tools – any tools. I have learned this the hard way, having raced through countless fixed blade knives, multi-tools and folding knives, cheap and expensive. As long as you properly take car of, and don’t lose or leave your more expensive tools, they tend outlast and outwork a cheaper tool. As a final thought, I would choose to have top of the line-or at least moderate-when purchasing a fixed blade knife.