Not too long ago there was a time when hunting for a razor-sharp cruiser, I would use price tags as a quality indicator. That was my starting point. I'd filter out all knives under hundred bucks and then begin browsing. That changed two years ago when I came across the Shapu in a gear exhibition - a folding knife from an unknown U.S. knife-maker called Tekto. It felt like a Japanese katana - the curved, slender, single-edged blade, the weight distribution, the handle ... everything about it felt like the legendary Samurai sword, only smaller in form and size. The razor-sharp edge glistened and cut through the sandbag like a hot knife through butter. I smiled and asked for the price, fully expecting an exorbitant jolt. Instead, I got a decent shock, this piece of Japanese art in steel was priced at $85. Needless to say, I bought it on the spot.
"You Get What You Pay For". True?
As with most things in life the maxim 'you get what you pay for" holds some truth. There's no denying that the most outstanding knives available on the market cost a small fortune ranging from $500 to a few thousand dollars. However, sometimes the exorbitant price tags on these knives are often hard to justify as they use the same material as some of their less costly counterparts. Say for example ..
CRKT XOC - Shock
Read 'shock', this tactical knife from CRKT is a true shocker. Not only does it boast a massive size, it also comes with a colossal price tag of $750. Ok, this is a special edition knife, I get it. But does the price justify the performance? No. If I wanted a top-quality WWII folding knife, designed with 2022 tech, I can buy the Carbonado for less than $80. Here are two knives that both offer fantastic construction with razor-sharp blades and beautifully designed aluminum handles. One is a price and size overkill, the other folding knife is a pocket Bowie.
Winner: Carbonado at $80
Benchmade Billet. Agonizing. Why?
This is a shocker from a quality knife maker like Benchmade. Justify this at $670. This hideous release is apparently the Gold Class Of Benchmade knives. I won't waste my breath on this just because I love Benchmade's tactical knives.
Walk down the road to another reputed knife brand Kershaw and you'll find Kershaw's Lucha Blackwash, a similar knife for just $139.
Spyderco Paysan. Triumphant.
Don't despair. We're going to end this article on a high, with a positive note. Here's a knife from Spyderco that shows why some knives are genuinely worth a pretty penny. Spyderco's Nirvana ($739) ruled among the top knife performers before it was discontinued. Their next release Paysan grabbed the Iron Throne. The beautiful knife costs a small fortune of $800. However, we feel that the price is well-earned. It's a stunning tactical knife boasting an outstanding 3.88 inch 590V premium blade. The blade has an MSRP of $800 but we're looking at a street price of around $520.