This will be not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a list of cheap knives. My intention is to make a list of knives that I have owned/tested that are a good value. For the purposes of this article, value will be defined as “delivering a lot of function for a fair price.” Some knives might be a bargain at $10 and others might cost over $100 but still be a great value.
In the first installment of this series we will cover fixed blades. We will cover folders at a later date.
Becker Knife and Tool (BK&T) – The entire BK&T line is an excellent value. These knives are made from tough carbon steel, have utility based designs, and are priced very attractively.
Mora Knives – Moras are well known in the knife community. They are available in a multitude of configurations in stainless or carbon steel. They feature a “scandi” grind which may take some getting used to for some users. This particular grind excells at working wood which is why they are popular as “bushcraft”/survival knives. Most Moras cost $8-15.
Ka-bar TDI Line – The TDI line represents an excellent value in the self defense/back up knife role. You may want to look into a custom sheath since the factory sheath may not be ideal.
Emerson Perrin La Griffe – The Perrin La Griffe is a timeless classic in the self defense/back up knife role. It offers compact size and excellent retention. It also comes with a well made and versatile kydex sheath. These can sometimes be picked up for as little as $65.
Fallkniven F1 – The Fallkniven F1 is a classic all around field knife. It has a well deserved reputation for being bull strong thanks to the use of a VG-10 laminate steel. It features a convex edge that cuts very well. It is also available with a number of decent sheath choices. If you shop around these can be picked up for around $100.
Condor Knife and Tool – Condor makes a wide variety or machetes, knives, and other tools. They are all well made and all reasonably priced even though they are some of the most expensive production machetes you will find. They are some of the few machetes that actually come ready to use (great handles that don’t need fitting and polished convex edges). Their knives are less known but they are excellent utilitarian designs. Most of the knife designs can be had for less than $20. These are an amazing value.
Pick of the Litter…
ESEE Knives/RAT Cutlery – These knives offer an excellent value. They are not the least expensive option on the list but, in my opinion, they offer the most function for the dollar. I am not aware of a warranty that is the equal of ESEE’s warranty. It is the best warranty in the business. You will not find knives with better sheaths out of the box. On top of all of that Mike Perrin and Jeff Randall are great folks.
+10 for ESEE knives – I came across them in the past few months and now am the proud owner of an Izula and ESEE5 (SERE knife).
If you shop around, an Izula can be easily found for $40 – it’s just a great small fixed-blade knife.
$40 on the Izula is a great price.
Go to patriot knives – great deals on the Izula with and without the kit.
Patriot Knives is a great dealer. Their ad at BladeForums says that they give free shipping to BladeForums members which would make the Izula an even better deal. I wish they carried more of the ESEE line.