Buying a Knife?
I was thinking about buying a $20 knife from Wal-Mart. What is the difference between a $20 knife and a $60 knife? What makes an expensive knife expensive?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
I recently needed to buy a new knife, as my old carry knife disappeared when we moved. I ordered a 'ranger' tanto type knife from CheaperThanDirt for $4, not to actually use, but more out of morbid curiosity. Then I went to my local sporting goods store, rifled through their case of knives, and came out with a Benchmade folder. The metal holds an edge better, and when I got it out of the box it was sharp enough to shave with. I know this because a buddy of mine said he'd sharpen it, and I told him it was sharp enough, but he insisted on checking anyways. After a few weeks, I got the Tanto, and instead of being a high quality slab of stainless steel machined to the perfect tolerances, it's a stamped piece of heat treated sheet metal with a few feet of 550 cord around the handle, and the front flat on the tanto blade was incredibly dull. It's about what you would expect to get for spending $4 on a knife.
After cutting lots of boxes open, prying things, stabbing things, cutting up packed loaves of bread, and all that, as well as leaving it dirtier than I really should have, and carrying it for half a year everywhere I go, it only has a few little scratches in the finish, no rust, and cuts like nobody's business. The tanto still cuts about as well as it did when I got it, but only after I sharpened it up some.
Long story short, spend as much as is reasonable on a quality knife if you're going to be using it. Spending $300 on a custom knife to play around with isn't reasonable, and likewise, one of those $2 keychain knives isn't going to make a good survival knife. I, personally, would stay away from Wal-Mart, as lots of the things they sell can be had cheaper elsewhere, or at least better elsewhere.
- Sandy OrtonLv 41 decade ago
Depends on what you consider "expensive."
Under about $150, the extra money goes for things like
Quality control (which includes proper heat treatment - a very important aspect)
Better handle material
Sheath material/type (an underappreciated aspect IMO)
More durable tangs
If you start getting over $150 or so, you'll be paying for things like
Super steels (which really aren't that super)
Exotic blade materials (titanium, Talonite, layered steels, etc)
Marketing hype (usually seen with tactical/tacticool knives)
If you're looking at folders, then lock mechanisms and liner materials (if applicable) also play a role.
The knives at walmart usually have the bare minimum of what's required for an acceptable knife. They're not junk (although the Ozark Trail ones are pretty suspect) and they're not great. Most will probably do you just fine, though they'll require more frequent resharpening.
Personally, though, I'd go with a carbon steel knife over stainless if you're looking at a fixed blade. The increased chromium in stainless makes it weaker. That wouldn't be an issue if you use it lightly, but could be a problem if you do things like chop/split wood, stab hard objects, and stuff like that. If you don't plan on doing those things, though, stainless will work just fine.
- charlesian2000Lv 41 decade ago
The difference between a $20 knife and a $60 knife at a super store is just marketing imo.
Now if you asked the difference between a $20 Knife and a custom knife or a "brand" name knife. There's a world of difference.
For a brand name knife you expect to get quality from your purchase, and you would start at $100 for the most basic blade.
If you bought a custom blade from me, for example, you would spend from $80 to $2000, but that gets you something special.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
There's quite a bit of difference, the strength of the blade, how long it holds a sharp edge, what materials it is made from, if it's been strength tested, how well it was manufactured, and also what is it's purpose..ie: gut hook knife, pocket knife, fixed blade...
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- Anonymous7 years ago
The overall quality of the knife. For example. The lock, steel, type of grip, and how well its constructed.
- Anonymous7 years ago
It depends on what you want to do with the knife. It is not about the money.
- 1 decade ago
You are paying for quality & the ability of the knife to hold a sharp keen edge.*Source(s): You cannot teach what you have not experienced.*
- HuckLv 41 decade ago
All I have to say is that you get what you paid for! I bought a $10 generic Leatherman tool for fishing, but I'd rather have the $45 Leatherman that was there b/c the $10 POS is bent while it was in my pocket!
- bobbo342Lv 71 decade ago
Better brands. better steel. Some knives are made out of recycled beer cans.
Gerbers are good, Kershaw, buck is ok. I carry a large Smith and Wesson SWAT