Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
One of the most critical items for any prepper to have, without question, is a knife. And the best type of knife to have, in my opinion, is a tactical folding knife. This type of knife is both convenient to carry in your everyday life while also being suitable for both defensive and utilitarian uses.
The purpose of a knife is to be there when you need it for everything from opening packages to cutting fishing line to self-defense, and so forth. (Here’s a list of uses for knives).
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However, most quality knives are pretty expensive. How do you find a reliable knife for a reasonable price? In this article, we’ll cover the major criteria to look for in a budget knife and go over some examples of high-quality yet low-priced knives.
Criteria For A Budget Knife
To put things simply, the criteria you need to keep in mind when selecting a budget knife is the exact same criteria you’d keep in mind when choosing any other knife. It’s not like the criteria changes just because you’re shopping for a lower-priced knife.
With that in mind, here are the primary criteria you will need to consider when selecting a knife, regardless of how much it costs.
Folding Style With A Locked Blade
The best type of knife to get, as I explained in the introduction, is a folding knife of some kind. But this doesn’t mean you should settle for a simple Swiss Army-type knife, because such a knife won’t work well for defensive purposes. Furthermore, a Swiss Army type knife won’t lock into place when the blade is extended.
Look for a folding tactical knife with a blade that locks into place when extended and with a high-quality clip so you can keep it on your belt. It’s even better if the knife is designed can quickly be opened with one hand.
How comfortable is your knife to hold in your hand? This is a very important question to ask yourself because if you don’t like holding your knife, the simple fact of the matter is that you’re just not going to use it or carry it, and that’s a problem.
This is also why it’s a very good idea to actually hold a knife in your hand before you buying. Yes, you could order a knife online, try it out, and send it back if you don’t like it, but it’s certainly more convenient to hold it before buying it.
The most significant difference among folding knives is the type of blade. There are many types of blades but none are one-size-fits-all. In other words, each type of blade has different pros and cons and fulfills a different role.
One of the most common blade types is the plain edge. In fact, for many centuries, this was the only blade type that existed. Basically, a plain edge knife lacks serrated edges. It’s a very adept knife at performing push cuts, and should give you cleaner cuts as well. That being said, pull cuts with a plain edge knife will be much more difficult, and you can’t slice through objects very efficiently that require a saw-like motion.
The opposite of the plain edge knife is the serrated blade. The serrated blade will be much more effective at cutting through tough materials, especially materials or objects that need a saw-like motion to cut through. That being said, serrated blades are more difficult to sharpen, and performing a push cut is also more difficult.
A good compromise would be a partially serrated blade, which (as the name suggests), is a mixture of both the serrated and the plain edge blades, and therefore gives you the best of both worlds (but also the disadvantages of both worlds as well).
This may seem obvious, but you will need to make sure that the knife you are buying is a high-quality product. You may think that paying a low price for any knife means making a sacrifice in quality, but it’s definitely possible to find a quality knife for a low price.
The best thing you can do to ensure you are buying a quality knife is to purchase from a reputable manufacturer (such as Kershaw or Buck Knives) that is known for producing quality knives at low prices. Also, be sure to read lots of reviews online.
The 6 Best Budget-Friendly Knives For Preppers
Here are some examples of good budget-friendly knives for preppers:
1. Buck Knives 0722 Spitfire Folding Knife
The Buck Knives 0722 Spitfire Folding Knife is an excellent example of an EDC folding knife. It’s designed to be easily opened with one hand, but it lacks spring assistance so you will need to fully bring the blade open with your finger. The blade is designed to lock into place, thanks to the lockback construction.
The blade itself is constructed out of 420HC, with a length of just over three inches. The knife is also designed to be carried in your pocket, and as a result, it comes installed with a durable and tight pocket clip. The overall length of the handle when the blade is closed is four and a quarter inches, with a total weight of just over three ounces.
The blade is also partially serrated and partially a plain edge, to give you the best of both worlds. Finally, the Spitfire comes in a number of different color options for the handle (such as black or green or red or whatever else you would like), while the blade remains silver. Priced under $40, the Buck Knives Spitfire is a decent option for those who don’t want to spend a hundred bucks on a knife.
2. Buck Knives 753 Redpoint
Another option for an EDC knife from Buck Knives is the Buck Knives 753 Redpoint. Similarly priced to the Spitfire, the Redpoint provides you with a lot of knife for the money, beginning with the blade itself, which measures two and three-quarters of an inch long. It is built out of 420 HC stainless steel (just like the Spitfire) and is further coated in non-reflective titanium for superior durability and corrosion resistance.
The overall weight of the knife is just under three ounces with a closed length of just over four inches. The blade is also designed to be very easily opened with a large release button, which makes deploying the knife one-handed a breeze. The blade also easily locks into place.
The handle is also extremely ergonomic thanks to the rubber overmolded grip, which is designed to be used in all weather conditions and provides you with a lot of traction in slippery circumstances.
Last but not least, on the opposite side of the blade, the knife features a seatbelt cutter and a glass breaker, which will most certainly come in handy in emergency situations.
3. Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife
One of the biggest knife manufacturers today is Kershaw, who produce a wide variety of knives and bladed products for a variety of different price points. The Cryo Folding Knife from Kershaw is an example of one of their more budget-oriented knives.
The blade measures two and three-quarters of an inch long and is built out of stainless steel with a wear and corrosion resistant coating that further helps to keep the edge retention as well. This knife was designed by Kershaw as an everyday carry knife, which means it can be easily used for everything from opening packages to cutting zip ties to personal defense to fire kindling and so on.
4. Kershaw Brawler (1990) Folding Pocket Knife
The Kershaw Brawler is another example of a budget-oriented knife from Kershaw. But the main difference between the Brawler and the Cryo that we just looked at is that the Brawler has a tanto blade, which makes it very effective for stabbing purposes.
The blade itself measures three inches long and is built out of stainless steel. It has a black oxide finish to help preserve the sharpness on the end of the blade while also protecting the blade against wear and corrosion.
The handle features glass-filled nylon scales to give you added retention in slippery conditions. The blade can also be quickly opened one-handed thanks to the SpeedSafe assisted opening and the thumb studs, along with a four-position pocket clip to ensure that the knife remains secure to the inside of your pocket.
In general, this knife can be used for opening packages, cutting cords, self-defense, backpacking use, and as a hunting knife.
5. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S. Folding Knife
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife may be from a company that is far more well known for their guns than their knives, but that doesn’t mean this knife should be discounted. One of the cheapest budget knives in existence, the Extreme Ops has an overall length of seven inches when extended with a blade length of three inches and an overall weight of three and a half ounces.
The blade is built out of a high carbon stainless steel, with a black oxide finish for better wear and corrosion resistance and a black aluminum handle. It also features a durable pocket clip to ensure that it will remain in your pocket. It also features ambidextrous thumb knobs so you can easily swing open the blade with your thumb from either the right or left hand.
6. Steinbrucke Tactical Knife Spring Assisted Opening Pocket Knife
Finally, the Steinbrucke Tactical Knife is notable for its reversible clip, which means the knife is convenient for both right- and left-handed use. The blade is built out of German stainless steel and has been hardened to 58 to 59 HRC. The inner frame of the knife handle has a 1.5mm thickness out of stainless steel, which theoretically should make the knife as a whole very strong.
The handle is built out of an ergonomic aluminum with an anti-slip finish to give you more of a grip (literally) in wet or slippery conditions. Steinbrucke also designed this knife to be used for a wide variety of applications, from cutting food to fishing or camping to opening packages and so on.
Hopefully, this article has been a good resource for you in finding out exactly what you will need to look for in a budget knife as well as learning more about the specific makes and models of knives that you can consider.
If there’s anything you learn from this article, it’s that you can easily get a high-quality knife that will serve you well for many years for a low price. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the knife you need.
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