The Price Range of EDC Knives

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10 min read

With a vast range of options available in the market, navigating the world of knives can sometimes be overwhelming. It's not just about the brand or the design. The price point can significantly factor when buying a knife. This comprehensive guide aims to dissect the price ranges of EDC knives, what each tier offers, and how much one should ideal

The Knife Market: An Overview

From inexpensive options that cost less than $15 to ultra-premium models that are priced over $200, the knife market is as varied as it is vast. But what separates an affordable knife from a premium one? Are costlier options always better? Let’s delve into the details.

The Under $15 Category: The Budget Option

Knives in this price range are typically produced in large quantities and primarily made in countries like China, where the manufacturing cost is relatively low. The materials used in these knives are usually basic, with blade steels like 440A or 3Cr13. While these steels may not offer exceptional edge retention or corrosion resistance, they are easy to sharpen.

Quality control in this range can be a hit or miss. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a decent knife in this category. There are some reliable small-sized knives or tool knives with blade lengths of about 2-3 cm that could serve as a decent EDC tool for light tasks.

pocket knife
The Victorinox Bantam would be an good example of an small multitool under $15 (image from another Victorinox)

The $15-$30 Category: A Step-Up in Quality

Moving up the price ladder, knives in this range offer a slight improvement in terms of materials and build quality. You can expect to find blades made from steels like 440C or 8Cr13MoV, which offer a decent balance between hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

While quality control is still not a sure bet in this range, the overall durability and functionality of the knives are notably better than their cheaper counterparts. Brands like Gerber, Kershaw, and CRKT have some decent offerings in this price range.

Small Budget Knife
Small Budget Knife form Enlan (Price: about $25)

The $30-$60 Category: Enter the Mid-Range

This price range marks the entry into what many consider the mid-range of EDC knives. Brands like Boker Plus, Kershaw, and CRKT start to offer more refined products in this range.

You start seeing better blade steels like D2, VG-10, or 14C28N, which offer improved hardness and edge retention. The handles also begin to incorporate superior materials like G-10 or Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN), enhancing grip and durability.

Quality control in this range is noticeably better, and the overall fit and finish of the knives are more refined. These knives can handle heavier use and are likely to last longer than the lower-priced options.

Böker Plus Gust
Böker Plus Gust (Price: about $50)

The $60-$100 Category: The Sweet Spot

For many, this price range is the sweet spot for buying an EDC knife. It’s here that you start seeing premium steels like S30V or S35VN featuring in knives. These super steels offer excellent edge retention, corrosion resistance, and durability.

The fit and finish of these knives are generally top-notch, with brands ensuring that each product maintains a high standard of quality. Handles in this range are made from high-quality materials like G-10 or aluminium, and many knives feature robust locking mechanisms for safety.

Brands like Spyderco, Benchmade, and Zero Tolerance have some fantastic offerings in this range. These knives are excellent EDC options for those who want a reliable, high-performance tool without breaking the bank.

Spyderco Tenacious - Outdoor
Spyderco Tenacious (Price: about $70)

The $100-$200 Category: The Premium Range

Knives in this category are considered premium EDC options. Blades are typically made from top-tier steels like CPM-S30V, CPM-S35VN, or even M390. These steels offer superior hardness, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion.

The fit and finish of these knives are exceptional, with manufacturers paying close attention to detail. You’ll find handles made from high-end materials like carbon fiber or titanium, and the locking mechanisms are robust and reliable.

Brands like Benchmade, Zero Tolerance, and Spyderco dominate this category, offering knives that balance aesthetics and performance. These knives are built to last and are perfect for users who demand the best from their EDC tools.

Lionsteel SR22 - Red - Outdoor
An Lionsteel SR11 (Price: about $190)

The $200+ Category: The Ultra-Premium Range

For those looking for the absolute best, the ultra-premium category offers knives that are as much a work of art as they are functional tools. Blades in this range are made from some of the highest quality steels available, like CPM-20CV or CPM-S90V.

The fit and finish of these knives are unparalleled, with manufacturers often incorporating custom hardware and unique design elements. Handles can be made from premium materials like titanium or carbon fiber, and many knives in this range feature advanced locking mechanisms.

Brands like Chris Reeve Knives, Benchmade, and Spyderco offer some truly exceptional knives in this category. While these knives are undoubtedly expensive, they offer unrivaled quality and performance.

Microtech Ultratech, Clear Top Wallpaper
An Microtech Ultratech in the Microtech Clear Top Edition (Price: about $450)

So, How Much Should You Spend on a Quality EDC Knife?

Determining how much to spend on an EDC knife ultimately depends on your personal needs, preferences, and budget. If you’re just starting, a knife in the $30-$60 range should serve you well. If you’re a more experienced user, the $60-$100 range offers some excellent options.

For those who demand the best and are willing to pay for it, the premium and ultra-premium categories offer knives that are as much a statement of personal style as they are functional tools.

Wrapping Up

In the world of EDC knives, price often reflects quality. As you move up the price ladder, you can expect better materials, improved build quality, and superior performance. However, it