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5 Reasons Why It’s NOT Crazy to Spend More than $20 on a Knife

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We’ve all heard it before—“You spent how much on that knife?”
Most non-knife people don’t understand spending much money at all on a knife, whether it’s $20, $40, or more (and it often is more). I can’t say I blame them though; I used to be one of those people before I started working here. The longer I’ve been around knives though, the more I’ve come to realize that there are in fact benefits to spending more than the minimum amount possible on a knife.
Before I get to those, though, I’m not saying you should never buy a budget knife. There are times when you are watching your spending, or maybe you just want an inexpensive beater knife, so a $20-knife might be the best option. There are even lots of options under $40 that will give you a great bang for your buck. The Ontario RAT Model 1, for example, is proof that you don’t have to spend tons to get something great.
This post, however, is meant to show that there is value in spending a little more on a knife, for anyone out there who thinks the knife community is plain nuts. I asked some people here at Blade HQ why they’d spend more than $20 on a knife, and here’s what they had to say. They had some great answers, but if you can think of any other reasons why you’re inclined to spend more than $20 (or any amount) on a knife, post them in the comments!

5 Reasons why it’s not crazy to spend more than $20 on a knife

  1. Quality

“Just like with most other products, you get what you pay for. Because I am stingy with my money, I would not spend less than $20.00 on a knife because I will want it to last more than two weeks under regular use.”
“Quality is one thing I’m definitely willing to pay a bit more for.  A lot of these knives that are a bit more pricey have the quality that . . . lower-end knives just don’t have.”
“It’s always better to have any knife on you than to not have one at all, but if I find myself in a survival situation, I’d much rather have a knife that I paid a bit more for, and not the $10 knife that can’t take much abuse. Paying more will typically get you the quality and dependability that you’d want in a survival situation.”

  1. Warranty

“If there are any issues, I would want a warranty on the knife. Anything under $20.00 typically does not have a warranty, and if it breaks because of defects, I would want it fixed by the company. I [typically spend] between $50.00 and $100.00 when I buy a knife for the warranty, the superior steels, and quality I can trust from brand-name manufacturers.”

  1. Limited Production Models

“It’s always cool to grab a knife that you know there isn’t a bunch of—something you got that not everyone has.”

  1. Unique Designs and Styles

“Actually I had an experience like that last night! So one of my buddies came over and I showed him my new Protech Steampunk Godson and told him how much it’s priced for on the website. He had no idea why I’d spend that much on a knife. [Aside from quality,] in this particular instance it was also the unique design of the knife. I love the scale on the steampunk, as it’s totally my style and I just had to have it.”
“Some people like the specific design of a blade or like a specific designer. Those knives in particular seem to be a bit more pricey, but they’re definitely worth it.”

  1. Areas of Interest

“Don’t we all have those hobbies and interests we’re willing to spend money on? I have friends who will spend hundreds of dollars on music equipment that they just use for fun, not professionally or anything. I’d never pay that much for music equipment, but I’d totally spend money on stuff like pocket knives and camping gear. As long as you’re being smart with your money, I think it’s perfectly fine to spend money on the things you’re interested in, even if it doesn’t make sense to other people. We’re not all going to be interested in the same things, but that’s not a bad thing.”

Now it’s your turn; what would you say to someone who asked why you’re willing to spend more than 20 bucks on a knife? What benefits are there?
(Let’s keep this enlightening rather than condescending. I’m betting most of us weren’t always knife people.)

13 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why It’s NOT Crazy to Spend More than $20 on a Knife

  1. Most times you buy a budget product the lifespan is so short that you end up buying it again in a few months. In the end your not saving that much money and your missing out on performance. A knife that can’t hold an edge and needs sharpening every week just becomes frustrating and I’ll stop using it.

  2. If you spend more money on a knife you can carry less around with you, you don’t need to carry a knife sharpener if you don’t want to because the steel is good enough that it won’t dull after cutting a few boxes, and depending on the knife you get (like the benchmade rescue knife) you don’t need to carry around a rescue cutter or be afraid of hurting someone when cutting a seatbelt of them because it’s a safer blade then the maybe blade

  3. I own quite a few knives that clock in at around $150-$200. I collect some, carry one that is worth $250. Where many people I see not understanding the price of certain items is spot on for reason five with other interests. I know guys that own Harleys and have $40K wrapped up in it and wouldn’t give a second thought to spending $300 on a chrome bit to bolt on.
    So, I agree with all the reason’s above and if one takes care not to loose personal items one $250 knife could last a lifetime and give much better service than cheap crap for under $50.

  4. Good point- doesn’t do much good to spend money on something if you’re just going to lose it or not take good care of it. I’ve watched too many friends spend good money on things (not just knives- ipods, laptops, etc.) and break them or lose them because or carelessness. You definitely have to take good care of the stuff you do have, unless you want to throw your money down the drain.

  5. I have carried a knife every day of my life (even in Bush 1 and Clinton’s White House) since I was 8 (and bought with my own money) the red aluminum Swiss Army Cadet which I still own and carry.
    I have owned many knives and can honestly say that in one occasion a knife and some quick thinking saved my wife’s, our USAR German Shepard’s and my own life. We were caught in a fluke tornado in a canopy of trees when a tree fell on the roof of our car, blowing all the windows out and spidering the windshield. It was pouring rain and with the windshield spidered I couldn’t see to drive. I had a Benchmade Emerson CQ-C7 clipped in my right pocket. I knew if we stayed where we were we would likely be crushed by more falling trees but we had about 1/2 a mile to make it to a clearing and there was no way to make it there on foot. I took the knife out of my pocket and cut a small, 1 foot, hole in the windshield and was able to see well enough to make it to the clearing.
    The storm passed quickly and looking back on the area we had been in every tree was down on both sides of the roadway – old growth oak, maple, ash, et cetera… Maybe a lesser knife would have accomplished that task, maybe not. Right now, I have a Benchmade Vex ($40-60 depending on where you buy it) in my right pocket and a Leatherman Wave in my left pocket.
    I still have the Emerson and vary what I carry slightly but I don’t skimp on quality. Knives are tools and something I use everyday. I view this as a “you get what you pay for” and if your life depends on it you probably shouldn’t skimp on quality. That said don’t get caught in the name game unless you want to collect a certain brand. There are lots of great knife makers out there, I have just found Benchmade to be very reliable, quality products. Their website explains metals and other manufacturing methods and I find the company to be very reputable.
    If you’re going to carry it everyday, make a good choice, take great care of it and keep it sharp. AND carry it everywhere you legally can.

  6. Wow, what a remarkable story. I’m glad you had a knife on you, and that you made it out OK! As a person who grew up where tornado warnings happened multiple times every spring, I know that had to be pretty scary.
    I like that you pointed out the cost of your knife because it just goes to show that you really don’t need to spend THAT much to get great quality. Some people might take this post to mean that you HAVE TO spend hundreds of dollars to get great quality, and that’s not what I’m trying to say at all. Without a doubt, spending hundreds will get you great quality, but there are still tons of excellent knives out there at more attractive price points (like the one you mentioned above) if you’ve got a budget to stick to.

  7. I have been carrying the same cat skinner for over 18 years. It’s not a high-end blade by any means but I have gotten my $22.50 back in spades. From farm chores to fishing to “dangit, anyone have a knife?” to personal protection its multifunctionality has served me well.

  8. While 95% of the time, any old knife will do, it’s the 5% that matters, when you absolutely HAVE to get it done… when you don’t have time to worry about whether the blade will cut it, or snap, or otherwise fail.
    I have had a number of times when either my knife did what I needed it to, or someone got hurt or killed.
    That’s why I buy EDC knives that are at the top of the cutlery food chain. Today, that’s a Chris Reeve Sebenza clipped on the right side, Leatherman Wave in the left side pocket, and there is a Blind Horse Knives Bushcrafter in my day pack for my evening hike.

  9. Honestly I’ve been carrying knives for years, & I rarely spend over $40 on a knife. A lot of knife companies have great warranties- Kershaw, Buck, Spyderco etc. They also put out great knives for cheap. I’ve never been in a situation where I felt like I was lacking & needed a $100-300 knife.

  10. For me, buying a knife is an investment. In that it has value, and it can save your life under bad circumstances. I do have some “cheap” knives. However, my definition of cheap starts at $40-$50 not $20. It is important to know you have a tool you can trust and not a gas station special that may snap or break during normal cutting tasks! Respect yourself and buy a good knife. Take care of it and it will take care of you! Cheers!

  11. I have a Gerber 06 Auto that I have had for 7 years now. Even though I didn’t buy it, got it while in the USMC. I have put this knife through hell and everytime I touch that button I know that the blade is going to come out a swingin’. Price=Quality 99% of the time.

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