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Best Butterfly Trainers

Butterfly knives, or balisongs, are known for the amazing tricks enthusiasts perform: They throw the knife and catch it, twirl it around their thumb, and spin it in a complex sequence that looks like it might violate a few laws of physics. And the question on everyone’s mind is the same: How does that dude still have fingers? Surely, at least two of his fingers should be gone by now. 

But that “dude” we speak of has a secret weapon…that’s actually not a weapon by any stretch of the imagination. He has a butterfly knife trainer. Butterfly knife trainers are almost identical to a real-deal balisong, with one small change that makes a massive difference: the blade is blunt. It lets our “dude” flip all he wants, honing his skills without fear of laceration, until it’s time to flip like a champion, as I suspect you’ve just imagined him doing in the theater of your mind. 

I don’t know what jaw-dropping tricks you just visualized Mr. Dude performing, but with a balisong trainer, you can actually perform some amazing tricks in real life. You only need some dedication, a little practice, and—most importantly—a good trainer. 

The question becomes, then, “What makes a good butterfly knife trainer?” And the natural follow-up to that question is, “Where can I buy one?” 

You can buy one here at Blade HQ, of course. And if you stick with me through this article, I’ll explain what you should look for in your trainer, and I’ll offer viable solutions to everyone from the prospective bali flippers on a budget to the seasoned enthusiasts looking for the best. In the trainers I analyze below, I’ll list some pros and cons and talk about them in the context of these relevant factors: visual appeal, weight, balance, handle texture, handle shape, affordability, toughness, and ease of maintenance. 

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Affordable Balisong Trainers – For the Flipper on a Budget 

1. Spyderco BaliYo Pen

The Spyderco BaliYo is a sleek and innovative pen that combines functionality with the art of flipping. With its unique design and precision engineering, it offers a satisfying writing experience and some quality fidgeting. It must be said that this isn’t a serious balisong, but in the same breath, let me tell you it provides some serious fun. If you’re looking for something you can mess around with, that’s multi-functional, and is easy on the wallet, this is a great choice


  • Super affordable.
  • Fidget-friendly.
  • Doubles as a pen.


  • Not weighted or shaped for serious flipping.

Shop Baliyo Butterfly Pens

2.BBbarfly Bottle Opener

BBbarfly has been churning out amazing bottle opener balisongs since the company’s startup in 2010. The BBbarfly Bottle Opener is the perfect balisong trainer if you’re looking to wow your fellows at a party before cracking a cold one. To accommodate the wide bottle cap remover at the end of the “blade,” the handles are wider, ensuring everything closes neatly. While it leans a little toward novelty and away from serious flipping, the quality is there, and it comes at a price you can afford.


  • Well-made.
  • Bottle opener.
  • Affordable.
  • Awesome party trick.


  • Somewhat bulky appearance.
  • Unconventionally wide handles.

Shop BBbarfly Butterfly Knives

3. Bear & Son Butterfly Knife Trainers

Bear & Son has been in the butterfly knife market for a very long time. It’s dedicated to putting quality American-made products into the hands of knife lovers at an affordable price. The butterfly knife trainers with the Bear & Son name stand out for their accessible price and availability in a vast array of color and style options. Bear & Son primarily uses zinc for the handles and recently updated from pin pivots to screws, allowing you to tighten the pivots as needed. If you’re pinching pennies but excited about learning balisong flipping, here might be the best place to start.


  • High value.
  • Solid weight for tricks.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Many color and style options.


  • Zinc handles that lack the durability of popular materials like aluminum, steel, and titanium.

Shop Bear and Son Butterfly Knives

4. Kershaw Balanza

Building on the success of the Lucha, Kershaw introduced the Balanza, a budget butterfly knife trainer that has much of what made the Lucha such a success: ball bearing pivots, steel handles that are milled to be lightweight, and a clean fit-and-finish giving this faux knife a tidy appearance. Being made from steel, it’s a little on the heavy side, but it boasts some serious toughness.


  • High-quality build and design.
  • Made from tough steel that can withstand being dropped.


  • On the heavier side.

Shop Kershaw Balanza Butterfly Trainers

5. The Nabalis Morse

In terms of sheer bang-for-buck, you can’t beat The Morse or The Vulp from Nabalis. These trainers have premium channel aluminum handles and unique trainer blades that boast charm and—in some cases—a bottle opener. It’s hard to overstate the value here: You get a premium balisong trainer, replacement screw, bushings, washers, threadlocker, and a T8 torx bit for adjusting the pivots all in the same box for an unbelievably reasonable price. This trainer is the bridge between the premium and budget models I have listed here. If you’ve got a little bit more in your budget, try something from Nabalis: You won’t be disappointed.


  • Channel aluminum handles that look amazing.
  • Adjustable pivots with included replacement parts and bit driver.
  • Thoughtfully textured handle to maximize your grip.
  • Threadlocker to secure the pivots at exactly the tightness you prefer.
  • Premium build quality and materials at a steal of a price.


  • Manufactured overseas (if you consider that a con).

Shop Nabalis Butterfly Trainers

Premium Balisong Trainers – For the Serious Flipper 

6. BBbarfly BBFireFly

BBbarfly offers the BBFireFly as a higher-end solution to those seeking a novel flipping experience. This model uses channel aluminum handles that are lightweight, strong, and look amazing, with a specialized “blade” with a custom-designed bottle opener that’s as functional as it is eye-catching. The BBFireFly is a balisong trainer that makes its home country of Canada proud.


  • Channel aluminum handles with adjustable pivots.
  • High-quality Canadian build and design.
  • Unique bottle opener.
  • Perfect for the party show-off.


  • Premium materials and craftsmanship come at a higher price point.

Shop BBbarfly BBFireFly

7. Kershaw Lucha Trainer

The Kershaw Lucha took the knife world by storm upon its release; since then, the storm has just kept raging. Due to its popularity, aftermarket replacement part producers like Flytanium have flooded the scene with countless amazing options to outfit your Lucha with. The Lucha Trainer is equipped with the same weight-reduced steel handles, premium craftsmanship, and striking design as its live blade counterpart, and its compatible with all the same aftermarket upgrades. Want a Lucha with channel aluminum handles? Want it with titanium handles? That can be yours. But the handles it comes with are great in their own right, providing purchase without being obnoxious. The Lucha’s ball bearing pivots reduce blade play to zero without compromising any buttery-smooth action. If you’ve got the coin to drop, here is a good place to drop it.


  • Highly customizable platform.
  • Built from tough steel that can withstand drops.
  • Manufactured in the USA with an unyielding quality standard.
  • Plenty of length for better flipping.


  • Steel handles that are a little on the heavy side.
  • High price for premium quality.

Shop Kershaw Lucha Trainer Balisong Knife

Squid Industries – A Balisong for Everyone 

The Squiddy A and the Mako

Now, any knife nut who’s up to speed on the balisong scene will know I’ve omitted one brand from this list that really deserves to be on it. Fear not—I thought it needed its own list due to the vast array of options it has, from budget flippers to top-of-the-line trainers for pros and serious fans. I’m talking about Squid Industries, of course. Since its drop into the butterfly knife world in 2016, the ripples from its splash have been leading the butterfly knife community at every turn. Squid Industries is responsible for popularizing the channel aluminum balisong, and the company is constantly innovating, honing its already razor-sharp designs in a constant quest toward perfection. Below is a list of some of Squid Industries’ trainers. Each product below is proudly made in the USA using the modern knifemaking world’s finest equipment.


This trainer is like no other: the blade and handles are made from CNC-machined polymer, creating something lightweight, accessible, and endearing. It’s the balisong for anyone, regardless of age, skill level, or gender. It’s a fantastic steppingstone into more serious flipping and a great option for those just looking for some easy fun.


This balisong trainer is my personal favorite. While it lacks the popular channel design, it still boasts Squid Industries’ top-performing quality. Like the offerings from BBbarfly, the Mako’s faux blade has a bottle opener—but this one’s bottle opener is stylized as a shark’s mouth, with the rest of the blade playing along with cutouts indicative of gills and a little nub on the spine reminiscent of a dorsal fin. The Mako is on the cheaper end of Squid Industries’ trainers, promising fun and lifelong satisfaction without asking you to break the bank.

Krake Raken Trainer

This trainer takes Squid Industries’ live blade model and dulls the edges so you can practice safely. It’s everything you could want from a butterfly knife trainer: channel aluminum handles, a killer aesthetic, an intentionally textured handle to maximize performance, and buttery action thanks to the bushing and washer pivots. This is a premium trainer as a companion to a premium live blade bali.


The Nautilus is the trainer for enthusiasts who wants to take things a step further: Channel aluminum, premium handle scales with attractive designs and effective textures, a fantastic style and design that’s eye-catching and functional, plus everything else Squid Industries is doing right with its other models. This is the premium balisong trainer. If you’re dead serious about flipping and won’t be cutting any corners, this is the trainer for you.


Since the models above are all from the same maker and have a lot in common, I decided to lump them together for some general pros and cons.


  • Made in the USA with cutting-edge technology.
  • Precision machining that ensures tight tolerances and reliable performance.
  • Tough, high-quality materials that can take more than a couple of drops and look good while doing it.
  • Designed by balisong flippers for balisong flippers—and it shows!
  • A trainer for everyone regardless of your age, budget, or experience level.
  • Plenty of length for better flipping.
  • An appealing and unique aesthetic that makes each Squid Industries product a work of art.


  • Squid Industries is a premium brand, and that’s reflected in the prices of its products—but I argue they’re worth the cost.

Shop Squid Industries Balisong Knives

Squid Industries Nautilus

Time to Start Flipping – Closing Thoughts 

If any of those butterfly knife trainers resonate with you, pick it up and start flipping. Mr. Dude from the beginning of this article could be you. The learning process, as with anything, can be arduous, but with a good balisong trainer, mastering flipping is both safe and fun. The balisong flipper community is large and growing, full of cool people with some incredible talents. Whether you’re ready to hone your skills and compete with the beast, are looking for something novel that will put a smile on your friends’ faces, or just want to mess around and have a good time, grab yourself a trainer

And welcome to the community. 

Now you’ve got all our recommendations, but Blade HQ has got way more knives than those featured here. Give our wares a browse, and find the perfect knife to suit your needs! Check out our Best Butterfly Knives article when you’re ready to take it to the next level.

Learn More

In this episode of Knife Banter our friends Ben and Austin talk balisong’s with Lucas Cao from Squid Industries. What balisong is best for you? Find out in this video.

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Other Best Knife Guides

Still in that information-gathering phase? We’ve got a whole bunch more lists of all the best knives! Happy hunting and may you find the knives of your dreams!

*Customer reviews may be condensed for clarity and edited for grammatical errors. You know we have to make our high school English teacher proud. Check product listings for current pricing.

Blade HQ copywriters Jacob Miller and Michelle Hubbard will be speaking at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers in the afternoon session on June 14th, 2023, on revision and the differences between writing for a day job like Blade HQ and for your own fiction. wifyr.com.