Why should I pay $25 to $400 for best pocket knife sharpener you ask? I can find one that looks just like the name brand one I want but for $8.95 at the swap meet or on the internet?
The answer is the same for all things: You get what you pay for. Secondly, if all you want is a knife for opening letters, packaged food products or to look cool on your desk, a cheap might do just fine. However, if you actually intend to use the knife as a utility tool, I strongly advise you to avoid buying a cheap knock off knife because it will break very easily, and the steel is often brittle or has a very low Rockwell hardness rating. Sharpening is also more difficult and the blade will not hold a sharp edge very long.
Another point to consider is the reliability factor. If you bought the knife for the wilderness, self defense or as an emergency tool, you want to have confidence in the strength of the locking mechanism, blade steel and general integrity of the construction. You do not want the knife blade snapping in half or popping right off the handles because of some minor lateral pressure if the blade gets stuck in some wood or other matter.
I had a few of these cheap knock off knives and they are junk. They are weakly made with poor quality steels. I go to gun shows a lot and frequently see a table full of knives advertised as “Any Knife $5 or $10”. The knives’ look as if the vendor simply dumped them out of a cardboard box. They are scratched up and the parts do not go together well there are gaps between parts that should be a tight fit. There is a reason the knife is only $5 or $10.
Think about this….. the knife was made in some foreign country then shipped over to a warehouse in the U.S. where some distributor bought them and sold them to retail knife vendors. Factor in the cost of materials, construction costs, shipping costs, warehouse costs, distributor costs and finally the retail markup and your $10 or $15 dollar knife actually has about $2 in material and construction value in it. So……. When you buy the $5, $10 or $15 knife remember that when you get into trouble you are only willing to spend about $2 to safely get out if it. Just something to think about.
I know the temptation is great to not spend a lot of money, but you do not really have to spend a lot of money to get a quality knife. Cynscorion Products offers a large selection of basic black two to three inch blade tactical folding knives that can be purchased from Cold Steel or CRKT for example for as little as $29 to $45. You do not have to spend $100 to $300 for the status symbol upper end semi custom designer folding knives. Some of the best knife values can be found in the Cold Steel Voyager or Gunsite series and the CRKT M-16 series. These are very strong, high quality and popular folding knives. I own several myself. My favorite carry knives are the CRKT M-1 and M-16.
Sheaths are another area to be aware of. Some fixed blade manufacturers sell knives with sheaths as a complete package. Some unscrupulous sellers may separate the knife from the sheath and then charge extra for the sheath. Check the manufacturer’s web site or call them and ask about the knife you are interested in. Does it come with any accessories? Cheap sheaths can also be dangerous. Look out for fabric sheaths without a protective lining. Think about this. Do you really want shoving a sharp knife into an unprotected fabric holder strapped to your waist or thigh? Try to get a good Kydex or similar material sheath.
The quality manufactures also warranty their knives’ against defects and will usually replace their knives very quickly when mailed in. Try returning your cheap Chinese made swap meet knife after it breaks.
Tests have been done on these cheap knives to see how much lateral and downward force is necessary to break the blade or lock. These knives always break with surprisingly little force. Remember, ……they were made to LOOK like the real thing, ……NOT WORK LIKE OR LAST LIKE the real name brand knife. Just like a knock off Rolex or Montblanc pen, the point is to LOOK like the original, and thats what you are only paying for ….. Looks. And some knock offs can’t even look that good.