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Best 3 knives under $30

Jan 18, 1999
We've all seen the posts...
"Best folder under $500" that's like asking someone if they
can recommend a reliable car under $60 grand.
Let's look at the other end here.
We have a lot of new collectors,starving students and people like me
who "need" a new knife, but want to have some
money left over
for their other bad habits.

Besides, $24.95 brings a lot less guilt than $109.95.
These would be my choices:
1 - Spyderco Delica
2 - Gerber LST
3 - OutdoorEdge "Wedge"
What do you think ?

"We are ready for an unforeseen
event that may or may not occur"
- Dan Quayle -


There is no free ride - you get what pay for generally (you still must watch out for hucksters and junk foil'ed on the the unsuspecting and uneducated public). In some cases you do get a better bang for you buck though.

In bargain priced knives, the Columbia River - Kit Carson M16 series are the hands down winners if my wallet is the one being pulled with great hesitation and strain to cough up the hard earned money.

The Outdoor Edge - Kit Carson collaboration is also a good choice.

These will break your $30 mark but, are well worth the slight additional strain you are apt to encounter on the street for these gems.

I will also plug Spyderco, they do a great job at providing a great value in the cheaper end of the market.

I will also mention that all time classic that can found at most Wal-Mart's and general merchandise shops - the BUCK 110 lock back. Yes, it is a $30 knife - at least where I live. How many of us have owned one and had many years of fond memories and good service from one before we stepped up to better, yes, better knives.

Fixed blades? How about a kit knife? Put some of your own elbow grease into it and have a great blade far beyond what you can buy at the store. Check out http://www.simonichknives.com/


I have two that I'd put on the list; Buck Mentor, fixed blade 51/4" long, with a pretty nice handle and a great all-around blade shape. Then there is the Buck Goliath. It's a huge folder with a heavy duty blade, very wide and long (bigger than the 110) and thermoplastic handle. The pivot action isn't as smooth as you're going to be used to with the high priced spread, but it is one tough handful and I use it in the yard to cut back branches and all sorts of similar chores.
Of course, the earlier examples are also good ones, but the Bucks will get you there with some change in your pocket.
Why not buy one of the Spyderco specials on sale now and help both yourself and Bladeforum.

Personally I will vouch for Buck. The 110 is just about the purest expression of simple lines and function without one-hand opening or a clip (both of which can be added if necessary.)
But everybody is talking about small folders. If you need a large fixed blade (and who doesn't?) I highly recommend a CS Bushman. It's big, great blade shape with lots of belly, functional handle for utility, and strong as can be. Mine cost $12.60 with tax included. Can't beat that! It is kind of soft, (54rc) but easy to resharpen and hard to break, at least by my standards. Also, the coating is tougher than I expected.
Finding amazingly high value knives under or around $30US is EASY. Limiting the selection to a meager 3 or even 30 is the tough part. Complicating the issue is that many knife makers that compete in this market offer up some real junk in this same price range. What saves them is that they typically offer up some utility or hard to get models for the same bucks.

Best 3? Man, that's tough!
This week's picks might be:
1. Spyderco Santoku Chef's knife
2. Rapala/Normark soft handled/guarded stainless filet knife
3. Buck 110

Realize that those are only one guy's late night picks out of literally thousands. I could be just as comfortable suggesting any of numerous other knives. But if a college student had those three, she wouldn't lack for much by way of actual necessary cutlery. Well, except for the necesssary and assumed Spyderco Delica, and SAK of choice.
(Do you see where this is going?
Hmmm, how 'bout top twelve?

1. Spyderco Delica (or Endura, if you can find an old one under $30)
2. SAK of choice. (Hey, if your choice is over $30, then you just flat chose wrong.

3. KJ Erikson Mora 2000 fixed blade
4.Chinese Cleaver, any make, but preference given to Dexter and Forschner (aka Joyce Chen)
5. Spyderco Santoku instead of above
6. Ontario Knife Co. USGI machete, (alternate, and perhaps even better choice is 12" camper's models WITHOUT "D" ring Blackie Collins handles which totally suck and simply raise blisters!!!!
7. Rapala/Normark/Marrttiinni Finnish filet knife in aprox. 6"-7.5" config. (Alternate is a Victorinox/Forschner filet/boning knife of similar size and price).
8. Buck 110, (If you can't find one of these new for under $30, then look to a used one!!!!!
9. Victorinox 4" parer. Every house ought to have a few of these at $4ea.
10. Frost's of Sweden "Clipper" in choice of stainless or high carbon
11. CS Bushman, Every vehicle ought to have one issued as gear, 'Nuff said.
12. Twelve is not a knife, but rather sharpening gear. For $30 one can still buy decent enough sharpening options. For instance, I'd recommend getting a generic crock stick type device as well as some soft Arkansas stones, and some silicon carbide or alumina oxide bench stones. One of the beauties of all mentioned knives is that they don't require anything exotic by way of sharpening.

Well, there's a stab at the issue, anyway!

For about $20, you can get a really nice little hand-forged blade from Peter Burt. He's also a really nice guy to talk to, and will design even this cheap a knife to your specs.

Why did you stab that girl?
You won't believe this, but I had too much coffee!
-Edmond by David Mamet
1. One of the big SAKs with the locking blade.
2. A Leatherman PST or a micra.
3. Buck 110 or Schrade equivalent.
4. Frosts fixed blade.


For around $30 from the internet:
1. Spyderco Native
2. Buck 110
3. Spyderco Delica II


CS Vaquero Grande! The old version ( without the clip ) is now available for $ 30,-.
I'd have to say (since I own all of em')

1. BM 830 Med. Ascent about $38 - 45.
2. Spyderco Endura or Delica (Old or 98' series.)
3. Something from the Gigand line or Master.
Spyderco Native Zytel (I LOVE this knife)
Spyderco Delica (I'd like to have this knife)
Buck 110 (OR 112, if you want it a little shorter)
I'd like to second MPS's comment about the Bushman as vehicle knife. That's where mine is now. Oil it, sharpen it if you must (it comes able to slice and chop effortlessly, what more do you want?) and throw it in the back of the car. Things rust fast in the back of mine but I'm not worried--the Bushman has that coating (wasn't scratched by cutting aluminum) everywhere but the edge and no crevices, so rust will take a LONG time--the oil will have to wear off the edge first, and even if it happens I'm out $12.

I was glad to hear the Ascent 830 made the list too, since I just bought one. It cost me $40 but that included the shipping, so it was at the low end and probably close to $30.

Finally, I haven't tried 'em but I've heard Newt Livesay's FB's in 1095 are so good you don't believe they cost in the $20 range.
1) The Ascent line...the points are a little weak for my tastes, but the guts of the knife are extremely tough

2) CRKT Stiff KISS and Mirage...high scores in the Bang for the buck catagory..

3) A Buck, no matter the flavor...good knifes....

4) Gerber LST's are good

5) There are many knives that fit the bill...Wicked Knives, Outdoor edge, schrades, Etc...I bet that there are a couple hundred models in all that fit the "Under $30" catagory, especially when we consider the low prices found on the net. Figgering out which ones are the best would be on the subjective side. THere are too many choices to pick just three.

Best new under $30:

CRKT Mirage

Old under $30:

There are a lot of older, but still in great shape, knives just begging to be used. I've purchases dozens of older knives under $30 which in my case are just for the collection, not for using. The ones I purchased (under $30 in good shape) include Schrade-Walden, Buck, Case and Western. I would be ecstatic to find an old Randall or Ruana under $30 (I can dream can't I).