Cold Steel vs. Emerson

Jan 14, 2007
Keep it civil and objective. Lets not turn this into one of "those" threads. Lets show we are better than that.

Id like to see intelligent discussion take place here in Cold Steel.
Emerson makes great US made knives. Main complaints are fit and finish, cost and steel. Cold steel has great knives made for them with arguably the strongest lock in the industry. Main complaints are steel, marketing and country of origin. Cold steel has expanded steel choices and even has a knife made in the USA. I own both brands.
I would say that with the new advancements CS has made this year with DLC coatings and higher quality steel, It stands above Emerson. With the current 2015 lineup I am sure that if you picked any similarly sized emerson and CS, the emerson will be outperformed. Even in the tactical roles,hard-use,etc.No offense against Emerson or his blades I just think with the new direction for CS, no other companies will beat their tactical folders for a similar price point.
The Emerson wave works better than the CS thumbplate, the ergos are, when looking at each lineup as a whole, better, superior warranty and Emerson certainly has the edge in design pedigree.

Cold Steel, on the other hand, offers much, much greater variety, they just began offering better steel, stronger lock, better cutting geometry on average, and better overall value for your money.

Personally, I prefer Cold Steel but I can understand why some would make an argument for Emerson. Honestly, despite some similarities, the two companies are so different I think it's kind of hard to compare. Much easier to stack knife X from one against knife Y from the other than to judge each as a whole.
Cold Steel is going to become a very interesting brand with the new steel upgrades. Could be a very high value knife.
On a personal level, I've always preferred Cold Steel, but Emerson knives have always been in a different class than Cold Steel. However, I feel that the new Recon 1 with XHP steel and DLC coating will be a strong competitor that could give almost any Emerson a real run for its money.
That's a hard comparison but for me cold steel seems like the company who caters most to my personal tastes in knives so I'd go with them.
Nothing to compare really. Cold steel knives are more durable and reliable IMO and cost less. Designs are both great but not comparable. USA made v.s. Taiwan. The steels are not all that comparable. Emerson has great 154. The new XHP that I used on the AK was of high quality as well. The Triad Lock is much more secure and reliable than any liner from Emerson from what I have seen, used and repaired. They offer things at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Both good but totally different. Just like most other names.

What in particular are you getting after with making this thread?
Simple. Both companies market toughness and performance.

Great responses . I'm glad to see CS stepping up their steel. I always liked Emerson's 154CM. Hate Cold Steel's AUS-8. Love their knives, but on many of mine, the steel was a weak link for what could have been a perfect knife.

Its a bit of a weird comparison but what the hell here's my two cents!

First is I trust the Tri-Ad lock implicitly, the liner lock not so much. The main thing preventing me from buying CS knives has been the lack of a good steel. They have now addressed that, so personally while I like Emerson's designs a lot, I think the CS folder line-up offers a tremendous value for hard use folders. They also have a number of fixed blades whereas Emerson only has one or two that I know of.
Emerson has some very nice designs, but the build quality and fit/finish has been extremely poor in my experience.
Different strokes for different folks. Emerson and Cold Steel both produce excellent knives that cut well. I've found fit and finish on both makes to be excellent. Both stand behind their products if there's a problem.
I love Emerson knives. No secret there... but a CS-AL made in America out of a decent "premium" steel... That would be a combination it would be hard for a factory liner-lock Emerson to beat... But I love Emersons...
Brother has an emerson. The knife is beautiful and feels great in the hand, but that chisel edge just won't cut worth a damn. Almost everything I've tried to cut it either binds or forces me to cut at a weird angle.
To me, the interesting thing about the Cold Steel vs. Emerson comparison is that without Cold Steel, Ernest Emerson would likely still be a custom maker of artistic knives, and Emerson Knives, Inc. wouldn't exist. The "Tanto Craze" of the 1980s started by Cold Steel led directly to Emerson's development of his modified tanto blade on the CQC-6 and CQC-7. And the popularity of his custom versions of those models led directly to his creation of EKI. So it's kind of intriguing that all these years later we're having a discussion about which company offers better attributes on its knives.

Personally--and speaking in generalities, since comparing an Endeavor to an XL Espada is like comparing apples to watermelons--I've found Cold Steel knives to be sharper, cut better, have stronger lockup, have more versatility and robustness, be more cost-effective, and have a significantly larger selection of design varieties and styles. Emerson knives, on the other hand, have typically been more ergonomic, constructed of higher quality materials (EKI was using G-10 and titanium back when CS was relying heavily on polymer--in fact, I'd argue that Emerson's successful standardizing of G-10 handles indirectly forced Cold Steel to create the G-10 Recon line), held a lifetime warranty that CS has only recently adopted, been almost exclusively American made, and generally been more aesthetically pleasing (though obviously this is completely subjective and not true in every instance).

So which is better? You'll have to answer that yourself. I've always liked them both. Both companies are run by outspoken men who are passionate about their companies and their products. That kind of devotion is refreshing to me and keeps me interested in their knives.