How do you feel about Emerson knives?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Wolverine666, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    I like the look of some of their blades. But they seem pricey for 154CM and G10. I feel like much better deals can be had with Spyderco and ZT.

    So why the high price? Are they made with meticulous fit and finish? Silky smooth opening?

    I’m just curious what the consensus is.
    mdrgn79 likes this.
  2. johnnytoxin

    johnnytoxin Gold Member Gold Member

    May 24, 2010
    I’ve owned three in the past. Definitely not worth the price IMO. The high price comes from tacticool marketing and consumers who gobble that stuff up. I did like some of the design aesthetics and ergonomics but the fit and finish, chisel edge, and sketchy customer service don’t justify the price.
    tgtodd, jux t, highestpoint and 3 others like this.
  3. Stelth


    Jul 15, 2007
    I like the two I have....a CQC-7 and an A-100. Both are well made and I'm satisfied.
  4. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    I was a big fan at one point. Not anymore.
    Hale Storm, grownstar, jux t and 4 others like this.
  5. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Rugged, ergonomic, high quality (and price), mediocre steel and chisel grind are downsides.
    Rhinoknives1 and CHNeal like this.
  6. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    The ones I've owned were very disappointing for the price. Poor fit and finish, horrific lock stick and gritty opening. The designs are very, very good with excellent ergonomics, their stonewash is beautiful and their grinds are on point, but I find their price for what you get to be...shall we say, optimistic. Given that the patent for the Wave is now expired I don't see any reason to buy one unless you completely fall in love with one of their designs.
  7. CHNeal

    CHNeal Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 24, 2019
    well said.
  8. Korean Hog

    Korean Hog Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    They're really tough and they make good users but for ~$200 I'd say most from around Blade Forums would be disappointed.
    What you gain in toughness you lose in fit and finish. I have 2 Emersons. A CQC 7 I beat the crap out of and it went from having insane lock stick
    to a loose lock with rock.
    My Kwaiken is holding up well but I haven't been nearly as hard on it.
    I'm really on the fence about buying another. I like them and they're tough knives, but I prefer sharp and lightweight for my pocket most days.
    There are too many other knives that catch my eye before I get to the ~$200 mark to buy another Emerson since I bought two in the past year or two.

    It'd be a stretch to say I'll get another Emerson any time real soon but it'd be a stretch just the same to say I'd never get one again.
  9. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    Never owned one, but I've heard they are really nothing special as far as build quality. 154CM is a good steel, but not for that price. Based on what I've heard the hardness is more frequently on the 57hrc side than the 59hrc side. It seems that you are paying for the name and the limited production than for the materials.

    I would be willing to bet that if you were willing to buy from overseas the Kershaw Emersons would be just as good, as would a RAT 1 in D2. If you picked up a ZT Emerson collab at least you get 20CV steel for about the same price.

    No disrespect to Mr. Emerson or his company, but no thank you. I'd rather drop another bill and get a great knife.
    jeepin and mdrgn79 like this.
  10. marrenmiller

    marrenmiller Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    I've had 3. They're not put together well, they don't cut well in either chisel or v-grind configuration, and their locks are problematic (mostly extreme sticking in my experience, but premature wear and slip are also somewhat often reported). I don't find them to have good ergonomics because they're thick and slab sided, whereas I prefer contouring on a knife handle. Their detents don't work well in my experience, and as a result the wave function was not reliable on the three that I had. I also find them to be way too expensive for what they are. Their QC seems lacking; my 2018 model came with a lock that engaged past 100% straight out of the box.

    Now Emerson does heat treat their steel to be soft and tough, and that is the one thing about them that I will give them credit on. However, if you want a rugged folder, just buy a button lock Hogue like the EX-01. They market to the same crowd but make a vastly better knife. Or get a Cold Steel, like the Recon 1.
    jeepin and mdrgn79 like this.
  11. marrenmiller

    marrenmiller Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    I am desperately hoping this is intended to be humorous.
  12. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Good info and interesting. For @ $200-$250 , there are other brands offering what I consider to be better deals. Like the ZT 0640 (Ti, CF and 20CV) for $248.

    But I was interested in seeing what some Emerson owners had to say.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
    jeepin and Korean Hog like this.
  13. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    I appreciate Emerson for helping to start the whole hard use folder thing and wave opening , but IMO prices are excessive for what you get in quality / performance .

    I do enjoy my Kershaw / Emerson CQC , but would probably just get a ZT Emerson for an upgrade .
    Ulf Krogstad likes this.
  14. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Not really. Just trying to figure out why the high price tag. I was baffled. But it has since been cleared up by some members here.
    marrenmiller likes this.
  15. Knives&Lint

    Knives&Lint Doin' alright for country trash Platinum Member

    May 10, 2013
    In my eyes Emerson is highly respectable and well worth owning if you want one. That being said, I no longer feel a need to have a collection of them, but think a better approach is to find the one(s) that suits your wants best. I currently have a CQC-15 and a Karambit. As a fan of Karambits, I will always be appreciative of Emerson for what they have done with the development of the folding Karambit. Beyond that however, I must admit that I rarely even consider Emerson these days when I'm thinking of a new knife purchase.
  16. Korean Hog

    Korean Hog Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    Yeah that's really all it is. They really aren't bad knives it's just at their price point other companies sort of lapped 'em at some point.
    I really just bought a couple because it was a brand I was curious about.
    They were worth the money, but I don't know if they'd be worth the money again.
    mdrgn79 and Wolverine666 like this.
  17. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    If you read much in the Emerson forum , you get a bit of cult vibe . Loyal , but long suffering . :p

    Kinda like me and Cold Steel . ;)
  18. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Haha. I figured if I posted on there , I’d get a lot of die hard fan and biased responses.
    marrenmiller and DocJD like this.
  19. Rival1314

    Rival1314 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 17, 2012
    Love the designs, hate the fit & finish.
    tgtodd, jeepin, AKnife and 1 other person like this.
  20. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    In my opinion, some of the price is that Emerson isn’t a high volume production operation.

    As far as Emerson steel goes, great heat treat and nice finish. Their serrations are some of the best.

    Fit and finish isn’t perfect but far from bad. Good, not always great but good.

    Price vs value of things are on you. What’s it worth to you. I wouldn’t pay $425 for a hinderer folder. Ive paid $190 for an Emerson. $200 for a Zt.

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