Swiss army knife quality

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Charlie_K, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Charlie_K


    Jul 16, 2012
    I've never been known for my extensive knowledge of name brands and quality. Is there any real difference in the quality of steel in swiss army knives when you compare a $20 Victorinox model to a $5 model made in China or Germany? Are the Victorinox anymore durable and well made to justify the price?
  2. dogstar


    Jan 23, 2011
    There is no contest. The real SAKs are already dirt cheap! I was just noticing on my $12 Victorinox Bantam, there is no blade play whatsoever, and the spring snaps closed like a trap. The Swiss have figured out how to make these knives cheap and make them WELL. Consider the mirror polish, full flat grinds, and well designed, functional tools, you get your money's worth and then some.
  3. Daddyo16


    Jan 12, 2012
    Never had one of the China copies, but as dogstar said, the Vics are already inexpensive but loaded with value and quality.

    I think you would be much happier spending the extra $15.
  4. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Chinese army knives are crap. The tools are poorly finished, the screwdrivers will strip screws, the blades are dull and badly ground, you can't get easy replacement springs for the scissors, and all the tools either have lazy snap, or are so stiff that you break your thumbnail opening them. And as far as the knife blades themselves, with a real SAK you know you get steel that takes an edge and holds it (reasonably, for the price) well. With the Chinese made ones, you get some unknown steel that can't keep an edge.

    A real Swiss Army Knife, be it Victorinox or Wenger, will last you many years, and has a lifetime warranty in case it doesn't.
  5. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    I've seen some decent German-made SAK-style knives, an example, the Century knives made for Imperial many years ago. Pretty darned nice.

    But what Victorinox / Wenger (now the same company) does better than anyone else is consistency. You never have to wonder what the quality grade's going to be as you're opening the package.

    No need to spend twenty dollars to get a good one either, if you're on a budget. A local discount department store has some really nice Wenger EvoGrips and other models for only $15. The Recruit was $13 at a large home improvement chain. And the knife I use more than any other, the Victorinox Stylus, was on closeout for $5. I've bought several others models on closeout for $5 or less too.


    I've gotten some cheap SAK-style knives made in China, so cheap that companies give them away as promotional items. Junk.
  6. Daddyo16


    Jan 12, 2012
    Be warned, though - they can become addicting...

  7. dmattaponi


    Sep 1, 2012
    Agree with the others. Swiss made are head and shoulders above the Chinese knock-offs. In my experience any time I've heard someone say something negative about the "Swiss Army Knife", it's because their opinion is based on one of teh Chinese knock-offs. As someone mentioned above, every SAK that I've purchased (about a dozen or so) has been consistently high in quality. Even better or equal to any of the other factory knives that I've bought in any kind of numbers including, Buck, Case, Benchmade and Spyderco. As matter of fact I only bought my first SAK because I thought I'd see what all the hype was about. Since then the "lowly" SAK has become my regular EDC above all other types and brands. No matter what else I have in my pocket, there is always a SAK with it for my everyday uses. I wouldn't know what to do without it, now.
  8. Luis G.

    Luis G.

    Jan 18, 2011
    I've used my share of cheap $5 multitools from China. They are utter crap. There are some multitools made in China that are of decent quality but they pretty much run you the same as a SAK.
  9. Rich S

    Rich S

    Sep 23, 2005
    I agree with all the above. SAKs are excellent. You can choose from dozens of models to get the tools you want/need. They are heads and shoulders above the Chinese knock-offs (pure crap). I've carried most every style/make of pocket knife over the last 60 years. Now a Victorinox Deluxe Tinker is my EDC and a Mini-champ is on my keyring. Even my wife carries a Classic SD on her key ring and a Climber II in her purse. BTW, you can still find some of the Century line Imperials on ebay. I just got one with the same design as the Vic Apprentice - the Century line calls it the Tradesman. Quality is excellent.

  10. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    BTW, Victorinox also makes multi-tools. Quality is outstanding! The high-end Leatherman models are close, but not quite there.
  11. Luis G.

    Luis G.

    Jan 18, 2011
    I consider the SAK a multitool, just a small one. The chinese craps I used were SAK-like. But not fakes.
  12. richard thurman

    richard thurman

    Nov 9, 2005
    the real deal is made of very good steel. it is nothing to sharpen up. the china one is the biggest peace of crap that is out there. I sold both of them.
  13. blame it on god

    blame it on god

    Feb 21, 2013
    Just get the real one to start off with. After the Chinese copy goes to crap you'll end up buying one (or four) anyway.

    SAK's are the original multi-tool. :)
  14. Franciscomv


    Feb 7, 2005
    I had some of the Chinese ones when I was a kid, they were a piece of junk. Victorinox and Wenger SAKs are, as somebody already mentioned, very consistent in their quality level. Thousands are made each day, and still you'll be heard pressed to find complaints about their QC. Victorinox also has one of the best warranties in the knife industry.
  15. Ken44


    Jun 29, 2005
    What others have said. Victorinox is the way to go.

    I didn't have an Alox model until two years ago. My first Alox was a Cadet, and at $20 I couldn't believe how good the fit and finish was on a knife that cost so little.
  16. danpass


    Apr 16, 2013
    SAKs, specifically Victorinox, have been the most consistent performers in my time using their various models.
  17. bertosknives


    Jul 17, 2005
    yep no contest get a real one.
  18. Fanglekai


    Jan 7, 2007
    I have a farmer, tourist and spartan lite. They are all perfect. Get a Victorinox and see what the fuss is about.
  19. flarp


    Sep 7, 2011
    The build quality of the Victorinox and Wenger SAKs is excellent, and the materials are decent. The blade takes a great edge, and it is very easy to touch-up and re-sharpen. The scissors (on models that have them) are also excellent. The tools all have a good snap to them, and opened, there is little movement. And, if you do ever experience a problem with them, Victorinox will fix it for you.

    I've had a few of the no-name brand made-in-China SAKs (freebies I got as advertising items, at conferences, etc.). The springs on them feel spongy at best (no real snap to any of the tools), blade won't take a decent edge (much less hold one), scissors chew things up more than they cut, and screwdriver heads chip and deform under even light use. They might work fine as bottle openers, but I don't think I'd even trust it to open cans.

    The mainstream Victorinox and Wenger SAKs are definitely worth the price. They are all fantastic values for what you pay and what you get. If someone were to give me one of the no-brand generic SAKs, I might not turn it away, but I wouldn't deliberately spend money on one.
  20. Bill1170


    Dec 20, 2007
    It has all been said already. Victorinox makes amazing tools for unbelievably low prices, and made in Switzerland, no less! Their factory must be largely automated to pull off that feat. I've carried one daily for the past 42 years. They have verily earned my respect.

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