What ever happened to the middle class?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by MarkN86, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    It seems like these days a knife is either extremely high end or it's called a budget knife. I've even seen someone call a Delica or a Griptilian a budget knife. Soon S30V will be called a budget steel. It's easy to be so concerned with what is optimal that we fail to enjoy what is good enough.

    I know it's just a word but that term annoys me, it's very overused and often used in what seems like a derogatory manner. A $20-30 Kershaw or CRKT can be considered budget for sure, but once you hit $50 or so you are getting into decent mid range knives. There are even times when I would consider a cheaper knife mid range, like in the case of the RAT in D2.

    Where does your definition of midrange begin and end? Is mid range even a thing?
    Storm 8593, bigsurbob, .577NE and 6 others like this.
  2. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    Mid-range is a thing, but it wasn't considered a large growth segment of the knife world until recently.
    I've seen mid-range for EDC knives be defined as $50-$100-ish.
    A few years ago the high end was the big growth segment, so you saw a lot of $200+knives appear.
    Then some companies showed their manufacturing chops, bringing good design to lower cost knives. They don't have the margin of high end knives, but you will move a LOT more $30 knives than $250 knives.

    For me, the definition of mid-range works. It's a knife that costs enough for me to think about it a bit before buying because of the price, but not enough where the cost alone is an impediment.
    Like I've bought budget knives on a whim, or not bought them because of the sheer amount of knives I already have. I think really long and hard about high end knives, because I know it won't be the be-all end-all knife for me.
  3. Travison


    Feb 23, 2020
    I feel Mid range is 75 -199. More of a price vs material. There are some budget priced items with great materials: steel or action for examples
    tyyreaun, orangejoe35 and unwisefool like this.
  4. comis

    comis Gold Member Gold Member

    May 17, 2013
    Crazy isn't it? I still remembered those times when S30V was the new new thing, and it was considered the 'super steel' that will last a century. Now it sure don't feel that 'special' any more.

    I used to think the same way too, but instead of low/mid/high end, I look at the current trend as knife hobbyist vs non-hobbyist.

    If someone comes in today and ask for EDC knives, most likely they will be recommended something like Para 2/3, BM grip/941, etc, and those well known brands we all know are what I considered as "hobbyist" knives. But talking to non-hobbyist, I am guessing 8/10 times people will not know what is a Spyderco/Benchmade/CRKT/Kershaw/ZT, but they may know/recognize a Victorinox/Case/Opinel/Leatherman, which I considered non-hobbyist mass public brands.

    Depending who we are talking to, for most people(non-hobbyist), I think Victorinox/Case/Opinel/LM is the "mid-range" knives. And that's why I think brands such as CRKT and Kershaw are clever to bring out models at that price range, so it could speak to everyone.
    Storm 8593 and bigsurbob like this.
  5. A.L.


    Jun 27, 2007
    I would say that budget knife is below 50 bucks, but I know people who would not spend that much on pocket knife.

    I think that we as hobbyists are a bit detached from the rest of the world and pretend like 100 dollar knife is budget. Budget for hobbyist perhaps.

    And yes, the influencers five years ago all talked like parrots about s30v. Now apparently it’s ok steel. Same happened to vg10 earlier.
  6. unwisefool

    unwisefool Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    I'd say budget is below $100 with appropriate tiers sub-dividing that section. $100 to $250 is mid range to me.

    Then of course there is the knife I got on super sale that I paid $50 for but normal price is $125. Is that a budget or mid range?!?!
    sgt1372, Hale Storm and sharp_edge like this.
  7. Dallas T

    Dallas T Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2013
    Probably objective to one’s income as well. Budget or high end for one maybe opposite for another. Just a thought
  8. unwisefool

    unwisefool Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    I was just about to say the same thing. Obviously my concept of budget and mid grade knives are different than someone else and dependent on my financial situation. And is also influenced by me being a big fan of knives.
    Dallas T likes this.
  9. KAEDC

    KAEDC Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    This is really subjective, to me knives price out to:
    $20+ (Budget Work)
    $60+ (Work)
    $100+ (Premium Work/Budget enthusiast)
    $200+ (Super Premium Work/Enthusiast)
    $300+ (Premium Enthusiast)
    $600+ (Super Premium Enthusiast)

    This is arbitrary to me!
    EDIT: I should have noted that I consider materials and build quality when I categorize knives. My cost ranges are what I have generally seen to hit certain arbitrary in my head levels.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  10. mqqn

    mqqn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Since this is completely subjective, I believe a budget knife is one that was purchased knowing it's weaknesses or faults, but one that met the budget of the person buying it.

    A budget knife to the kid across the street might be an Ozark trail or a "jarbenza", whereas the Doctor that lives down the street might think a Sebenza is a budget user since his/her interests run toward $6000 customs.

    With that in mind and to your question "Does mid-range exist?", yes it does but it would be different for each individual.

    I would think a mid-range knife would be a knife that, while it is not so cheap as to be irrelevant to a person's budget, it is costly enough to be considered in the budget. I would think that the average knife enthusiast is in the $75-$150 price point for a mid-level knife, but that is just a guess.

    I do find it interesting how the different steels come into favor and then fall out of favor.


    lex2006 likes this.
  11. 3fifty7

    3fifty7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    I just went through the “buying a new knife” process with a cousin of mine. Financially he is doing very well. He will use his knife daily as a work knife and not for cutting cardboard boxes and meals. He carried his previous knife for 10 years, with one year overseas deployment. He ended up buying a Cold Steel Recon. It was a bit of a stretch to get him to spend over $100. He wanted a solid feeling knife with a strong lock and robust blade. Gave little to no consideration for blade steel, mfg, country of mfg.
    He will freely spend money on his interests/hobbies, although he carries and uses it daily knives just don’t do it for him.
    jux t and Korean Hog like this.
  12. K.O.D.

    K.O.D. Sanity Not Included Platinum Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Exactly. However price does not necessarily dictate quality. I've seen excellent $30 knives and terrible $200 plus knives.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    At current street prices in the US, I would say that mid-range knives run from $50-$150, possibly $175. It is generally my favored price range. I will spend more at times, but the bulk of my knives other than SAKs fall into the mid-range.

    When you are active in the knife market, you can define these kinds of terms for yourself and your sense of value. Drop out of the market for 4-5 years and sticker shock hits you just like with new pickup trucks. I bought a new one in late 2017 and believe me there was sticker shock. I was out of the market for 10-15 years. Two years later, I still feel it and I don't like the feeling at all.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
    bigsurbob and mqqn like this.
  14. Goofcat


    Jan 8, 2020
    Knife price are a bit nuts. My general guideline for a tool/EDC knife is what one makes in an hour with in reason. For some it’ll be $20 for some it’ll be $200. I don’t think an EDC knife should be more expensive than a power tool one uses daily.

    For those who spend over that, that knife is a piece of jewelry, just like an expensive watch.
    Storm 8593 and bigsurbob like this.
  15. Yimes

    Yimes Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2018
    Just yesterday I was watching a YouTube video and the person said something like and anyone can get this knife. I can’t remember the exact price but it was around $70 and I thought to myself that not everyone can afford a $70 knife or at least should not be spending that much on a pocket knife.

    I remember when I started in the hobby several years ago a $150 knife seemed really expensive to me. Now I look at knives around $200 and I don’t consider that expensive anymore (even though it technically is for me).

    Crazy what this hobby can do to a person.
  16. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    There are people out there who make more in a day than I do in a week. I completely understand how someone could drop $400 without flinching, no problem. The fact is most of us could probably get by with a SAK and a Mora and never have a serious complaint about it.

    I think sometimes really good knives get overlooked because they don't have the wow factor that a better knife brings. The Kershaw Atmos is a good example of that, it's an amazingly good deal and a lot of people like it, but some people just can't get past the steel not being up to par. If you've moved past an entry level steel like 8cr13mov that's fine, you should look into the ZT 0470 if you like that design.

    I do wish some of the negativity would taper off a bit, there are people new to the hobby or are on fixed incomes that are not ready to sink $100-$200+ into a knife that get really discouraged when people dump all over the low and mid level knives.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
    Storm 8593, bigsurbob, .577NE and 2 others like this.
  17. abcdef


    Oct 28, 2005
    All is subjective and relative, and all classes exist. Even as someone interested in knives, the speed in steel changes still confounds me. I don't know when 440C was developed, but it was probably the bee's knees when it was. I came along at S30V, so my CRK's had to be thrown away.

    All I know is when I have too many of something, another one costs too much, no matter the class.
  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    The steel changes are a marketing thing and what the knife hobbyist's demand. It is where they spend their money... upgrades.

    The problem is defining "too many". But I think you know it when you get there. But that still does not stop you from looking at the new offerings because we like em.
    Hale Storm likes this.
  19. stonproject


    Nov 22, 2013
    I don't see much dumping on budget knives here. In fact you will see lower priced knives that are a great value get recommended frequently.
    bigsurbob and MarkN86 like this.
  20. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    Come to think of it, you aren't wrong, it's just that when someone rips on them they do it harshly and loudly and it probably makes the issue seem worse than it really is.
    bigsurbob and stonproject like this.

Share This Page