Buyer’s Guide to Budget Butterfly Knives
Not too long ago if you were in the market for a new butterfly knife you had two options: the first was taking out a second mortgage on your house in order to purchase one that was so expensive that you were scared to touch it and the second option was to buy one that is was so poorly made that it doubled as a fixed blade if it left its pool of WD-40.
The conundrum of butterfly knives is that their sole purpose of being thrown, flipped, spun and inherently dropped lends little comfort to those purchasing them at high dollar. Those who choose the second option are confronted with an even steeper learning curve than already exists with just flipping knives. This is of course due to the poor construction of economical knives. No washers, loose stop-pins, cracked handles and
poorly balance will not help the novice flipper.
What should one look for when buying a cheap butterfly to ensure the best quality and performance for the price? Follow these 5 steps and you will be well on your way to budget butterfly bliss:
1. Is there a designer associated with the knife? Even though many butterfly knives are made in China they still have designers. This ensures that someone took care in creating a knife. In turn that means a more balanced and functional blade.
2. Does the butterfly have washers? In high-end butterfly knives the makers put ball bearings in the handles to help them rotate smoothly and have customized tension. The cheap way of creating that type of feel is to use Teflon and metal washers in between the handle and the blade. This will dramatically help the way the knife moves.
3. Does the knife have “pin construction” or “screw construction?” Some knives are simply attached using pins to connect the handles to the blade. This creates a limitation. Because the pins are permanent you cannot loosen or tighten the handles like you can with a screw construction. That being said screws are not foolproof. If they are loose they can come out while flipping the knife. You’ll just have to figure out what you prefer.
4. Are the handles milled/machined or cast? This is more subjective but is still something to consider. Casted handles are typically lighter and have a rough feel to them. Milled and cut handles feel smooth and art heavy. Cast means that the metal is poured into a mould to achieve the shape. Milled or cutting of the handles means the handles are usually cut out of plate steel using machines. That being said, knives that are milled are typically more expensive than those that are cut or cast. Judging whether one knife is cast vs. milled can be difficult but usually price gives away the answer away.
5. You get what you pay for. While there is some truth to this statement it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good knife for a good price. Some of it takes trial and error and a little bit of an adventurous heart. Persevere and you will find a knife that performs well and is still within your budget. Check out knife blogs, read reviews and do your research. There is a plethora of information out there to help take the edge off…
There is hope.
The best knife for under $10.00 is the “Flick.” This knife does have pin-construction but they are well placed and allow for a pretty good action. This is certainly a budget knife at its best. It has a good weight to it and a good action. The cast handles are smooth and the skeletonized design possesses that classic flipper look. A great little knife for pennies on the dollar!
This knife is a saving grace and great knife for the beginner and advanced flipper. Anything made by M-Tech but specifically the M-Tech Twist designed by Darrel Ralph. It has great balance with a heavier weight. It utilizes metal washers for a smooth rotation. It is made in China but on the upper echelon so expect 20-40 dollars to pick one up. This really is the perfect example of a butterfly knife for the masses.
Another great knife- from a historical brand- is the 113 or 114 series by Bear and Son Cutlery. A USA made butterfly that has a lot of reputation to back it up. These knives are made in Alabama from scratch. The majority of their knives are a combination of machined and pinned construction that employs washers for a great action. They also use an epoxy powder coating on the blade for a textured grip. These knives are a great value for an American made blade. Cost for these knives ranges from 40.00-100.00.
Chief of Conversions and Knife Repair