Buying the Right Knife

4 Steps to Buying the Right Knife

There are many different types of knives that range from relatively inexpensive to very expensive. Before buying a knife, it is important that you consider the knife's use, features, materials, and warranty. After reading this article, you should feel more comfortable when comparing different brands and models of knives.

1. How will you use it? There are many different types of knives which are intended to be used in very different ways. Here are the most common uses:

  • Everyday: Are you opening boxes or cutting twine?
  • Outdoor (Backpacking/Climbing/Hiking/Camping): Does your activity involve using rope?
  • Hunting/Fishing: Are you field dressing game or cleaning/filleting fish?
  • Tactical/Survival: Do you need a heavy-duty knife that won't fail?
  • Limited Edition/Custom: Are you a collector?

2. What features are important to you? Each knife that you find will have a different set of features, usually associated with the blade, handle, and sharpness.

  • Fixed-blade knives: Always ready for use and dependable.
  • Pocket knife: Compact, safer to carry; improved dependability with locking blade.
  • One-handed opening: Has a thumb reststud, blade hole or other feature to facilitate one-hand use. Some models are one-hand opening and one-hand closing as well.
  • Hunting knives, including gutting/skinning blade: For field dressing game.
  • Thick Blade: For heavy-duty tasks.
  • Light weight: Use of composite or other materials to minimize weight.
  • Saw edge: For cutting wood or bone.
  • Sharpness: Stays sharp and is easy to sharpen.

3. What is it made of and why? The materials of the blade and handle with have a significant impact on the use and longevity of your knife.

Blade Materials - A good blade combines good edge retention, ease of re-sharpening and rust resistance.

  • S30V is the best blade steel available. It is a high vanadium stainless steel with even higher edge retention.
  • ATS-34 and BG-42 are two custom steels with much higher carbon content, giving them higher hardness ratings and dramatically higher edge retention.
  • 420HC is a stainless steel that provides excellent rust resistance, is easy to re-sharpen and has mediumgood edge retention.

Handle Materials - A good knife handle should feel solid and well constructed when you hold it. We suggest you consider a handle style and material that meets your needs and suits your preference.

  • An ergonomic design provides comfort.
  • A rubber or textured handle provides a sure grip in wet conditions.
  • A wooden handle adds beauty to the knife.
  • Plastic/composite handles are durable under extreme conditions.

4. Does it offer an unconditional lifetime warranty? You want a knife that is crafted from high quality materials and will deliver reliable performance. If it should ever fail you, be sure the maker stands behind it.

Much of this information was taken from the Buck Knives company website.