Question of the Day: Best folder for under $25?

I appreciate the nice comments about my Mora Bushcraft review.  Reader Aaroneous called it the “definitive review” and I thank him.  I spent months testing it while guiding, and trying to come up with repeatable, quantifiable “lab” tests to demonstrate why I really love that knife. I am glad you all approve. That being said, we have probably jumped the shark on the Mora thing.  I suppose one can actually get tired of a tough-as-nails, razor-sharp knife for less than the price of a pizza.  It’s seems that we’ve made our point and it’s time to head in another direction for a while . . .

What I would like to ask you, our Edged Intelligentsia, is what would you say is the best inexpensive folding knife that you have come across?  Is there a folder that you think might give a Mora blade a run for its money in the best value knife value on the planet category? Is there one you’d like to see put through a similar battery of tests, just because you want to see if it’s up to the challenge?

Let us know.

[Ed: For twenty-five bucks, be prepared for a lot of 8Cr13MoV, 440C, and ‘Made In China.’ We’re not talkin’ Randall Knives here.]


  1. chuck k says:

    Got a Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara 2, full flat grind, plain edge with FRN scales for about 21 bucks.
    Out of the box extremely sharp, seems very well built, hard to tell the difference between it and the Endura full serrated knife I got in 1995. One thing I really like better about the Byrd is the “doyle dent” in the lock release.
    This was not on the 1995 endura and at least twice it almost closed on my hand while doing some heavy duty chores.
    I tried to send it back to Spyderco to have the dent cut in but they won’t do it. I guess I could take it to a machine shop.

    Anyway, great knife for under $25 IMHO.

    1. Nathan says:

      The new Enduras are a huge improvement over the old ones

    2. janklow says:

      i would agree with this; great little low-priced knife

  2. Jay says:

    I’ll buck the trend of the sure-to-arrive slew of tenacious, skyline, and cryo. My vote is for the Vic cadet. I always have one with me. Between the bottle opener (necessity!!) and the screwdrivers, it’s infinitely useful in a pinch.

    I almost always have a Vic spirit with me in my ‘edc’ (read: work/laptop) bag, but the cadet is a staple.

    1. Terry Warlock says:

      I hate to say it, but Kershaw and Byrd have the “$25 awesome modern knife award” hands down.

      But I still really love the classic “peasant” knives, like the Opinel N0 8, Mercator K55, and Douk-Douk. I still carry them just as often as my Spyderco’s and Benchmades.

  3. Nathan says:

    I had a Kershaw Volt II for just under $25 that was pretty good. I lost it though

  4. I_Like_Pie says:

    To be perfectly honest….as mentione above

    The Victorinox Cadet or Classic SD is my pick for best knife under $25

  5. Paco says:

    I got a couple of Kershaw Asset knives from Woot for 9.99 each about a year ago and the wife and I have been quite pleased with them. Not sure I’d be so pleased had I spent $40 on them because the handle is a little odd but for 10 bucks they’re quite good.

  6. Jf says:

    Keshawn Crash is the best $20+ Knife I have found

  7. knightofbob says:

    A friend carries a CRKT 7904KN that was purchased at a show for well under $25, and he seems to like it well enough. I wouldn’t say it’s the best in that price range, but it’s definitely solid.

  8. Sam L. says:

    That SOG is the best Spyderco design rip-off I’ve ever seen.

    I have 3 of the Kershaw 3410–under $25 at Amazon–came sharp, nice size, light weight, metal liners, flipper blade.

    I like to have a knife in my jacket pocket–have since seeing that recommended in a film by an AF general who was trapped in a burning airplane.

  9. Roger says:

    I’d put my money on the cold steel mini-tuff lite which right now retails on Amazon for between 22.95 and just over 25. Great ergonomics in a small and light, about an ounce, package. Not the biggest blade or best steel but it’s a great -working- knife. If you’re willing to drop a little more it comes in nice hi-vis colors. When you’re used to working with the size and shape, opening with one hand is almost too easy.

    Kind of a small side bit, is there a while for avid readers to donate specific knives to the project or even donate funds? I’d love to see TTAK take a look at the tuff lite series.

  10. Jason says:

    You can pick up a Buck Vantage (Made in the USA) for under 25 bucks at places. It’s a fine knife, and I love the clip. For 7 bucks more, you can get it in 13C26 Sandvik. IMO it’s the single best deal out there.

    I’m partial to Opinel’s & Swiss Army knives, but it seems like a lot of folks want a more “modern” EDC knife.

    1. Mark N. says:

      Picked up my Buck 3″ folder for $20 at a hardware store (MSRP is $30). Good little knife, mid back locking blade. No play.
      The only liner locks I’ve seen that I consider safe are far too expensive.
      For an all around utility knife, it’s hard to beat a Victorninox. lot’s of tools, excellent blade.

  11. JoshuaS says:

    I got a SOG Trident for $8.71 new (lucky chance price that was). And that is my EDC (no play in it, which I have heard as the most common complaint). As a knife, and solely as that, it is the best I have gotten for less than $25

    But before that I carried a Victorinox Swiss Army, I forget the model. It is what I had in Boy Scouts, in the day. Two blades, philips head, bottle opener, can opener, eye hook, corkscrew, scissors and some other thing I don’t know what it.. That is the best all around, if you need more than a blade.Anything more in a SAK just seemed ridiculous and bulky (one guy had one of those with dozens of tools in it…thing was far too fat to grip) For now I just keep some cheap multitools in my car and other places if needed.

  12. SteveInMa says:

    For non-tactical use, CRKT Tuition is hard to beat.

  13. NavyRetGold says:

    To get a decent knife for under $25 you have to deal directly with the manufacturer in China. SOG is shit regardless of where you buy it. Same with Gerber. No reason for anyone to buy that crap from either company. Spyderco also makes a lot of shit in the under $50 range and I wouldn’t buy any of it. Kershaw sells a few models manufactured in China for under $25 which are worth the pocket change, but you have to know what you are buying. You really have to do some research to buy a knife for less than $25 and not get ripped off. Mora’s may be the only exception here.

  14. mp says:

    I have and really like the sogzilla pictured above. Perfect for my “EDC beater” when out and about on the farm. Buck Bantam fills the same role nicely.

  15. crockett says:

    Buck Bantam lockback is made in the USA with 420hc steel for a chill $20. My favorite cheap knife is an Opinel No.08 carbon. They have it in stainless also. Svord knives also has good cheap knives. Douk douk folders are under 25 most of the time. Sometimes you can find Mercator k55k knives for $25 or less. Rough rider makes traditional slipjoint knives that are really good quality for what they are. Okapi knives are usually cheap. Cold steel kudu is $8.99 with 4116 Krupp steel. Bladetech mouse lite is $19.99. EKA knives are under 25 also.

  16. tom says:

    Leatherman C33: 2.75″ blade, smooth action, bottle opener caribiner, sub-3oz, $20 @Sears

  17. wayne from Tucson says:

    I HAD to chime into this…
    SOOO i guess since the Ontario RAT 1 is a randall design and 2 dollars more its out
    im gonna quickly describe them and its gonna be kershaw with the most options
    and my top picks are:
    Kershaw one ton as the biggest
    kershaw half ton for cheapest kershaw
    kershaw volt 2 assisted thick medium blade
    kershaw oso sweet assisted and just oso damn sweet medium knife
    kershaw chill thin light weight long (little big guy)
    kershaw clash assisted balanced wide medium blade
    kershaw select fire strong blade screw driver heavy bottle opener(working man)
    and if kershaw isnt your thing not a worry there are many others that make great knives
    spyderco byrd cara cara 2
    sogzilla both this and byrd are long and elegant tipped and very sharp
    crkt m16 long and strong (;
    ckrt drifter is a good medium sized
    cold steel kudo the cheapest but still a quality knife
    cold steel micro recon small and strong
    smith and Wesson makes alot of good ones for super cheap just pick one
    swiss army knife:
    field master
    pocket pal
    leather man:

    – look them up yourself i could talk for years trying to go through what they have in them! i was making a video of this same thing when this was posted!

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Question of the Day: Best folder for under $25?

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