The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Knife Myths: Knives from China are always cheap and inferior


If you have a few conversations with some of the most ardent knife fans, you’ll usually come to the conclusion that all knives from China are pieces of junk. Some people won’t even look at China-made knives because nothing can beat a quality American-made blade.

Strap yourself in because I’m here to bust the myth that all knives from China are cheap and inferior to knives made in the United States.

Let me start with a disclaimer: If you only buy knives from the United States because you believe in supporting the local economy and encouraging American businesses that employ Americans, that’s fine and commendable. I can’t argue with that moral approach to things. But if you refuse to buy any knives from China because you think they’re junk, you’re simply wrong.

Why Everything is Made in China

Unless you’re diligent, nearly everything you own comes from China. Most parts on the computer or phone you’re looking at were made in China, most clothes you’re wearing were made in China.

So when did China become so engrained in our manufacturing? Let’s take a look.

The Korean War in the early 1950s (yes, we’re going back far) was essentially a proxy war between the United States and Soviet communist-supported allies like China. During the Korean War, all trade between China and the United States was frozen. This embargo would go on until 1970, when the Nixon administration began laying the groundwork to lift the ban on US-China trade.

Richard Nixon with Mao Zedong

Richard Nixon with Mao Zedong

In 1972, President Richard Nixon made a historic visit to China to improve relations between the US and China. In the following years, the two countries signed agreements to improve trade.

I won’t go into too much detail, but working conditions in China give the country an advantage over manufacturing in the United States—mainly in cost and efficiency. While, yes, workers in China have historically been paid a lot less and work a lot more, China has an infrastructure that allows for the manufacturing of more goods at large quantities.

Rise of Knives Made in China

Prior to the 1970s, pretty much all knives marketed in the United States were made in the United States or Europe. The iconic Buck 110 Folding Hunter that became one of the best-selling knives of all time was made in the good ol’ USA. But the shift toward knives manufactured in China (and other countries in Asia) was slow but steady.


Redhead Large Stockman

Brands began shifting over to factories in China and those that didn’t suffered. Schrade, for example, closed its doors in 2004. Taylor Brands LLC saved Schrade (as well as Uncle Henry and Old Timer) by moving much of its manufacturing to China.

(Since 2016, Schrade and Old Timer have been sold again and its new owners have brought some of the iconic knives back to US soil albeit at higher prices with the Old Timer Generational Series.)

A.G. Russell, which formerly made its knives in the United States made the switch to China as well. In a heartfelt note on its website, A.G. Russell explained the reasoning:

Like so many of my customers, I have railed against the movement of the Cutlery Industry to China, BUT it became obvious that if I wanted to stay in business I would have to produce more and more of my own designs and find a way to offer those knives at prices my customers would pay. The only answer was to find one or more makers in Taiwan and China that I could teach to make the quality I require.

Even companies like Kershaw and Buck, which are known for USA-made knives, have models that are made in China. Kershaw’s best-selling Cryo and Buck’s popular Colleague are made in China.

Not All Chinese Knives are Junk

As I explained in the previous section, many of the most respected knife companies make knives both in China and the United States. The Spyderco Tenacious is a truly beloved knife that’s billed as a fantastic EDC—and it’s made in China too.

In fact, we could make a long list of great Chinese-made knives. Some people take issue with the fact that companies like Buck, which have a long tradition of selling knives made in the USA, have Chinese knives. These knives are typically less expensive but just as well-constructed as their American-made brethren.

Sure, there are awful Chinese knives out there you can buy at a gas station for $2.99, but no one expects great performance in those. Companies like KA-BAR have quality control departments that inspect its imported knives to ensure you get high-quality knives.

Not Your Daddy’s Chinese Knives

It’s one thing for a company in America to sell knives made in China, but it’s another thing for a Chinese company to sell knives made in China. While that used to be a clear-cut sign that a knife is cheap and poorly made, that’s no longer the case.

For that, we thank a company called Kizer Knives.

Kizer really made the scene after its Ki3404 was well-received. It’s an excellent EDC knife at a price point above $100—more than most Chinese knives but dirt cheap for its premium materials like CPM-S35VN steel and a titanium frame lock.


Kizer Gemini

Then Kizer solidified itself as a true choice for knife enthusiasts with the Kizer Gemini. This knife is a production version of Ray Laconico’s Jasmine. Many people were arguing this knife as the knife of the year for 2015. At a sub-$200 price range, this knife holds its own against America’s finest knives. Here’s just one of the gushing reviews about the Gemini.

When this article first came out in 2016, it was too early to say whether there would be more companies from China like Kizer that were willing to focus on bringing well-constructed knives that undergo rigorous quality control.

Now we know that yes, there are many companies now with a strong reputation for quality knives. Just look at WE Knife and its sub brand like CIVIVI Knives. CIVIVI is now one of the most popular knife companies in the United States, thanks to its quality and low prices.

Beware the Knockoffs

After all the praise for Chinese knives, it’s important to realize that—just like anything—not all Chinese knives are great. In fact, you should be wary of poorly made Chinese knives that are designed to trick consumers. Even if it’s dirt cheap, these knives should be avoided at all costs. They help fuel a black market.


Counterfeit SOG

Aside from that, you will always find poorly made Chinese knives just like you can also find bad USA-made knives, whether they slipped through QC or simply have poor designs.

So for all you people out there that think all Chinese knives are junk, it’s time to start expanding your horizons and picking up some awesome knives you’re missing out on.


  1. I totally agree. I have some excellent assisted openers from China but there’s definitely some dodgie ones to keep an eye out for.
    After reading your article about the Bad Arse (i’m Australian, an Ass is a donkey here) Rajah 11, I went looking on Ali express and found one for au$58. Bargain. Then I realised it looked a bit small. Turns out that it’s only half the size of a genuine Rajah11 . Buyer beware.

    • You MAY have bought the Raja III. I have both and it is quite a bit smaller than the II. I got my III for about $38, but I’ve seen them for what you paid.

    • I have found 4 knives that were left to me when my husband died in 2004. One is an original three bladed Purina Brand Checkered pocket knife, mid to large size. One looks like a Mother of Pearl Stiletto; it is made in China. One is a stainless steel with the number 440 on the blade next to the handle. It has holes up the handle and one large hole in the blade and the blade is slightly curved. There are also ridges at the back of the blade It does not say where it’s made. Then there is a light camouflage knife about three inches long, before the blade is opened. It has a curved blade with the blade itself serrated. It has clip on the side with stainless steel China on the blade and the number 44429 on the other side of the blade. I also have a green handled knife with one blade, made in china, with silver looking ends. I checked the Purina knife and the site said that it could possibly be worth as much as 200.00 dollars, mint cond. How do I find out about the others? They are all in really good cond, with the exception of the Purina Brand knife. It is quite dirty, but I am cleaning that one now.

    • I agree that SOME ( not all) knives from China are amazing. Go look at the kizer vanguard series. I currently edc the Spyderco Tenacious and it is one of the best knives I have ever handled.

    • China made shit sucks all together

      • I disagree. I have found that Chinese pussy is quite good.

      • American Knife buyers disagree. Kizer, WE Knife Co., Kubey, TwoSun, Fat Dragon are selling like, well, HOTCAKES. Some models are sold out in hours after introduction.

      • China sucks completely,but I must disagree with you on some of their knives,the real bargains are in folders and Automatic knives,I bought a copy of a Chris Reeve full size for under $40 , titanium handles and the workmanship is spot on! I also have a few microtech copies that I’ve compared to real ones and TBH either my son nor me could find any difference ,price under $50 ,I know the blade steel isn’t top grade but it looks and functions as well as the real one,since they cost between$250 to $500 plus for me it’s a simple choice as I wouldn’t be able to afford a real one and I’ve gotten Benchmade axis folders that are incredible and great quality at $35 or less ,the real one is no longer made and if you find one it’s about$500 ,I respect your opinion but unless you have bought any I mentioned they’re anything but junk

        • Have you ever heard of using periods? It makes reading any review, reply, or comment so much more enjoyable for the reader!

      • You are very wrong, it is all about the heat treat on knives, I can give you an example of a knife where there are two versions of it, and the Chinese steel version is epically better than the American steel version; both steels, in this case, have a very good heat treat.
        Cold Steel SR1 one is $140 – $200 knife [the s35vn version.]
        Cold Steel SR1 lite it is 30 – 45 dollars [it uses 8cr13Mov], and it is way way way tougher than the higher dollar one by a long shot.
        This knife won’t hold its edge as long but it as close to an indestructible knife as i have ever seen, and i genuinely mean that [and i have a lot of knives from over a thousand dollars to low end 20 dollar knives].
        This knife will take more abuse than you can possibly imagine and it is cheap. The s35vn will break long long before the cheap version and btw both are about the same weight so the lite is not lite.
        I would assume it is named this because it is using a lesser steel, but in this case i would say it’s not lesser in fact, it’s the better steel.
        This is just 1 example I could give, i could go on and on, but i will give just one more example of good Chinese knives.
        Kizer Knives are incredible knives; almost all use S35vn, and the quality is very impressive. Kizer is an excellent Chinese Manufacture, definitely one of their best.

      • Ronald Wendel

        July 28, 2022 at 9:23 pm

        The Chinese are Communists. They hate the USA. Come home to the USA

      • Ronald Wendel

        July 29, 2022 at 6:41 pm

        The Chinese say that by the end of the twenty first century Christianity will be dead. They are the enemy. Stop doing business with them.

      • You never know what you are getting. It’s undoubtedly cheap Chinese 8cr garbage it may say M390 or some premium name but that’s either a blatant lie or it’s Chinese counterfeit M390 with a crappy heat treat produced by 7 year old Chinese slave girls.

    • William Burke

      May 11, 2021 at 1:51 pm

      Assisted openers? What on Earth for? Assisted openers are a solution in search of a problem.

  2. Joel Levinson

    June 23, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    The first thing to look at is brand name. Some are more consistent in quality than. Additionally, brand names have a vested interest in quality control. The rest is up to us to let others know when we are happy with a blade or when we are disappointed. Let the company know the specifics as well, briefly. You may be surprised!

  3. matthew feldman

    July 5, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I am one of those people that think we should be supporting American jobs. I live in a major US city and see poverty. People want to work but there isn’t jobs. People would love to do one of these jobs.

    • Tim

      July 5, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I have no issue with that. I’d love to see more American knife jobs.

    • I whole hardly agree. I worked as a steelworker for 33 years and know the domino affect that China’s imports have done to America’s steel industry and so many other American industries too.There are times when I shop I don’t have a choice in what is available USA or imports. But I would rather pay more for USA products than buy from China. American IS better. The knives of imports seem to fall short in quality overall. Be American, buy American till it hurts. Your country will benefit in the long run. Don’t support Communism, and their underhanded and unfair trade practices.

      • I stopped caring about buying American after the autoworkers nearly bankrupted Chrysler for the SECOND time! Thanks to our tax dollars, Chrysler and their pensions were bailed out. That still makes me want to throw up!
        When American union workers realize that the main reason they get paid TOO MUCH is the organized crime method of terrorizing business owners through extortion, and they realize they SHOULD be getting paid less money, then I will think about buying American. Oh, and the product has too last and be at least as well made as other foreign “junk”.

        • Right. The only ones allowed to use mob methods should be the employer, and the financial problems of Chrysler had nothing to do with their terrible business strategy.

        • Jeffory Martin Urquhart

          January 25, 2020 at 11:00 pm

          Fuck You !

          • Fuck whoever disagrees with you. The Founding Fathers (whom I’m sure you’ve never read) would be proud.

        • Jeffory Martin Urquhart

          January 25, 2020 at 11:01 pm

          Don’t like you already.
          Keep going ….

          • Why all this anger? This is about the quality of Chinese knives not a forum for angry people to just tell everyone to F off,sucks being so angry it only hurts you and many American knife makers source out knives to China ,I have some and besides the price being way lower they are wonderful knives ,some are less than half the cost of an American made and come with G10 grips and some kydex sheaths too,have a better day

        • My thoughts exactly.

      • Jeffory Martin Urquhart

        January 25, 2020 at 10:59 pm

        Grew up in Metro Detroit. All of my jobs were based around the auto industry. We DIDN’T drive foreign cars, period. That was not even a thought.
        I was part of the NAFTA agreement, while working in industry.
        Saw first hand, what it all did. Total deception to US.
        So, Yes. If possible, please buy American.

        • What is an American car anymore? Honda, Subaru and Toyota all have factories here in the US and do a better job employing Americans than the “American’ car companies.

        • You can thank Reagan for Nafta and also Reaganomics. Which opened the flood gates to Nafta and the decline of made in usa.

      • So then every American company that manufacturers in China is supporting Communism, not just trying to stay afloat and file for bankruptcy or take an American govt handout…. Which btw is the taxpayers paying for that bailout. Seems shitty that working class Americans cant afford quality American made products that they produce

    • I was in the same boat about Chinese knives. I was surprised to see some Kershaw and even more so to see some KaBar with “China” stamped on them. But, when people make a comment about “cheap, poorly made stuff” from China, I say, “ya, like my iPhone”. Basically, one of the best pieces of tech ever built…and it’s made in China. So they CAN build good stuff, but they can also produce horrible crap. However, i don’t associate “made in America” with quality, just expense. The labor cost in the US is SO much higher than Asia, it is a large part of the problem. Anyone with decent QC can create quality stuff. American hands aren’t magical. Ironically, when it comes to the comment about employing Americans and “buying American”, isn’t it ironic that when you buy a Ford (soon), or even a John Deere, some iconic American brands, you’re really employing Mexicans. But when you buy a Toyota, assembled near San Antonio, Texas, you are likely employing more Americans. So what does it even mean to “buy American” anyway? And to keep costs competitive, it seems American made means cheaper components or cutting corners. I’d like to see “made by American robots” maybe to help keep costs down and quality up. Sure, hand crafted custom knives made by Americans could be fantastic, but it’s just as fantastic made by a Japanese or German…or even skilled Chinese. When I see highly paid union workers acting like Frenchmen, knowing they cannot be fired even for shoddy work, it makes me resent buying American. And as for “people want to work”, what you mean is they want to work if you pay them a substantial income, otherwise they’ll just keep their $30k/yr benefits from the government. I’ve hired many people who “want to work” and only make it a few days because the work is “too hard” or it’s “too hot”. A customer of mine says they are hiring as many linemen (telephone stuff) as they can but nobody wants to do the job…and within just 4 years they’d make $50-$60k. Day labor Mexicans are now demanding $100/day and a free lunch. That tells you that, around here anyway, you cannot even find a “normal” person to do the work for $100/day. Build me a quality, American made knife for around $100 and I’ll buy it. Thanks to Obama and the “must go to college to be somebody” pitch, our younger generation has no skills, no artisanship, no marketable talents. hell, most of them cannot even cook mac and cheese or wash their own clothes…forget fixing an ax handle, tying a knot, changing their oil, or mending a stitch. Makes it hard to buy American when Americans can’t make anything worth buying (obvious generalization, but you get the idea).

      • You are right on with your comments, I had guys with Masters Degrees sweeping the floor for me !!! They had a hard time doing that right !!!

      • You’re right. The younger generation is worthless. You were terrible parents.

      • A lot of truth here Alan, thanks for sharing it👍

      • i phone is cheap, & poorly made, overpriced hardware. 😆

      • William Burke

        May 11, 2021 at 1:58 pm

        True enough, but at least American manufacturers don’t have to rely on suicide nets outside their factory windows.

        Do I buy Chinese-made knives? Sure I do! The high-dollar ones are so far ahead of American-made ones in quality per dollar it’s no contest!

      • Right you are !

      • Seki, Japan. Go back 300 years to see quality swords unmatched. Knives? Peice of cake. I cherish any knife with a Seki hallmark as the best one can get.

      • Great post Alan! I agree especially about some American knife makers qc,I’ve bought and returned several Ontario and kbars due to lousy qc,but my BK,and especially Esee knives have always been perfect! And my Schrade Chinese made knives have been perfect too,not to mention some copies of microtech I’ve purchased for under $50 that are so good I compared mine to my son’s real $300 one and we couldn’t find any difference I’m sure the blade steel isn’t the same quality but they work perfectly

    • I agree, I want to see Made in the USA on the knife or I won’t buy it. In fact I’d prefer to buy from a company that doesn’t make anything in China at all. Wish there was actually a company that did that under $200. Why companies like Buck, Spyderco and Benchmade that make the majority of their knives in the US feel the need to cheapen their brand I don’t know.

    • I agree. I used to work in a small electronic manufacturing facility, job went to China. Now I’m “homeless” and living like a hobo. It’s actually kinda fun, but America is getting rough w/ all the tweekers.

    • I agree. I’m tired of people and companies who are willing to lose our country, just so they can save or make a few dollars.

  4. Jeff Nicholson

    July 5, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Among the 200+ (folding) knives I own, I have knives from Kizer, Real Steel, and Enlan…all Chinese, and all excellent knives. The Kizer and Real Steel knives are as well made as any knives on the market.

    Check out the Kizer Sovereign, Real Steel H1 Blue Sheep, or the Enlan EL-01. I carry these just as often as my Tenacious or Blurs.

    • Delmar Nicholson

      February 20, 2018 at 2:28 am

      2469 N.Hilltop Ln.
      —Hey there Jeff, just reading an old thread and BAM there you are. Btw I agree with you.

    • WE knives are excellent products… great materials, excellent fit and finish. I own several and they are all fine knives. Spyderco also makes knives in Seki City, Japan, quality knives.

  5. Excellent article; balanced and well-written, as always. The story with China is exactly the same as with Japan, South Korea and other places. Younger readers may not even be able remember the day when Made in Japan meant that something was supposedly cheap and poorly-made. Now the Japanese companies reserve their high-tier product for Japanese factories, farming out a lot of the less costly stuff elsewhere. They know when wealthy customers buy that Lexus, they want to see “Made in Japan” on the window sticker. China is going the same way.

    I do like American-made when I can get it. We are fortunate to have many masterful craftsmen in the knife business, but like Lexus, they have to devote their attention to costlier, higher-priced product.

    • Interesting article,i myself have chinese, japan n taiwanese made brands and have to add that the blade material is the always on the hunt for a good blade to add to my collection and I do scrutinize quality and maker always.thanku for the education now i have more ammo when some knife critic says oterwise,il inform them of your article and to plug into knife-depot to stay on top of the knife life,amen brother!

  6. I always buy made in U.S.A. knives first, then I look at European knives (mostly from Germany and Sweden, although I have found some very nice knives from Spain as well). I don’t knock Chinese made knives, I mean most of the major manufacturers today have a good portion of their knives made there and I have bought a few modern Schrade’s and CRKT knives that have had excellent blades and excellent fit/finish. In fact if Schrade did not make them in China today we’d probably not have some of the more modern bushcraft designs that they have been releasing in the past few years like their SCHF42 and SCHF51, which are two of my favorites. A lot of people will knock Schrade and the China made knives but the quality and types of steel they are using today are much better than when they were being made in the U.S.A. 30 years ago.

    • Agreed 100% especially with schrade and CRKT,I own several of both and all came perfect which I cannot say for Ontario or KaBar,I’ve had to return 2 of each of those due to crappy quality control issues and dull blades ,yet never had any qc issues with the 2 Chinese made knives plus the cost which can be well under half for a comparable US knife makes it nice as a collector

  7. No matter where the knife is made, or the cost, if not high carbon 1055, 1085 carbon steel, also titanium, the 440 stainless is so soft. Not only can you NOT throw it [like me], but the tip and the edge simply is so soft, it won’t last. Soon, you’ll have a nub for a blade. And, l throw many times to keep eye-distance and muscle memory. When l say many times, l mean 500 to 700 times a week. l depend on my throwing skills to survive, even more over my firearms. BTW, l can not reveal all, due to ‘classified confidential’, but my combat training was NOT in USA. Thanks to Obama, he has madew USA weak! My training has been over 30 years. when l saw the traditional training of Combat martial Arts; hand to hand going to the dogs, l contacted my CO [not in USA] and finished, received my Master’s level in Combat MA’s. We MUST become strong again, as a country! If not, we will see our beloved USA overcome by groups of terrorists. Which, is happening now. In every state of our country; and 80% of every county of every state. AMERICA!! WAAAKE UP! This includes ‘made in USA! l know this forum is about knives. but the author took us back to Korea. Do you ever wonder why that little country of So Korea, no bigger than Maine, thrives? lt’s because they ‘take no prisoners’….there is no “awww, poor terrorist, no water boarding”…it’s ‘too bad, you’re caught, now dead! They are stronger than most of our military; don’t get me wrong! l’m a huge patriot/soldier. lf my orders are “stand in the corner”; l stand in the corner. lf they are, “take this out”, l take it out. End of story.

    • Amen to that. I agree that the USA is getting weaker. If we don’t wake up we won’t even have the ability to defend ourselves. I am 60 years old and have been working since I was 13 years old. My father was a Sargent Major in the US Army and he saw to it that I understood the importance of working and earning to survive on your own. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was 15 years old, but the lessons are ingrained in my DNA. I have made sure that I instilled the same work ethic for my two sons. I am so glad that Obama and his Islamic agenda are soon to be leaving the white house. Unemployment is up, people feel that they are owed a lifestyle that Uncle Sam should provide. I fear for the future generation, as the America I grew up with will be no longer be available to them. I’m rambling, I apologize. Just wanted to let you know that I agree with your post.

      • Classified and Roc, I agree with both of your comments…true story, enuff said!

      • I’m 58 and this country is unrecognizable to me from just 20 years ago,leftist policies are making weak soft kids and our enemies are hungry and and strong while our youth get fat playing videogames even today’s testosterone levels are much lower than 2 generations ago,heaven forbid we have to actually fight the Chinese

  8. Nice article. I have purchased some knives from China, Sanrenmu, Harnds, Enlan, Ganzo, to name a few. I find that they make well built, sharp, and functional knives, most made with 8Cr14MoV for blade material, I believe that some of these companies are companies that make knives for US knife companies. Kershaw has a Volt II, straight blade, Harnds has Knight, they look the same (handle, blade, size, pocket clip, difference is that Kershaw is “Speed-safe” and Harnds is manual, also Kershaw is 8Cr13MoV, and Harnds is 8Cr14MoV. Worth checking out some of these knives.

  9. Richard Mooney

    July 5, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I love American made knives……well made good steel. But so high priced I can’t afford them. My EDC is a Cold Steel AK47 been carrying it since 2008 and 2 1/2 tours of Afghanistan with it. And it’s made in China. I also carry a CRKT Fossil, one of the best knives I’ve owned. (By the way I own over 500 edged weapons my call sign in Afghanistan was Blade) if I could get the quality as well as the price with American made blades I would buy nothing but American. But unfortunately I can’t afford 200, to 400 for a knife that’s not any better than a 30 to 60 dollar one made in China or Japan.

    • I agree Richard,I too collect and use knives but other than my Esee collection and some BK knives I too can’t justify the prices by Benchmade, Spyderco and the other American players,in the 90s I had an FFL so I bought wholesale and Benchmade automatics we’re under $100 ,so we’re Spyderco and the rest ,I stopped collecting after my divorce and recently started again and was blown away by the huge price increases,so yes I buy Chinese, Pakistani and others and funny thing so far the only knives I’ve returned because of crappy quality control were Ontario and KaBar,dull blades,chipped finish or worse,so far none of my Chinese or others have had any major issues and are always sharp,just bought 3 fixed blade american knives and all were dull as fuck , shouldn’t have to sharpen a brand new knife

  10. We are cutting our own throats [pun intended] buying from Red, Communist, rights-violating China! It’s pocket knives and cheap tennie sneakers today and bayonets and combat boots tomorrow and if you don’t think China is thinking that way, well, you just haven’t been paying attention. They are our biggest enemy and we had better wake up and realize it pretty soon.

    • Finally someone who gets it!!! Thank you!!!

    • Yep we are like Rome, destroying ourselves from the inside. Anybody that purposely buys something from a horrible communist regime like China when they could buy US and give fellow citizens a job- should be sent to China where they can be a part of the slave labor.

      • I’m an unemployed US citizen that can’t afford US-made knives, thanks.

        • I agree with you Cat,I’d rather buy Chinese than nothing and despite all this anti communist crap I’m absolutely a hater of China but let’s face it ,do these guys have clothes? Electronics? Shoes? Godamn near anything we buy is made in China so if I prefer a $50 Chinese knife that’s built perfectly over a $150 American made that has quality control issues which I’ve experienced several times,I’ll buy whatever the fuck I choose ,these guys are hypocrites if they think they don’t buy anything Chinese

  11. Where I can buy lots of knives from China? Tks.

    • deadlyknivessharpswords

      October 18, 2018 at 8:36 am

      You can buy them from me on eBay…in my one dollar auction…which lets you decide what they are worth.. I have hundreds of them some are cheap junk some are good as any American made knife…theharmonicaking on eBAY

    • TSA generic or no-name or non-brand name. Lots of good stuff averaging $1-$2. apeice tops. What a buy. What a score.

    • Try AliExpress ,the best deals are on copies of expensive microtech, Benchmade Spyderco etc and in my experiences so far only 1 had a problem and they promptly sent a free replacement,they also make their own brands and they come sharp and the copies can be hard to tell ,if you want American made Esee makes great knives ,great quality control ,they’re not to bad on price if you shop around and they include a lifetime no questions asked warranty

  12. Just picked up a Spyderco Tenacious at my local Wal Mart for $37. I like Spyderco’s designs and this one caught my eye. They only had 2 in the store and I had never seen a Spyderco knife at Wal Mart, so I snagged one right away. This is THE BEST Chinese made knife I have ever seen, hands down. G10 is my favorite handle material and I love the 4 position clip. This knife is razor sharp right out of the box, locks up tight as a drum and overall is very well made. I don’t even mind that is says “China” on the blade!

    • In my opinion: Until you sharpen it. The burr most likely won’t last & be quite thick. Coarse sharpening method for sure with a large
      drop point angle.

      No Chinese metal is great. Might be best to have a box cutter folder. That way you can toss the blades or sharpen them better than the thick Chinese ones that don’t hold true to the test. Razorblades sharpen much faster & cut way cleaner than an alloy metal that gulls down due to adhesive wear of the alloy.

      FYI: G10 sucks because it wears out pockets & is incredibly heavy compared to other materials. Micartia does better but it’s still a resin ply to say the least. Resin makes for a heavy handle.

  13. Yeah china knife is usually sold on cheap prices, I really appreciate it for sharing such an amazing information with me 🙂 Can you please also tell me where I can buy Army Knife from ? as I am thinking of keeping them because they really look cool, do let me know soon, Thanks 🙂

  14. I do agree that there are quality knives made overseas. There are many good brands that are manufactured in China.
    Growing up I learned from my elders. Many of them fought for us in WW II and and Korea. They always told me to look for the Made in the U.S.A. Label/stamp.
    Now for those that blame labor unions. I am sorry that you have an negative opinion and I wished you would educate yourselves better when it comes to labor unions.
    So far as a knife goes. My edc is made in Tawain but all my collectibles are made in the U.S.A.
    Union proud

  15. Mark T. Tsunokai

    June 16, 2017 at 12:36 am

    I don’t have any Chinese made knives in my collection. I’ve been collecting knives for 36 years. I would be willing to look into a Chinese made knife, but have yet to find one I like. Most of mine are U.S., Japanese, English, and Russian.

  16. Gene Silvernail

    October 18, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    In 2014, at age 68, I went to the the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) on a 4 month assignment to work on a nuclear power plant in Dongping, Guangdong province. I lived in Yangjiang traveling daily to the job site in Dongping. Why?, it was on my bucket list . The metropolis city of Yangjiang. Yangjiang was a small city of only 2.5 million. Small by PRC standards that had no airport and required that I traveled by car 4 to 5 hours to the nearest airport at Guanzhou. It was during these repatriation car trips, in and out of China, that I discovered a wiz-break roadside gas station that sold a bunch of knives. Just like good old USA gas stations, not quite.

    The difference in PRC Guangdong gas stops is that all the knives displayed are local products. The pricing on these gas-station knives spanned 20 to 90 RMB (approx 6 RMB to a $) so roughly $3 to $15 dollars. I bought a few. Some were quite nice, with nice in my world being akin to my Schrade Old Timer. Some, not so good. When translating the package writting on my first batch of knives I was amazed to see that all knives were made in Yangjiang, the city I lived in. Yangjiang is the knife capaital of the PRC with over 1200 vendors some big and some very small.

    My 4 months turned into 14 and 9 trips in and out of the PRC. Big check mark on the bucket list. During this period I replaced KTV clubbing on the weekend with knife hunting.

    It proved to be an education that changed my appreciation for and understanding of what goes into a quality knife regardless of country of origin. The material, craftsmanship, and quality verification must merge to get a great knife and be understood by the beholder.

    The majority of the knives I brought back home could, by examination, speak chronologically to my knowledge gained during my knife schooling. Early on, gas-station variety knives are present, later quality unique findings joined my collection.

    Some of these great knives are Chinese marked with no western references. I bought from a street craftsman that would work a week or more over a charcoal-fired foot-bellows pot hammering and folding away in front of his shop. It has a hand made wooden sheath. Good quality is something I learned to recognize over the year there. It was fun and kept my busy and sober on the week ends….most of the time.

    One last anecdote. In Yangjiang my crew stayed in a newly openned IHG hotel called the Hualuxe. There was an executive lounge with nightly happy. Many times you would see a new western face and that called for an introduction and exchange of why you were in Southern China. During these soirres I ran into and imbibbed with more than a hand full of CEO, VPs and owners of well known knife brands. I traded some of my knives with them for their products all over a few beers/cocktails. I remember a comment by one West Coast CEO that when shown one of finds smiled. Flicking open and close several times he handed it to his VP of marketing with the comment “The action is better than ours”

    Sorry for being long winded.

  17. The thing people close their eyes or minds to is; if the China made stuff was no good then there would not be the amount of it we see today. Consumers are not going to pay a lower price for trash, the market for China made goods would have disappeared. But they have flourished instead. What did disappear? American workers who wanted 5 times the pay as reasonable or competitive.
    In high school in the 70’s(yes, I am that old) we had a history teacher who would tell us on a regular basis that the labor unions were ruining America, that the workers were paid too much for the level of work they performed. He was correct.
    The knife market is correcting itself, the demand for awesome knifes at bargain prices has driven the price down across the board. I myself want an awesome knife in my pocket(in each pocket, who carries just one?) and a vast collection at home. So I will buy 15 CRKT knives instead of 1 ZT that is so beautiful and expensive it will never taste anything stronger than shipping tape.

    • That’s how I feel,in 8 months I built my collection from 4 to close to 50 knives ,all types sizes and various countries ,yes I love to buy American,but when I can buy an excellent Chinese knife for a quarter of an American made similar knife I do,CRKT,Schrade,and many American makers have knives made in China,plus if you don’t mind buying copies , Chinese make amazing copies of very expensive American automatic and folders,I have several microtech copies ,all under $50 that if made here are $250 to $800 which I can’t afford for one knife and imo they have better quality control than several big American knife companies,only had one bad Chinese and they promptly sent a replacement without me paying to return it ,but I’ve returned at least 6 American made knives due to shit quality control issues ranging from dull blades to finish chipping off

  18. I received a “bonus” knife from the NRA. You guessed it. Proudly stamped “China”.

    • Robert E Leasure

      March 15, 2019 at 5:37 pm


  19. The american companies make there budget knives there. The chinese rip off so many good brands. It seems like most of the knock off come from there. There are so many good american brands and great customs. Its difficult to even care if there are some good chinese knife makers

  20. Old Man Vee Midwest

    May 24, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Totally agree with you.
    first higher price does not mean higher quality, imagine if cellphones were made in America, with their union pays, no one in America would be able to afford a phone.

    There is a little misconception about ripping other brands off.

    Companies around the world pay the factories to produce the knives, those factories produce knives for other companies as well. If the American company decided to use these factories then they know eventually, that factory’s owner will reuse those molds and stamps for other companies, no law around that. Thats why certain companies buy factories out right so they have they have control of whats going on and how much security there is.

    Yes there are the exceptions but how I see it is…everyones copying/inspiring everyone, and if you think other wise, you are nieve.

    Chrysler should have gone under, if its their business strategy that destroyed them then all those pensions should have been gone as well.

    Pick your poison, tax payers bail out chrysler so they can pay Americans the pensions that they earned through contract negotiation, or let the company die because they made bad business strategies and no one gets pensions.

    In Asia…a pension is a very rare thing especially for a factory worker. If North America wants to compete with Asian factory workers. Then the life style we love will have to change as well. Asian made things are not of lower quality in my opinion, but the stuff that gets imported to north america is garbage. Why would small companies in china that make good products for a cheap price bother shipping else where, when the surrounding countries already have over 1.2 billion people. Been seeing this trend sine the 70s, americans get cheap china stuff, cheap asian stuff, but when you live in the country and know what you are looking for, All I get are quality products. Their are choices and price ranges, Like any product

    Also shouldn’t be saying China is stealing American jobs away, if the wages and cost to produce in America was more competitive, then companies would not go overseas.

  21. Totally agree with your well written article!

  22. China can put people in space. You choose the price u pay in China, u pay low u get junk u pay high you get quality, China high quality costs far less then in the west.

  23. deadlyknivessharpswords

    October 18, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    If it was stamped Japan it was considered junk….Now today the same is said of China…I have the whole line of Remington knives and Winchester knives from the 1920’s and there are no manufactured knives in America that compare too the quality of those knives…
    The world is getting smaller and it is adapt or die…A lot of people who rode horses said they would never change but where are all the horses today??? they call them cars and motorcycles…. Let China have those jobs …we are Americans we lead the way our power is in leading the way into new jobs new ideas….We are the responsible for building like that the worlds largest Hotel in Dubai …Arabs might have paid for it, but the bottom line it would never have been built without our engineers….let third world have manual labor we are the thinkers of this world and will always be as long as we can adapt to change…Or go live in a cave learn how to just survive…chop wood…hunt game…grow gardens…but most of all make your own damn knives then you wont have any one to blame for the quality but your own self…

  24. Well it’s 2018 now and we’re in the middle of a trade war with China, the world’s most economically and militarily powerful totalitarian dictatorship that has openly declared their intent to create a new world order with themselves at the top. And they are already waging war against the West and US allied nations in Asia through economic domination. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army trains with the United States as the designated enemy.
    Over the last two decades China has flooded our markets with fgoods including electronics. The US and other governments have now banned Chinese cellphones because they were found to be sending data to China. Stealing technology and ignoring intellectual property rights constitutes a major portion of China’s great economic progress. So what writer, either remarkably ignorant of geopolitics, or on the Chinese payroll writes this “knife world” version of CCP propaganda? If you are American, support American made. Or at least made in Japan or Taiwan, both U.S. allies. Not made in an adversarial dictatorship that is working against us. Every industry in the U.S., is now waking up to this reality,. It’s about time the Knife world stops “praising China” and working against America.

    • Good point on avoiding Chinese made products. I would also like to add that you should seek out European made knives as well.

  25. You make the following statement in your otherwise rather good article.
    “Prior to the 1970s, pretty much all knives were made in the United States or Europe. ” Perhaps if you changed that to “Prior to the 1970s, pretty much all knives MARKETED IN THE U.S. were made in the United States or Europe. ” it would make more sense. Take Japan for example. Their history of high quality blade making is one of the richest and most well known in the world. And as you might guess, the Japanese first learned about metallurgy and blade making from China! My point is that along with all the junk, there has long been a healthy industry of extremely high quality knife makers in many countries that are not located in the U.S. or Europe. Japan is just one example. I happen to live and work in Japan and I would love to own a few more high quality Japanese knives but the truth is, I can’t afford them so I happily settle for the likes of Bark River Knives, primarily because they are so affordable! I can get them for around $200 and something of similar quality made here in Japan would cost more than twice as much! Oh by the way, I do have a few $20 and $30 Chinese knives ordered over the internet just out of curiosity, and will gladly agree… you get what you pay for.

    • Tim

      December 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      That’s an excellent point, and I changed that sentence to better clarify the point. I didn’t mean to ignore the robust history of knives made around the world long before the United States even became a factor!

  26. I bought a frost cutlery peanut mostly to see what kind of quality you can get for less than ten bucks. I assumed it would be junk, but I was very surprised at how well made and pretty the knife is. I showed it to a friend in work and he thought it was an old American knife from back in the day. Fact is I have several Rough Rider peanuts that I also bought just to see the quality. They’re all pretty nice, especially for the pittance they cost. I have a Kutmaster, and a Colonial peanut, and (don’t hate me) all these Chinese knives are just as nice or better. They’re not as good as my Case, but for the ridiculously low price, they’re not THAT much worse.

  27. Lol well said

  28. Look at Ganzo’s line of D2 steel blades. They can be found everywhere for under 30$ (like the Ganzo Firebird FH11-BK). You can put the quality of this against US companies like Benchmade and I think you will be surprised with the results.

  29. I buy American when possible, but there are foreign made knives that are good quality which I will not hesitate to buy if it’s something I want to use. I have some knives made in China which are excellent quality. Not cheap neither.

  30. Tim great read/article, thank you! My name is Matt Cucchiara I have been making custom knives for just under 20 years now! About ten years ago I sat down with people from a new Chinese knife company already mentioned. Kizer knives after seeing some of their work a women I got to know there asked me to help with improving their quality to help make their knives function better and also what materials they should use. At that time my first priority was to explain to them that that had to stop making copies of US knife makers designs without permission and reimbursement. Next thing I know I’m meeting with the top engineers from Kizer breaking down some of my hand made custom knives explaining to them how and why to do certain things in their builds to make a truly first class production knife with premium materials! They listened next thing I know I’m on board with them as a designer and quality control tech. Here is some of the difference between a Kizer and most other Chinese knife companies they were passionate to make quality product! They buy a lot of their quality materials from the US and other companies around the world like some of the harder to get G10 materials like my favorite green goo G10 more commonly known as translucent green G10 or sometimes G11 and also our great us blade steels made by crucible mostly the CPM SERIES OF THE BEST QUALITY POWDERED METAL TECHNOLOGIES. THEN I TALKED THEM INTO TRYING SOME OF THE NEWER cobalt alloys which I really like in my personal EDC knives. Like M390 etc… so to sum up what makes Kizer different than the cheap knock off companies first and foremost they put me on contract and pay me for my knife designs and ideas! No more stealing US knife makers designs! They truly make quality products from premium materials sourced and bought from the US material manufacturers as well as other manufacturers at the head of their game around the world! Like the cobalt alloy blade steels! They let me have full final approval of quality of all my models they make as well as other knives they make, they encouraged me to bring in my knife maker friends like Ray Laconico and pay them for their designs! I’m very proud of my work with a Kizer and all they have done to make some truly top quality production knives and supporting US designers and material manufacturers! while also making their own improvements like using incredible black ceramic pivot bearings that will never rust or corrode like some of the stainless steel bearings do. These have proved to be more durable than I ever thought a ceramic bearing could be in a hard use properly built folding knife!

    • That’s how I feel,in 8 months I built my collection from 4 to close to 50 knives ,all types sizes and various countries ,yes I love to buy American,but when I can buy an excellent Chinese knife for a quarter of an American made similar knife I do,CRKT,Schrade,and many American makers have knives made in China,plus if you don’t mind buying copies , Chinese make amazing copies of very expensive American automatic and folders,I have several microtech copies ,all under $50 that if made here are $250 to $800 which I can’t afford for one knife and imo they have better quality control than several big American knife companies,only had one bad Chinese and they promptly sent a replacement without me paying to return it ,but I’ve returned at least 6 American made knives due to shit quality control issues ranging from dull blades to finish chipping off

    • Thank you Matt for sharing your story,good to hear some Chinese companies are starting to pay for designs and other things,I’d gladly pay more for my Chinese made copies if they wouid pay the American companies royalties ,I’d feel better ,the American companies would make more and I’d still be able to afford my microtech copies

  31. I could think of a couple of real quality Chinese made knives, how about the company brothers, Kaiser And the number one known Knife is Roughrider, oh yeah and buck. A lot of these all American made companies that had a move to China just not to go under, I don’t go by where the knife was made I go by the quality of the knife itself. Take care everybody and beBlessed

  32. I prefer German made knifes, but lacking that I will buy an American made over a Chinese made anytime no matter the price. I bought a buck not to long ago just for my everyday carry and my very great dispointment when I found made in China stamped on it. If they are so proud of them they should but it on the package were one can see before you buy.

  33. Just read your debate 🙂 I guess that discussions are going in a wrong direction. The question was if we can expect a good quality knife from China, right? Most probably – yes. But we shouldn’t forget that this knife is an American or European one by origin. Chinese copy the design and, if they are pushed, use quality materials. So we are talking about quality made replica but people tend to neglect this fact. Suddenly everyone looks surprised and satisfied with Chinese made stuff. But in matter of fact Chinese just steal the idea, design and material selection. OR, it is an American or European company that utilizes cheap labor force over there. It is foreigners that keep track on production and quality control. The only thing so far I’ve seen coming purely from China is COVID-19.

  34. forget about china products and care more about how biden is going to let a bunch of immigrants from other countries here that will turn the usa into one of the poorest x-super powers in the world. they are lining up at the border already.

  35. China is one of the worst countries in the world you should buy as little as possible from them

    • Im American n this country is goin down the shithole too. We may not be Communist, but were heading that way. Our freedom is supposed to let us buy a fucking knife from wherever we choose. Its not about the knife or the country. Its about the steel and the heat treat, period. Watch Forged in Fire. They take 1095 n 15n20 and beat the shit out it n if its done right. Not a scratch, roll, chip or even any dulling. They hit bone, nails, armour n even split bullets. Quality can come from anywhere but at what cost to the consumers

  36. My question is actually the opposite: Why are some of the high-end knives made in China so expensive and even more expensive than many US made knives. For example, why can see that WE or Reate, similar to ZT, uses the same 20CV and titanium or carbon fiber for their knives but charge higher prices for their knives than ZT. Further labor cost in China is still lower than in the US. If the quality of these Chinese knives is no higher than US made knives, what justifies their higher prices?

    • Yes, you pay as much or more for some Chinese knives than Benchmade and Spyderco charge. But the quality control is evident in Chinese knives such as Kizer, Reate, WE and Civvi. Two Sun knives are cheaply priced so far but quality is pretty amazing. I’ve seen Benchmades with the blade a hair from scraping the liner when closed, I have one totally missing a screw for the clip -was never there, the hole was pristine. Best bet for Spyderco is for the knife to come from Taiwan, then Japan, and Italy is not bad at all. Only thing missing from Chinese knives these days are esoteric steels like Maxamet, Cru-Wear and the like and I’m sure that won’t last. So, lets see, I can get a Spyderco with a plastic (FRN) handle or a Kizer or Alliance Designs with a well crafted titanium handle with the blade end of the liner lock hardened. I have many Benchmade blades, Spyderco’s, Cold Steel (Taiwan), SOG (China), etc, all the popular Chinese brands, and steels from AEB-L and A2 to ZDP-189. If I’m going to spend my money, I want superior quality from now on. And at the very least I will still be supporting an American designer (often) and all the knife purveyors. Nothing I can do about where the country has taken itself…

  37. Thx, and oh ‘fer sure, just go on any knife forum, and the very mention of ‘China’ receives the usual snotty comments about ‘cheap chinese crap’… even if a lotta that ‘cheap crap’ is how many of ’em were able to ‘afford’ getting into ‘knife collecting’ in the first place. And truth be told, those relatively ‘disposable’, though still very serviceable cheapos often end up ‘IRL’ as many folks’ primary EDC… while instead the $nooty ‘Premium Blades’ usually just become another expensive Display Queen to add to their ‘collection’. ;-p

    And not hard to see, when the steel on even the cheapest knives these days is usually the same durable 400 series martensitic stainless that’s been used in manufacturing cutlery and razor blades, ever since it was first invented over 100 years ago.

  38. I have a Kershaw 3650 knife (made in China) that will not hold an edge, When hunting and skinning a deer, I get about 2/3 of the deer skinned and then have to get another knife to finish and debone the deer with. I liked the knife to start with because of the assisted opening and lots of time I only have one hand to open it with, but since the blade won’t hold an edge (the blade was replaced by Kershaw because of this, and the new blade won’t hold an edge either) it is pretty useless.

  39. Fuck both made in China and made in USA. Gimme Italian or Taiwan made knives. Italy and Taiwan put both China and USA to shame in knife making.

  40. If a knife made in China is junk, it’s because the American company that oversees the manufacturing is going cheap, also known as American greed. China can make anything as well or better than Americans and has all the resources that Americans have, so it’s up to the company to give specs to Chinese manufacturers to make a quality product. Blame the American companies, not the Chinese for the junk we buy. For all you who only buy American cars just because they are American, read up on the percentage of Asian parts make up a domestic vehicle. Today, more than half of domestic vehicles are considered foreign by the DOT and insurance commission because of the percentage of foreign parts.

  41. I’m not impressed by anything from China. End of story.

  42. I have a knife that from what I hear is a Chinese brand. It’s a petrified fish knife. I have to say, it’s by far the best and most durable folding knife I’ve owned in a long time, maybe ever. And for $40 it was a great deal. It’s easily as good as some $120 or so knives. It’s made of AUS-8 steel, which isn’t the greatest steel, but is actually much better than most cheap stainless steels like 420. It has a black G10 handle with some kind of awesome ‘sure grip’ texturing, ball bearings for smooth opening, little knobby things on both sides to open them one-handed with either hand, and my favorite is the stainless steel screws and stainless steel liner that’s under the G10. Makes the knife a little heavier, but it’s a solid fuckin knife. I’m highly impressed, and it was sharp enough to shave hair on my thigh. Really bad ass knife, Chinese or not. But I agree, I usually try to only support local business. Unfortunately, with blades I look for quality. So while that knife’s from China, I also have hand forged blades from all over; Australia, Pakistan, Italy, and the U.S. Ones a really awesome fixed blade EDC from Indiana made from 80crv2 and micarta, my favorite knife ever owned. But the one from China is my favorite folding knife. Yes, they can make good knives when they’re not trying to rip us off.


    October 4, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    The Bundeswehr has some of their knives made in China for the German Army. When you pay Boker $170 for a knife made in German and the exact same one in every way made in China and pa only $20, gee, someone smartened up. The Germans send them the steel and they make the knives. I love my US made Ontario knives (big knives) but my Cold Steel Taiwanese SEAL bull pup knives are just as awesome. I have some pretty cool Hibben knives made in China too. You can’t tell the difference between Italian switchblades and Chinese made ones, the quality is just the same. Pretty much most knives are made in China including the Official Rambo knives. I will stick with my Swiss made Swiss Army pocket knife though!

  44. Fuck you all. Knife Depot gonna tell you anything to get your money. Bunch of dummies.

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