5 Prime Beef Folders on a Ground Beef Budget

You want a new knife, an awesome new knife, but can’t spend a lot of money. Who hasn’t experienced that feeling? When you need to scratch the knife buying itch but don’t have a lot of scratch, it’s time to start looking at some budget blades.

So we asked Anthony Sculimbrene of Everyday Commentary and the Gear Geeks Live podcast to pick out 5 folders under $50 that punch well above their price tag. Sculimbrene is outspoken, opinionated, and has his ear to the ground. He has reviewed over 200 knives, from $10 curios to $600 customs. With that experience, his candor, and a track record of getting it right, Sculimbrene has become a trusted advisor to gear buyers of all stripes. An advocate for good design and value in knives, Everyday Commentary proves that just because you don’t want to spend a lot of money, doesn’t mean you can’t get a great knife.


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Here, in no particular order, are Sculimbrene’s choices for the best blades you can buy for under $50.

CRKT Drifter
The Drifter won Everyday Commentary’s Budget Blade Shootout back in 2013, and still remains at the top of the pile. “King of the Budget Blades and probably the best knife you can get for under $30,” says Sculimbrene. The Drifter’s decent steel and fluid deployment help it stand out from the pack. It is available with either a frame lock or a liner lock, and it has a bigger brother, the aptly-named Large Drifter, if you prefer bigger blades.

Kershaw Skyline
It has gone up a little in price over the years since its release, but Sculimbrene reckons that the Skyline is a classic design, no matter the price. “The steel is really good for the money, the single liner design is genius, and the flipping action is super good.” The Skyline is a US-made, no-compromise folder with a budget knife price tag.

A.G. Russell Medium Barlow
The A.G. Russell Medium Barlow might look like a traditional Barlow knife, but it features some awesome modern flourishes: the modern stainless steel and “hidden” one handed deployment (in the form of a deep French cut nail mark) make it stand out from your standard Case or Queen knives. The fit and finish is excellent, too. “It’s overseas made, but it is quite fantastic,”Sculimbrene says.

Spyderco Cat
The Cat isn’t the most popular budget knife from Spyderco, but maybe it should be. Compared to the Tenacious it has better steel, a forward finger choil, a deep-carry wire clip, and better fit and finish. The price is a few dollars more, but for the discerning Spyderco fan on a budget, the Cat is where it’s at: “I don’t know why people still gravitate to the Tenacious when this is on the market,” Sculimbrene told us.

Sanrenmu 605
If you’re really strapped for cash, the Sanrenmu 605 is “the best way for a knife knut to spend $10.” This little blade gives you a full four-finger grip, and a smooth deployment with a very high fidget factor once it’s broken in. The steel is decent, and the polished finish keeps rust at bay. Price aside, if you like to travel light the diminutive 605 is a winner.


Knife featured in image: Kershaw Skyline

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