Top 5 Sub-$100 Knives with S30V or S35VN Steel

CPM-S30V and CPM-S35VN stainless steels were developed by Crucible Industries, an American company that produces specialty steels. They worked with famous knife makers like Chris Reeve to create new steels specifically to be used for knives. First came the well-balanced S30V with its amazing edge retention and high corrosion resistance. Then S35VN came along and upped the ante in regards to toughness and its ability to be polished. Some may argue that S30V has lost its super steel status because it has become so prevalent in the EDC knife world. At KnifeCenter, we still hold high regard for S30V and S35VN steel – their Particle Metallurgy construction adds additional toughness thanks to the very refined grain structure, and the vanadium in their composition helps these knives cut better than those that rely on a higher chromium count. In layman’s terms: these knives cut, and cut very well.

If you’re thinking, “yeah, that’s great and all, but I can’t really afford a knife with such high quality steel”, we agree – these steels come at a price. There are plenty of mid-tech knives out there sporting S35VN steel that can easily cost you four-hundred bucks. We understand the importance of having top-notch steel, though, so we’ve pulled together our top five sub-$100 knives with S30V or S35VN steel. Now you can enjoy a premium EDC knife without losing a big chunk of your paycheck.

 

Cold Steel 58PS Code 4 Spear Point Folding Knife

 

 

Cold Steel’s Code 4 folder utilizes their world-renowned Tri-Ad lock, which was designed by Andrew Demko to be one of the strongest knife locking mechanisms on the planet. Why S35VN over S30V? Cold Steel is a known purveyor of some of the toughest knives out there, and S30V does have a reputation for micro-bevel chipping during tough use. S35VN’s elemental composition improves that aspect of the steel, so it’s a better option if you’re looking to do some more serious cutting work. Also, this knife perfectly shows off S35VN’s ability to be polished compared to S30V – just look at that high satin shine. This knife gives you all the cutting power of high quality steel in a lightweight package that perfectly complements any EDC.

 

 

Buck 347 Vantage Pro Large Folding Knife

 

 

In our opinion, the Vantage is one of the best affordable everyday carry knives on the market. From the molded nylon/CNC-contoured G10 handles to the dual steel liners, this American-made folder’s built to be a knife that you actually use every day – EDC isn’t just a title with this one. Joe Talmadge, a master of blade geometry, claims the S30V steel you’ll find on this knife might be the ultimate in high-end stainless steels thanks to its superior performance and sharpenability compared to other super steels in its class.

 

 

Kizer Cutlery Sliver Folding Knife

 

 

The Kizer Sliver’s sleek design is complemented by the high end materials – S35VN steel and uniquely worked aluminum handles. This knife is precision machined and engineered to the finest tolerances. While the S35VN steel is the cherry on top of this cake, it’s the orange handle that sets this knife apart. The overall shape gives off serious trapper knife vibes, and we are into it.

 

 

White River Knives Backpacker Fixed Blade

 

 

White River Knives doesn’t get the recognition that it should. In our experience, all we’ve seen from this knife company are truly great products. In fact, this is one of our favorite skeletonized neck knives on the production market. White River rounded the finger cut out so perfectly on the Backpacker that ‘comfortable’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. S30V steel is perfect for skinning knives and neck knives because its bailiwick is precision cutting. The Kydex sheath allows you to wear the knife on your belt in two ways, or around your neck if you attach a lanyard.

 

 

Spyderco Native 5 Folding Knife

 

 

 

To round out the list, we’ve got one of Spyderco’s greatest knife designs of all time paired with S30V steel. In some knives, it’s obvious certain materials are the reason for the price – be it premium steel or Micarta scales. With the Native 5, you’re getting an all-around great knife. Compared to the standard Delica or Endura’s VG-10 steel, the S30V is a pretty big upgrade. Many say this is Spyderco’s best pocket knife option on the market, and we have to agree – this knife easily rivals the performance of knives double its value.

 

There you have it – KnifeCenter’s top 5 sub-$100 knives with S30V or S35VN steel. There are other options out there, but we honestly feel that these knives provide some of the best bang for your buck. Now that these super steels are becoming much more common in the EDC knife market, prices are just going to become more and more accessible to a wider range of people. In our opinion, that’s the best way to run the knife game – because everyone should have steel in their pocket. Why not make it some of the best?

 

Geminis, Dukes, and V3s – Oh, My!

Kizer Cutlery has made a name for themselves by being one of the first Chinese manufacturers to offer high-end knives with quality materials at a competitive price. Check out our review of the Gemini folder, the Dukes flipper, and the V3 – these collaborations with custom knife makers are swoon-worthy.

 

 

Which one of these knives will you be adding to your EDC rotation? Let us know your favorites by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and tagging us – we want to know your thoughts!

Kizer Cutlery Matt Cucchiara Flashbang and Dorado

Kizer Cutlery Matt Cucchiara Flashbang and DoradoKizer collaborated with custom knifemaker Matt Cucchiara to bring you the Flashbang and Dorado folders. Every surface and every edge on each handle is contoured for comfort, and gives these knives an exceptional look and feel. The pocket clip is machined titanium to complement the sleek style of these knives. Overall, these are superb knives. They truly capture the design style and quality of Cucchiara Knives, and are great values for the money. See them at www.knifecenter.com.

Kizer Cutlery Ki412A3 Folder

Kizer Cutlery Ki412A3 Folder

The Kizer Ki412A3 is one unique looking knife that really has superior design characteristics. With this knife Kizer continues to show there irreplaceable craftsmanship which as been developed at an awesome price. Not only is the handle beautiful to look at, it fits in your hand perfectly and is made from high quality Titanium. If you’re looking for an every day carry knife with style and is also tough enough for any job you need it for, look no feather then the Ki412A3 folder or really any Kizer for that matter. Don’t let the stigma of ‘Made in China’ deter you, Kizer has among the best manufacturing quality and materials across their entire line as really any large name brand I can think of. Check out this new folder at www.knifecenter.com.

Kizer Cutlery Ki4423 Frame Lock

Kizer Cutlery Ki4423 Frame Lock

The design on the handle of the Kizer Ki4423 is a work of art…literally. The designer (Kim Ning) incorporated two important Ancient Chinese Symbols: “Ling Zi (Pheasant Tail)” and “Hui ZhuanLun (Gyroscopewheel)” inspired by a treasured Chinese sword. It has probably the smoothest opening action of any knife I’ve ever seen, probably because it is made entirely by hand. The fit, finish, buttery smooth action, razor sharpness, and materials are exactly what you look for in a knife twice this price. The new 4423 from Kizer is a knife you must handle to appreciate just how nice it really is, check it out at www.knifecenter.com.