I’ve written many times over the last several years that we are in the golden age of knife making. These days you can get a knife for under $50 from several good manufacturers that will outperform almost anything that grandpa could get for the inflation-adjusted amount. It’s simply the result of free markets, increasing technology, and the natural drive of people to improve. While we write about many quite expensive knives in these pages, we also give equal time to their less expensive counterparts because that’s what many people actually buy and use. For my own part, even though I have my pick of knives, the two or three knives that I usually use (unless I’m testing one) both on and off duty, are under-$100 models. Not because they are the very “best” knives for my purposes (however you care to define “best”), but because I like them, they are comfortable for me to use, and their performance is more than good enough for the task at hand.
It’s long been my contention that one of the best values on the market, and certainly an under-appreciated one, is the Byrd line of Chinese-made knives from Spyderco. Many of these knives have a list price of $25 to $50; their quality is high, and the quality-to-dollar value is even higher. After all, the Chinese can buy the same materials and CNC machines that anyone can, it’s just that their cost of manufacture is less—and we are the beneficiaries. Here’s a look at six new Byrd models.