Best Butterfly (Balisong) Knife 2017
My name is Chad and I hope you benefit from reading my butterfly knife guide. My goal is to help you find the best butterfly (balisong) knife for you. Whether you’re looking for a balisong under $50, your first trainer (it can be scary owning your first “real one”), or a high-end blade priced over $250, I’ve got you covered.
Before we move forward, it’s important to address the most important topic: Legality. You may or may not be aware, but the butterfly (Balisong) knife is illegal or restricted in many Countries and/or States around the world. With regards to the United States, some States make it completely illegal to buy the knife; others make it legal to own but illegal to carry concealed. For more information, I recommend checking out this Wikipedia page, as well as this Reddit thread.
Another important thing to note is that Amazon does not sell “real” butterfly knives. By real, I mean a blade that can cut you. Because you can perform so many cool tricks with a butterfly knife, it’s recommended to start off with a trainer model. The trainer models use a dull blade (not truly a knife) so you don’t cut yourself.
How To Select A Butterfly Knife
If you’ve been researching into butterfly knives then you the prices vary greatly. You’re probably asking something like: Is a $200 knife better than $50 or $100 model? The answer is yes (for the most part), however, not all higher priced balisongs are created equal. There are some $75-$100 options and some rather poor $200+ choices — and I’m here to help you make the best choice possible.
Check out the comparison chart below. It outlines all my favorite butterfly knives (including some great trainers) and puts a $ score next to each one. If you’re buying your first butterfly knife I highly recommend starting off with a training knife (you don’t want to cut yourself!).
Mobile Users: For optimal viewing, tilt your phone to landscape (wide-view) to see the entire table.
Benchmade 63 Stainless Steel (my top pick)
Bear OPS Bear-Song IV (best value pick)
Note: If you’re looking for a trainer and have no interest in spending more than $30 on one (in some cases they are priced much higher than that) then I recommend getting one off Amazon.com.
Most of them won’t be amazing, however, you can definitely still learn the basics before you graduate to a top end balisong blade. Trust me, you’ll be glad you went with a trainer model first.
Balisong Training Knives (Amazon)
Balisong Knife Reviews
Benchmade Model 63 Butterfly Knife
Starting the late 1970’s, Balisong U.S.A. began manufacturing butterfly knives but, later changed their name to the Pacific Cutlery in the early 1980’s before finally evolving into Benchmade U.S.A. Also, their early knives had a broad range of custom knife designs. They also had numerous types of handle scales such as mother-of-pearl ivory, scrimshawed ivory, prehistoric ivory, ebony, and exotic hardwoods. Thus, these early Benchmade Balisong knives are now highly valued collector’s items.
However, Benchmade does still manufacture a small selection of butterfly knives which is partially represented by their model 62, model 63, and model 67 family. Featuring an overall length of 9.20 inches with a Tanto style clip point blade that measures 4.25 inches made from D2 semi-stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 60 to 62 and a plain edge with a flat grind and a stain finish, the Model 63 is based on Benchmade’s ever-so-popular vintage model 42 Balisong knife.
Also, although the Model 63 features a Bowie Style Clip point blade design, other models in the 60 series are available with your choice of a Weehawken, Tanto, or blunt Trainer blade design. Also, the handles are made using sandwich construction rather than channel construction and thus, each handle is made from two separate pieces of machined stainless steel and is available with your choice of either a polished silver or matte gray finish. Last, because Butterfly Knives do not feature a pocket clip, the Benchmade model 67 is supplied with a nylon belt sheath.
However, no matter how well constructed a knife may be, it is only as good as its blade and, a knife blade is only as good as the steel from which it is made. Thus, the Benchmade model 63 has a blade made from D2 which is technically an industrial high carbon tool steel. But with a composition of 0.5% Carbon, 12% Chromium, 1% Molybdenum, and 1% Vanadium, it nearly qualifies as stainless steel (requires 12.5 percent Chromium content). However, with the only added minerals being Carbon, Molybdenum, and Vanadium, the performance of D2 nearly rivals that of CPM S30V! Thus, not only will it take an exceptionally fine edge, but it will also hold it extremely well.
So, if you are in the market for a very high-quality butterfly knife to add to your collection or for everyday carry, then the Benchmade Model 67 is an excellent choice due to its solid stainless steel construction and D2 blade steel. Plus, every Benchmade knife is not only manually checked at every stage of manufacture to make certain that it is within Benchmade’s tolerances, each knife is assembled by hand by a highly experienced Benchmade bladesmith to make certain that it meets Benchmade’s standard for quality knife construction. Thus, owning a Benchmade knife tells the world that you will not accept a compromise when it comes to the quality of your everyday carry knife!
Benchmade Model 67
Featuring an overall length of 9.20 inches with an unusual Tanto style clip point blade that measures 4.25 inches made from D2 semi-stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 60 to 62 and a stain finish with a plain edge and a hollow grind for superior sharpness, the model 67 is based on Benchmade’s ever-so-popular vintage model 42 Balisong knife. Also, although the model 67 features an unusual Tanto blade design, other models in the 60 series are available with your choice of a Weehawk, Bowie, or blunt Trainer blade design.
In addition, the handles are made using sandwich construction rather than channel construction and thus, each handle is machined from two pieces of machined stainless steel and is available with your choice of either a polished silver or matte gray finish. Last, because Butterfly Knives do not feature a pocket clip, the Benchmade model 67 is supplied with a nylon belt sheath.
However, no matter how well constructed a knife may be, it is only as good as its blade and, a knife blade is only as good as the steel from which it is made. Thus, the Benchmade model 63 has a blade made from D2 which is technically an industrial high carbon tool steel. But with a composition of 0.5% Carbon, 12% Chromium, 1% Molybdenum, and 1% Vanadium, it nearly qualifies as a stainless steel (requires 12.5 percent Chromium content). However, with the only added minerals being Carbon, Molybdenum, and Vanadium, the performance of D2 nearly rivals that of CPM S30V! Thus, not only will it take a exceptionally fine edge, it will also hold it extremely well.
So, if you are a person who appreciates the level of craftsmanship that it requires to produce a very high quality butterfly knife, then the Benchmade model 67 would be an excellent choice due to its solid stainless steel handles and D2 blade steel. Plus, every Benchmade knife is not only manually checked at every stage of manufacture to make certain that it is within Benchmade’s tolerances, each knife is assembled by hand by a highly experienced Benchmade bladesmith to make certain that it meets Benchmade’s standard for quality knife construction.
Thus, when you purchase a Benchmade butterfly knife, you are making a statement that says you will only accept the best quality knife that you can buy!
Bear Ops Bear Song IV
Bear & Son has a division called Bear Ops which focuses entirely on producing high-quality tactical knives. Also, each Bear Ops knife is manufactured entirely in-house rather than being assembled from subcontracted parts, and thus, it is a genuine American product. Thus, each Bear Ops knife receives the same level of craftsmanship that Bear & Son knives receive with each knife being hand assembled and finished by a qualified bladesmith.
The Bear Ops Bear Song IV is a high-quality butterfly knife that features an overall length of 9.75 inches with a 4.375-inch clip point blade. It is made from Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel metal with a Rockwell Hardness of 58 to 60 and a plain edge with a hollow grind for superior sharpness and a matte black Titanium finish.
Also, it also features sandwich construction handles with both handles being contracted from machined aluminum with a natural finish combined with stainless steel bushings and a bidirectional latch. Plus, the blade pivots on phosphorus bronze washers with numerous bearing surfaces for extra smooth opening and is held in place by dual tang pins that bear against the inside edge of the handles.
Because the working end of any knife is the blade and, a knife’s blade is only as good as the steel from which it is made, the Bear Ops Bear Song IV features a blade made from Sandvik 14C28N. It is a relatively new Swedish blade steel that contains 0.62 percent Carbon, 0.60 percent Manganese, and 14.0 percent Chromium, and trace amounts of other minerals such as Silicon, Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Nitrogen. Thus, it is very corrosion resistant and has a very fine grain structure which enables it to take and hold a very fine edge.
Thus, between the proprietary new Swedish blade steel and the machined aluminum handles combined with dual tang pins, the Bear Ops Bear Song IV is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a well-designed butterfly knife made from high-quality materials to add to their collection.
Bear Ops Bear Song 500
Each knife that Bear Ops manufacturers receives the same level of craftsmanship that Bear & Son knives receive with each knife being hand assembled and finished by a qualified bladesmith. T
The Bear Ops Bear Song 500 is a high-quality butterfly knife that features an overall length of 9.75 inches with a 4.375 inch. It’s single edged, spear point blade made from 1095 high carbon tool steel (non-stainless). It comes with a Rockwell Hardness of 58 to 60 and a plain edge with a double bevel grind for superior strength.
In addition, it also features sandwich handle construction with both handles being constructed from machined, T6, aircraft grade, aluminum with a matte black finish to match the blade combined with stainless steel spacers and a bidirectional latch. Plus, the blade pivots on phosphorus bronze washers with many bearing surfaces for extra smooth opening and is held in place by dual tang pins that bear against the handles.
However, because the blade is the end of the knife that does all of the work, the Bear Ops Bear Song 500’s blade is made from SAE 1095 high carbon tool steel. It’s a common blade steel that contains 0.90 to 1.03 percent Carbon, 0.30 to 0.50 percent Manganese. Although it has no Chromium or Nickel content to help resist corrosion, the lack of Chromium in the steel prevents the formation of Chromium Carbides during forging and thus, it is has a very fine gain structure which enables it to take and hold a very fine edge while also remaining extremely tough. It is often chosen for military and tactical knives that are expected to see hard use. However, it does require either a corrosion resistant coating or significant care from the user to prevent corrosion.
Thus, between the super tough blade steel and the aircraft grade, machined aluminum, handles combined with dual tang pins on the blade, the Bear Ops Bear Song 500 is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a well-designed butterfly knife made from high-quality materials for everyday carry or tactical use.
Remington Damascus Tanto Butterfly Knife
A truly beautiful line of fully functional butterfly knives, the entire Remington line is a reflection of Remington’s design expertise and Bear & Son’s manufacturing excellence. However, the Remington Damascus Tanto Butterfly knife is an exceptionally pretty knife that is also perfect for everyday carry.
It features an overall length of 8 7/8 inches with a 3 3/8 inch Americanized Tanto clip point blade made from multi-layer, SAE 1095 Damascus steel. The Remington Damascus Tanto Butterfly knife is very pretty yet, highly functional, butterfly knife. Also, it also features skeletonized handles to help reduce the overall weight made from machined aluminum using the channel contraction method with a matte black, Zinc, coating and a bi-directional handle latch.
But, what is fascinating about this knife is the steel from which the blade is made. Damascus steel is a laminated steel made by combining both low carbon (soft) and high carbon (hard) steels using the process of folding and forging the steel over and over until it consists of multiple layers of each type of steel.
Thus, by combining the two types of steel, the bladesmith takes advantage of the toughness of low carbon steel and the edge holding ability of high carbon steel to create a blade steel that displays the best properties of both types of steel. Thus, Damascus steel is very tough but, it’s also capable of taking a fine edge and holding it extremely well.
However, Damascus steel can be made from either a high carbon tool steel or a high carbon stainless steel. The blade of the Remington Damascus Tanto is made from Damascus 1095 high carbon tool steel consists of 0.90 to 1.03 percent Carbon and 0.30 to 0.50 percent Manganese. Therefore, because it lacks Chromium, it is not stainless steel.
Remington Drop Point
Featuring Remington design and Bear & Son’s bladesmithing experience, the entire Remington line represents a commitment to manufacturing excellence. Thus, it is no surprise that the Remington Drop Point butterfly knife is both a particularly pretty knife and, is also very functional.
It features an overall length of 9 inches with a 4-inch drop point blade made from SAE 1095, high carbon, tool steel. The Remington Drop Point butterfly knife is an excellent choice for a single handed opening everyday carry knife. Also, it also features skeletonized handles to help reduce the overall weight made from machined aluminum using the channel construction method with a matte black, Zinc, coating and a bi-directional handle latch.
However, because the blade is the most important part of a knife, Remington chose to use 1095 high carbon tool steel for the blade of their drop point butterfly knife which consists of 0.90 to 1.03 percent Carbon and 0.30 to 0.50 percent Manganese. Thus, because it lacks Chromium, it is not stainless steel. But, due to the lack of Chromium in the steel, it does not form Chromium Carbide crystals during forging and thus, it has a very fine grain structure that makes it both very tough and yet, also able to take a very fine edge and hold it extremely well. However, it does require either some care from the user or, a corrosion resistant coating to keep it corrosion fee.
Bear & Son 114B
As the name implies, Bear & Son Cutlery is a family owned business that was founded in 1991 in Jacksonville, Alabama with the stated mission of manufacturing the “best knives made in the USA.” Therefore, all Bear & Son knives are made in house rather than being assembled from disparate parts subcontracted to other manufacturers.
They perform all of the operations needed to build their knives in-house from constructing their blanking dies, to heat treating the blades, to finish grinding and polishing, to hand assembling each knife by a professional bladesmith. Thus, Bear & Son can provide their customers with high-quality knives that feature superior American craftsmanship.
However, because the Bear & Son line of butterfly knives is focused on everyday carry knives rather than tactical folders, their knives are more modestly priced than the Bear Ops line. But, they still feature the same in-house manufacture and construction from high-quality materials and American craftsmanship as the Bear Ops line.
The Bear & Son Model 114B butterfly knife features an overall length of 9 inches with a very four inches. It also has a Bowie style clip point blade made from 440A stainless steel with an unknown Rockwell Hardness (probably 55 to 57). Also, it has a plain edge with a hollow grind for superior sharpness, and a satin finish combined with a single, blade tang, stop pin. Also, it also features channel construction handles made from die cast aluminum with cutouts to help reduce the overall weight and a matte black, epoxy powder coat plus a bi-directional handle latch.
However, because a knife’s blade is the part that does all of the work and thus, it is only as good as the steel from which it is made, the blade of the Bear & Son Model 114B is made from 440A stainless steel. While 4400A is not quite as good a blade steel as 440C due to its slightly lower Carbon content, it is a better steel than 420J2 due to 420J2’s much lower Carbon content, its somewhat lower Chromium content, and its complete lack of Molybdenum. Consisting of 0.65 to 0.75% Carbon, 1.0% Manganese, 16% – 18% Chromium, and 0.75% Molybdenum, 440A is nearly as tough as 440C and holds an edge almost as well while doing just as good a job of resisting corrosion. Therefore, it is an excellent choice of blade steels for mid-priced butterfly knives intended for everyday carry and self-defense.
So, if you have a need for a modestly priced everyday carry knife that you can easily open with a single hand, then the Bear & Son Model 114B butterfly knife would be a good choice due to its 440A stainless steel blade and its die cast aluminum handles.
While not quite as glamorous as the Bear Ops line, the Bear & Son line of butterfly knives is nonetheless a line of well-made knives sold at a modest price. It provides the user with a much better quality knife than the cheaply made butterfly knives you so often see for sale in convenience stores and flea markets. Thus, they are a solid choice for either a working knife or for self-defense use.
Honorable Mention – Benchmade 51BK
Using a Benchmade product right off the bat is a good way to start any knife list. This is one of the premier brands in the business, and Benchmade products have earned their reputation for quality, great appearance, and performance. Of course, when you have a brand that has such a great reputation, you also get the price tag that comes along with that name. That is a steep price for most buyers, but it is one that many are willing to pay due to the quality of these products.
Looking at the comments of previous buyers who have been willing to pay that price, you will be hard-pressed to find much in the way of a complaint. Users comment on how this knife is extremely fast, it is lightweight, and it is sharp upon arrival. As as added nice touch that has been appreciated by owners, this knife comes with a drawstring carry pouch supplied by Benchmade. If you are in the market for a new balisong and only the best will do, this version is certainly a strong contender.
What Are Balisong Knives?
The Balisong, also known as a butterfly knife, is a unique style of folding knife. When folded up, the blade of a balisong will be concealed between the two handles, often resting within grooves. To deploy the blade, the knife user will have to use a rotating motion that swings the blades out of the handles and into place. This makes for a dramatic look, and it also can take some practice in order to learn how to deploy the blade correctly. As is the case with switchblades, balisongs are also illegal in some regions, so be sure to check the laws carefully in your area before you order or carry a balisong knife.
Quality is of the utmost importance when you are thinking about placing an order for a balisong. Of course, you want to find quality anytime you are going to purchase a knife, but it is of particular importance in this case because of the moving parts which are included. Products with moving parts have more than can ‘go wrong’ over time, so starting out with a good knife made from quality components will give you a better chance of having that knife hold up as the years go by. If you start out with a cheap balisong, it is likely that the knife will break down at some point.
When planning to purchase your first-ever balisong, it might be a good idea also to look at a balisong trainer. While this is a separate category from the knives themselves, they can help to get you over the learning curve safely. A trainer is designed in the same manner as an actual balisong, but it has just a rounded ‘blade’ with no edge in place of an actual knife blade. That means that you shouldn’t hurt yourself if you make a mistake while learning how to deploy the knife. Trainers are readily available on the market today, so picking one up along with your actual knife is something to consider.
Owning a balisong knife can make a nice addition to your existing knife collection – or it is a great way to get a collection started. As mentioned above, before shopping you will want to make sure that this type of knife is legal for possession and/or carry in your area. Hopefully, through the use of our list above, you will be able to settle on the right balisong for your needs quickly and easily. We appreciate your time spent reviewing these knife options, and happy shopping!
Other Knife Guides
- Boker Models
- Keychain Styles
- Neck Knives
- Boot Knives
- Combat Category
- OTF Types
- Buck 110
- Skinning Kinds