As discusses on the main Kershaw page, Kershaw is known for excellent quality as a reasonable price, with most of their knives being made either in the United States or in Japan. The Junkyard Dog II (JYD II), the Skyline, Shallot, Leek, and a number of other models are at or lower in price than knives by the other top tactical makers, such as Benchmade and Spyderco. However, most of these knives are still a bit expensive for those who like knives, but have very little money to invest in them.
Kershaw has introduced a line of very decent quality at a low price, with a selection for almost anyone! The knives are made in China, which allows the price to be almost unbelievably low. Frankly, I hate to support Chinese-made products, but sometimes you have no choice. The Kershaw Nerve, Volt II, Tremor, OSO Sweet, and Clash are just an example of available models that are available between $20-30 on average. All models use the same basic 8CR13MOV stainless steel as is available in Spyderco’s value line (Resilience, Tenacious, etc). 8CR13MOV is easy to sharpen and holds an edge reasonably well, although not with the same edgeholding capacity as the newer stainless steels. On the other hand, the price is much cheaper than it would have to be if one of the supersteels were used. The primary problem with 8CR13MOV is that its rust-resistance is not that high, especially with the beadblasted finish that Kershaw puts on, allowing it to rust easier than some other stainless steels. Still, it is a fine choice for a cheaper knife that will be used well and with a little care and some oil can resist rust quite well.
If you like big folders, the Kershaw Tremor is an excellent choice. Blade length is 3.75″ and has a slight recurve and aggressive tip. Although not quite as large as the Spyderco Resilience, the Tremor is in the same class and the Kershaw Tremor is slightly cheaper. The blade shape is a little too recurved ideally for me, but still works well. It is a little large for some jurisdictions, but if you like large but inexpensive folders and can legally carry them, the Tremor is an excellent option. Of all the new value models, the Tremor is probably the best if you like and can carry slight larger folders.
Kershaw Nerve & Volt II
For slightly smaller models, but still large enough to be full-size folders, the Volt II
and the Nerve
are great choices! They won’t quite endure the abuse that the Tremor
might take, but will still make solid edc and work knives. The Nerve has a 3 1/8″ rather oddly shaped drop point-style blade. It has a thumb plate rather than thumb studs, which some people like and some just can’t get accustomed to using. (Edit: I have since used owned a Nerve and love it! See my review
.) The Volt II is a economy version of the Kershaw Volt, which has been discontinued and is quite expensive. It comes with a narrower 3 1/8″ blade, and uses a flipper and assisted opening instead of thumbstuds.
If you need to carry a knife with a blade of 3″ or under, consider the Clash
. It is not a tiny knife, but has a 3″ blade if you are limited to that length. It is one of the more popular knives in this cheaper line, and is a favorite folder for a lot of people.