Best budget knives, small and large. My picks.

I have now bought most of the knives from the big names in Chinese budget knives and feel its time to update my picks for the best ones. By Chinese budget I mean the names like Ganzo, Navy, Enlan/Bee, SRM and Inron. There are many Chinese made knives but I’m focusing on the mentioned brands only.

Chinese knives seem divided fairly easily into small and large. Either you have knives the size of a SRM 710 ( or smaller) or you have larger knives like the Enlan EL-01. For some reason there are relatively few knives in the mid-range between these sizes. It seems most knives are either slightly too small to fill my hand or slightly too large to carry. It’s kind of like the Delica/Endura problem. Delica is just a bit too small to really feel like you have a hold of it and Endura is a bit too long and feels slightly ungainly.

I was going to pick one winner in each category but I decided to pick my top three since many of the reasons I like a particular knife are personal and others may dislike them for the same reasons. Hopefully with choosing three models, someone who is new to these budget knives at least has a good place to start and has better odds of getting a good one that is well designed and well made and they like.

Small knife category:

1. Sanrenmu 707 G-10 Price paid, $9.00 on EBay

This may be a bit of a shock to everyone who expected to see knives like the SRM 710 or 763 but I stand behind my choice. The 707 (in G-10 only) is a very lightweight and special knife. It has nested liners, recurve blade, and feels bigger than it is which is a very good thing in a knife this small.

It has it’s flaws like all knives. It’s tip down carry only, I prefer tip up. It will be hard to sharpen with the recurve blade. Blade isn’t perfectly centered and a few other things. What it has going for it makes up for all the flaws. It’s a big little knife in a very lightweight package. When heavier knives stay at home, this knife will be taken out. It’s the Delica of budget knives.

2. Enlan EM-01. Price paid, ~$7.50 shipped Fasttech

It’s entirely too well made and nicely finished to be a $7-8 dollar knife. They could double the price and even people in the budget world would still consider it a good deal. It’s a better made and nicer knife than the SRM 707 G-10.

The blade is perfect, good for any and all tasks. The clip is strong and well finished. The tip up carry is a plus. The g-10 looks expensive and feels good. The liners don’t have any burrs or flaws.

The cons are that the handle does not really fill your hand like it could. The clip is not low ride by any means. A lot of the knife sticks up past the clip and not only is this a concern for people who don’t like their knife to show but it is sticks out so much it may be a retention problem. I could see this knife working out of the pocket a bit and then falling out under the right conditions. It probably won’t happen but it is more likely to happen than knife that sits deeply in the pocket like SRM 763.

3. SRM 710. Price paid ~ $7 shipped from Exduct.

This knife needs little introduction. I like it because the lockup is solid, the fit and finish are superb and design is neutral enough to be good for most tasks. This was my first Chinese budget knife and it has proven to be a good user.

The cons are the smooth metal handle, not great for wet or slippery hands. The heavy weight is a problem. In a knife this small, it shouldn’t weigh this much. The tip down carry is a small con. I simply prefer tip up but need to mention it as it is a con in the way I look at knives.

Large knives:

1. Enlan EL-01 with Wave mod. Price paid $15 Exduct

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the EL01 camp. At first I hated it. But have grown to love it. This is one big beefy knife and too large to EDC for most people. I hate flippers, I think they are gimmicky. They take fine motor control and concentration to open with 100% reliabilty.

As this knife comes from the factory it would not make my top three. After the Wave mod has been preformed, there is no real competitor. I hate to pick a knife as a winner that needs to modded right out of the box but it so far ahead of the rest of the pack once modded that I had to do it. With the Wave, this knife is lightning fast and more reliable to open. It simply makes the knife.

2. Sanrenmu 913p. Price paid $13 Exduct

This knife was sold for $36.95 at Greatwall. The reason it is my #2 pick is because you can still buy it for $15.98 from Exduct which is an outstanding deal. Bottom line, it a QUALITY knife! There is nothing budget about this one. It feels like it was manufactured to sell at a higher price than most of the budget knives we are used to.

The sheepsfoot blade and half serrated blade make this knife a true workhorse. If someone needs a knife for work and don’t mind a little bulk and weight, this is a great choice for $16. I don’t think anything compares to it for the price. It’s not particularly fast or unique. It’s kind of boring and old school but it works and is built solid.

3. Ganzo 714. Price paid ~$14 Fasttech

I normally don’t go in for Tanto blades or tactical style knives but this one is actually usable as an EDC. It is not chisel ground and has a longer more pointy tip than most Tantos. The blade is relatively long and thin and is actually hollow ground which is not common for a Tanto.

It’s tip up with a basic pocket clip. Nothing fancy, it just does the job. No bizarre screws or shapes. If you break the clip, there are prob a dozen other knives that use the same one. I like that. I think it may work on the Spyderco Endura, it looks the same.

The handle is so comfortable that it makes you wonder why it is so hard to find comfortable knives. It simple and neutral and works in all grips. The entire package is slim and lightweight and is easy to carry. I can carry this one when I can’t or won’t carry the other large knives I own due to size/weight issues. This knife carries like a medium sized knife. I love that!

Honorable mentions. Here are some good ones that deserve at least a mention.

Enlan 723
Navy K-631
Navy K-607
Ganzo 710

Thanks for sharing .

My favorite is also the Enlan EL01 with the Wave mod .

I also think anyone would be happy with a Bee L05-1 , a Sanrenmu 763 ( I prefer the G10 scales ) , or the Sanrenmu H03 .

I wonder that nobody like the enlan el08. Really i think it is the beast of ALL budget chinese knives about strength.

Size and weight are probably the marks against the EL-08. It is a strong solid knife though.

The size is not very different to an enlan el01, that it is very popular. But yes, the el08 is the more expensive chinese knife perhaps.

Enlan EL04 G10:

Enlan EL06:

Enlan EL01D:

Enlan M025:

Leen 1203-2:

Enlan M027:

I’m going to say favourite because best is so situation sensitive. I was going to limit it to three but it was just too difficult, I’ve limited it to knives I actually own (apart from three of the Enlan EL-01’s and one of those is ordered), Oh and that Boker Baron, couldn’t see the point just for a tin.
The quality of Chinese knives is better than it was a couple of years ago and getting better all the time.
The value for money is truly amazing.





Any of these plus EL-01D





Any of the 710/7010 series, they’re one of the best Chinese made knives.

Any of the 763’s the aluminium scaled version (above), the black G-10 (GB-763) scaled or the khaki G-10 (GA-763) scaled versions, they all share probably the best Chinese version of the Axis lock.



Or a Boker Baron, same knife re-branded plus a tin for more money.
Boker re-badge several Enlans and SanRenMu knives as part of the “budget” Magnum series, for true budget knives of course you can buy the originals from China.





Some Slipjoints for us in the U.K. to carry where not prohibited.



And lastly one that I’m really pleased with and my current EDC.-

Now the enlan L-01 which I gave to a friend the Enlan L-05 which I really like the weight and size combination the Ganzo G12 a.clone of the discontinued Benchmade Bedlam I find heavy and not useful for EDC I bought this one as a skinner just I case a hapless deer crosses in front of me and my honest favorite knife for the moment is the SRM 913P it just fits so nice ,you can really bear down on the blade and you know it can handle it and keep control of its tip ,it has left or right hand deep carry clip .I was showing it to a friend today and he thought it fugly until he handled it and he fell in love with it.It fits great in the pocket with no sharp edges and has enough of both serrated and straight edge blade to be useful. Just my .02$ and I am still really new to this.

Mine seems green to me :wink:

Lousy pic. I’ll change it.

EDIT……Changed pic in post…………….New pic courtesy of FastTech :wink:

8steve88 you like almost all your chinese knives :smiley: . I like almost all my quality chinese knives too :bigsmile:
Each one have something that it does special. I try to buy always knives that have one thing different to the rest of my collection (handle, geometry blade, lock system…).

I’m trying for a set of Enlan EL-01’s I’ve got the EL-01B all black plain edge in the post, that’ll only leave a couple. I’ve been buying lots of SanRenMu’s recently or I’d have had the set by now, I’ve got two EL-O1D’s one still in the box after phosphor bronze washers installed and one as my about the house user, the thing with the washers is they just keep getting smoother as they bed in easy opening with just the flipper, no wrist flicks, the khaki one was like that from the box even before the clean out and lube.

I’m getting into the SanRenMu 7010 series, I missed out on the first run 710’s, didn’t know what I was missing. and FastTech has just started stocking a couple of new types of SanRenMu’s the new 7063, like a 763 but without the Axis lock and the Sanrenmu 7046LTE’s as well as the slightly unusual scaled Sanrenmu 7034LUC-PK.

Each type has something to offer, it might be a full flat grind on the blade or a smooth Axis lock from the box, the design of the scales, the design of the knife. The L0 series of Enlan/Bee’s rather than the EL-0 are so different from the EL-0’s more non knife person friendly, less tactical.

I’m also buying quite a few slipjoints for my EDC, I really rate the last one I got, the Omuda 3922, a real gem and larger than I thought it would be with easy opening but with definite steps - open, half way and closed even the fake blue carbon fibre looks good.

The only knife that I’ve been less than pleased with is the Enlan L04GN, it looks great with the green Pakkawood scales and full flat grind blade but the flipper is a bad design, the geometry is all wrong and the detent just that bit too soft so it doesn’t flip as it should and then there’s the internal stop pin a good idea on large folders but in the L04GN it’s so close to the pivot that smaller washers have been used and there’s no room for larger phosphor-bronze washers, good looker though.

My new recommendation for a large folder is the Ganzo G716. It’s quite impressive.