It’s one thing to have extensive experience with different types of knives. Working with knives is common if you do any type of work in the kitchen or outdoors. What is less common is working with swords. Swords are primarily a combat tool, so they have less everyday function. Knowledge of swords is rare and rarer still is knowledge and experience with Japanese swords, such as the katana. Perhaps you are in the market for one such sword, but you have no idea what to look for because no one you know has that type of expert level sword knowledge.
That’s why we’re here. We have worked with every make and model of bladed tool imaginable for years, putting different tools and weapons to the tests of labor and time in order to find the best ones available. We know swords just as well as we know axes and folding knives. It could take you years and hundreds or thousands of dollars wasted to find the right katana for you. We offer our knowledge and experience so that it could take you minutes and only a couple hundred well-invested dollars instead.
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How to find the best Katana;
Historically, the katana emerged out of the Edo period in Japan when swordsmiths began making longer blades that were heavier and more curved than previous sword designs. The traditional katana blade length is approximately 28 inches with only one cutting edge which faces outward. The sword is traditionally sheathed with this cutting edge outwards so that samurai can unsheath and strike in one fluid motion.
Katana are large swords with long, curved blades; they have a lot of power which means that they need to be designed well. The handle needs to balance the sword so that it can be held and displayed well. Traditionally, for combat, the blade needed to be wide enough to allow a double-handed hold, because the weight, shape and power in the katan necessitate that type of grip. While there is no sword without a blade, there is no point to a blade without the proper handle to hold it.
Full Tang Construction
This may seem like a no-brainer if you have any type of knife or sword experience: who would design a massive, powerful sword and only give it a partial tang? You’d be surprised. Some katana recreations we’ve found online have a blade welded onto a rod situated within the handle. For full power and authenticity, a katana should have not only a tang but a full tang; otherwise the force exerted on the blade could cause it to wear, bend or snap over time.
Our top Katana picks
The scabbard and handle are made from a lovely light-colored, finished wood giving it a light, eye-popping appearance for display. The blade is made from carbon steel which is generally preferred for a katana. The balance on this sword is beautiful and the power it wields is incredible. The blade is strong and resilient and holds its sharpness very well.
We particularly love this product because your purchase includes cleaning and sharpening accessories to help you maintain its pristine quality without having to make an additional purchase. We particularly appreciate considerate manufacturers who are more interested in giving you the best product as well as the best chance at maintaining the quality of that product without expecting you to spend more money than absolutely necessary. The Handmade Sword katana is our number one pick!
One of the main distinctions for this product is the aesthetic, with this model foregoing simplicity for sleek decor that may be more appealing to some. It is important to remember that a sword, especially one that is often proudly and displayed, is a personal choice. If you prefer one sword aesthetically over another, even though it isn’t our number one pick, just know you can’t go wrong with any product on this list!
This sword is sharp, with a full tang and wide handle. The grip on the handle isn’t our favorite because of the wrapped leather style; but, some will prefer it to the wood of the previous model.It is a well crafted sword overall, though it could have been sharper upon arrival; sharpening was easy enough, however, with the right tools. Additionally, the scabbard offered a snug fit that made un-sheathing and re-sheathing slightly more difficult than is ideal.
Overall, it is an excellent sword at a price you really can’t beat.
The siwode Golden Dragon Katana is just such a product. This well-crafted sword would be an excellent choice for your sword collection even if it weren’t also so affordably priced. It’s got a full-tang, a very wide handle that is quite easy to grip with two hands and which is fairly ergonomic as well.
The aesthetic is sleek and eye-catching, making it a particularly great choice for displaying. It also comes sharper than sharp with a sturdy, resilient blade, meaning it is not a “display only” product. The sword has a lovely weight and is still well-balanced; honestly, it’s hard to believe you can find a sword this quality at such a low price.
The handle is a good size, comfortably fitting tow hands, but the corded wrap wasn’t as comfortable or easy to grip as we would like. The off-white cotton cording looks well with the white scabbard for a bright display. The blade was slightly shorter than we like to see in a katana, but not so much to disqualify it from this list.
The pommel (known as a kashira in Japanese swords) didn’t seem as sturdy as we’d like to see in this type of product. Overall, it’s a good katana at a good price, there were just other products we preferred!
While this isn’t our favorite katana option, the Damascus blade gives it a unique aesthetic that made it stand out against its competitors. Coupled with the black and red of the handle and scabbard, this katana has a particularly cool aesthetic. It arrived fairly sharp, though it could be sharper.
The scabbard, though striking in appearance, is quite snug, making un-sheathing and re-sheathing more difficult than we would like. Overall, it stood up to use fairly well, retaining sharpness and showing minimal wear and tear. It is also a great item for displaying. It wasn’t our top pick but that doesn’t mean it can’t be yours.
The katana style sword is an iconic addition to any sword collection, whether for function or display. We used our years of knife and sword experience to research and test the katana models available and choose the ones we believe are the absolute best! We hope only to make the decision-making process less overwhelming. There are so many products out there, it’s impossible to know where to begin, let alone be sure you’re making the best choice. We’ve chosen our favorites but ultimately, the sword that speaks to you should be the one you choose. Only you can know exactly what you want and need from your katana. Some people prefer darker aesthetics with more intricate designs, some prefer certain materials in the handle, and still others may be deciding mainly based on price. All of the products in this list are excellent katana options and you won’t go wrong choosing one of them.
Our favorite was the Wakizashi Shirasaya Katana from Handmade Sword. This beautiful product has everything we’re looking for in a katana. The curve in the blade is beautiful, the craftsmanship is impeccable, and the overall aesthetic is simple yet striking. It arrived sharper than sharp and retained that sharpness very well. To top it all off, it arrives with a surprise addition of cleaning and sharpening tools, ensuring that your product will remain in tip top shape for as long as possible. This is the product we most recommend for your katana investment!
The Samurai Katana from Handmade Sword is another excellent option for your katana investment. It’s not our favorite, hence why it is second on the list; but, it is nonetheless a high quality product. This is a particularly sleek product with an aesthetic that many will prefer. We weren’t as fond of the wrapped leather handle, but that could be just what you’re looking for. It has everything you need in a good katana and is available at a reasonable price. If this feels like the right sword for you, we’re here to tell you to trust your gut; you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Finally, the siwode Golden Dragon Katana may be our choice for the katana buyer on a budget, but that does not mean that this is a subpar product. This is a sturdy sword with a sharp full-tang blade and ergonomic handle. Yet again, this may have just the aesthetic you are looking for, as well, making it an excellent choice for a display piece. This would be one of our top choices even if it weren’t so affordably priced. You are getting a top quality product for an extremely affordable price.
We stand by any and all of these swords. We have our favorites, the ones that satisfy the most of our particular requirements in a katana; but, that doesn’t mean that have to be your favorite. These are top quality products and whichever one speaks to you will be a fantastic investment!