Knowing how to compromise between cost and quality is the hallmark of good decision making. If you are on this page, that means you like to plan your purchases carefully. You want a high-quality sword without too much investment. So let’s find the best katana under $500.
We sorted through the most recommended, tested, battle-ready, affordable katanas. We looked through specifications, we compared features and measured quality. Even asked users what they think about their purchased swords.
After an exhaustive campaign of gathering all the information we could find, here is our choice for the top-rated samurai sword, under $500 dollar.
Top Pick – Best Katana Under 500 Dollars
How did we pick our best 5 katanas? When forced to choose between two evils, people always pick the lesser one. But when faced with two good options, it is extremely difficult to make up your mind. And I bet you feel the same way whenever you go shopping for an important or expensive product. There is the saying:
The difficulty of life is choice.
But we spared you the trouble and made the decision process much easier. Here is our top pick for you:
After a lot of research, reading, asking people around, and comparing specs and reviews, I think that is the best and most affordable samurai sword that will fit your budget.
The steel is super tough, it stays sharp. The blade has been tested and subjected to a lot of cutting and stress. I want to make sure your first decision is informed and assured. That is why I’ve had this blade under high scrutiny.
Aside from the steel, we made certain that the fittings are tight and of good quality. They should hold tight even after prolonged usage. I will be reviewing fittings separately, in another post, so that you can buy the best replacements.
Table of Comparison – Features and Quality
Here is a list of top battle-ready katanas, the best ones we could find, at an affordable price. This table will show you all the features, characteristics, and specs for each of them. This way, you can compare the best swords and select the one that you suits your needs.
Features – Select Your Steel
Without a shred of doubt, the most important feature of a blade is the type of steel. This is the first thing we look at. What kind of material is the sword made of? Was it enhanced with heat treatment and tempering? This information tells us:
- How durable the blade is?
- How resistant against impact and shock is it? Will it break, shatter or chip easily?
- How does it fare against scratches and abrasions?
- Will it bend and deform irreparably when you hit something strong?
- Will it rust or stain?
- Is it shiny and reflective? Does it show that beautiful wavy pattern (hamon – caused by differential hardening)?
- Does it have a clean cut? Is it a good weapon for slashing?
- How sharp is the edge? How long will it remain sharp, even after weeks/months of practice?
- Can you sharpen it easily? And how often do you need to re-sharpen your sword?
Our first criteria for selecting the best katana under 500 dollars is – steel strength. That is why we focused primarily on spring steel and bainite L6 steel / T10 swords. These are the toughest alloys for making modern blades. I also recommend carbon steel because it is a good trade-off between cutting power and elegant design, with qualitative fittings.
1. Musashi Hand Forged T10 Carbon Steel Blade
Price for Value
When I saw a hand-forged, T10 industrial steel katana at this price – I could not believe my eyes. This is very durable steel for high-stress, heavy-duty tool making.
What I love about this blade is its simplicity. Just an elegant and functional sword … no coating or paint, no unnecessary alterations, just RAW cutting power!
- Blade steel: T10 tool steel
- Handle material: Hardwood, ray-skin
- Sheath material: Blackwood, cotton wrap.
- Length total: 40 inches (101.6 cm)
Steel strength. This blade is very durable and super strong. As I said before, industrial steel is the best choice for heavy-duty tools. I really would like to get in contact with Musashi (the company) and ask them how did they heat-treat and temper this blade.
Sharpness. The edge is not razor-sharp, so don’t expect to pass the paper cutting test. But don’t take my remark literally, the blade can effortlessly slice through standard targets like bamboo, plastic bottles, and branches. It is a sharp weapon, despite ranking moderately in terms of katana sharpness!
Fittings. Most cheap swords use plastic for the menuki, but this katana has authentic ray-skin, which is impressive. The menuki is the aesthetic covering glued over the raw handle piece, for those of you who don’t know yet. Then the wrapping is tied over the menuki. Speaking of wrapping, it comes in two flavors: black and brown cotton.
One thing I don’t like about this katana is its low curvature. I prefer a slightly more curved blade, with a deeper “sori“. This is just a preference of mine.
Amazon has more relevant user reviews and feature specs, so check out the latest price on this link.
2. Lyuesword Handmade Katana Full Tang 9260
Price for Value
This highly resilient blade scores points in sharpness, durability, and even appearance. The 9260 spring-steel accounts for a lot of that magic!
While this katana is not the lightest version, it should not slow you down by much! A moderately trained individual should have no problem with handling and control.
- Blade Material: 9260 Spring Steel
- Saya Material: Hard Wood
- Handle Material: Hard Wood & Ray Skin
- Sori (curve): 1.8 cm
- Overall Length: 40.5 inch / 104 cm
- Blade Length: 27.8 inch / 70.5 cm
- Handle Length: 10.6 inch / 27 cm
Blade. Spring steel grants extra-flexibility and elasticity to the sword. Impact is absorbed more effectively! Since it is high-carbon steel, that means it won’t blunt easily. Spring-steel also gives it that bright, metallic shine.
The blade is super-bendy, you can warp it 45 degrees, and it will go back without breaking. It has a single groove (a “bo-hi”) on each side. I don’t really mind it since it doesn’t add to the functionality. It does look great though, even though some may say it weakens the blade because it removes thickness and mass.
Blade geometry is “unokubi-zukuri“. That means the blade width decreases slightly as we move towards the tip. It tapers out. This makes for a more efficient cutter it improves the balance of the sword. But it leaves the tip more vulnerable to chipping (since it is thinner). Don’t hit hard objects with the upper portion of the blade, I guess!
Weighting at 1.2 – 1.3 kg, I think it is a bit heavy for a katana. But at least it’s well balanced because of the blade geometry.
I would not be recommending this sword unless it was full-tang so that you can safely practice, cut and train. Be very careful though, it is extremely sharp.
Handle. I would say the dimensions are standard: 11 inches (27 cm) handle with a 41 inch (71 cm) blade. Even though I am 6 ft 1, it is a good measure for someone of my height.
Having ray-skin and silk wrapping is certainly an eyebrow-raising surprise for me. These usually indicate high-quality fittings.
Another thing I like is that it comes in different colors. So, you can customize your saya, sageo, tsuba. You may even have it custom ingrained.
Some people have complained that the delivery takes too long. Bear in mind, Lyuesword is a Chinese company. I personally don’t mind waiting for a good sword, even though I can be a compulsive buyer.
To check out the latest Amazon price, and see what interesting questions some buyers laid down click here.
3. Golden San-Chi-Tang Katana 9260
Features and Specs:
- Blade Material: 9260 Spring Steel
- Saya Material: Hard Wood
- Handle Material: Ray Skin & Hard Wood
- Tsuba Material: Copper
- Overall Length: 40.6 inch / 103 cm
- Blade Length: 29.1 inch / 74 cm
- Handle Length: 10.2 inch / 26 cm
- Weight: 2.12 lbs / 0.96 kg
This blade is both an amazing decorative piece, and a functional, battle-ready, full-tang sword. The gold finishing is what got my attention, and then I realized that it’s actually spring-steel. But the nice part is you can leave it on display for years without worry – the gold coating acts as a protective layer, so you won’t need to periodically oil and clean the katana.
Golden katanas are my favorites since I am a visual buyer. I can’t say that it differs much from the other samurai swords models in terms of size, proportions or even materials.
It just has that extra visual appeal, if you are into that sort of thing, like me. Here is the latest price on Amazon.
The recent years have been a blessing and a curse for survival enthusiasts, and katana collectors alike. Companies are rushing like mad to produce a better blade at a lower price, but too many options leave buyers adrift, paralyzed in option-overload.
I realize that personal choice should be done on subjective criteria, but when it comes to tools and swords, performance should be your main focus. With that in mind, we created this katana review guide, to help you choose the best samurai sword under 500 dollars. Sincerely hope this helped!