Buying Your First Butterfly Knife: The Best Beginner Balisongs and Trainers at KnifeCenter.com

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Published at : 20 Nov 2020
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If you are looking for the best beginner balisong or butterfly knife, we have options that will help you learn to flip the right way. You can see see them all here: https://kcoti.com/34rU2gV

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Balisongs, more commonly referred to as butterfly knives have been widely popular for some time now, and it is easy to see the appeal. They have their roots in the Filipino martial arts, but nowadays most people use them to perform tricks. You can see folks showing off their skills in movies and all over the internet. You’ve probably even seen our Photographer, Graham, a time or two in our videos.

Thing is, it can be an intimidating hobby to get into. Not only can the tricks be difficult to master, but you also have to decide which butterfly knife to buy to get started. Experienced flippers have a lot of strong opinions on what is good or not, and sometimes it can be hard to sort through.


The first pick is the budget option. For those of you who what to see if the Bali world is right for you but you don’t want to make a big investment right away, we carry a range of options from Bear and Son.

These aren’t going to flip like a high-end knife, but there is simply no better way to get started without emptying your wallet. They come in a lot of different handle and blade combinations, here we have our KnifeCenter Exclusive Copper vein handled version with a tanto blade.

The biggest drawback of these knives is that they don’t quite have the adjustability that some of the more pricey butterfly knives on the market. The pivots are pinned and the tolerances out of the box can be a little tight. They do take a little breaking in before they smooth out, but once they do, these are great for learning the fundamentals and to see if it is something you want to keep pursuing.


Speaking of trainers there is no shortage of those on the market either that mimic their live bladed counterparts. But there are also options if you want a trainer with a little bit of added utility. Boker Magnum especially has produced some cool offerings that actually flip decently, including this bali comb, bali forks and spoons, and it wouldn’t be a proper list if we didn’t have something with a bottle opener...

The pivots on these tools are even adjustable. Not only are they a great way to learn the tricks, but they are also a nice conversation starter at parties.

Another great trainer that has become a fast favorite here at the Knife Center is the ArtisanCutlery Kinetic-Tool. In addition to multi-tool elements, including a bottle opener, this balisong has an added feature that we’ve never seen before, and that is a spring-loaded, automatic “blade”. Even more than the previous bali-tools, this one will really be a hit at your next gathering.

The auto function doesn’t interfere with the flipping action, which is actually pretty good. It’s single action allows it to spring open or closed depending on your handle position, and you’ve got the hex wrenches, screwdriver/pry bar, ruler, and cap lifter to make it useful beyond the trainer aspect.

So what if you are looking for something a little bit nicer? Something that is relatively affordable, but that you aren’t going to grow out of as you improve on your skills? For that, we have the Bradley Kimura.

You’re getting solid features that typically cost more, such as adjustable pivots riding on bronze washers. You also get a set of colored G10 scales that are removable so if you prefer to have more traction in the hand or slimmer profile you can modify it to fit your preferences. The blade is a graceful spear point made from 154CM steel which means it actually has performance potential with capable edge retention.

We have found these Kimuras to be excellent butterfly knives for the price and it’s perfect for beginners or the novice looking to take the next step, or even more advanced flippers looking for a good extra practice option. It has all the key features that a good balisong needs and it won’t make you cry when you open your wallet.

Sometimes though, you don’t want to make excuses and want to step right up to a higher end knife, one that experienced flippers respect and that won’t let you down. We think the Benchmade 51 Morpho is perfect as it has top-notch construction, precise fit and finish, and smooth action.

Benchmade’s legacy is directly tied to butterfly knives, they were the first knives the company ever produced, and they make some of the best production balis we’ve seen. The 51 is on this list because it sits in a really nice sweet spot as the most affordable Benchmade balisong, and is built so well that it really could be the only balisong you’ll ever need.
KnifeCenterKnifeCenter.comBest Butterfly Knife

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