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Counterfeit Knives: How do you spot them?

Unfortunately we get a number of people coming to us asking for advice on counterfeits, knives more so than other products. Why? Because knives are a lucrative business, they are also cheaper to replicate than other products such as mobiles and headphones. Some of these knives too are really convincing to the eye, looking almost identical to the real thing. Clever sellers of these counterfeits also sell these knives for not too much less than RRP (so they seem a genuine bargain), but the knives are costing just a fraction of that.

With all that in mind, here are a few helpful tips as to what exactly counterfeiting is and how to avoid the fakes.

What is counterfeiting?

Counterfeiting is the deliberate use of a false trademark that is identical with or substantially indistinguishable from a registered trademark. It is theft! (Stealing Intellectual Property is also a crime). Counterfeiting steals the identity of trademark owners and robs consumers of a number of things, including comfort, reliability and their personal safety. Trademark counterfeiting is often thought of as a victimless crime and that no great harm can be caused by the sale or purchase of fake products. That is wrong!

Why shouldn’t I buy counterfeit products?

Counterfeit goods put public safety and your own health at risk. By their very nature, fake goods are produced very cheaply and are not subject to the rigorous testing procedures that reputable manufacturers are required to carry out on their products. This means products can be made from harmful materials, or they could simple shatter under use (we’ve heard some horror stories about fake knives as you can probably imagine). It’s not worth the risk for the sake of a few pounds!

You’re also helping the trader to break the law and many fraudsters use the proceeds from selling counterfeit goods to fund drug dealing or other types of organised crime (pretty serious stuff). The final reason is that buying fake goods contributes to job losses because genuine manufacturers are unable to match prices charged by rogue traders. You’re also depriving the genuine manufacturers of any profit. No profit means no more new knives or less new knives.

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How to avoid the fakers

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

If you see a knife or tool that’s being sold at a ridiculously cheap price that you know you’ve seen on other websites for say £150 more then you are not being stupid by asking the question. You are being practically and likely saving yourself from a fake. Don’t be sucked in by cheap prices and convince yourself that you’re getting a deal. By simply going to a vendor’s website, you can find out the list price of their knives and sometimes also a list of authorised vendors. These simple steps will help save you from the fakers.

Avoid vendors without established credibility

By from a site you know or have heard of. If you are new to knife buying then simply read a forum or look at reviews of the company. If you don’t know the company or suspect something dodgy, don’t be afraid to ask about the company. This goes for individual sellers to, check feedback and ratings of them. This isn’t always full proof but it’s a good start, and likely you’ll be able to eliminate some possibilities!

Which brands are affected?

Almost every highly-recognisable knife brand has counterfeit versions made in Asia, which is why it’s crucial that you’re cautious when buying. Companies like Cold Steel, CRKT, Gerber, Fallkniven and Boker are all copied and sold. No company is immune from the counterfeits so don’t presume otherwise!


Look and Feel

Some of these fakes out there are pretty darn convincing, and it’s not always easy to tell. How can you help yourself if you aren’t sure? Look on the manufacturers website or a website of a known authorised dealer. These will give you and idea of what the real ones look like. If you’re still not sure, give them a call and ask. You’ll lost a lot more than just the time of a phone call if you end up buying a fake!

If you can’t do that though for any reason, you’ll want to examine the knife up close, most likely under a microscope.  Weigh and measure the knife to make sure its dimensions match up with the specifications the manufacturer lists. Check the engravings and logos are all correct. Take your time checking!

Buy a knife, not a story

One of the telltale signs that a knife seller might be trying to pull the wool over your eyes is if they attempt to make up grand stories about who has used knife or where it comes from. Stories aren’t facts. Find the facts, if they match up and you’ve done all the other checks, then you should be fine!

Ask questions

Asking questions is not only a great way of avoiding fakes once, but it’s a good way of you learning how to completely avoid them. Knowledge is power!!


What should I do if I find a website/dealer selling fakes?

It’s all well and good us telling you how to avoid them but if we don’t stop them then they will catch someone else out.

Many of the major knife companies have counterfeit pages on their websites which give you more information on what do if you spot fakes specifically involving them. You should also contact Citizens Advice or Trading Standards and notify them. See below all a load of links that you will hopefully find useful and relevant for reporting fakers or learning more about how to avoid them!


UK Based information and reporting websites


3 thoughts on “Counterfeit Knives: How do you spot them?

  1. Marc - 12:49 pm 24/08/15

    This is always a tricky question, especially regards how to spot a fake as there are different things to look out for with each knife you consider. A good example is to look at the Spyderco Vallotten, a very commonly counterfeited knife, especially at the moment. The dead giveaway on that one (aside from the too cheap to be true mentioned above) is that a true Vallotten will never have a liner in the lanyard hole. Other differences are easy to spot when you have the real and fake side by side but that is not always going to be possible so the only alternative is to do a lot of research.

    Firstly, find out what the genuine model costs, go to the manufacturer’s shop and look at the RRP.

    Second, find out if the knife you are thinking of buying is or has been one of the targets of the fakers.

    Third, look at as many pictures of genuine models against known fakes as you can, Google’s image search really comes into it’s own here.

    Finally, get on the forums or Facebook groups, there are a lot of people out there who will be only too happy to help you out and ensure that you don’t get duped into buying something that later turns out to be a wrong ‘un.

  2. Anthony - 3:00 pm 24/08/15

    Buying from a reputable company (if as in many cases you can not buy direct from the related company check to see who they supply instead , often a brief list is given) is really the only way to be sure,

    well either that or nuking them from orbit….

  3. howard - 3:31 pm 24/08/15

    Some fakes are really, really hard to tell by pictures alone. The key is knowing every detail of the genuine knife – if it has jimping, how many notches are there? What colour are the pins? Are there any unique characteristics such as the lamination line on the spine of Fallkniven’s, or the way that the Spyderco logo is engraved differently in each different factory location. Know what the real one looks like in intimate detail and you should be safe.

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