So you wanna be like a samurai. What would a true samurai be without his sword, right? And it’s not just any sword. A samurai needs a quality blade with a unique design to qualify to be part of the highly-ranked army. But hey, you might think that it’s easy finding a good one but, as you’ve undoubtedly found out by now, there’s a certain lack when it comes to top-quality samurai swords that are affordable to the general public.
A search might seem frustrating because you just might end up getting a toy instead of a real sword. Fortunately for you, we love all things samurai and would gladly go through all that trouble to find battle-ready samurai swords that are easy on the pocket. After hours of slicing and dicing, we finally found 8 best samurai swords for you to choose from.
Top 8 Samurai Swords Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Ace Martial Arts Supply Handmade Japanese Shirasaya Samurai Katana Sharp Sword-MushaSamurai Sword Under $100
This is a battle-ready katana is made out of 1045 high carbon steel with a full-tang blade. It’s a simple katana, lacking the traditional ornate design. The tsuba is not present and the saya is just wood. For some, it has an attractive simplicity. Plus it performs really well when you’re practicing iaido or your katas. The wood is lacquered but seems to scratch easily. You do get a cotton bag for the entire sword which protects the wood. The katana is lightweight, well-balanced, and sharp out of the box (not razor-sharp, mind you).
The Hamon (blade pattern), however, is probably fake at this price. If you’re buying this for display purposes, that part is fine. However, if you plan to abuse this sword, then this will definitely wear off which lessens the blade’s aesthetic appeal.
- Perfectly balanced
- Great value for money
- 1045 high carbon steel (not the best material)
- Fake Hamon
- Wood is easily scratched
2. Ten Ryu Captain Nathan Algren Samurai Sword with Silk-Wrapped HandleSamurai Sword For The Money
This might be a replica samurai sword of Captain Nathan Algren in the movie “The Last Samurai” but it is by no means “fake.” This sword is hand-forged out of 1060 high carbon steel. The blade is 28 inches long and 7mm thick. This is a full tang tachi (which preceded the katana but quite similar). The silk-wrapped tsuka is 10.5 inches long which should fit most individuals. It also features a tri-polished mirror finish and engraved with Japanese horimono. There is no rattle/wiggle when you use it. It is well balanced and the grip is excellent. It comes out of the box sharp and can be sharpened even further to become razor sharp.
The tsuba (guard) and the saya (sheath) seem to be of less quality compared to the blade.
- 1060 steel
- Full tang blade
- Excellent grip
- Quality of the sheath and guard feel cheap
- The hamon (blade pattern) looks a bit fake
3. Snake Eye Tactical Two Tone Dragon Design 3-Piece Samurai Katana SetBest 3 Piece Samurai Sword Set
Are you looking for the best 3-piece Samurai sword set? One of the best features of the Snake Eye 3-piece set is the handy hardwood scabbard. It is not just tough but also highly durable. It comes with a two-tone dragon design finish, which is beautiful enough even you a Samurai. Since the sword isn’t sharpened, it is the perfect gift for kids who wish to learn more about the Samurai culture.
It is a complete set of three swords measuring 21 inches, 31 inches, and 40 inches. Even though they are meant for display, all of the sword blades are made from high-quality stainless steel. So as to make it easy for you to display them, the swords come with a free sword stand. It is great for people with dreams to have the true Samurai swords but can’t have them just yet.
- The set contains three swords
- A beautiful two-tone dragon
- Made from high-quality stainless steel
- Not sharpened
- Only meant for display
- The wooden scabbard is easy to scratch
4. Vulcan Gear Classic Handmade Sharp Japanese Katana Samurai SwordBest Classic Handmade Samurai Sword
A lot of care goes into making things by hand. It is for that reason that you may want to buy the best classic handmade samurai sword. The Vulcan Gear Classic Handmade Sharp Japanese Samurai Sword is made with the same artistry used to make the high priced Samurai Swords. Yet it is available at a fairly affordable price compared to the other products on offer.
Overall, the sword is 40 inches in length. It comes complete with a wood scabbard, which protects you from possible cuts from the razor-sharp blade. The sword stand is made of three pieces and is 6.5 inches high and 15 inches wide. With this sword, you have the freedom to choose the type of handle you want. It is easy to remove and put back into the scabbard.
- A finely finished Samurai sword
- The display stand is added free of charge
- The cloth bag protects it from scratching
- The pegs that secure the blade into the hilt protrude
- The hilt to blade might be angled
- Some complained of it arriving minus some parts
5. Makoto Handmade Sharp Japanese Samurai Shirasaya Katana SwordSamurai Sword For Cutting
This shirasaya katana is elegant and beautiful in its simplicity. Made out of 1045 high carbon steel, the blade is full tang and 28 inches long. The length of the katana is 38.75 inches overall. The saya is natural wood with a high gloss finish. This works great for practicing kata, Iaido, or Kenjutsu. But it’s definitely not for cutting practice or hard contact training. The tsuka is also wood but we did notice that the grain of the saya and the tsuka aren’t the same, close but no cigar. It is sharp out of the box but, like with most katanas at this price range, it’s not razor sharp. The blade fits exceptionally well into the saya, no rattle there. There’s also no rattle when you swing the sword.
One thing to take note of is that the gloss on the tsuka and saya makes it a bit slippery so be careful when drawing the sword.
- Perfect for iaido and practicing kata
- Elegant and simplistic
- No rattle
- Not razor sharp out of the box
- Gloss makes it slippery
- The grain of the wood on the handle and on the sheath are different
6. Handmade Sharp Japanese Samurai Sword Musashi WakizashiSamurai Sword For Cutting
If katanas are not your thing, then maybe this samurai sword will be more to your liking. This is a Wakizashi, a shorter sword used by the samurai for close-quarter fighting or for seppuku. The full tang blade is made out of 1045 carbon steel with a double ring tsuba which looks awesome. The tsuka is around 9.5 inches long while the blade is 20.5 inches in length. The length of the tsuka is a bit more than what you’d find in other wakizashi swords which may have caused some to feel as if the sword isn’t well-balanced. But it does feel good in your hand with a nice grip. The ito and sageo are tightly done. The menuki and the tsuba look really nice. The blade is decently sharp but not razor sharp.
The Hamon, like with swords at this price range, is fake. Overall, it’s a good, durable sword for the price.
- Good grip
- Ito and sageo are tightly done
- Hamon is fake
- Some users feel that it is not well-balanced
- Tsuka is longer; more like a katana
7. Auway 40″ Fully Handmade High Carbon Steel Full Tang Blade Japanese Katana Samurai SwordSamurai Sword For Cutting
This is a 1060 high carbon steel katana. The full tang blade has a hardness of 60 and a length of 29 inches. The tsuka is 10.4 inches with a dragon menuki and wrapped with cotton cord. The tsuba also features a dragon design and is made out of high-quality alloy. The sword doesn’t feature a Hamon but it does have real ray skin. Also, the blade is very durable and can withstand cutting practices, just not hard contact training. The sword fits tightly inside the saya, no rattling heard. There’s also no blade wiggle. Again, not razor sharp but sharp enough out of the box. The sword feels well-balanced and has a great grip so it’s perfect for Iaido practice.
- 1060 high carbon steel
- Cool dragon designs
- Great for cutting practices and Iaido
- Not for hard contact training
- Not razor sharp out of the box
- Some complaints about sword quality
8. Handmade Sword – Battle Ready Samurai Katana SwordSamurai Sword For Cutting
This full tang katana is made out of 1045 carbon steel and features a crane tsuba made out of iron. The saya is a white piano lacquered wood and features black Japanese cotton Sageo; the contrast is beautiful. The wooden tsuka is 10.75 inches long and wrapped with ray skin and white cotton cord. The kashira (pommel) features a crane as well. Because this is 1045 steel, it is great for light cutting (tatami or fresh bamboo) but not for hard contact training. The sword is perfectly balanced and feels secure in your hand. There also is no blade wiggle or rattle.
Now, we do love the white design but what we don’t like is that the cotton cord easily gets dirty which affects its appearance. Also, some users have reported a chip in their blade.
- Beautiful contrasting design
- Well-balanced sword
- Iron tsuba with crane design
- 1045 steel
- The tsuka ito (cotton cord on the handle) gets dirty easily
- Some reports on damage upon receipt
Choosing The Best Samurai Sword – The Ultimate Buying Guide
The term samurai sword is actually a misnomer. Historically, there are different types of “samurai swords” because these warriors actually carried and made use of several depending on their rank, certain environments, and specific time periods. What most people associate with is the katana which was first referenced as such during the Kamakura Period. But there are others such as the Tachi, the uchigatana, the wakizashi, and the tantō.
While all of these are awesome weapons to have in your collection as a samurai of the new order, it’s best if we keep things simple for now and stick to the katana. This guide is our attempt to help you sort through the duds to find the blade worthy of your skill (or soon-to-be skill).
What are Some of Samurai Blade Types?
Probably the most important factor to consider when buying a katana (or any blade for that matter) is the material used to forge the blade.
1. Stainless Steel
Brittle compared to other types of steel tend not to be very durable thus not for practical application. That’s why you see most knives are made from this material. Swords made out of this material will look great but are generally not balanced so it would be dangerous to wield this sword. Only for those who wish to hang the sword on the wall.
2. High Carbon Steel
Extra strong with excellent edge retention (holds a sharper edge for a longer period of time) but susceptible to rust. These come in several grades which we’ll discuss more below.
3. 1045 Carbon Steel
The most affordable option for high carbon steel katanas. These have a 0.45% carbon content which makes them the most pliable/flexible so they’re easy to produce. A sword made from this material needs to be well-tempered in order to be strong.
4. 1060 Carbon Steel
This metal grade balances pliability and hardness really well. What that means is that it retains its edge really well and is very durable. But it is more difficult to use when creating a blade so swords using this material usually cost more.
5. 1095 Carbon Steel
Very hard but can hold a keener edge. What this means that it is more brittle compared to other carbon steel blades so it might break when you hit a hard target like a wooden stand but it does have better edge retention.
6. Spring Steel
These materials are, as the name implies, able to “spring” back to its original shape after significant bending or twisting. What this means is that it can produce an incredibly tough and durable sword.
7. Folded Steel
Also known as Tamahagane which is the traditional method utilized by the Japanese in forging katanas. These are usually very expensive due to the time and skill involved in making swords this way.
Should I Sharpen My Samurai Sword?
It is not proper to try and sharpen your Samurai sword. If you insist on doing it, you may end up damaging it. In Japanese tradition, sharpening a sword went hand in hand with polishing.
At the end of the process, a sword would not just be sharp but its quality would be wholly maintained. If you polish improperly, you may ruin the sword’s monetary as well as artistic value. So, leave the sharpening and polishing to the professionals.
Not all katanas are of the same length. And longer is not always better when it comes to choosing the right katana for you. It all depends on your size and your skill. A katana that is too long for your size may feel unwieldy or unbalanced. Also, if you misjudge your distance from your sparring partner, a long katana has a higher risk of causing harm. The best way to size a katana is to get your sensei’s recommendation. That is if you have one. If you don’t and still plan to use the katana for practical purposes, you will need to measure the tsuka (handle).
An easy way to measure the tsuka is to place your hand flat side by side on the table with the sides touching and fingers closed. Measure the combined width then add a good 3 to 4 inches to that length. This should provide you with enough space to hold the tsuka properly plus a bit of room. You can also use the tsuka-to-arm-length ratio which means measuring your forearm from wrist to elbow. That distance you measured must be equal to how long your tsuka should be.
You will also need to measure the blade and choose a length that is best for your skill level and height. And there are a lot of opinions on what the right length.
Below is a general guide:
- 27.5 inches: 5 ft 1 in – 5 ft 3 in
- 28 inches: 5 ft 3 in – 5 ft 5 in
- 28.5 inches: 5 ft 5 in – 5 ft 7 in
- 29 inches: 5 ft 7 in – 5 ft 9 in
- 30 inches: 5 ft 9 in – 5 ft 11 in
- 30.5inches: 5 ft 11 in – 6 ft 1 in
- 31 inches: 6 ft 1 in – 6 ft 3 in
If you’re really not sure about your measurements and don’t have anyone to consult, then it’s really better to err on the side of caution. Choose a short katana instead of a long one. There are definite benefits to this option. It is safer because you lower the chances of inaccurate depth perception. It is also lighter, easier to handle, and quicker to draw.
Does Aesthetics Really Matter When Choosing A Samurai Sword?
While there are other aspects that define the quality of a Samurai sword, the way it looks also matters a lot. You may wonder why a weapon needs to be beautiful. Samurai swords symbolize peace, beauty, control, and strength. That is why you may want to pay special attention to the style and refinement. This shows you appreciate the craftsmanship that went into making the blade and scabbard.
Everyone’s got a budget. It’s just that not all of us have a limitless one. If the price is no object, then you shouldn’t have a problem going all the way to Japan to buy a customized, hand-forged katana made by a famous swordsmith in Longquan where blade making has been practiced for 2,600 years.
But for the average Joe, you’ll probably have a limited budget of up to $200. Some katanas are priced as low as $50 and that’s perfectly fine if that’s your budget. The important thing is that you buy what you need with what money you have.
Regardless of the reason you want a Samurai sword, you need to be very careful when choosing one. Pay attention to the attributes we discussed in the buying guide. With that, you should be able to find the right type of sword. That is if you haven’t found the right one among the products featured in the reviews section.