Best Samurai Swords – A Small Part Of Japanese Rich Culture

So you wanna be like a samurai. What would a true samurai be without his sword, right? Should be easy enough to find 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 on Amazon seemed 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 2019 Reviewed

1. Ten Ryu Captain Nathan Algren Samurai Sword with Silk-Wrapped Handle

Samurai 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.

Ten Ryu Captain Nathan Algren Samurai Sword with Silk-Wrapped Handle

Pros:

  • 1060 steel
  • Full tang blade
  • Excellent grip

Cons:

  • Quality of the sheath and guard feel cheap
  • The hamon (blade pattern) looks a bit fake

2. Musashi – 1060 Carbon Steel – Best Miyamoto Sword

Samurai Sword Under $200

This is a Musashi katana that has been traditionally hand forged using the Muku-kitae method. The blade is clay tempered 1060 high carbon steel with 55 HRC blade hardness. The hamon is not wire brushed or laser printed; it is made using the hardening process. The tsuka is 11.5 inches long while the blade is 28 inches in length. The tsuka is also made out of real ray skin with a black cotton cord wrap. The kashira and fushi is brass while the tsuba is musashi iron. The saya is lacquered wood and burgundy in color. When practicing iaido, you will be able to easily and quickly draw the blade out. You can easily run through tatami mats with this katana.

While it is not going to fare well with a true katana, it’s definitely going to be kick ass at Fruit Ninja. The blade doesn’t come razor sharp but it is sharp enough to do some test cutting right out of the box. The balance is also good which makes this a good katana for practicing your katas too. As an added bonus, the sword comes with an authenticity certificate so you know you didn’t just shell out $100+ for a dud.

Musashi – 1060 Carbon Steel – Best Miyamoto Sword

Pros:

  • Easy to draw
  • 1060 carbon
  • Real hamon

Cons:

  • Not razor sharp out of the box
  • Some users reported receiving fake katanas

3. Ace Martial Arts Supply Handmade Japanese Shirasaya Samurai Katana Sharp Sword-Musha

Samurai 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.

Ace Martial Arts Supply Handmade Japanese Shirasaya Samurai Katana Sharp Sword-Musha

Pros:

  • Perfectly balanced
  • Lightweight
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • 1045 high carbon steel (not the best material)
  • Fake hamon
  • Wood is easily scratched

4. Classic Crane Tsuba Handmade Samurai Katana Sharp Sword-Musha

This is another 1045 high carbon steel, full tang katana. The Menuki (handle ornament) is a dancing crane which is cool. The entire katana is 40 inches in length. The blade is 28 inches long and comes sharp out of the box (not razor sharp). Swinging it around, the katana feels well-balanced with a distinct lack of rattle. The saya is made out of real wood. This is an entry level katana that is made for display and light cutting (soft to medium hard objects).

Some have reported the koiguchi (mouth of the saya) falling whenever the sword is drawn. Also, some have received blades that are slightly bent to one side; not considerably noticeable but still there. The hamon is still fake but that’s what you expect at this price point. Some buyers received a katana with the habaki (blade collar) painted black instead of brass.

Classic Crane Tsuba Handmade Samurai Katana Sharp Sword-Musha

Pros:

  • Affordable entry level katana
  • Well-balanced and sharp
  • Full-tang blade

Cons:

  • Koiguchi tends to fall whenever you draw the katana
  • Hamon is fake
  • 1045 high carbon steel

5. Makoto Handmade Sharp Japanese Samurai Shirasaya Katana Sword

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.

 Makoto Handmade Sharp Japanese Samurai Shirasaya Katana Sword

Pros:

  • Perfect for iaido and practicing kata
  • Elegant and simplistic
  • No rattle

Cons:

  • 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 Wakizashi

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.

Handmade Sharp Japanese Samurai Sword Musashi Wakizashi

Pros:

  • Good grip
  • Ito and sageo are tightly done
  • Durable

Cons:

  • 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 Sword

Samurai 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.

Auway 40" Fully Handmade High Carbon Steel Full Tang Blade Japanese Katana Samurai Sword

Pros:

  • 1060 high carbon steel
  • Cool dragon designs
  • Great for cutting practices and Iaido

Cons:

  • Not for hard contact training
  • Not razor sharp out of the box
  • Some complaints about sword quality

8. Handmade Sword – Battle Ready Samurai Katana Sword

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.

Handmade Sword - Battle Ready Samurai Katana Sword

Pros:

  • Beautiful contrasting design
  • Well-balanced sword
  • Iron tsuba with crane design

Cons:

  • 1045 steel
  • The tsuka ito (cotton cord on the handle) gets dirty easily
  • Some reports on damage upon receipt

Samurai Sword 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).

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.

Stainless steel

Brittle compared to other types of steel thus not for practical application. 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.

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.

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.

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 costs more.

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.

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.

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.

Length

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.

Price

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.

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A blogger, personal finance enthusiast with slight “addiction” of planning and organizing whether it’s budget, business or just life in general. When you run into an article around the web you can clearly tell it’s Michael’s work,as it can never be mixed with anyone else's , because of his very unique own voice. Finances, real estate, budgeting, new technological solutions are not the only talking points, that he has his heart set on. Passionate about life he studies and writes about environmental changes, human rights and quality of life. Being a true humanist he draws inspiration from the simple thing as an everyday life and the matters one come across on daily bases doing his best and above to help everyone around.