Do not Buy Swords Online Until You Read This!

"DISCOVER the real deal on how to buy swords online that some unscrupulous sword merchants would prefer you didn't know…..."

My old junk swords selection

When I first decided to buy swords online, I’ll be the first to admit that I really had no idea what I was doing.

And as a consequence, like most first time sword buyers, I ended up wasting a lot of my time and money on crappy “sword-like objects” that should have never even been drawn from their scabbards…

Just take a look at some of the "survivors" from my first collection to see just how bad they were! (pictured left).

In this article, I'd like to share with you some very valuable information that will save YOU from wasting your hard earned money on junk swords.


If you are pretty new to the whole 'world of swords' here are a couple of articles to get you up to speed quick smart. The first is a brief overview of the main categories and types of swords that exist. And the second is an easy to follow guide to commonly used sword terminology

Plus you'll also find out how to get the very best deal when you buy swords online, including:

  • How to tell the difference between a real sword and an ornamental “wall-hanger”.
  • How much is a fair price to pay for a decent starter sword and who makes the best value for money blades.
  • And how to select an honest, reliable vendor where you can buy swords online with confidence and who will deliver good value in a timely and professional manner.

And much, much more!

So without any further ado, let's get started!

Your First REAL Sword

I think there are two main reasons why its better to buy a REAL sword than a purely ornamental "sword-like object" (SLO).

Firstly, lets face it, it's a whole lot cooler to hang an authentic sword on the wall than a cheap, lightweight wallhanger that for all its functionality, might as well be made from plastic…

And the second reason?

Well, let's be totally honest here...

And I don’t know too many sword enthusiasts who can resist the urge take their sword outside for a few practice swings.

And if you're anything like me, you'll want to have a little fun “pruning” with your sword in the garden or or maybe even spend an afternoon with friends hacking up cardboard boxes and water filled plastic soda bottles!

Effortless cutting with the Excalibur sword by Legacy Arms through a water filled milkjugEffortless cutting through a water filled milk jug.

Unfortunately, most swords for sale on the internet aren'’t designed to take ANY “abuse” (read as 'use') at all. And I still cringe when I think of that cheap, nasty wall hanger sword that flew out of the handle and over the neighbors fence one bright, sunny summer’s day…

Just see for yourself a "re-enactment" of this sword that I have dubbed "the little helicopter" flying through the air at around 40mph...

A sword helicopters loose into the air like a missileA sword helicopters loose into the air like a missile. NOT a good thing, and hard to explain to the neighbours...

Unfortunately, this isn'’t an isolated event - these swords can fail in all manner of ways, as this video compilation will show..

VIDEO: Sword Fails Compilation

"A piece of that tip just got me O'dell..."

It’'s because of swords like these that when you buy swords online for the first time, it's a good idea to you get yourself either an "entry level historical sword" or a "beater", sometimes lumped together in the rather crude category of "battle ready swords".

Entry level historical swords are basically affordable replicas of historical swords. They look like historical swords. They handle like historical swords. And if you play with them too hard, they'll break like historical swords too...

At the other end of the spectrum, "beater" swords don't always look a lot like the historical swords they are based upon. And due to a heavier and thicker than historical blade, they tend not to handle exactly the same either. But a good beater is considerably more durable than any historical sword ever was and can take on a wider range of targets without fear of failure.

As such beaters make a great choice for many beginning sword collectors, but essentially it is a matter of personal taste...

The Difference Between a REAL Sword and a Decorative 'Sword Like Object'...

Legacy Arms Gladius Chopping Wood like an axe

There are basically three main differences between REAL Swords and Sword Like Objects (aka "Wallhangers", "SLOs","crappy swords", etc)...

REAL Swords are made from CARBON STEEL

Real swords are always made from carbon steel. The vast majority of cheap swords being sold online are made from stainless steel. While stainless steel is a great choice for knives, it starts becoming very brittle on anything longer than 12” and is NOT a suitable material for a functional sword, no matter what some marketers might claim….

REAL Swords have been properly HEAT TREATED

Real swords (at least these days) are for safety reasons always properly heat treated and tempered to create a blade that is not too brittle and not too soft. If a sword is described as “carbon steel” but there is no mention of how it is heat treated and you don't know about the manufacturer - there is a chance that it hasn't been heat treated at all. And if it hasn'’t been heat treated, it doesn’'t qualify as a real sword.

REAL Swords have a FULL TANG

The weakest point of most modern swords is the handle, in particular the metal insert into the handle attached to the blade known as the tang. Unless a sword has what is known as a “full tang” it is liable to break when struck against any surface. Or worse still, come loose from the handle like a helicopter blade when swung with even moderate force (and for obvious reasons cannot be called a functional sword).

Want MOre Info?

The three essential characteristics described left are of course a bit simplistic. But they are solid basics.

However, if you want more info about the different types of 'carbon steel' used, tempering methods and tang variations, I've laid it all out in an easy to follow article 'What to Look for in a REAL Battle Ready Sword' But that is just the beginning..

For those of you who are looking for even more detail about what to look for you can find it in the second article, Authentic Swords – some additional defining qualities

To get this right based on trial and error on your own can be pretty tricky (and oft times rather risky with your hard earned money)...

However fortunately, there is very EASY WAY to minimize the trial and error when you buy swords online.

And that is by selecting a sword made by a well known and respected 'brand name' manufacturer...

We will come to brand name swords in a moment.

But before we do, let's take a look at a very, very important factor to consider when you buy swords online for the first time - how much is a fair price to pay...

How Much Should You Pay for your First REAL Sword?

It'’s true that when you buy swords online, functional swords are usually more expensive than the ornamental wall hangers.

And at first (if you believe some people) you might be inclined to think that if you're gonna buy swords online that are any good, you'll need to have a spare $500 to $1,000 US dollars just lying around.

However when you're starting out, I don't think it's necessary to spend anywhere near this amount...

In fact, one of the reasons I made this site in the first place was because on numerous sword forums, the only advise many newbies would get when they said they were considering to buy swords online well under the "accepted" price range of $500 to $1000 was to "save up and get an Albion, Bugei etc".

Now sure, if you have the money, such a response might be helpful. But if you are a younger collector, or a beginning collector or are on a budget or you just can't justify spending 500+ bucks on a single sword, it doesn't help much...

And I can tell you first-hand that as the owner of several quite exceptional "entry level" swords - with just a little common sense and education, it is possible to find some very attractive and fully functional swords at a low price point of between US$150 to US$300 tops.

Just one thing though...

When you buy swords online in this price range, you DO need to be careful.

While we do our best here to test and review swords to identify the real winners – most manufacturers tend to produce products with certain distinct characteristics, and in this price range, there are really only a handful that make functional swords that strike a good balance between price and quality...

Who Makes the best quality (low-cost) Swords?

Windlass Medieval Sword from the SBG Review

At the end of the day, I've found that when you buy swords online, the best "bang for your buck” swords tend to be made by several well known sword manufacturers.

Brands such as the Hanwei Forge, Windlass Steelcrafts, Ronin Katana, Cheness Cutlery, Darksword Armory, Kris Cutlery, Jin Shi, Musashi and several others come up time and time again in our reviews as having the best 'bang for your buck' in their respective specialized categories. And especially when you are just starting out, you should probably not stray too far from these tried and tested manufacturers.

However, apart from simply knowing what to expect when you buy swords online by selecting a manufacturer that best suits your requirements, there is another good reason why you should buy swords online that have a recognizable “brand name”.

When you can easily identify the brand it makes it easier to do a decent price comparison, which is next to impossible when it comes to comparing “generic” swords.

It really does pay to do a little shopping around before you buy swords online. It never ceases to amaze me how the exact same sword can be sold at one website for a price sometimes fifty or a hundred dollars more than at another.

However, that said, it's definitely NOT always wise to buy swords online based on price alone…

How To Choose the Best Sword Seller
- (Caveat Emptor!)

In a perfect world, it would be easy to buy swords online.

You just select the sword you want, pay with your credit card, and a few days later you get that much anticipated long rectangular parcel to your door.

Only problem is, this isn't a perfect world.

Sometimes, part or all of your order simply isn't in stock and you've got to wait - sometimes weeks, and sometimes months, for it to come in - and once they've got your credit card details, they won't let you change or cancel your order.

Occasionally, you might even place an order with a start up company that offers swords at a great price, but goes out of business before you get your order (taking your money with it).

And then - there are the sharks, fraudsters and con-men who never actually intended to ever deliver your sword in the first place...

The easiest way to avoid these kinds of problems when you buy swords online is to select a sword merchant with a proven track record that has been in business for at least a few years, is dedicated to customer service and competitive pricing.

To help you find the very best, established and recommended sword sellers I've put together a comprehensive:

This directory is based on my own personal experiences plus a lot of research and feedback from the Sword Buying Community in general. So check it out - it can save you a whole lot of time, money and heartache...


If you're not just looking for a decorative sword to hang on the wall, all of this info might at first seem a bit overwhelming...

But really, I could distill everything presented here into one sentence - when you buy swords online for the first time narrow down your choice to one that has been made by a reliable company, and get it from a reliable, established dealer. Oh yeah, and one more thing...

One common piece of advise to a newby sword collector is DON'T DO IT! Don't take the plunge! Because trust me, once you buy swords online for the first time, it can get downright addictive! ;-)

Further Resources

For discussions and information on real swords, check out the:

SBG Sword Forum

I hope this information on how to buy swords online has been helpful. To return to sword-buyers-guide.com Homepage from WARNING: Do Not Buy Swords Online Until You Read This, click here

Looking for honest, trustworthy sword sellers? Look no further than:

The Official SBG Sword Buyers Directory!

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