Cheap Samurai Swords under $100

Many people claim cheap Samurai swords (under $100 or so) are a complete waste of time and money..

And 9 times out of 10 they would be right..

The overwhelming majority of cheap Samurai swords being sold online are not in any way functional. Sure, they are made of steel and yes, some of them might even be sharp - but sharpness alone doesn't mean very much if the blade bends, snaps or comes flying out like a helicopter of death on the first attempted cut...

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with buying some nice looking Samurai sword sets to display over the mantelpiece, etc.

Indeed, we have put together a beginners guide to buying decorative Samurai Sword Sets here for those primarily interested in cheap Samurai swords purely for display purposes.

Do you know how much these swords are worth?

Do you know how much these swords are worth? $30? $300? $3,000? Or more? It's hard to tell - this kind of mounting is called 'Shirasaya' and is used to house a blade. But the value of the blade can vary? How much do you think this set is worth? Can you tell? For a discussion of real katana prices, click here

The only problem is that many people who believe they are starting a real Katana collection aren't getting what they think they paid for...

VIDEO: The home shopping network clip

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

At the end of the day, most display swords are made of Stainless steel - which is a great choice for knives - but in anything over 12" long (like a sword) it tends to become overly brittle. What makes things worse though is that the tang of display swords is typically a thin steel rod spot welded to the blade.

Seen first hand in Longquan, China

When done quickly like this - the tang of these cheap Samurai swords tends to bend and or break off inside the handle when swung, and as a sword is only as strong as its weakest point, it can can sometimes send the blade flying out like a missile...

9 out of 10 Katana under $100 are like this (or worse). But fortunately, not all.

Fortunately, there are some good ones out there. Indeed, some of them are true DIAMONDS in the rough...

The sword that started it all...

Back in 2006 a sword appeared on the scene that created quite a stir - the legendary "Masahiro Bamboo" Katana.

It was made of 1045 carbon steel - the most basic steel there is for a functional sword. It was FAR from traditional. But boy oh boy was it tough...

And the price? $56!!!

True enough, you cannot buy them these days. But this sword, while upsetting the purists with their $1000 plus Katana, set the standard against which all other cheap Samurai swords are compared to. And set the scene for the swords which you CAN buy these days...

Click here for a trip down memory lane and to find out what all the fuss was about..

Before we get into any reviews or specific recommendations, let's start with a quick guide on what to look for when buying cheap Samurai swords that are halfway respectable..

What to look for in cheap Samurai swords that can actually cut...

There are quite a few swords that can be had for well under a hundred bucks that I would call 'bare bones' functional.

At an absolute bare minimum a functional Budget Katana needs:

  • to be forged from properly heat treated high carbon steel.
  • a full tang assembly, glued and/or double pegged to the handle for extra safety.
  • and a weight no more than 3lbs (properly balanced to reach minimum functional cutting velocity).

Any sword which possesses these most basic characteristics stands at least a reasonable chance of being a half decent facsimile.

These kind of swords are quick an easy to produce, milled from slabs of cheap 1045 carbon steel, machine sharpened and fitted out on the cheap. They sure aren't great, but these wanna-be's are at least a step up from the stainless steel wall hangers...

Let's take a close look at some of the better ones.

Katana Reviews $59 and under

"Bushido Series"

Musashi/Musha Swords

Price Range: $59.99

OVERVIEW: A very detailed, hands on look at TWO swords from the Musashi Swords 'Bushido Musashi' Series. One didn't quite make the cut. But the other, was surprising for it's low price point. There ARE some jewels in the junk..

Click here for the full review

"Rosewood Shirasaya"

Musashi/Musha Swords

Price Range: $59.99

OVERVIEW: Another Shirasaya that basically has the same blade as the Zetsurin, but with more modest (but still very attractive) Rosewood fittings. Again, nothing special, but worth the asking price.

Click here for the full review


Musashi/Musha Swords

Price Range: $54.99

OVERVIEW: This Shirasaya style sword is one of the coolest looking of the cheapies, somehow reminiscent of an ancient Shinto blade (or something). It's functional, but beware the lack of a hand guard or it's fingers on the floor time.

Click here for the full review

Now it would make a lot of sense that the closer you get to $100, the better the sword would be, right?

Well, not necessarily..

In truth, it is very hit and miss. Here are a couple more hands on reviews for you. The first what you would expect and the second one, well, not so much..

Katana Reviews, under $100

"Shadow warrior"


Price Range: $99.99

OVERVIEW: Probably one of the better entry level collectible blades by Musashi. Unique and attractive style, and while not a serious martial arts grade sword it is suitable for light, occasional cutting.

Click here for the full review

"Cherry Blossom"


Price Range: $56

OVERVIEW: This sword is about average for this price point. Nothing special, but nothing great either. It just kind of sits there at the mid point.  Not Masahiro's best offering.

Click here for the full review

Last but not least, a real gem for you - indeed, it is a sword that that SHOCKED a lot of people when it first came out, myself included..

It may not have been as durable as the legendary Masahiro Bamboo, but it redefined what was possible for swords under the $100 price point.


Two things..

  1. It had a REAL hamon temper line, which until that point had only been seen on swords 3-5 times the price and..
  2. It was super fast and cut targets surprisingly well!

And funnily enough, it was also called "Bamboo" but this time by Musashi..

A REAL Hamon for under $100! Wow...!

While it ticked almost all the boxes, it wasn't perfect. But for the price, nothing else really comes close.

Read the review and see what I am talking about for yourself.


Musashi Swords

Price Range: $99.99

OVERVIEW: These swords caused a massive sensation when they were first released - differentially hardened Katana with real hamon for under $80! Seems too good to be true, yet while they are not a serious competitor to the martial arts grade swords we will look at in a moment, they are excellent bang for your buck.

Click here for the full review

So there you have it..! Cheap Samurai swords that can actually cut stuff without falling apart..!

Before we go, one more quick option. True enough, it might not be very traditional - but it is VERY affordable, VERY durable and well, a whole heap of fun - all for under $40..!

"Katana machete"

Cold Steel

Price Range: $43-55

OVERVIEW: When is a Katana not a Katana? When it is a Katana Machete! It's actually a pretty cool, tactical design - not so sharp or effective out of the box, but once sharpened rather frightening considering the cost..

Click here for the full review

Further Resources

If you are in the market for cheap Samurai swords of all shapes and sizes, we recommend you visit

They stock literally hundreds of swords under the $100 price point and who knows, with the knowledge here and some luck, you may just find the next "Bamboo"...

I hope this information on cheap Samurai swords has been helpful. To return to A Beginners Guide to Authentic Japanese Swords from Cheap Samurai Swords Under $100, click here

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