SBG Sword Reviews Index

All the Sword reviews from Sword Buyers guide in one place.

Listed reviews here are for swords that are still being made and able to purchase, while discontinued swords are listed at the bottom of each category.

To see the reviews by manufacturer rather than by type, visit the Sword Manufacturers Dossier here

Sword ratings are based on the overall quality of the product, how well it achieves its stated purpose (i.e. historical replica, cutting sword, etc) and overall value for money and are based on a sliding scale.

No matter how well made, a $20 Machete can never really have a 5 star rating (overall quality of the product). By the same token, some swords that are head and shoulders above other 4 star swords may only be 4 star because they are deemed to be overly expensive (value for money). Read More about the SBG Star Rating System in more detail here on our about us page

Currently 187 detailed, hands on reviews and counting..


Japanese Sword Reviews (47 Reviews)

Bare Bones Budget Katana (8 Reviews)

Musashi Rosewood Shirasaya

Simple, economical with a serviceable blade. $59.00

Musashi Zetsurin

Not a bad attempt, even comes with a bonus (if flimsy) kozuka knife $54.95

Masahiro Shadow Warrior

Unique appearance, not a bad attempt for the money. $99.95

Masahiro Cherry Blossom

It handles okay. But more wallhanger than cutter. $54.95


Musashi Bushido Series

Quite a detailed look at two typical bare bones swords. One was pretty much what you would expect for the price. But the other one more than made up for it.

Just goes to show you that there are still some jewels in the junk to be found. Average price $65

Masahiro Cherry Blossom

It handles okay. But more wallhanger than cutter. $54.95

Masahiro Shadow Warrior

Unique appearance, not a bad attempt for the money. $99.95

Musashi Bamboo

Sub $100 with a real hamon? Almost too good to be true.. $149.95

Cold Steel Katana Machete

To heck with tradition - just a cheap, super tough mean ol' blade.. $49.95


Entry Level Katana with real hamon reviews (17 reviews)

Global Gear Makaze

A fairly average sword overall, but a good deal for Australians.. $190

Musashi Bamboo Fast Cutter

I designed this one, but did not quite nail my design idea - though it came close.. $199.99


Ryujin Custom Katana

The concept was revolutionary - import the bare blades and katana parts and assemble them to the customers preference within a week!

SBG helped test and refine the concept. Out of three swords tested, one failed, one did okay and the other exceeded all expectations. $299

Hanwei Practical Plus Katana

The original entry level Katana. May be an old model but still holds it's own $399.95

Hanwei Practical Pro Katana

Solid blade and extra long handle on this Paul Chen Classic $389.95

Hanwei Practical Katana

Was great value once, but the PK is showing its age $298.95

Hanwei Practical Katana Elite

A step in the right direction with this 3' razor blade by Hanwei. $319.20

Hanwei Practical Plus Elite

An excellent sword for the money with several huge improvements over earlier models. $449.95

Hanwei Practical XL Light

Crazy sharp blade geometry, but maybe just a little too sharp for its own good.. $319.20

Hanwei Practical XL

Good for cutting light targets, but lacks versatility $319.20

Cheness Cutlery Kaze Katana

The Tatami Mat Killer that has stood the test of time. $299

Ryumon Dragon Katana

Often overlooked, but something of a diamond in the rough $205

SBG Custom Katana

Made in batches with a narrow window to buy. Sold almost at cost price and still great value. $429.99


  • Cheness Kanbai Katana - the first real differentially hardened Katana to break into the sub-$300 price category and do it well.
  • Cheness Higo Katana - the first laminated Katana on the market in 2005 and the one that brought Cheness Cutlery to everyone's attention.
  • Valiant Armory Ko-Buke - they tried. But why they didn't quite succeed and this line was wrapped up quickly, it does have some valuable lessons.
  • ProSwords and SBG - not every SBG project was a success. Here we bit off more than we could chew, but from it was born the legendary Kuramono and Torikami Katanas..

Heavy Duty 'Beater' Monosteel Katana Reviews (11 Reviews)

Dynasty Forge Musha

Machine polished and a simple design, they were the first monotempered blades yet still represent good value $324.95

Cold Steel Warrior Katana

"Handles like a crowbar, cuts like a light saber.." $305.95

Cold Steel O-Katana

It's big and it's bad. In a good way.. Tough as nails, but a little too heavy and expensive for what it is. $641.95

Hanwei Raptor Nanbokucho

Designed by Shihan James Williams from the Bugei company, these are excellent blades but not without a few issues. $328.95

Cheness Cutlery Tenchi Katana

Tough as nails, the workhorse flagship of the Cheness 9260 Spring Steel line $279.99

Cheness Cutlery O-Katana

Handles surprisingly well, the 9260 blade on this one is tough enough to chop into a steel barrel. $299.99

Cheness Cutlery SGC Katana

Specialized Goza (mat) Cutter. True beast of a sword with a wide profile 9260 Spring Steel Blade. $299.99

Cheness Cutlery Kurome

Not quite a 'fail' but definitely not their best use of 9260 Steel.. $249.99


Ronin Katana Dojo Pro Series

One of a series of 31 models - all with heavy duty, no-nonsense mono-tempered 1060 carbon steel blades and the best fittings available at swords in this price point.

Here we not only test them out to the max, but we even take a trip to where they are made in Longquan, China. $294.99

Ronin Katana Dojo Pro 2 & 4

Double review of models #2 and #4 - and the first sighting of the legendary 'ghost' hamon. $294.99

Ronin Katana Dojo Pro #8

A close look at the 29" bladed model # 8 reveals not just a workhorse, but a beautiful sword in its own right, inside and out.. $314.99

Ronin Katana Dojo Pro 3,5 & 9

The ultimate review of not one but three swords by three SBG members, yet they all come to the same conclusion... $294.99

Wakizashi & Ko-Katana Reviews (3 Reviews)

Ronin Dojo Pro Ko-Katana #10

Fast, versatile and tough - what more could you want in a Ko-Katana beater? $294.99

Cheness Cutlery Kaze Ko

Wakizashi blade, two handed Katana handle, versatile with a great little blade on it. $229.99

Hanwei Practical Wakizashi

The first entry level Wakizashi ever to grace the sword the market, it still holds its own and makes a good daisho when paired with the Hanwei Practical Katana $199.95

High End Katana Reviews (7 Reviews)

Hanwei Shinto Katana

A readily available high quality Katana and good choice to dip one's toe in the higher end. Ticks all the boxes. $699.95

Thaitsuki Model KTN5

Strikingly attractive, and a nice cutter, it's a tad overpriced but still worthwhile for it's hand made, very high quality fittings. $1,349.99


Forge Direct Custom Katana

One of the projects we are proudest of that grew out of our dealings with master smiths in Longquan - here we take a close look at the kind of designs you can make yourself and put them to the test. Price includes all standard customizations and even free worldwide shipping. $779.99


Forge Direct Custom Katana

A second opinion review - while they have an almost impeccable reputation for quality, not every sword comes out perfectly. But even when it doesn't all quite go to plan, in the end, it turned out for the best..

Still just $779.99

Angel Swords Bright Knight

Opinions on their swords are often highly polarized. So here is an impartial review to try and set the record straight. $2400+

Imperial Forge Kesshi Katana

Attractive and well made folded blade, but let down a bit by average fittings. $749.95


  • Musashi Yasha Katana - A $2000 sword by Master Chris Zhou. My first experience with Master Smith forged blades was quite eye-opening.

Ninjato Reviews (4 Reviews)

Hanwei Practical Ninja-to

Historical or not, its a fast mean little stabby cutter of a sword. $253.95

Musashi Koga Ninja Sword

Only slightly better than any other budget 'Ninja' sword. $65

Cheness Cutlery Oniyuri

Requested by members of the Bujinkan Federation, this 9260 spring steel sword has a short blade with long handle in a normal length saya and is considered by many experts to be what a Ninja sword may have REALLY been like.

On its own merits, it is a versatile and very durable cutter and we push it to the limits in this destructive review. $249.99

Hanwei Forge Zatoichi

The old sword hidden in a stick trick.. But not sure if is it truly 'functional'.. $153.95

Chinese Sword Reviews (7 Reviews)

Hanwei Cutting Jian

Designed by Sifu Scott Rodell THIS is the must have budget Jian for every CMA practitioner. $329

Hanwei Practical Tai-Chi Sword

Not just for Tai-Chi, this is actually a pretty good entry level Jian. $129.95

Hanwei Chinese Broadsword

Awesome cutting blade with a rewarding ringing sound when it hits a target. $189.95

Hanwei Ox-Tail Dao

Great cutter with attractive fittings at a good price = happy customers. $199.99

Hanwei Da-Dao

Chinese Warsword with some serious attitude. $149.95

Cold Steel Gim Sword

If you want it for martial arts, forget it. But otherwise, you might end up falling in love with it. $299.95

Dynasty Forge Liuyedao

Less beater and more suited to CMA use, it's a good value attractive functional piece. $400

Budget Yong Lo Sword

Tough 1060 carbon steel blade and stunning fittings. Looks much more expensive than it is.. $174.99

Jin Shi Han Dynasty Jian

We aren't sure if this company is coming back. We surely hope so.. $299

Ancient European Sword Reviews (14 Reviews)

Devil's Edge Greek Xiphos

It has some unique problems, but still comes out as a reasonably good choice. $149

Windlass Spartan Lakonian

Almost as tough as the Spartans themselves. A nice effort. $130

Del Tin Celtic Sword

THE most historically accurate replica of a Celtic La Tene Sword & also quite well made. $385

BCI Celtic Sword

A leaf blade Celtic Sword that doesn't mix up the hilt. Very solid but sporadic availability. $499

Generation 2 Celtic Sword

Only vaguely anthropomorphic, but a tough little leaf shaped blade. $245

Generation 2 Wasited Gladius

Nicely made, if somewhat contemporary in appearance. $232

Generation 2 Pompeii Gladius

Maybe just a bit too simple and lacking in historical accuracy. $232

Windlass Pompeii Gladius

Actually quite historically accurate, and as tough as nails. $195

Windlass Roman Pugio

Is it a dagger or a shortsword? Whatever it is, it's not that bad, but not that great either.. $95

Deepeeka Pompeii Gladius

Very historically accurate, even down to the rather soft steel.. Still, a good buy for the price. $149

Deepeeka Maintz Gladius

Oh so promising, and quite historically accurate - but with a few disappointments. $214


Viking Sword Reviews (15 Reviews)

Generation 2 River Witham

Quite historically accurate. Looks and performs like a much more expensive sword, but hard to find in stock. $305

Windlass Sticklestad Sword

Awesome handling, solidly made and incredible value for money. $242.95

Windlass Leuterit Sword

Attractive, good handling, solidly built - even the scabbard is nice..! $238

Windlass Ulfberht Sword

Maybe not quite as good as the originals, but quite good for the money. $244.95

Windlass Damascus Viking

A nice piece of functional sword art, though a little tip heavy. $449.95

Cold Steel Viking Sword

It's not really Viking, not really Celtic, and not really well balanced. $299.95

Hanwei Godfred Viking Sword

A Damascus folded steel blade with austere fittings. Not a bad attempt, though a little expensive. $499.95

Hanwei Tinker Viking Sword

Part of the Tinker Pearce designed sword series, a great blade and so much potential, but not the complete package.. $253.95

Hanwei Practical Viking Sword

An early review by Brenno from Fableblades shows his early inclinations to customize.. $146.95

Darksword Armory Oslo Viking

A sword that has been revised several times, getting better each revision.. $650

Del Tin 10th Century Viking

A short but sweet review that explains a little more about transitional Viking Swords. $423.95

Del Tin Late Period Viking

A good historically accurate replica of the famous Cawood Viking Sword by Del Tin of Italy. $424.95


  • Windlass Dark Age Sword - Well it looked the part.. But probably best that they discontinued this particular model..
  • Windlass Beowulf Sword - Another sword that looked like it would be okay, but was ruined by one small silly plastic component..
  • Darksword Armoury Saxon - One of their earlier models, but was solidly built and was a bit of a shame to see this one go..

Medieval Sword Reviews (40 Reviews)

Hanwei Practical Norman

It's sturdy, blunt and cheap, and a favorite of re-enactors on a budget. $175.95

Deepeeka Charlemagne Sword

We never intentionally buy a one star sword you know.. Looks okay at first glance. But.. $147

Deepeeka Spadona

Buying medieval swords at this kind of price point is a big gamble. But sometimes, it pays off.. $115 to 164.95

Hanwei Sword of St Maurice

A exceptionally good replica of the original, though it had a few teething troubles to get there.. $362.99

Windlass Bastard Sword

Extremely well made and a fantastic bastard sword at a bargain price. $193

Windlass Classic Medieval

Definitely not a bad sword for the money, and a true Windlass classic. $249.95

MRL Create Your Own Sword

Mount it up your way - a decent arming sword with your choice of fittings. $188.95


Ronin Katana Euro Swords 1-3

Three medieval swords, one low price - all 3 tested on the rooftops of Hong Kong with Lancelot Chan on a variety of targets - from water bottles, bamboo and even a pigs hoof..

Simple yet impressive, they have since gone on to cause quite a storm for lovers of quality medieval swords ready to cut straight out of the box $265-285

RK Euro Model 7 Longsword

Arguably the best entry level Longsword seen in years, find out what makes it so great in this hands on review. $285

RK Euro Sword Model 3-2

An impressive newer entry to the line up that has been compared favorably to swords three times the price. $450

RK Model # 13 Crusader

A solid, well designed two handed sword based on swords of the Knights Templar. $350

Hanwei Marshal Broadsword

Sturdy enough, and a decent replica of a historical type X/Xa.But you either love it or hate it, there really is no neutral opinion on this one $349

Darksword Medieval Knight

It's attractive, fairly historically accurate - and darned near indestructible..! Very tough. $600

Darksword Sovereign Sword

Ornate, attractive, tough and handles so well it's hard to put down - the latest swords from Darksword set a new mid-range standard.. $655

Hanwei Bastard Sword

The 'antiqued' version of this classic, slightly sinister looking Hanwei sword design. Another Hanwei that is a lot bigger in person than what the pictures suggest. $223

Windlass 15th C. Longsword

A little to 'whippy' to thrust as well as it should. Average at best and not Windlasses finest, but neither is it their worst. $220

Hanwei 'Tinker' Longsword

Designed by Michael 'Tinker' Pearce, harmonically balanced & handles with the best of them, though availability can be an issue. $249

Hanwei 'Tinker' Bastard Sword

While not the best 'Tinker' Pearce design, it is an excellent sword for the money and is very hard to fault for the price. $234

Battlecry Agincourt Sword

A serviceable and decent sword for the price, though the blackened finish does put some off. $282

Cold Steel Greatsword

It's big, bad and beefy. And actually fairly historically accurate. Anyone in the market for a Zweihander could do a lot worse. $399

Windlass Hero's Warsword

With a blade bigger than the whole length of most two handed swords, this sword is a monster and very affordable too. Loosely based on the historical 'Wallace' Sword. $256

Hanwei Albrecht

Historically accurate, handles well and tough as nails. Pictures rarely do it justice to show how BIG it is really is. Just wish they would keep them in stock.. $289

Hanwei Claymore

Affordable, tough and well made - one of the best Scottish Great swords on the market, period. $259

Hanwei Mercenary Sword

The 'jewel in the junk' of a series some rather clunky beaters by Hanwei - it is actually a great example of a rarely reproduced Oakeshott blade type. $232

Del Tin Model 5155

Historically accurate and a typical example of a Del Tin. That is to say, excellent. $487

Darksword Two Handed Gothic

A historically accurate, tough and attractive two handed late medieval Germanic Longsword with distinctive fish-tail pommel. Greatly improved and upgraded over the years. $600

Darksword Armory Templar

Attractive, tough and well made - but a tad on the heavy side. $600

Generation 2 Irish Sword

A great handling and nicely made Irish sword by Gen 2/Legacy Arms. $299.99

Herald Series Two Hander

Looks good - but this DSA offshoot series is nowhere near as tough as a real Darksword blade. $325

Albion Ritter

Almost perfect, maybe too perfect, and a fairly typical example of a high end Albion Sword. $880

Albion Bayuex

Most Albion reviews are done by raving 'fan boys;. Instead, this is an impartial review by your average sword collector. $880

ATrim Competition Cutting LS

Review of one of the limited edition releases through Kingston Arms. $1200


  • Windlass European Sword - one of my favorite medieval swords of all time. Came back from 2011 to 2018 but was finally discontinued once and for all in late 2018.
  • Windlass Sword of Auray - was actually an exceptional one handed hollow ground sword based on a historical original. Why Windlass, why?
  • Windlass Verneuil Sword - another really made sword by Windlass that is hard to fathom why it would be discontinued..
  • Windlass Sword of War - really solidly built and great value for money - one more than will be missed..
  • Windlass Towton Sword - Really attractive looking, but with a flopsy blade so not all that sad to see this one go..
  • Windlass Shrewsbury - was a true bargain, liquidated at less than $100
  • Hanwei Edward III sword - Not only Windlass discontinues their medieval swords - was a nice replica of a very ornate historical sword.
  • Angus Trim Makers Mark XIIa Longsword - While Gus no longer makes the makers mark series, these swords represent a turning point for him from pure performance to a nicer looking sword as well..

Renaissance Sword Reviews (16 Reviews)

Hanwei Side Sword

Solidly built and fairly historically accurate. Reborn and rebranded by Kingston Arms.. $269.95

A&A 3 Ring Italian Rapier

Excellent handling, and the biggest surprise, can cut tatami mats when sharpened right up. As you might expect, a very nice piece. $1200

Windlass Pilsen Rapier

So much potential, with great stats and a nice blade. But if you have normal sized hands, its almost unusable out of the box. $220.45

Windlass Christus Imperat

Our reviewer said: For those having little time and/or who are averse to reading long texts: Go out and buy the thing! $324.95

Cold Steel Smallsword

A little on the heavy side, but overall nicely done. Very durable and tough. $293.95

Hanwei Cromwell Sword

Ornate, and a fairly faithful replica of the original with a decently made blade and eye catching fittings. $299.99

Del Tin Schiavona

Beautifully detailed and well constructed, a piece of sword art. $692

Windlass Basket Hilt Sword

In production for nearly 3 decades, a solid time tested replica, though a but too heavy.. $256.49

Battlecry Culloden Basket-Hilt

The Battlecry version of the Windlass Basket Hilt Sword, great handling, sharpened and overall, good value. $292

Cold Steel Sword Cane

Great value for money, tough and quite functional. But be sure to check its local legality.. $99


Falchions, Scimitars, Messers & Saber Reviews (14 Reviews)

Cold Steel Gross Messer

Not to bad in terms of historical accuracy, but as tough and mean as they come. $287.89

Cold Steel MAA Messer

A redesigned version of the original Cold Steel Gross Messer that suits a different crowd with an emphasis on speed and handling. $179.95

Windlass Falchion

So much potential, but it doesn't quite make the grade. $166.50

Del Tin 5132 Falchion

A decent historically accurate replica of a medieval Falchion and perhaps the only real choice other than going custom. $378.95

Cold Steel Shamshir

Looks excellent, is a joy to wield and my oh my is it a good cutter. $218.95

Windlass Scimitar

Historically accurate, solidly constructed and excellent value. $179

Cold Steel 1796 Cavalry Saber

Almost a perfect replica of this lightweight, fast and responsive Saber. $231.24

Windlass 1860 Cavalry Sword

A whole lot of sword for a very reasonable price. One of the best saber deals around. $125.95

Atlanta Cutlery Troopers Sword

A functional civil war sword for $40? Totally amazing value.. $46.99

US 1827 Hungarian Saber

Made by Universal Swords of India,it looks the part and has a nice scabbard. But it falls down in the handling department. $251


Quality Decorative Fantasy Sword Reviews (3 Reviews)

The ONLY exception we make where we review purely decorative, non battle ready swords.. Because they are cool..

Kit Rae Mithrodin

If only that beautiful blade was carbon steel.. Given a SBG rating based on its own merits.. $136

Kit Rae Exotath

You have probably seen rip offs of this blade. But they really don't have anything on the original. $136

United Cutlery Samurai 3000

Come on. admit it. It's cool. Imagine how much cooler it would be in carbon steel.. $96

Functional Fantasy Sword Reviews (14 Reviews)

Scorpion Swords Goblin Sword

Designed by an SBG member and capable of shattering cinder blocks. Need we say more? $274.99

Windlass Raptor

Just a solidly made, cool looking and affordable functional fantasy saber. One of Windlass' best swords. $193

Windlass Heron Mark Sword

An authentic replica from the wheels of time series. A good replica, but a pretty average sword. $247

Hanwei Dark Sentinel

All about the blade on this simple hybrid euro/katana like sword. Good, cheap, serviceable. $124.95

Darksword Armoury Guardian

Reviewed by SBG sword tester and designer Jason Woodard. $565

Darksword Carpathian

Reviewed by SBG sword tester and designer Jason Woodard. $410

Darksword Einar

A stunning fantasy Viking sword based on Norse mythology. $745

Darksword Rangers Sword

The most recent version, more expensive than the first incarnation, but oh so much nicer.. $625

Jeffrey Robinson Antediluvian

A stunning custom sword by Jeffrey Robinson that our reviewer liked even more than the original by Albion! $3100

Fable Blades Master Sword

One of three highly acclaimed Legend of Zelda inspired originals. $2750


Excalibur Swords (3 Reviews)

Generation 2 Excalibur

A truly beautiful recreation of the John Boorman Excalibur Sword and one of the first battle ready swords in my personal collection. $475

Darksword Armory Excalibur

A relatively readily available and accurate replica of the John Boorman Excalibur Sword that while expensive, is still great value. $645

Jeffrey Robinson Excalibur

A custom build of the John Boorman Excalibur Sword, hand made by US based artisan Jeffrey Robinson. Approx $3000-$4000.

Tactical/Anti Zombie Out Break Sword Reviews (8 Reviews)

Cold Steel Kopis & Seax

Pretty basic no-nonsense machete based on ancient European blade designs. A little expensive. $28 ea

Cold Steel Latin & 2 Handed

Great brush cutters. Here pitted against merciless, poisonous, 2 inch long spike bearing mesquite. $14 ea

Hanwei Banshee

A tactical version of the Burmese Dha, and yes, it can actually slice bullets too.. $196

BCI Panabas

Extremely well made, unique and versatile Filipino fighting sword. Exceptional value. $314

Scorpion Tactical Ko-Katana

An SBG design hand made by Chris Palmer in the USA. Turned out even better than expected. $284.99

Zombie Tools Reaver Cleaver

Mean, heavy and super tough, this rock n' roll made in the USA sword is based on the Chinese Warsword. $384



Interview with Saberforge

Interview with Kyberlight

Saberforge Custom Lightsaber

Here we review one of their champion level sparring blades. $520

Saberforge Custom Lightsaber

A follow up review on a second lightsaber by Saber forge. $520


A good overview of Kyberlight Sabers, considered by many to be the best.

I hope this SBG sword reviews index has been helpful. To return to the SBG homepage from SBG sword reviews index, click here

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