The likelihood is that if you’re a fan of pocket knives or a frequent reader of Knife Informer, you’re at least somewhat familiar with the company’s offerings. WE is one of the largest and most prolific knife companies on the market today, and they have become almost unavoidable in recent years whether it be in the shape of one of their three-tiered level brands or as an OEM for someone else’s blades. We’ll look at their past as well as some of their Best WE Knives current offers.
Unlike to many other European knife makers, WE Knife has a very recent history. The business was established in 2000 in Yangjiang, a city in China’s Guangdong Province that is similar to Portland, Seki City, or Solingen in that it is home to most of the country’s makers of cutlery and tiny tools.
Prior to commencing to market knives under its own name in around 2016, they were an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for other companies. They started with high-end manufacturing knives (titanium, premium steels, etc.) The Civivi portfolio, a collection of more economical tools that don’t skimp on quality or fit and finish, was added to WE Knife’s brand in 2018. In the years that followed, they rose to the top of the community’s favorites list.
Two years later, WE introduced Sencut to the bottom of their list, providing a low-cost entry-level knife on large-volume retailers like Amazon and AliExpress. As a result, their models range from the $40 Sencuts on Amazon to the (at the time of writing) $580 Subjugator with a Damasteel blade. Also, a number of prizes have been given to their goods, including Best Factory Folding Knife and Best in Show (factory knife) at Blade Show West 2018 for the 740DS, as well as Most Innovative New Knife by KnifeNews in 2018 for the Double Helix.
Here are our picks for the top WE Knife family knives that are currently available for purchase.
1. WE BANTER
Ben Peterson, who is as near to an internet celebrity in the knife world as one can go, is the creator of The Banter and Baby Banter. The humorous YouTube series Knife Banter, which gave rise to the name of the knife, was once hosted by him. Beside being a charming internet star, Ben is a passionate outdoorsman with extremely particular knife preferences. When Ben set out to create his own knife, he made sure it met all the criteria that a knife needed to meet in order to get his endorsement.
In order to pass the “finger test,” which involves being able to manipulate the blade’s tip with your index finger running down the spine, the tool must have a deep carry pocket clip with recessed hardware, be simple to open with one hand, and have good ergonomics. It’s the perfect everyday carry knife for your daily activities with a 2.9″ S35VN blade that is legal in most countries, travels well owing to the deep carry steel clip, and weighs only 2.61 oz.
It comes in the original colorways—”Ben Blue” with a Satin blade or Black G10 with a black blade—as well as a few new variations, including a BladeHQ-only model in natural jade G10 with 20CV steel, green G10 with a bronze thumb stud, grey G10/satin blade, and, lastly, a cool marbled carbon fiber handle with black blade. Moreover, there are the amusing space kitten scales from Ben’s business, Knafs. Strongly suggested. Besides, you can choose some Tactical Knife For Plate Carrier.
After that, Petersen released the Baby Banter under the Civivi label. An even more compact version of the original had a 2.34″ blade and was only 5.46″ long when it was open. While having a shorter blade, the Mini Banter is even lighter at 2.0 oz flat and incorporates a helpful 50/50 forward choil for a stable constricted up grip. With the shorter blade, the Baby Banter was created to fit in a fifth pocket of trousers, or more particularly, in the extra-shallow pockets of women’s jeans, which according to Ben was one of the design inspirations.
Everyone benefits from more diverse design in the knife business! The Baby Banter is more reasonably priced (under $60!) than a WE since it is advertised as a Civivi, but it still employs premium Nitro-V blade steel. The Banter/Baby Banter are favorites of the knife obsessive for good reason; they are terrific designs by wonderful dudes.
2. CIVIVI CONSPIRATOR
One way that WE and Civivi have started to branch out from a lot of other knife companies (it’s a crowded business these days!) is their greater utilized of the button lock on new models. Button locks are somewhat uncommon on folding knives, generally utilized as the release/lock on automatics but infrequently used on manual folders due to their expense and difficulty — plenty of moving parts and tolerances to care about. Of course, that’s compensated by how much fun they are to fiddle with – and the inherent safety advantage of your fingers being out of the path of the blade when you’re unlocking it. The Conspirator is one of these revolutionary button lock knives.
All Conspirators have a massive 3.75” drop point blade crafted from Nitro-V stainless steel, measuring 0.12” thick across the spine. It boasts a decorative fuller on the flats, and a broad line of jimping down the spine for grip. You have three alternatives for opening: removing the button lock and flicking it, using the flipper tab to snap it open, or using the fuller on the blade as a thumb slot to roll the blade out. Either way, the Conspirator opens easily owing to a ball bearing pivot and a robust detent.
All Conspirators are the same size (8.11” long open, 3.7-3.8 ounce weight) but you have options with handle materials and blade finish – black micarta with a stonewashed blade, green micarta with black stonewashed blade, Cuibourtia Wood with a stonewashed blade, or a Damascus blade variant with dark green micarta scales. All of them use the same deep carry steel pocket clip that’s set for ambidextrous tip up carry, and they all provide fantastic value for money for a sub-$100 folder.
3. CIVIVI ELEMENTUM
What can we say about the Elementum that hasn’t been been stated before? Or that we haven’t mentioned before, having examined the Elementum earlier (see link at the bottom of this post) (see link at the bottom of this entry.)
The Elementum could be WE’s biggest hit, spanning a huge range of models including new premium variations sold as WE knives — the Elementum was originally a Civivi product. In its simplest form, the Elementum was created to be the goldilocks of pocket knives — not too big, not too little, not too heavy, not too pricey, the “just-right” solution to everyday requirements. It’s clean, straightforward design led to enormous popularity in the knife community and has generated a large number of versions. Besides, you can choose some LionSteel Knives.
The OG Elementum boasts a 2.9” drop point with a hollow grind and a satin finish in plain D2 tool steel, with steel liners and G10 scales. At a $50 price point it’s undoubtedly one of the best inexpensive folders in the business.
Since the Elementum blew up, they’ve added a lot of fresh takes- there’s a Tanto, a mini Elementum (1.8” blade), different handle materials like Micarta, Copper, Shredded Carbon Fiber and Brass, a larger Elementum Button Lock model (with a 3.5” blade that deploys via the button lock and a flick of the wrist), a fixed blade, and of course the WE Elementum. The upmarket version includes solid titanium scales and a CPM 20CV blade to spice things up. Sure, there’s an Elementum for everyone!
4. CIVIVI CRIT
I adore the Civivi Crit, and I tell almost anybody who’ll listen to me how it’s the contemporary rendition of the original Swiss Army Knife. It takes the notion of the multi-function pocket knife and flips it on its head, reinventing some of the core aspects that make a classic pocket knife so handy with current additions.
The Crit includes two blades, both of which open through front flipper tabs on ball bearings, locking in place with a single common center liner lock. The blade itself is a 3.18” drop point in stonewashed Nitro-V stainless steel, incredibly thin at 0.10” wide, with the iconic narrow Swiss Army Knife shape.
On the opposite end is a multitool that likewise opens by front flipper tab, containing a small and medium straight screw driver, a hook cutter, a bottle opener, and several multi-wrenches in the centre of the tool (hex 4, 5, 6, and 8) along with standard and metric rulers down the spine. Steel on the tool is 9Cr18MoV, another high-quality stainless steel.
The Crit provides a two-position stainless deep carry wire clasp, and your option between either natural Jade or Black G10 and my favorite, green linen Micarta. The Crit is an enormously helpful thing to sneak into your pockets on the weekend, miraculously weighing just 3.44 ounces and being only 0.61” broad. Great outside-the-box thinking, definitely recommended.
5. WE ARRAKIS
We think the Elijah Isham-designed Arrakis is one of the most bizarre-looking production knives ever imagined. It resembles the protuberance of an H.R. Giger sci-fi monster. No matter the variation, the appearance is striking: even the blade alone is odd, a modified Wharncliffe with a double hump spine, a plunging main grind, and a series of holes drilled into the middle of the blade give it an alien-looking appearance rather than a letter opener.
Before you ever get to the handle, which is referred to as a sub-integral assembly, the knife’s titanium backbone is cut out of a single piece, and a carbon fiber layer is applied over the top, over the sides, and towards the front. Although it has a complicated appearance, this 8″ overall folder only weights 3 ounces, making it both dramatic and lightweight.
A separate titanium overlay replaces the carbon fiber in other models, which have two-tone titanium handles and a slightly heavier 3.8 ounce weight. All of them come with a stylish 3D-machined titanium pocket clip and ceramic ball bearings for quick deployment in the pivot.
If you’re hoping that when future civilizations explore the ruins of your house, they’ll have more questions than answers, then this is the knife for you.
Nowadays, WE Knife is one of the most well-known brands in the high-end production knife industry. Many of its goods have a price tag of $250 or more, and they are of a high caliber and level of workmanship.
WE, however, has a relatively broad vertical spread of the market, with products ranging from the $40 Amazon specials to over $600 high-end Damasteel knives. This is in contrast to several other firms that fill the high end, such as Chris Reeve Knives out of Idaho or lionSteel in Italy. In this sense, Kizer and Reate are their main rivals.
Reate may not be the most direct rival because they mostly produce high-end goods. The cheapest Reate knife available on BladeHQ at the moment is the $310 Reate/Tachi Bharucha T3000 collaboration; they don’t offer a bargain line comparable to Civivi.
Yet Reate is likely one of the top manufacturers in the world for an OEM that takes pleasure in ultra-high-quality production and luxury products. Like WE, they also create a lot of maker collaborative goods, and they have also made knives as an OEM for less well-known companies. Like WE Knife, they are likewise situated in Yangjiang.
A far more accurate comparable for WE Knife is Kizer. Kizer, which began operations in Yangjiang in 2012, hasn’t been around as long as WE. Like WE, Kizer has expanded their product line to include high-end full titanium knives like the Ti Begleiter we reviewed, as well as the mid-priced Vanguard line made of less expensive materials and steels, as well as the low-cost Tangram line sold on Amazon and AliExpress, like the Vector we reviewed.
In a knife club, there may be some pretty good debate about whether company produces higher-quality knives: WE Knife or Kizer. But, having used both companies’ goods, I can state that both are of top-shelf quality.
Last but not least, Yangjiang-based (sorry if I sound like a broken record) QSP Knife, a more recent entry into the Chinese manufacturing knife industry, would be another rival. QSP stands for Quality, Service, and Pricing, and the QSP we have so far examined complies with it.
They have knives ranging in price from the inexpensive ($20 Parrot liner lock with a D2 blade and G10 scales) to the expensive ($280 Legatus framelock with carbon-fiber inlayed handles). For a product at the manufacturing level, QSP’s knives exhibit an impressive level of finishing detail, as seen by the Gannet’s blade’s flawless horizontal satin surface. They are new, but they are a brand to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Everyone can find something they like with the WE Knife brand. A really mind-boggling assortment of knives, all with surprisingly good build quality, are produced by Best WE Knives using their experience in machining and design. These knives range from low-cost to high-end to OEM manufacture. Now is the chance to test one out if you haven’t already!