How to Buy a Sword
We know that the time, energy and money that goes towards finding and purchasing the right sword can be a serious investment. We want to make your experience as satisfying and straightforward as possible, so whether it’s your first sword or you’re a long time collector, here are a few factors to consider when finding your perfect sword.
To begin, ask yourself these three questions to help narrow down your search.
- How will you use the sword?
- What is your price range?
- What styles are you looking for?
Ryan Whittlinger, founder of Kult of Athena, talks about building your collection.
How will you use the sword?
There are three different classes of swords: Decorative, Functional, and Sport Combat (also known as Stage Combat).
Decorative swords are made for display only. They are not constructed the same way as combat weapons, and therefore should not be used as such. Most lower cost swords available are considered decorative, despite what some dealers may lead you to believe. They are most commonly made of stainless or untempered carbon steel with thin welded on tangs (the part of the blade that goes into the grip). Decorative swords range in price from about $15 – $300, and range in quality correspondingly. These are a great choice for anyone who is interested in swords but does not intend to use force with their sword. Since the swords are still sharpened they can withstand light cutting such as weeds and brush, but these items really shine when saved for decorating, costuming, and collecting purposes. Their stainless steel material means that they require little maintenance to stay looking great for years to come. You’ll find the largest range of styles in this category, from historic replicas, to fantasy items and to movie props.
Also known as Battle Ready swords, functional weapons start at $100 before going up from there. Like their original counterpart, these weapons are typically made of carbon steel. The weapons in this category have longer and thicker blade tangs that are forged as part of the blade. These pieces are necessary for those planning to use their sword, rather than display it. Great for cutting exercises, martial arts, or battle reenactment these battle ready swords come available with varying tips and edge thickness so be sure to thoroughly check product descriptions. Functional swords can come sharpened or unsharpened depending on the manufacturer – that information is also available on product pages.
Even battle ready swords will inevitably become damaged or break when struck. Despite what you may have seen in movies or historical reenactments a blade’s edge is easily damaged in edge to edge contact. But behold, Sport Combat swords. These swords are specifically made to withstand repeated blade on blade combat in theatrical style duels. Their composition is thicker and heavier than functional swords, usually with rounded tips and edges. This category ranges in price from about $90-$200. They tend to be a bit cruder looking than functional swords, and sacrifice some historical accuracy in exchange for durability. Sport combat swords most often have the whole grip forged as one with the blade. Click here to see our Sport Combat line.
What is your price range?
Sword prices begin at $15 and effectively have no cap. Like we mentioned above, your intended use of the sword will determine your price range. Consider these starting prices as basic guidelines:
- Decorative – $15 – ?
- Functional – $100 – ?
- Sport Combat – $90 – ?
Knowing these rough estimates will help you determine what sword you can buy within your budget. For example if you have determined that you want a functional sword, but only have budgeted $40, it might be worth it to look at different options or bide some time and save. We try to offer as many options that suit everyone’s budget.
What styles are you looking for?
Now that you’ve sorted out the details, choosing the right sword only becomes a matter of preference. There are hundreds of different sword styles available and your chosen category and price range will help to select your perfect sword. Ask yourself, do you want historical accuracy? A particular culture such as Roman or Viking? A fantasy blade? This should be the easiest question to answer. Our different sections allow you to peruse different swords from various categories and price points to help you narrow down your search.
Hopefully this guide will help you to make an informed choice and as always, if you have any questions or need further assistance, send us an email and we’re here to help.