Replaceable Blade Knife Comparison Review
Why the Hype?
For those of you that have gutted a dear or field dressed an elk, you know that a sharp blade is really nice to have. Recently there has been an emergence of the 'Replaceable Blade Knife'. Havalon was the first to come out with the concept for the hunting and outdoor industry, but many other players have jumped into this arena to compete and bring their own flare to the concept. The other 2 designs that we have chosen to bring on so far are from Gerber and Outdoor Edge. We'll be reviewing the comparable knives from each of those brands.
The concept of the 'Replaceable Blade Knife' has really changed the way that people field dress their game. For centuries, hunters have used fixed and folding knives, or sometimes a series of knives to gut, skin, and bone out meat from animals. Almost always, the blade starts out sharp and gets more dull with each cut made. The idea of having a fresh blade throughout the process has hunters migrating towards this concept. Many people say it's a game changer and we're happy to take your feedback in the comments section below.
Features & Differences
In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison, we took the standard knife from each of the 3 brands, the Havalon Piranta Edge, the Gerber Vital, and the Outdoor Edge Razor Lite (Blaze). Each of these are really the standard edition from each brand. All three brands have other replaceable blade knives in different shapes, sizes and styles you can check out on our site, but for the purposes of this comparison, we would like to stick to the basics.
All 3 knives are folders. The Havalon has a liner lock, whereas the other two are lockback folding knives. The Havalon and the gerber have 2-3/4" blades that are nearly identical. They are a #60 blade and both are made from 420HC Stainless Steel. The Outdoor Edge uses a proprietary blade that was specifically made for their knives, and made from 420J2 Stainless Steel at a longer 3-1/2 inches. The difference between the 420HC and the 420JC is the carbon content. The HC stands for 'High Carbon' and contains about .5% to .6% carbon, whereas the JC comes in around .3% to .4%. All that means is that the 420HC is going to ve a little bit more hard, a little more brittle, but will hold an edge and sharpen a bit better than the 420JC. All of these blades are crazy sharp. For the Piranta Edge and the Vital, they are literally a surgeons scalpel so be very careful when 'testing' how sharp they really are.
All the replaceable blade knives use a synthetic handle. Havalon uses an ABS plastic handle with a rubber inlay. The Gerber Vital has a rubberized over-mold on top of a textured poly handle. The Outdoor Edge has a full rubberized handle. The Havalon and Gerber have a pocket clip that can help it be an EDC knife, and the Outdoor Edge comes with a Nylon Sheath that can be used to store it in your pack or carry on your belt.
All the knives are close in price coming in between $34.95 and $42.00. The Havalon comes with 12 blades, where the other 2 come with 6 blades each. They all definitely have their advantages, but are all fairly close in price.
On the Havalon, replacing the blade isn't too hard, it's just a little more involved. It requires the use of pliers or their new blade replacement tool. To get the blade off with pliers, you need to lift the back of the blade off of the "fitment", and slide off towards the front. Using the blade removal tool, you just need to insert the blade, close the tool and slide it out. It's pretty slick, but adds a bit of cost when purchasing the blade system.
On the Gerber and Outdoor edge systems, they have a push button system that allows you to use your hands to replace the blade. They feel just as sturdy, but do drive up the cost a bit.
All of these knives are great options and it just comes down to personal preference. Weather it's the surgical feel and flexibility of the Havalon, or the more ridged handle and blade from Outdoor Edge, each knife will ship fast and free when you order from BlackOvis.com!