Last updated: August 23, 2021

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Welcome to our big sword test 2021. Here we present all the swords we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best sword for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a sword.




Summary

  • Basically, you can distinguish between long swords and short swords. The only difference between the two is the length of the hilt and the way they can be wielded with one or two hands.
  • The choice of your sword type determines the technique to be used. With a short sword you are fast and flexible, with a long sword your movements are slower, but you can deliver strong and effective blows.
  • Depending on the intended use, you can also distinguish between different types. For example, there are special training swords or decorative swords.

The Best Sword: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a saber

What kind of sword is suitable for me?

Especially if you have decided on a decorative sword, the shape of the blade, the shape of the hilt and possibly special shapes of swords can be particularly eye-catching. But also if you want to fight or become part of the LARP world, it is worth taking a look at different types of swords.

Schwert-Wiese

The sword is a cutting and thrusting weapon with a straight or curved, single or double-edged blade, hilt and scabbard. (Photo: Free-Photos / pixabay.com)

Thus, in addition to the "typical" knight's swords and Viking swords, several other types and designs can be differentiated in the series of European swords:

Cult and ceremonial swords

... are used for ceremonies or other cultic acts and have strong symbolic value. Examples are: Coronation or imperial swords

Directing swords..

... are usually two-handed swords which were used for beheadings, especially in the Middle Ages.

Special forms..

... are for example obsidian swords (rather club-like) or tusk swords (an armament for war elephants).

Scimitars..

... usually have a curved, single-edged blade and originate from the Orient and Asia.

Bronze swords..

... are, according to their name, forged from bronze and have been used for representational purposes since the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. They are therefore more suitable for history lovers as decoration.

Other swords..

... such as practice swords made of wood.

How should I decide?

Do you prefer a specific cultural area? Then consider whether, for example, Celtic swords or other European swords such as the spatha or even an epee are right for you.

If your interests lie more in Asia, you should look at swords such as the Samurai sword, Nijia sword, Kendo or Tanto (even if it is more of a long knife). If you want a decorative sword, perhaps a replica of a movie sword like the Gryffindor Sword or Gandalf's "Glamdring" will make an impression?

Another way to decide might be to look at the "story behind it". For example, fighting with the Japanese samurai sword is often related to a certain attitude, mental training and a high degree of willpower and body control.

If the philosophy of a certain fighting style appeals to you, you should perhaps start here. You should consider which sword particularly appeals to you based on its type, handling and technique, appearance and possibly its historical significance and (life) philosophy and suits your personal purposes.

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The samurai sword has a high symbolic power in swordsmanship. (Photo: MichaelWuensch / pixabay.com)

What do I have to consider when buying a sword?

Regardless of which sword you are looking for, there are a few things you should consider when buying a sword:

  1. Are you allowed to buy a sword at all? The age of majority requirement applies especially to online shops selling blank swords. We have summarised some legal information on this in the section below.)
  2. Cheap is not always bad. However, if you buy a sword for little money, you cannot assume that it is of high quality. It is better to invest a little more in your saber and read reviews and experience reports beforehand.
  3. Only order from trustworthy dealers. Here, too, there are some rating portals that you should read beforehand.

What material should my sword be forged from?

The short answer is: steel. Even in the past, swords were forged primarily from steel, the "better iron". Due to its high elasticity and malleability, steel is easier to work with than iron.

The so-called "Damascus steel" is particularly prominent. Named after its homeland Damascus, this steel is a mixture of several types of iron and steel. It captivates above all by its handsome patterning.

Today, however, swords are mainly made of industrial steel using modern machinery. Info: Only decorative swords do not rust due to a higher chrome content. Swords made for fighting rust and require intensive care!

Decision: What types of swords are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, there are many different types of swords. However, we can first distinguish between two superordinate sword types:

  • Long swords
  • Short swords

Both basically follow the same structure, but differ fundamentally in their handling. Depending on the purpose for which you want to buy your sword, you should deal with some questions in advance. In addition, sword types can also be differentiated according to the type of use.

These are, among others:

  • Training and practice swords (mostly made of wood or plastic)
  • Show swords
  • Decorative swords
  • Sharp swords

In the following section, we would first like to give you the basics on the topic of "sword", which you will encounter during your search.

What is the difference between long swords and short swords?

The main difference between the two types of sword is the length of the handle. This determines the style in which you can wield your sword. The term "long" sword is probably somewhat misleading here. Contrary to what one might think, this term does not refer to the actual length of the sword, but only to the way it is wielded.

Two-handed swords, i.e. swords wielded with two hands, are called long swords. In fact, the length of the blade is usually quite similar to that of short swords. Only the handle of these models is longer so that they can be gripped comfortably with two hands.

Short swords are therefore swords that are wielded with one hand, the one-handed swords. The handle is correspondingly shorter. For orientation: Here you can usually assume a total length between 40cm and 80cm.

A well-known example of a short sword is the Roman gladius. Depending on the definition, however, long knives or daggers can also be included. The one-and-a-half-handed sword, also called a bastard sword, is considered an intermediate type.

Here, too, the length of the handle plays a decisive role. The lengthening of the one-handed grip allows the second hand to provide support. The special feature here is the possibility of one or two-handed control without the sword being designed for two-handed control.

How the choice of a long or short sword affects the fighting style and the fighting technique to be used will be discussed in more detail later. So you should first ask yourself the question:

For what purposes do I want to buy a sword?

Basically, swords are usually bought for two reasons:

  • Sword fighting
  • Decoration

Is it really about fighting or should the sword merely serve as a decorative element?

Let's start with the former: If you really need your sword for duels, your desired fighting style is decisive for the basic decision between a long or a short sword. To help you decide, we have drawn up a small comparison.

The advantages and disadvantages of a long sword

Advantages
  • Long range
  • High intensity of attacks due to leverage
  • More power due to two-handed wielding
Disadvantages
  • Limited use in confined situations / terrain
  • Higher effort due to length and weight of the blade
  • More difficult handling due to dimensions of the sword

The advantages and disadvantages of a short sword

Advantages
  • Less effort due to lighter weight
  • Easier and faster handling due to short blade
  • Requires less material and is therefore cheaper
Disadvantages
  • Shorter reach
  • Lower intensity of the attack due to less leverage
  • Due to short handle no two-handed attacks possible

With the short sword you are comparatively agile and can execute fast, effective blows. You can also carry a shield at the same time. If you fight an opponent with a long sword, you should rely on good cover, precise blows and plenty of movement. Do your strengths lie in movement and light-footedness? Then the short sword is the right choice.

If you prefer to keep your opponent at a distance and like to throw strong, swinging blows at him, the long sword is the right choice for you. In both cases, you will usually resort to show swords, wooden swords or LARP weapons made especially for duels.

What is the difference between a single-edged and a double-edged sword?

It sounds complicated, but it is actually quite simple: a double-edged sword is sharpened on both sides and thus allows you to strike with both the forehand and the backhand.

In principle, this just means that you can use both sides of the sword. For example, you could turn your dulled blade during the fight in order to continue fighting. Single-edged swords are sharpened on one side only and are the rarer type of the two.

The expression "double-edged sword" comes from the Bible. It expresses that something can bring benefit and harm at the same time. Because of the double-edged edge, there was at the same time the danger of injuring oneself in the back when defending against enemy attacks.

What are blank weapons?

In principle, blank weapons are all weapons that have an effect through pure muscle power. Here you might also come across the term "blank weapons". If you come across this category in sword shops, it simply means that you will find swords, daggers, sabres or other bladed or percussive weapons.

What are padded weapons?

Padded weapons, or latex weapons, are basically replicas of real swords or "real" weapons in general. In contrast to the "original", however, they are made of softer materials. They are mainly used in films, theatre or live role-playing (see LARP).

What does LARP mean?

LARP means live action role playing (game). It is mainly about acting and participating in this constructed, past world. There are special show swords or LARP swords for this purpose. These are basically the same thing: unsharpened swords for show combat.

If you want to find out more about LARP, I recommend reading advice sites. There are also some forums where fans can exchange information. You can buy LARP weapons in almost every sword shop.

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Are you a fan of the Middle Ages? These live role-playing games with real-looking swords can give you a lot of pleasure in your free time. (Photo: Derks24 / pixabay.com)

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate swords

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate swords. This will make it easier for you to decide which sword is suitable for your purposes or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Purpose
  • Type and design of the sword
  • Size of the sword
  • Weight of the sword
  • Accessories

In the following approaches you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Intended use

As mentioned above, you should first consider whether you want to use your sword in combat or merely as a decorative sword. This decision forms the basis for the evaluation of size, weight and type of sword, which we will look at in more detail in the following sections.

If you really want to have the "fighting experience" with your sword, the following questions have to be answered first:

  • Can I find a training and fighting partner?
  • Is there a club near me that I could join?
  • Am I aware of the risk of injury, but is this not a problem for me?
  • Do I have armour/ protective clothing?

If you can answer these questions with "yes", then nothing stands in the way.

If you really want to join a club, it is best to ask there for recommendations. Maybe you can take some swords in your hands and gain experience for your own sword purchase.

  • Which sword feels most comfortable?
  • What is my centre of gravity for a balanced and firm sword?
  • What is the maximum weight of my sword so that I can still lift and wield it?
  • Which type of saber suits me?
  • Which type does not suit me at all?

If you can answer these questions clearly in advance, you are already quite a bit further along in the process of buying a sword.

In any case, you should pay attention to the material, workmanship, stability, weight and centre of gravity of the sword. It's best to go straight for a high-quality product so that you don't end up with a broken or fallen blade in battle.

If you answered "no" to the above questions or don't feel like fighting anyway, consider whether a sword for decoration is the right thing for you.

Of course, you can also opt for a real fighting sword. Decorative swords are less robust in comparison, but they do not rust and are more artistically forged. Some have even been reported to survive light combat situations. However, you should avoid these if you do not want your sword to be destroyed.

When it comes to swords for decoration, you can completely follow your preferences. From fantasy swords to replicas of film or heroic swords to faithful reproductions of historical battle swords or prestige swords, the range is wide.

We recommend that you read the purchase and experience reports on the respective product. Often there are also pictures or more specific questions or comments on the workmanship. This way you can get an even better idea of your new sword.

Type and design of the sword

What is the saying? The eye eats with you. The design of your sword can symbolise your role and status at LARP, for example. But a specially designed sword also looks good in your own four walls!

Once again, there is something for every taste, from simple to splendidly decorated. In the first section we have already introduced some different types of swords. Each of them has some characteristic features that become clear in the design.

Prestige swords in particular were forged in the past to symbolise status and power. Such a sword can also have this effect in your home through a successful presentation.

In the case of swords that were forged for combat, the focus is primarily on functionality. They are usually relatively simple and less ornate in order to save weight.

But every type of sword can unfold its special flair in your home. Depending on the mood you want to create in the room and the furniture you have, your decision can also depend on these two factors.

Depending on your preferences, you can use a special blade shape, elaborate ornaments or the fame of a hero or film sword as a special eye-catcher. You can also integrate the colour of your sword into your living concept. Swords are forged in silver, but also in black and bronze.

You don't like the colour and/or texture of your hilt? In this case, you can use a coloured leather strap and attach it to your hilt. The result: your perfect sword with an individual touch.

In any case, however, poor workmanship detracts from the design. For both simple and elaborately crafted swords, you should pay attention to high-quality workmanship. Because: Such a piece of jewellery invites you to take a closer look! Nothing disturbs the "wow effect" more than unsightly details.

Size of the sword

The size of your sword plays a decisive role, especially in combat situations. Depending on your fighting style and your own stature and strength, you should carefully consider which sword to choose in order to fight successfully and without injury.

Do you want to wear your sword on your belt or on your back? Then a greatsword, which you can only free from its holder with difficulty, obviously makes no sense. It is better to use a shorter sword that you can draw quickly. Every second counts in a fight. It also reduces the risk of injury.

How and whether you should carry your sword on your back will be discussed in more detail later in this article. The size of the sword is also related to its weight. More about this in the next section.

Weight of the sword

Even the best combat training and the strongest will are of no use to you if you cannot lift your sword. Therefore, you should also think about which sword you choose.

Agility is the be-all and end-all in sword fighting. You should still be able to lunge, strike and block with full equipment without any problems. There is no point in buying a great sword that is far too big and heavy for your physique and strength reserves.

Rather go for a light short sword and defeat your opponent with agility, tactics and precision. Swords with a gouge (explained in the next section) save additional weight.

There is a sword for everyone! So you should not be depressed that you cannot lift a sword, but focus on your strengths and emphasise and strengthen them with your sword. Also consider the additional weight of your shield, should you want to use one!

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Do not underestimate the weight of a sword. Familiarise yourself well with the fighting instrument. (Photo: Momentmal / pixabay.com)

Accessories

Scabbard, sword stand or wall display. These are probably the most common accessories offered when buying a sword. Depending on the intended use, they are a nice extra when buying, but can also be purchased for little money.

Have you fallen in love with a saber? Then you should by no means make the purchase dependent on the accessories. Think of it as a nice extra. When buying a sabre, the quality of the sabre should be in the foreground. Don't be distracted by these accessories. Most accessories can be bought for a few euros to suit your taste.

A scabbard always makes sense if you want to carry your sword on your body. A sword stand or wall display are great for an impressive presentation of the sword in your own four walls.

Especially when using swords for decorative purposes, the wall mount or sword stand should be stable and of high quality.

Trivia: Facts worth knowing about swords

How is a sword constructed?

Despite the variety of different sword types, the structure of a sword can be described in quite general terms. Imagine a sword with the tip of the blade pointing upwards, as if you were examining it in your hand.

We start with the lower parts of the sword.

  1. The rounded part at the lower end is the pommel. It forms the end of the sword and prevents you from slipping off during the fight and losing your sword. At the same time, it is the counterweight to the blade. It is therefore crucial for the so-called centre of gravity of the sword, which we will explain in the following section.
  2. The handle, which your hand grips to guide the sword, is called the hilt.
  3. The horizontal crossbar above the hilt is the guard. Its purpose is to intercept the opponent's attacks and to protect the hand from the foreign blade.
  4. The blade takes up most of the sword's length.

Besides these four "main parts" of the sword, you should also know the other names for the parts of your sword:

  1. The cutting edge is the sharpened part of the blade.
  2. The ricasso, on the other hand, is an area that is not sharpened. This is usually directly above the quillons.The point? You can shorten the weapon in combat by placing your index finger around the ricasso. This shortens your reach without hurting yourself.
  3. The scabbard is basically the protective sheath or container for your sword. After the fight, you put it back in here to avoid injury or damage and to be able to transport it safely.
  4. The tip of the blade is called the point .
  5. Have you noticed a narrow groove in the centre of the blade from the point to the guard on many swords? This is called a gouge and is intended to reduce weight.

How do I recognise the centre of gravity of my sword and what is it relevant for?

The centre of gravity shows you at which point your sword is balanced. For example, if you place it on your hand, move it until it rests straight on your fingers. On most short swords, for example, the centre of gravity is 11-15 cm from the guard. It is always in the blade of the sword.

So before the fight you should study the position of this point in order to adapt your technique and use of force to the sword. For example, your sword will be heavy in your hand "below" this point, while you can deliver swift blows with the upper part of the blade.

If you work with the characteristics of your sword, you can use them to your advantage and win the fight.

Can I own and wield swords without a firearms licence?

The legal regulations on owning and wielding weapons are laid down in the Weapons Act (WaffG). We have summarised the most important points for you here. Swords are classified as cutting and stabbing weapons. First of all, a basic age requirement is defined:

"The handling of weapons or ammunition is only permitted to persons who have reached the age of 18." (WaffG §2 para.1)

If you want to buy a sword and use it in this context, the following paragraph is relevant for you:

"Anyone who takes part in public amusements, public festivals, sporting events, fairs, exhibitions, markets or similar public events is not allowed to carry weapons as defined in §1 para. 2 [also Schusswaffe, Hieb- oder Stoßwaffen]." (§ 42 Abs.1 WaffG)

However, the following exception applies to exhibition fighting

"[…] Participation in theatrical performances and performances that are to be treated as such, if unloaded firearms or firearms loaded with cartridge ammunition or weapons [Hieb- oder Stoßwaffen] are carried for this purpose" (§ 42 para. 4 WaffG)

The General Administrative Regulation on the Weapons Act (WaffVwV) also excludes from the category of cutting and thrusting weapons objects which

"[…] are modelled on cutting and thrusting weapons, but because of blunted tips and blunt edges are obviously only suitable for sport, for the preservation of customs (e.g. historically copied swords, swords or lances) or as decorative objects"

Show swords or replicas for decorative purposes are therefore not subject to any restrictions. If you want to delve deeper into this topic, we recommend the summary of the Weapons Act (WaffG) by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

How do I care for my sword?

As mentioned above: real swords can rust. So if you use your sword effectively for fighting, you should care for your sword regularly to avoid unsightliness and too much wear and tear.

You should pay attention to the following points:

  1. Never touch your blade unnecessarily. The sweat and grease from your hands will damage the material and can leave permanent marks.
  2. If you have touched the blade or trained with the sword, oil your sword every time (!). You can use Ballistol, clove oil or rose oil for this purpose.
  3. You should also polish your sword. You can use polishing pastes or polishing powder. If rust has formed in the course of time, you can polish the affected areas with polishing cotton wool from the hardware store. Do not forget: Grease after polishing!
  4. Store your sword in a dry place. If you do want to store your sword for a longer period of time, grease it with Vaseline or special weapon grease and wrap it in cloth. It should not be stored in the scabbard for too long (up to two weeks). This applies to all blank weapons.
  5. If nicks or notches appear in the fight, you should remove them. You can do this carefully with a steel file or sandpaper. You should be careful to sand away the entire unevenness to avoid injury.
  6. If your sword has become dull over time, you should first seek professional services. Professional services for grinding and polishing are offered here. Depending on the type of sword, we have found offers starting at 19 euros.

Which swords can be carried on the back?

In Europe, battle swords were historically carried either on the hip in the so-called sword hanger or by horses and sword carriers. Now it is difficult to carry a 1.40 metre long greatsword in a suitable position on the body to be able to draw it for fighting.

If you want to carry your sword on your hip or on your back, I would only recommend this for a sword length of up to 50 cm. Note, however, that when you draw the sword you stretch your body and at the same time reach back, thus exposing your entire abdominal area. At this moment you are uncovered and vulnerable!

You should also practise drawing the sword slowly and beforehand in order not to injure your shoulders.

Here we recommend that you simply change your normal sword hanger. Of course, there are also harnesses that allow you to carry the sword on your back. Just have a look in one of the shops mentioned. We have found some good-looking ones at Battlemerchant.

In Asia, Chinese palace guards carried their swords on their backs until the 20th century. So if you get yourself a samurai sword, ninjia sword or other Japanese battle sword anyway (here, of course, we mean Japanese short swords in particular), you can wear it on your back and even appear historically correct.

Where can I learn more about swords?

The history of swords can be dated back to the Bronze Age. At that time, swords were forged in a relatively simple manner, but the latent-period swords from the time of the Celts (i.e. from about 450 BC to around the birth of Christ), with a parry bar inserted for the first time, were the forerunners of the sword forms we use today.

From this the so-called spatha developed in different variations. One of them: the Viking sword. This is where the Norwegian Jan Peterson made an attempt at classification.

He described in detail various sword types including intermediate types, materials, blade types and handle shapes and created a comprehensive typology on Viking swords in his work "De Norske Vikingeswerd".

Following on from this, the Oakeshott classification must be mentioned at this point. Building on Peterson's work, Ewart Oakeshott drew up a classification of medieval swords in 1964 in "The Sword in The Age of Chivalry".

Unlike his predecessors, this is based on the morphology of the blade, not the hilt. He distinguishes 13 main types and names them in Roman numerals from X to XXII.

The classic knight's sword is type XII. Info: Type X still bears the greatest resemblance to the Viking sword. So if you want to read up on sword lore in more detail, you should first take a look at these works.

Picture source: Pixabay.com / stronytwoichmarzen

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