Knives are without a doubt the most desired skins in all of CS:GO. Ranging from a couple dozen dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars just for one knife, there are tons of different knife skins out there to choose from, and that can make it difficult to decide what you want to use in your games. In this article we’ll check out the most popular knives among pros, and we’ll give you our own choices as well so that you can decide which knife is the best CS:GO knife for you.
It’s important to note that tastes differ. It would be an awfully boring world if everyone liked the exact same things, so if you’re looking for a cut-and-dried answer telling you ‘this is the best knife’ then you’re out of luck. Knives offer no objectively quantifiable gameplay benefits (aside from making you run faster when holding them, but that also works with the default knives) so it’s all about the looks, and looks are subjective. With that said: there definitely are trends, and some knives are undoubtedly more desirable than others.
How to get a CS:GO knife
Knives only enter the game by means of unboxing. Valve (the developers) don’t add knives to the game (as a purchasable item) or user inventories themselves, so it’s up to the users to unbox knives and then trade them or sell them. Knowing how rare a knife is (the chance of unboxing one is around 0.25%) it’s almost always a better idea to just outright buy a knife that you desire, since the odds of getting the one you want by opening cases is close to zero.
The most popular way of obtaining a knife is via the Steam Community Market (where users can buy and sell ingame items such as knives) or via third party websites such as CS.Money. You can also trade for a knife with other users (via Steam’s built in trading function) or you can use trading forums, where people often trade knives for games, real life cash, and so on. Bear in mind that this is very risky, and we absolutely don’t recommend this way of trading to newcomers. If you’re new to the game or you just want to get yourself a nice knife, by far the best way to go about it is to buy one on the Community Market or a reliable third party skin website.
CS:GO knife price
The cost of a knife is influenced by three factors: its rarity, its finish, and the desirability of the knife type itself. The most popular knife types cost more, and the more popular a knife finish is, the more the price is driven up. As a consequence, something like a Karambit Fade (a very popular knife type with a popular finish that’s getting rarer) will cost a lot more than a Navaja Fade (a rather unpopular knife with a popular finish). If you’re someone who likes unpopular types of finishes this is great news; if you like the more popular stuff you’ll have to be prepared to spend more money.
As we mentioned before, CS:GO knives only enter the game by means of unboxing. This means that new knives are naturally going to be much rarer, leading to inflated prices. At the time of writing, it’s been a long time since Valve has released new knife types (or new finishes for existing knives) so prices are stable, but it’s important to know that, once a new knife gets released that tickles your fancy, it’s best to wait it out a bit until prices stabilize, unless you’re willing to pay the ‘early adopter fee’.
Lastly, it’s handy to know that specific knives can only be found in specific cases (so a case doesn’t contain every possible knife type and finish), meaning that their value is directly influenced by the cases they can be found in. Only some cases get dropped (i.e. randomly given) to players after games at any given time, and Valve frequently removes certain cases from this rotation. Once a case containing a certain knife leaves the rotation and stops dropping, the supply of said case gets lower. This makes the case more expensive, leading to less case openings, leading to increased prices for the items in the case.
CS:GO knife types
There are currently 19 knife types in CS:GO. There is no set schedule for new knives to come out, but there are no indications that Valve is going to stop releasing new knife types in the future. It’s pointless to speculate on this, so if you want to invest in a knife we recommend just getting one from the types that are currently available.
Not all knives come with the same finishes. The newest knives (Skeleton Knife, Classic Knife, …) aren’t available with the so-called Chroma finishes (Damascus Steel, Doppler, Marble Fade, Tiger Tooth, Rust Coat, and Ultraviolet) or finishes that came after that. A lot of people assume that those newer finishes will be available for the newer knives in the (near) future, but once again: it’s rather pointless to speculate on this.
As far as the knife types and knife finishes go, there are definitely finishes and knives that are more popular than others. Knives like the Karambit, Butterfly Knife, M9 Bayonet, and so on are a lot more expensive than Navaja or Gut Knives, for example.
The most popular CS:GO pro knives
Top tier pros earn good money and spend thousands of hours in the game, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that the pros are mostly using expensive knives. The Karambit and Butterfly knives are among the most popular knives right now, and as far as finishes go we see the ‘usual suspects’ like Doppler, Fade, and Slaughter.
Some pros are known for their special knife choices (flusha for not using a knife, s1mple for popularizing the Nomad Knife, f0rest for his Rust Coat knives, …) but a lot of professionals like to switch it out every once in a while and don’t stick to one particular style or finish. It’s also worth noting that professionals often borrow skins from collectors to use in big tournaments. This gives the collector a nice story to tell (‘that pro player used my knife in the Major!’) and the pros a unique or very rare knife to play around with.
The Doppler finish is an older finish at this point in time, but it often shows up in community surveys as the most loved finish, and that’s for good reason. You have to have your shaders turned up in order to fully enjoy this finish, but if you do it’s a spectacular sight to see.
The light plays beautifully with the deep colors of the Doppler patterns, and if you go for a Phase 2 or Phase 4 (the two most popular Doppler patterns, since they have the most pink or blue on the blade) it’s not hard to see where community nicknames such as ‘Pink Galaxy’ and ‘Blue Galaxy’ come from.
To top it off, standard Doppler finishes aren’t insanely expensive. It’s a higher tier finish for sure, but it’s not extremely rare like a Factory New Crimson Web or an Emerald or Ruby Doppler pattern. Put this beautiful finish on a community favorite knife and it’s not hard to see why the Doppler Phase 2 is among the most used knives in the professional scene.
The Butterfly Knife is without a doubt the most interesting knife in the game. It has different pullout animations and a bunch of unique inspect animations, and by alternating the inspect and reload button you can get your ingame character to play around with the knife as if it were a fidget toy. It’s very impressive to look at, and it’s extremely fun to play with as well.
The Fade finish doesn’t look as nice on all knife types, but it’s undeniable that a nice Fade on a Butterfly Knife is a gorgeous sight to see. A full Fade will cost you a pretty penny (the Fade finish is rather rare, and a full fade is even more exclusive) but it’s also one of the classiest and most beautiful knives in the game if you ask us.
As a bonus, the Fade pattern also works well on lower video settings, so even if you’re a tryhard competitive player you’ll find enjoyment with a Butterfly Knife Fade.
CS:GO professionals have always been fans of Fade knives for some reason, and the Karambit Fade used to be the most desirable item (putting aside unique skins or extremely rare skins for a second) in the game.
Due to the way the Fade pattern is applied to the Karambit, you’ll see a beautiful purple/pink gradient on your knife, with a touch of yellow (only on the higher fade percentages) and no brown. This means that, even if you get a low fade percentage, you’re looking at a beautiful knife. The same can’t be said for all knives, seeing as a lot of knives have that brownish sort of color on lower fade percentages, and that’s not pleasing to look at whatsoever.
The Karambit Fade is an all time classic, and it will probably never lose that status, in part due to the fact that Fade patterns are part of older collections and are becoming rarer.
It’s almost impossible to believe now, but this knife with this finish used to be valued at around the same price as a Bayonet with a mid-high tier finish. Those days are long gone, and the Butterfly Knife Slaughter is considered to be a very high tier skin these days.
The Butterfly Knife, as mentioned earlier, is a unique knife and without a doubt the most desirable knife type in the game right now, and the Slaughter finish is an old favorite that still remains well-loved among people even to this day.
It used to be that people overpaid a ton for special Slaughter patterns, but those days have sort of passed. Nowadays, most Slaughter patterns are considered to be of roughly equal value, with only truly special patterns bringing in a lot more than market price.
Slaughter is another pattern that will look beautiful on lower settings as well as on higher settings, and its beautiful mix of different shades of red makes it an extremely interesting pattern that doesn’t look gaudy or distracting.
Yet another Butterfly Knife among the most used skins, this time with arguably the flashiest finish available right now. If you’re a fan of RGB lighting or very colorful objects, you’ll love the Marble Fade finish.
Much like the Doppler knives, Marble Fade knives are best enjoyed with shaders turned up somewhat since most of their attraction comes from the way the colors play with the light, so if you get this knife we recommend raising your shaders in the game in order to get the most enjoyment out of the knife.
CS:GO Knife Tier List
We know that knives are heavily subjective, but we couldn’t resist making a tier list anyway. We gathered all CS:GO players in the ProSettings.net team and came up with the following list. Note that this is just for fun; we’re not telling you what to like and what not to like, so if you like a knife that’s particularly unattractive to the majority of the CS:GO audience then by all means go for it. With that being said: let’s get into it.
How could this not be everyone’s favorite? The knife has a ton of unique animations, and it’s extremely fun to play around with when you’re in between rounds or rotating between bombsites. Just make sure to not get caught with your knife out when the action starts.
The Karambit is the OG ‘top tier knife’. Way before the Butterfly Knife gained its status as probably the most desirable knife (believe it or not, the Butterfly Knife used to be a mid tier knife) the Karambit held that crown.
The pullout animation is, if you ask us, the most satisfying animation in the game, and you can treat the knife like a fidget spinner by alternating between your inspect and reload button. Couple that with its mean looks and you’ve got a top tier knife.
The regular bayonet has lost some of its shine in recent years, but we still find this to be an attractive knife to look at. The pullout animation is unique (though it can get boring after a while) and while it doesn’t have any special inspect animations, its overall look and style is enough to catapult it into this tier.
On obvious downside to the Bayonet is that it shows scratches rather easily (especially on the spine) so if you want to get a clean looking knife you’ll mostly have to get it in Factory New condition with a good float value.
This knife is being slept on. It has a nice pullout animation, a rare unique inspect animation, an idle animation, and it’s the knife that many CS veterans grew up with. The handle looks nice, and the blade has a cool look to it too. It’s not super popular right now, but the same could be said of the Butterfly Knife in a distant past, and look where that one ended up.
The beige splotches on the cutting edge of the knife might be a little difficult to get over for some, but on some patterns (Slaughter, Fade, …) you can barely even see them.
Another knife that’s underappreciated. It has a cool pullout animation (that it sadly has to share with the lower tier Gut Knife) and the blade is huge and looks absolutely mean. There’s a ton of room for beautiful knife finishes to show themselves in their full glory, and the black handle looks clean and classy.
It’s a shame that it’s looked at as an upgraded Gut Knife by some, because it might’ve been more appreciated by the community if it didn’t have to share its pullout animation.
This is one of the most popular knives in CS:GO. It used to be the top dog along with the Karambit, but its popularity has faded somewhat. Still, it’s a very respectable knife to pull out thanks to its cool animation and its absolutely huge blade. The ridges at the back of the blade finish the mean, tactical look, making for a knife that looks like it means business.
This is a newer knife, and even though it has a tiny blade and can be seen as a kind of Flip Knife wannabe, the Stiletto does enough to stand on its own. Its classy handle makes it so that the knife wouldn’t look out of place in a fancy cigar lounge, and the satisfying inspect animation (there’s also a rare inspect animation on this knife) makes for a unique knife, both in terms of looks as well as feel.
This isn’t one for pattern lovers due to the small blade, but a Stiletto Knife Fade or a beautiful Blue Gem Case Hardened definitely look amazing even if the blade is on the smaller side.
The Flip Knife is an okay knife in many ways. It has an interesting pullout animation, but no special animations aside from that (which results in it being a tier below the similar-feeling Stiletto) and the blade is rather small. A Flip Knife Full Fade or with a Fire and Ice Marble Fade pattern is an absolutely beautiful and understatedly classy shiv, but if you don’t have an interesting pattern on the Flip Knife it’s kind of boring.
This one gets put in the higher tiers by a lot of people, but aside from its unique animations (which are rather rare to get) this is a pretty boring knife. There’s the fact that it looks like a ninja knife, which will attract a ton of people based on that fact alone, but when viewed in a vacuum there’s not a ton going on since you’ll mostly get a very standard pullout and inspect animation.
Yes, the unique animations are extremely cool to look at, but if you have to rely on those (rare) animations to make this knife worth it then it’s not worth the money if you ask us.
Everything about this knife screams ‘eh’. It looks like the marriage between a Gut Knife and a Huntsman Knife, but its cheap-looking handle and standard pullout animation makes this somewhat unimpressive. Yes, there’s a unique equip animation, but just as with the Skeleton Knife that’s rather rare to get. If that rare animation was the default animation then this knife would be a tier higher.
‘Mom, can we have a Karambit?’
-‘We have a Karambit at home.’
The Karambit at home: Talon Knife.
We’ll concede that the blade of the Talon Knife looks cooler than that of the Karambit, but the pullout animation looks as if someone who has been practicing on the Karambit pullout move hasn’t quite mastered it yet, and there’s an annoying rattly sound every time you pull it out, as if there’s something moving inside of the knife.
This has a lot going for it with its super clean (and decently sized) blade, unique (somewhat) rare pullout animation, and unique (rare) inspect animation, but that ugly handle tends to ruin the entire look of this knife. If that were black instead of this vague hue of green the knife would be ranked higher. On some finishes, the handle does turn black, so getting a really clean Crimson Web Ursus knife will definitely net you some style points.
A cool blade, nice looking handle, decent pullout animation, and a decent inspect animation: what’s not to like? Well, the fact that you can only see one hand when holding this knife is something that bothers a lot of people. What’s that other hand doing? Why isn’t it showing on screen like with the other knives? Did Valve forget about it or is it an intentional design choice? We don’t know, but we do know that the one-handed nature of the Bowie knife annoys us.
This looks like a Swiss Army Knife. If you’re into that kind of stuff then this is a cool one to go for, but the kind of clumsy pullout animation combined with the boy scouts kind of look of this knife makes it a lower tier knife if you ask us. It does have a cool inspect animation though.
The slight cyberpunk vibe that you get from this knife isn’t enough to move it into the higher tiers. The unique (rare) equip animation doesn’t look all that interesting and the blade itself isn’t very interesting. It’s a solid knife, but not all that interesting.
This knife was popularized by s1mple, but when viewed objectively it isn’t a great knife if you ask us. The pullout animation is extremely unique (and the ‘ouch I hurt myself special animation is even more unique) but if you’re not a fan of that then this knife falls apart entirely. We’re not fans of that animation, so the knife is in the lower tiers.
This knife is small, has an old-timey looking handle, and ultimately looks uninspiring. It’s probably good for hunting in the woods (and, as a consequence, gutting animals) but not for looking cool in a tactical shooter game.
This looks like a steak knife, but a badly made one, because the handle is too small to cut steak. The animations look underwhelming, and this is considered by many to be the worst knife in the game.
It’s probably the most unique weapon in the game, but it just looks underwhelming ingame. The area for finishes to show themselves in their full glory is extremely small, and to top it off the screen shakes when you pull out the knives. Not ideal for a tactical shooter, and they look about as menacing as someone coming at you with two ballpoint pens.
Conclusion – The Best CS:GO Knife
There is no ‘best’ CS:GO knife, seeing as they all perform the exact same (meaning that they raise your movement speed, but don’t have any gameplay differences between them) so it all comes down to personal taste. With that said: certain knives are definitely more favored by the community than others, but that doesn’t mean that you also have to like it. We encourage you to get a knife that suits your own preferences and style.
Hopefully this article contained some useful bits of information about CS:GO knives (and skins in general) and with any luck you’ll have found some inspiration for buying your very own knife after reading this article.
Thanks for reading!