Everyone can make a CS knife tier list (and we did just that in our best CS:GO knife article) and if you look at pro games you’d think that the only knives in existence are Butterfly Knives and Karambits with top tier finishes costing thousands of dollars, but of course there’s also a whole world of casual gamers who are interested in skins and maybe don’t want to spend multiple monthly wages on a cosmetic item. In our quest to figure out the most popular Counter-strike knife, we asked the people at CS.Money for some help and they came up with some interesting data.
Most popular CS knife skins
- ★ Navaja Knife | Rust Coat (Battle-Scarred)
- ★ Huntsman Knife | Rust Coat (Battle-Scarred)
- ★ Navaja Knife
- ★ Navaja Knife | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
- ★ Huntsman Knife | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
- ★ Bowie Knife | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
- ★ Shadow Daggers | Rust Coat (Battle-Scarred)
- ★ Shadow Daggers | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
- ★ Huntsman Knife | Marble Fade (Factory New)
- ★ Navaja Knife | Marble Fade (Factory New)
- ★ Falchion Knife | Rust Coat (Battle-Scarred)
- ★ Navaja Knife | Ultraviolet (Field-Tested)
- ★ Talon Knife | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
- ★ Falchion Knife | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
- ★ Stiletto Knife | Tiger Tooth (Factory New)
These numbers are based on buying + trading. Source: CS.Money.
There are no official numbers on this, but according to some sources, the median CS inventory value is 33 dollars. A ton of players don’t even have a knife, and people who do buy a knife usually opt for a more budget-oriented one, which is why we’re seeing a ton of ‘lower tier’ knives and finishes in this list. A lot people would love to own a full fade Butterfly Knife, but few are willing to part with the thousands of dollars that these knives cost.
When we’re looking at these rankings, we see some interesting trends.
It’s quite clear that Rust Coat knives are the most popular low tier knives out there. What’s interesting is that Rust Coat finishes aren’t the cheapest: usually finishes like Boreal Forest and Forest DDPAT (in Battle Scarred and Well-Worn conditions) can be bought at friendlier prices, but it seems like those finishes are very much disliked in the community. In fact, the first ‘forest’ knife can be found in the 65th spot: the Stiletto Knife | Forest DDPAT Field Tested.
This is remarkable because it’s often thought that a lot of players just want to own a knife and as such opt for the cheapest option out there so that they can get rid of the default knife models. Of course the presence of the Navaja Knife kind of proves this point (the Navaja knife is the most popular knife type as well as the cheapest knife type) but the data does also show that it’s not as simple as just getting the absolutely cheapest knife out there for most people.
Another factor that could influence the popularity of Rust Coat knives is the fact that the entire blade is covered with Rust Coat finishes. Sure, it’s rusty and looks as if it has been left out over the course of some extremely rough winters, but the finish is applied evenly, and if you’re a fan of the color brown or you like rough looking skins the Rust Coat is a great finish. Battle Scarred, Well-Worn, and even Field Tested ‘Forest skins’ show a lot of scratches, leading to a knife that looks unfinished.
Something that we’re also noticing is that we see a lot of Tiger Tooth knives. That might be because of the fact that it’s one of the cheaper ‘premium finishes’ available that looks good to most people, and it’s also a knife finish that you see quite regularly in pro matches.
In case you’re wondering whether or not the pro scene has an effect on the price and popularity of skins: yes, it does. The Nomad Knife, for example, used to be rather unpopular and unremarkable, until s1mple started using a Blue Gem Case Hardened version of the knife. The price of Nomad Knives immediately shot up.
Of course this could be a ‘chicken or the egg’ kind of affair, but we quite often see skins that are well-represented in the professional community going up in price.
Most Popular Knife Types
- ★ Navaja Knife
- ★ Shadow Daggers
- ★ Huntsman Knife
- ★ Gut Knife
- ★ Bowie Knife
- ★ Flip Knife
- ★ Bayonet
- ★ Falchion Knife
- ★ Karambit
- ★ Talon Knife
- ★ M9 Bayonet
- ★ Ursus Knife
- ★ Stiletto Knife
- ★ Butterfly Knife
- ★ Survival Knife
- ★ Paracord Knife
- ★ Classic Knife
- ★ Skeleton Knife
- ★ Nomad Knife
These numbers are based on buying + trading. Source: CS.Money.
It’s important to look at this data in the right context: if all of these knives cost the exact same we’d highly doubt that the Navaja Knife would come out on top, for example. We don’t want to bash the Navaja Knife too hard, but it’s quite evident that it’s not a very desired knife based on forums and social media. The same can be said for the Shadow Daggers. These knives are among the cheapest knives in the game, however, which is very likely to be one of the driving factors behind their sales numbers: people who want a knife skin and don’t want to pay a whole lot (of course this is all relative; we’re talking comparative values here) will naturally be steered towards Shadow Daggers, Navaja Knives, Gut Knives, and so on.
Pricing is also likely the reason we see knives like the Karambit, M9 Bayonet, and Butterfly Knife in the middle of the pack, despite them being mentioned as the most desirable knives by quite a lot of people. If you want to get yourself a Karambit you’re going to have to shell out over 500 dollars, and a lot of people simply don’t want to spend that kind of money on an ingame cosmetic. People who do want to spend $500+ on a knife might also prefer a lower or mid tier knife with a top tier finish rather than going for something like a Battle Scarred Karambit Scorched, for example.
When deducing how popular a knife is, it’s important to take all factors into consideration. The Classic Knife, for example, is low on the list and it’s on the lower end of the price spectrum and it’s a pretty rare knife (dropping only in the CS20 case) so that means that it’s probably not a very popular knife altogether. The same can be said for something like the Paracord knife: it’s on the cheaper end, yet it’s very low on this list.
Seen below: the most popular CS knives, ordered by popularity.
Which CS Knife to Get
When deciding on a knife it’s important to consider what you want. If you want to invest in the skins market it’s a different story (the skins market is a very complicated and volatile market, so invest at your own risk) but if you’re looking for a play knife it’s actually quite simple: go with what you like best. If you happen to love Navaja knives then that’s great news as you’ll be able to get your dream knife at a much cheaper price than someone who absolutely adores the Karambit, for example.
If you know that you’re someone who likes to switch things up it can be a good idea to opt for a knife that’s a little easier to trade/sell. You’ll find a potential trading partner much quicker if you’re selling a Huntsman Knife Doppler than you would if you’re selling a Well-Worn Navaja knife (sorry, Navaja knife) Forest DDPAT, for example.
The Most Popular CS Knife – Conclusion
With CS knives easily costing (well over) 100 dollars, it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise that the cheapest knives are the most bought/traded for knives. The Navaja Knife and the Shadow Daggers might not rank very high on most tier lists, but their relatively affordable prices indicate that there’s a big market for these lower value, budget-oriented knives.
We also see that very low tier finishes (such as Forest DDPAT, Boreal Forest, Scorched, …) are usually very far down the list. It seems that people would rather spend a little extra (or downgrade the knife type to a cheaper one) for a nicer looking finish rather than just going for the cheapest finish available. This can be important information for people who often want to refresh their inventory, as you don’t want to be stuck with an undesirable knife in that case.
Finally, it’s also important that you like the knife. A knife is kind of a prestige item in CS, and it makes no sense to go for a certain knife just because the community likes it while you’re not sure about it. Use this information as a fun little list with some cool facts, not as a buying guide. Follow your own tastes and enjoy the game and your flashy skins!