The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Sanrenmu 7010 Review

A budget knife with class-leading performance and downright impressive quality.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $16 List | $14.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Sharp looking and cutting, good materials, inexpensive
Cons:  Less-than-ideal pocket clip orientation, sharp stowed edges wear clothing
Manufacturer:   Sanrenmu
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 24, 2019
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 19
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 6
  • Ergonomics - 20% 5
  • Portability - 20% 7
  • Construction Quality - 20% 7
  • Other Features - 10% 0

Our Verdict

The Sanrenmu 7010 is a darn good knife at an impressive price. It comes straight out of a Chinese factory that is rumored to be making knives for other brands with the exact same materials for a much higher cost. In our time reviewing knives, the value of budget knives gets better and better and has done so at an impressive rate. To get you this quality at this price requires a global economy, intellectual property exchange, and distribution system that is debatable, at best. We aren't alone in noting what this knife says about modern consumer goods, but we also aren't alone in really digging its performance and value.


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Sanrenmu 7010
Awards Best Buy Award  Editors' Choice Award   
Price $14.99 at Amazon$138.05 at Amazon
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Pros Sharp looking and cutting, good materials, inexpensiveGreat blade, classy wooden handleIncredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionalityProven and well-respected blade, smooth, comfortable ergonomicsImmaculate materials, assisted opening, fully symmetrical performance
Cons Less-than-ideal pocket clip orientation, sharp stowed edges wear clothingExpensive, no assisted opening functionPricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitiveLarge, no assisted openingLarge in your pocket, expensive
Bottom Line A budget knife with class-leading performance and downright impressive quality.A solid little knife for all-around “every day carry”. With assisted opening, this model would be similar enough to our Editors' Choice to really complicate our assessment.Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task.Full-size, basic folding pocket knife with immaculate construction.The full size version of our Editors' Choice is less portable with minimal but real gains in usability. If you know you need a full size pocket knife, the Barrage 580 is a great choice.
Rating Categories Sanrenmu 7010 Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Benchmade Griptilian 551 Benchmade Barrage 580
Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)
10
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6
10
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9
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9
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9
Ergonomics (20%)
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Portability (20%)
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Construction Quality (20%)
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Specs Sanrenmu 7010 Benchmade 15031-2... Benchmade... Benchmade... Benchmade Barrage...
Weight (ounces) 3.2 oz 3.2 oz 3.4 oz 3.9 oz 4.2 oz
Blade Style Straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? No Yes Yes No Yes
Opening Style Ambidextrous Thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb-stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud
Lock Mechanism Frame lock Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis)
Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket Clip, lanyard hole
Blade Material 8CR13MoV stainless steel CPM-S30V stainless steel 154CM Steel 154CM steel 154 CM stainless steel
Handle Material Stainless Steel Stabilized wood Plastic Plastic Valox
Blade Length (inches) 2.7 2.9 2.9 3.5 3.8
Closed Length (inches) 3.7 3.9 4 4.6 4.8
Overall Length 6.5 6.9 6.9 8 8.5
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches) 0.4 0.53 0.57 0.6 0.7
Other Features or Functions None None None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The 7010 from Sanrenmu (formerly available, exactly the same, as the Sanrenmu 710) is a budget knife with great performance attributes. For the quality, its price is phenomenal. How does Sanrenmu do this? It is rumored that Sanrenmu, a Chinese company, was originally an OEM factory, just making knives to other companies' specifications that were then sold under these other companies' brands. It isn't entirely clear which knives were or are made there, but we may have some elsewhere in our review. What is clear, though, is that Sanrenmu has taken, for better or for worse, what it learned in executing the designs of others and applied these lessons to their own branded knives. The 7010 is a great knife at an amazing price. They leverage their scale and exposure to a sort of "insider knowledge" to produce a knife that truly transcends its price. This was an easy Best Buy Award choice.

Performance Comparison


We aren't kidding when we say we test "side by side". Here  in the midst of meal prep  we swapped between the former Best Buy and the Sanrenmu.
We aren't kidding when we say we test "side by side". Here, in the midst of meal prep, we swapped between the former Best Buy and the Sanrenmu.

Blade and Edge Integrity


The Sanrenmu blade is made of 8CR13MoV steel. It is a Chinese replication of AUS-8 steel and delivers characteristics and performance that transcend its price point. We test a number of knives with this steel and have been steadily impressed with its performance for the price. We don't know how Sanrenmu heat treats the 7010, but it seems to be working. It was only at the very end of our first five weeks of our testing, living in the pocket of our frequent knife user and lead test editor, that this Best Buy winner needed a sharpening. Doing so was clean and simple. It helps that we identified the need to sharpen early. Sharpen early and regularly, and it is simple. Wait too long, and it becomes a much more onerous chore.


This Sanrenmu has a long and very shallow angle hollow grind. In cutting tomatoes and other soft things, this very narrow initial edge is very appreciated. The stiff and thicker spine of the blade backs it up in heavier tasks. The edge angle is also pretty shallow, making for great cutting feel and apparent edge "sharpness," but requiring more frequent sharpening. The blade geometry (deep hollow grind, with a very thin leading edge) feels familiar and not unlike our Editors' Choice selection.

The factory finish on the 7010 lasted weeks  handily cutting all we asked of it.
The factory finish on the 7010 lasted weeks, handily cutting all we asked of it.

Ergonomics


What does it take to get the Best Buy Sanrenmu in hand and use? Once deployed, how does it perform the tasks you'll ask of it? We're largely pleased with the ergonomics of the 7010. Given the intended use and price point, we have nothing to complain about. In use, the handle is thick enough to respond to heavier pressure. A more rounded and bulkier profile is even better for heavy use, but it compromises portability. Deploying the blade is smooth, with just the slightest amount of important "stick" at the very beginning. Closing the blade requires disengaging the frame lock. Which, in turn, requires sticking your finger between the hinging blade and handle, at least momentarily. This stresses some out, but is inherent in liner and frame lock mechanisms.


The pocket clip is secure but gives it up when needed. The orientation of the pocket clip deserves mention. It is configured for only right hand, tip-down carry. If a manufacturer has to commit to one (and they don't. Many knives come with the option to move the pocket clip around. In some cases, allowing four different configurations) pocket clip orientation, this one is interesting. Right-hand access makes sense. About 75-90% of the world's population is right handed. While preference for tip-up or tip-down pocket knife carry isn't as well studied, our test team definitely prefers tip-up orientation. We wish that Sanrenmu, if they really had to commit to one configuration, had committed to right-hand tip-up carry. Otherwise, it works just fine.

The Sanrenmu is on the small side of what we'd call 'compact all around' stature. It is a little smaller than our top scoring award winners.
The Sanrenmu is on the small side of what we'd call 'compact all around' stature. It is a little smaller than our top scoring award winners.

Portability


You can carry the Sanrenmu loose in your pocket, clipped to said pocket, or on a lanyard of your creation. Disregarding the pocket clip, the knife is 0.4 inches thick. The whole package weighs 3.2 ounces (90g). For the size, this is pretty heavy. The stainless steel handle bumps the weight up over that of knives that have more expensive composite or titanium handles.


Most edges and faces of the Sanrenmu are beveled and smoothed. This saves wear and tear and snagging on your pants and purse pockets. The exception is the thumb studs. Both stick out past the handle and have machined "traction" rings with square edges. These protrusions, when carrying, can and do snag and accelerate wear to the fabric around it. It isn't the worst, but it isn't a non-issue.

What better testing environment than making an improvised fork for a wilderness salad? The Sanrenmu was up to the task.
What better testing environment than making an improvised fork for a wilderness salad? The Sanrenmu was up to the task.

Construction Quality


First impressions usually tell more about the construction quality of a knife than you would believe. We like to hand a knife to someone that knows little to nothing about pocket knives. Their impressions are remarkably consistent with our deeper dive and our ongoing testing and use. The Sanrenmu holds up in both instances. While "feel" is subjective and memory is imperfect, we are reasonably confident that the main pivot has lost no tension or smoothness in our months of use. None of the mechanisms have developed any play.


Almost the whole knife is made of stainless steel. The bolts, handle "scales," pivot, and pocket clip are all matching steel. The blade looks slightly different because it is. In the pivot are two bushings. One is brass, and one is plastic, but both are very thin. The pocket clip has lost no spring tension.

The hinge action on the Sanrenmu is smooth and has stayed that way for months now. We'll keep testing to verify.
The hinge action on the Sanrenmu is smooth and has stayed that way for months now. We'll keep testing to verify.

Other Features


There are no other features on the Sanrenmu beyond the blade and pocket clip.


There are few to no features on many of the knives we've tested. We have to note them and grant them their due credence, but we don't penalize knives that don't have extra tools or features. If anything, extra tools and features take away from other attributes. Most of our top-scoring knives have no additional features.

Whittling isn't a real common task  but it does work well as a test. The extended use of whittling brings out ergonomic considerations we wouldn't notice otherwise.
Whittling isn't a real common task, but it does work well as a test. The extended use of whittling brings out ergonomic considerations we wouldn't notice otherwise.

Value


Some people spend more on a six-pack of beer than you will on this knife. The Chinese company leverages an economy of scale and the ready availability of good knife-making materials. Further, mass distribution channels keep costs down. You can get this thing delivered from Amazon, tomorrow. Crazy times. 100 years ago, you would have had to hire a trained craftsman for a few full days to replicate this. Now you can get one for the equivalent of one hour's high-end fast-food wages.

Construction quality of this Best Buy winner is downright shocking  considering the price.
Construction quality of this Best Buy winner is downright shocking, considering the price.

Conclusion


We dig the Sanrenmu's performance, quality, and cost. We are well aware, though, of what it says about international economic and intellectual property considerations.


Jediah Porter