Boker Knife Brands Company Breakdown – The Differences Between, Solingen, Plus, Arbolito and Magnum Explained
- Boker Manufaktur Solingen | $140 – $600 Price Range
- Boker Arbolito | $100 – $250 Price Range
- Boker Plus | $20 – $250 Price Range
- Boker Magnum | $15 – $120 Price Range
There’s a little confusion about where specifically Boker actually manufactures their knives. Being famously German-made, it was heartbreaking for a lot of us when they decided to start manufacturing in China and Taiwan. Even with those factories running, though, Boker still releases knives with the approved “made in Germany” Treebrand stamp, or “made in USA”, or even “Made in Argentina”.
It’s doubly confusing that Boker has grown about a dozen names in the last decade which all seem to do something slightly different, so we’re left wondering if all these companies are still technically Boker and, more importantly, where they’re making their blades.
For now, the only companies you need to worry about are Boker Solingen, Boker Arbolito, Boker Plus, and Boker Magnum. Here’s the rundown on these four knife-making Boker branches as things stand now.
Amateur Historian Disclaimer
I had to do a fair bit of research to write this guide with any kind of accuracy, but I am not at all an expert on Boker’s history. For some reason the contents of this article have caused people to believe that I’m some kind of Antique Roadshow expert who can tell them whether their grandfather’s rusty trapper knife with “I love you, Stinky” etched into the handle is worth a thousand dollars. I am not that guy (although I have learned more than I expected in trying to answer people’s questions about their old Bokers).
The guys you’re looking for are Neal Punchard and Ricky Ray, the writers of the The Boker book. This is just a quick reference internet guide I wrote to keep Boker’s current structure straight in my own head.
Boker Manufaktur Solingen
|Typical Price Range:||$140 – $600|
|Specialization:||EDC, Outdoor, and Collectible|
They call this their premium brand. These are knives made in the shiny, historically blade-happy city of Solingen where the company started, and they do not let their products leave the city unless it’s going to maintain the city’s sharp reputation. You can expect these knives to be solid, smooth, and refined to the smallest, perfect detail with that terrifying, stereotypical German precision.
They will also be pretty expensive. Folders probably average around $300, and their fixed-blade at about $450 (their multi-tools are surprisingly reasonable, though). This brand doesn’t have an exact specialization so you can find a good variety of knife styles with them. If you’re looking for the best Boker folder money can buy, though, you’ll get it through Solingen. For the best fixed-blade, you’ll need to look to this next brand.
|Factory:||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Typical Price Range:||$100 – $250|
|Specialization:||Bushcraft and Kitchen|
If you’re a hunter, or any kind of avid outdoorsman, Boker Arbolito stuff will make you drool. Quality control for these knives is probably on par, if not better than, the German-made knives. The main difference is usually the materials and style. They source a lot of local South American wood for the handles with some bone and Micarta thrown in every now and then, so everything out of this factory looks amazing.
They’re currently on a strange trajectory, as they’ve recently released a spring assisted folder. Obviously their factory in Argentina is only equipped to make fixed-blade knives so they have to outsource the folders designs to China. I suspect any other folding designs from the Arbolito branch will also be made there. Aside from that, though, Boker Arbolito is is mostly wooden, fixed-blade goodness. Great if you’re the woodsy type with a little money to throw around, but if you just need a handy, low-cost EDC, the Arbolito branch is definitely not the place to look.
|Factory:||Asia, USA, Europe|
|Typical Price Range:||$20 – $250|
|Specialization:||EDC and Tactical|
Plus is Boker’s mid-range knife branch, and it is a great place to start for someone new to Boker knives. These are usually made as a compromise between price and quality. I would put the general quality somewhere near Kershaw. One of the pulls of this branch for Americans is that they make some in the US, but that’s only true in a technical sense.
Boker actually has a contract with Fox Cutlery to make a few models in the States under their Fox Knives name. Fox makes some pretty good blades, so quality control on these designs is pretty decent. Just keep in mind that when you hear stuff about Boker manufacturing in America, they’re actually talking about Fox Knives.
The Boker USA name is a lot more about pandering to western tastes than actually manufacturing in America. Many of these designs are made with the help of military and police types so you’ll find some good tactical knives, training knives, and multi-tools in the mix. It’s also where you’ll start seeing more plain folders. A lot of these knives look more common in that they don’t usually make your eyes pop to look at them. They have a lot of good, practical designs, though, and they’re still made with great material.
|Factory:||Taiwan and China|
|Typical Price Range:||$15 – 120|
|Specialization:||Low-cost EDC, tactical, survival, etc|
|Quality:||Low to medium|
Magnum is Boker’s playground. You’ll find the largest variety of designs under this name, along with some of the biggest knives period. The quality control isn’t nearly as strict on this group, but when you see someone making knives with handles shaped like guns and bullets, you have to figure that high quality isn’t the primary concern.
This is Boker’s way of experimenting with designs and creating a stock for people who don’t have $250 dollars lying around for a new EDC knife. They do make some of the knives with the same stuff you’ll find in the German-made knives but mostly you’ll be getting softer, somewhat more erosion-prone steel. You might also notice a difference in things like the heat treatment of the steel, pivot screws, grind, etc.
Cynics might say this is just Boker’s attempt at getting away with cheapening their manufacturing process and riding profits on the wave of the old Boker reputation. Good-hearted fans will see it as a genuine gesture towards people who struggle with money but still love Boker.
You might notice the phrase “Advance Pro” in the names of some Boker Magnum selections now. These appear to be made in the same factory in China, but tend to have nicer materials like 440C steel. Usually they aren’t much more expensive than other Magnum knives, but it seems like Boker has some interesting release plans in this category.
It’s also worth checking out the limited release Collections they release. Every year since the 90’s Boker has teamed up with a big name designer to draw up a knife for a run of about 2,000. These designs tend to be much higher quality with much nicer materials. For example the Pohl knife from 2020 has D2 steel (which is a first in the Magnum branch) and a leather sheath. These always come in a nice display box and generally lean toward the $100 mark.
If you are wondering which Boker Magnum knives are worth owning, check out our post on The 14 Best Boker Magnum Folding and Fixed Blade Knives.
A Note on the Boker Brand Name
This web of branding and factory building is the result of Boker’s ongoing mad dash across the world to expand the scope of their brand and reach as many different kinds of knife users as they can. Instead of trying to sell every kind of knife they can think up under one factory and company name, Boker has opted for the colonization strategy and started up specialized branches of itself around the world.
Part of the confusion is that they don’t just make knives. The umbrella name Boker Manufaktur puts its name on all kinds of things from shaving accessories to jackets. We automatically associate Boker with knives, but they were originally a tool-making company. They used to make all kinds of things, including surgery equipment. They just ended up making a lot of knives by demand and eventually ran with the idea.
The danger of having their fingers in so many different products is that it can mislead the knife enthusiast customers. When we see the name Boker on something that isn’t a knife we get confused and angry and start throwing things or buying something stupid like a Spyderco. Boker decided to solve that complication in true German fashion: they added more parts.
That’s why you’ll see “Boker Manufaktur” and “Boker Manufaktur Solingen” as two different brands: the Solingen brand is the one that makes the knives. And now there are three more Boker brands that make slightly different knives and that’s not even addressing all the other offshoots that don’t have Boker in the name. But we won’t worry about that right now.
29 thoughts on “Boker Knives Brand Guide”
I’ve carried the same Boker Arbolito since 1996. It has served me well in Bosnia and in several African countries.
Thank you for your reviews that confirm the experience I have had with this blade. It holds an edge very well.
That’s pretty cool, Marc. I think the Arbolito line easily has some of Boker’s best designs.
You need to add the Boker Ts line. China parts assembled in Germany. I have one it is a good knife but it is NOT a German knife.
The Ts line is interesting, because it’s one of the few tree branded designs with 440 steel. I didn’t bring it up here because, frankly, it doesn’t seem like an incredibly popular design. But you’re right, it’s probably worth adding that there seem to be some Germany “manufactured” knives with Chinese-made materials… I just need to take the time to fish out what all those designs are.
I have my dads boker that he seems to remember receiving in about the third grade – around 1947 maybe.
Can anyone tell me more about the Boker 4 blade pocket knife from the mid 40’s?
I usually see knives like that called “whittler knives”. Boker made quite a few back in the day. I don’t know a lot about Tree Brand whittlers specifically, but I see them going on eBay and Etsy for around $30-40. Closest thing Boker makes to that now is the Congress knife.
Just got a 7474 where can I find some history pls
I have several but one confuses me. Model 4130. A 3 blade almost squared shape on bolsters, acorn and blases have 2 birds, pelicans i think, bone, made in solingen germany. Big sheepfoot. Little sheepfoot, and small spear point. Cant find on any Boker site.. ovee solingen are faint letters:Rob xx AAS. Can anyone here tell me about ir? Was a gift 30+ years ago in Germany. Karl wa2kbz
That sounds like a stockman design. I think the two birds mark it as being made in Remscheid, Germany sometime in the 70’s for the Australian and African markets. A knife collector named Mark Zalesky wrote a pretty extensive article about Boker manufacturing for Knife World back in 2009, but it’s hard to get a hold of now. I’ve seen his reference table for Boker tang stamps, though, and that’s the closest I can figure for your knife.
Not sure what the “Rob xx AAS” thing is about. Might be a personal addition by the guy who stamped the knife.
Sounds like a Kissing Crane, which are also made in Solingen. I have a couple in my collection. Good knives.
What would the price be on a ( Boker -USA- 1790 -Hydro electricity 04934
For over a decade now, the Boker Kalashnikov has reigned as King of the affordable automatic knife. And should we really be surprised with Boker having a history that stretches as far back as the 17?
Trying to identify a German boker Arbolito with what appears to be bone handle. It’s a fixed blade with an unusual blade design. Approx 4 inch blade with Arbolito insignia on blade and 015. Says ” German stainless” also.
Sounds interesting. If possible can you send a photo of the knife to [email protected]
Hi, found another one with same text on a small Pocket with mother of peral scales. I own a whole Solingen Böker collection, and have a Pocket Stag, which has the same square form “Böker” on one side, but nothing on the other. In fact, Böker don’t describe Inox on their blades (Rosfrei for germans nomenclature ) , they usually stamp steel name, as 440c, or N690, etc. I’ll send you a photo.
I have a Boker model 221 made in Solingen, Germany/Allemania. It is a small gentleman’s knife with two blades, one of which is etched “Tree Brand”. There is faint partial printing on one of the scales: Raleigh, Durham, Goldsboro. The scales appear to be nickel/silver. Does the “Allemania” on the tang help date the knife? What is the significance of the three cities listed?
The blades are carbon steel, but very sharp. Any ideas of value?
Sounds like a trapper from around the 60’s. I don’t know what the etchings on the scales are about; my initial suspicion is that they’re an after market thing.
I wouldn’t expect it to have incredible value, but it’s a pretty neat knife and a cool collectible.
I have a 2 blade # 3030 can you please tell me what you know about it? Thanks.
Thanks for reading and being so understanding of our disclaimer at the beginning of this article that we are not antique roadshow experts, and can’t reliably answer questions about the old knife you just found at the bottom of your dead grandfather’s “sentimental trash” box.
I could do a quick google search on your old knife and probably find out that it’s an early century model that might be going for $50 on eBay right now. It would probably take me less than five minutes to do that. God knows I could have done that in less time than it has taken me to write this much of a response to you, but somehow I feel happier writing this instead of playing the part of the classroom nerd doing your homework because you can’t be bothered to stop sniffing the dust of your family heirlooms long enough to do a few minutes of your own research.
I could direct you to The Boker Knife Book by Punchard and Ray, but that’s probably not a viable option since, last I checked, it doesn’t have the ability to read you to sleep at night.
Well I gotta say that was a pretty good explanation of the “TIERS” being there, BOKER Magnum is the “if you’ve got a buck or two, we’ve got a knife for you!” BOKER Plus – some models are re-creations done by collaborating with the hottest knife makers of the time to bring their nose at affordable prices!
BOKER Arbolito – South America and mainly kitchen cutlery,
BOKER Solingen – highest level of materials/original designs/range from $100 to over $1000……. HOWEVER for the BOKER PLUS LINE, they actually have BOKER USA, BOKER CANADA & BOKER MEXICO from when the cousins emigrated over this way separately, Hermann to New York as H.BOKER & Co NY and Robert BOKER, to Canada then Mexico as CASA BOKER 1865 and it was Heinrich BOKER and Hermann Heuser as HEINR. BOKER & Co. Solingen, Germany 1869……
Here’s an excerpt from BOKER’s History Page on their website, link provided at end of excerpt.”
“ Because of the tree-brand being well established by then and the good understanding within the international Boker family, there wasn´t any problem to get permission from Solingen to use the tree-brand for American made products as well. Since then there have been two different product lines of Boker knives on the US market with identical logos and sometimes even identical item numbers; one product line Made in USA, the other product line Made in Solingen, only to be differentiated by the markings “Boker USA” or “H. Boker Improved Cutlery Solingen”. Hope that helped…. You can find rest of history on BOKERS website :
I was wary about mentioning the Boker Mexico and Canada lines because as far as I can tell they don’t actually exist anymore. I don’t know of any readily available Boker knives that are made in either of those countries. It’s definitely an interesting part of their history, but my focus with this guide was meant to be on Boker’s modern structure so people could get a quick sense of where their new designs are coming from.
What is your reasoning for the “ buying something stupid like a Spyderco.” comment. Are they that bad of a knife, or is there something else? Just wondering, cause I was considering buying one.
Spyderco knives are well worth owning. I actually have the drop point version of the Spyderco Bill Moran, and it’s still one of my favorite fixed blades.
But as long as we’re in a deep discussion about Boker, Boker knives, and comparing different Boker brands against each other, anything that isn’t Boker is stupid.
Andrew…any input or comments on the Boker Magnum Ranger Field Bowie
It looks like a lot of knife for not much money, but I’ve never handled it personally. I like the classic look, and those leather ring style handles are always pretty comfortable. If 440A steel doesn’t bother you it seems like a fun knife to play around with.
I’m not sure about that piece in particular but I can say that literally every Chinese made Boker Ive had (8-9 folders) has had serious QC issues. Rusted pivots, a chipped blade, one OTF that just wouldnt fire. It’s heartbreaking cause the designs are so darn nice in so many cases. But yeah if I were you I would do what Ive had to do, which is treat the Chinese Bokers like that pretty but emotionally abusive ex and just… let go
Very nice synopsis of the Boker brand. But I still have a question. What do you know about the “United Boker” branding? And when and where were they manufactured?
That was a brief collaboration between Boker and United Cutlery. I think it lasted from 1985 to about 1990 (my dates could be wrong on that). I don’t know anything first hand about the quality of the knives, but I believe they were made in Germany.
Trying to find out about a boker tree brand knife made sorligen trapper 2 blade the words Long String on wood handle