Machetes might have developed an undeserved bad reputation in 80s horror films, but they actually happen to be one of the most helpful and versatile tools you can have in our collection. Machetes can be helpful whether they are used when you are camping, as a bushcraft and survival tool, or just cleaning up the backyard.
Whether it’s bushwhacking through the Amazon, fighting off angry predators, prepping for Armageddon or just cleaning your back yard a machete is one of those all-rounder tools that you can’t go wrong with.
We have put together a list of some of the best survival machetes out there for all budgets put together through our own personal use, talk with friends and research.
18 Best Machetes
1. Parang Machete by Condor
Best Overall Survival Machete
Dimensions: 26” L x 3.5” W x 1.75” H
Weight: 1 lb
Material: Carbon steel blade and hardwood handle
Pros: Lightweight, nice blade design, ergonomic handle
Cons: It’s feels heavier than advertised
Description: Top of our list and taking the first spot which we take to be one of the best machetes you can get is a 1075 high carbon steel curved blade that is a bit thinner than most designs you would normally see; which is exactly why we like it as it holds like a long sword, allowing you to slice, dice and wield with a surprising amount of dexterity.
The handle is made from hardwood and is ergonomically designed to allow for a firm grip and comfort. It has 108 sculpted vents with an epoxy black powder finish on the blade which gives it a darker look than your traditional steel blade.
Condor blades are made in Germany and have a history of craftsmanship in their blade making. Though this machete though may look strange it wields like no others. The long length and curve allow you to tackle larger brush, tall grass and undergrowth like butter.
2. Yoshimi Survival Machete by Condor
Best Heavy Duty
Dimensions: 34.5 x 5 x 3.5
Weight: 3 Pounds
Material: High carbon steel
Pros: Sexy looking blade, great to wield, full-tang construction
Cons: A little expensive, heavy
Description: The Yoshimi survival machete is made from high carbon which makes it tougher than traditional stainless steel. This is quite a long blade and so might not work for a go-bag, but is perfect if you’re looking to cut brambles and tall grass as its great for slashing, chopping and even battoning.
This is a full tang blade that comes with a Tanto Point made by the same company that made our first pick Condor. They have a huge selection of blades for pretty much every type of outdoor situation. They go back to the mid 18th century Germany, but have since been making their blades out of El Salvador.
If we are talking about lightness and portability, it might not be your first choice as it’s a bit big and heavy. This machete is not really made to be thrown in a backpack as its a bit over the top for that type of use. If are looking for to scare away bad guys or if you are a blade collector as this thing is as beautiful as it is terrifying. The longer blade makes the machete feel more like a sword more than anything as it comes in at a whopping 3 feet! With a sleek feel and aesthetic you are going to feel more like a ninja rather than a prepper.
3. Dave Young Survival Machete by Luna Tech
Best Tactical Machete
Dimensions: 1 x 29 x 5.6
Weight: 3.84 pounds
Pros: Versatile, slip-resistant handle, comes with a sheath, carbide tip, beast mode
Cons: A bit heavy and massive
Description: This bad boy is a beast. The blade is a thick one coming in at .14″ which is actually nearly twice as thick as the previous machetes. You can saw, cut, slash, and puncture with this thing. Above the grip is a hook that can serve as an opener, the backside of the knife blade has jagged teeth for a saw and there is a carbide tip so that it can puncture and get through whatever it needs to.
The machete was designed by Dave Young Survival System and ARMA Training who teaches survival training so you know it was made by people who know their stuff. It was specifically made as a survival machete for military personnel and police forces in mind, in that the team was looking to create a blade that could be used in a variety of circumstances.
The machete comes with a strong durable plastic diamond molded gripped handle, that also has a sheath. The tip of the blade is a carbide tip (70 HRC) so it can be used to break glass without a problem.The blade is, however, on the heavier side especially in comparison with our top pick. You really need to handle this thing with care, it’s big, thick, heavy, and wide. Not for the faint of heart.
4. Schrade SCHKM1 Kukri Machete
Best Machete Blade
Dimensions: 19.7″ L
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Material: 3Cr13 Powder Coated Stainless Steel, rubber handle
Pros: Easy to use, Comes with a ferro rod and sharpening stone
Cons: Sheath is a bit cheap
Description: The Schrade Kukri Machete is quite a bit smaller and lighter than many of the machetes on this list with a blade length of 13.5 in. For this reason, it actually will be perfect for those looking to use it for a bug out bag or to take it with you into the wild, as its easier to be tossed in your bag or thrown over your shoulder without it being in the way
It’s nice that the machete comes with a bit of extra kit, including a shoulder pouch, shoulder strap, as well as a leg strap so you can carry it in different ways.
The style of the machete is actually a rendition of the type of machetes used primarily by the local Nepalese people which is actually still widely used today. It was originally made famous by the Gurkhas of Nepal who fought alongside the British in World War I & II. If you want a bit of style along with portability this might do it!
5. UST ParaCuda FS Machete with Fire Starter
Best Portable Machete
Dimensions: 16.3″ L x 2″ W x 1″ D
Weight: 10 ounces
Material: paracord handle with a steel blade
Pros: Features cutting blade with sawteeth, Full-tang construction, Firestarter for convenience
Cons: The grip reduces when the paracord is removed
Description: The blade has a full-tang construction and the grip is wrapped in paracord which gives it a slightly odd hold. The frontside of the blade is quite straight for a machete with the backside that has some short fat sawteeth. The blade has a black oxide finish that prevents rust and gives it a nice look.
The unique handle and paracord are what separates it from the rest, for better or worse, but for the price point, there really is no use in complaining, as it is very reasonable.
This machete is actually very light coming in at 10oz, but it is also much smaller than the rest, coming in at 16 inches. It is big enough to do some heavy duty chopping yet small enough that you would be able to take it with you anywhere as well as use it as a knife.
This machete works well in a range of environments which makes it ideal for survival and emergency planning whether your hunting, fishing, camping or are going to take it out on wilderness trips, as it is small and light its a good fit for those on the move.
6. Machete Sawback by Ontario Knife Company 6120 1-18SBK
Best Budget Machete
Dimensions: 18 inches blade and 24 inches overall length
Weight: 1 lb
Material: carbon with a zinc finish for the blade. Plastic handle
Pros: Versatile, Affordable, Good grip
Cons: Does not come with a sheath
Description: Ontario Knife Company is a blade that comes from upstate New York, USA that has been making blades since 1889. This machete features an 18 inches carbon blade finished with zinc that makes it extra durable and helps prevents corrosion.
The machete features steel compression rivets and full-tang construction. The machete has a molded plastic handle, a serrated back edge and a curved front edge. This blade is thick making the saw back quite capable of sawing through thicker branches and material.
This machete is a basic budget option and does have that feel. The plastic handle feels a bit cheap, but for the price point it’s a steal for anyone buying on a budget.
7. Engineer Bolo Machete, Condor Tools and Knife
Best For Brush Clearing
Dimensions: 15” blade
Weight: 2.54 Pounds
Materials: Carbon steel blade
Pros: Leather sheath, hardwood handle, full-tang construction
Cons: Handle can get slick, feels heavy
Description: The machete has a carbon steel 15-inch blade built with 5mm-1075 high carbon steel that has a Condor classic blade finish. Condor uses 1075 German steel for
This blade is a full-tang construction, like pretty much all machetes, with a thick 3/16 in blade with a brown hardwood handle. This guy has great ratings everywhere you look except that it is surprisingly heavy and will wear you out if you aren’t built like Arnold, or if you intend to do huge amounts of trail clearing.
This machete is heavy-duty. It’s thick and broad enough to allow you to even cut small pieces of firewood and in that way can be a perfect substitute for a hatchet or even a small axe.
Condor is a popular manufacturer and it is easy to see why when you look at the quality of the Discord Machete. Everything about this Condor machete makes it a good candidate for your first or next blade. It measures 26.75” overall and it has a blade that is about 18” long. This is a good length to help with bushcraft, trail clearing, and much more. No matter where you use it, you should expect it to perform well. It is made from quality steel and it is full tang.
The machete also happens to be aesthetically pleasing, thanks to the black powder coating on the blade and the gray micarta handles. The handle has a lanyard hole, as well, which is nice for those who want to have a lanyard on the machete that they can keep around their wrist while working and reduce the risk of dropping it. In addition, this durable Condor machete features a beautiful and functional 100% leather scabbard. This will help to protect the blade while it is not in use, and thanks to the belt loops, it ensures that you can easily tie this onto your belt or elsewhere on your body or your pack.
Despite the quality, you will find that the machete itself only weighs about a pound. This will make it light enough that you can pack it into and out of anywhere without adding too much overall weight to your trip.
When comparing this machete knife to the option above, for example, you will find that there are quite a few differences. It is smaller and the blade is shaped differently for starters. This is because there are many different shapes and styles to machetes, meaning that there will be no single machete that will be right for everyone’s needs. You have to figure out how and where you will be using the machete and find one that works for you.
The Gil Hibben IV combat machete could be a good choice to consider for those who do not need a blade that’s quite as large. This can still make short work of brush and other chopping and hacking duties that you might have, though. It could be a good option for those who are looking for a survivalist tool that could also be used for defense effectively.
The overall length of the slightly curved machete is 16.5”, with the blade being 11.25”. The heavy-duty blade makes this a stellar machete to have with you when out camping or hiking, and it can really hold an edge. It has a high-quality hardwood handle along with a leather lanyard and a top grain leather sheath. This is a safe and durable machete that can last for a long time with proper care.
When it comes to machetes and knives, one of the names usually mentioned is Gerber. They have developed a strong brand for knives and similar tools, and this full tang, corrosion-resistant machete could be just what you have been looking for to take with you out on the trail. This is a beautifully designed, curved machete that can handle even the toughest of brushes and trails.
The high-quality blade is built to last, and it can provide nice and even cuts, even through thick materials. The machete also features a hook and cut notch, which will make it possible to more easily handle branches and vines that might need to be removed. It also has a safety lanyard, to ensure that you keep the machete in your hand when you are using it.
The Gerber machete has a comfortable grip with a texturized rubber handle. It also has a full tang and is light enough that it can be used for a long time without the user tiring. It weighs just a little more than a pound. Buyers will find that it also comes with a quality sheath that will be able to help keep the machete safe while you are carrying it.
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools is another well-known name in this business. This particular SOG machete is highly versatile, and it is available in two different blade lengths – 13” and 18”. The high-quality machete has a saw along the back of the blade, which means it can pull double duty. It can chop as well as saw. Since it has a saw on the back, the blade itself is straight.
This tool is quite helpful for those who are looking to clear away brush from their yard, to blaze their own trails, to chop wood, make shelters, and more. The handle, which is made of Kraton, fits very comfortably in the hand. The non-slip handle has resistance to heat, weathering, and chemicals. You will also find a hole in the handle, where you can place a lanyard, which can add even more safety when you are using the machete. The durable machete even weighs less than a pound, so it will be nice and easy to take along with you without adding a lot of weight to your gear.
The SOGfari machete also has a nylon sheath included that features a hook and loop closure and an attachment for the belt loop for those who want to carry the machete on their side.
You will notice right away that this beautiful Condor machete is different from others that have appeared on the list in terms of appearance. The machete features a slight curve, along with a walnut handle and an overall length of 19”. The carbon steel blade has a black finish and it is 14” long. This is a full tang blade, as well, and it features a black leather sheath.
Those who are looking for a machete that is not just one of the top heavy-duty machetes from a practical standpoint, and who also want a machete that has an interesting aesthetic might like this option. It has a traditional look, but it is made from quality materials and steel that can keep a sharp edge, as long as you take care of it properly.
As with many of the other options on the list, you will note that there is a hole in the handle. This will make it easy to use a lanyard with the machete.
13. Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete _Not in Stock_
This is an affordable and well-made tactical machete from none other than Gerber. Because it is a celebrity tie-in product, some might not give the machete a second look, but that would be a mistake. This is a quality Gerber machete that is built to last. The parang style and the high carbon steel blade provide the versatility, strength, and corrosion resistance that is needed from a quality machete. It is easy to sharpen, and it is durable thanks to the full tang construction.
The textured rubber grip of the handle makes it easy to carry and use, and it reduces the chance of slippage. It also includes a lanyard cord that will provide even more security. The machete will also come with a nylon sheath that will help to keep it safe, and to ensure that it does not damage any of your other gear.
This machete also comes with some other benefits, including land to air rescue instructions, SOC, and Priorities of Survival. The last is a guide that provides you with information on the most important survival essentials you need to know. While this might not be something that is entirely necessary for all buyers, it’s always nice when a product comes with a little extra.
This is one of the best machete options for those who want something that is durable and that is friendly to the budget.
As mentioned, machetes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and that is exactly what you will see when you check out this Fiskars Machete Axe. While it has a blade like a machete, it also features a blade head that looks more reminiscent of an ax. This can give you the best of both worlds. The head of the machete allows for controlled chopping and even splitting of small wood. The design of the ax head, which has a bladed curve, also makes this a good machete for those who need to perform any type of pull cutting.
The blade is rust resistant, and the machete itself comes with a lifetime warranty. The blade is 18”, which should give plenty of space for cutting and chopping. However, you will also find that the handle is large enough that this can work as a two-handed machete. However, it works very well with just a single hand. The handle itself is comfortable to grip, and it has a finger guard for some additional protection. In addition, it comes with a nylon sheath.
This is a great tool for the trail, as a survival tool, clearing unwanted vegetation from the backyard, and more. It could be a solid choice for your needs.
This is a nice-looking machete that is available with either an 18” blade or a 14” blade. It is a full tang machete that has a black powder coat finish. The blade is hard and durable enough to stand up to just about anything that you throw at it. There is just a slight curve to the blade, and the handle itself is very comfortable to hold thanks to the textured rubber mold. It will provide users with a reliable grip.
Kershaw is another one of the top names on the market today when it comes to the best machetes. This option is no exception. The machete has solid construction, the blades are sharp, and they should be relatively easy for you to maintain. The machete features high-quality steel, along with a tough powder coating that eliminates any glare from the blade and ensures that it looks stunning.
The Kershaw machete also comes with a molded sheath that features nylon straps and lash points. This will make it easy to carry the machete on your body or on your pack, for example. The durability of this machete helps to make it a good option for just about any type of hard work that you might have to do, whether it is clearing trails or even removing small trees.
CRKT, also known as Columbia River Knife and Tool, has been making machetes, knives, and other tools for the outdoors for a number of years. They have an outstanding collection of items available, including this parang machete seen here. It features a black corrosion resistant blade, a football texture handle grip, and it feels very comfortable to hold in the hand. The high-quality machete was designed by Ken Onion, one of the most noted blade designers today.
This beautiful machete comes with a reinforced nylon sheath, as well. It is easy to lash the machete to a pack or to carry it along with you. The blade is nice and thick, which helps to make easy work of the brush surrounding you, or that you need to clear away. If you are gathering wood for the fire, you should be able to get what you need in no time when you use this machete. This is a quality tactical machete that could be a good option to bring home.
Here is one more from Condor Tool & Knife. This Mini Duku Parang happens to be the smallest of the machetes on the list with only a 10” blade, and really, it’s not much bigger than what many would consider a knife. However, the design of the tool clearly indicates that it is more than just a knife. The tool is made from quality carbon steel and the blade has a beautiful natural finish. The machete has a finished hardwood handle that is comfortable to grip, as well.
Although it is small, the machete does weight almost 1.5 lbs. This makes it a sturdy and durable option that should be able to hold up well to many different types of work on the trail and in the backyard. It even comes with a beautifully handcrafted sheath.
Gerber is back with their Bolo Machete, which could be a good choice for those who are looking for a high-quality machete that is of a more traditional size and style. Once again, this is a full tang construction, as are all of the others on the list.
The machete has a lanyard for added safety, and it has a comfortable, secure grip to ensure your hands do not slip when using and swinging the tool. This machete has a shape similar to the machetes that have been used for many generations in the Philippines. The machete can be used to cut wood, clear away vegetation and branches, chop up food, and more.
Buyers Guide For Finding a Machete
What is a Machete?
First off let’s talk about what a machete actually means. A machete is a broad-shaped sword that measures between 12-18 inches. Machetes come from the Spanish language macho though pretty much every indigenous local culture around the world uses some form or broadsword, usually for agricultural or jungle clearing purposes.
As the machete was so widely used in local cultures for survival and everyday uses it became the most often used weapon of the people, in both self-defense and in armed resistance.
For instance: in Nepal they have the karakuri, in Thailand the nep, and in Indonesia the golok. Though they vary in appearance they are all a form of a long broadsword.
Why Is a Machete an Essential Tool?
You might be looking at the machetes on the list and wondering whether you actually need to have one or not. You might think that you can get away without having a machete and that a saw or an axe will be all you need. However, you will quickly find that having a more versatile and well-rounded selection of tools and gear will be more useful. Let’s consider just some of the many ways that these tools can come in handy.
One of the first things likely to come to mind with a machete is clearing away trails. That is certainly a traditional and still common way to use a machete. They can help you make short work of vines, branches, and more that are in your way. Of course, you can also use the tool to help you clean up your backyard and to remove vegetation that you do not want, such as weeds.
However, they can do quite a bit more, and they could end up being one of the most important tools you have available. You can use them to quickly cut up firewood when you are in a remote area camping or when you are in need of a survival fire. In addition, it is possible to use the machete to help you cut wood that you can use in the construction of a shelter.
While running into dangerous wild animals doesn’t happen every day, having a high-quality machete that you can use for defense will provide you with peace of mind. The same is true if there are assailants who are trying to harm you. It’s rare, but it is nice to have some defense when you need it.
Types of Blade Shapes
Machetes come in all shapes and sizes, and as we shall see later on, there are many varieties out there. Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Blade thickness -The thicker the blade the sturdier it will be, however that also means that it will be heavier so it will require more force to swing.
Blade curve – There are many variations of all the way from straight sword-like machetes to super curved. Straight machetes are better for chopping and slicing whereas curved blades are going to be better for cutting brush and grass.
Blade Tip – Some blades will be pointed while others are more rounded. Pointed tips aren’t really necessary unless you are going to use it for hunting, skinning or fishing.
What can you use a Machete For?
You can use a machete in many different environments and situations including:
- chopping wood
- clearing brush
- preparing food
- skinning game
- helping to build a shelter
- clearing trails
How you will use your machete will depend on the environment that you find yourself in. Whether it’s in the jungle, mountainous, forest, or desert there has been some variation of the machete that has been used and made in virtually every part of the world as we shall later see.
Anatomy of a Machete
Tang – A tang of a machete is the shank of the blade that extends into and through its grip for purposes of attachment to the handle. Almost all machetes are full tang, which makes them stronger, more durable and less likely to break at the handle.
Blade – There are two sides to a blade, one usually flat and another curved which makes it easier to chop without it getting stuck.
Grip – The handle is usually made out of wood, plastic or other rubber. It is designed to fit the hand so you can hold it well and use your strength with ease on the blade. It also allows a firm grip for chopping.
Material – Machetes blades are usually made out of carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon Steel is stronger and will rust easier if not taken care of properly.
Types – There are over 40 types on machete patterns currently used by the military in the world. These differ from country to country but some of these in use include Bolo, Brushcutter, Clearing Knife, Espada Ropera, Golok, Kabar Mora, Kukri, Machete Corto-Marcial, Parang Tula, Panga, Pilum-lunge, Sawback Bowie or Bolo Machete.
We will briefly mention a few of the most widely used machetes.
What are the Different Types of Machetes?
There are many different types of machetes including:
- Origin: Europe
- Features: Has a hooked blade
- Uses: For cutting views
- Origin: Philippines
- Features: Broad leaf like shaped
- Uses: For hunting
- Origin: Philippines
- Features: Compact and weighted with fatter end
- Uses: Cutting vegetation
- Origin: USA
- Features: Skinny long knife named after Jim Bowie
- Uses: Hunting and Wilderness Survival
- Origin: Latin America
- Features: Long and Straight edged
- Uses: All purposes
- Origin: Spain
- Features: Long with fat hooked end
- Uses: Used for cutting sugar cane
- Origin: Africa
- Features: Long cutlass shape
- Uses: Cutting tall grass
- Origin: Centeral American
- Features: Sharp on both sides of the blade
- Uses: For cutting across large areas
- Origin: Nepal
- Features: Narrow curved short sword
- Uses: Every Day Use
- Origin: Africa
- Features: Thick long and fat swords
- Uses: Slicing and chopping vegetation
- Origin: Europe
- Features: Sloping down point
- Uses: Good for hunting and chopping
- Origin: Indonesia
- Features: Long curved blade
- Uses: Cutting through jungle
The main things to look out for when choosing one would be weight size and material.
Things to Look out for When Choosing a Machete
When it comes to choosing the right type of machete, it is often a matter of personal taste, along with how you will be using the machete. As you have seen from the options that are on the list above, there are many different styles and sizes available. You will want to think about where and how you will be using the machete to determine whether you will need something that is able to do a lot of chopping, if you want an option with a saw, ax head, etc.
You will also want to consider the overall size of the machete and the weight. Those who will be putting the machete into their gear for camping and survival likely want to find options that are on the lightweight side and that will be easy to take along with them. Fortunately, the options on the list above are all relatively light and small enough to carry on your body or on or in a pack.
Having a good size blade will give you more leverage in your swing, allowing you the ability to use it in a variety of settings whether it’s hacking through timber, brush and undergrowth as well as for defense. If you are going to take it along with you or throw it in a bag better pick one that’s a bit smaller.
As we mentioned before, size does matter. The bigger the size the greater surface area you are able to clear.
Having short blades will tend to be a good option for those who may have only a narrow space and who might want to have some additional control over their swing. Longer blades will be heavier in the majority of cases, and this, combined with their length, helps to make them an ideal option for those who might have a lot of chopping to do.
The thickness of the blade is important, as well. The machetes that have been included on this list are on the thicker side, which means that they are able to withstand quite a bit of work in the real world and they will be more effective than a thin blade that can only take care of light vegetation.
The Type of Steel
One of the other things that you will find when you start to look at your different options with the best machetes is that they are made from different types of material for the blade. While they are all steel, they are made from various types of steel. While all of these can provide high-quality machetes, it is important to realize that they may have some different pros and cons. Let’s look at the different steel types.
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel
- High carbon stainless steel
Stainless steel is made when nickel and chromium are added to carbon steel. One of the biggest benefits of stainless steel is the fact that it is highly resistant to rust, which means it could be a good solution for those who plan to use their machete outdoors and in some inclement weather. However, it will dull easier, so it will need to be sharpened regularly since it will not hold its edge as well. Still, it is quite easy to re-sharpen.
Carbon steel blades are the strongest option. They tend to be affordable, and they are able to hold their edge for a long period. However, one of the drawbacks is that it will start to rust relatively easily if it gets into contact with moisture. For this reason, they will often have coatings on them. In addition, they will need to be oiled when they are sharpened. They can work well for a range of different types of activities, especially chopping, because they are so strong.
High-carbon stainless steel is a combination of the above options. This means that it will have a moderate amount of strength, and a moderate ability to resist rust damage. It is durable and it can stay nice and sharp with a little bit of additional care.
You generally want a machete that’s lighter if you are going to be traveling, or on the go a lot especially if you are using it for a bug-out bag or are carrying it along with your other gear, however, if you are not planning on being very mobile with it, then bigger a bit heavier is better as it allows you to cut through bigger branches and clear wider area of brush.
There is a point of diminishing returns, in that, if the machete is too heavy, then your arm will tire out quickly, and you will be wishing you had a lighter machete. If it’s too light you will have to use more force to cut through the brush and may find that the blade will be prone to break easier, especially if you are trying to cut through thick brush and trees.
Caring for Your Machete to Keep It in Great Shape
The machete is one of the best tools that you can have, and that means you will want to take proper care of it. Make sure that you are caring for the blade properly, and that you are sharpening and oiling the machete regularly. Even if you only use it a couple of times when you go out on your next trip, be sure to give it a cleaning and sharpen it. Get into the habit, and you will not run into a situation where you are out in the wild and you have a dull blade.
You also have to take proper care of the handles. Handles that are made from plastic or rubber do not usually require much in the way of additional care. However, those machetes that have wooden handles will need to ensure that those handles are polished to keep them from drying out and cracking.
Always be sure to store the machete in a dry location, as you do not want it to be kept in a humid spot. Even stainless steel can have problems if you leave the machete in a humid location for too long.