Best Machete Reviews – 2017 Edition – Our Top Picks
It’s likely that you have seen a machete. If you haven’t and you’re just starting to learn more about this tool, then you should know that a machete is like a modified knife and ax. It’s fairly long with the length of its blade ranging from 12 to 18 inches. It can be used for a variety of purposes; one reason why it is one of the more popular types of knives.
Machetes are ingrained in the history of many nations. It was the weapon of choice for uprisings in many tropical countries. In fact, the sugar cane workers in Puerto Rico were unofficially called macheteros because they used the weapon during their uprising that started in 1976. In Cuba, peasant guerillas used it to defend the city of Havana against Spanish occupiers.
Best Machetes - Our Choices
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Top Machetes Today
Whether you intend to use the machete in the garden, or add it to your camping tools and equipment, you won’t regret buying any of the following machetes in this list:
KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri
KA-Bar knives are known for their durability and versatility, and this machete is no exception. It’s a great utility knife for chopping down weeds, cutting small branches, and clearing a campsite.
Its carbon steel blade is great for chopping and basic field use. It measures around 11.5 inches long, while the handle is about 5.5 inches long. Overall, this machete has a length of 17 inches and weighs a fairly lightweight 1.7 pounds given its size.
This full tang machete is very reliable when it comes to chopping, as KA-Bar designed it to have much of its weight placed at the head of the blade. It can make short work of thick grass, bushes, coconut husks, and bamboo, among others, when out in the field.
The only major design flaw of this machete is its grip, as it is perfectly round instead of oval.
Cold Steel Jungle Machete
This 22-inch long machete isn’t the most portable in this list, but it doesn’t take away the fact that it is one machete you would want to have in your tool box.
After all, the machete is made from tough 1055 carbon steel. It is almost unbreakable that you will have enough confidence to use it in cutting almost anything that you find out there in the field, from vines, saplings, and bush. It has a great weight-forward balance that makes it easy to chop through anything in its path. The sharp point, meanwhile, is useful for skinning and slashing.
The handle is also comfortable and easy to grip, while the knife gets points for its quality and durable construction. You’ll have to bear with the sheath, though, as it can be a pain to pull out the machete out of it. Overall, this is a good machete to have.
United Cutlery BV124
When you talk about a powerful and durable machete, this one from United Cutlery should be in the discussion.
It all begins with its stainless steel blade. It features cut-out design and a baked-on black finish for that unique look. But don’t think that it is all about looks, as you won’t have any likely complaints about its performance. It has sharp teeth and point, making it ideal for cutting, puncturing, and stabbing.
Then the handle is oversized and rubberized, designed in such way that users will have an easier time holding it. This 25-inch long machete is a full tang blade that also includes a durable, nylon sheath for ease in storage and transport.
The problem with this machete is its balance, as the weight is not distributed well. Thus swinging it against vegetation is awkward, if not impractical.
Gerber 31-002289 Bear Gyrlls Parang
We mentioned Gerber as one of the best brands of machetes and true enough, this Bear Grylls Parang is one example why the company has built a good reputation.
The blade, measuring 13.5 inches, is arguably one of the best in this list. It is made of strong, high carbon steel that gives it superior strength. It is also easy to sharpen, aside from the fact that it can resist corrosion pretty well. The full-tang construction further enhances the durability of the blade.
The handle has an ergonomically designed, textured rubber grip for superior comfort. It also reduces the risks of slippage. Then there is a nylon sheath that is lightweight and mildew resistance. Plus, you get a lanyard cord that enhances the grip security.
The only concern here is the weight of the machete, as it is pretty heavy at around 1.6 pounds.
Condor Golok Machete
Like Gerber, Condor has a proud history having been established in 1787 in Germany. It continues its long tradition of manufacturing quality knives with this beautiful Golok machete.
The hardwood handle gives it a distinct look, and provides decent grip as well. It holds a 1075 high carbon steel blade which is strong enough for cutting thick vegetation. It also comes with a high quality, leather sheath. However, most users complain that it can be difficult to pull the machete out of it.
Another issue is that the grind angle on the blade is a bit steep and thus won’t yield a sharp edge for a 30 degree grind. Still this is one of the best machetes that you can add to your collection.
This is one of the most durable machetes that you can find in the market today. In fact, it was used by the US Armed Forces during World War II, and continues to be a fixture in their arsenal up to this day.
The machete features an 18-inch long, 1095 carbon steel blade. Whether you are clearing bush or cutting down hardwood, this machete will be a very good companion.
The common complaint that users have about this machete is that it arrives not in the sharpest form. Thus you will likely have to spend an hour or so sharpening it. Another beef that users have about the Ontario 6145 is that its handle is pretty slippery.
However, for its price and quality, you really can’t pass up on this one.
Tramontina Machete Wood Handle
This is an old-school machete with a wooden handle. While it is crafted like the machete of centuries past, it performs as good as, if not better, than the other machetes in this list.
This Brazilian-style machete has an overall length of 23 inches. The blade alone measures 18 inches while the handle is five inches long. With its length, it provides enough chopping power for clearing bush, sugar cane, wood, and other vegetation. The blade is made of high carbon steel.
However, you will have to realize that the blade is not made of stainless steel so corrosion should follow especially if you don’t take good care of it. The lack of protective coating also hurts a bit. You can prevent rust from damaging the blade by regularly wiping it with oil-moistened cloth.
But for its price and cutting power, this old-school machete from Tramontina is worth buying.
This is a machete that appeals mostly to budget-conscious buyers. It is a 20-inch long machete with a one-piece, full-tang construction. The blade is made of stainless steel and measures nearly 15 inches. It is powerful and durable enough to clear bush and thickets.
There’s a comfortable, cord-wrapped handle that you can turn to so that you will have better control of the machete when cutting. Also included is a heavy duty, nylon sheath for easier storage and optimal safety; however, most users agree that it isn’t the best sheath around.
Schrade SCHKM1 Large Full Tang Fixed Blade Kukri Machete
The blade is constructed of 3cr13 steel and is of a full tang design. It is hard enough for outdoor work and camp chores, and durable enough to withstand constant use. The blade is about 1/8 inches thick, which is slightly thicker than most blades that are often 1/10 inches thick. In terms of length the blade is around 13.3 inches long.
The design of the blade is tested and proven to be effective. It has a big belly and curved design, allowing maximum chopping power. It also facilitates quick swings. Te blade also has a nice powder coating.
The handle is of a safe, t-grip design. It is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in almost any size hand. The handle’s curvature also results to blade weight distribution and more chopping power. You will also love the well-built nylon sheath with a pouch to boot.
If there is a chink in the armor of this well-designed machete then it has to be its weight of 3 pounds. It can get tiring to use this machete because of its weight. But if you think you can work with a 3 pound machete, then go for this one by all means.
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools MC02-N SOGFari
SOG is another reputable firm that is known for its eye-pleasing yet functional knives and tools. This machete from the company is light and portable. It features an 18-inch long dual steel blade that has a unique saw bladed top.
The blade is sharp and powder coated to resist corrosion. There’s also a rubber handle that comes with this machete to prevent hand irritation. This is a great machete to have if you are to chop wood, clear bush and trails. Plus the nylon sheath is heavy duty and provides a safe storage.
The main beef that users have with this machete is its weight, as it weighs more than 2 pounds.
It has been said that only a few tools can match up with the versatility of the machete. And it is true, as there are lots of uses of a machete. Arguably the most popular use of a machete is for clearing bush and blazing new trails.
The tool is also widely used in agriculture, as it can aid in harvesting crops like sugar, corn, barley, and sugar cane. It can also be utilized for carving and incising wood.
Of course, it can be used for self-defense just like any other knife. Farmers and outdoorsmen particularly use it for fending off venomous snakes or dangerous animals.
Machete can also be used for other purposes such as trimming overhanging branches, gathering plants, constructing shelter from bark and poles, and clearing brush and scrub.
There are many types of machete which can only make your shopping for a bit more confusing. But at least, you will have many options to choose from. In the western world, the most common type is the Latin or the bush machete. It is characterized by a straight back blade, with an evenly weighted stout. It is commonly used as a utility tool.
Another type of machete is the panga, which is commonly found in east and southern Africa. It has a blade that broadens of the backside, with a length ranging from 16 to 18 inches. It has plenty of eight for chopping, and its curvature facilitates ease in slicing.
The bolo resembles the panga, although its blade swells before the tip. This design makes the bolo ideal for chopping. It is used in the Philippines for chopping large foods and clearing vegetation.
In Malaysia and Indonesia, the machete is known as the parang. It has a shorter, thicker blade than the bolo. Another variation is the Golok, which is prevalent in Southeast Asia. It is more portable than the bolo and parang, and traditionally is used as an agricultural tool.
What to Look for in a Machete
You might get overwhelmed what with the many variations of the machete. But you don’t have to get confused as long as you know what you need in a machete.
One is the length of the blade. On the average, a machete’s blade is 18 inches long. However, you can find machetes that are as short as 10 inches and as long as 30 inches. Length can have an impact on the portability and reach of the tool. A longer blade is difficult to carry around but can do a task in less time. A shorter blade is easier to transport but can clear an area at a longer period.
The material used in the blade is another consideration. Stainless steel and carbon steel are the two most common materials for machete blades. The latter is cheaper and can withstand more abuse. The downside is that it is more prone to corrosion, which cannot be said of the stainless steel type. But if you intend to use the machete for agricultural or horticultural purposes, you’d rather go with one made of carbon steel blade.
Tang is the part of the blade that extends into the grip, connecting the blade and handle. You’d want a machete with a full tang as it is more superior in terms of durability and strength.
The handle material is another thing that you should be wary of. There are different materials used for the handle, and each one has its pros and cons. For example, a wooden handle gives a good grip. It also stays warm in the hand, but tends to become slippery when wet.
You should look for a machete with a Micarta handle, which is a combination of linen, fiberglass, and plastic. A Micarta handle is excellent when it comes to strength, comfort, and grip.
Finally, the handle style will determine how comfortable the machete is in your hand. Find a handle that fits well in your hand. You don’t want a handle that is too small or too large for your hands. This is where buying at a retail store is advantageous because you can try the machete in your hand before making any purchase.
Just like in any product, there are popular brands of machete that you can try to look for when shopping for a machete. These brands include:
This company based in Oregon is best known for their knives. However, it does produce good quality machete.
A German firm that has more than 200 years of experience in producing quality knives and machetes.
For nearly 20 years now, ESEE has been producing some of the best survival knives and machetes.
You won’t go wrong with Ka-Bar combat knives and machetes. The firm manufactures finely crafted and affordable machetes.
For close to 40 years, the company has built a reputation for building strong and sharp knives. It also produces fine machetes with a black and rust-resistant coating.
Now that you know the best machetes in the market today, go ahead and study the pros and cons of each model. Read users’ reviews and compare prices. These are the things that you need to accomplish if you want to get the best machete for your personal use—whether it’s for agricultural purposes or for your next camping trip.