No one appreciates the convenience and usefulness of a well-balanced, razor sharp cutting tool as much as a chef. But when it comes to using a machete outdoors you need to be very selective, because the wrong tool for the job can only hold you back. With a perfectly honed, expertly proportioned machete in your hands, you can get a surprising amount of work done in a very short time.
I’ve selected ten of the top cutting tools on the market for quality and price to create the best machete review. As much as I love my assortment of knives, no cutting tools collection can be called complete without adding one of the best machetes on the market to it.
If you are a connoisseur of finely made knives in general, the next step up is to buy a machete. You’ll be surprised how many times one of your friends calls you and asks to borrow it – machetes are one of those essential items that are handy to use around the garden – and many other places too.
Table of Contents
- Top 3 – Best Machetes
- Top 10 Best Machete Reviews in 2020
- What Are the Best Machete Brands Available to the Public?
- What is the Best Way to Sharpen a Machete?
- What is the Best Steel for a Machete?
- What is the Best Machete?
Top 3 – Best Machetes
|Condor Tool & Knife Golok Machete||Check Price|
|Kershaw Camp Series Machete||Check Price|
|KA-BAR Kukri Machete||Check Price|
Top 10 Best Machete Reviews in 2020
One look at Condor’s Golok and you’ll understand why this blade is considered by many experts to be the queen among cutting tools. Although the Golok is manufactured outside of Germany, it was designed and engineered by the German company using over 200 years’ worth of precision fabrication techniques.
With its unique shape and laser sharp edge, the Golok makes light work of everything from clearing away dead brush to cutting back a bamboo thicket. It was originally developed in Indonesia where controlling jungle growth is a serious business. Because of the exceptional design of its handle, the Golok won’t slip out of your hands, no matter how sweaty they become – this is a consideration worth noting if you live in one of the hotter regions.
- Curved 14² blade
- 1075 carbon steel
- Fully extended tang
- Deliberately roughened hardwood handle
- Blade finished with black epoxy
- Extremely versatile and comes with a sheath
- Sheath design makes it hard to withdraw golok and insert it back in.
There’s a reason why the Camp 18 by Kershaw comes with a pitch black powder coating finish: it’s so there is no reflection when you wish to use it undetected by surveillance. That, plus its ultra-modern composition design, places this machete firmly in the cool category. However, it’s so much more than just a beautiful-looking piece of kit.
This machete defines modernity. Unashamedly made of polymer fabricated substances with a textured rubber handle, the Camp 18 is durable and performs continuously at an exceptionally high level. I have no hesitation in placing this tool in the best survival machete category.
- Black, jagged sheath
- 18² long blade gives added swinging power
- Slices through the thickest foliage
- Very accessible price
- Keep the Camp 18 in its sheath to preserve the black powder coating
The Ka-Bar is easily one of the best kukri machetes around, and you only have to hold it in your hands to see why the military prefers the Ka-Bar Kukri 2 as their cutting tool of choice. This type of machete has a long, proud history behind its distinctive shape.
Ka-Bar has added their own spin to this cutting tool by fabricating the handle out of durable thermoplastic elastomer. Paired with the outstanding black carbon-steel blade, it makes this kukri sharp enough to eliminate bushes and branches with easily made strokes.
The Ka-Bar is strong enough to cut through 3” diameter tree branches with one swipe, yet light enough to use all day without fatigue. This makes it ideal to carry with you on camping trips or for use in the garden. The Ka-Bar 2 machete is a great all-rounder, as it can double up as a highly effective defensive weapon as well.
- Classic kukri style and shape
- Ergonomically designed, lightweight Kraton-G handle
- 1085 carbon steel blade
- Overall length – 17²
- Blade length – 11.5²
- Cordura + leather sheath
- Military grade
- Used by professionals, but should be appreciated by a wider audience.
There were smiles of satisfaction all round when Condor brought out the Juggalo. If you know your machete categories, you’ll instantly recognize this cutting tool as a superior example of the timeless Filipino bolo design. The Jungolo’s blade has a distal taper, from the widest part of the tang out to its very thin tip – a feat of fabrication expertise that is seldom seen in this price range.
Condor has made improvements on the standard blocky handle designs and chosen one that is slender near the ricasso, but flares out at the butt. This makes the Jungolo super-easy to swing at bamboo thickets, cut back gorse, or rid your yard of thorn trees. When you feel this machete in your hands or swing it at some bushes, you’ll know why this tool shape has been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years.
- Baked-on oil coating
- Close to the ideal weight for heavy chopping
- Exceptional 13.37² 1075 high-carbon steel blade
- Comfortable length to hang on your belt
- The sheath could be made out of thicker leather
The OKC applies its signature black powder coating to all of its knives, and this beast of a machete is no exception. Because of its irregular rectangular design, the Survival-SP8 boasts a few surprising capabilities. It’s equally at home slicing through dense jungle, chopping wood, or even dicing coconuts at your tiki-bar.
For this reason, we think it’s one of the best machetes on the market for what it’s worth. The machete shape is designed to withstand even the most punishing treatment. It’s more than just your average machete, so feel free to take it into hunting, hiking, fishing, or prepping environments. Definitely the best all-round machete in my experience.
- The full-back saw feature can cut through rope and small trees
- Sharp enough to use to field-dress a trophy when out hunting
- Flat edges perfect for scraping, carving – even digging
- Creates the best kindling
- 10² blade gives you perfect control
- Handle eyelet for lanyard
- You might have to adapt your machete action if you have never used a straight-edge before
TOPS has an impressive record of using law enforcement, military, martial arts, and outdoor professionals to test and experience their tools in real life situations. They are quick to stress that these aren’t gardening implements, but critical mission tools able to be used for crucial assignments. Endorsements don’t come any better than that.
No knife enthusiast’s collection would be complete without adding a TOPS product to it. The 230 comes with a beautiful finish and incredible 15 ¾ ² blade sharpness crafted from 1095 carbon steel. It doesn’t cut through the wood so much as part of it. One of my favorites, especially with its characteristic machete appearance.
- Black micarta handle
- Overall quality
- Arrives with perfect blade sharpness
- Nylon sheath
This machete looks really wicked as it comes super-sharp straight out of the box. The shape makes it really easy to hone into a laser-like acuteness if that is what you like. It can handle taking down small trees (4 – 5²) with only a couple of strokes.
It might be a bit on the heavy side if you’re looking for something you can use all day, but the perfect balance offsets this. The handle grip could be on the small-ish side for a bigger person, but no matter who’s holding this machete sword, they are going to look awesome.
- Made from the highest quality materials
- Supreme blade sharpness
- Great for extending your reach
- Stout Kydex scabbard
- For chopping, rather than slicing because of length
- Scabbard throat could let in rain
If you embrace the full outdoor lifestyle, from taming a property packed with wild underbrush to chopping firewood, then the Bushcraft machete might be a good fit for you. It’s made in the US, so you know the design and handling are well suited to some of the harsher environments experienced here.
Here’s what I like about this machete: the blade is made from 5160 carbon steel with a brushed satin finish. This makes it highly durable while having that spring tempering that imbues it with flexibility, without being floppy.
- Full tang
- Lanyard included
- Well balanced
- Nylon sheath
Ask any hunter, and they will say they need the best tools for the hunting side of things, but dressing a kill in the field efficiently and quickly is just as important. Welcome to the best tool for the job. The CRKT machete is ideal for big game and deer hunters, and can also be used on fishing trips in a pinch.
It can pull double-duty around the campfire when it comes to cutting kindling and small branches as it’s lightweight enough for any adult in the camp to wield without tiring.
- Walnut handle has two cord openings
- Expansive utility from the upswept handle
- Can lash the sheath to your leg
- Still handy at 17.44² length
- Sheath weaving could be tighter
- Not as sharp as we would like on arrival
Gil Hibben only puts his name on impressive cutting tools, and the Combat Machete IV doesn’t disappoint. It’s one serious hunk of metal, great looking, heavy, and very sharp.
It might be a little on the big and weighty side for me to recommend it for everyday use by everyone, but for occasional yard work and camping trips, it would cause quite a stir when you bring this beauty out of its sheath! Pay attention to the description. It’s a knife with a machete blade, not a classical machete.
- Durable, serviceable sheath
- Smaller version of the Combat Kukri – so it’s lighter if that’s what you’re looking for
- Thicker blade width keeps the blade extra unyielding
- The handle will hurt your hand if you use it continuously
What Are the Best Machete Brands Available to the Public?
Unfortunately, there are many machete production companies out there that just don’t cut the mustard as far as cutting edge tool fabrication goes. This means the machete you get will require frequent sharpening, and that is if the blade doesn’t chip or crack entirely.
Here’s my list of a few of the best machete brands around (besides the ones we have already listed above).
One of the leading high-quality cutting tool producers. Their machetes are among the best in the world, and they have the quality assurance that is back by more than a few years of experience. If you’re in the market for an exceptional machete, look here.
Well known for both their indoor and outdoor cutting tools. Condor caters to the camper, landscaper, and carpenter equally. Machete brand recognition personified.
When you think of the highest quality kitchen cutlery or folding knives, Ontario comes to mind. They are also adept at fabricating some of the most desirable outdoor equipment around.
A high specialty knife company, SOG manufactures unique cutting tools at affordable prices. Every knife enthusiast recognized their name.
Renowned for making straightforward cutting tools with very sharp blades. A Tramontina blade is recognizable by its solid wooden, hand-crafted handle. Every blade is forged from the highest quality carbon steel. This makes them durable and sharper for longer.
What is the Best Way to Sharpen a Machete?
As you will see from our best machete review, it’s difficult to pick one best way to sharpen a machete because they come in such a variety of lengths, shapes, and designs. If I had to choose one way that works across the board, I would have to say using a belt sander is the most effective.
This may mean adding a belt sander to your shopping list. A grinding machine can get really labor intensive if you have a lot of cutting tools to hone, so investing in a belt sander is worth it.
All you need to do is apply light pressure at an approximate 45 degree angle, and the straight edge will guide you as to where to put your fingers. Remember not to overheat the blade, especially if it has a carbon-steel composition.
What is the Best Steel for a Machete?
Although the shape and make of the machete has as much to do with performance as the steel composition, it’s always a good idea to go for the best possible steel blade when buying a machete to last a lifetime.
- Stainless Steel: Basic blades are made from stainless steel. It’s a popular choice because it doesn’t rust or bend. It’s also extremely long lasting and requires little maintenance.
- Carbon Steel: A mix of carbon and iron, it has added strength with the downside that it could be more brittle if the manufacture is not of the highest standards. Best for cutting tool beginners, carbon steel is supremely durable with the downside that it is more difficult to sharpen.
- High Carbon Stainless Steel: Oxidization-proof and off-setting the brittleness of basic carbon steel, high carbon stainless steel is considered to be a material worthy to make the best machetes in the world.
What is the Best Machete?
The best machete is the one with the design, weight, and length that is perfect for you. You might need to buy a few models to find this out, but when you do, you’ll see that the wait was worth it.
Think about what you want out of your machete before ordering one. Do you want it mainly for clearing away scrub, cutting down trees, martial arts, or a solidly good multi-purpose, an all-rounder to take camping?
There is no such thing as the best machete in the world. But in their categories, we definitely have managed to select the best machetes in their class for you to use continually. As long as you keep your machete sharp (keeping it in the sheath helps do this) – and make sure no one is close by when you start to use it – you should be very happy with any one of these fine cutting tools on this list.