What is the Best Machete?

We reviewed the top 3 machetes and found one surprising secret. Unlike most people, I’m sure you’re looking for the best machete because you want to survive the Zombie apocalypse (or just cut down some stuff when hiking, either reason is good in my book). Well, after reviewing the top 3 best selling machetes, guess what? One of them just plain sucked.

NameKukriColossalBear Grylls
BrandKabarTrademarkGerber
SharpnessExtremeDullVery
Weight1.9lbs1.28lbs1.8lbs
Length17″25″25″
MaterialCarbonStainlessCarbon
SheathGoodOKGood
MSRP$66$30$55
Amazon$42$17$32
Rating
buy nowbuy nowbuy now

What makes a Good and Best Machete

These are features that you want in a good machete.

  • Weight. Depending on your task, you might need a heavy machete (for cutting thick branches) or a lighter machete (for carrying on your hip during a long hike). If you don’t know what you are gonna use a machete for, pick a middle of the road weight.
  • Length. The longer the machete, the more it weights. Also, the longer the machete, the more you can cut with just one swing. In addition to that, the longer the machete, the harder it is to carry it around on your hip (not good for hiking).
  • Sharpness. This is self explanatory. You want a nice sharp blade that will remain sharp for years. Pro-Tip: If you’re cheap and won’t be using the machete a lot, just get a cheap machete and buy a cheap sharpener ;). This leads right into…
  • Material. Different types of metals hold their sharpness differently. Some metals are quite soft and will get dull easily. Other metals are harder to dull but these types usually rust easy.
  • Sheath. The machete will come with a sheath (it isn’t safe otherwise) and the sheath should be of high quality. It is as important as the machete itself. You would want something sturdy. If you are going to a humid place, choose a synthetic sheath because it’ll resist moisture better.

Ka-Bar Black Kukri Machete

Kabar machete with box

Beautiful!

Ka-Bar (pronounced K (like the letter ‘K’)-bar(like the place you buy drinks at)) is a classic name in survival knives. The company originally produced combat knives for the military but now has branched out into other cutting tools. This knife has a 11.5 inch blade and weights 1.7 pounds. We found that this is just the right amount of weight and length to cut items in the woods behind our house with ease. Small branches were sliced in half with just one cut. It also did not become uncomfortable to carry around after an hour.

The handle is the classic Ka-bar grip. It is made of some type of plastic (I don’t know what) but, don’t worry, it won’t slip out of your hands easily. The handle also has a little hole at the end where you can attach some 550 cord to give you a loop to place around your wrist–for those of us who are afraid we’ll accidentally fling the machete across the room. You can also attach a whistle, fire starter, or mirror to the 550 cord.

The knife is very popular on the internet since it is the ninth best selling hunting knife on Amazon. Other Reviewers stated how the blade came razor sharp right out of the box. One even mentioned how he has abused his for years a it is still in great condition. Get the Ka-bar Kukri machete here.

Trademark Colossal 25″ Heavy Duty Machete

photo of 25 inch machete

This machete is HUGE.

This machete is a little lighter then the last one at 1.28lbs and has a longer blade (20 inches long, or 8.5 inches longer then the last one). This one felt a lot lighter then the last one and, because of its length, felt more adequate for cutting twigs and branches. The length gives this machete tons of power. I agree with one customer who stated that this machete is more like a sword–and it is!

Once again, this machete came razor sharp right out of the box. After a day of fooling around with my brothers, the machete got quite dull. I don’t think this thing was meant to cut branches. Also, some reviews said that their machete came dull. Eh, this machete isn’t winning a lot of people over.

I, right now, have almost no use for this thing. It is too long to carry on your hip but it would be great if you are going through the Amazon where the vegetation is leafy and not woody. I’m quite sure that they actually made this machete for the Amazon because the blade is made of stainless steel–it’ll never rust in moisture. Most reviews online were mixed about this machete and, for that, I don’t recommend this knife. You can read more about it if you really want to.

Gerber Bear Grylls Machete

Bear Grylls with his Machete

Gerber is a name that any outdoorsmen knows. Bear Grylls is a former Special Forces member and, now, a TV host. The Bear Grylls machete was designed for survival and weights almost 2lbs. This is the heaviest knife we tested. It has a 13.5″ blade. The weight and shortness of the knife made the knife a great tool for cutting down chunks of wood. In fact, we were bored and started chopping up some 2×4′s in the backyard with it. The machete can be used as a hatchet if you find the need.

This knife was designed more for camping and survival than hiking. It is great for heavy duty work but I wouldn’t carry it around all day on a long hike–too heavy. If you need a machete for the occasion vegetation clearing and utility work, this knife does both just fine.

The machete also has a really cool handle that grips like Spiderman. It comes with some cord at the end and you can get a fire starter for it if you like. The sheath is so-so in my opinion–nothing special but it gets the job done.

The reviews online stated that this knife is all right. There is also a recall for older models of this knife as of Fall 2012. Guess Gerber screwed something up at the factory because they recalled the Bear Grylls Survival Knife the other year as well.  Read more about this machete.

The best Machete is…

Out of our test, what is the best machete? Well, first off, Bear Grylls has been accused of being a fake and, after testing out his machete (as well as knife) I believe them. This dude is just someone riding a wave of hype. Yes, secret’s out Bear Grylls. You think spending the night in a hotel during your “3 day survival” series won’t spread around?

As for the Trademark Colossal, that thing is only good if you are going to the Amazon rain forest. I’m pretty sure only a small handful of the readers are going to the Amazon ;). If you want something cool to play around with in the back yard or at the camp site, avoid this machete because the blade is made of stainless steel–it will not hold up for long.

And, with all of that being said, I think the KA-BAR kurki machete is the best. It is heavy enough to chop thick branches as well as light enough to carry around on a trip. The blade lasts forever and it has a really good handle. The brand is also much more trustworthy than Bear Grylls. You can get it here.

Don’t believe Bear Grylls is a fake? Have on of these machetes at home? Just board and want to tell me what you’re listening to? Post it in the comment box below. I personally read all comments =).

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14 comments on “What is the Best Machete?
  1. John says:

    Thanks guys. I followed your advice and purchased a Ka-bar the other week. I got it in the mail and, what did you know, it was just like you said: PERFECT! It felt so good in my hands and I did a lot of wood chopping for fun with it. It has to be one of the best knives I’ve ever felt. It feels as good as my professional knife set in the kitchen. It cuts like butter.

    I also love how it has that classic Kabar grip. Really great.

  2. Alex T says:

    So, Bear Gryll’s Parang Machete got recalled for being a threat to your limbs. Good thing it isn’t recommended here! I also heard really bad things about his survival knife as well.

  3. ChrisC says:

    I don’t get why Ka-Bar has named that blade a machete. It’s thicker than machetes are meant to be. It’s a good chopper, from what I’ve read, and people claim to have cleared brush with it, though I doubt they’d have much luck on the grape vines in my yard with it, but it’s hardly a machete. Their grass machete puzzles me as well. Even people who own and like it say it’s not designed for cutting grass. As for REAL machetes, there’s Tramontina, Imacasa, Condor (an Imacasa brand), Martindale, Ontario, Marbles (also from Imacasa), etc. There’s no reason to buy those off brands sold by Amazon or BudK, made of mystery steel that doesn’t hold an edge. Even Cold Steel is an improvement over those no-name machetes, whose machetes are made for them by Lasher, a South African manufacturer.

  4. Veronica L. Skov says:

    Thanks for the research. I would like to buy a machete how long should it be?

  5. Glenn says:

    I have the Cold Steel Kukri (14″ blade)and Heavy machete(15″). Both are hard steel and cut up to 4″ in a swing or two. Either are good for the hiking day pack. But my go-to is the Tramontina 18″ latin for real brush work or heavy chopping.

  6. heteromeles says:

    If you want to blow money on a khukuri, I happen to really, really like http://www.himalayan-imports.com/. These are genuine Nepalese khukuris (their spelling. It’s a kukri), made out of Mercedes car springs by Nepalese smiths. They make a number of models, and every blade they make is hand-crafted and different. I’ve had good luck with the ones I’ve gotten, although admittedly I carry them in a pack or shoulder bag than on my belt. They are heavy enough to pull your pants down, but even the lighter ones cut beautifully. One important point is that khukuris aren’t designed to cut like machetes. They work best if you keep your wrist straight and use your elbow and shoulder to pull the blade through the target, almost like a katana (a draw chop akin than a draw cut, if you know what a draw cut is). The midrib on a traditional kukri handle is to give you added traction for the draw chop, and it can raise a nice blister if you use your wrist too much and let it rotate on your palm.

    As for machete-like objects, I also like the woodman’s pal (http://www.woodmanspal.com/). The metal is soft (take along a file), but it’s light, and great for brush clearing. That hook on the back makes for a lovely backswing that’s just perfect for brambles, or for pulling in a branch you’ve just lopped. It’s also light and short enough that it’s easier to carry than a khukuri or even a machete.

  7. James Legg says:

    I own the Bear Grylls Parang and I’m here to tell you, this thing is “Bad To The Bone!!” I highly recommend this beast!!

  8. Gerard says:

    If any of you folks want to see a REALLY good machete, for a fraction of the cost, come here to the Philippines and look up Dr. Arvin Sese. He sells some of the best machetes anywhere, and for a fraction of the big name brands.

  9. Jack says:

    I own several kukri’s and have given several as gifts>
    I am trying to find or make a quick release sheath to put on the outsode of my BOB, any suggestions?

  10. Warren says:

    While I appreciate that all of the ‘machetes’ presented in this comparison fall into the category generally. I feel like to really compare you comparable items. These are three different types of ‘machetes’ that are made for entirely different cutting, chopping, and hacking functions.

    I think a better side-by-side might be to compare three latin machetes, or three kukri designs, etc. The way in which you swing and use them are so different that ultimately the experience will vary severely when comparing different designs.

    That being said, the Trademark design is like a sword because it has a sword design, not a machete design, and unfortunately Ka-Bar is hands down going to outperform a mass produced, in every outdoor store design like the Bear Gryll’s Parang. If it didn’t well that would make as much sense as the earth rotating backwards for a day.

  11. Olan Tiangco says:

    I have tried the Ka-Bar Khukri on nothing more than a whim. I am not a Ka-Bar fan at all, but for some reason, the Ka-Bar Khukri seems to be the anomoly. I took down several small trees with mine. The blade does not warp. Also, you can treat the blade with a rasp to put a chopping edge back on it in no time. If you are in a spot, and find a hard stone, that will serve well. You might, with some care, give it a sharp enough edge to dress game, but that will take alot of time. Bottom line: for clearing, building expedient shelters and defense, this knife is by far the best I have ever had.

  12. Josh says:

    I understand that this site is to help out knife newbs , I get that, but don’t give people information like stainless steel will never rust. Guess what it can.

    Just cause things are listed as carbon steel doesn’t tell much about the characteristics of the steel. Same deal with stainless.

    Next, the factory edge shouldn’t play in the decision making. If you cant sharpen a blade then you need to get practicing if you intend on gettin a machete. The type of use machetes are used for they get dull no matter how good the steel.

    I don’t know who told you that these are the top sellers but they are not.

    Lastly these are some recommendations for different machetes that I garuntee these will last a lifetime.

    Choppers= :as stated above kabar kukri
    : BK9
    Bush machetes= : any tramontina or imacasa machete

  13. fred leissing says:

    The Condor Bushcraft parang is a far superior blade with a wider range of functional uses. Get serious and try this out. You’ll immediately trash your boy toys and move into the realm of adults.

  14. Paul-C- says:

    I have a Kbar Kukri and a BG compact Parang, I have still to use my kukri but I have used the parang a few times.People have been slagging off the BG products, so the colours make them look like toys but orange is one of the best for survival situations and the parang cuts really well mine does anyway still have a scar to prove it.I have cut through large logs 6″ with mine and weighs next to nothing.kbar and condor may be better but for the price im happy with my parang.

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