As an outdoorsman or woman, you always need a trusty knife to carry with you on your adventures in nature. Whether it’s to clear a path, skin some game, gut a fish, or cut come kindling for the fire, a good knife is something you should never leave home without. One of the most versatile knives is the kukri blade.
Originally made famous by the Nepalese Gurkha’s, the kukri knife is for every occasion, not only will it cut whatever you need it to but its shape and design is also strong enough to lever or bend things open, dig holes and of course save your life in the event you’re attacked by a wild animal. They’re also one of the most attractive knives around, in my personal opinion.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Kukri Machetes in 2021
If you have a look online, you’ll find dozens of kukri’s available, each a little different than the next and it’s hard to know if you’re getting enough knife for your dollar or if the kukri you’re looking at will work for you. Luckily, you have stumbled upon this review. We have taken the best kukri’s and highlighted their key features so you can find the best kukri knife for you.
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Best Kukri On A Budget
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Best Of The Best
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Smith and Wesson aren’t just a firearms manufacturer and are also in the knife business. The Smith & Wesson Outback Kukri is a durable knife made from 440 stainless steel which is more fragile than most steels, so treat it with some care.
The first thing you notice about this kukri is that it is light. This makes it much easier to use, especially for long tasks like consistently clearing a path through the woods. But lightness also means you’ll feel more. The impact of cutting hard objects is going to come through the steel and into your hands more than with a heavier kukri.
The knife comes with a rubber grip, lanyard, and a nylon sheath with a shoulder strap. The grip is sticky and you’ll find it hard to have the kukri slip out your hards. The lanyard, heat, and shoulder strap allow you to store the kukri knife safely and securely while also making it easy to access quickly if you need to.
The nylon sheath, however, will wear out over time and you’ll be finding the need to replace it before long. Also, the kukri arrives a bit blunt and will need sharpening when you first put your hands on it.
Overall a high-quality knife at a great price but if you plan on doing some heavy cutting, I’d opt for something a bit heavier.
In the kukri world, you usually get what you pay for but somehow the Cold Steel Magnum Kukri seems to break this pattern. It’s one the least expensive kukri’s in the review but is still made to a very high standard and has a blade length of 22 inches.
It features a 2mm thick blade that’s made from 1055 carbon steel and finished with an anti-rust matte coating. The blade is angled and weighed forward giving you extra momentum and leverage to cut through the toughest wood. The angled blade lets you get a bit deeper with each cut too, ideal for path clearing.
The blade is very durable and will last for a long time. The handle is made from polypropylene and is made to fit snugly in your hand. It absorbs shock well and is grippy so you’ll always have control over the kukri. It’ll also last pretty much forever.
The Cold Steel Magnum Kukri knife comes with a Cor-Ex sheath which is far superior to a nylon sheath and will last a while.
This is a great knife at a great price but you will have to sharpen it out the box.
The Magnum Pocket Kukri is really a pocket knife rather than a full-blown kukri and if you use it as a pocket knife you will love it. If you try and use it to do the heavy lifting a proper kukri knife can handle, you might end up being so frustrated you could toss it in the river.
The Magnum Pocket Kukri is ideal for gutting fish, skinning games, and whittling points. It actually might be easier to do all these with this smaller blade than a full-size kukri, so being smaller does have its good points, and it’ll fold up in your pocket.
The blade is sharp, durable, and folds neatly away into the G-10 handle. To open the blade you just need to flick, making it ideal for quick access. The handle is super grippy and will serve you well when you’re filleting as slippery fish for example.
Overall it’s a very handy knife at a great price, I’d buy one of these and a full-size kukri.
Gerber is well known in the outdoor industry and has made some of the most reliable outdoor tools ever. Their quality can vary a little but they have really pulled it through with the Gerber Gator Kukri.
This kukri knife features full tang, meaning the knife is made from one piece of metal and the handle is pinned around the base part of the metal in two parts. This makes the knife much stronger which is needed if you’re going to do some heavy-duty work.
The Gator Kukri is made from 1050 high carbon steel and comes with a longer blade than others. The blade has 3 parts; a sharp tip for poking, a wide midsection for chopping, and an area near the handle that’s ideal for carving.
The long blade combined with the Gator grip, one of the best shock-absorbing grips in the world, is ideal for hacking through thick bush or chiseling logs to make a shelter with. The blade, however, is a little thin and may need some love while you’re hacking away.
The Gator grip is also designed to perform when wet. So no matter whether you’re sweating buckets or walking in the rain, the grip will stay stuck firmly in your hand.
The Gator Kukri blade comes with a nylon sheath that’s great for keeping it safe and secure. You can attach it to your belt or lanyard for easy access. You may have to upgrade the sheath due to the nylon wearing thin quite quickly.
Overall it’s a solid knife at a great price and will work well in almost every scenario. If you do need to do some heavy-duty cutting, it might be better to opt for something with a thicker blade.
The SOGfari Kukri knife by SOG is up there with the best and it should be. SOG has been making knives for years, so much so the military also uses them.
Let’s start off with the blade. It’s long, made of high-quality carbon steel, and is very hard to break. Even if it did, you’re covered by a limited lifetime warranty. The blade will cut through thick wood with ease and if you need it, there is a saw edge on the backside for those extra thick branches.
The handle is made from Kraton rubber and while being comfortable and providing awesome grip, it is also great at absorbing shock. This means you can clear paths through the bush with ease. Your hand won’t feel pain or discomfort as you make your way on your adventure.
The base of the kukri comes with a serrated tang that’s perfect for pounding and scraping, another well-thought-out feature from SOG. It comes with a nylon sheath which is great for safety but as previously mentioned in the review, will need replacing.
This is an all-around awesome kukri at a great price and one you should seriously consider.
Ontario has been making knives for years and their quality is undeniable. The Ontario OKC Kukri follows suit and is an excellent Kukri machete at an affordable price.
The blade is made from black-coated 1095 carbon steel that is exceptional in its quality and will survive pretty much anything you throw at it. The steel blade is quite long and works excellently as a machete as well as a knife.
The G-10 grip is made from rubber and features finger grooves to ensure that when you’re in full swing, this kukri isn’t going anywhere. Not only does it stick to your hand but it’s also shock-absorbing and comfortable for those long days of hacking through the jungle.
The OKC Kukri comes with a nylon sheath (that you’ll need to replace) that you can affix to the included lanyard or to your belt for safe access,
Another quality knife, the only thing letting it down is the sheath.
The Heavy Duty Kukri Knife from Condor is just that. The blade is made from heavy-duty 8mm 1075 high carbon steel. It is a little shorter than other blades making it a bit more versatile. Less like carrying around a kukri machete and more like having a long pocket knife.
The steel blade needs sharpening out of the box and once you’ve got the desired edge, it’ll be perfect for most outdoor uses, except maybe hacking through thick jungle. The blade is more curved than most making it a bit better at those smaller intricate jobs.
The handle of this kukri knife is made from hardwood and is very pretty but it’s not that grippy. This is a bit of an issue and it won’t be very comfortable to use, especially over long periods of time. You can add things to make it more grippy, like a piece of tennis grip or tape but it would be a shame to hide the hardwood.
The kukri knife comes with a leather sheath, finally, a sheath that’ll last. Overall this is a great knife for most outdoor enthusiasts but if you need one for a long period of heavy work, choose one with a better grip.
If you’re looking for the highest quality Gurkha kukri around, look no further. The EGKH Gurkha Army Issue Kukri is made in Nepal by “Bishwakarmas” (Born khukuri Makers) that have been making kukris longer than anyone.
The steel blade is of the highest quality and is made with a full tang rat tail to ensure its strength and durability. You’ll be able to cut through the jungle and pretty much do anything a kukri is designed for with absolute ease. It’s made using 5160 carbon steel and arrives extremely sharp. There is a notch at the base of the blade that is designed as a blood drip to stop blood from getting into the handle
This kukri machete also comes with a “chakmak”, used to sharpen the blade and to make a spark from flint to light a fire. It also features a “karda”, a small knife used for skinning animals.
The handle is made from a buffalo horn as one might expect and features finger grooves for extra grip. The horn is a bit slippy when wet so be careful of this.
The sheath of this Gurkha kukri is made from cotton covered in buffalo leather which stores not only the kukri but also the chakmak and karda. It’s well made, will not wear out, and easily attaches to your belt.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra, this is by far the best kukri knife to go for.
Ka-Bar has been making knives since before your grandparents were born and is known to make some of the best around. So much so they were contacted to make the US Marine Corps’ official combat knife.
The Ka-Bar kukri knife is a quality steel blade that’ll have your back no matter what happens in the outdoors. It is made from 1085 carbon steel and arrives super sharp out of the box, so be wary when you first handle it. The blade is tough, durable, and made with a full tang to ensure its strength and versatility. It’ll clear any path, camp spot, and dice up any fish or game you’ve caught with ease.
It comes with an ergonomic Kraton G thermoplastic elastomer handle, try to say them 3 times fast! This handle won’t crack, is very grippy, comfortable, and absorbs shock well. It’s ideal for long days of clearing.
This kukri comes with a black leather/Cordura combination sheath for secure storage. Why the sheath wasn’t just made from 100% leather I don’t know but at least it is a step up from nylon. The sheath will last a while but you may need to upgrade at some point.
This is an awesome kukri knife at a reasonable price, certainly worth a few extra bucks.
The first thing you need to look for in a kukri is what metal the blade is made from. This pretty much dictates how good the blade is and how long it will last. Kukri’s are usually made from either stainless or carbon steel. Carbon steel is more durable and retains its sharpness for longer while stainless steel looks good and is rust-resistant.
If you plan on using your kukri in a saltwater environment, be prepared to clean and maintain it a lot if you choose one made from carbon steel. Some carbon steel kukri’s do come with an anti-rust coating though but this will wear off over time.
You could always buy a stainless steel kukri to avoid this but you lose out on toughness. As an angler myself, I’d probably opt for a stainless steel kukri, after all, sharpening is kind of fun.
Using a kukri can be dangerous and accidents do happen. It’s important that you have 100% control of your kukri while using it and the best way to do this is through a high-quality handle. This will ensure the kukri doesn’t slip and is comfortable to use.
Handles can be made from wood, bone, and more advanced materials like G10 & Kraton. It’s advisable to test the handle once you receive your kukri to ensure it’s grippy, comfortable, and fits your hand well. The things to look for in a handle are; non-sticky, non-slip, shock-absorbing, tight fit to the blade, and comfort.
If you have no idea what tang is, don’t worry, no one did until they wanted to buy their first knife. Tang is measured as full, half, or partial and refers to the amount of the blade that goes into the handle at the base. A partial tang means that only a small section of the blade will slot into the handle. A half tang means that the base of the blade reaches halfway through the handle. And a full tang means the base of the blade runs all the way through the handle.
The more tang, the bigger the bang – the more of the blade that runs through the handle the stronger the blade will be.
Kukri’s are used for heavy cutting a lot of the time and you’ll want to get one with a full tang. Kukris made with half/partial tang will easily break at the base when you’re cutting something solid.
Every kukri comes with a sheath and it’s very important that you use it. Not only is it a bit intimidating for others to be brandishing a machete-like blade as you walk around but using a sheath also keeps you safe. Kukris are deadly weapons and an unsecured blade while walking around the outdoors can lead to all kinds of accidents.
A good sheat will hold the knife securely while allowing easy access. The best material for a sheat is leather which ensures the sheath will be long-lasting and protective. Quite a lot of the included sheaths are nylon which will wear out quite quickly and it’s worth buying a leather sheat if this is the case.
Here are our top choices from the review.
The best allrounder is the SOGfari Kukri. This kukri has a solid high-quality blade, great handle, and comes in at a great price. It’ll be an asset forever with its limited lifetime warranty, although I doubt you’ll need it.
The best of the best is the EGKH Gurkha Army Issue Kukri. This kukri surpasses all the others in its originality and quality. Hand made in Nepal by global experts, this kukri is for life plus it comes with some awesome extra tools.
The best on a budget is the Cold Steel Magnum Kukri. This does everything you might expect from a higher-priced option; the quality, design, and more but it’s less than $30.