Best Machete: Buyer’s Guide for the Best Machetes

best machete

The matches or “Machete,” in Spanish and from the root “macho,” or hammer in English. It is a straight and thin clever-like knife or sword used for hacking down dense vegetation. Such is prone to occur in tropical climates. It is where you don’t want creepy, poisonous things falling on your head.

A Matchet by Any Other Name…

It is worth noting that on the islands of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and a few others, machete goes by the name of a “cutlasses”. It is also a long, thin clever-like instrument. Machete is French in origin and refers to a different Caribbean tool that is more curved toward the end.

Also, a crafted machete, was, in turn, referred to as “Collins,” after the manufacturer’s name found on the handle. Moreover, in America machetes are “corn knives,” and in the Philippines, the tool is a “barong” or a brush sword.

Like all tools, Machetes are popular because of their simplicity and effectiveness. A supreme champion of multi-tasking. It could be used as an agricultural tool, an ax to cut down trees and brush, or a knife to carve meat. If need be, it could also be used as a weapon or tactical tool with which to kill animals to fend off enemies.

You say Machete; We say Golok, Kurki, & Panga

It seems like there is no corner of the world that does not use a machete or machete-like tool. It must have been difficult to suggest improvements to an efficient and versatile tool. Yet, as The Atlantic reminds us in an article published in 2013, there were two major adaptions to the machete over the years that seemed to endure.

1) The billhook had long been a useful agricultural tool used by farmers and plowshare in England, and,

2) the falchion referred to a type of short sword developed during the Middle Ages.

Machete once hailed its simplicity of design and effectiveness in the field. A metaphor for what happens to every brilliant tool of equal part elegance and power. Here's how to tell if what you are buying is any good:

Yes, quite right. Well, first of all, we have taken all the guesswork. To buy one of these magnificent multi-taskers comes with a handy buying guide below. Then, get information so you know what to look for if you find yourself somewhere without your iPhone.

Best Machete Buyer’s Guide: Comparison Table

Product

Blade 

Our Rating

Price

1. Tramontina Bush Machete

best machete

High Carbon Steel

2. Ka-Bar Kukri

best machete

Carbon Steel

3. Imacasa Colima Machete

best machete

High Carbon Steel

4. Cold Steel Latin Machete

best machete

High Carbon Steel

5. Ontario SP8

best machete

Carbon Steel

6. Hansa Lampon Aguila Machete

best machete

High Carbon Steel

7. MY Parang Duku Chandong

best machete

High Carbon Steel

8. Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper

best machete

Cold Steel

9. Condor Mini Duku Parang

best machete

High Carbon Steel

For the purposes of this list, we are going to assume that the reader wishes to buy a machete to use rather than display. There are some great vintage machetes on eBay. Others are in collectors sites sprinkled around the web. Yet, our guide features only new and used items sold on Amazon or direct from the manufacturer.

The kukri or khukuri is a Nepalese knife with a curved blade. It is used as a basic utility knife in Nepal. It's also a tool to hack down small trees. It was the weapon of choice in the army like Nepalese, British, and the Indian Army.

It is also called a "Gurkha blade" or "Gurkha knife,”. The knife-style machete has become popular all over the world. We recommend the “KA1248-BRK Machete Cutlass by Ka-Bar.” At under $50 it comes with a comfortable synthetic handle. It has an 11-inch 1085 carbon-steel blade and weighs 1.12 pounds. It also comes with a leather and Cordura sheath.

The parang is a cleaver-type machete used across the Malay Archipelago (below Indonesia). Consider one of the heavier types of machetes for strong chopping. a weighted blade of up to two pounds and a wide “sweet spot” in the middle-to-tip part.

The handle also widens at the end to prevent slipping when battling the wet, dense jungle. We like the Bear Grylls Parang by Gerber.

For under $30 you get a 13.5-inch carbon steel blade with full tang construction that weighs 1.76 pounds

(Now, if only the handle was hollow so you could pee in it and save it for later.)

  • Heavy-duty blade, multi-tasker, interesting shape
  • Bush/Latin (18-inch military) Ontario Knife Co.
  • Simple design, moderate weight, made in America
  • Cane/Heavy - The Baryonyx Machete. The culmination of years of experience and careful design refinement. The Baryonyx or "Heavy Claw" is one of the few machetes on the market to use in the North American temperate zones.
  • Bowie - The SP10, Marine Raider Bowie Knife is 15.125-Inch in overall length.
  • The 9.75-Inch blade is full tang 1095 Carbon Steel. It is a 250-Inch thick with an epoxy powder coating. The SP10 Marine Raider Bowie knife features a comfortable Kraton handle. It also has a secure grip. The SP10 Marine Raider Bowie Knife comes with a Cordura sheath
  • The Ontario Spec Plus 10 (SP10) Marine Raider Bowie is made in the USA, Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Panga/Topanga - Caribbean Panga 21.5 inch machete
  • Barong (Filipino brush sword) - Cold Steel 97BAM18S Machete, Barong W/Sheath
  • Steel Type: 1075-1095 high carbon steel. The last two digits refer to the amount of carbon in the steel: 75, 85, or 95 % percent Stainless steel


  • Here Are The Top-Rated Best Machetes in the Market Right Now

1. Tramontina Bush Machete

best machete

It may not look like much, but Tramontina makes a true workman’s machete. Don’t let the low price point fool you. This is a best machete made out of good 1070 carbon steel that is tough enough to handle any job. The blade comes a bit dull from the factory but sharpens season after season. Some of our customers whittle down the wooden handle to custom fit their grip. Comes in 18″, 14″ or 12″ models.

Pros

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    comes with black nylon sheath
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    high carbon steel
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    lighter than an ax 

Cons

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    unfinished blade

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.6/5


2. Ka-Bar Kukri

best machete

Ka-Bar makes one of the best kukris on the market. With It has an 11.5-inch (17-inch total length) black epoxy powder 1085 carbon steel blade. This compact tool wields serious chopping power. Ideal for cutting weeds and clearing campsites. It also comes with a leather and Cordura sheath.

Pros

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    Kukri-style machete with carbon-steel blade
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    Ergonomic Kragon G thermoplastic elastomer handle
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    1075 High Carbon Weighted Colima Machete

Cons

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    will require sharpening before initial use

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.8/5


3. Imacasa Colima Machete

best machete

This massive 27-inch (32-inch total length) Colima machete is from Imacasa. It makes the short work in any field. The blade is sharp on both sides. So you can cut with both side swings. The bulged spine is to add power to the weaker backstroke. This machete is the staple for many agricultural and landscaping companies.

Pros

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    High impact polypropylene handle
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    Good blade and takes an edge well
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    Ideal for chopping weeds, clearing campsite, and more

Cons

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     need a little better balanced 

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$

4.7/5


4. Cold Steel Latin Machete

best machete

Cold Steel produces quality and reliable machetes. Their take on classic Latin-style machete is no exception. The blade has a tough 18-inch 1055 high-carbon steel. It has also a black anti-rust finish and comfortable polypropylene handle. There’s not much more you could ask for in a machete. 

Pros

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    1055 Carbon Steel with Black Baked
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    Anti Rust Matte Finish
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    Separate Sheath Available

Cons

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     Not for sale in some specific zip codes

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$

4.5/5


5. Ontario SP8

best machete

This compact all-purpose best machete from Ontario Knife Company has powerful effect. It features a 10-inch 1095 High Carbon Steel black epoxy blade with a wedged tip and saw-toothed back. Making the SP8 versatile. No camp pack or bug-out bag is complete without one.

Pros

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    Excellent at chopping and splitting wood.
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    cheap and will last a very long time
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    Very solid and reliable

Cons

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    22 ounces might not seem like a lot for a wood processing tool

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.7/5


6. Hansa Lampon Aguila Machete

best machete

A MacheteSpecialists.com exclusive! Made in Ecuador. Hansa brand machetes are nowhere in North America except on this site. This hefty 24-inch best machete is a popular agricultural tool for farmers. Especially in the region of South America. As well as a standard issue survival tool for the Ecuadorian Special Forces.

Pros

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    Microalloyed high carbon steel
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    Red color riveted high impact plastic "unbreakable" revolver style 
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    Suitable for Zombie Mutilation

Cons

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    machete is quite long 

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.8/5


7. MY Parang Duku Chandong

best machete

Hand-forged by the renowned Bidor blacksmiths. This particular style made by the popular and famous outdoorsman Ray Mears. The tempered 5160 Spring Steel blade has a remarkable ability to keep a sharp edge, even after heavy use.

Pros

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    tempered 5160 Spring Steel blade
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    made by Ray Mears 
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    have the ability to keep a sharp edge 

Cons

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    handle is not durable enough to last long

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.8/5


8. Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper

best machete

This thing is a BEAST. The All Terrain Chopper from Cold Steel was through many grueling performance tests. But always come out shining. Not so much a best machete as it is a 21.5-inch 1055 high carbon steel demon love-child between a sword and an ax. It will cut through branches like butter. If the job is big, the ATC won’t let you down.

Pros

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    all terrain chopper tool
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    Anti Rust Matte Finish
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    best for heavy trail clearing

Cons

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    little heavy to wield on one hand

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$

4.8/5


9. Condor Mini Duku Parang

best machete

Rounding out our list is the Mini Duku Parang from Condor Tool & Knife. Like all Condor machetes, it comes with high-quality steel and a beautiful finish. At 10.5 inches, it is lightweight and feels good in the hand. Comes from the factory sharp enough to slice paper, but bites deep into branches.

Pros

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    high-quality steel
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    lightweight and feels good in the hand
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    it's very sharp

Cons

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    handle is made of wood 

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

5/5


Top Five Survival Machetes

Below we break down our top 5 survival machetes. With a little bit more detail to help you decide if any of these are right for you and your next outdoor excursion.

1. Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

best machete

This machete is one of the best-selling Machetes on the market today. It is often used by many servicemen and women in all branches of the United States military. It’s a full tang blade and the construction is outstanding. This is true of almost all Ka-Bar manufactured items. In 1942, Ka-Bar was the knife of choice for men fighting in WWII. This is a heritage that Ka-Bar is proud of, and you can be too if you pick one up. The Ka-Bar is our top choice.

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.5/5


2. Ka-Bar Cutlass Machete

best machete

This best machete is great for someone that is not a fan of the curved blade of the Kukuri. It may be more of an aesthetic choice since Kurkuri models are popular. But the Ka-Bar impresses us with the Cutlass. It is has a cutlass style blade (hence the name) out of 1085 carbon steel. This Machete is a solid choice that you won’t regret if a curved blade isn’t your style.

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4.1/5


3. The Cold Steel Kukuri​​​​

best machete

The Kukuri is a model of a best machete designed by the traveling. Gurkha mountaineers of Nepal and Cold Steel does this particular model justice. Cold Steel is one of our favorite manufacturers. Because their quality is top notch for a reasonable cost. The Cold Steel 97KMS has an 18-inch length with a 13-inch blade and 2.75mm thickness. It’s made of carbon steel and is a great pick for anyone that wants quality along with affordability.

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4/5


4. Gerber Gator Machete

best machete

This machete is a great pick for someone on a budget. The ergonomics are solid and the Machete is lightweight. It’s equipped with a tactile rubber grip and has both a saw blade edge as well as a fine edge for clearing brush. It’s made of high-carbon stainless steel and is a great pick in a price range.

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4/5


5. Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete

best machete

This best machete is one of the newer models out there that’s part of the Bear Grylls line. Like the Gator, it is also manufactured by Gerber. It has a strong hand grip and is lightweight. Making it a great multipurpose machete for any expedition. It’s shorter in length than the Gator, and the grip is as comfortable as the Gator (or more). We like the lanyard cord that it comes equipped with as well.

Qualit​​​​y

Price

Our Rating

$$

4/5


Conclusion

It is easy enough to summon thoughts of land and gold-grabbing Conquistadors. They're hacking their way through dense South American jungles. And subjugating whomever they met. But the machete, in and of itself, is not evil.

It is a stigma has followed this very useful tool throughout the ages. It is being adopted as the Hollywood go-to prop for blood-spurting and maiming movies of all kinds. Robert Rodriguez produces the Horror flicks like Scream series and Friday the 13th. He seems to have a fetish for fake blood or machetes or both. Robert moves the machete from being a useful tool into a life hand-to-hand weapon of mass destruction. Especially when it comes to zombie and vampire killing).

But you can’t blame the machete; it is too damn good at what it does.

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