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.
Top 10 Best Machete Reviews in 2023
Kershaw Camp Series Machete
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 machete in its sheath to preserve the black powder coating
KA-BAR Kukri Machete
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
- Used by professionals, but should be appreciated by a wider audience.
CRKT Chanceinhell Fixed Blade Machete
I’ve heard many complaints about the propensity of high-end machetes’ getting a bent and nicked edge after a few hours of work. Moreover, they also seem to lose sharpness faster than you can clear your trail. If a sharp and edge retaining machete is what you want, CRKT’s Chanceinhell is the best machete for clearing brush you can get.
It might not come with a lot of power, but it comes sharp out of the box and also stays sharp through a hectic workday. The powder-coated black blade is a beast. The carbon steel is amazingly durable, and being powder coated, it’s non-reflective and has great corrosion resistance.
Since this machete cuts so easily, you need to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Thankfully, the handle is football textured and has through-hole rivets so you can sling a lanyard through it. The sheath is also versatile, so I suggest you make good use of it.
- Durable and sturdy drop point blade
- Powder coating gives it great rust and corrosion resistance
- The handle is ergonomic and non-slip
- The reinforced nylon sheath is versatile and strong
- Tends to bounce off of thick branches
Ontario Knife Military Machete
Do you want a machete that’s going to last a lifetime? That’s what this OKC machete is all about; it’s so sturdy and durable, I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best all-around machete out of the whole bunch. To start off, the blade is made of 1095 carbon steel and it is hardened to HRC 50-55.
That tells me that while there’s some flexibility, I can hurl this machete at the heavy brush and use it to cut down tree limbs and still not damage it beyond repair. While the black finish on the blade is somewhat prone to being scratched, it doesn’t reduce the cutting performance.
The knife is also quite easy to sharpen thanks to the flexible nature of the steel and the uncomplicated edge. The handle on this machete is molded plastic that’s riveted to the full tang. It’s quite a bit short and simple compared to the large blade. Since it’s untextured and hasn’t got much going on in terms of ergonomics, I’d suggest you use textured tape over it or use gloves.
- Full tang 1095 carbon steel blade
- Very durable and sturdy blade
- Easy to sharpen
- Large enough to tackle heavy cutting tasks
- The handle can be rather slippery
Condor Tool & Knife Golok Machete
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 the Golok and insert it back in
Gil Hibben IV Combat Machete
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
- A smaller version of the Combat Kukri knife– 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
Ontario Knife Company Survival Machete
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
Condor Tool & Knife Jungolo Machete
There were smiles of satisfaction all around 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
Tops MAC230 Machete
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
Condor Tool & Knife Yoshimi Machete
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
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?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How to Choose the Best Machete?
A: Below are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the best machete for you:
Blade Style: Machetes’ blade styles vary widely but the most common ones are bolo, billhooks, Latin-style, kukri, and parang.
Blade Length: Machetes’ blade length ranges between 10 to 28 inches but the most common ones are at 18 inches.
Handle Material and Style: Machetes have a wide range of handle materials and styles. Choose the one you find the most comfortable to use.
Q: Is a Machete a Good Survival Tool?
A: Yes, it can be. Aside from using a machete to clear brush and trail, you can also put it to other uses. You can use it to roughly cut and chop up fruits, vegetables, and game. Moreover, if a dire situation arises where you have to fend off predators, a machete would give you an upper hand.
Q: Why Are Machetes So Cheap?
A: Despite having a large body, machetes tend to be quite cheap, but why? That’s mostly because they’re often made cheaply and use inexpensive steel. That’s why, while the blade of a machete is durable and hardy, it is also quite prone to rusting.
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.