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Best Machetes Reviewed and Tested

last updated Sep 23, 2019

There is no shortage in choice for machetes. It’s an odd kind of market, as the majority of consumers interested in a machete are focused on looks than quality. That’s a pity because the machete has a long and varied history as a vital piece of equipment. With that in mind, there are still many good options for reliable, hard-working tools that you can trust to get the job done; and a little searching soon turns them up. There are several included in this list. And of course, for those that want an imposing-looking model – either for strapping to the belt or for self-defense; there are a few of those options below, also.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research

icon
 Military – Ontario Knife Co.
96.8/100 our score
Brand
99
Model
98
Accuracy
99
Versatility
99
Value
89
Military – Ontario Knife Co.
Why is it better?

Simple, proven design

Moderate weight for extended use while still heavy enough for tough work

Made in America

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
 Military – Ontario Knife Co.
Test Winner: Military – Ontario Knife Co.
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
23
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
6k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
8
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
63
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Krystal Polonia
By Krystal Polonia:

For this update, we brought you new machetes that we think will make your selected purchase a whole lot easier. Furthermore, we have answered your most asked questions in hopes of providing a solid guide that will help you along the way.

Sorting Options
Brand Model Accuracy Versatility Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Brand
99 %
Model
98 %
Accuracy
99 %
Versatility
99 %
Value
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$22.38
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Brand
97 %
Model
98 %
Accuracy
97 %
Versatility
97 %
Value
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$68.49
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Brand
95 %
Model
94 %
Accuracy
94 %
Versatility
93 %
Value
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$59.31
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Brand
92 %
Model
93 %
Accuracy
93 %
Versatility
93 %
Value
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$50.51
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Brand
91 %
Model
90 %
Accuracy
91 %
Versatility
90 %
Value
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$42.89
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Brand
89 %
Model
88 %
Accuracy
87 %
Versatility
87 %
Value
79 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$49.38
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Brand
86 %
Model
85 %
Accuracy
85 %
Versatility
84 %
Value
77 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$33.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Brand
84 %
Model
83 %
Accuracy
81 %
Versatility
82 %
Value
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$23.79
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.4
Brand
80 %
Model
78 %
Accuracy
77 %
Versatility
78 %
Value
74 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link
$84.78
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.4
Brand
76 %
Model
75 %
Accuracy
77 %
Versatility
76 %
Value
73 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.11.19)
Amazon Link

10 Best Machetes

1. Military – Ontario Knife Co.

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
 Military – Ontario Knife Co.
Amazon Link
Brand
99
Model
98
Accuracy
99
Versatility
99
Value
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$22.38
Pros:

Simple, proven design

Moderate weight for extended use while still heavy enough for tough work

Made in America

Cons:

Sheath sold separately

Let’s be honest – the majority of consumers interested in machetes are posers. This interest in gimmicks quickly floods the market with cool-looking, poor quality products. Not so with Ontario Knife Co. – the only product made in America on the list.

A Tool, Not a Toy
Ontario Knife Co. has manufactured the 18” military machete to U.S.A government specifications for over 70 years – and this machete is made to do work. There are no flashy looks or trendy handle construction; just high-quality steel and craftsmanship built into every one.

Construction
Made with a thicker blade for you to chop your way through the woods. You can clear the way for you and your friends to enjoy a hike through the woods.

Cost and Value
This is an extremely affordable machete and considering the quality, the best value option on the list. The 18” military machete by Ontario Knife Co. gives the user everything they’d expect from a machete. Ruggedness and reliability are what it’s all about. It’s a pity a sheath isn’t included.

2. Parang – Condor Tools and Knife

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
 Parang – Condor Tools and Knife
Amazon Link
Brand
97
Model
98
Accuracy
97
Versatility
97
Value
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$68.49
Pros:

Heavy-duty blade for rough work

Well-designed for a variety of tasks

Attractive knife and sheath

Cons:

Cost

Condor Tools and Knife went all out in the construction of their Parang. It’s an attractive piece of equipment and well-made. This blade design is for heavy-duty work and is made to be a well-balanced chopper.

For an Elegant Blade
Condor put effort into the construction of their machetes. The Parang features a slim-line and sweeping curved blade; putting the weight towards the end for good chopping power. The long blade gives the user plenty of reach.

The Handle
Comfort in the way you grip the handle is a must when thinking in terms of control. This handle provides exactly that. Made from wood there are also pads that can be replaced for those looking for a long term option.

Cost andValue
The Condor Parang is expensive for a tool intended for the toughest work. That being said – the quality of the product up its value and this would be a good choice for serious expedition work.
This is a well-made machete with a versatile design. Not intended for light-duty brush trimming; choose this blade for heavy chopping work where reach is required.

3. Golok – Condor Tools and Knife

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Golok – Condor Tools and Knife
Amazon Link
Brand
95
Model
94
Accuracy
94
Versatility
93
Value
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$59.31
Pros:

Versatile, strong blade design

Quality wooden handle for good grip

Attractive knife and sheath

Cons:

This is a rather expensive option

Here’s another top contender from Condor Tools and Knife. This is the smaller brother of the Parang and has a similar, but more robust, blade. Condor’s good looks and quality stand out and it’s a nifty worker.

Short and Choppy
The Golok is shorter than the Parang, with the blade coming in at 14”. This gives a blade that’s a little easier to control while retaining the weight and strength in its steel.

The Tang
This option comes as a full tang design. Which means that the tang will run the length of the handle as well. This provides an added measure of durability that could be a deciding factor for some.

Cost and Value
This is the most expensive machete in this list. Don’t let that turn you off though, as this is a likely result of popularity and demand. Great value for a machete that’ll go the distance and always be reliable. The Condor Golok is a good all-rounder machete. Its cost may be the deciding factor, but it’s a good investment.

4. Fiskars 29 Inch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Fiskars 29 Inch
Amazon Link
Brand
92
Model
93
Accuracy
93
Versatility
93
Value
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$50.51
Pros:

Ax-like blade with rust-resistant coating to help maintain the appeal of the machete

Easy to work with

One-handed

Extremely sharp yet pliable

Comes with sheath

Cons:

Customers mentioned machete was lighter than they liked it to be

When it comes to purchasing a machete finding something different is not that easy. Most machetes look the same and pretty much do the same thing. However, when you find something unique you want to embrace it. That is where the 29-inch Fiskars machete comes into play. Its distinctive shape makes a huge difference in how well the machete can perform. If you want something unique yet effective this is the way to go.

Sharp Blade
One of the most important aspects of a machete is the sharpness of the blade. You want to purchase a machete that is sharp enough to get the job done yet doesn’t get in the way of you cutting smaller items along the way. The knife comes with an ultra-sharp blade that gets the job done but is soft enough to cut softer shrubs and bushes. Furthermore, it comes with a rust-resistant, low friction coating that helps cut tough material without sticking.

One-handed Use
To help you get the most while cutting things down, this is a one-hand use machete. What this means is you can pick up leaves, pile items or both with one hand while cutting items with the other. Doing so gives you the ability to multitask when you are short on time or simply want to get things done quickly and effectively.

Cost and Value
When it comes to the cost and value of this item you are getting a bargain. Not only is the machete made out of quality material, but you have a rust-resistant blade and you get a sheath to keep it protected. Having these features makes your buy a great one.

5. SOG F03TN-CP

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
SOG F03TN-CP
Amazon Link
Brand
91
Model
90
Accuracy
91
Versatility
90
Value
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$42.89
Pros:

Smaller inside without compromising the strength

Cost-effective

Heavy duty

Comes with sheath

Versatile enough to use for multiple reasons

Aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

Not as sharp as you would expect it to be

If you are looking for a smaller machete that gets the job done effectively, this is the one for you. SOG does an excellent job of bringing their customers a smaller machete with all the force of a large one. Measuring at 15.3 inches this machete was designed to fit comfortably anywhere you need it, without compromising the features that you are getting.

Multipurpose
Though most knives can be used for a multitude of things, this one works well for an abundance of reasons, this is mainly due to its size. With this knife, you have the option of using it to go hunting, cutting everyday items, or even on military-grade elements that need a heavy-duty knife that gets the job done. This is mainly due to how thick the actual knife is.

Built to Last
Thanks to the high-quality materials, the stainless-steel knife, the solid handle and how efficient it is, it was truly built to last. Having a machete, you can count on is always important. That is what you are getting when you purchase this machete. You get quality on top of security knowing this knife will have your back in all circumstances.

Cost and Value
This might be unexpected, but this machete is cost-effective. The price point is exceptional when compared to what you are getting. Not only are you getting a smaller machete with all the bells and whistle of a large one, but you are also getting a sheath to keep you protected. The idea is to have one item that gets the job done without the need for additional tools.

6. Kukri – Ka-Bar

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Kukri – Ka-Bar
Amazon Link
Brand
89
Model
88
Accuracy
87
Versatility
87
Value
79
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$49.38
Pros:

Known for sharpness out-of-the-box

Good weight distribution

Durable and rugged

Cons:

Made in Taiwan

Blade finish doesn’t last

The Ka-Bar Kukri is another popular choice for a shorter machete. It offers plenty of weight to chop; and the blade design gives versatility through the pointed tip, broad cutting section and finer section near the hilt for whittling/shaving.

Short and Stocky
The Kukri offers plenty of punch, weighing in at 1.7 lb in a blade only 11.5” long. This machete is well suited to a variety of tasks.

Protecting the Blade
Keeping the blade in good condition is part of owning one of these tools. One might think that only applies to cleaning and sharpening the blade but overlook storing the tool. This one comes with a sheath, which will prevent damage that can occur while storing the blade.

Cost and Value
The Ka-Bar Kukri is on the expensive end for what it is. There are better value machetes out there, but the price comes with the name. It fits into the shorter machete niche and is relatively well regarded. It fits into the shorter machete niche and is relatively well regarded. It’s a good worker.

7. Schrade SCHKM1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Schrade SCHKM1
Amazon Link
Brand
86
Model
85
Accuracy
85
Versatility
84
Value
77
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$33.99
Pros:

Ergonomic and efficient blade design

Great balance in the hand

Thick blade

Cons:

Doesn’t retain edge well

Reported blade failures

The Schrade SCHKM1 is an attractive machete that keeps things simple. It offers good design.

Shoulder it
The Schrade offers a shoulder-belt sheath – which is a good idea for keeping the machete out of the way when wandering around in the brush. It also comes with a sharpener and Ferro-rod fire starter for the survivalist.

Maintaining the Blade
You can believe that even with a product like this, over time the blade can become knicked and dull. Choosing the right tools to sharpen the blade can be a pain. Luckily for some this one comes complete with what you need.

Cost and Value
It is quite affordable and offers reasonable value for money in the shorter end of machetes. This is a decent machete for the price and looks the part. The shoulder sheath and included sharpener and Ferro-rod fire starter sweeten the deal.

8. Kershaw

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
 Kershaw
Amazon Link
Brand
84
Model
83
Accuracy
81
Versatility
82
Value
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$23.79
Pros:

Blade holds an edge well

Comfortable to use

Well balanced knife

Cons:

Not technically full tang blade

Blades are sometimes faulty

The Kershaw 10” machete fits into the dual category of machete/knife. This blade won’t get in the way. The Kershaw 10” machete is a short blade ‘crossover’ between knife and machete. It’s a good choice for light work and odd-jobs around camp, but don’t choose it for heavy-duty clearing.

Mix and Match
The Kershaw fills the gap between pocket knife and machete because of its size. Keep it sharp and it’ll perform a variety of cutting tasks or try putting it to work chopping and trimming.

Lightweight
Not all of these need to have a ton of weight to get the job done. Sometimes you want something a little on the lighter side for traveling through the wilderness. Here is a selection that provides you with the same working aspects but just in a lighter version.

Cost and Value
This is another mid-range machete. The Kershaw is appreciated for its ergonomic design but value-for-money is mid-range too.

9. Gator - Gerber

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.4
 Gator - Gerber
Amazon Link
Brand
80
Model
78
Accuracy
77
Versatility
78
Value
74
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$84.78
Pros:

Low cost

Well-made for light work

Low weight

Cons:

The blade isn’t full tang

The sheath doesn’t have a belt loop

The Gerber Gator is the budget-minded option for those after a solid machete. This comes at the cost of some features, but never-the-less you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.

A Light Blade for Light Work
The Gator weighs in at 1.1 lb which is the lightest knife on the list. This makes it great for those who can’t swing all day. It also makes it effective for light work, and the thinner blade is effective in this regard.

Simple
Not everyone is looking for bells and whistles, this option is definitely for those people. For those who seek functionality over looks, the simplistic design of this one will fit the bill.

Cost and Value
The value of this machete comes through low cost. For a light-duty, knock-around knife you can’t really go wrong. While it may not have the bells and whistles of some of the other contenders, the Gerber Gator offers enough utility and value to make the top ten list.

10. SOGFari MC02N - SOG

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.4
18” SOGFari MC02N - SOG
Amazon Link
Brand
76
Model
75
Accuracy
77
Versatility
76
Value
73
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Low cost

Comfortable grip

Low weight

Cons:

Lower quality construction and components

The SOGFari offers another budget, long-bladed machete. It also features a serrated saw edge on the spine of the blade.

A Budget Package
Offering a long blade for added reach, and with a straight blade design for simplicity, the SOG is another budget choice for the prospective buyer.

Features and Specifications
As an added bonus this one comes with a feature that allows you to take down some thicker brush or branches more efficiently. On one edge of the blade is a serrated area. This will act as a saw when you need to get those thicker branches cleared out.

Cost and Value
SOG definitely has its followers, and for those wanting a machete that looks the part, this might be the choice. If you’re after a hard-working tool, however, you’d be better choosing another machete from the list.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Brand

Where a knife is made tells the buyer a lot about what to expect from it. Most machetes are produced in China – which is fine – but the steels commonly used are of variable quality. That’s why the number one on the list is a knife made in the U.S.A – you just know what to expect from steel produced there.

Model

The type of steel used in manufacture is important for all knives – and machetes are no different. They have certain requirements from the steel used for the blade if they are to perform adequately. Steels of increased hardness – generally those with a high percentage of carbon – are a must for any machete to stand up to regular use.

Accuracy

The tang of a machete is the extension of the blade fitting into the handle. For a tool that experienced a great deal of shock and jarring blows, a full tang that extends through the entire length of the handle is best, as there is an extremely low chance of failure. Blades that don’t have a full tang are liable to break free of the handle, rendering the machete useless.

Versatility

It’s important to cover the range of blade lengths in order to provide useful choices for varied applications. Long blades, up to 18”, are bordering on swords and are restricted to heavy-duty chopping and brush-clearing. Indeed, they are perfectly suited to this task. However, many machete users are looking for a more versatile brush-cutter and wood-chopper – and for this task short blades are best. These machetes with a blade length of 10 to 15 inches make accurate and fast chopping – a far safer option for work completed close to the body or in a crowded camp site.

Value

You get what you pay for, always. The important considerations for machetes in steel quality – this is the most regulating factor in machete performance. Spending money on quality steel will ensure that you get a tool designed to work and last well into the future.

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expert tips icon
Outdoors and survival

The machete is very useful when clearing places where you are going to set up camp, whether you are going camping, fishing, or hunting. If you have a tent, the tool will be used to clear the land and if you are planning to make your shelter from three branches, the same tool will help you cut the poles and branches you will use to make the shelter or your shade.

Uses in agriculture

The machete is a common tool in many tropical and sub-tropical countries where is often used for clearing paths through the undergrowth common in rain forests. Common use in agriculture is in the cutting of sugarcane during the harvesting season. Farmers growing trees also use the tool to clear the woodlot on the undergrowth which can take away valuable nutrients from the trees they are growing for commercial purposes.

Keeping the blade sharp

Even though the edge of your machete does not need to be razor sharp, it still needs to be sharp enough to cut. To keep the blade sharp, you can either take yours to the knife shop or do it at home. How sharp you make yours will depend on how you want to use it. If you are going to sharpen the tool at home, you will need to get a standard sharpening stone.

Cleaning the blade

The tips we give above will keep the machete in great condition, but it’s possible that you’ve already made a mistake and left it to accumulate some rust and dirt. Even though restoring it to the state in which it was when new may be difficult, it’s still possible. One of the common methods of cleaning the blade is to use a citrus-based paint remover.

Safety Tips

Basically, machete safety comprises three elements: swinging the tool, holding it, and carrying it around. Before swinging the machete, check your surroundings to make sure that its clear and there is no one behind you. The major causes of accidents is a swing that has been deflected by an object the user is not conscious of.

Other Factors to Consider

Protection

It’s important that you take care when choosing storage for your machete. Find a place which is dry, as moisture is the machete blade’s number one enemy. If you find out some rust is starting to form, it could be an indication that the area was you have placed the tool has some moisture. Clean off the rust using the tips given above and find a new place to store the machete. While some people would advise that the machete should be kept inside a sheath when not in use, this could be a disadvantage as it is possible that moisture can accumulate inside and lead to rust. If you still think that it is a good idea to keep it in the sheath, apart from oiling it, ensure that you check the blade at regular intervals. It is important to ensure that you keep the machete out of the reach of people to whom it could be a danger.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do all machetes come with a full tang?

a:

No. It’s important to find out whether a machete has a full tang as this is a big factor in the resilience of the knife. Full tang options are always better than half-tang.

q: Will my machete cut down small trees?

a:

It’s a common question, and a difficult one to answer. It depends on the type of machete to start. Those with thin blades aren’t designed for this kind of work – they’re better suited to softer materials. Thick bladed machetes, especially those with long blades, are fully capable of chopping down the odd tree – but don’t start hacking into a giant! Machetes aren’t axes – they can only do what they were designed to do. A trick is to work on your swing and timing, using the momentum of the blade to cut – rather than attacking a tree with all the power you can muster. You’ll tire yourself out, and probably fracture the blade.

q: Will it come sharp?

a:

It’ll come sharp enough for a machete. These tools aren’t designed to be razor sharp for a reason. The sharper an edge is, the finer it is – which is easiest to chip or bend over. A machete should have a suitably wedge-shaped edge that it can withstand chopping into things. By all means, keep the machete sharp, but maintain this robust edge for best performance.

q: Should I get a heavy one?

a:

Again, it depends on the intended use. If you can’t swing your machete without wearing yourself out, then perhaps it’s too heavy. But weight is good at transferring energy efficiently, meaning that you have to work less. Heavy blades are better for heavy work and lots of cutting. Lighter blades are better for finer work and light-duty brush trimming.

q: Does it have a double edge?

a:

Most machetes have one cutting edge. This is somewhat safer, as swinging a double-bladed, 18” knife around can cause all sorts of damage to the user and those around them. For most cutting work, one blade is all you need anyway. There are certainly specialized designs that have two edges, made for cutting through light jungle vegetation and grass.

q: What does it mean when it says a machete is full tang?

a:

The term “full tang” means that the blade is one piece and the handle will be pinned to the blade. This creates a stronger knife/machete blade, rather than two pieces (blade and handle) fused or fastened together. Full tang is the strongest of tang types. For example, half-tang machetes go to the length of the handle, but only half the width of it. Overall, it is a weaker design.

q: What is a push tang?

a:

Push tang can be found as both full tang and half tang. It is when the tang portion of the blade is set into the handle and held with a glue of some sort. A knife can be half push, which means it only goes into half of the handle while a full push would be the entire whole way down the handle.

q: What is Rat Tail Tang?

a:

With this tang, the tang narrows as it goes, sort of emulating the tail of a rat. As it enters the handle it gets thinner. The end will either have threads to be screwed into place or some can be found held in place with a weld.

q: Does my machete need to be big to work properly?

a:

This might be the most asked question you have received, and the answer is not as clear. It’s a yes and no response. Will a larger machete take up more space and chop more items at once? Yes! But will it be difficult to carry yes as well? Therefore, it all comes down to your personal preference. Will you feel more comfortable using a smaller knife instead? If so, you want to look into getting a machete that’s a bit smaller in size yet has the same force and quality. Keep in mind, the main thing you want to look into is the quality and longevity of your selected product.

Sources

  1. Editing Team, Extreme Survival,
  2. Editing Team, Knife Anatomy 101,
  3. Editing Team, Machetes Buying Guide,