The Best Kukri Machete
The Kukri machete, or the kukhuri as it is known in Nepalese, is a unique blade that originated in the Himalayas as both a farming tool and an implement of war. The sharply inward curve of the blade, which leaves the edge of the blade at a nearly 90-degree angle to your hand, differentiates this tool from a traditional machete and offers numerous advantages in combat and for cutting your way through a jungle or forest. For this reason, it is a preferred blade among Preppers as an alternative or supplement to a traditional Bowie knife. Check out some of the best Kukri blades available today – including the famous Kukri House blade!
As a general rule, a jungle blade that’s shorter and has more mass towards the tip (e.g. a bolo or a parang) is better for cutting thicker wood, while a blade that’s longer and has less mass toward the tip (e.g. a regular machete) is better for brush, vines, and smaller diameter wood pieces.
The kukri (also spelled kukuri) has a shorter blade and more tip mass, making it an excellent chopper that can work as well as a hatchet for most softwood varieties.
The recurve blade style makes it a bit more challenging to sharpen, but it gives you more edge in a smaller footprint, and it changes the tool’s overall balance to enhance chopping ability.
The kukri’s combination of excellent chopping ability and “big knife” stabbing ability make it a formidable weapon, which is why it’s a staple in the villages and militaries of Central Asia.
Kukri Machete Reviews
GKH Nepal Authentic Gurkha Knife (Kukri House)
This Kukri blade from the renowned Kukri House blade makers is designed to mirror the traditional Gurkha combat knife used by the Gurkha detachments of the British Army during World War II. In addition to carrying tradition, this blade carries a huge amount of force for combat. The 12” blade is made from high carbon spring steel and is 3/8” thick, rendering it nearly unbreakable as the Gurkha blades are known for. The relatively short length of the knife makes it best for use in combat – while it can hold its own in chopping wood, cutting through any sizable amount of wood will take a significantly long time.
The handle of the blade is 5.5” long and made of carved rosewood, which not only provides comfort but also adds to the aesthetics of the blade. The downside to the polished wood is that it can be relatively slippery if your hands sweat, although there is a lanyard hole so that you can strap the knife to your wrist for stability.
The blade comes with not only a sheath, but also two smaller knives known as the Karda – a sharp knife – and the Chakmak – a blunt blade that have their own pouches within the sheath for safekeeping. Note, however, that carrying these additional blades will add weight without adding a huge amount of utility.
Cold Steel 4000352 Kukri Plus Machete
For the modest price, this Kukri from Cold Steel packs a significant amount of power and is one of the more durable blades on the market. Like most Kukris, the blade is constructed from high carbon spring steel and the 2.8 mm blade thickness, combined with the slightly long 13” edge length, provides a nice balance to the blade. More important, the length allows the blade to distribute impact force along its edge more evenly so that it does not get notched as much as shorter, thinner blades. The longer blade and stability make this blade ideal as a compromise between combat and chopping wood, although it will not excel at either as more purpose-specific blades would.
The main downside to this Kukri is the handle, which is made of polypropylene and can become quite slippery when your hand gets sweaty and cause blistering. The handle can be wrapped at the end to tie a lanyard to add stability (through the hole). On the plus, the handle does do an excellent job of dampening vibrations so that your hand won’t tire quickly when chopping wood in a survival situation.
The blade comes with a high-quality sheath, which is an added bonus for Kukris in this price range.
Ontario Knife 1064206 Co OKC Kukri Knife
This Ontario knife rivals the Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 as the best Kukri for the money. Like the Ka-Bar blade, this Kukri is 12” in length and 3/16” thick along the spine, and both are made of high carbon spring steel. The Ontario knife carries a slight edge in combat thanks to the slightly more exaggerated curvature of the blade, which contributes to an overall more balanced knife when wielding it. This is especially helpful when fighting because it means that you can make multiple cuts in rapid succession, which is difficult with a blade that is even slightly out of balance.
When it comes to chopping wood, the Ontario Kukri is much better than most other Kukris in this price range, but falls slightly behind the Ka-Bar because the thickness of the spine does not taper to the tip as it does on the Ka-Bar blade. However, this same disadvantage turns to an advantage when splitting firewood, since the extra thickness at the tip of the blade will protect it from notching or catching on the wood.
The only detail that Ontario missed with this knife is the sheath, which is hardly as durable as the Kukri itself and will likely need to be replaced over the course of the knife’s lifespan.
Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife
This Kukri knife from Ka-Bar is designed specifically for combat, bearing the shortest blade length of any Kukri in our review at only 8.5”. The blade is made of epoxy powder-coated 1095 cro-van steel, a style of blade steel found more frequently on Bowie knives than on Kukri knives. The spine is 3/16”, on par with the thick and durable Kukris used for chopping, so you can be sure that it will stand up to a beating in combat. However, this thickness also makes the blade relatively heavy for its size at nearly one pound.
The small size that is unique to this Kukri also confers several other advantages. First, the blade is small enough that, even within the sheath, it could be concealed inside a jacket or pack. Second, there are no balance issues as are prominent on longer blades, and the Kukri can be sliced back and forth in rapid succession in combat. Overall, the curved design of the Kukri and the small size of this blade makes it a great alternative to a Bowie knife with the added ability to use it for small chopping jobs, similar to those you would use a hatchet for, in a survival situation.
The handle on this Kukri is both modern and as high-quality as the rest of the blade, constructed from Kraton G to prevent your hand from slipping. The blade also comes with a polyester sheath that does not have any durability issues.
Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri
This Kukri blade from Ka-Bar takes its overall design from the traditional Kukri, but makes a few significant changes that make it lighter. The blade is 11.5” in length and made from 1085 steel rather, while the spine of the blade is only 3/16” thick.
If you are looking to cut through more pliable plants like large weeds, the blade performs admirably – and of course the short length and light weight make it exceptionally dangerous as a combat knife.
The handle on this knife is made from Kraton G, which provides a relatively strong grip even in sweaty conditions and is easy to wield without getting blisters. The sheath that comes with this knife is one of its best features. Made from Cordura nylon, the sheath is at least as durable as the knife itself and offers numerous possible carry positions thanks to the multiple attachment points.
The 1085 steel is not coated and is far more prone to rust than the steel found in other Kukri blades. In addition, taken together, these blade specifications mean that the edge is not nearly as durable as the thick Gurkha-style knives and will notch far more easily if it is used for heavy-duty work like chopping wood.
SOG SOGfari Kukri Machete
This inexpensive Kukri from SOG is a great introductory blade to find out if the Kukri style is for you, but don’t expect the same lifespan from this blade that you would from a more expensive traditional Gurkha knife. At 12” long, this blade is an exceptionally lightweight 15 ounces – the trade-off being that the spine of the blade is only 1/8” thick and the blade is constructed from relatively fragile 3CR13 high carbon steel. While the blade is perfect for self-defense because of the swift slashing movements you can make, it is relatively useless as a machete unless you are willing to risk severely notching the tip of the blade.
One advantage to this blade, particularly for survival situations, is the saw blade constructed into the spine of the knife. This somewhat makes up for the lack of chopping utility since you can saw your way through small pieces of wood – although this takes significantly longer than simply chopping with a more powerful Kukri or machete.
The handle on this Kukri is made from Kraton G, which holds its grip well even when wet with sweat. In addition, there is a lanyard hole on the handle so you can wrap your wrist for even more stability. The sheath that comes with the knife is of okay quality – it will last for the lifetime of this knife, but not as long as a more durable Kukri.
Schrade SCHKM1 Kukri Machete
This inexpensive Kukri from Schrade is long enough for use as a true machete, in contrast to many of the shorter Kukris that are designed primarily for combat or as a compromise between purposes. At 13.3” long, the 3CR13 carbon steel blade remains a relatively light 23 ounces, in part thanks to holes drilled in the blade along its center to help with balance. However, a major disadvantage to this blade is that the spine is only 1/8” thick, which compromises the strength and durability of the blade when being used for heavy-duty chopping. That said, the cost of the knife is low enough that replacing it is not a significant issue if it is damaged from chopping wood or bone.
The handle on this knife is made from Safe-T-Grip, a relatively sticky material that provides a firm grip without slipping. However, even in the case that your hand does slip, the first 1.5” of the blade is dull and not meant as a cutting surface, so you have some measure of safety. The handle also has a lanyard hole so you can wrap your wrist for security.
The blade comes with a nylon sheath, which will last at least as long as the knife but is otherwise not particularly durable itself. It also comes with a ferro rod and striker plate, which is helpful if you need to use this knife in a survival situation.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Kukri Knife
Did you find out reviews of the top 5 Kukri knives helpful? I may not know your answer but whatever it is you can still benefit from the remainder of the article. Here we are going to discuss some of the most important factors to look out for when you are shopping for the Kukri for your purposes. In case you are still confused, you can use this guide to make an informed choice. Here are the factors to consider:
You can never go wrong in your choice of a suitable kukri knife if you know the kind of blade material to go. Generally, this weapon and utility knife blade are made either of stainless steel or carbon steel. Stainless steel looks elegant and rust resistant but is cheaper, less durable and loses sharpness pretty fast.
Carbon steel, on the other hand, is very tough, durable, dust not blunts fast and more expensive. However, kukri knives made of carbon steel are poor at resisting rust. It means you cannot use such blades in an environment with saltwater for instance in angling. Stainless steel kukri knives are thus best for anglers.
It is not enough to look at the material of the blade. Its design is also of utmost importance. The usability of a kukri knife depends on the curvature of the blade. Different blade shapes are suited for different purposes and therefore you must keep in mind the purpose for which you want the knife vis-à-vis the design of the blade.
The different blade shapes include spear points, drop points, tanto, dagger points, clip point, sheep’s foot and recurred kukri style. Discussing the recommended use of each of these shapes is beyond the scope of this resource. Nevertheless, I will encourage you to dig dipper into this to make the right decision in your purchase.
The only way to use a kukri machete efficiently is if it has a right grip. The grip, on the other hand, depends much on the material used for the handle and the level of comfort it provides. Traditional kukris have handles made of wood and rubber. The modern versions, however, feature more advanced materials such as Micarta and G-10.
It may be essential to test the handle regarding comfort, grip, and ergonomics. Just ensure it is non-slip and non-sticky. High-quality models feature handles fitted with hand-guards to prevent accidental slipping of your hand onto the sharp blade and thus guaranteeing you safety during use. The handle must also be well balanced and tightly fitted onto the blade.
A full tang Kukri knife has the entire unit made from a single solid piece with the two handle pieces added pinned on the proximal end of the blade one on each side. Half tang kukri knives only go the length of the handle but on half its width. A partial tang describes a knife with just a portion of tang pushed and then secured into the handle with an adhesive such as epoxy or glue.
Since most people buy kukri knives for heavy duty use, I would recommend that you go for full-tang versions. They may be expensive but that’s what you pay for high-quality stuff. Full-tang knives are durable and feel solid in your hands as you use them. Half-tang kukri knives tend to break at the junction between the blade and the handle.
Carrying a bare kukri knife in your hand is not feasible not only because it is a deadly weapon that intimidates to see but also because of your own safety. You will need to secure it when not in use. This requires a sheath specifically made for the particular knife you intend to buy. A good sheath should hold the knife securely. It should be of appropriate length to allow you to move easily. Keep in mind that the design, build material and aesthetics of the sheath are of utmost importance.
An often overlooked factor when shopping for anything is the price. Don’t be a victim of this problem. Setting out to shop for the kukri knife depends much on your budget since what you pay for is what you get. To get a high-quality kukri knife with the top of the range features, you must be ready to spend. Do your research and take advantage of promotions or discount coupons to get high-quality kukri machete at a good price.