The Kukri is without a doubt one of the most recognizable and iconic blades ever created. Every hunter, angler, survivalist, former military, or boy even a boy scout at some point in their lives has laid eyes on this tool. With an ever growing list of options to chose from, it is hard to ensure that you are getting the best quality for your dollar. So we did the leg work for you, and chose 6 of the best Kukri’s and highlighted why you need them in your 2020 edged weapon arsenal!
Kukri’s can be used to skin game, dig a latrine, clear a forest, it can be used as a pry bar or lever, and of course it can be used as its intended role, a deadly weapon. The Gurkha’s made these famous, and we will make them attainable for you. The question you have to ask yourself is, “why do I want a Kukri?”
Like all tools they are made for specific jobs and some tools are better than others. So you really need to determine why you want one before you go out and start pricing them.
KA-BAR 2 Kukri
Blade length: 11,5″
Overall length: 17″
Made in: Taiwan
Material: 1085 Carbon Steel
Weight: 1.3 lbs
Unless you have litterally been living under a rock for the past 150-200 years then you know the name Ka-Bar when it comes to blades. The US Marine Corps’s official fighting knife was created by and issued to the marines from then Ka-Bar company. Their reputation speaks for themselves.
They have developed a a Kukri capable of surviving combat conditions so it is built to last. Durable design with a proven history of precision. The Ka-Bar 2 Kukri gives you a clear edge over the competition. It comes standard with a razor sharp, carbon steel blade that is ready for use right out the box. (So be careful cut towards your buddy, not your body).
The Full tang design allows for the blade to be supported by plenty of strength. You will not need to worry about breaking this blade. It is a workhorse and is built to hold up to whatever you need cut.
This is great for car campers all the way to outdoor survivalists. You can use this to clear camp spots, split wood, clear branches, or even to fillet a fish with steady hands. If there was a downside, it would have to be the sheath. Personally it could be made from real leather so it would be stronger and last longer. You can make or find your own replacement should you desire. If having a quality sheath is super important to you, you will want to invest in either the Magum or the Gurkha Army Issue Khukuri Knife, as they both have a much higher quality sheath.
Best Blade Length on a Kukri Machete
Cold Steel 97MKM Magnum Kukri
Blade length: 17″
Overall length: 22″
Made in: South Africa
Material: 1055 Carbon Steel with Black Baked on Anti Rust Matte Finish
Weight: 1.3 lbs
Now we have to admit, this was a bit of a surprise. Normally when one reviews something in the “less expensive” category its rife with complaints and the list of cons far outgrow the pros. The Cold Steel Magnum Kukri is an exception to this rule. To spite its low cost and ease of availability, this is a great blade. For its price it compares with the Ka-Bar and others.
That is what is so great about these tools, once you find a good quality one that works for you, the brand and style come down to a matter of personal preference. They are all good. They are all useful. Some are just better and more useful than others.
The “Weight-Forward” design of this blade gives you added leverage to handle some of the hardest cuts. The angled blade allows for much deeper cuts with less power and the weight adds to the depth and precision of each cut.
Their Cold Steel Magnum blades are built to last and will stand up to whatever you throw at them. Like the Ka-Bar they are rugged and built to last. The polypropylene handle is ergonomically designed to maximize performance and comfort.
The sheath for this one is much better as well, from our findings, but like everything here is always room for improvement. The blade does not ship with a very sharp edge, in fact it comes with a rather rough and dull edge that you will need to fine tune. There is a plus to that, this way you are ensuring that the blade is always sharpened the same way, by the same person going forward. Consistency with sharpening is essential so its not necessarily a bad thing to have to do it yourself. If you want a blade shipped to you that is ready to cut through the thickest brush, you may want to consider another product, like the K-Bar or Magum, both come factory sharpened.
Best Heavy-Duty Kukri
EGKH. Service No.1 Gripper Handle Kukri – Gurkha Army Issue Khukuri Knife
Blade length: 10.5″
Overall length: 16″
Made in: Nepal
Material: 5160 crabon steel. Highly Polished blade, sharp edge, Full tang rat-tail blade
Weight: 2.2 lbs
The gold standard, the creme of the crop. Without a doubt the Kukri all other Kukri’s want to be. We mentioned before a breif history of the Kukri and where it came from, the Gurkha’s. This was designed for and built by the Gurkha’s in Nepal called Bishwakarmas , which means directly “Born Kukri Markers: So to say these are the best, would be an understatement.
The Carbon steel blade forged in the fires of Nepal will last long after we are gone. Much like the previous mentioned and the ones that will follow, it has the same principals of any other Kukri. Only this one has more care, time, and precision gone into its design and creation.
The comfortable yet sturdy handle is constructed from kranton, so you know it will last and never fail you. The grip also is comfortable so you can get the job done without the cost of valuable hand movement. The sheath is perfectly designed to fit the blade easily, securely, discreetly and comfortable. The Secure-x sheath is well designed, durable and will keep your blade immaculate as long as you take the steps to care for its integrity.
Now since this is the highest quality, highest standard and best performing blade on the market it does come with some caveats. First of all you are going to pay a lot. You pay for quality and honestly there is nothing wrong with that, if you have the money to do so. Great quality comes at a price, and part of that price is maintained. This is a finely tuned instrument of war and needs to be oiled, sharpened, and cared for as such. Take care of this blade and it will take care of whatever life throws at you. Just be prepared to clean, oil and sharpen this blade, and often. After all this was made for Gurkha’s, act accordingly. If the required maintenance is too much for you and you would rather have a lower maintenance Kukri, Ontario, K-Bar, and the Magnum might be better options for you.
Best Survival Kukri
Schrade SCHKM1 Kukri Machete
Blade length: 19.7″
Overall length: 13.3″
Made in: China
Material: Reliable 3Cr13 Powder Coated S.S.
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Scharde is a proven brand as well. Right up there with Ontario and Kabar as blade designs go, its not uncommon for most of us that have an assortment of knives to at least have one or two scharade blades around. Good for their price, built to last. Its a good blade.
This tool comes with some extras that tickled our fancy a little bit when we got to see it in action. The sheath itself is made of a durable nylon and is double stitched. So its not going anywhere for a while unless you take it there yourself! The sheath comes standard with a pouch that includes a nice sharpening stone and a ferro Rod. A Ferro rod can be used with the blade as a means to start a fire without matches or other heat source. Essentially you would be carrying flint and steal with you everywhere you went with a sustainable means to keep your blade new and sharp.
It comes standard with a powder coating that helps keep the blade safe from surface rust, stains and normal wear and tear. Since the blade is also stainless you will have a lot less personal maintenance on this tool than you would the previous one. So this would be perfect for someone that wants maximum performance but does not want to invest as much time in the care of use of their equipment. Not everyone has time or inclination to sharpen, clean, and oil a blade.
The belly of this blade is quite large and useful for cutting through even the thickest of brush. This is without a doubt more a Machete than a Kukri, but it still falls well safely into the category. Designed mostly for cutting through dense brush, this would not be as universal as others, but still a a great and useful design none the less.
The blade comes shipped do you dull and will require some care and use to get sharpened. Coming with its own means to sharpen makes that a little easier, but you may want to consider getting lessons or have a professional take care of it for you fir its initial edge. There is nothing wrong with seeking the help of someone else to ensure you maintain your blade properly. It is highly recommended. This is a great low maintenance option as well, however if you want a blade ready to roll out of the box, get the Gurkha Army Issue Khukuri Knife, its the highest of quality and comes factory sharpened.
Best “Workhorse” Kukri Mahcete
Condor Tool & Knife 60217 Kukri Knife
Blade length: 10″
Overall length: 15″
Made in: Salvador
Material: 8mm – 1075 High Carbon Steel
Weight: 1.82 lbs
Condor tool and Knife was admittitly a new one for us. This company is fairly unknown as far as the bigger names go like Ka Bar and Scharade. So it is important to note that not everything is limited by name brands only. That said, Condor is a name you can trust.
If you are looking to not spend a lot, but want a well balanced and designed knife the Condor is great for you. The blade comes standard with a high carbon steel makeup and a stain blasted finish. This is a universal tool more so than the Scharede. Its a smaller blade and more curved design allows for more functional purposes.
If you are a hunter camper, outdoor enthusiast and you really want a quality blade to cover a lot of bases but you don’t want to break the piggy bank or look like you are carrying around a sword, this is without a doubt what you want.
It comes with a decent enough sheath, a good sharp and sturdy design, and and if you had to pick something wrong with it it would have to be the handle. Its nice having a wood handle but we felt it was a little too smooth for our tastes and needed some extra care to prevent slipping while using. It is a problem easily overcome with tape, gloves, or a less sweaty but firm grip. You cannot beat this blade for the price and its number of uses. Even if you already have a Kukri, this is a great one to have as a loaner, spare or just for some extra insurance. If you having a higher quality grip gets you out of bed in the morning and you don’t want to break the bank, get a Magnum Kukri, they have an excellent grip.
Best of the Rest
Ontario 6420 OKC Kukri Knife (Black)
Blade length: 12″
Overall length: 17″
Made in: Salvador
Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
Weight: 1.1 lbs
We could not compile a truly complete list of blades if we left out Ontario Knife company. Ontario has been making blades for the Military and the outdoors for nearly a century. Their name goes above and beyond quality standards and you know when you have them in your hands that you are holding a quality product.
It comes standard with a non-reflective black powder coating over a 1095 Carbon steel blade giving you one of the highest quality and standards in blade construction. Unlike the Condor, however, this grip is a rubber and sturdy design. Simply put you are not going to sling this out your hand while you hack away at the jungle, its not going anywhere. The added finger groves provide that extra security and stability that allows for better use of the tool. If that is not enough for your security, there is a lanyard hole so you can ensure this blade stays where it belongs.
The sheath that comes standard with this blade makes for ease care and use. So maintenance is a lot lower than on some of the higher quality ones, but you are not sacrificing quality in this case for more effort. That said the sheath is made of nylon, and is not double stitched like others. So you may want to find or make a replacement that will last along side with your blade. It is only going to be as good as you take care of it, so this is important.
Like the Condor its more than just a machete but can still fill that gap. Since the blade is 11.5 inches long you have plenty of room with this on your belt as a knife, machete or hatchet. This will replace the need to carry those tools and possibly even more. Ontario makes a great product, and you can bet your life on their quality. Soldiers have for years. For the price its hard to beat but the sheath Magum makes is much better than the one sent by Ontario.
Best Ultralight Kukri Machete
SOG SOGfari Kukri Machete MC11-N
Blade length: 12″
Overall length: 18″
Made in: China
Material: 3Cr13-RC Stainless Steel
Weight .9 lbs
SOG has been a trusted name in edged weapons and tools for many years. The Military has trusted them as well as hunters and anglers all over the world. This Kukri is designed more to be used as a multi-purpose machete. If you need to clear a trail, lead the way, or make a path this is the tool for you. The serrated back allows you to use it as a saw in a pinch, and it powers right through some of the thickest wood, with little effort. The Kranton rubber handle allows for a shock absorbing and comfortable grip that will allow you to slice through the thickest jungles like a hot knife through better. The quality of the blade is hard to beat, you have to go out of your way to damage this tool, and with the included warranty you have a great asset for your collection.
It is a fairly longer Kukri, at around 18 inches. So this gives you a lot more coverage but is a little bulkier for carrying. Its worth the trade off for the performance you can get out of the blade. There are other options that are a lot shorter like the one below made by Condor, its actually a folding Kukri, you just won’t get the extra power and coverage.
The Sheath is a standard nylon one, so we were not thrilled with the quality of that, and found much better options in the Magnum or even the Army Issue Kukri. The lifetime warranty however, is worth investing in, and SOG holds up their end of that agreement very well with excellent customer service.
Best Shock Absorbing Handle on a Kukri Machete
Gerber Gator Kukri
Blade length: 12″
Overall length: 19″
Made in: China
Material: 1050 High Carbon Steel
Weight 1.1 lbs
Actually, original Manufacturer is Fiskars (Finnish manufacturer whose hatchet we estimated as top-1) but it’s still made in China and imported to the US through Canada. Where it is rebranded to Gerber.
Gerber is a name that is without question. They have designed some of the best hunting, fishing and survival tools the world has known. Over the years the quality has varied, but their Gator Kukri Machete is excellent. Like the SOG, it has a long blade that will make it a lot easier for you to slice through layers and layers of underbrush. The addition of a lanyard for added security helps keep you from losing your Gator while out in the field, and keeps you safer when using it as well.
Their patented Gator Grip is probably one of the finest and most durable grips. You are able to pound through some pretty thick brush without having sore palms from impact. Gerber assumes that you will be sweaty when swinging their tool and their grip is designed in such a way to add better grip even when the temperatures are out of control. Additionally to improved grip Gator provides better shock absorbing in its handle, which is actually top shock absorbing handle in the list, but you are not likely to use it for chopping larger logs since the blade design…
Too thin blade may flex, it requires a bit more weight or length of the blade to increase chopping power like in Ka-Bar, but a benefit for Gerber Gator is the sheath upgraded with lanyrad. Actually these 2 products are in the same price, so it’s up to you to decide whether you need a better chopping or sheath with lanyard.
Best Pocket Kukri
Blade length: 4.6″
Overall length: 10″ (5.7″ locked)
Made in: USA
Material: 440 Stainless Steel
Weight 0.7 lbs
Okay, we have to admit this is simply a really cool tool. The Mangum Pocket Kukri is a folding tool that you can store pretty easily in a pocket. More like a pocket knife than a full blown Kukri is still gives you the same sort of advantages as a standard Kukri, but it literally can fit in your pocket.
This is a great tool for self-defense, hunting, or fishing. Gutting came and wild trout has never been easier with this quality folding blade. Trying to use one of the longer ones such as the Gerber or SOG would lead to a lot more frustration than you want. This little guy gets you places you want to go, without taking up too much space.
Now the size is really its biggest drawback. Being small has its advantages but if you are trying to use this to cut a path you are going to be in for a very long day. This was intended to be used as a pocket knife and as such should be applied for those uses. So if you want to hack away in the canopy jungle, grab the Gurkha Army Issue Kukri, or the K-Bar.
Best Price on a Kukri Machete
Smith & Wesson Outback SWBH 17in Full Tang Kukri
Dimensions: 5″L x 5″W x 5″H
Made in: USA
Material: 440 Stainless Steel
Weight 1.6 lbs
Not just known for their quality revolvers and other firearms, Smith and Wesson has branched out into edged weapons and tools as well . The Outback is a decent enough choice for their foray into blades. We really loved its lightweight design, coming in at just over a pound. This gives you all the advantages of the others, but with a lot less weight dragging you down.
Of course being lighter comes with some disadvantages. You are going to feel the shock of striking hard objects a lot more than you would with the Gurkha Army Issue Kukri or even the K-Bar. Still its a great tool and highly durable. The grip is made of rubber and also comes with a lanyard to help keep it secure and where you want it, safely.
The Nylon sheath comes with a shoulder strap making it easier to store, draw, and it stays where you want it, to spite being made of nylon. As we have established, nylon wears out overtime and if you want a sheath to last as long as your blade, and one that will keep it protected its hard to beat Magum in that regard.
As everyone can plainly see the Kukri is probably one of the best all around options for a bladed weapon. It covers a lot of ground with only one tool and provides the end user with a proven qualit design that dates back many centuries.
As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and the Kukri is a testament of that. Little of its design has changed over the centuries and it can be hard if not impossible for some to see what they need in this endless sea of blades. We hope this list has helped you reach a safe and useful conclusion on what you need for the field. Our experts have taken the time to consider your considerations and would never want people venturing into the bush unprepared or with the wrong gear. Its life and death out there, and its real.
With all the options available it should not be hard for you now to find what you need to suit your needs. Remember you are carrying this weapon, this tool. So make sure you get what you require. Thank you and stay safe out there people!