The Kukri is a knife that some Westerners may not be familiar with, but it is a knife worth owning. This knife is important in the Nepalese culture because it represents the history and tradition of the Nepalese people, but is also an important work tool. Like a machete, it can be used for a variety of different purposes including cutting back brush, chopping small parcels of wood, or even cutting down some smaller trees.
And to be completely honest, it’s also a cool looking knife. We decided that we needed to find out which of the many models sold nowadays were the best, so we decided to do some research. The following results are the best Kukri knives currently available. Knives that look good, but more importantly, are also durable enough to put in real work.
Quick Summary of the Best Kukris
- Editor’s Choice
Ka-Bar 2 1249-9 Kukri Machete (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended
Cold Steel Royal Kukri Knife (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider
Authentic Gurkha Kukri Knife (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Ka-Bar 2 1249-9 Kukri Machete
Ka-Bar is a company that’s known for making quality military knives, so we weren’t surprised when we reviewed this machete and found that it was one of the best kukris around. It’s a knife that could be used for self-defense or serious work around the yard. It’s also a machete that the company carefully designed and extensively tested before they decided to sell them. Their size, weight, and balance make them easy to use, but best of all, it makes them great for small-size jobs around the yard.
This product features an 11.5-inch blade that’s made from 1085 carbon and has a black finish on it that’s designed to protect the blade against damage. This blade has a hollow grind and seems like a knife that’s suitable for weed removal, cutting small branches or making sure that a campsite is cleaned out.
This knife’s edge is set at 20-degrees, and the blade is set into a Kraton G handle that’s made from thermoplastic elastomer and features a non-slip grip. With the handle, this machete measures approximately 17-inches in length and weighs around 1.7-pounds.
This full-tang knife also comes with a sheath that’s made from a combination of Cordura and leather. The machete fits well into this sheath and keeps the blade safe from harm in between uses. It also allows the blade to be easily carried, so the user can take their Kukri just about anywhere they need to take it. That makes this blade particularly suited for use out in the woods and it would make a great machete for campers, hikers, hunters, or anyone else enjoying the splendor of the natural world.
Although this kukri might not be as pretty as some other more expensive models sold by other companies, this is the best utilitarian machete for actual use and is a fraction of the cost of most ceremonial kukri knives. However, we can say that we’re confident that this particular knife will be able to probably outlast most of those fancier models.
It’s also a knife that has a good balance and isn’t too top-heavy like some of the decorative knives that are being made nowadays. And those are all of the reasons why we enjoy working with this knife.
Also Recommended: Cold Steel Royal Kukri Knife
According to the company that manufacturers this machete, it’s evolution was predicated on a lot of sweat, blood, and tears. They took a traditional kukri and then deconstructed its design, all so they could remake it from the ground up. They improved areas of the traditional machete by setting its blade at a new angle and increasing its thrusting power.
They also equipped it with a guard that better protects the user’s fingers better than what most of these knives do. And after they designed it, they then built it into a multi-function knife that’s perfect for bushcraft and other outdoor activities.
This machete begins with 1055 carbon steel that’s approximately 2.8mm thick and is equipped with a baked black anti-rust matte finish that helps to protect the blade during use. This coating also helps prevent it from corroding. This machete has an overall length of 20.75-inches, has a handle of 5.25-inches, and has a blade length of 15.5-inches. This kukri also has a nice weight to it, weighing approximately 1.6-pounds, so it’s perfect for clearing campsites, chopping down woody weeds, or even dispatching small trees.
The one thing that we didn’t like about this kukri was that its sheath felt kind of cheap to us. It was made of Cor-Ex, a material that’s used in sheaths when manufacturers are trying to keep manufacturing costs to a minimum. We weren’t surprised that the company would invest in the machete itself and make a cheaper feeling sheath. After all, this is a knife that was under $50 at the time that we reviewed this product. We understand that they had to cut corners somewhere to offer this knife at this price.
Weighing all of the pros associated with this machete and comparing it against the con that is ultimately the sheath it comes with, we feel confident in recommending this budget kukri to anyone who needs one.
Also Consider: Authentic Gurkha Kukri Knife
Anyone searching for an authentic kukri may want to think about this particular model. Although it’s more expensive than any of the other machetes we’ve reviewed, it is an authentic product that’s handmade in Nepal and manufactured according to exacting standards. It’s a product that is not only a beautiful knife for display but is also durable enough and balanced enough to be used for actual work. All things considered, we thought it was a great product, so let’s take a closer look at it.
This product is made with a 5-inch handle that’s made out of beautiful Rosewood and features a 12-inch carbon steel 5160 blade that has a full-tang through the handle. The blade is unpolished and is equipped with two small knives: the Chakmak and the Karda. The Chakmak is a traditional honing tool, and the Karda is useful for skinning animals or whittling wood. Both of these knives add quite a bit of value to the machete, and consumers should certainly factor that in when they’re considering this product.
This product also comes with a sheath that’s made out of buffalo hide that’s been covered in cotton. As most people will see from our description, these machetes are made from quality products, so some of our readers might be wondering why this product only made it to the #3 position on our list. To that question, we have two answers. One, the product is more expensive than other kukri knives we’ve reviewed, and two, the 12-inch blade is a little bit larger than what’s practical. That makes it good for chopping, but kind of difficult for it to be used for other purposes.
A Guide To Kukri Knives
Some of the most fun we’ve had reviewing products has been reviewing Kukri knives. Not only are they impressive-looking knives, but they’re also very functional and we’re sure that our readers will find a million and one jobs for them. They’re good for everything from clearing campsites, to chopping down woody weeds to clearing brush. This makes them good for outdoor enthusiasts of every type.
However, we do know that some people are going to need more information on how to buy one of these knives than just our personal recommendations, so we’ve decided to write this guide. In this guide, we hope readers will be able to obtain all the information they need to make an informed buying decision. With that said, let’s get into it and find out what people should look for when considering a kukri.
Let’s Start With The Blade
One of the first things that the consumer is going to want to consider is the blade. The consumer is going to want to make sure that it’s the right size and the right material. Both of these things will determine if a particular kukri is more of a display model or if it has more of a utilitarian value as a working machete. Let’s begin with the length of the blade.
Most kukris have a blade length of anywhere from 8-inches up to 12-inches. In our opinion, the best knives are the ones that have blades somewhere in the 10-inch to 11.5-inch range. Those are the best for work and are more versatile. Blades in the 12-inch category are bordering on the too big side of the equation. Sure, they look impressive, but their use may be limited to just chopping wood.
Now that we’ve talked about blade length, let’s talk about what type of metal the blade is made of. Although kukris are made with a variety of different metal types, we feel that the ones that are made from high-carbon steel are the best ones to buy. That’s because this steel is durable and strong.
However, carbon steels are available in a variety of different types, which can cause confusion among some people. That’s why we think that most people should stick to either 1085 carbon steel, 1055 carbon steel, or 5160 carbon steel for the best results.
1085 Carbon Steel
This type of steel is the one that we feel is the best for these blades because they have excellent edge retention and are extremely durable. Unfortunately, if these blades aren’t coated with some kind of protective layer, they’re also very prone to rusting, so consumers should keep that in mind when buying a kukri made with 1085 steel.
1055 Carbon Steel
This metal is commonly used not only for kukris but for a variety of other machete types. This type of steel is durable, but not too brittle, and keep an edge quite well. This metal is also prone to rust unless a protective layer has been applied, so consumers should keep that in mind.
5160 Carbon Steel
This metal is used not only to make katanas and other swords but is also heavily used in the automotive industry. Like the rest of the steels used for making kukris, this metal has to be carefully cared for to prevent it from rusting.
The Handle Is Also Important
It’s also important for the consumer to think about the handle. Most of the kukris designed for backyard or outdoor work are made with polymers that are not only designed to hold up to heavy use but to also help the consumer keep a grip on it.
Other types of kukris, however, are usually made with some type of wood such as Rosewood or Pakkawood. These are also very durable, but they also tend to be more expensive. Kukris used to be made from ivory, but those are no longer made legally.
Regardless of the type of handle the consumer buys, they should make sure that the blade is full-tang. Full tang means that the blade extends through the handle and is then bolted in place. This is an improvement over knives that have their blades glued to their handles, and full-tang knives are generally stronger knives.
Other Considerations To Think About
Before we go, we would like to list some of the other features that consumers might want to consider before they purchase the best kukri for their needs. Although the above features are the most important ones to consider, the following features do make these knives easier to use or add more value to them.
Consider The Following:
- The Quality Of The Sheath
- Whether They Come with Karda & Chakmak Blades
- How The Knife Is Balanced