After going through 26 different machetes and having spent over 32 hours of research and testing, we’ve concluded and recommend the Cold Steel Jungle Machete as the top choice among the bunch. First of all its price is a huge plus. It can perform any task you command it. Its straight-forward, no fuss, and fully functional, its length is of proper size and its cutting edge is not bad at all. Its handle may be quite poor but it’s easy to remedy, which makes it a quite negligible problem. Its performance exceeds its price tag… by far.
Machetes are an important tool for adventurers, survivalists, and for agricultural work as well. They have accompanied us for centuries and have proven their usefulness to so many kinds of people. The beauty in their origin story is that there is not one, but a different variety of origins. Each and every kind of machete from various locations has their own specific design, features and applications. Machetes have come a long way since their original composition. Steel quality has improved, handles have a variety of styles and materials, and an innovation in design has evolved as well. Gone are the days where machete’s blades are often dull and hacking through obstacles takes quite a lot of effort.
Machetes may all seem the same because they all work in the same way and have the same purpose. But there are a number of things to consider when you want to buy a machete. It may not seem obvious but not all machetes are the same, they come in many shapes and sizes, all of which have designated purposes.
Barong – This leaf styled blade has a reputation for combat, this is the weapon that Filipino tribes used against European colonizers during the 16th century. This blade is usually sharpened on one side. Other than its combat use and heritage, it is also perfect for hunting, and skinning; and of course, it’s most frequent use, cutting down tall grass and bushes to create mountain paths.
Billhook – Renowned for its agricultural integrity, the billhook is known for its ancient roots. Its downward edge is meant for chopping tree trunks, harvesting crops, and gripping vines.
Bolo – Native to the Philippines and later on spread to the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, the Bolo is literally the Filipino translation of Machete. It’s commonly used for farming and harvesting, chopping wood, and opening coconuts. The bolo machete makes for a great camping tool; it excels in chopping which will make good work on any type of wood.
Bowie – Named after American frontiersman Jim Bowie, this machete style is popular among survivalists and huntsmen. Its tip is great for skinning and makes for a perfect utility knife. Its design optimizes durability and can take a hell of a lot of punishment without wearing the blade.
Bush – This design is what probably the first image that comes into your mind when you hear the word machete. It is the epitome of the machete look. It’s an all-purpose machete, great utility tool, and good cutting down vegetation. Usually, its back-side is straight while others may curve a little; its weight distribution is evenly distributed, and its blade is usually thick.
Cane – This wide and blunt-tipped machete is widely used for hacking through tall grass. As an agricultural tool, the cane machete works perfectly for cutting down sugar cane and corn stalks. Its blade is very thin which makes cutting through plants with ease.
Colima – Unique because of its dual-edged blade, the Colima machete allows for backhand and forehand strokes, to increase cutting efficiency and reduce effort for users. It’s perfect for taking down large clusters of vegetation.
Hawkbill – The slightly downward curved design is made for piercing through hard materials like wood and sugarcane. Its inner blade makes great work for harvesting and reaping vegetation.
Kukri – This machete originated from Nepal and other nearby countries. It’s an all-purpose machete, usually used as an everyday too. Its unique shape is divided into three parts; the pointed tip, the midsection, and the narrow bottom. The three blade divisions is a reason for the kukri’s success, the tip is used for stabbing, the midsection for chopping, and the narrow bottom for carving. Its design is increasing in popularity, because of its function and effectiveness.
Panga – A popular design in Africa which is used for a variety of tasks. Its design is very similar to the bolo, the only difference is that the panga has an upswept tip, used for piercing. It is used for cutting down huge chunks of vegetation and thick wood.
Parang – This Southeast Asian machete is famous for its length and multi-functional blade. The Parang is very distinct from other machetes; it has a very slender bottom section that gradually widens till the end of the blade, which is not pointed. Its edge is divided into three parts, all with specific uses. The top end of the blade is ideal for skinning and precise cutting, the midsection is designed for chopping and the best part is that it doesn’t lodge in wood because of design, and the bottom section is made for carving and whittling. Because of its long blade length, it’s ideal for jungle scenarios and as a general survival machete.
Golok – A close relative to the parang machete, the golok is home to Indonesia. Its design is almost identical to the parang. The main difference is that the golok is shorter and has more weight to it than the parang. Usually taken on fields with tall grass and large bushes, it makes good work of them. In some instances, the golok is used as a self-defense weapon.
Weighted/Heavy – This machete works like a crossover between an axe and a knife. Its weight balance is biased on the top end of the blade, which is perfect for cutting down thick vegetation. It’s also best for chopping down wood or any tough job that other machete styles can’t do.
Machetes come in different sizes and so does its blade length. Majority of these ranges from 10 inches to 28 inches long, the standard length of a machete is usually around 17 to 19 inches in length. The advantage of having smaller blades is portability, although you’ll have to sacrifice reach. Longer blades with be harder to take around but will be able to clear obstacles and obstructions in no time.
What makes a good machete is not always about its shape and size; its material is the most important factor of the whole blade. Its ideal usage can also be determined by what it is made of too. The most common materials that are used to craft these blades are stainless steel, carbon steel, and a combination of both, high carbon stainless steel.
Of course, it is also important that the blade stays in your hand. A comfortable handle is very important as well, what good is your blade when you can’t wield it properly.
Machete handles – like the blade – come in many different sizes, styles, and are made with various materials as well. And like the blade, its handle can often be contoured for specific uses.
Quillon Handle – This is the most basic handle style for machetes. The Quillion handle provides a sufficient amount of grip, it is also the most cost-efficient because it does not have a hand-guard nor does it have a fancy cross guard.
D-Ring Handle – Also known as the knuckle guard handle, its name speaks for itself. This handle is designed to protect your fingers and provide a safe grip. If you’re looking for this type of handle, you may have to find one with the right fit. Its enclosed design may not be suitable for larger hands.
Crossguard Handle – This handle style is similar to the quillon handle, the main difference in design is its extended crossguard. The crossguard is meant to protect your knuckles from being cut.
Wood – These types of handles are quite pricey, due to the craftsmanship required to make wooden handles. It provides comfortable grip, less weight; but, if subjected to water, its quality may deteriorate over time.
Molded Plastic – The advantages of molded plastic grip are ergonomics, price, and require little to no maintenance. Most machetes in the lower price range will come with this type of handle, and you’ll be surprised that it’s actually comfortable to hold.
Stainless Steel – The heaviest, yet most attractive handle material in the market. Majority of machetes that come with stainless steel handles are usually made for display.
Rubber – Comfort is the best quality of rubber gripped machetes, it provides amazing grip even in slippery conditions; regular maintenance is a must because this material easily wears and is prone to tears.
Leather – The most difficult material to maintain because it may fray easily, but on the plus side, it provides exceptional grip.
Micarta – The top dog of all handle materials; it’s the most durable, the most comfortable, and the most durable of all types of grips. The only con of this material is its hefty price.
|Name||Material||Handle Material||Blade Length|
|Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri||1085 carbon steel||Kraton||11.5 inches|
|SOG Specialty Knives & Tools||3CR13 stainless steel||Rubber||10 inches||-|
|Cold Steel Jungle Machete||1055 carbon steel||Polypropylene plastic||16 inches|
|Pro Tool Industries 284 Woodman’s Pal Series||1075 carbon steel||Leather||10.5 inches|
|CRKT K920KKPC Halfachance Parang Fixed Blade Knife||1065 carbon steel||TPR Overmold||14 inches|
|Ontario Knife Co Spec Plus GEN II||5160 carbon steel||Kraton||10.1 inches|
|Cold Steel Tactical Katana Machete||1055 carbon steel||Polypropylene||24 inches|
|Condor Tool and Knife||1075 carbon steel||Hardwood with soft pads||14 inches|
|Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete||High carbon steel||Textured rubber||13.5 inches|
|Whetstone Cutlery ‘The Brute’ Super Machete||Stainless steel||Pakkawood||13.75 inches|
The Ka-Bar Kukri Machete’s origins come from the Nepalese kukri, originally meant as a fighting blade; this machete has played a huge role for clearing lands and chopping vegetation; although it’s foundationally classified as a heavily built knife, people slowly started using the kukri as machetes.
The Ka-Bar Kukri’s blade is 11.5 inches long and is made of one of the toughest steels in the market, the 1085 carbon steel. Edge retention is top class and the blade is razor sharp. This leaf-like blade will do more than just mow down grass. Since its weight is biased toward the front, the Ka-Bar Kukri does an excellent job of chopping down branches and bushes.
The handle is quite large and comfortable. Made out of Kraton Nylon, the Ka-Bar Kukri feels glued to your hands even if they’re soaking wet. There’s plenty of grip to get around, and it truly feels like an extension of your body.
If what you’re looking for is a quite compact machete that is capable of chopping down medium sized branches, then Ka-Bar’s got you covered with the Ka-Bar Kukri.
Its uncanny design makes it difficult to call a tanto machete. It does have the qualities of a tanto blade but its dimensions are peculiar. Despite its weird looks, the SOG Specialty Knives & Tools machete is extremely useful in any situation.
The SOG Specialty Knives & Tools machete is made of 3CR13 stainless steel, a good choice of steel to combat the effects of oxidation. Saw teeth run down the back of the spine, useful in situations where you need to cut ropes, saw through wood, or any labor that a smooth edge can’t handle. The bladed edge is impressively sharp. The point of the tip can pierce through almost anything.
The handle is made of rubber and is quite comfortable. Grip is immense, an added feature to aid control and handling are the extended quillion and pommel extension.
A machete that is mainly designed for combat, the SOG Specialty Knives & Tools is great for utility tasks too. Its slim design and blade material doesn’t excel in heavy duty tasks, unlike most machetes. But this is a great machete nonetheless.
Simple and direct, the mighty Cold Steel Jungle Machete’s use is already stated in its name. Hacking through vines, thick grass, and other vegetative obstacles is what this machete is made for. The Cold Steel Jungle Machete is a no BS machete, that’s what makes the Cold Steel machete outstanding.
The Cold Steel Jungle Machete is made from 1055 carbon steel and is 16 inches long. The hardy blade’s weight is biased towards the front end, making it easier to cut through thick wood. Because of its weight balance, it might not be as effective against thin grass.
The handle which is made of plastic seems to be the biggest flaw of the machete. It’s quite slippery especially on wet conditions or when your hands get sweaty. Its forward weight balance also adds to the risk of the machete slipping of your hands. Probably the best thing to do to improve grip is to wrap the handle with rubber tape or any textured surface grip.
Extremely durable, proper steel, straightforward design, the Cold Steel Jungle Machete is a great choice for those who seek a utility machete for the great outdoors. It can complete any task you want it to do. This outstanding machete is a true bang for your buck product.
Its unique design is purely made for functionality. The Pro Tool Industries 284 Woodman’s Pal Series machete is the perfect tool for any type of utility job. It features a very brutal looking sickle-like hook right at the edge of the spine which is used for slicing through vines and briars.
The 10.5 inch blade is made of 1075 carbon steel. Its wide blade works like an axe to optimize cutting large chunks of wood and can even take down small trees. The chunky blade may not be ideal for agricultural work due to its weight and broad blade. The extra sickle hook features adds to the functional character of the Woodman’s Pal Series machete.
The beautiful leather handle is comfortable and the handguard makes your knuckles and fingers feel safe from harm. Keeping your knuckles and fingers safe is not the only think that feels secure; the Woodman’s Pal Series machete also has a nylon strap at the end of the handle to get a better grasp and safer handling.
Its eccentric design is timeless and efficient. A huge factor for the success of this machete is its infinite levels of functionality. It’s the jack of all trades type of machete.
Known for their amazingly built cost-friendly knives, Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) has done it again. This time with a machete, the CRKT Halfachance parang machete is the much larger brother of CRKT’s Chanceinhell machete which has a 12 inch long blade.
The slightly deep curved drop point designed machete is made with 1065 carbon steel; a hearty steel that requires regular maintenance in order to preserve its quality. Its spine is quite thin compared to other machetes on the market; as a result, the machete only weighs about 2 pounds.
The machete may be unable to cut through thick pieces of wood, but doing so, it still held its edge very well. This is due to its relatively thin blade and spine. On the other hand, it excels in chopping up fairly stout bushes and branches.
Its handle is made of thermoplastic rubber (TPR) which is wrapped around the tang of the machete. The TPR handle is exceedingly durable and its ergonomic design is made to fit any hand size. Sweaty hands won’t be a problem when wielding this machete; its faux pigskin texture provides additional grip.
CRKT has made a machete that is functional and robust, that is light on your wallet. It’s an effective and affordable choice for outdoorsmen, adventurers, and survivalists. Its cutting prowess and durability can match more expensive machetes on the market.
This machete is simple and effective. Its straightforward design is a tell-tale of its workhorse use. Perfect to take with on hikes and camping, this machete also excels in survival scenarios. Heavy use is the name of the game for the Ontario Knife Co Spec Plus Gen II.
The Ontario Spec Plus Gen II is a Golok designed machete that has a blade length of 10.1 inches and an overall length of 15.1 inches, made of American 5160 carbon steel. Its recurve edge and straight point make the machete rigid and durable. Exposing this to hard punishment is in its menu, even after long periods of heavy use, it’ll retain its razor sharp edge. That’s because 5160 carbon steel is a bit tougher than 1095 carbon steel. 1095 carbon steel is rated as an extremely tough material already.
The Kraton nylon handle is easy to grasp and is very comfortable as well, you’ll feel extra secure with this type of grip. Another amazing feature of this machete is its weight distribution; it’s only a tad bit front-heavy making each swing easy to handle.
The Ontario Spec Plus Gen II is an amazing outdoorsman knife. Reliability, sharpness, and comfort, it has everything you need to hack your way around the jungle.
One of the most outrageous yet appealing machete designs goes to the Cold Steel Tactical Katana Machete. It’s the longest machete on the list and it doesn’t even look like one. I mean, who wouldn’t want to own a utility machete that looks like a legendary Japanese sword? Despite looking more like a sword than a machete, this Cold Steel machete doesn’t disappoint.
Its 24 inch blade is made with 1055 carbon steel with an anti-rust black baked finish. Like its katana like features extend further as a result of its robustness and ability to withstand punishment while retaining its edge. Its resilience against extreme abuse is staggering. Another amazing thing about this machete is its reach. You can take down huge piles of vegetative obstruction with just one sweep.
Its handle is well made and comfortable, the polypropylene provides tons of grip; chances of the machete slipping off your hands on full swing is most probably nil. Its long grip also allows for two-handed use, increasing swing power for cutting harder objects.
Amazing product by Cold Steel, Its effectiveness and its sword-like looks make this machete a badass one. A huge factor that makes the whole package great is its sheath; the cor-ex sheath feels well-made and holds the blade down securely.
The Condor Tool and Knife is one of the more popular machetes in the market. There’s a reason for this machete’s popularity, its high quality build and attractive design is what draws consumers toward the Condor Tool and Knife.
This machete’s is made of 1075 high carbon steel, an excellent material for edge retention, durability, and ease of sharpening. Since carbon steel is notorious for its vulnerability against rust, the blade is coated with epoxy black powder to combat this weakness. This machete is not all about good looks; its design is backed up by functionality. Its thick spine serves as support and makes the knife capable of cutting through large chunks of wood and even metal pieces. Delivering smooth and heavy blows is its job.
The handle is undoubtedly beautiful but the only problem its finish. It’s quite hard to get a good grasp on the wooden handle because of the finish; it doesn’t seem properly sanded. You can solve this by sanding down the handle and applying a better finish or wrapping paracord around the lanyard hole to wrap around your wrist to prevent slippage.
All in all, the machete works perfectly for any utility job. You might need some time to get used to it, but once you do, it’s very much satisfying.
Bearing the name of the most famous adventure survivalist Bear Grylls, The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete holds a very high reputation for tough use and high durability. Its effectiveness is of top quality, this is a machete that will stand the test of time and can take the harshest of punishments.
Its blade is 1/8 inches thick, 13.5 inches long, and is made of one of the best high carbon steel in the market. A deadly composition of robustness and efficiency; the blade requires quite a bit of maintenance to prevent corrosion, while the blade is very easy to sharpen. You’ll be surprised with its chopping potential; although the blade is strong enough to cut through thick wood with some effort, it’s best to minimalize chopping dense pieces of lumber to lessen the number of times you have to re-sharpen the blade.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete comes with a very comfortable rubberized textured grip that is perfect even under slippery conditions and sweaty hands. The grip is also very durable, it does not wear easily.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete is an amazing machete but just like any product, it still has some imperfections. The sheath seems very cheap and the machete can easily cut through the stitching, which may be dangerous. The blade is also quite dull out of the box.
The 22.75 inch long Whetstone ‘The Brute’ Super Machete is among the most aggressively designed machetes. It really looks like a brute. The relentless design is not for show, its saw back spine is made for splitting large chunks of wood, its front-heavy weight and thick blade has the ability to make quick work of any obstacle in your way.
The 13.75 inch blade is made of stainless steel which is well-renowned for its corrosion resistance. The blunt belly of the blade is wrapped with paracord to allow the option of wielding this monstrous machete with two hands. Its initial sharpness is outstanding, although it doesn’t hold its edge as good as carbon steel, The Brute doesn’t disappoint.
The handle is made of pakkawood which feels very solid and feels comfortable. The paracord wrapped around the belly is an amazing feature for a two-handed swing, just in case you need extra force to cut through wood or tough clusters of vines. Everything works well, two-handed or one-handed.
The full option of having this aggressive machete is great for tons of survival situational cases. Its ludicrous design actually works, that’s why this machete is fantastic. It also comes with an amazing price. If you’re looking for something that’s different and sort of goofy-looking that can do the job, then this machete makes for a good choice.
Editor’s Choice: Cold Steel Jungle Machete
First up, we have the Cold Steel Jungle Machete. This is the greatest choice for a reason; it’s cheap, simple, and versatile. Everything it’s made of seems to be worth much more than its price – except for its handle. It can perform as a general utility machete, a skinning tool, an agricultural tool, and a self-defense weapon all at once. It fulfils the needs of almost every type of machete use out there. Cold Steel is revered for their quality steel and they’ve made another masterpiece out of the Jungle Machete. Edge retention is unbelievable, for the price, its mind blowing. An exceptional machete is an understatement for the Cold Steel Jungle Machete.
Next in line, we have the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete. Of course, almost everybody knows who Bear Grylls is, and to endorse a machete is a huge thing. Now the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang has a name to uphold. Like the Cold Steel Jungle Machete, the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang is also an economical choice. It’s also one of the most comfortable machetes to handle. It makes good work of dense vegetation and it’ll hold its edge even after a lot of punishment. The only reason why this didn’t take the top spot is because of its lack of chopping power against thick chunks of wood. The blade doesn’t seem to work well when hacking through them.
Last but not the least, is the Condor Tool and Knife machete. Its beautiful aesthetics and quality carbon steel are the highlights of this machete. The Condor Tool and Knife machete performs as good as it looks. Capable of cutting down large branches, this machete makes tearing through vegetation a piece of cake. Its shape is also meant to optimize cutting power and makes strokes more efficient with minimal effort. This Machete tags along the best of the best because of its all-around utility function.