Best Neck Knives (Jun. 2017) – The Only Guide You Need!

By Walter J. Farrell | GEAR

After spending over 20 hours of research and going over 70 neck knives on the market, one knife stood out above all the rest: the Esee Izula II. We think it has the highest quality among all the knives we reviewed. The blade is made of durable 1095 carbon steel and is attached to a highly comfortable Micarta handle. The Esee Izula II also comes with a kydex sheath and sling, which fulfills you every need for a neck knife. [Read more]

There are different kinds of knives crafted for all kinds of purposes. There are knives that are specially made for cooking, leatherworking, crafting, combat and much more. For this review, we’ve gathered a list of top ten neck knives.

Neck knives are a staple for knife fighters, knife collectors, outdoorsmen and even for those who just need one for self-defense. Neck knives are usually a standard for Every Day Carry (EDC) because of their size, weight, and accessibility. Concealment, swiftness and steel quality are key attributes of a good neck knife.

10 Best Neck Knifes in 2017

Product NameBlade MaterialBlade LengthBlade ThicknessWeight 
Spyderco ArkH1 Stainless steel2.5”0.063”20 oz.
Cold Steel Bird & TroutAUS 8A Stainless steel2.25”0.109”0.8oz.
SOG Snarl Fixed Blade JB01K-CP9Cr18MoV Stainless steel2.3”0.25”1.9 oz.
Esee Candiru1096 Carbon steel2.0”0.125”1.7 oz.
Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife Fixed BladeAUS 8A Stainless steel2.3125”0.125”3.2 oz.
CRKT Folts Minimalist Bowie5Cr15MoV Stainless steel2.125”0.108”1.6 oz.
Cold Steel Secret EdgeJapanese AUS 8A Stainless steel3.5”0.098”2.4 oz.
Buck Knives 680 CSAR-T Liaison Tactical Knife with M.O.L.L.E. compatible sheath420HC Stainless steel3”0.12”1.7 oz.
Esee Izula II1095 Carbon steel2.63”0.156”3.2 oz.
Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker Neck Knife1095 Cro-van Carbon steel3.25”0.165”2.4 oz.

We’ve ranked through the market for the best neck knives, created a list for you to narrow down your search. If you’re looking for a ‘bang for you buck’ or a top-tier neck knife, here is the list that will serve as your guide. 

But before that, let’s walk you through some of the most important factors to consider before buying a neck knife.

"What Should I Consider Before Buying a Neck Knife?"

We have narrowed down to the 5 most important factors before deciding which knife is the most suited for you.

#1 Design

There are a lot of knives in the market that look bizarre; others resemble the archetypal image of what a knife looks like. Chances are, you’ll most likely go for the knife that looks aggressive or the unconventional-looking one.

When deciding on what kind of knife you’re going to buy, think about these questions to narrow down your options: What will you use it for? Will you carry it every day? What will its purpose be? Survival? Camping? Hunting? Self-defense? These questions will help you find a suitable neck knife for your lifestyle.

#2 Sheath

There’s no other way to wear your knife than to have it around your neck, which means that your sheath will be dangling about and holding on to your precious knife. For this reason, your sheath is a very integral part of your knife. It must keep the knife in place at all costs.

How do you test this? Hold you sheath at the tip end with the knife attached, and shake you knife – violently, if you want to. If it rattles, you may have to think twice about how good your sheath is, but if it doesn’t then you don’t have to worry about coming home with only your sheath around your neck.

What makes an excellent sheath is how well it secures and effortlessly releases the knife. What you should always look for in a knife’s sheath is an opening system that is firm and easily accessible. You wouldn’t want to find your knife on the ground all of a sudden or stuck on your feet when it should be dangling around your neck and find that your knife is too difficult to draw when you need it most.

#3 Lanyard

Often, the importance of your lanyard is ignored and simply recognized as equipment to wear around your neck. Unbeknownst to most users, your activities and where you decide to bring your knife may determine what type of sling you may need.

Neck knives are called neck knives for a reason: they’re made to be hung around your neck. There are two types of lanyards that neck knives come with: a paracord or a bead chain. Paracords are famous for their strength and durability. On the other hand, bead chains are easily adjustable, letting you find the right size to hang around your neck.

Bead chains are not as resistant as paracords but they are the more comfortable choice. They’re thin, versatile, and could pass as just wearing a dog tag. In contrast, paracords are a secure choice; you don’t have to worry about accidentally snapping your sling or losing your knife because of your sling. However, they can be dangerous if you take them on hikes, climbs, or any activity that involves the risk of slipping or falling.

In a worst-case scenario, you accidentally fall or slip and your paracord gets caught onto something, you may strangle yourself with the sling, unless someone is there to help you out. Nevertheless, it may not be a good idea to have a paracord around your neck during those types of activities.

#4 Blade Material

This is the first thing everyone looks for and asks about. For almost everyone, the most important property of a knife. Overall, the material used for the blade of a knife will tell you its quality; sharpness, edge retention, durability, and corrosion resistance. A knife’s blade usually comes in two varieties: stainless steel and carbon steel.

The best property that stainless steel has over carbon steel is its high corrosion resistance. It’s easier to maintain and usually more affordable than carbon steel. The only downside of stainless steel is its low edge retention. Its edge can’t stand as much use as carbon steel. In contrast, you’ll find yourself having to oil your carbon steel blade frequently to avoid and remove rust because of its low corrosion resistance. On the upside, carbon steel retains its edge better than stainless steel.

Bear in mind that all blades will eventually dull, depending on how hard and how frequently you use it. Sharpening your blade after some time is a must. They won’t stay razor-sharp forever.

#5 Weight

Nobody wants something cumbersome hanging around their neck. Thankfully, most (if not all) neck knives are light. I don’t think anyone is crazy enough to create a hefty neck knife. The weight of your neck knife will be up to you to decide. You should try to find a knife you’re comfortable with. Especially since you’ll have it hanging around your neck most of the time.

Now, let’s dive right in to the list of 10 best neck knives on the market.

How Did We Access the Products?

We’ve gathered a list of top ten neck knives available on the market today. This is a result of internet research, obtaining friend’s information and opinions, and going to specialty knife stores. All in all, we’ve listed 70 knives that we then scored based on blade material, length, blade thickness, and weight. We then took into consideration how well their factory sheaths and slings are. For the sheath, we had to know how well it holds the knife in and how easy the knife is to draw.

After narrowing down our list of 70 knives, the 10 that remained were purchased or borrowed from friends and colleagues in order to get a hands-on feel of how they perform and put their qualities to the test.

The knives had to be light and easy to carry around, so their weight had to be less than 4 oz.
Overall size and blade length had to be limited, yet, able to carry and accomplish tasks of larger knives. The knives had to be at least 7 inches short and we preferred a blade length of around 2 inches to 3.5 inches in order to fit an ideal standard of legal carry.

Of course, the most important part of the knife is its blade material. We want to assure you that these knives will stand, not only the test of time, but the brutality and sheer punishment they may face and still maintain their eminence.

Spyderco ARK, a tiny blade that is  4.98 inch-long and a 2.5 inch blade made with a tank tough H1 stainless steel.

H1 stainless steel is known for its outrageously high corrosion resistance.

It comes with a beaded chain necklace and its sheath is made from injection-molded polymer.

A standard every day carry (EDC) should be sleek, small, and tough. That being said, it should also be useful in any circumstance. The Spyderco Ark specifically adheres to these characteristics. Its handle is made from a mold of fiberglass-reinforced nylon in order to maximize grip. The functional handle design sports a bi-directional texturing pattern that gives you full control of the knife even in the most slippery conditions. 

This knife is ultra-thin, very light, and highly concealable. 

What We Liked

  • Slender and lightweight
  • ​High corrosion resistance
  • ​Quality sheath
  • Unconventional design that works

What We Didn't Like

  • Limited to right-handed users
  • Size may be uncomfortable for those with larger hands

The Bird & Trout knife by Cold Steel is a modern version of a classic knife that is designed mostly for fishermen and hunters. 

Purposely made for the field, this knife is made from AUS 8A Stainless steel.

AUS 8A is a Japanese steel that strikes a great balance between edge retention and corrosion resistance.

Its design is very straightforward. The handle of the blade is skeletonized providing great maneuverability, with a ring that can be used to aid grip or keep hanging on your finger if your hands are full.

It’s extremely light, weighing only 0.8 oz. That’s a good trade-off because the knife is quite long at 6.31 inches. It comes with an indestructible Concealex sheath made from kydex. At first, the sheath may be quite difficult because of the lock-release, drawing your knife may require some getting-used-to.

It’s considerably a great tool for outdoorsmen given its sharpness and its precision. 

What We Liked

  • Surgical sharpness straight out of the box
  • Strong and sturdy structure
  • Secure and superior sheath

What We Didn't Like

  • The handle is prone to rust
  • Unorothodox sheath 

The SOG Snarl is a product of collaboration between custom knife maker Jason Brous and SOG.

It has a unique, minimalist design that is made to fit with a variety of hand positions that suit your preference.

It's also a very discrete neck knife. 

The SOG Snarl is, by far, the smallest neck knife on our list.

At an overall length of only 4.3 inches, this knifes succeeds as a seamlessly concealable EDC. It dons a 2.3 inch blade and a blade thickness of 0.25 inches. Made from 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel, the SOG Snarl grades in the 58-60 range on the Rockwell hardness scale, which is an impressive number for such a small knife.

Despite is size, it makes for a great last resort self-defense knife, as it’s just the right size to deal a substantial amount of damage to your assailant. In a self-defense situation, your attacker would hardly notice that you’re armed. A molded kydex sheath comes standard with a belt clip, which has too strong of a bite on the blade. Extra effort may be required to draw the knife.

The only downside of the SOG Snarl is its bottom end; it’s too thin and may be prone to snapping.

What We Liked

  • Easily concealable
  • Multiple grip possibilities

What We Didn't Like

  • May not fit all hand sizes
  • Difficult to remove from sheath
  • Requires sharpening

The Esee Candiru is durable and a versatile neck knife that can be used in a wide variety of tasks.

Its material is made from 1096 carbon steel, one of the best steels in terms of edge retention.

It can also be sharpened according to your taste. Its powder coating helps resist corrosion and rust but it doesn’t seem to do a good job over time.

You’ll have to regularly lubricate and clean your knife to prevent rust and corrosion.

The Esee Candiru’s size is decent: 2 inch blade, 0.125 inch blade thickness, an overall length of 5.13 inches, and 1.7 oz. of weight. Size and weight seem pretty standard. It comes with a black molded sheath and a paracord as a sling. The paracord can be handy and used in survival situations.

What We Liked

  • Outstanding material
  • Fantastic edge retention
  • Extremely reliable

What We Didn't Like

  • Prone to rust
  • May require regular maintenance

The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife fixed blade is a solid neck knife intended to be as a weapon for self-defense. 

Its blade material is made from AUS 8A Stainless steel, top quality stainless steel that strikes that is both superior in edge retention and high in corrosion resistance.

It comes with a kydex sheath, which holds the blade firmly and is very easy to deploy.

Its beautiful and comfortable handle is made from Zytel, a lightweight and extremely durable nylon polymer that provides great grip, and results in one of the best fighting blades under a total length of 6 inches.

Its whole length is 5.625 inches with a blade length of 2.3125 inches and weighs 3.2 oz. making it the heaviest knife on our list. This knife is easy to carry around. Its sheath also allows for concealment at the belt area. It’s also ambidextrous, so you can have it positioned on either the left or right hip.

It stands out as a fighter’s knife because of the various fighting styles it can adapt to. But due to its shape, it may not perform as well as a general EDC knife. Its blade may be too short for some tasks, and its awkward shape may be uncomfortable to be used as an EDC knife.

What We Liked

  • Outstanding self-defense knife
  • Comfortable
  • Swift draw speed
  • High-grip handle
  • Quality materials

What We Didn't Like

  • Shape may be awkward for other tasks
  • Too comfortable, you might forget that you have it on.

This small and light knife is made by knifemaker and metalworker Alan Folts, a popular neck knife craftsman. 

The CRKT Minimalist Bowie is surprisingly comfortable - this is mainly because of ergonomic geometry of the knife, supported with three finger grooves.

Its handle is made from a compressed layered composite sealed within thermosetting plastic called Micarta.

This provides comfort and control. Also,the blade material is made from 5Cr15MoV Stainless steel. 

It’s a very handy knife that weighs 1.6 oz. 5.13 inches long in overall length; the blade is 2.125 inches and has a blade thickness of 0.108 inches.  It makes for a good general purpose knife. It can do a clean job at cutting and skinning small game for hunting, and its durability makes for a great camping/survival knife. It's also very slim and easy to conceal. You can also use it as a back-up kitchen knife. 

What We Liked

  • Comfortable grip
  • Versatile knife
  • Less Costly

What We Didn't Like

  • Sheath is flimsy
  • Fairly low edge retention

 The Secret Edge is a high-quality and a versatile neck knife that can perform a wide range of tasks.

The material used on the Secret Edge is an AUS 8A Stainless steel, a high-grade stainless steel that comes from Japan.

It’s also impressively thin. Its blade thickness is only 0.098 inches thick.

Despite its extreme thinness, this neck knife is not easily breakable, thanks to the Japanese AUS 8A Stainless steel. Hence, this neck knife is a durable one. Overall you have a length of 6.5 inches, a blade that’s 3.5 inches long, and weighs 2.4 oz.

Its sheath is made out of kydex, which has a firm grip on the blade and is easy to draw. One thing you have to look out for is accidentally cutting yourself. The blade is so thin that you might not even notice it. It’s easy to handle because of the Zytel grip.

The Secret Edge is highly concealable; it’s not likely for it to emboss itself under your clothing. It’s light, thin, and strong. This combination makes for a good EDC

What We Liked

  • Quality material
  • Light and highly concealable
  • High corrosion resistance and blade retention
  • Less costly

What We Didn't Like

  • Sharpening requires some skill
  • Factory chain may not be attractive enough for most users

The 680 CSAR-T features a skeletonized frame and tanto blade which aesthetically suggests its designed for the bad boys club. 

More than its aesthetic appeal, this neck knife is also durable.

It's made from 420HC Stainless steel, a type of steel that is packed with high carbon, making it tough and highly resistant to corrosion.

Given these features, the 680 CSAR-T can be considered as a solid survival knife.

The 680 CSAR-T is 6.75 inches long, with a blade length of 3 inches, a blade thickness of 0.120 inches, and weighs 1.7 oz. Considering how long the knife is, it’s light. 

The 680 CSAR-T comes with a decent kydex sheet that is molded to perfection with the shape of the blade. Drawing the blade from the sheath is seamless.

What We Liked

  • Lightweight
  • Strong blade structure
  • Secure sheath
  • ​Highly durable steel

What We Didn't Like

  • May require sharpening out of the box

The Izula II is made from 1095 carbon steel, a primary choice for tough blades.

Its tough steel can hold its edge for a long time even after taking a beating.

That’s what it’s meant to do: perform tough tasks.

Its blade length is 2.63 inches long, and it has a blade thickness of 0.156 inches. It’s quite heavy, weighing 3.2 oz. which is really not a bother. Its black molded sheath fits well with the blade.

The Izula II makes for a perfect back up knife. It excels in survival situations and can perform tasks of bigger blades. If a situation arises and your primary knife is not around, you don’t’ have to worry if you have the Esee Izula II with you. Its design is straightforward, simple, classic and functional.

Owning this blade requires regular maintenance to keep the blade from rusting.

What We Liked

  • Material is top class
  • Good edge retention
  • Razor sharp out of the box
  • ​Fantastic grip
  • Sheath is very good

What We Didn't Like

  • Regular Maintenance Required

 The Ka Bar BK11 is a robust and precise neck that can be used in  fishing, hunting, camping and hikes. Notably, it could also be used as a fun alternative kitchen knife.

The Ka-Bar BK11’s grip is customizable. You can wrap a paracord handle or add custom handles, giving it a good personal touch. 

It’s made of 1095 Cro-Van Carbon steel which makes this neck knife is  extremely sharp and durable.

The knife is epoxy coated to aid it against rust. Carbon steel is notorious for its vulnerability to rust. Moreover, while the epoxy coat helps, general maintenance and lubrication is still highly recommended.

The sheath is magnificent. It’s made with injection-molded, glass-filler nylon. It’s very strong and it holds the blade in with a firm grip.

The Ka-Bar BK11 is 6.875 inches long; the longest on our list the blade itself is 3.75 inches long and 0.165 inches thick, and weighs at 2.4 oz. It may seem like a large knife, but it’s comfortable around your neck and doesn’t feel cumbersome for a neck knife.

For sure one of the best neck knives around for hunting and survival, it accomplishes any task you face it with. The Ka-Bar BK11 makes for an good EDC as well.

What We Liked

  • High quality Carbon steel
  • Can accomplish numerous tasks
  • Quality Sheath
  • ​Customizable handle
  • Robust blade

What We Didn't Like

  • Skeletonized handle may not be comfortable for some
  • Coating is quite rough

Our Recommendation

Editor's Choice: Esee Izula II

Esee Izula II is our top pick, primarily because of its topnotch build and its versatility. It's made of a carbon 1095 steel, which is laudable for its durability. Its overall built design is suitable for a wide variety of functions. It's great as a back-up weapon, as a tool for hunting and fishing and even as a kitchen knife substitute. By and large, we've loved its high grade material and its functionality.

Runners-up: Cold Steel Secret EdgeKa-Bar BK11 Becker Necker

The Cold Steel Secret Edge and the Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker are also commendable neck knives. The Secret Edge is made from an ultra-reliable AUS 8A Stainless steel. it’s very light and due to its flatness, and it can be easily concealed.

The Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker is one of our favorites due to its structural rigidity and like the Esee Izula II, it’s versatile and can accomplish many tasks as well. The only thing keeping the Izula II and BK11 apart is that the Izula II is lighter. Apart from that, the BK11 is a solid neck knife. I also love the customizable handle, knowing that different hands have various gripping preferences.

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About the Author

Walter J. Farrell is an accountant who is very passionate about sharing his knowledge on high tech gadgets. He started AuthorityAdviser to help people know more about the products that are currently a hit in the market.

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