5 Best Machetes of 2018

Sep 3, 2018 | Camping, Reviews

The machete is probably one of the most famous knives out there. It’s beloved by Hollywood directors who like to show a hero whacking their way through the forest! However, the truth is that a good machete should be a staple of any good survival kit.

A good machete can clear undergrowth, help create a comfortable camping spot for the night, plus it can also be used for collecting firewood and creating tinder.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that the humble machete is one of the world’s best tactical weapons. People have been using the machete as a defense tool to ward off animals, occupying forces and other nasties for hundreds of years!

Top 5 Machetes

NameBlade LengthBlade Material 

Gerber

15 inch

Steel

Check Price

SOG

12.9 to 18 inch

3Cr13 stainless steel

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Schrade

13.5 inch

High carbon steel

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Ka-Bar

13.3 inch

3Cr13 Powder Coated

Check Price

Ontario Knife

18 inch

1095 Carbon Steel

Check Price

Gerber

Blade Length

15 inch

Blade Material

Steel

Check Price

SOG

Blade Length

12.9 or 18 inch

Blade Material

3Cr13 stainless steel

Check Price

Gerber

Blade Length

13.5 Inch

Blade Material

High carbon steel

Check Price

Schrade

Blade Length

13.3 Inch

Blade Material

3Cr13 Powder Coated

Check Price

Ontario Knife

Blade Length

18 Inch

Blade Material

1095 Carbon Steel

Check Price

1. Best Overall

Gerber Gator Machete

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • High carbon steel blade
  • Nylon sheath
  • Molded nylon hand grip
  • 18 Inch blade

We love the Gerber brand of knives and multitools. They’re one of those unbeatable American brands that thrive on creating well-built tools that last a lifetime. Their multitool and small knives are something to always carry in a pack.

The Gator Machete is a budget blade that manages to maintain Gerber’s high quality.

The Gerber Gator is a nice blade to use in-hand. The Nylon handgrip is better to hold than we thought, plus the grip has a handy cord to tether the knife to your wrist, handy for using in water to cut ropes.

The carbon steel blade is very sharp and tough. It’s also quite thick which makes us confident that you can use this blade time and again, sharpening should be a breeze too.

On the back of the machete is a serrated saw blade. We think this machete could make a perfect ships blade, the hand cord and saw blade could make this the ultimate get out of jail card if your boat runs through fishing lines, and you need a way to cut the rope free from your propeller.

Of course, the serrated edge has other uses too. Whilst you won’t be felling any major trees with it, you will be able to cut smaller branches ready for firewood.

Overall, the Gerber Gator is a solid budget blade. It’s well made, nice to grip and the sheath is about as strong as they come.

Pros and cons

  • Keenly priced and comes with that Gerber quality built you know and trust. Serrated saw blade improves the uses, turning the blade into a multifunction tool all its own.
  • We hope that serrated back doesn’t ruin the sheath over time. The tough nylon casing would suggest not; however, we’ve seen these types of blade destroy their sheaths after a few months.

2. Best Value

SOG SOGfari Machete

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Dual edge with a serrated blade on the back
  • 13 or 18-inch blade options
  • Manufactured from 3Cr13 stainless steel

We’ve had a tough time with the SOG brand in the past. Whilst some of their blades are truly awesome, we’ve also reviewed the sub-par Kukri which really disappointed us.

Thankfully, the SOG 18-Inch machete appears to buck that trend with a well-made unit that comes with a well-made sheath, something we didn’t like with their Kukri.

This SOG isn’t quite as nice to use as the Gerber Gator. We found the handle a little small, and the notch at the end tended to cause blisters after heavy use. Having said that, the SOG makes up for that with a wickedly sharp blade, plus a serrated back edge that cuts through branches with ease.

The blade edge is nice and thick, as you might expect from SOG. It’s also coated in a solid, anti-rust compound that should see it stay in good condition wherever it’s stored.

Our only gripe is the lack of a tether cord. This probably restricts the SOG to camping and tactical use only, you won’t want to take this on the water in case you lose it!

Pros and cons

  • Well priced and well made in the traditional SOG way. The serrated edge is an absolute beast!
  • No tether cord and a handle that’s not as comfortable as we’d like.

3. Best on a Budget

Bear Grylls Parang Machete

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Angled blade
  • High carbon steel
  • Full tang construction
  • Rubber grip

A blade that’s been endorsed by everyone’s favorite survivalist, Bear Grylls, the Gerber Parang Machete is a pure ground clearance tool, no saw blades here.

Of course, I don’t like Bear Grylls, I’d rather the more sedate pace of Ray Mears and suspect I’d have less chance of a heart attack if I was to spend a camping weekend with him!

First up, we absolutely love the sheath that comes with this blade. It’s made of extremely strong nylon and has a rock-solid belt clip at the top, top marks.

On a more depressing note, the handle really is a poor-quality effort. Perhaps it’s the fact Bear Grylls likes a bit of pain, but the handle has a terrible tendency to give blisters. We would have preferred a more solid molded grip, rather than the textured one that comes with it.

The cutting blade is pure Gerber, extremely sharp and sturdy enough to power through most tasks. The full tang construction gets a thumbs up from us.

The Bear Grylls knife is a real shame. It’s got so many awesome things going for it, yet that handle means you’ll never truly enjoy using it.

Pros and cons

  • Sheath is a wonderful addition and the belt clip works, unlike so many sheaths out there.
  • You’ll curse Bear Grylls when your hands become blistered after heavy use!

4. Best for Camping

Schrade Kukri Machete

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Powder coated stainless steel blade
  • Polyester belt sheath
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Storage pouch for back or front use

Schrade is more well known for their tactical and small knives than they are for their machete range, even so, they still manage to serve up a decent offering.

The SCHKM1 blade, is packed with features like 3Cr13 stainless steel, quality sheath and a holster to hold it on your back or across your stomach.

The thing that we really liked about the Schrade, is the storage pouch that can be run across your back, or alternatively across your stomach. You rarely see this style of holster on the market, and especially not considering the price range the Schrade sits in.

As for the knife in general use, it feels very balanced in the hand. The handle is very good, and a far cry from the Bear Grylls effort above!

As for the negatives, it might have been nice to see a serrated blade at the back for those tougher branches. It also would have been nice to see a 16 or 18-inch model. Still, the upgraded holster and nice feel make this knife a contender.

Pros and cons

  • Decent price, nice weighted feel and a superb multi-function holster.
  • Would have been nice to see an 18-inch model with the same build.

5. Best in Length

Ontario Military Machete

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Hardened carbon steel blade
  • Molded and riveted handle
  • 18-Inch blade

The Ontario Machete is a budget offering that still managed to offer some quality features. Even with the sub $20 price, you’ll get a carbon blade, molded handle, and 18-inch blade.

As a budget choice, the Ontario Machete does away with quite a few features that we like to see. The handle is not ergonomic nor molded in any way, that makes it quite a chore to use daily.

The blade is perfectly adequate for most jobs, yet it cannot compete with many of the others we’ve reviewed. We’re also mindful of the riveted handle base, which looks rather flimsy.

Pros and cons

  • Great low cost.
  • It’s not as comfortable as a Gerber Gator, and not as sharp or capable of the Schrade.

Conclusion

When looking for a machete it’s important to keep in mind your intended use. Most machetes are built for clearing brush and small timber. They work great as a multi-use camping blade. With that said, the overall pick is the Gerber Gator. You can’t beat the combination of blade length, paracord, grip, and brand. With that said, any of these options are suitable and would be worthy of your purchase.

Clarence McCall

Editor for Survivalgearexperts.net

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