Machetes have a whole host of applications, making them a useful tool for anyone to have. In many parts of the world, machetes are used on a daily basis both indoors and outdoors to make people’s life easier.
There are plenty of situations where any other tool just won’t cut it, because you require a specific set of characteristics that nothing else can give you.
Whether you are harvesting crops, cutting wood, clearing vegetation, or hunting for food, a machete will always be invaluable and make light work of otherwise laborious jobs.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide, showing you our best picks for machetes that you can buy right now.
We have taken into consideration a number of factors, finally arriving at these tried and tested models that have a lot to offer in terms of both price and quality.
Entries include best machetes for certain applications, as well as the best overall machetes that are great for any situation.
Our Best Machete Reviews
Best Overall Machete: Condor 14 Inch Golok Machete
If you want a versatile machete that can deal with anything, look no further than the Condor Golok. It has a walnut handle with a generous curve, and the blade is made from carbon steel.
Its coating is epoxy black powder. The overall length of the tool is 20.5 inches, of which 14.5 is blade, and it weighs 30.7 ounces.
We find that the handle is perfectly curved to fit in the hand, making it easy to grip and use.
It is quite heavy and has the potential to make your arms ache, so we recommend not using it for purposes such as brush clearing that will take a long time.
Condor is a well-known and respected machete brand all over the world.
This machete bears an Indonesian design (known as a parang style) but was imported from a factory in El Salvador, showing that a number of influences inspired its creation.
The company uses only the best materials to make its machetes, so you know you are getting a high quality tool. They make all kinds of knives and tools, including swords, showing that they really know their stuff in this area.
- One of the most renowned brands in the modern machete market.
- Comes with a sturdy leather sheath, which fits the machete tightly
- A reasonable price for what you get, and it will last a lifetime
- On the heavy side of the market – some users prefer their machetes to be lighter and easier to carry for extended periods
- You will need to oil your machete regularly because the sheath holds moisture
Also available here
- Blade Length: 14″
- Walnut handle
- 100% leather sheath included
- 1075 high carbon steel blade with black powder epoxy finish
- Overall Length: 19″
Best All-Purpose Machete: KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri Machete
This model name may look like it’s written in code, but it’s easy to decipher the benefits of the machete itself. The 11.5 inch blade is shaped in 3 parts, making it suitable for a wide range of applications – you can clear paths, chop weeds, and even whittle sticks.
It weighs 27.2 ounces, which is light enough to wield comfortably but still has ample power behind it.
Our favorite part is the Kragon G thermoplastic elastomer handle, which is a mix of plastic and rubber and offers superior grip compared to other materials.
We find that it is an ergonomic design that fits well in the hand, without any fear of it slipping out while performing tasks.
KA-BAR is a knife manufacturing company based in Olean, New York, but they have representatives who sell their products in countries across the world.
They employ experienced craftsmen who know what it takes to make a quality knife, and business has been going strong since it was founded in 1898.
The Kukri Machete is similar to the KA-BAR cutlass, in case you need something a little smaller that can be used in mostly the same ways.
- Has many possible uses and is a handy tool to have around
- The steel blade stays sharp for a long time but is also easy to sharpen when the need arises
- Represents a good price for compared with similar models
- The sheath that comes with it is fairly flimsy and may have to be replaced after a shorter time than you would like
- Quite heavy for its size
- Made in: Taiwan
- Category name: machetes
- Made in USA or imported
- Black Kukri-style machete with carbon-steel blade
- Ideal for chopping weeds, clearing campsite, and more
Best Large Machete: Imacasa Colima Machete
Just looking at this machete with its 27 inch long blade will tell you that it means business. You will feel powerful wielding it in your hand, and you can tell that it will do its job properly.
What it lacks in a pleasing design, it certainly makes up for by looking mighty impressive by itself.
The thin blade really helps set it apart from other models from the same brand, allowing you to cut through cane and similar vegetation with ease.
We also found the machete great for general gardening, although it doesn’t have the propensity for carrying out delicate tasks like carving and gutting fish that smaller thin blades do.
Although it is lighter overall (just 21 ounces), there is a bulge on the blade spine, which lets you cut effectively on both the forward and backward strokes.
Imacasa is a company based in El Salvador, and is affiliated with Condor Machetes. Both companies have excellent reputations, with their products being sold around the world and especially across the Americas.
They have a large range of products, and their Colima Machete is just one example of the affordability they offer.
- The high carbon body means it is extremely durable and can withstand long periods of use
- Wallet-friendly at a much lower price than many machetes on the current market
- You can use both sides of the blade for maximum efficiency
- Sheath is sold separately, so doesn’t come with the machete as is standard for other models
- You may need to sharpen the blade before you use it for the first time
Also available here
- Blade Length: 27″, 1075 High Carbon Weighted Colima Machete
- Overall Length: 32″
- High impact polypropylene handle
- Not aesthetically pristine and may have minor blemishes that are not considered defective.
- Primary grind established at factory but will require sharpening before initial use.
Best Durable Machete: Cold Steel Jungle Machete
While all decent machetes are durable, with the vast majority being made of strong materials, this offering from Cold Steel stands out from the crowd in this area.
It is made from 1055 high carbon steel, which has a carbon content of between 0.5 and 0.56% and a particularly high temper – this means that the metal was subjected to rigorous heat treatments during the manufacturing process, making it tougher and less brittle.
The weight sits at just over 23 ounces, so it’s one of the lighter machetes we’re reviewing. It’s also one of the least expensive, but the makers didn’t sacrifice any quality on the way to that price.
We find it interesting that the company chose Cordura for the sheath material, as most machete sheaths are made of leather, but the synthetic nylon fabric is actually stronger and more durable too.
Cold Steel Knives manufacture a wide range of knives and similar tools that can cater to all your needs.
Their products have been used by the military, emergency services and other official departments, showing how highly regarded they are in the wider community.
The company has been going for over 40 years, during which time they have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and introduced innovative ideas into the knife industry.
- Super durable and can cope with high demands
- Every machete is sharpened by hand in the warehouse before shipping, so it should reach you in perfect working order
- The particular type of steel used is not very resistant to stains, so many become discolored (this shouldn’t affect its efficacy)
Also available here
- SHEATH INCLUDED: Comes complete with a Cor-Ex sheath for easy and convenient carrying and storage
- SURVIVAL USE: Sharp point offers a multitude of survival capabilities when camping and hunting
- UNIVERSAL USE: Provides a weight forward chop to properly chop through vines, saplings, brush, and even small trees
- Sheath: Black Core-Ex Sheath
Best Budget Machete: Tramontina 18 Inch Bush Machete
If you’re in need of a basic machete that will get the job done with no extra fuss (and no hidden costs!), this 18 inch Tramontina model will do the trick.
With its civilized wooden handle and simple blade design, it looks like any old knife you would find in a kitchen, only significantly bigger and more intimidating.
It’s not as fancy as some other machetes, but life isn’t always about fancy; it’s often about making sensible financial decisions.
Tramontina is a Brazilian company that specializes mainly in kitchen and homeware, but they also have a healthy range of machetes in their gardening section.
They may not have as much experience or knowledge of the specific industry as other machete brands do, but that doesn’t mean you should discount them – Tramontina is a known name in the community and it’s becoming increasingly popular as more and more people discover it.
- Better quality than you would expect for the low price
- Considered an all-purpose tool that has wide-ranging applications
- There may be small aesthetic imperfections on the metal that make it look not as polished as it could be
- To save on costs, there is no sheath included in the purchase
- You will need to sharpen the blade before use
Also available here
- Crafted from the highest quality materials
- Built for performance and durability
- Made in Brazil
Best Unique Machete: Fiskars Machete Axe
The Fiskars Machete Axe probably looks unlike any other machete you’ve ever seen, with its new-age shape and holes in the head.
These features aren’t just there to make it stand out, though – they actually give it certain properties it wouldn’t have otherwise, such as increased strength and durability.
The enlarged head, similar to that of an axe, allows it to split wood and chop roots, as well as just clearing brush.
The sheath that comes with it is nylon, rather than leather; this strong, flexible material is especially well suited to contain oddly-shaped items.
We also loved the ergonomic handle that is designed to maximize performance while being comfortable to hold. It is easy to use with just one hand, leaving the other free for grabbing vegetation or loose cuttings in your way.
This machete falls around the middle of the machete price range, and is made by lifestyle giant Fiskars.
Unbelievably, the company has been around since 1649, and continues to provide high-quality products that are both innovative and sustainable.
Their mission is to encourage people to find pleasure in their everyday activities, which will increase their overall well-being and spread enjoyment to others.
- Blade made from hardened steel that retains its sharpness over prolonged use
- Resistant to rust, can be used in all weather conditions
- Has a large blade surface area, allowing you to cut through more material in one go
- The distinctive shape can make it easy to become tangled in long vines or thick vegetation
- You may experience a certain degree of flex with the blade; most people prefer their blades to be kept rigidly in place
Also available here
- 18 inch blade is ideal for clearing thick brush, chopping roots, cutting branches and palms and more in your yard and garden
- Axe-like blade head provides powerful, controlled chopping and splitting
- Blade curve offers pull-cutting great for removing suckers and clearing vines
- Includes nylon carrying sheath
- Full lifetime warranty
Whether you’re a machete connoisseur or a newbie to the world of machetes, we’ll take you through some important things to think about when you’re deciding which one to buy.
The part between the blade and the handle is called the tang, and the length of this can actually affect the overall usage and quality of your machete.
If you have heavy chopping needs, you will ideally want a machete that has a full tang, so that you can swing it forcefully without dislodging the blade.
As you will have noticed, there is a lot of variation in the lengths of machete blades that are available. Many blades will be around 18 inches, but they can be anywhere between 10 and 28 inches long.
Different lengths are suitable for different purposes, so think carefully about what you will be using it for.
If you need to clear large areas, a long blade is the most efficient, but for jobs where you will need to carry it places, a smaller blade will be far more portable.
Not only are there different blade lengths, there are also different blade styles – 12 to be exact.
These are each made to do specific jobs, so it is good to make your decision based on what you will be using your machete for most.
Here is a quick overview of machete styles and their uses:
- Barong – hunting and cutting, with a leaf-shaped blade
- Billhook – maintaining hedges and chopping around trees; the blade is hooked at the end, which is where the name comes from
- Bolo – farming and harvesting crops, with a bulge at one end for more power
- Bowie – hunting and skinning wild game (the sharp point is called a skinner tip, and this style is also known as a survival machete)
- Bush – cutting vegetation and general tasks, as it is small and evenly weighted
- Cane – cutting corn, rice and sugarcane (as the name suggests), with a blunt tip and thin blade
- Colima – clearing large areas of vegetation; weighted on the back and sharpened both sides
- Hawkbill – cutting tall grass, with a hooked and sharpened tip
- Kukri – all-purpose blade in 3 distinct parts, for chopping, stabbing and carving
- Panga – slicing thick, woody branches, with an upturned point
- Parang – cutting tree material, and both edges of the blade are curved
- Weighted – chopping tough vegetation, with most of the weight distributed near the tip
Machete blades are often made of stainless steel or carbon steel, or sometimes a mix of the two.
They are the two best materials for machetes, because carbon steel is durable and cost effective, while stainless steel doesn’t rust.
Combining both will give your machete the best qualities of each, so it will be able to withstand whatever you throw at it. However, high carbon stainless steel machetes will be more expensive than ones of a simpler construction.
The handles vary more in terms of materials, with common options being wood, plastic, and other metals. The best woods to go for are strong hardwoods, such as walnut, oak and birch, that will support the blade while being easy to work with.
The type of wood also affects the overall appearance of your machete, and some handles are ornately crafted to give a beautiful finish. Metal handles (usually aluminum) look sleek but are often heavy and can get very cold.
Plastic handles don’t look as good, but they are durable and relatively inexpensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Machetes Dangerous?
It should go without saying that machetes have the potential to cause extreme harm or even death to humans and animals. The sharp, weighted blade can easily cut through skin or even break bones.
You should take extra care to use and store your machete safely, so that you minimize the risk to yourself and others.
Fortunately, machetes come with a sheath to keep it in while you’re not using it – always carry your machete in its sheath.
How Much Should I Spend On A Machete?
Machete prices can vary massively, just like with any other commodity you can buy.
It doesn’t necessarily follow that the most expensive machetes will be the best, but there is a certain truth in the idea that you get what you pay for.
Smaller models tend to be less expensive because they need a smaller amount of raw material to make, which makes logical sense.
As a ballpark figure, machetes tend to cost between $10 and $100, with Bolo, Bush and Parang machetes being the most expensive types.
The main focus of your machete search should be on finding a respected brand that has gained success in the industry – where possible, read reviews and ask advice from people who regularly use machetes.
While this article is a good starting point, there are many great machete brands and models out there that we haven’t mentioned, and that may well suit your personal needs better.
Take your time with your own research, and don’t just go for the cheapest option you can find.