Although we often see them in movies being used by explorers to blaze trails through endless miles of vine-infested jungle, with a bit of careful honing, a machete can be sharpened to a razor’s edge and used for a variety of recreational and domestic activities.
Machetes can be used for all sorts of practical purposes, including gardening, campsite maintenance, outdoor survival, butchery, and general landscaping — just to name a few.
As there are plenty of models and designs available to choose from, selecting a machete that meets your needs can be a confusing ordeal.
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Take a look at the following buyer’s guide, complete with the 10 best machetes suitable for taking a swing at any task.
In a hurry? Here’s our top-pick after 10 hours of testing
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10 Best Machetes - Overview
Top 5 picks (keep scrolling for more details and to view picks 6 through 10).
This parang machete is the only machete endorsed by the survival man himself. Although the Gerber Bear Grylls machete looks simple enough on the surface, it’s packed to the hilt with all of the subtle features that a number-one machete should include. This machete is a well-balanced piece of craftsmanship that's built to last.
Featuring a perfectly angled blade, the Gerber Bear Grylls machete is capable of slicing through the toughest brush on the planet. This blade takes full advantage of the physics of cutting; I could literally feel the difference when I held it in my hand.
The blade is made from high carbon steel. It’s lightweight, incredibly strong, and resistant to corrosion. Combine all of this with a perfectly angled blade, and you have one hell of a machete that's incredibly easy to sharpen. With some simple honing between use, you'll get years of life out of this blade.
This blade is durable so you can be sure it won’t chip the second you start using it in the yard or in the bush. The sheer strength of the metal alone will hold up against uneven swings or unexpectedly tough foliage. Furthermore, If you accidentally leave it out overnight — no worries; it's going to take more than a bit of exposure to rust this blade.
The blade is made with a full tang, meaning that the high carbon steel stretches deep into the handle to give you more leverage. It also prevents the blade from slipping out of the handle when swinging and hacking. The grip fits comfortably in your hand and was designed to absorb shock making it easy to wield for long stretches of time. The grip provided me with enough traction that I could comfortably swing-away, even in wet conditions.
- 18 inch high quality carbon steel blade
Looks can be deceiving. When I ordered this machete, I thought it would weigh as much as a highlander's sword — wrong. It weighs less than two pounds! There are bags of chips that weigh more than this machete. As it's so lightweight, I could easily swing it overhead to trim branches without exhausting myself. This also makes it a great candidate for hikers and campers who already have enough heavy gear to carry.
This machete's 18-inch blade is made from high-quality carbon steel and is designed to handle severe conditions. If it's good enough for the military, trust me, it's good enough for doing yard work. This military-issue machete is a top-pick for people who are serious about the outdoors. Use this beautiful all-black blade to chop your way through heavy brush, or to simply split kindling for a fire with friends.
This full tang machete has a build that closely resembles a pocket knife. But don't be fooled by its looks — this machete offers more than many of its traditional-looking counterparts.
This machete's familiar design makes it highly suited for plenty of everyday tasks. Preferred by fishermen around the world, this machete is perfect for skinning and gutting fish, making it a great addition to any fishing excursion.
Its blade is made from 1095 CRO-Van steel which is perfect for knives and knife-like machetes.1095 CRO-Van steel is durable, lightweight, and incredibly easy to sharpen. The only downfall is that it's prone to corrosion. Still, as long as you keep it dry, you shouldn't have any issues — just give it a simple wipe after each use to prevent oxidization.
I love the handle on this machete. It's made from comfortable polyester and features slots so you can easily fasten it to a backpack or jacket. You’ll never have to worry about storage space with this hybrid-machete. Its slim design allows it to be stowed away comfortably for easy transportation.
- Crafted from the highest quality materials
The SOGfari machete is a great choice for anyone looking to add a little flair to their outdoor kit. This machete features a slick-looking blade complete with a serrated heel that's great for sawing. As any outdoorsman knows, a solid serrated edge adds a great deal of additional functionality to an otherwise simple tool. If you tend to clear stubborn brush and don't have two extra arms, then this all-in-one tool from SOG might be the machete for you.
Keep in mind, a serrated edge isn’t a complete replacement for a reliable saw, but it’ll help you get the job done in a pinch — especially when out hiking or camping.
This machete comes equipped with a Kraton rubber handle for a comfortable grip and strong traction. The SOGfari machete also features a full tang blade and is designed with a blade-guard just below the heel to prevent any unfortunate accidents — a highly welcomed feature, especially when using it in wet conditions.
- Crafted from the highest quality materials
Bolo machetes were originally designed to thresh crops like rice, soybeans, peanuts, and mung beans. They’re specifically designed to give the wielder a good, broad swing in order to transfer momentum directly into cutting power. This bolo machete from Condor does exactly that. Nowadays, they're used to glide through all sorts of obstacles in addition to crops. If you need to clear some overgrown brush, then the uniquely shaped bolo machete will be your best friend.
This machete was constructed using high-quality materials for long-lasting durability and excellent cutting power. The 1075 high carbon steel is made to withstand vigorous use over extended periods of time. Cheaply-made machetes will only cause you more frustration. If you need a heavy-duty machete for heavy-duty work, then your quest is over.
This machete features a 15-Inch blade and comes complete with a slick brown leather sheath to protect its contents from the elements. In addition, it has a hardwood handle that produces a comfortable grip. Still, I suggest wearing a pair of gloves to avoid blisters if you're planning on using this machete for an extended period of time.
- DIMENSIONS: 19.7 inch (50 cm) overall length with a blade length of 13.3 inches (33.8 cm) and a weight of 1 lb 6.6 ounces
This kukri-style machete is a great option for brush-clearing, landscaping, and other activities that require plenty of swinging and hacking. As you can't help but notice, the blade has sections of steel cut-out, which makes it extremely lightweight — from butt to point, it weighs only 1.6 pounds. I tested this blade on a camping trip and it allowed me to easily hack through the brush with plenty of energy to spare.
This machete comes with a ferro rod (fire starter) and a handy sharpening stone to ensure your blade never gets dull.
Using the blade of this machete, simply shave some kindling scraps from twigs and branches, and strike the ferro rod to produce a stream of hot sparks. I recommend practicing this skill a lot; it could be a life-saver — especially if you find yourself without a lighter on a cold night.
Although the included sharpening stone is quite simple, with a bit of pressure and some serious back and forth, I could produce a razor-shape edge. All of these little additions make this a great purchase for any outdoor survival enthusiasts.
- The finest quality cutlery and tools
This is the most impressive-looking machete on my list. Although it looks like something out of a fantasy movie, I can assure you, this machete is as devastating to over-grown vegetation as it looks.
This machete is made from 1075 high carbon steel. This ensures a sturdy, rust-resistant blade that won't chip or break easily. This parang machete has a slender design. Although it's lightweight, it still provides you with the same reach as traditional, heavy-duty designs.
This beautiful full tang blade is capped off with a form-fitting hardwood handle. Personally, I found it a little tough to gain proper traction, so again, toss on a pair of work gloves and you'll be fine. I love the look of a wooden handle on my blade, and this machete's beautiful black powder epoxy finish definitely impresses.
Although it's marketed as a combat knife, you're much more likely to see this blade in the woods than on the battlefield. That being said, it’s sturdy, lightweight, and low profile, making it the kind of blade you’d want by your side when the chips are down — expect the best, prepare for the worst.
This compact kukri is similar in design to a traditional kukri, featuring a long blade with a distinctive bend that makes it deadly to crops and plant life. Essentially, it's like a sickle combined with a knife. I found this style to be great for trimming overgrown hedges and weeds. Take this High-carbon, epoxy powder-coated 1095 steel non-reflective black blade with you camping or store it in your garage for yard work.
- The less-expensive, yet still excellent-performing "workhorse" version of our popular Gurkha Kukri knife; There are very few knives in the world that we can think of that can out-chop or out-cut a...
This kukri-style machete is a little less well-rounded than the Ka-Bar Kukri. It’s a much more straightforward piece of equipment that values function over style. Although looks are a bonus, when it comes to hard work and performance, aesthetics should be secondary. Plus, it’s much more cost-effective to cut down on unnecessary flair.
This machete makes a great companion for anyone who spends a lot of time in the backwoods. If you’re into camping and hiking, then this machete will serve you well. It may be plain, but it’s loyal and it won’t let you down.
10. Genuine Gurkha 6" Blade
- Authentic Kukri House handmade Kukri knife handmade by Bishwakarma at Kukri House factory in Nepal and imported by GK&Co Kukri House in Nepal
Although it's the shortest machete on my list, if you’re in need of a reliable, compact piece of equipment that can easily be carried on-person or stowed away in a knapsack, then this is the blade for you.
This is a great little machete for cutting through obstacles without missing a beat. Its length also makes it highly suited for activities that require delicate knifework, like tanning small game and fashioning snares.
Even if you're more interested in a long, traditional-style machete, the Gurkha makes for a great back-up blade to use in a pinch.
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In summary, out of all of the machetes that I tested, the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete stood apart from the pack.
This machete ticks all of the boxes, including a sturdy build that's not overly heavy, a perfectly balanced design from butt to point, and a beautifully angled blade that cuts through even the toughest of vegetation like butter. Furthermore, the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete is made from high-quality carbon steel making it tough-as-nails, and corrosion and warp-resistant — this machete will be with you for a long time.
It's a favorite in my collection and it's bound to be a favorite in yours.
Bonus tip: As we're not living in a zombie apocalypse, this video details some practical machete uses whether you're out-and-about in the bush or in the backyard.