The Takeaway:

1. Best for Survival: Woodsman’s Pal by Pro Tool Industries

2. Best for Tactical: Military Machete by Ontario Knife Company

3. Best Jungle Machete: Jungle Master Machete

Few tools conjure up such strong images in our minds than that of a machete.

The ultimate survival tool, a machete, is an essential item when living in the wilderness or working outdoors for a considerable time. They have a long history of use that stretches globally, with several variations and styles resulting from this. 

This article lists the top 10 machetes grouped by type and function. Here you’ll find good machetes for backyard clean up, for use while camping, for all your survival needs, and for combat use. To better understand what you may need in a machete, there’s also some information on the different types of machetes.

I’d wager it a safe bet that by the time you finish reading through this list, you’ll have at least two or three machetes to add to your wish list.

What Are Machetes Used for?

In looking at the types of machetes available, it’s really best to consider what you hope to get out of your machete and what you’ll actually be using it for. This will help you narrow your choices to a few specific machete types vs. every machete available for sale. From there, you’ll be able to identify the high-quality machetes on the market for you and your budget.

In general, machetes are great for clearing brush and low-hanging branches while blazing a trail through the wilderness. They’re also useful for chopping wood, personal defense, and butchering chickens (don’t judge: when considering buying a new machete for my homestead or a hatchet, clearly, I went with the more badass option.) This versatility makes them a great choice for basic survival planning and why you may want to consider picking up an extra machete to strap onto your bug-out bag.

If you live off-grid, a good machete can quickly become one of your most reliable and trusted tools. I personally don’t go anywhere without having my machete attached to my belt on one side, my great grandfather’s hunting knife on the other side, and my trusty shotgun. That combination, in addition to a flashlight and a lighter, keeps me covered for any situation I may face -and a machete has proven too valuable too often when encountering the prairie rattlers that share the mesa my homestead is atop.

Different Types of Machetes

There are around 20 different types of machetes, each with its own distinct shape and name. Many of these machetes originated in specific parts of the globe, where they are used for everything from everyday use to military and combat purposes to religious ceremonies.

The distinctive shape of each type of machete affects its ability to perform certain tasks and how well it performs them. For example, a heavy machete is designed to be heavier at the end, allowing it to carry greater force and, thus, be better suited for chopping wood (even better than a hatchet, in case you needed another example of how cool machetes are.) On the other hand, a kukri machete has a distinctive curve on the blade edge and dropped point that makes it good for light wood chopping and brush clearing but is also better suited for finer tasks thanks to that sharp curve near the handle.

As we look at some of the best machetes in the world in our top ten machetes choices, we’ll look at a number of different types of machetes. These awesome machetes are grouped based on type or use to find your perfect machete more easily.

Best Survival Machetes

When looking for the best machetes for survival, the blade design you choose should allow for continuous heavy usage and fulfill several functions.

In any survival situation, you don’t have the luxury of being able to carry a tool designed to perfectly fulfill one specific job. You would end up being weighed down, slow to travel, and find yourself scrambling to dig through all of your gear to find the right tool for the job. 

Nobody has time for that nonsense, which is why every tool you carry needs to be able to perform well and accomplish as many different uses as possible. That’s what sets these survival machetes apart from their machete brethren and why they’re our top machetes for wilderness and disaster survival.

Woodsman’s Pal by Pro Tool Industries

This is a unique take on the machete that provides a multi-function tool that stays true to its name by being your best friend while out in the wilderness. The blade is made of high carbon steel with a Rockwell hardness of C47. The blade measures 10 ½ inches long and is a hefty 1/8 of an inch long. The blade is powder coated in black and is uniquely designed to fulfill a number of functions.

Much like a heavy machete, the end is heavier which makes it great for slicing through thicker branches and chopping wood. The design of the blade also enables you to use it as a drawknife, as you can grasp it securely via the handle and tip. It has a large hook on the end that is extremely useful for clearing thorns and brambles.

This machete for survival is well-balanced and will quickly replace your hatchet and camp knife. The Woodman’s Pal Series has a full tang that makes it even more durable. The handle is 6 inches long and made of ash. It has a dropped heel and is on the thicker side, so this machete feels really solid in your hand. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle and it comes pre-strung with a nylon cord.

This machete comes with a treated leather sheath and is available, also, with a sharpening stone.

Sogfari Kukri Machete by Sog Specialty Knives

This SOGfari Kukri survival machete has a blade 12 inches long and made of 3Cr13 stainless steel. This type of steel is comparable to AUS 4 or 420J2 steel and has a great balance of all the qualities you want in knife steel. It retains an edge well, is pretty easy to sharpen, it’s affordable, and very durable and hard. This combination enables this machete to take a beating and still perform -important traits when we’re talking about survivalism.

True to kukri machete blade design, the blade has a dropped point, deep curve near the handle, and a slight recurve just before the guard. This style is very versatile, as you can use this survival machete to clear brush, chop wood (thanks to that deep midsection,) carve and shape wood (with the thinner part of the blade near the handle,) and cut and pierce thanks to the pointed tip.

That shorter blade length is also a great feature, as this machete is only 18 inches in total length and weighs just 15 ounces. That makes it compact (as far as machetes go) and an insignificant amount of weight that won’t slow you down or inhibit your ability to react quickly in any given situation.

A small image of SOGfari Kukri

The full tang construction also gives way to a spiked pommel that can be used for hammering and scraping. The handle is made of keaton synthetic rubber, with lanyard holes and molded hand shape. This material is highly resistant to chemical wear, is heat resistant, and provides a comfortable no-slip grip even in wet conditions.

This machete for survival comes with a black nylon sheath and limited lifetime warranty.

Tactical Machetes and Military Machetes

Combat machetes have a long history, with many popular styles designed and used directly by military forces; the parang is one such style.

Frequently, military machetes will be multi-purposed, with similar design to the bush machete in order to clear vegetation but with some distinctive alterations that make them suitable for tactical and combat use should it come down to it. The following machetes reflect that multifunctional yet no-nonsense design.

Military Machete by Ontario Knife Company

Proudly made in the USA, this combat machete has been used by US military forces since World War II. The blade has a long, basic design much like a bush machete, with a straight spine and slight belly to add some force to your swings. The blade is made of 1095 stainless steel and has been undergone additional hardening for a final hardness of between 50 and 55 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This Military Machete can easily cut through vegetation and brush, as well as small trees thanks to its thick blade. This is military machete doesn’t mess around and, honestly, if it’s good enough for the US military then you know that Ontario Knives has a great product here!

The blade measures 18 inches and has a full tang. It has a black finish to provide additional resistance to corrosion and is backed by a lifetime warranty. The handle is molded plastic, with a rear quillion and a lanyard hole. Its total length is 24 inches and it weighs a scant 6.4 ounces. This tactical machete does not come with a sheath, however, 18 inch sheaths that would fit this machete are easily found in belt loop design, shoulder strap design, and molle compatible.

Brute Super Machete by Whetstone Cutlery

The Brute Super Machete is one of the most impressive looking machetes on this list! In addition to being a great combat machete, it would also easily be a great jungle machete. It features a 13 ¾ inches long stainless steel blade with a black finish. The blade design is essentially that of a coping machete (also called a rescue machete,) with a few alterations to add extra function. The end of the blade features a hook for cutting wire and cord. Directly behind that, along the spine of the blade, is a functional saw -not just some convenient serration.

The handle is actually two parts, allowing you to comfortably use this combat machete with one or two hands. The rear and main handle is made of pakkawood, with a full tang and slot to run paracord through for a lanyard. Directly in front of the pakkawood is a paracord wrapped handle to provide you a secure grip, as well as a place to customize your machete by replacing the paracord.

Overall, this machete measures 22 ¾ inches long and weighs just over a pound and a half. There is an eyehole at the end of the blade for convenient hanging storage. It also comes with a simple, black nylon sheath that can be attached to your belt.

Jungle Machetes

While there is no specific “jungle machete” style, most machetes labeled are in fact bush machetes. They’re generally well designed for cutting through leafy growth -as one would expect in a jungle. These machetes generally have a long, even blade with a straight back. Although, in the few machetes listed in this section, you’ll notice some slight variation on the bush machete design.

Jungle Master Machete

This is a fairly straight forward bush machete, though with a clipped point that makes it more closely resemble a bowie machete. It’s a great choice, too, if you’re looking for cheap machetes, either as back up or as an inexpensive first machete for a son or grandson.

The JM-021 Full Tang Machete blade is made of stainless steel and powder coated in black. It has a straight back, making it a single edged -yet still effective- machete. There is also a hanging hole near the end of the blade that could be useful for pulling up nails or prying the machete free from large pieces of wood. Despite the price, this jungle machete also has a thick blade that prevents it from bending or breaking as flimsy thin bladed machetes do. You still shouldn’t go around swinging at rocks with it, but it will do the job of clearing vegetation and thin branches nicely.

It has a full tang, with a wrapped paracord handle. This handle can easily be replaced with new and heavier paracord, should you desire. It measures 21 inches long in total and weighs about a pound and a half. It comes with a nylon shoulder strap sheath.

Jungle Hunter Machete by United Cutlery

This BV124 Savage Jungle Hunter Machete is very much a nontraditional design and really doesn’t resemble traditional bush machetes. However, the modifications to the blade design make this an extreme machete and perfect for use in the jungle or when dealing with thick leafy vegetation. It’s primarily a bowie style machete, featuring a clipped point but has a slight curve to the blade edge similar to a kukri machete but not so extreme in the curve. It also has a serrated edge along the spine of the blade. It has a baked on black finish to provide extra corrosion protection to this AUS-8 stainless steel blade. This type of steel is already highly resistant to corrosion and remarkably tough. It’s also easy to sharpen and holds an edge pretty well.

This machete measures 25 inches overall -perfect if you favor long machetes. It has a full tang covered by a texturized rubber handle. The handle also has finger grooves to provide an even firmer grip with a lanyard hole (and lanyard.) It also has a pretty badass logo featuring a skull with a snake in its mouth along the blade, which really adds to the presence of this machete. It weighs 1.8 pounds and comes with a black nylon sheath you can attach to your belt.

Heavy Machetes

The distinctive design of the heavy machete is fairly self-explanatory. This style of blade is wider and, thus, heavier at the end to provide you with the best machetes for chopping wood and heavy vegetation. This type of machete is a cross between a machete and an ax, featuring a dull or nonexistent point. These are also longer machetes to give them that extra weight and force to hack through branches.

Heavy Machete by Cold Steel

This Cold Steel Heavy Machete is the powerhouse of machetes, measuring 20 ¼ inches overall and weighing 1 ½ pounds. This is a single edge blade that flares out at the end to provide the greater weight and force necessary for heavier projects. This is the machete you want to have when you need to cut through some serious undergrowth or want to reclaim that back acre on your yard that’s now home to sapling trees and thick brush.

The blade is made of high carbon steel with a black finish. It measures just over 14 ½ inches to give you some extra heft in every swing. It also has a full tang for increased durability and better weight disbursement. The result is a very beasty machete that is well balanced and won’t tire you out nearly as quickly as you would think. The handle is molded plastic and has a lanyard hole at the end.

This machete also has an amazing price, making it well worth considering for your machete collection or zombie apocalypse prep plans. The only downside to this monster machete is that the handle is a bit on the larger side so you may want to attach some grip tape just to make sure you’ve got a secure hold. It also doesn’t come with a sheath, however, one is available at a pretty decent price.

Small Machetes

While small machetes may not be as imposing as some of the larger machetes, such as the parang or bowie, they make up for it in sheer tenacity, high performance, and light weight. Conveniently, too, if you’re looking for cheap machetes, small machetes will often fit the bill due to being about half the size of a typical machete. Smaller size equals less materials which means a very affordable price.

Gator Machete Jr by Gerber

This Gerber Gator Machete is a beasty little machete, measuring just 18 inches long in all. The blade is just 10 inches but has a slight trailing point to produce a larger belly for greater chopping ability and longer strokes when slicing. The spine of the blade is serrated almost the entire length, making it perfect for sawing and effectively giving you two cutting edges in one tool. The blade is made of oxide coated steel, in black, to make it more rugged and durable. There is a hole near the end of the blade that comes in handy should this machete get bound up while sawing through thicker pieces of wood.

The handle has a rubber grip that provides a no-slip surface. This allows you to grasp the handle confidently regardless of sour weather conditions. The end of the handle features a reinforced lanyard hole and is pre-strung with a length of nylon cording suitable for a wrist strap.

This machete weighs just 14.3 ounces. It comes with a nylon sheath that can be attached to your belt for convenience.

Machetes Made in USA

While many, if not most, machete manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty regardless of where their machetes are produced, it never hurts to consider an American-made machete where you know the quality will be what you can count on.

SP8 Machete by Ontario Knife Company

Ontario Knife Company is based in Upstate New York, where they have operated and manufactured high-quality machetes, knives, rescue equipment, and medical tools for 125 years. Their SP8 Machete is true to form for Ontario Knives, with a durable full tang construction and attention to detail that makes this machete rugged and truly functional.

This is a nontraditional machete, reminiscent of a coping machete (aka rescue machete) and also of a tapanga due to the chisel tip. But, in truth, it’s neither and exists as its own distinctive survival machete.

The blade is made of 1095 carbon steel with a hardness of about 57 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This type of steel is easy to sharpen and can be honed to a razor’s edge. The blade is powder coated, in black, which really gives this machete a “don’t mess me” with appearance, while helping to protect the blade against the elements. It has a 10 inches long main blade edge, with serration along the top for sawing. It also has a chisel tip that has been hardened. The blade is also ¼ of an inch thick so you don’t have to worry about it bending or becoming deformed as you would with a thinner blade.

The handle on this machete is made of kraton, it is lightly textured and has finger grooves to provide a no-slip grip. This also helps make this machete more durable as it will be able to withstand getting wet. There is also a lanyard hole at the end of the handle.

This machete can be put to a variety of uses, thanks to the multipurpose design of the blade. From chopping branches, clearing brush, digging holes, to skinning a rabbit, this machete is your outdoors best friend. It an even be used to split wood for a campfire, as a draw blade, and to cut and quarter large game. It weighs just a pound and a half and measures 18 inches long overall. It comes with a rugged leather cordura sheath.

Bear Grylls Parang Machete by Gerber

Nearly all of Gerber’s products are manufactured at their facility in Portland, OR, with some being outsourced. However, this product ships with a “made in the USA” sticker on, making it clear that while some of their machetes are indeed produced in China, this particular machete is not.

This Bear Grylls Parang Machete is parang style machete with a distinctive curved and weighted blade. This type of machete is designed to truly become an extension of your arm, making it easy to wield it effectively. It is well suited for cutting through brush and branches without getting stuck in larger pieces of wood, so this machete is quite handy while trekking through the wilderness or jungle.

The blade is 13 ½ inches long and is made of high carbon steel. While the manufacture doesn’t explicitly say so, the blade is powder coated in black to provide additional protection and corrosion resistance. It has a full tang, with a rubber grip handle. This provides an excellent grip that won’t slide out of your hand if the weather turns sour or you get a little too enthusiastic while clearing a trail. There is a lanyard included with the machete that can be used as a wrist strap for added safety.

It comes with a padded nylon sheath. Overall length is 19 ½ inches and it weighs just over a pound (1 ½ pounds when sheathed).

Custom Machetes

If after looking at this selection of top rated machetes you still haven’t found the right machete for you, there is always the option of a custom-made machete.

There are a number of smaller sword and knife manufacturers that offer custom and commissioned work and will work with you to design the machete you’ve always wanted. But, if you’re like me and like to handle things yourself, you may enjoy making your own machete.

You could go all out, shaping and grinding a piece of metal to shape the blade, or you can also purchase larger billets that are meant to be ground and shaped into your ideal blade shaped. Another option is to purchase a machete blade blank and focus your efforts on making a handle and sharpening the blade to a razor’s edge.

Any of these options will provide you with a one of a kind custom machete that will serve you well. And if simply owning a machete doesn’t up your man factor enough, getting to show off your custom machete will put you in a category of men with the likes of Grizzly Adams, Jim Bowie, and Chuck Norris.

Of course, when considering commissioning a machete as compared to making your own, the big differences will come down to cost, time, and effort.

Final Thoughts on Top 10 Machetes 2024

Even the most basic and simply designed machete can prove essential and fulfill the role of many other small tools.

Part hatchet, part knife, and all badass, the presence of a good machete cannot be underestimated when putting together a serious survival kit or looking to cover all your bases while rambling through the wilderness or about your homestead.

Use it to cut back brush impinging upon your yard, or to blaze a trail through heavy woods, or to chop firewood and prepare a meal. Once you take the leap into machete ownership, it’s a sure bet that you’ll want to pick up another -either as backup or as another great addition to your wilderness tool kit.

References & Resources

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