Consumers have a ton of options available to them when choosing a new knife, but probably the most fascinating one is the kukri. Although not a lot of people are familiar with these types of knives, we feel that they are one of the most useful tools anyone can own. It’s a knife that excels in chopping, allowing the user to clear out unwanted vegetation—much like a machete. In Nepal, where the design of the blade originated, these knives are the most used multipurpose tools. They’re used for everything from chopping wood to skinning wild game or opening cans. That’s why when we came across them, we just had to find the best kukri knives for our readers. And I do believe that we succeeded in our goal.
Quick Summary of the Best Kukris
- Best Overall: Condor Tool & Knives 10-Inch Kukri (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value: GK & Co. Kukri House Knife (Amazon) – Review
- Best Affordable: SOG SOGFari 12-Inch Kukri Machete (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Condor Tool & Knives 10-Inch Kukri
All a person has to do is look at a kukri knife, and they’ll probably be able to quickly figure out where these knives originally came from. They originally started in Nepal, India, and were adapted from farming sickles. They were widely used by military forces in the area, and many people began using them as a multipurpose knife for slaughtering cattle, skinning wild game, chopping wood or vegetation, or even opening up tin cans. It’s their utility that has allowed them to be used by survivalists, campers, and outdoorsmen of all types. Even though at first glance these knives appear like they would be difficult to wield, the reality is quite the opposite. These knives are usually well balanced and work well.
Take this knife, for instance. It has a nice 10-inch blade that’s razor-sharp, perfectly balanced, and has a blasted satin finish on the blade. It’s made from 8mm high-carbon steel, and it’s equipped with a beautiful hardwood handle. Just by holding and looking at this knife, the person can ascertain easily that it’s designed to hold up to regular hard work. This knife has a full-tang, so the blade extends through the handle, and the handle is riveted directly to it. This makes the knife extremely strong and prevents the unfortunate situation of the blade snapping off at the handle.
The next thing we’d like to talk about is this knife’s leather black sheath. This sheath looks very nice and is designed to snap onto a person’s belt. This sheath fits the knife perfectly, but we did find that the sheath was hard to balance with the knife in it. That’s probably because of the shape of the kukri, but it was still difficult to control at times. With that being said, however, we don’t feel this greatly diminishes the value of this knife. We still think it’s the best kukri we’ve seen and it isn’t unreasonably priced. And regardless of whether it’s used for display or actual use, the consumer is sure to enjoy it.
Best Value: GK & Co. Kukri House Knife
Anyone who’s been looking for a genuine kukri doesn’t need to look any further than one. It’s handmade by real Gurkha knife makers in Nepal and then imported into the U.S and other countries around the world. Although these knives aren’t designed to be display models meant for hanging on the wall or a sword stand, they are great work-knives that can be easily used for chopping and clearing vegetation. It’s a knife that’s designed to be used every single day of the year and to hold up to this use year after year. In other words, it’s a workhorse of a knife that’s big, heavy, and ready to get any job done.
What features make these knives so good for work? Well, these knives have more than a few features worth mentioning. These knives have 11-inch blades that are made from high-grade carbon steel and have a thickness of about 10mm at their spine. This knife features a full-tang blade so that it extends through the handle and is riveted to it. And speaking of the handle, it’s made out of a dark rosewood that makes the knife look nice—even if it’s not showroom quality. Also included with this kukri are two small utility knives: a Chakmak knife and a Karda knife.
Also included with this quality kukri is a sheath. This sheath is designed to fit the kukri perfectly and is made out of quality water buffalo leather. Unfortunately, this sheath didn’t meet our quality expectations. Although it does look nice, it just doesn’t feel very durable and that makes us wonder if it’s going to last as long as the blade. After all, the blade is designed to last for years with proper care, but I’m not so sure if the sheath is going to last that long. However, with that being put out there, we’d like to end this review by saying that this knife is a good value kukri for anyone looking for a quality work knife.
Best Affordable: SOG SOGFari 12-Inch Kukri Machete
As we begin our review of this kukri machete from SOG, known as the SOGFari, is a knife that’s primarily on our list because of its price. It’s one of the few well-made kukri knives in its price category, which is significantly less expensive than traditional kukri machetes. Not everyone wants to spend $50-$100 on a new knife, some people simply want a good knife that gets the job done and didn’t cost a fortune. And for that purpose, this knife does its job well. However, just because this knife isn’t as beautiful or expensive as other knives, doesn’t mean that it isn’t well made. On the contrary, we found them to be very well made.
These knives have an overall length of 18-inches, with 12-inches of that being blade and 6-inches being the handle. The blade is made of high-carbon steel that’s equipped with a saw-back for sawing wood and has a sharp blade edge. Although this knife didn’t come as sharp as we thought it would be, we were able to sharpen it up and notice that it held an edge well. This kukri’s handle is made out of Kraton rubber, so it’s easy to hold and won’t slip out of the user’s grasp while they’re using it. Overall, this knife weighs approximately 15-ounces, and it feels extremely well balanced.
This knife also comes with a nylon sheath that fits the blade well and is designed to keep the blade safe. Although most sheaths have problems keeping balanced when the kukri is in them, and they’re on a belt, we found that this sheath balanced better than most. All things considered, we feel that this was a great inexpensive kukri that we feel a lot of people are going to appreciate. It might not win awards for how it looks, and it does need to be sharpened before it’s used for the first time, but if the consumer keeps those things in mind, we think they’ll be happy with this knife.
A Guide To Genuine Kukri Knives
Buying a good kukri knife isn’t always an easy thing to do. There are dozens of different manufacturers cranking out these knives, and believe us when we tell you this, not all of them have their eye on quality. Therefore, we felt it was our obligation—no, our duty—to give our readers not only a rundown of the best kukri available but also give them a guide that will help them choose the one that’s suitable for them. This is that guide and we sincerely hope that it provides all of our readers with the information they need to buy a great kukri.
Step One: Consider The Blade’s Composition
The first thing the consumer is going to want to think about is what the blade of the kukri is made from. There are a lot of different materials used to make these knives, so the consumer shouldn’t assume that they’re all the same. For the most part, kukri knives are either manufactured with a carbon steel blade or with a stainless steel blade. What’s the difference between the two? Well, carbon steel is considered to be the best material for a knife, and as such, knives made with carbon steel are usually more expensive. Carbon steel offers the highest amount of sharpness because it holds an edge so well, but it tends to be a high-maintenance blade.
What we mean is that the consumer needs to make sure that they properly take care of it. If they don’t, then it’s likely to rust. Stainless steel blades are not prone to rust, and they’re cheaper, but they tend not to keep an edge as well as carbon steel. Having said of all that, it’s up to the consumer which one they want and they should base it on what they’re using the knife for. If the consumer is working in wet or saltwater conditions, then they might opt for a stainless steel knife over a carbon steel one. It all just depends on the environment, and the job the knife is going to be expected to do.
Step Two: Choose Blade Shape & Size
The next thing the consumer is going to want to think about is the blade shape. Yes, we know that many people think that all kukri knives are the same, but that’s just not true. There are a variety of different kukri blade shapes. There are drop point, clip point, spear point, tanto, dagger point, and even sheep’s foot blades. Some of these knives are good for hunting, some for gardening, and some for digging and/or chopping. Most hunters are probably going to go with a drop-point kukri, while someone who is into outdoor survival or bushcraft is probably going to want to go with a machete-style kukri. The size of the blade is important as well. Since kukri can range in size anywhere from 10 to 20-inches, consumers have a lot of options when it comes to these knives. Once again, what the knife is going to be used for will inform the consumer as to what shape and size blade they’re going to need.
Step Three: Choose Full-Tang Blades
When the consumer is considering a knife, they should only choose the ones that are full-tang. Full-tang knives have their blades travel the entire length of the knife, and the handle is riveted onto this blade using alley or some other type of rivet. These knives are stronger and will hold up better than knives that don’t have a full-tang. Knives that only have half-tang, are likely to break where the blade is attached to the handle, so they should be avoided altogether. Full-tang is always the way to go, especially for a work knife such as the kukri.
Step Four: Consider Handle & Sheath
The handle is the next part of the knife that the consumer is going to want to consider. Some of the best kukri knives are equipped with wood or rubber handles, but certainly, other types of materials are used as well. Just be sure when choosing a handle that it’s well made and provides the grip needed for it to be safely wielded.
The sheath is equally as important. Without a proper sheath, the user would have to carry the kukri around with them. A sheath keeps the blade protected and makes sure it’s close at hand. Make sure that the sheath is made from quality material such as leather or nylon and has decent straps for attaching it to a belt.