(This site is reader-supported. When you buy something using retail links on our articles, we may earn a small commission.)
While it may have lost its popularity, the cane knife is not entirely gone and represents a handy tool in the cane harvesting industry. Whether you are involved with this industry, you want a knife for your small personal production of cane or you simply want an old school knife for your collection, choosing the best cane knife could be a bit challenging.
Cane knives have evolved over time, but their operating principles are unchanged. Even new knives tend to maintain the same classic design that was proven to be efficient with the cane. Whether you are not sure what to look for in a sugarcane knife or you simply want to see the best-rated cane knives, this guide and reviews will push you in the right direction.
About Sugar Cane Knives
Generally speaking, the cane knife is a large cutting tool. From some points of view, it is similar to a machete. It is often hand wielded and it is used in the sugarcane industry. It is more common in countries with a high production of sugarcane, as well as countries that do not have the funds or possibilities to rely on mechanical alternatives.
The cane knife is more common in Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Philippines, Brazil, Jamaica, and other countries with a high production of sugarcane. While many American states employ mechanical means these days, you can still find people using sugarcane knives in Florida or Louisiana.
Classic cane knives come with hardwood handles that will last for ages. Since they are exposed to lots of work and stress, they require a full tang for durability. The blade is quite wide and features a hook at the tip. The hook is most commonly used to pick up the cane after cutting it. It is not a general rule though and many modern knives do not come with the hook.
The blade must be extremely thin and relatively long – usually more than 12 inches in length. Since it is such a thing, it can cut through cane without any issues whatsoever. It slices better than a thick blade, yet thinner blades lose their sharpness faster. Since the blade is super wide, it can be sharpened multiple times with no issues whatsoever – hence the impressive durability of these knives.
Now, whether you are after a modern or an old school sugarcane knife, here are the top-rated units on the market and the features that make them special.
2021’s 5 Best Cane Knives
Corona MA 61040
Old versus new – Corona might have designed the best cane knife if you are after a traditional unit that can get the job done. The knife is new and employs modern technologies, but it maintains the old school design of these knives – a design that was proven to work ages ago. In other words, you have the massive blade, the comfy handle, and the hook at the top of the blade.
High-quality blade – The blade is made of tempered steel. The material can resist corrosion and rust in the long run, but it requires some maintenance. It is flexible as well and it features a high amount of carbon in its composition. The carbon content ensures exquisite edge sharpness retention, but it also requires a bit of care when the knife is not in use – simply oil it a little.
Design and handle – The knife is full tang, meaning the blade goes through the handle. It is triple riveted. This type of design allows much more productivity because it is stable and likely to last. The handle is made of wood. While not textured, it is large enough to prevent slipping out of your hand should it get sweaty. Just like you may already know, the blade is much shorter than the actual blade.
Extras and maintenance – In terms of extras, there are no bells and whistles, hence the great value for money. The hook at the end of the blade makes pulling the cane fairly simple once you are done cutting it. Other than that, the blade is super sharp out of the box. It is also easy to sharpen after more uses. Oil it when not in use for long periods of time to prevent rust.
- Strong and durable tempered steel blade
- Can retain its sharpness for ages
- Hook on the blade to pull cane once cut
- Easy to sharpen
- Full tang durability and stability
- Needs a bit of maintenance when not in use for long periods of time
Flagline Seymour Manufacturing 2P-CN13
Durability – Flagline cane knife is great if you are after durability, which inevitably brings in great value for money as well. Its cane knife is made of durable materials that will maintain their productivity. Whether you count the wooden handle or the steel blade, you can count on many years of regular use with the right maintenance.
Sharp steel – The blade is razor sharp out of the box. Simply take the sugarcane knife out and you can go cutting some cane. The blade measures 13 inches in length. It is quite wide, and it has a solid edge. The edge will retain its sharpness overtime – the same rule applies after you sharpen it. Given its width, it can be sharpened multiple times without losing too much size.
Efficient handle – The handle is almost three times smaller than the blade. Most of the weight is concentrated on the blade, which helps while cutting sugarcane. The knife is full tang, so the blade goes through the handle too. It is triple-riveted, so you are less likely to lose stability. The wooden material will not slip out of your hands either, even if they are a bit sweaty.
Extras and maintenance – In terms of extras, you have the classic hook at the end of the blade. Its main role is to help you gather cane once cut. As for maintenance, the blade is made of high carbon steel. While not resistant to rust and corrosion, it requires oiling when not in use for long periods of time. The main benefit of this material is the capability to retain sharpness for ages.
- Excellent edge retention
- Easy to use
- Great size
- Well balanced towards the blade
- Triple-riveted for stability
- Some knives are not razor sharp out of the box based on reports
Tramontina Sugar Cane Machete
High-quality standards – Tramontina is a front runner when it comes to sugarcane knives. Most of its knives are made in Brazil, which is one of the top producers of sugarcane. In other words, the brand definitely knows what it is doing. Its products are quite popular among top sugarcane harvesters in the country due to the high-quality materials and durability.
Solid blade – The blade is made of high carbon steel. It measures 13 inches in length. Just like most classic sugarcane knives, it gains width towards the tip. It does come with the classic hook at the end, yet it is not that sharp. It does help when grabbing cut cane though. Other than that, most knives are quite sharp out of the box, so they will not require any further sharpening.
Durable handle – The handle is not to be overlooked either. Compared to other similar sugarcane knives, it has a relatively long size – almost as long as the blade. It has a different type of balance and does not feel so heavy towards the tip of the blade. While different, it ensures a more comfortable use – it might take a few days to get used to this build though.
Extras and maintenance – Apart from the hook, it is worth noting that the handle has a few rivets for maintenance. The knife is a full tang unit. The handle has a natural color – made of hardwood. Carbon steel is great for sharpness retention, but it can rust or corrode. Therefore, oil the blade when not in use for more weeks or months, especially if you keep it in a barn.
- Comfortable balance
- Hardwood handle for durability
- High carbon steel blade for edge retention
- Good value for money
- Nonslip handle
- Maintenance is required when the knife is not used for long periods of time
Imacasa Sugar Cane Machete
Great value for money – It is a classic sugarcane knife – advertised as a machete too. It gets the job done, and it comes with great materials for durability, so you have a good unit without having to spend too much money.
Superior blade – The blade is made of steel. It is rust and corrosion-resistant, but it does not mean that you can leave it in the rain for days. The blade is wider towards the end and it comes with good sharpness. You can simply take the knife out of the box and use it right away. The knife is a full tang unit, so the blade goes through the handle as well – excellent for durability and stability.
Solid handle – The handle is made of wood. It is likely to last. While it may not have a textured surface, the wood does not really slip out of your hands. It ensures a good grip instead. Other than that, the handle is triple-riveted for a stable profile. It is smaller than the blade – more than two times smaller, so the balance is concentrated on the blade.
Maintenance and extras – There is not much maintenance required for this knife. It can be sharpened like any other knife. It measures 21 inches in length, so it is about the right size for sugarcane cutting. In terms of extras, you have the classic hook at the end of the blade, which makes grabbing cut cane a breeze – no effort whatsoever.
- Excellent value for money
- Sharp blade
- Easy to sharpen
- Nonslip wood handle
- Good balance and stability
- Requires sharpening more often than other knives in this price range
Knights Of Armur Billhook Machete
Multipurpose profile – The cane knife for Knights Of Armur is actually advertised to be a machete. While a bit shorter in size than other sugarcane knives, it is suitable for all kinds of applications. You can use it for anything you use a machete for, but it can also be used in harvesting sugarcane with no issues whatsoever. Given its size, it is also a bit lighter than other similar units.
Durable blade – The high carbon blade will most likely face the test of time with no issues whatsoever. It is quite straight, but it gets wider towards the tip. It has a wide edge and great sharpness. The material is also easy to sharpen, but more importantly, it will maintain its edge sharpness in the long run. Unlike a classic cane knife, this one does not come with the traditional hook at the end.
Ergonomic handle – The handle feels pretty good as you hold the knife. It feels a bit rough, so it will not slip out of your hands. Moreover, it is contoured for your fingers to ensure a good grip. Even if your hands are sweaty, you will never drop it. Other than that, it feels comfortable when you hold it. The weight is concentrated on the blade.
Care and maintenance – There is not too much to do to keep this knife in good condition. The blade is not rust and corrosion-resistant. Make sure you oil it once or twice a month when not in use. Other than that, sharpening is fairly simple – you can use a classic sharpener or a sharpening stone, just like for any other knife with a straight blade.
- Ergonomic and comfortable handle
- Easy to use
- Multipurpose uses
- Good sharpness retention
- Nonslip handle
- The blade does not have a hook
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the hook mandatory on a cane knife?
The hook on a cane knife is not mandatory, but it does help. Once you cut the sugarcane, you will need to gather it before moving on to the next lot. The hook has the primary role to help you gather the cane. Based on the environment and the amounts of sugarcane around you, you may not always need it. Therefore, some manufacturers ignore this aspect when creating sugarcane knives. Without that hook, the cane knife looks more like a machete and can be used as a weapon as well.
How do you cut sugarcane using a specialized knife?
Most people cut the sugarcane from the outside in. They pick the knife with the dominant hand and the sugarcane with the other hand. Then, they cut it in a quick movement – from up downwards and from the outside in. It is important to avoid being in front of the knife, as you risk injuring yourself. Inside, do it sideways – from the dominant hand side towards the other side.
Here is a video you may refer
Is high carbon steel better than stainless steel in a cane knife?
It depends on your priorities. Stainless steel is rust and corrosion-resistant. On the other hand, high carbon steel is not, so you might need to oil the blade when the knife is not in use for long periods of time. At the same time, it is worth noting that stainless steel blades will get dull faster. High carbon steel has better edge retention, yet it requires maintenance. Which one is better for you? It is entirely up to you and your preferences.
Choosing the best cane knife can be a bit tricky when most items look alike. Some brands rely on stainless steel, but most of them opt for high carbon steel. While it requires some maintenance, it is better at edge retention. Sizing is a matter of personal preferences again – the same rule applies to the brand.
Any of the above-mentioned sugarcane knives will do a good job while harvesting. They are designed by manufacturers with experience in this field – some of them based in countries with a high sugarcane production. Whether you want a collectible or a super-efficient unit on a sugarcane field, you do have a few great options to choose from.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.