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An outdoor journey or adventure demands a multipurpose tool that is extremely versatile and durable. While there are prominent tools available for fulfilling this need, it is unfeasible for anyone to carry several tools on such trips.
This is because it is likely to cause an additional carrying burden and raise the need for more care. So, if you are looking for just one versatile knife that can act as a combat, utility, survival, and self-defense tool, a kukri knife is the one to rely upon.
It is a powerful tool that is in use by regiments such as the Royal Gurkha Rifles and the Nepalese Army. With this Nepalese knife, you can prepare food, collect firewood, cut heavy things, construct new things, dig deeply, clear bush, and survive in the wilderness.
So, how do you go ahead and choose the best kukri knife? This task is challenging. Thus, this post shows how to select one by revealing the buying factors and the top three kukri reviews.
Before you proceed to buy a kukri knife, it is essential to know what exactly it is and how it is different from other knives. Unlike other types of knives, a kukri has a blade that is inwardly curved and widens near the tip.
Such a design serves several purposes. Apart from being a famous war weapon during World War II, it is admired as a general-purpose tool for performing daily chores in the wilderness. A kukri is typically preferred for heavy to moderate chopping and all-purpose survival tasks.
Currently, a kukri is the most prominent survival machete. This is attributed to the Gurkhas, who used kukris effectively in several survival shows and on the battlegrounds.
A Kukri gives the best of both worlds: an ax and a knife. You can use its narrower blade section near the handle to make it work as a smaller knife. The broader end works more like an ax.
The proximity and shape of the blade towards the tip and its angular design render a hatchet-like function while chopping. You can even use this blade for performing finer tasks.
A kukri renders the precision of a utility knife while ensuring the power of a hatchet. Thus, whether you are on a short camping trip or a long trekking journey, this knife is useful for any purpose you wish to fulfill.
2023’s 3 Best Kukri Knives Reviewed
KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri – Best Kukri for Bushcraft
This kukri knife comes with an 11.5-inch long blade made up of carbon steel, which is known for its remarkable sharp edge. The blade is forward weighted due to which you can enjoy a robust strike.
This knife is versatile enough to be used for camping, batoning, survival, hiking, and clearing bush. The full-tang blade prevents bending while handling hard items. It tends to retain its coating until you abuse it unusually. The full-tang
The ergonomic handle is perfectly balanced and is made up of a thermoplastic elastomer. The comfort is always satisfactory whenever you hold it.
- Extremely durable
- Sheath and lanyard hole included
- Not for heavy chopping
Schrade SCHKM1 19.7in Kukri Machete
This kukri machete is ideal for those who want a versatile kukri at an economical price. You can expect it to work as a big knife and a medium machete. The 13.3-inch long blade is made up of stainless steel that has a coating of 3Cr13 powder for extra durability.
The full-tang blade design is such that you can enjoy more efficient swings than before. Its curvature and length ensure optimal chopping power. Combining these features with the speed holes on the blade, this knife can cut soft veggies, make firewood, chop roughly, and penetrate deeply through surfaces.
The handle is made using front quillon and features a Safe-T-Grip layer, textured rubber, so your grip is intact even in wet conditions, and speedy chopping power.
- Very durable
- Speedy performance
- Firestarter, multipurpose sheath with different carry options, and sharpening stone included
- A bit heavy
Gurkha Kukri House Authentic Gurkha Knife – 12″
This authentic kukri comes from the genuine kukri designer, the Gurkha Kukri House (GKH). Many collectors demand this knife, as it resembles the blade shape of kukris that the Gurkhas used during World War II.
Made by the hands of prominent and skilled local blacksmiths, this kukri is of high quality. You can expect good sharpness, full tang, and bolster, all of which contribute to heavy-duty work in the outdoors.
The semi-polished, 12-inch long blade is composed of carbon steel of a high grade and water temper on its edge to ensure maximum durability and strength. The handle is composed of dark rosewood, which makes it quite strong and durable.
- Solid build
- Nice balance
- Two accessory knives included
- Relatively affordable
- Dissatisfactory sheath
The market is full of varieties of kukris. Usually, these knives are split into two groups, namely, Eastern and Western. The main point of distinction between the two is that the Western knives are broader than the Eastern versions.
In the Western category, different kukri types are tagged as Budhuna or Baspate. Do not feel surprised if you spot these types in Nepal.
Similarly, in the Eastern category, you will find different types such as Sirupate, Ganjawla, Dhankut, Panawala, Chirwa, and Cheetlange. Usually, they are named so after their place of origin.
While the fans of original kukris prefer Eastern models, many prefer Western models. This is perhaps because of the variety of blade steels, durable sheaths, and advanced handle materials offering better traction as well as grip. In short, the choice is yours.
How to Choose the Best Kurki Knife
Regardless of the type and design, no two kukris are identical. Thus, it is crucial to select your kukri knife wisely. Your decision should be based on the purpose for which you will be using it, comfort level, grip level, and so on.
In short, you need to map your requirements or expectations to the features of the promising kukris and see which one fits the best! Analyzing and comparing these features or buying factors ensure that you choose a knife of your choice. Let’s explore these factors!
A kukri’s size chiefly determines its application. In short, you can identify the tasks for which you can use the knife. A full-sized one is approximately the size of a machete and is ideal for outdoor chores such as chopping wood and cutting trees.
A medium-sized kukri, apart from heavy tasks, can perform a variety of tasks. As per the specifications, you can conveniently use it for all outdoor chores and even delicate tasks such as carving and whittling.
A kukri’s weight helps in determining how efficient the tool will be at the time of use. The weight should be such that the knife should comfortably fit in your hand. You also should be able to swing it precisely and easily. The lightweight models are ideal for smaller chores such as whittling or cutting, while the bulkier ones are perfect for cutting trees or clearing bushes
If size and weight are fine, the next important feature to analyze is the blade. After all, it is going to do the intended work. For this, you need to check the length and material of the blade.
The length contributes to the level of ease you feel at the time of cutting. The right length varies as per the desired application. The best kukri knife as a machete has a long, thin blade for cutting wood and branches easily.
On the other hand, the smaller ones are more versatile than this machete and are designed for multipurpose use. They also do not impose that unwanted carrying burden. These models are for those who are new to the outdoors.
The blade material contributes to the overall durability of a kukri. Most kukris are made using high-carbon or stainless steel. Both have their pros and cons, which many knife users know.
Stainless steel knives appear stunning and do not rust. These models are usually more economical than the rest. On the flip side, these kukris are likely to lose their sharpness and do not last longer than the high-carbon kukris.
However, high-carbon steel kukris are more durable, sharper, and sturdier than their counterparts. However, they are susceptible to rust if proper care is not taken and are costlier than their stainless-steel versions. Their blades also need proper maintenance and care via lubrication.
For survivalists, kukris that do not rust or turn blunt quickly are just ideal! Still, your decision must be as per the purpose. For example, a saltwater adventurer should prefer stainless steel, as it is resistant to rust even under the water. However, for campers and bushcrafters, carbon steel is ideal.
It is vital to note that both types of steels are available in different varieties.
This is another important feature to consider, as it contributes to the overall sturdiness and stability of a kukri. Tang refers to the blade portion that reaches the handle. A traditional model usually does not have this portion. Even if it has, it is very little.
Tang is partial or full. A full tang means the knife will serve you for long. It is also handy if you will be chopping tough fabrics or materials quite often.
This type of tang involves the blade’s rear portion going inside the kukri handle completely. Mostly, the width of the handle and blade is identical due to the handle prevailing on both blade sides. A lock typically holds these sides.
A partial tang can be three-quarter or half. The half tang is more popular than the former one. It indicates how deep the blade portion extends to the handle. Herein, an adhesive material secures the tang inside the handle.
That said, it is easy to conclude full tang is the best choice for versatile kukris. You can expect a perfect balance and solid feel in hand without any risk of breaking, unlike the half-tang versions.
Just as the blade, the handle of a kukri knife is important. After all, it is responsible for comfortable and safe handling by ensuring the right level of grip. In short, a kukri handle needs to be firm, grippy, strong, and comfortable enough to keep blistering away.
To ensure such a handle, you need to choose the right handle material. Most conventional kukris come with rubber or wooden handles. A few more traditional models will have ivory or rosewood handles to render an authentic appearance and ensure durability. However, they are costliest of all kukris.
Many modern kukris have handles made up of plastic, rubber, G-10, or Micarta. They do not appear authentic but come with more benefits. Rubber is known to ensure a more comfortable grip while swinging. Plastic or polymer also ensures a secure grip. G-10 and Micarta materials are known for high durability.
You need to ensure that the grip is secured even if the handle gets wet. You never know what will happen in the wilderness. In short, you should look for an ergonomic handle.
Are the names, kukri, and khukuri, identical?
Yes, they both refer to the same Nepalese knife. However, khukuri is the term prevalent in Nepal, while kukri is known to the rest of the planet.
How to maintain a kukri knife?
The more you care, the greater will be the lifespan of your kukri knife. For proper maintenance, clean the blade with the help of machine oil once in a month without leaving fingerprints. In case you see any rusty spots, clean it with fuel, and eliminate the spots with sandpaper.
Avoid using the blade on metallic or stony surfaces and do not store the knife in a wet place. Lastly, use suitable polishes for cleaning the handle and the sheath. For example, shoe polish is ideal for a sheath made using leather, while furniture shine is for wooden parts.
Right from cutting firewood to trees and making food, a kukri knife is versatile enough to work in any situation without demanding additional tools. The best kukri knife for you is the one that best fulfills your requirements.
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.