Top 5 Best Kukri Machete Reviews

Best Kukri Machete

There are few if any blade profiles that are as iconic as the Kukri. Made famous and shrouded in myth by the Gurkha’s who carry them. These machetes have a great deal of utility to the outdoorsman or woman and the survivalist. These blades excel at chopping but also can handle smaller tasks in a pinch as well. Although one might think that every Kukri is created equal that is simply not the case.

In this article, I will take a deep-dive into the best kukri machetes on the market. Let’s get to it.


Best Kukri Machete – Top Picks

Best Authentic Kukri Machete – Overall – Gurkha Kukri Knife - 8

Authentic Gurkha Kukri Knife - 8

My top two picks are both made by Gurkha Kukri House in Nepal and it does not get much more authentic than that. This Kukri has an 8 inch blade in the classic inward curving style that Kukris are known for. What makes this particular option rise to the top of the list are two small notches in the blade near the handle. These notches are steeped in myth and rumour as to their true purpose but they are features that true authentic traditional Kukri’s will have. Another great traditional feature is the two small utility knives that are included with it. One of these knives is for the smaller cutting tasks that the heft of the thick Kukri blade is just not adept at, while the other is blunt and used to strike sparks with a flint.

Features

  • Overall Length – 12.5”
  • Blade Length – 8”
  • Blade Thickness – 3/8”
  • Blade Material – 5160 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material – White Sadhan Wood
  • Sheath Material – White leather

Pros

  • Made in Nepal
  • Comes with the utility knives
  • Made from carbon steel

Cons

  • Handmade so quality will be somewhat inconsistent
  • Sheath may require some work to achieve good fit for the knife

Customer Sentiment

Customers love these knives especially that they are so inexpensive for getting a Kukri that was handmade in Nepal. The few negative comments were almost exclusively about the quality control issues that handmade items often have or that the sheath required a little bit of work to get the blade to fit nicely.

Sale
Authentic Gurkha Kukri Knife - 8" Blade Iraqi Angkhola Kukri with White...
  • Authentic Kukri from Official Supplier Gurkhas in Nepal- Afghan Kukri- Handmade by Gurkha Kukri...
  • Handcrafted by the famous & very skilled "Bishwakarmas" (Kaami or blacksmith) using very high...

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 10:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Authentic Kukri Machete – Runner Up – Gurkha Kukri Knife - 12

Authentic Gurkha Kukri Knife - 12

From the same manufacturer as the top pick this Kukri, however has a 12 inch blade. As with the top pick this Kukri has the included two utility knives but this one has a buffalo hide sheath that is lined with cotton. There is the traditional double notch in the blade near the handle that an authentic Kukri will have. This Kukri finds itself as a runner up only because the large blade length does not lend itself to the same level of versatility that my number one pick would have. If you are looking for a chopper and don’t expect much else out of the machete than this is a good option.

Features

  • Overall Length – 17”
  • Blade Length – 12”
  • Blade Thickness – 5/16”
  • Blade Material – 5160 High Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material – Rosewood
  • Sheath Material – Buffalo Hide

Pros

  • Good blade length for heavy chopping
  • Made from carbon steel
  • Comes with the two utility knives
  • Made in Nepal

Cons

  • Being handmade the fit and finish may be inconsistent from the description and pictures
  • Blade is a little long for finer tasks
  • At two pounds this is a pretty heavy Kukri

Customer Sentiment

Customer reviews are very positive and those who have left a review seem to like the quality of the product as compared to the price that they have paid for it. All the negative reviews centred around minor quality issues that one should expect from handmade products.

Authentic Gurkha Kukri Knife - 12" Blade Tin Chirra (3 Fullers) the Beast...
  • Dealing in The Genuine Kukri Blade directly from the Home Land Of The Gurkhas
  • Handmade by "Bishwakarmas" (Born khukuri Makers) using the top quality materials in a very...

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Tactical Kukri Machete – Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife

Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife

Kukri’s gained a significant notoriety and mythical reputation because they were carried into combat by the British army’s Gurkhas. Because these knives have a history steeped in combat it is only natural that we may want to carry one for a tactical or self defence purpose. Since Ka-Bar is already famous for the development of the iconic USMC fighting knife it is only natural that they nail the production of a combat Kukri as well. No utility knives or traditional notches this is a straight up Kukri style knife with a blade length that is a good size for CQB.

Features

  • Overall Length – 13 3/8”
  • Blade Length – 8 1/2”
  • Blade Thickness – 0.165”
  • Blade Material – 1095 Cro-Van
  • Handle Material – Kraton G
  • Sheath Material – Polyester

Pros

  • Good size for defence
  • MOLLE compatible sheath
  • 1095 Steel
  • Made in USA

Cons

  • No utility knives
  • A bit heavy at 1 lbs

Customer Sentiment

Customers like these knives and several of the reviews stated that they use this model of knife as a go to defence/assault knife. The negative reviews were in regards to some minor shipping issues and minor quality control problems. One recurring point of negativity was around the sheath but even these complaints were fairly minor.

Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife
  • Blade length: 8 1/2 inch
  • Overall length: 13 3/8 inch

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Kukri Machete for Bushcraft – Tops TPBKUK01-BRK Bushcrafter Kukuri

Tops TPBKUK01-BRK Bushcrafter Kukuri

See Price on Amazon

Although the word ‘bushcraft’ does not conjure up images of the Kukri there is really no reason that a well designed Kukri could not be a very capable bushcrafting blade. Enter the Tops Bushcrafter Kukuri, its not just that it has bushcrafter in the name that makes this a good choice for a bushcraft Kukri, it is that with a seven and a half inch blade is a good size for a general purpose bushcrafting knife. The quarter inch thick blade means that you need not fear chopping with it and there is no reason not to choke up on the blade and do a little finer carving work. Of course this knife is trying to be a jack of all trades so it can not be expected to excel in any one area but if you want a Kukri and you love to bushcraft than this is one you should take a look at.

Features

  • Overall Length – 14”
  • Blade Length – 7.5”
  • Blade Thickness – 0.25”
  • Blade Material – 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material – Micarta
  • Sheath Material – Ballistic Nylon

Pros

  • Good blade length for a lot of bushcraft tasks
  • 1095 Steel
  • MOLLE compatible sheath

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Sheath could be better

Customer Sentiment

There are no one or two star ratings for this Kukri so there is not a lot of negativity for this entry. One gripe customers have is with the sheath being too big.

Tops TPBKUK01-BRK Bushcrafter Kukuri
  • Category name: knives
  • Country of origin: USA

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Budget Kukri Machete – Cold Steel Kukri Machete

Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete,Black

See Price on Amazon

Cold Steel makes quality products and if you are looking for a Kukri at a budget price then this is a great option for you. It boasts a massive 13 inch blade but unlike other Kukris which have thick blades the Cold Steel Kukri has a blade that is only an eighth of an inch thick. This is still a capable budget Kukri and will do the job of chopping and can accomplish finer carving, but will not be nearly as capable as a Kukri with a shorter blade or a thicker blade.

Features

  • Overall Length – 18”
  • Blade Length – 13”
  • Blade Thickness – 1/8”
  • Blade Material – 1055 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material – Plastic
  • Sheath Material – Plastic

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Large blade for chopping

Cons

  • Blade is a bit thin for heavy chopping or abuse

Customer Sentiment

Customers are overall pretty happy with their purchase but I did see a few negative comments in regards to the sheaths and some minor quality control issues.

Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete,Black
  • Affordable, "workhorse" machete has simple, sharp, 13-inch steel blade and durable polypropylene...
  • Weight-forward balance presents knife's edge on an angle to boost bite with every stroke

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 10:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


How To Choose a Kukri Machete?

Kukri machetes are great choppers and that is exactly what you should be looking for when you decide to purchase one. Even though all these machetes have similar profiles there are subtle differences that set them apart from each other. You must first be sure of what the application is that you are purchasing a Kukri for be it outdoors/bushcraft, survival, or tactical, then decide which one is best suited for you and the tasks you will be preforming.

What to look for in a Kukri

If you are looking for an authentic Kukri machete there are a few things that you should be looking for. First is that it is made in Nepal which should come as no surprise but warrants a mention anyways. Second is that the knife comes with the two utility knives, and last is that the blade has the two notches in it.

However, if authenticity is not a priority for you and you are looking for a tactical or bushcrafting Kukri then you will want to make sure that you are purchasing one from a well known company with a solid warranty. These machetes are designed for chopping and having a blade break while hacking apart a tree branch will ruin anyone’s day. 

What is it that makes a Kukri a good choice for a machete?

The Kukri’s blade is often significantly thicker that most survival knives on the market and this is because the Kukri is designed to be a chopper. The profile of the blade has the advantage of also allowing you to choke up on the handle and do some finer cutting work that you would not be able to accomplish with a traditional machete. The curve of the blade is advantageous because it gives you more leverage when swinging the machete and the weight of the blade delivers a lot of force to whatever you are chopping.

The two utility knives traditionally have one that is sharp, for smaller cutting tasks, and the other is blunt and is used to strike sparks with a flint. These utility knives are often only found on Kukri’s that are either authentic or being made to appear authentic.


Common Questions

Are there any special considerations of care and maintenance?

If you purchase a Kukri that is either made in Nepal or is made of bare high carbon steel then the blade must be oiled regularly to prevent corrosion. Leather or any other sheath that is made from natural materials will also probably require some work to get the Kukri to fit just right and also need oiling or conditioning to prolong their lifespan.

What is the deal with the two notches in the blade?

Authentic Nepalese Kukri’s will often have two notches in the blade near the handle. There are several interpretations as to the meaning or purpose of these notches.

  • To allow blood and sap to drip off of them and not run onto the handle which would make the handle slippery
  • To grab onto a belt or suspend by twine
  • To grab onto another Kukri whist in combat
  • As a symbol of the hooves or teats of a cow and to serve as a reminder that in Hindu culture cows are sacred and not to be killed.

Do Kukri’s actually have to draw blood when they are drawn from the sheath?

No they do not, this is just one of the myths about not only the Kukris but the Gurkhas who carried them. The true origins of this myth are unknown but most likely stem from western armies encountering Gurkha soldiers and making assumptions based on the Gurkhas combat prowess. The truth is that the Kukri is at its core a utility knife and drawing blood every time the blade leaves the scabbard is not only impractical but downright foolish.


Verdict

A Kukri machete is one of those survival items that can be made to suit different purposes and tastes. Many manufacturers have a variant of the Kukri in their catalogue and for good reason. The Kukri is a fantastic blade profile that does a lot of jobs very well.

If your aim is to have and carry an authentic handmade Kukri then either of the top two on my list will be good choices. In this case what the decision comes down to is how long a blade do you really want to carry.

For the tactically minded out there Ka-Bar has you covered with their combat Kukri but you might want to get some custom Kydex to go along with it.

Bushcrafters will love the size and utility of the Tops Bushcrafter and those out there on a budget cant go wrong with the Cold Steel option.



Michael Major
Written by Michael Major

Michael is a survivalist, traditional bowhunter, student of traditional and primitive skills, as well as a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He is also a husband and father and makes his home in British Columbia, Canada. Read his full interview here. Read more of Michael's articles.

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