Rick is a former news reporter who decided that the corporate world wasn't for him and took off to travel the world. He's been to every continent (yes, even Antarctica!) and has tried out a multitude of outdoor gear along the way. From tents to hiking boots, he's probably tested it all. Now, he's one of our full-time product testers and experts.
Bryan is one of our leading experts since he's got a vast expertise in practically everything connected to the outdoors. He's been hiking since he was a young boy, was an organizer of kayaking tours which later led to another passion of his - kayak fishing. Now, he's a part-time expert consultant involved in our multiple product tests and topic research.
Last updated: April 21, 2022
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If you are a passionate hunter, an outdoor enthusiast or simply a camping pro, then you probably know that a memorable outdoor trip boils down to great equipment. Today, it is a lot harder to pick out the perfect multi-purpose blade. It seems like every day there is a new model, brand or design flooding the market. It is even harder for an amateur to pick out the correct equipment for their needs. Luckily, this independent review outlines the best kukri knives for people who struggle to pick out the perfect knife.
A Kukri is a knife with an inwardly curved blade that broadens towards the tip. This knife holds an integral part in Nepalese culture. This blade represents the tradition, spiritual beliefs and history of the Nepalese people. The kukri serves multiple purposes. To some people, it serves as symbol of wealth and prestige. This knife is a popular wartime weapon which reached the height of its popularity during World War II. Today, many people use it as a general purpose knife for everyday tasks such as clearing thick bush, chopping firewood or even felling small trees.
In this review, we considered several features of various kukri knives. We spent days comparing the sizes, weight, blade length and thickness in order to rate only the best kukri knives. We compared several kukri reviews as well as customer feedback on kukri. Each product has been reviewed in depth and their features compared on a table. We have also included a buying guide to help you make the right choice.
"Compact and powerful kukri knife with hardwood handle and high-carbon 5/16-inches thick bladeCombat kukri knife requires exceptional blade and comfortable grip which are featured in this Ka-Bar kukri."
More features: carbon steel, full-tang construction, sheath included
The CRKT KUK 2742 Fixed Blade Knife is easily one of the best knives kukri knives available in the market for the outdoor enthusiast. It weighs a measly 14.7 oz, and given the balance and feel of this blade, it’s easy to cut through brush as you’re navigating the great outdoors.
Carrying the blade over long distances to your camping site or as you hike shouldn’t be a problem either. However, this weight means that you won’t get the power needed to cut into larger materials.
Part of the reason for the effectiveness is the size of the blade. It measures only 0.139″, making it the thinnest kukri knife on this list. That said, this size is achieved without sacrificing durability. However, that is more or less to be expected given the carbon steel construction.
The blade is powder-coated for two reasons. One, it protects the blade from corrosion damage, and two, it makes it less reflective and therefore ideal for use in the sun.
The CRKT KUK 2742 Fixed Blade Knife is just under 16” in length, with the visible part of the blade taking about 67% of the mass. You, however, don’t have to walk around with the blade exposed as you’re provided with a polyester sheath.
Regarding the handle, the 2742 Fixed Blade Knife features a full-tang design, which gives it added durability and strength even as you’re swinging aggressively at branches or brush. Lastly, the textured handle is molded around the tang, with through-hole rivets included as well. As such, if you want to lash the knife so you can make a survival spear, you should know you have that option as well.
Why did it make our list?
Premium blade construction for toughness
Thin, lightweight blade design
Comes with a polyester sheath
Includes through-hole rivets for lashing
Textured full-tang handle
Sharp blade with a powder-coated non-reflective surface
More features: stainless steel, full tang, sheath included
The Fox FX-9CM05T USMC is a lightweight tool weighing just 15.87 oz. It’s the kind of Kukri knife that is convenient to carry around on your belt strap or tool bag. Still, the kukri knife is just heavy enough to ensure that a little swing delivers maximum cutting or chopping force, whilst being light enough for easy and safe use.
This knife measures 14.37 inches (handle included) with the blade itself being 9.25 inches in length. Its cutting edge runs the entire length of the blade’s lower side and the Kukri design ensures that it’s just some centimeters shorter than the non-cutting platform. This gives you a large cutting surface to use, which comes in handy in both tough cutting applications or fine, meticulous slicing.
With a thickness of 0.24 inches, this blade offers the right balance between solid rigidity and sharpness for ease of use while cutting, chopping, or slicing. The blade arrives sharp enough to cut through shrubbery and thick limbs, but a few passes on a whetstone refines the edge for more competitive slicing.
The blade is fixed into the handle in full tang, making it extremely stable with little risk of the blade dislodging sideways. The blade is made from stainless steel for longevity while the ergonomic handle features gentle grooves for firm grip. A sheath is also included for storing the knife and protecting you against injury when carrying or transporting the blade.
Overall, this Kukri from Fox Knives MD is sleek, convenient, and hard wearing, perfect for hunting, camping, and military applications.
Why is it special?
Long-lasting stainless steel blade.
Full tang design for increased stability.
Sheath included for storage and transportation.
Lightweight yet heavy enough to deliver maximum cutting force.
More features: hardwood handle, high carbon steel, leather sheath included
The Condor Tools & Knives 60217 is built heavy and thick, ideal for tackling heavy-duty chopping jobs that other lighter knives would struggle to manage. It’s equipped with a substantial blade made out of 1075 high carbon steel with a full tang construction. The 1075 steel is extremely tough and highly resistant to rust and chipping. The material is additionally easy to sharpen and retains its edge for years. It has actually been treated to 56-58 HRC (Rockwell Hardness) so you can rest assured of its strength.
This knife is 14.5 inches long and the actual blade is 10 inches in length, with 5/16 inches in thickness. This is small enough to sneak into a backpack. It has convex grind that really helps in chopping and removing material, while it features an inner curve at the base for more detailed chopping and cutting jobs.
The handle of this Kukri is made from hardwood. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also provides adequate grip for comfortable use. There’s a small notch near the base of the base that some people believe that it helps to improve performance. We think it can act as a hook for hanging the knife.
This product also comes with a black leather sheath, which offers a practical way of carrying the knife. The sheath features a snap closure for securing the knife in place and a convenient belt hook for you to keep it within reach during outdoor excursions.
All things considered, this Kukri is made to withstand abuse, so it’s the best you can get for heavy duty projects.
What makes it stand out?
Made from 1075 high carbon steel blade for serious toughness.
More features: 1095 cro-van steel, slip-resistant handle, polyester sheath included
Made by a reputable US brand, the Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife is a modern version of the legendary Gurkha fighting knife. The blade of this particular Kukri is made from 1095 cro-van steel, a strong high carbon steel that is extremely hard but easy to sharpen.
The overall length of this tool is about 13 inches, while the blade is 8.5 inches long. It weighs 14.4 oz and features full tang fixed blade. The blade is 0.165 inches thick and the cutting edge curves in by 20 degrees, which is easy to sharpen with a whetstone. In addition, the blade benefits from epoxy powder-coating, which makes it extremely durable and resistant to rust.
The handle is made out of Kraston G elastomer, a non-slip material that guarantees excellent grip control during use. This handle also features grooves all around, which contribute to a firm grip and comfortable grip. The handle material is additionally resistant to moisture including water and sweat, as well as general wear and tear.
Its blade shape mimics the conventional Gurkha knife, a design that allows you to deliver optimum strength at the point of impact. This tool generally has a small profile that makes it easy to tote around. It’s just appropriately sized for combat, but it also performs well at clearing bushes and small tree branches.
Such a dangerous tool doesn’t go without protection and so a heavy-duty polyester sheath is included.
What do we love it for?
Premium blade made from 1095 cro-van steel with powder-coating.
More features: 5.5″ dark rosewood handle, full tang blade, comes with a sheath
If you want a blade made by genuine kukri makers known as Kamis or Bishwakarmas, the Gurkha Authentic Hand-Hammered Kukri Knife is for you. Since it’s handcrafted and not mass-produced, a lot more effort goes into making this knife, and hence it might be more expensive compared to other kukris listed.
Some of the cost may be attributed to shipping since the knife is made in Nepal. The materials used for the blade and the handle are also sourced locally in Nepal. This includes even the 5160 high-quality carbon steel.
While some users would say that the Editor’s choice and a few other kukris listed are too light, they definitely wouldn’t say that about this blade. It weighs close to 2 lbs and therefore may be better equipped to cutting thicker materials such as branches as you clear the brush in your way.
Every aspect of the Kukri screams expert craftsmanship, including the blade, the handle, and the elegant design of the sheath. Speaking of the handle, this particular knife also features full tang construction. The tang is then inserted into an expertly finished dark rosewood handle.
Overall the full length of the knife stands at about 17”, making it the longest Kukri on the list. The blade part, excluding the tang, measures 11”. Also, it has one of the thickest blades, which is understandable since it’s hand-hammered.
As for the sheath, it’s made from pure leather with excellent detailing on the side and a metallic tip. Nevertheless, it’s not the only accessory provided. You get two other knives, i.e., the Karda and the Chakmak. The latter is typically used as a sharpening knife, while the former is more suited to skinning.
More features: carbon steel blade, hand-made, comes with 2 small utility knives
We picked out the EGKH Genuine Full Tang Kukri Knife for this list’s sixth offering, and it’s easily the shortest knife on the list. Notably, this may affect some aspects of use, which is why it’s often used to cut vegetables and not for cutting through brush. That said, the quality of the kukri’s blade, handle, sheath, and other components is still top-notch.
This kukri knife features components that are locally sourced in Nepal. Nevertheless, you can expect a 5” blade that extends into a full tang design. The tang is then slotted into a rosewood handle.
It features a carbon steel Rust Free blade that’s been hand-hammered to a 0.3” thickness and is easy to sharpen. The inclusion of two utility knives in the package is another thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed. All these components fit into the provided leather sheath.
As for the handle, it’s only 4” and incorporates three rivets to keep the blade in place even with rigorous use. Another inclusion in the handle’s design is the hole that comes fitted with a leather lanyard so you can keep the blade attached to your arm during use.
What do we love it for?
Easy to sharpen
Comes with two utility knives
Comes with a leather sheath
High-quality handle with a comfortable hold
Full tang design increases stability
What were we disappointed with?
The short length limits how you can use the blade
The loop on the sheath is not very wide and may be a struggle to attach to your belt
Things to Consider
The following buying guide will help you learn more about kukri knives, their origins and main features, so you would be able to choose the best kukri for your needs
Know the difference – types of kukri knives
There are several types of kukri or Khukuri knives. Generally, kukris are categorized into two groups- Western Kukri and Eastern Kukri. The key difference between these categories is that Western Kukri are often much broader than Eastern Kukri. Under western kukri, you will find several types of kukri which are sometimes referred to as Budhuna or Baspate. It is not uncommon to find some of these western kukri in use in Nepal. Under eastern kukri, you will find several types of knives. Often, they are named after their town or village of origin. Some eastern kukri names include Cheetlange, Chirwa, Dhankut, Ganjawla, Panawala and Sirupate.
Secrets of kukri making
Kukri making is a sacred art that is indigenous to Nepal. These knives are only crafted by the best craftsmen who dedicate days to forging the perfect kukri blade. These are the steps that they follow:
First, the perfect steel size is measured on the basis of size and design. The steel is then heated in a hot oven and the red hot metal beaten into the raw shape of the blade.
The semi-hot metal is beaten by an experienced blacksmith into the final shape of the kukri. After this, a master smith tests the strength of the blade using chemicals. From here, the blade is beaten until it is strong and reliable.
Next, the knife’s handle is made out of the appropriate material and connected to the blade using a traditional Nepal glue called Laha.
From here, the smith starts the finishing process of the kukri. Using grinding tools, the smith smoothens the blade. The handle is also polished into a shine.
Finally, other experts confirm the quality of the kukri before it hits the market.
Never forget the safety tips
Kukri knives are designed to be sharp and therefore dangerous. As a result, there are several safety tips that a user should adhere to in order to avoid injury when using a kukri. For example:
This knife should never be used as a weapon unless the user is trained to do so such as those in the military.
The knife should never be left unattended when not in use.
The knife should always be stored in its sheath when not in use or when carrying it around. This greatly minimizes the risk of unintentional injury either to the user or to others.
It goes without saying that the knife should always be stored away from children.
Features to consider while buying the best kukri
Before you purchase a kukri, there are several key features that you will need to evaluate. For example:
The size of the kukri largely determines its purpose. Full-sized kukris are roughly the size of a machete. Such kukris are perfectly suited for outdoor tasks such as clearing bushes, chopping firewood or even felling trees. Medium sized kukris come in handy during a variety of tasks. Depending on the specifics of the kukri, the user can comfortably use it for all the aforementioned outdoor tasks as well as other more delicate tasks such as whittling or even carving our intricate designs. Smaller kukris, like Fox FX-9CM05T USMC, are perfect for skinning game during hunting.
A great kukri knife is distinguished by the quality of its blade. Most kukri knives are either made out of high carbon steel or plain old stainless steel. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, kukri knives made out of stainless steel look elegant. They also have the advantage of not rusting. These kukris are also generally much cheaper. However, these types of kukris have several disadvantages such as they lose their sharpness quickly and are less durable.
On the other hand, blades crafted using high carbon steel are tough and durable. Nevertheless, they are prone to rust and considerably more expensive than their counterparts. These blades also demand constant care through oiling.
The shape of the kukri knife matters a lot. The functionality of the knife is dictated by the blade’s curvature. Each blade shape is designed for a specific purpose. Some of the available kukri blade shapes are spear points, drop points, tanto, dagger points, clip point, sheep’s foot and recurred kukri style. Before you purchase your kukri, you should carry out in-depth research in order to identify the shape that will serve you best.
An important aspect of using kukri is the grip that it provides. Therefore, it is crucial that the kukri handle be both firm and reliable. It should also provide a certain level of comfort in order not to cause blisters to the hand.
Most traditional kukris have handles made out of wood and rubber. Many contemporary models, however, have handles made out of Micarta and G-10. Before purchasing, test the kukri’s grip, comfort and ergonomics. Some models also come with hand-guards which prevent the user’s hand from slipping into the sharp blade. You should also ensure that the blade is tightly fitted into the handle.
It can be full, half or partial. A full tang refers to when the back portion of the blade fully extends into the handle material. In most cases the blade is same the width as the handle, so usually there is a handle piece on each side of the blade, which are then pinned together by a locking mechanism.
A partial tang comes in many variations such half or three-quarter tangs, but the former is the most common. It simply describes how deep the tang goes into the kukri handle. In a partial tang configuration, an adhesive material such as glue or epoxy is used to secure the portion of the tang into the handle.
That said, full tang kukri knives are the best options. They have greater balance and feel extremely solid in hand compare with half-tang versions. Half-tang knives are prone to breaking, particularly the point where the blade meets the handle.
The weight of the kukri is crucial to efficiency when in use. The kukri should fit perfectly in one hand. The user should also be able to swing it easily and accurately, lighter kukris are often reserved for smaller tasks such as chopping or whittling while heavier kukris best serve in clearing bushes or felling trees.
The material of the sheath is crucial to its durability. Kukris are often very sharp, therefore the best sheaths for then are those made out of leather. The sheath is an important part of using kukris safely. They protect the blade when the knife is not in use.
The durability of your kukri knife boils down to the quality of maintenance. You can keep your knife in top-notch condition by following these simple care and maintenance measures:
Clean the blade once every month using machine oil and avoid leaving fingerprints on the blade after applying the oil.
If you see any signs of rust, clean the blade with gasoline and remove the rust using a sandpaper.
Always use appropriate polishes for cleaning the other parts of the knife. For instance, shoe polish works wonders on leather sheaths, while furniture shine is great for wooden handles. Any brass or silver fittings must be polish using Brasso or Silvo, respectively.
Be sure to store the kukri in a dry place, away from moisture and under room temperature.
Scrub any carvings off the kukri using gasoline and a hard brush.
Avoid overexposing the leather sheath as it may shrink as a result.
Never use the blade on stones and metallic surfaces.
When it comes to hunting, a kukri knife is both a killer and a survival weapon. Many hunters and outdoor junkies find high carbon steel blades to be very effective on the job. The blade length is another thing to consider; less than 12 inches is best for swift movements, while anything above 12 inches is ideal for situations that call for brute force. Weight is also a factor as you want something that is easy to maneuver.
Absolutely. If you wish to engrave your knife, but only use high-quality services to not damage your blade
When it comes to multi-purpose knives, you can never go wrong with a kukri. This tool is traditionally associated with bravery and heroism, but today it’s an indispensable tool in any outdoor gear kit. The best kukri knife can do a whole lot, from clearing bushes to shelter building, skinning animals, chopping firewood, and if it’s in the right hands, it’s a reliable tool for survival.
The 2742 Fixed Blade Knife is clearly a top-tier pick given its slim carbon steel blade, lightweight design, and practical rivets. Additionally, the molded handle feels comfortable in your hands, allowing you to swing the blade easily, while the non-reflective surface is ideal for use in sunny conditions.
The Condor Tools & Knives 60217 is also unbeatable as much as heavy duty projects are concerned. Full-tang construction means the blade will never move a micro-millimeter even when struck on hard objects.