While gardening is mostly a relaxing and pleasurable affair, it also requires a lot of hard work. Making this work easier on yourself in any way you can is something we gardeners know very well. Buying a wide range of very specialized tool is a common part of this, and the kukri knife is one such tool. Most people don’t even consider buying it for gardening purposes, but it’s surprisingly efficient when used as one. That’s why we decided to write this article – to help spread the word and make people realize that the best kukri machetes are also some of the best gardening tools out there.
Why Buying a Kukri Machete?
Not everyone is familiar with kukri knives, or how they differ from other similar tools, and that’s understandable. The kukri is not just a simple machete or knife, no – it’s a great multi-purpose blade with Nepalese origins that has been improved upon for hundreds of years and traditionally used for a variety of tasks.
The basic design of a kukri involves an inwardly curved, pointed iron blade that’s wider near the tip and has a small notch at the base that allows it to bend on impact. The blade is multi-purpose – the tip can be used for stabbing, the wider part of it for cutting or chopping, while the narrower part can be utilized for carving or whittling. The handle is usually round, made of wood and fashioned with a flared butt.
Modern kukris, however, are made from many different materials and have plenty of size and shape variations, all attempting to improve on the basic, traditional design. Some succeed that doing that, while some do not.
For a long time, kukris have been used in the army as weapons and survival tools – and in some army units, they still are. In more recent times, however, campers and survivalists have also taken to using the kukri in their hobbies, and the blades are now most commonly known as a survival tool. Their use in gardening, while not so well-known, is picking up some steam lately.
It’s useful in the garden due to its multi-purpose design, allowing it to perform the functions of many other knives or machete. As it fulfills the functions of a carving knife, a machete, a scythe, a hand axe, and so on, the kukri is a great fit for almost any task.
Still, do to modern variations in design, some kukris excel at one of those tasks while under-performing in others and they are not all the same – choosing the right one can be a difficult task for most people. That’s why we’ve compared a few of the top kukri machete right here and paired them with some user feedback, to give you the information you need to make your purchase. Let’s have a look.
Meet the Best Kukri Machetes
The Good: Great durable blade, ergonomic, safe grip and a blade suited for multiple tasks.
The Bad: The handle gets slippery when wet.
The Bottom Line: It’s a great product in pretty much every category with just one small problem.
The Good: Light for its great length and has a safe grip.
The Bad: Not suited for tougher jobs and dulls very fast.
The Bottom Line: Decent kukri, but it is only good for lighter work.
The Good: Lightweight, cheap, and comes with great extra features.
The Bad: The blade can be brittle and is not suited for heavy use.
The Bottom Line: Overall – great for the price, but not suited for heavy-duty work.
Naturally, a table like this only offers a quick look at the blades we are presenting here – for more details, continue reading.
All of the Factors Considered
While having a fairly simple, yet terrifyingly effective design, kukris have a lot of intricacies that are not immediately obvious, but greatly affect their performance. That’s why picking out a great one from the large amount that’s on offer is a challenging task – but we’re here to help. Check out some of the most important properties of a kukri that we considered when comparing these products.
While a long time ago almost all kukris were made from iron and wood, nowadays various materials are used in their making. Blades can be made from carbon steel, titanium, and other materials, while handles are sometimes plastic, wood, or even iron or steel.
The most important thing here is to get a kukri made of durable materials, as you will be subjecting it to a lot of abuse.
As different manufacturers are constantly attempting to make the best kukri machete available, there are loads of different designs on the market, some radically different than the tried and true original. To compare the different designs properly, you’ll need to look at a few different aspects:
- Blade length: The length of the blade is measured in a straight line from the tip to where it meets the handle. This aspect is important because different sized blades lend themselves better to different tasks. You don’t want to use a short blade when chopping wood, for example.
- Blade shape: While the basic shape of a kukri always remains the same, there are a lot of variations. Some have spikes or hooks on the back of the blade; some have one or more holes in the blade, and so on. These variations sometimes offer great benefits, and sometimes they’re just for show, so you should carefully consider them.
- Tang: No, not the soft drink. This is the unsharpened part of the blade extending partly, or fully, through the handle, fastened to it with pins. Usually, a full tang is better than a partial one as it better binds the blade with the handle.
- Fuller: This is a groove made in the flat portion of the blade – its purpose is to make the blade lighter while not losing any strength. For some tasks, this is beneficial. However, if you need a heavier blade that you want to use like an axe for example, you should get a kukri with no fuller.
Comfort and Safety
Having a kukri machete, you’re comfortable with using for extended periods of time is necessary, especially if you intend to use it as a heavy-duty tool. This, combined with safety features like a non-slip grip, is what allows you to get the most out of your kukri.
Some blades have some additional features that can prove useful – while on others, those are just frivolous gimmicks.
Now that you know all that, here’s how we ranked these three kukris in those areas:
With a grip designed for safety and made of thermoplastic, this kukri is extremely comfortable.
Tough Carbon Blade
Made from thick carbon steel, this blade is durable and sure to stay sharp for a long time.
Long, Heavy Blade
With a blade measuring 11.5 inches and weighing in at 1.7 pounds, this kukri is ideal for chopping weeds or small branches.
Black Leather Sheet
A quality black leather sheet with straps ensures that carrying this kukri around safely is super easy.
Who Should Buy This Product
This one is suited for pretty much anybody, but especially good for those that want to do a lot of heavy-duty work as this kukri can take a tremendous amount of punishment and still stay sharp.
What to Watch Out For
The handle is usually great, but it can be a bit slippery when wet, so be careful and use gloves just in case.
Overall, a great product for the price, offering a quality blade with a great handle, made so it lasts for a long time while taking a lot of abuse. While it does have one issue that you need to be careful about, it’s a superb product otherwise.
Black Powder Coated Stainless Steel Blade
Made of stainless steel with a black finish, this blade is sure to last for a long time to come.
Long, Light Blade
With a length of 13.3 inches and a weight of 1.44 pounds, this blade is well-suited for cutting grass and chopping weeds.
Safe T-grip Handle
A grip made for extra safety with an added lanyard hole for easy storage.
Removable Storage Pouch
The sheath contains an extra pouch that you can use to store anything you might need.
Who Should Buy This Product
This blade is great for people who need a long but light tool to use in their garden, and this kukri shines the best when it is used for cutting weeds and other grassy plants.
What to Watch Out For
The problem is that it’s a bit too thin and can’t be used for some more heavy-duty stuff, and it dulls fast, while the length makes it unsuitable for some tasks that require finer control.
For the price, this product seems like a great deal, but there are some issues with it that prevent it from being used for some tougher work. It’s not as durable as it might seem at first and doesn’t have the weight to cut branches or woods. Still, for lighter tasks, it’s ideal.
Carbon Steel Blade
The blade is made of resistant carbon steel that is easy to sharpen and doesn’t dull fast.
Kraton Rubber Handle
The handle is ergonomically designed and made of rubber for extra comfort in use.
With a blade length of 12 inches and a weight of only 15 ounces, this kukri is easy to use and carry.
The back of the blade is a fully-functional saw that can be used for a variety of tasks. The tang also extends through the butt of the handle as a mini-saw.
Who Should Buy This Product
This kukri is clearly made for people on a budget who still want a useful, light, multi-purpose blade, and this fits the bill.
What to Watch Out For
The reason it’ so cheap is that the blade just isn’t very durable and is prone to chipping and breaking rather easily if you try to do some heavier work with it. Keep it light, and it should be fine.
This is a fine product for people on a budget and others that need a lightweight kukri that can do more than a couple of different jobs. However, it might prove too flimsy for heavy-duty use, so people who want that should look elsewhere.
The Best Pick – Ka-Bar 2-1249-9
As you can see, there are plenty of different kukris on the market, with lots of variation and different features. Choosing the right one for you depends on what you need, and an overall ‘best’ kukri might not exist.
However, the best one for us is surely the Ka-Bar 2-1249-9. It simply has almost everything we could want in a kukri machete – it’s durable, it’s suited for more heavy-duty use, it has great safety features while having practically no downsides. It simply stands tall above the rest and easily justifies its price.
While that is our pick for the best kukri machete, we must stress that it might not be the best one for you. Carefully consider all the relevant aspects and choose the product that fits your needs. We hope this article helped you with that. Cheers!