A Noob’s Guide to the Best Kukri

Do you want the best kukri for your money? Kukris are among the best survival knives thanks to their long use in history. These knives give you the advantage of both a blade and an axe. These are angled, and the blade is heavier towards tip which gives it a hatchet like performance.

The following guide will help you buy the best kukri out there. However, you will need to get through the following guidelines to assure you make a wise choice. 

Rank

Image

Product Name

Score

1

Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

Ka-Bar 2-12499 Kukri

96

2

Cold Steel 97MKM Magnum Kukri

Cold Steel 97MKM

92

3

SOG SOGfari Kukri Machete MC11-N - Hardcased Black 12" Blade w/ Saw Back, Rubber Handle, Nylon Sheath

SOG Specialty “SOGFari” Kukri

86

4

Smith & Wesson Outback SWBH Kukri Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife Rubberized Steel Handle

Smith & Wesson SWBH Kukri

81

You can read more details about product reviews below, or click the links above to see these products on Amazon.com.

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Difference between Kukri, and Machete

There is an ever-ending debate whether kukris are same as a machete or no? Kukris and machetes may share the same looks, but they have respectable differences. It’s not a machete, instead one of its many variations. 

It is among the most famous variations thanks to the unique design; it is shaped like a tadpole right from the tip of the blade to butt cap of the handle. A Kukri makes an all-rounder choice thanks to its high chopping prowess. 

A History Lesson

The Kukri originates from Nepal. It is known for its unique inward curve which is very similar to a machete. This curve makes kukri a helpful survival also took to being a weapon. It is a utility knife used by Nepalese people throughout history. The Kukri is used by Nepalese Army as their official knife, and as an attachment to Assam Rifles. 

Kukri is also called the Gurkha Blade and is a part of local heraldry thanks to the fact is still used in many rituals. The earliest Kukri dates back to prehistory time where a domestic sickle with a bent stick was used to hunt, and fight. 

Kukri was introduced in the modern world when East India Company entered the war against the Gorkha Kingdom. There are two Kukris in army use, one is for every use, while secondly is ceremonial. It’s designed for chopping while the shape is partially straight. 

Kukri has some uses, and it has proven itself reliable in warfare, and survival. 

best kukri 001

Practicality

Kukri machetes have earned a reputation for their reliability in combat. There are hardly any cases where these broke, they have proved tough throughout their use. Following are a few factors that contribute to this incredible strength. These are almost a quarter inch thick.

Most machetes are made of High Carbon Spring Steel. It provides a durable edge, and necessary flexibility

Some models feature fuller along their blades to curb the weight without compromising build quality. Lightweight helps to yield the weapon easily despite its big size. 

These construction elements make the kukri nearly unbreakable. It can survive in long Close Quarter Combat. Moreover, If you are into gardening and don’t want anyone else to touch it, you can always depend on a Kukri for clearing excessive growth and chopping down unwanted wood. 

Something Symbolic

Kukris have become known for something more than their practicality; it’s their symbolism. Their design is very aesthetic as compared to other combat or survival knives. Full inward curved blade it an intimidating yet graceful look which can’t be found in other options. Thanks to this design, the Kukri has been used in several religious ceremonies throughout the South-Asian Region.

best kukri 002

What to Look for in a Kukri?

When you are buying a Kukri, be careful because not every Kukri is the same. Your selection should heavily rely on your use, but there are some important specifics you should mind. These are:

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    Tang

This is the part of the blade which connects to handle. Traditional Kukri doesn’t have a tang, but some other little. However, if you want your investment to serve you for long, you need something that goes with full tang. Full tang comes in handy if you want to use kukri for daily chopping etc.

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    Blade

The most obvious part, It helps for cutting and is the main attraction of any knife. It should be made of high carbon steel thanks to its durability, but some manufactures use cheap steel. If you are going in the wild, it's important you get a blade that doesn’t rush or get dull. 

Blade length depends on your use; the ideal kukri bade is thin, long, and multi-purpose. 

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    Cut-Out

This is a small notch in blade shed. It is among the few features that make kukri unique as compared to machetes. Most users believe it’s for decorative purposes, but it helps for shock absorption. This cut-out lets the blade flex when it is used to prevent cracking. 

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    Sheath

Unfortunately, this is a feature which is widely overlooked; sheath plays an important role in the quality of a kukri, it assures the construction is durable and reinforced. If you want the best, make sure you buy a kukri with leather sheath.

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    Handle

Handle materials are made from a wide variety including wood, and polymers. Despite your preference, make sure the handle has a firm and comfortable grip. The best handles are handmade and can be costly. 

best kukri 003

Buy According to Use

You need to buy the best kukri within your means by knowing your use. Yes, research the best knives according to your use. The size of your blade plays an integral role, but it can be hard for newbies to use a curved blade. The overall length of a blade is measured in a straight line starting from butt cap. The handle is measured from butt cap to bottom of the center where the blade is joined with handle. 

Blade length is measured in straight line from where the metal meets the handle, straight to the tip of the blade. These measurements can save your blade from breaking and promises ease of use. 

Combat

If you need the kukri for combat only, get a high carbon spring steel if you want it to last. Depends on your melee encounter, you need two or three fullers, more fullers mean less weight. It’s your competitive advantage, so take it.

You need a short blade for combat, it helps you to move quickly, and counter with no issue.

Chopping or Cutting

If you want a machete for chopping or cutting, then you better go with high spring carbon steel. This will help you do some heavy culling, just make sure you don’t have any fullers. In case you want to use your kukri for gardening including grass and brushing cutting, then you need a two fuller blade. It will help you going through the mess without wasting your effort. 

If you need it for heavy work, then go for a long blade. If you need it instantly without heavy demands, then a short blade will do.


Best Examples of Kukris

Following, we are quoting the best kukri models that will offer the most value for your money. All of these feature exceptional construction, durability, and performance. They are light, easy to use and maintain. If you want a survival knife, they will serve you the best. 

Rank

Image

Product Name

Score

1

Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

Ka-Bar 2-12499 Kukri

96

2

Cold Steel 97MKM Magnum Kukri

Cold Steel 97MKM

92

3

SOG SOGfari Kukri Machete MC11-N - Hardcased Black 12" Blade w/ Saw Back, Rubber Handle, Nylon Sheath

SOG Specialty “SOGFari” Kukri

86

4

Smith & Wesson Outback SWBH Kukri Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife Rubberized Steel Handle

Smith & Wesson SWBH Kukri

81

You can read more details about product reviews below, or click the links above to see these products on Amazon.com.


#1 - Ka-Bar 2-12499 Kukri

best kukri - Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

The Ka-Bar kukri makes itself distinctive from the competition with its Kardon G handle which stays firm even if wet. This handle is paired with an 11” inch blade which accommodates swift action. 

It is designed for unmatched durability and won't bend even if you use it to curt hard materials. It’s perfect for cutting branches, chopping wood, and even clearing.

Advantages and Disadvantages

ADVANTAGES

  • 11” Carbon Steel Blade
  • Kraton G Thermoplastic for Firm and comfortable grip
  • Cordura Black Leather Sheath for Safety and Storage​​​​
  • Full Tang Design
  • Thick Razor Sharp Edge

DISADVANTAGES

  • Sheath is not leather

Final Word

Ka-Bar is a reliable company even though it’s not as famous as SOG, but it is committed towards quality. The Kukri is not made for vets or survivalists, instead, its geared towards backpackers and campers. It helps to cut plants, and prepare your campsite. Unfortunately, it’s a bit expensive but have great features that usually not come in others. 

#2 - Cold Steel 97MKM

best kukri - Cold Steel 97MKM Magnum Kukri

This is the most affordable option. Being affordable, it doesn’t cut corners on durability or performance. It comes with a durable magnum blade, which is connected to a high-end polypropylene handle. The handle is firm and offers a great grip.

Cold Steel 97MKM features a 17” long blade with a forward balance weight. This adjustment makes Cold Steel kukri bliss to use. It can last long even in the most challenging circumstances. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

ADVANTAGES

  • 17” Magnum Blade promises long life
  • Angled Blade helps for deep cuts
  • Comfortable yet strong grip
  • Durable Sheath
  • Forward Weight Design for Easy Use

DISADVANTAGES

  • The Edge and Tip is not smooth enough

Final Word

Cold Steel 97MKM features an angled blade design. This design approach allows for deep cuts for every stroke. The long blade makes Cold Steel Kukri an obvious choice if you want to cut tall weed and clear field with little to no effort. Not to forget, the affordable price also makes it an ideal choice. 

#3 - SOG Specialty “SOGFari” Kukri

best kukri - SOG SOGfari Kukri Machete MC11-N - Hardcased Black 12" Blade w/ Saw Back, Rubber Handle, Nylon Sheath

This is a favorite brand among enthusiasts. SOG which means “Study and Observations Group” pays respect to the Special Branch of United States Military of the same name which became Popular in Vietnam during the Cold War. The SOGFari Kukri stands one of a unique thanks to its saw back design and complete black tint. It’s a multi-functional machete which features Kraton handle for comfort as its designed for long use.

It features a 12” blade which is made for fast and deep cuts. This design approach eliminates the need for multiple strokes to complete the job. It comes with a protective sheath for easy carrying. It doesn’t feature the longest blade, but 6-inch handle does deserve a special mention. It makes sure you have enough area to grip this blade comfortably. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

ADVANTAGES

  • High Carbon Steel 12” Blade
  • Kraton Handle for added comfort
  • Straight Edge Design with hard cased black finish
  • Tactical Carrying Sheath included

DISADVANTAGES

  • Thin design makes it prone to cracking
  • thumbs-o-down
    Saw Back design is rather questionable 

Final Word

This is yet another great entry which clears trail and brushes off branches. It is geared towards outdoor enthusiasts rather than survivalists. 

#4 - Smith & Wesson SWBH Kukri

best kukri - Smith & Wesson Outback SWBH Kukri Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife Rubberized Steel Handle

Smith & Wesson has an incredible range of handguns, no doubt. Surprisingly the company is doing a good job at cutlery as evident by SWBH. Being the most famous brand, this is the best kukri you can buy at low cost. 

It features black high carbon steel which is non-reflective and highly durable. It features a grooved handle which has rubber wrap for added comfort and prevents hand fatigue. 

It comes with a polyester sheath which can be attached to your belt. This Kukri has 11” thick blade which has exceptional balance and weight distribution. Even though it lacks the mechanism of a firearm, this kukri has every successful design element of Smith & Wesson product line.

Advantages and Disadvantages

ADVANTAGES

  • Non-reflective Blade
  • Grooved Style Handle
  • Small but sharp Blade
  • Great Weight Distribution

DISADVANTAGES

  • Sheath could use some improvements 

Final Word

This kukri stands out because of its excellent weight distribution. It has a small and lightweight, sharp blade which is geared towards combat use. Smith & Wesson perfectly capture the outdoor enthusiast with this machete as it easily helps you clear thick brush. 

Our Recommendation

Every entry is carefully picked because of the value, and benefits it offers. However, if you need something for combat, CQC situations then you should choose SOGFari over others. On the contrary if you need a companion for your travels, then you better pick the Cold Steel as it perfectly captures the outdoor spirit. 

Tips to Maintain a Kukri

Did you get yourself the best kukri? Good, now it’s your responsibility to ensure it stays in top shape. The following tips will help you learn everything you need to know about maintaining a machete.

  • Apply Machine Oil on blade once every month, make sure there are no finger prints
  • If there is some rust on the blade, clean it with sandpaper. Afterwards, take care of the dirt with petrol
  • Use shoe polish if your sheath is leather, brass if brass, and silver if there is silver casing
  • Don’t expose the Kukri to direct sunlight for too long as heating may affect the sharpness
  • For optimum results, sharpen regularly 

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Ella Wilson
 

Hi! This is Ella Wilson, the founder of tinyplantation.com. Being a devotee with plants and gardens, you will find numerous things with me. I have developed enough interest regarding plants that these things do not bore me anymore; instead this has become my passion.