Best Hunting Knife of 2018: Complete Reviews with Comparison
You’d think that the hardest part of hunting is stalking your prey through its environment and waiting patiently for a chance to catch it. While it seems like that is the toughest part of hunting, it isn’t.
The challenge comes after you’ve caught and killed your game, and now it’s finally time to clean and dress it. After all, you’re not just going to end up leaving your prize now that you’ve caught it. Whether you’re planning on using it in a meal or displaying it on your wall as a trophy, you’ll need a hunting knife.
A well-crafted blade can make a world of a difference when it comes to this process; after all, you don’t want to have a difficult time using a dull and poorly made blade.
- 1 Best Hunting Knife Comparison Chart
- 2 Best Hunting Knife Reviews
- 2.1 1. Defender Xtreme Tactical Bowie
- 2.2 2. Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite
- 2.3 3. Survivor Tang Army Bowie
- 2.4 4. Mossy Oak 2-Piece Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
- 2.5 5. Kershaw Cryo 1555TI
- 3 BUYER'S GUIDE
- 3.1 Types of Hunting Knives
- 3.2 Length and Size
- 3.3 Blade Type and Material
- 3.4 Handles
- 4 Hunting Knife F.A.Q.
- 5 FINAL VERDICT
Best Hunting Knife Comparison Chart
Best Hunting Knife Reviews
1. Defender Xtreme Tactical Bowie
The Tactical Bowie hunting knife is an excellent knife to use for outdoor survival and hunting. The knife is crafted by the Defender Xtreme brand, and this is one of their large tactical military combat knives. You can easily use it for other tasks, but this is meant to be a knife that packs a punch.
The Defender Xtreme Tactical Bowie has a total length of 7.5 inches and a blade length of 4 inches. It’s crafted from stainless steel and has a double saw edge spine. The handle has a knurled grip and fits comfortably into your hand without slipping out.
The weight of this blade is a solid 12 ounces, so it’s not the lightest of hunting knives. It comes with a hard composite sheath which has an easy open system and a belt hanging system.
What's to like about the Defender Xtreme Tactical Bowie
The knife is made of high quality stainless steel, so you won’t have to worry about a flimsy blade. The grip on the handle is also very sturdy, which means you won’t have to deal with the blade sliding out of your hands when cutting. There is also a double saw edge spine, which can be extremely useful in some situations.
What's not to like about the Defender Xtreme Tactical Bowie
What I don’t like about the knife is that it is very bulky and heavy. When you’re hunting, you’re not going to want to carry around such a heavy knife, especially if you’re packing other gear. While I’m sure that the blade is extremely effective, do not buy this unless you’re aware of how the weight is going to impact you on the trip.
2. Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite
The Razor-Lite hunting knife is a folding hunting knife developed by the Outdoor Edge Cutlery company. It’s a knife that is designed to be portable and carried around for survival and hunting situations. You can switch out the blades as needed and the whole package comes with an extra 6 blades.
The knife has an overall length of 8 inches, a blade of 3.5 inches, and a total weight of 2.8 ounces. This knife is extremely sharp and lightweight, making it a top choice for people looking for a simple and portable hunting knife.
The blade is made from 420J2 stainless steel armor, giving it durability. The handle comes with a grivory glass-nylon mix that has a rubberized TPR handle to ensure that it won’t slip out of your grip, even when wet. Included with the Razor-Lite is a belt clip for easy access and portability.
- EASY TO USE - One hand deployment. Blades easy to replace with the push of a button.
- EVERYDAY CARRY (EDC) - Great pocket knife for hunting (skinning and gutting), camping, hiking, fishing, opening boxes
- SUPERIOR BLADES - Razor-sharp, heat treated, hand finished 44J2 stainless steel replaceable blades. 3.0-inch Razor-Lite EDC comes with 4 blades, and 3.5-inch model includes 6
- NON-SLIP GRIP and POCKET CLIP -- Lightweight and sturdy Grivory handle with rubberized TPR handle inserts. Sturdy pocket clip.
- ADDITIONAL REPLACEMENT BLADES SOLD SEPARATELY - 3.0-inch knives require Model RR30-6 and 3.5-inch require Model RR6
What's to like about the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite
I like that this blade has replacement blades, as sometimes your knife can wear down from bad weather conditions and use. It comes with 6 extra blades, so you won’t be running out of blades anytime soon.
The stainless steel blades are also built to be very high quality and durable, and you can purchase this for a decent price.
What's not to like about the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite
The belt clip is not that good, so if you’re planning on hauling the knife around while you’re out on a hunt you will have to find a different way to attach it.
3. Survivor Tang Army Bowie
The Tang Army Bowie is a knife that is reasonably priced and distributed by the survival company. They ensure that their fixed blades are always made of high quality materials and can function in various settings. These are great for both survival, combat, and hunting.
The knife has an overall length of 12 inches and a 7.25 inch stainless steel blade. The blade runs at around 3mm thick and has a satin finish clip point blade installed with a saw back.
Included with the blades is a metal bolster handle that is a wood color. This adds to its aesthetic appeal. It comes with a 600D nylon sheath for safety and protection.
What's to like about the Survivor Tang Army Bowie
We like that this blade is extremely sturdy and durable because of it being crafted with stainless steel. The satin finish and clip point is also very useful, as you can use this blade to cut or puncture while hunting.
What's not to like about the Survivor Tang Army Bowie
I don’t like that the blade clocks in at 12 inches. This is not going to be the easiest blade to transport on hunting trips. If you plan to carry this knife around, beware that it is going to add more weight to what gear you’ll already be carrying.
4. Mossy Oak 2-Piece Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
The Mossy Oak fixed blade knife is a great choice for when you’re hunting. It’s a simple knife that is designed for collectors and outdoor services. The material is high quality and it doesn’t break the bank in price.
The Mossy Oak company has focused on creating blades that will work for simple use outdoors. If you’re a true outdoorsman you will love these handy little blades.
Included is a set of two different knives, one being a 10 inch fixed blade and the other one being a 7.75 inch fixed blade. They are both crafted from stainless steel and are designed to be thinner and razor sharp. The handle is made from a stacked leather and it comes with a nylon sheath and guard.
- SPECIFICATIONS: Blade Length: 4"/6", Overall Length: 7.75"/10", Weight: 0.15 lbs/0.37 lbs
- RAZOR SHARP CLIP POINT BLADE: Clip point 3CR13 blade has excellent strength, edge retention and corrosion resistance for lasting durability, good for piercing, detail work, and cutting in tight places
- FULL TANG STACKED LEATHER HANDLE: Deliver excellent strength, with grip ridges for safe and comfortable handling, provides balance with brass pommel / guard, non-slip grip to use
- IMPACT NYLON SHEATH: Provide with guard and belt loop for safe and secure carry with easy access
- PERFECT FOR OUTDOOR & COLLECTION: Suitable for various military, hunting, survival, tactical, industrial and other outdoor situations
What's to like about the Mossy Oak 2-Piece Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
I like that you get two blades for the price of one. It really comes in handy when you’re needing a smaller knife for greater precision cuts. These will be useful for anyone who needs a knife for smaller tasks, however, I do not recommend this as a heavy-duty hunting blade.
What's not to like about the Mossy Oak 2-Piece Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
I don’t like that these blades lack a decent gripping system. These are not designed to be heavy-duty knives, so you can easily get away without having a good gripping mold; however, it is not recommended. These may slide out of your hand easily, so be careful.
5. Kershaw Cryo 1555TI
The Cryo 1555TI hunting knife was designed by Rick Hinderer. The blade is manufactured by the Kershaw company and was designed to be a deep-carry pocket knife. They recommend this knife for daily tasks including opening packages, removing splinters, cutting zip ties, and animal defense.
The knife has a total length of 6.5 inches, a blade length of 2.75 inches, and weighs 4.1 ounces. The blade is crafted from 8Cr13MoV titanium carbo-nitride steel and coating. This means that it’s designed to be durable, high-quality, and corrosion and rust resistant.
It comes with a speed-safe assisted opening button, that way the blade can pop out safely and quickly. There is a frame lock included, that way the blade does not move around while in use.
Also included is a 4 position pocket clip which allows you to position the clip up or down for transportation. Lastly, it comes with a deep carry pocket clip which enables the knife to fit easily into your pocket.
- Designed by Rick Hinderer and precision engineered by Kershaw
- 2.75-inch 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade features excellent toughness, edge retention and wear and corrosion resistance
- Great companion for any hiker, landscaper, backpacker, hunter, wilderness guide, electrician or anyone in need of a reliable everyday carry
- All-steel construction is coated with a matte gray titanium carbo-nitride, increasing the blade's hardness, edge retention and overall lifetime
- Excellent everyday carry for numerous tasks including opening packages, stripping wire, removing splinters, cutting zip-ties, aggressive animal defense and making fire kindling
What's to like about the Kershaw Cryo 1555TI
I like that this blade is crafted with extra protection. The titanium carbo-nitride steel and coating will help prevent this blade from wearing down over time and protects it from a buildup of rust. It’s also crafted from a very highly durable material, making it a perfect blade.
What's not to like about the Kershaw Cryo 1555TI
The speed-safe button will cause you to sometimes be in pain. It’s not an easy flip switch, which can be looked at as a pro and a con. Kids will not be able to easily open this knife; however, you may not be able to either. We highly suggest making sure you can open this blade.
Types of Hunting Knives
If you’re into hunting, you’re probably well aware that there are many types of hunting knives. But, can you confidently say that you know what each one does? If you’re unsure about what types of hunting knives are available on today’s market, keep reading.
A bowie knife is a large fighting knife that has a clip point blade. It’s used for hunting and killing prey and works well for the average hunter.
A camping knife is designed to help you create an animal trophy. The design has an upturned point on a very small blade, this comes in handy when you’re trying to preserve other parts of the animal, such as the head. They specialize in camping, but they can be useful for other small tasks.
A skinning knife helps when you’re trying to skin an animal without tearing the hide. It is typically designed with a short blade that curves slightly upward. They are razor sharp and can easily stay super sharp even after multiple uses.
A boning knife is another type of hunting knife that as a specific function. It’s used for removing meat from the carcass of an animal. It’s designed with a narrow blade that is flexible.
A buck knife is a large folding knife which is designed to be helpful when hunting. It’s designed to have clip points, making the tip of the blade perfect for puncturing.
A hunting knife is specifically created to help kill an animal. These are not very common, as most hunters do not kill the animals with a knife anymore. It’s designed with a sharp double edge blade and a non-slip grip.
Length and Size
Depending on what your specific needs are, a general rule of thumb is to choose a blade between three to six inches.
The reason for this is because any knife that is longer than that, the blade will start to become unwieldy when performing cuts that need precision. This means that you’ll cut places where you don’t want to be cut, essentially ruining whatever you’re working on. If you choose too short a knife, you risk the chances of it slipping and not maintaining a certain leverage.
Blade Type and Material
When it comes to choosing which type of material makes the best blade, you’re going to want to know your stuff. Everyone knows that a blade crafted from bad material can be what makes or breaks a knife.
Each material is going to have its pros and cons, so be sure to fully understand which will suit your own personal needs as a hunter. Below is a quick summary of the different types of blade materials.
Stainless Steel Blades
Stainless steel blades are going to be the most common blades you’ll see on the market. They are popular because they have increased durability and have resistance to corrosion.
Stainless steel blades are crafted from metal alloys which are usually composed of chromium, nickel, iron, carbon, and molybdenum. The downside to steel blades are that they stain very easily and aren’t as sharp as ceramic or carbon knives.
Carbon Steel Blades
Carbon steel blades are some of the sharpest blades on the market. They are much easier to sharpen than stainless steel blades and they are usually a lot lighter in weight.
This material is great for survival, hunting, and normal tasks. The downside to carbon steel is that they are highly susceptible to corrosion and rust and can easily become discolored.
If you’re looking for a very durable and heavy duty blade, titanium-crafted blades maybe for you. They are rust resistant and are usually dark or silver in coloring. They are not as sharp as other blade materials; however, they make really good diving, pocket, and bomb defusing knives.
Ceramic blades are non-metallic, solid and are resistant to corrosion. The issue with these blades is that they don’t stay sharp over their lifespan, and they are extremely hard to sharpen. If you’re planning on getting a ceramic blade, expect to have to replace it every now and then.
Lastly, plastic blades are crafted from plastic and are meant to be disposed of after one use. They can come in handy when you’re in a pickle and don’t have an actual knife on you, however, they won’t really work for hunting or cutting anything hard.
Another crucial factor you’ll want to look into when choosing a knife is the handle. There is no use using a well-crafted blade if the handle does not have a grip. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing with a knife, a good handle is essential.
Handles that have ridges, bumps, or even indentations for your fingers are going to be the best. When using a hunting knife, if the handles do not have a good grip, you could risk the knife coming loose in your hands, which could be very dangerous.
You may not think that the weight of the blade matters, however, this is untrue. The weight of a blade is extremely critical to what type of task you are completing. When trying to skin or butcher, you’re going to want a lightweight knife, as this will give you the most control and precision.
Heavier and thicker knives will be better for hunting, gutting, and other tasks that don’t require as much control. As a good rule of thumb, never plan to get a knife that is over 8 ounces.
Hunting Knife F.A.Q.
What is the best knife steel?
The steel of a blade can literally make or break a knife. Steel is literally the essence of any blade and determines how well the knife will function after an extended period of time.
Steels are usually a mix of alloy, carbon, and iron, and often have other materials included. Choosing a steel will highly be dependent on which properties you wouldn’t mind giving up, as each has their own pros and cons.
D2, Crucible CPM, O1, CPM 3V, and M4 are usually the sturdiest steels you can find on the market; however, you’ll be sacrificing on the lifespan of your blade. They are often harder to sharpen as well.
A carbon steel is used in most survival and military grade knives. They are rough and have enhanced toughness and durability. They are relatively easy to sharpen; however, the issue is that they are more prone to corrosion and rusting. The most popular of all the carbon steels that you’ll usually find is steel 1095.
Stainless steel is going to be the most common steel you’ll find on the market. It’s relatively cheap to acquire and provides a decent performance. You’ll usually find these steel types: 154M, AUS, 400, VG, MoV, CTS, Sandvik, and Crucible SxxV.
These steels are usually balanced in durability and sharpness; however, they also are susceptible to corrosion and rust. If you’d like to keep that from happening you can always invest in a stainless steel blade that has added chromium, as this will help prevent rust and erosion.
What makes a good hunting knife?
A good hunting knife will be a hunting knife that is catered to your personal needs. Simply put, you can easily buy other appliances that have the same function, like a vacuum; however, you may need a vacuum that can clean up pet hairs.
Knives work similar to other tools, as they specialize in other needs such as skinning, gutting, puncturing, etc. So, to narrow down what makes a good hunting knife, we will discuss a few important factors that all knives should have.
A good hunting knife will have a good blade. This means that it will be crafted from a high-quality steel and is coated with chromium or other chemical finishes that can help prevent it from building up rust or corrosion over its lifespan. These blades will often be thick enough to hold its shape against cutting tough materials such as wood or bones.
Hunting knives also need to have a good grip. If you get a blade without a good grip you could almost kiss the knife goodbye as it will be useless. There’s nothing worse than picking up a blade and trying to use it, only for it to slip out of your hands anytime you try and cut something.
This could also be extremely dangerous, as if the blade is super sharp it could slip and cut you or someone else. A good grip should have ridges, finger indentations, or be covered by some sort of rubber mold.
How do you sharpen a gut hook?
A gut hook is a main essential for every hunter planning on cutting into their wild-caught game. This tool is extremely useful for skinning and will help you clean out your game without puncturing vital organs, thus ruining the carcass. If you’re a new owner of a gut hook, you may be wondering how you’re going to sharpen one.
The first thing you will need is a round ceramic sharpening rod, a diamond-coated sharpening rod or a chainsaw file. These are usually inexpensive, and you can find them in almost any supply or hardware stores. Simply run the blade up and down rod, remembering to pay special attention to the angle of the knife's blade.
Sharpen around the hook on both sides and then you’re done. It’s that simple. If you’re still having trouble or don’t have the time to sharpen your knives, some companies will actually sharpen your knives for you upon request.
Do Gerber knives have a lifetime warranty?
Gerber offers a limited lifetime warranty only for its North American customers. If you happen to live outside the US, they offer a 25-year limited warranty. The warranty does not cover damaged products due to sharpening, misuse, wear and tear, accidental damage, or any commercial use.
How do you clean a folding knife?
Folding knives can be more susceptible to gunk and dirt because there are more nooks and crannies in a folding knife then there is in a fixed blade knife.
Cleaning a folding knife doesn’t have to be complicated, as it is very easy as long as you have the proper soap, lubricant, and cleaning tools. To clean your folding knife, you will need soap, toothbrush, Q-tips, lubricant, water, and paper towels.
You’ll want to make sure to focus on cleaning the pivot of the knife and all of the locked surfaces. Use warm soapy water and wash the knife with the bristles of a toothbrush.
The nooks and crannies in the handle and lock area are going to have a lot of hidden dirt, so make sure to let soapy water run down there to wash away anything that could cause your knife damage.
Never leave your knife submerged in water, as this could actually cause the coating on your knife to become damaged. After you’re done washing out the dirt, make sure to lubricate the hinge of the knife, as this can sometimes become worn out over time. Lastly, always make sure your knife is dry before you put it away.
As you can see, there are plenty of good ways to select a knife that is perfect for you and your needs as a hunter. A good blade will make all the difference in the world.
The one blade we would highly recommend as being the best hunting knife of 2018 is the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite. This blade is lightweight, crafted from high-quality materials, and comes with replaceable blades. We hope that this guide has enlightened you.