Best Survival Knives – Complete Guide To The Top 5

By Colleen •  Updated: 12/17/21 •  13 min read

If you are thinking about what to look for in a survival knife, this article is for you. This post will review the top 5 best survival knives on the market, plus some tips on choosing a survival knife. So, if this is what you are looking for, keep reading this post.

Best Survival Knives Guide

1. KA-BAR Becker BK2: Best Tactical Knife Fixed Blade
The Ka-bar Becker BK2 is a sleek knife that is versatile, tough, and aesthetic. It is a tactical survival knife. The blade is lightweight, weighing only 1.4 lbs, and the functionality of this knife is outstanding. Ka-bar is often mistyped as Kbar.

Starting from the steel, the Becker BK2 features a 1095 Cro-van steel with a black coating, making the knife extra tough for multiple applications. For those of you wondering what Cro-van means, it means the steel of this knife has more chromium and vanadium than a regular 1095 high-carbon steel knife. This makes the blade resistant to wear and corrosion, making the knife more rigid, sharper, and durable.

For easier cuts, the knife is engineered with a 20-degree cutting angle. It features a 5 1/4″ blade that meets a drop point for additional functionality such as piercing, stabbing, screwing, and unscrewing bolts. This is a full tang knife (tang is the opposite edge of the cutting edge that extends into the knife’s handle), and the knife’s handle is made out of Zytel for high-temperature tolerance and a snuggling and comfortable grip.

In addition, this knife features an extended pommel, which provides additional functionality for applications such as crushing nuts, hammering rocks, and scrapping dirt off a body.

Finally, it comes with a solid and rugged sheath that is easy to strap on, and you are assured that it will hold the knife securely and safely.

Overall, this knife is tough and built to perform all rugged applications without much effort on your part.

Ka-bar Becker BK2 Pros

Cons

2. Morakniv Companion Spark Knife: Best Compact Fixed Blade Survival Knife
If you want a compact fixed knife that doesn’t compromise performance, we present the Morakniv Companion Spark knife.

This budget-friendly knife features a 3.9″ blade made of Stainless Steel, making it quite tough to handle activities such as carving and food prep. The upper edge of the blade of the knife is unpolished and angled at 90 degrees to make it easy for you to start a fire with the fire starter that comes along with the knife.

It features a rubberized grip that is designed with a gentle swell to give you a comfortable and secure grip. The rounded shape of the handle reinforces this secure grip.

Even though the knife features a partial tang, it is tough and can be used for simple activities without worrying about it breaking.

Morkiv Companion Spark Knife Pros

Cons

3. Esee Laser Strike: Best Medium-Sized Fixed Blade Knife
At first glance, you will love the aesthetics of this knife. However, looking beyond the aesthetic, this knife comes with all the bells and whistles you need in a survival knife kit.

Esee Laser Strike review: This medium-sized knife features a 4.5″ blade that is made out of high-carbon steel. Even though the blade is constructed out of high-carbon steel, the powder-coating finish used on the knife blade makes it resistant to rust and a little bit more resistant to wear than a regular high-carbon steel knife. However, it will rust if you do not take good care of it. It also features a drop point tip, which means more functionality for takes such as drilling.

The blade isn’t that thick; however, it is ideal for penetrating through tight spacing, such as prying through car doors. This knife is ruggedly built and is strong enough to withstand all applications, such as chopping. However, we think they could have made the blade a bit thicker.

The ergonomics of the Esee Laser Strike make it easy to use. Right between the starting point of the handle and the end of the blade’s cutting edge, there is a choil where you can place your finger to give you that extra grip you need when holding the knife.

In addition, the handle is constructed out of micarta, which is a tough, lightweight, and comfy material. The handle also features a little fire pit to help you start fires quickly for your grills and your night fires. When you realize the handle is beginning to wear out, you can easily unscrew and change it. When you open the handle, you will find some magnesium rods and tinder tabs with a striker to help you start fires while in the wild. It makes the Esee Laser Strike the best survival knife with a firestarter.

It comes in a Kydex sheath, which is easy to wear, lightweight, and provides no room for movement once the knife is inserted. The sheath material is also durable, and it can be put on quickly.

Esee Laser Strike Pros

Cons

4. Schrade SCHF1: Best Hollow Handle Survival Knife
If you are looking for a lightweight, affordable, yet versatile extreme survival knife, then the Schrade SCHF1 with the Schrade SCSK1 Survival Kit is for you.

Looking at it, you might think the blade and the handle are welded together; however, the blade and handle are made from a single piece of steel. This means this knife is solid, and it isn’t going to break easily.

The Schrade SCHF1 is made out of 1070 carbon steel, which is incredibly tough and can be used for all heavy-duty applications. However, extra care needs to be taken when using the knife because it is susceptible to rust and wear.

Its 7 1/2″ blade makes it ideal for chopping and batoning wood. The knife’s fine and serrated combo blade makes it useful in various applications.

It features a round-shaped handle, which is excellent for its aesthetics; however, the rounded shape of the handle doesn’t give you a solid grip on the knife. However, the narrowed surface and the beveled handle section ensure that you have the best grip possible.

The bottom of the knife features a versatile pommel that can be used to crush objects and can be removed to make use of the screws inside the handle. However, you can get the SCSK1 kit, which includes a compass and waterproof container with a Morse code guide on the outside of the container. The Schrade survival knife kit includes fire steel, bandaids, a pencil, two safety pins, three needles, a sealed surgical scalpel, and a small fishing kit with three hooks, leaders, and a fishing line.

Schrade SCHF1 Pros

Cons

5. Cold Steel AD-10: The Best Folding Survival Knife
If you want a folding knife, we recommend the Cold Steel AD-10. This knife will hurt your wallet; however, it is built with premium materials.

The AD-10 survival pocket knife features a wide blade that tapers at a drop point, making it ideal for various applications in the wild. The steel is made of tough S35VN steel, making the knife’s edge sharper than a regular stainless steel blade. It is also more resistant to chipping and can be used for about any activity.

The Cold Steel AD-10 features a 3.5″ long blade (which is long for a pocket knife) with a broad drop point for more versatility. It features a G10 handle, which gives you a comfortable feel when you hold it. The finger gap on the handle provides extra grip, and The handle is designed to minimize hot spots, making the knife excellent for prolonged use.

Generally, this knife is equipped with all the features you will be looking for in fixed-blade survival knives. Finally, the knife is equipped with a reliable TriAd locking system and won’t fail to unfold when you need it the most.

Cold Steel AD-10 Pros

Cons

Best Survival Knife For The Money – 7 Essential Factors To Consider When Buying

1. Purpose
When choosing your ultimate survival knife, the first thing to do is to define the reason why you need the knife. Survival knives come in various forms and shapes, and each type of survival is ideal for a specific purpose than the other.

For example, a small survival knife is more suitable for camping or hiking than a larger knife, and this is because they are lightweight and can easily fit into your backpack. Also, when looking for a bushcraft knife, you might want to get a knife that can handle more demanding tasks.

So, by considering the purpose of getting a survival knife, you can choose the right knife that best fits your situation.

2. Comfortability
One crucial factor people leave out when choosing a knife is how comfortable the knife is to use. You are going to use the knife for extended and sometimes for some intense activities. Therefore, it is essential that the knife you choose has a handle that fits right into your hand and it’s comfortable to hold.

Some knives come with a smooth handle, and while these handles might be comfortable to hold for hours, they aren’t ideal for wet conditions because they tend to slip out easily.

Some knives have pointy handles that have an excellent grip even in wet conditions. However, they can cause blisters on your hands if you use them for too long or if you use them for some intense activities.

You must consider the material of the handle as well. Mostly, survival knives are made of either rubberized grips, stainless steel, Micarta, Titanium, or Mother of pearl. While there are many types of grip materials, the materials mentioned above are the most popular.

3. Style Of Blade

Serrated Edges vs. A Fine Edge – Knife blades come in three main styles:

        1. serrated edge
        2. fine edge
        3. combo blade

Fine-edge blades are a great choice if most of the activities you are going to be engaging in will involve cutting materials. Plain edge blades are great for giving you fine-cut materials.

However, if you are going to be cutting through tougher materials’ rough edges, then a serrated knife might be ideal. However, with serrated blades, you will not end up with a precise cut. Knives with a serrated blade are also an excellent option for combat applications.

Fixed Blade vs. Folding Blade
Another thing to consider when it comes to the style of the blade is whether you want a fixed blade or a foldable blade. Right off the bat, fixed blades are more durable and can be used for more demanding tasks than foldable blades. In addition, these blades do not have many moving parts, so there is a high chance the knife won’t fail you.

On the other hand, a folding blade is easy to carry along because it saves you space by being foldable and lightweight.

Therefore, if you need a strong survival knife that can perform most functions, you might want to get a fixed-blade survival knife. However, getting a foldable knife will be ideal if you don’t need a knife for any challenging work.

4. Knife Tang
Another thing to consider is the knife’s tang, which is the opposite edge of the cutting edge extending into the knife’s handle.

Choosing the right tang is vital because it determines the toughness of the knife. A full-tanged survival knife (a knife whose blade extends from the tip to the bottom of the handle) tends to be more rigid and can be used for heavy-duty activities such as cutting wood, chopping bones, and others.

However, their disadvantage is that they tend to be heavier. On the other hand, partially-tanged knives are lightweight and relatively easy to carry around. However, the disadvantage is that partially tanged knives are prone to breakages when used for heavy-duty work.

5. Pommel
While some knives may come with a pommel, others may not. If you need a more functional knife that can help you crush nuts and bricks, you might want to get a knife with a pommel. However, if you just need a knife for the sole purpose of cutting, then you might not have to worry about a pommel.

6. The Steel
The most important aspect of the knife is the steel; no matter how careful you are when choosing other parts, everything will boil down to the steel.

When choosing knife steel, you need to consider the following features:

It is important to note that regardless of the type of steel you choose, there will always be a tradeoff of one of these features. That being said, we have listed the best steel for a survival knife:

High carbon steel knives, also known as 1095 knives, are among the most affordable on the market. High-carbon steel is an alloy of manganese and carbon.

These high-carbon steel knives are tough and sharp, and you can use them for any activity. However, the downside is that high-carbon steel knives tend to rust easily, especially in wet conditions or when used to cut acidic things. Therefore, you might need to put more effort into cleaning the carbon steel knife, which means you will need to clean it more often to prevent rusting. These types of knives are prone to scratches; however, they are effortless to sharpen, so you want to be mindful of that as well.

D2 cut steel, also known as tool steel, is the second type of steel used for survival knives. This type of knife steel is known for its excellent sharpness and toughness. Unlike high-carbon steels, these knives aren’t fun to sharpen, which is obviously because of their toughness. However, one significant advantage this type of steel has is its ability to resist corrosion. They can be pretty expensive, but they have excellent resistance to wear compared to 1095 high-carbon steel blades.

Stainless steel is the last type of steel we want to explore. Knives made of stainless steel are the most expensive out of the three. In addition, stainless steel knives are much tougher, sharper, and lighter than the other two. Finally, it is resistant to wear and rust.

However, one downside about a stainless steel survival knife is that it is quite a hassle to sharpen it, but you should be fine when you use a high-end sharpener. It is important to note that stainless steels come in various types, and each style has its advantages and disadvantages.

7. Sheath System
Choosing the suitable sheath for your survival knife is important. You want to make sure that the sheath you choose makes it easy for you to carry your knife without any hassle. Also, ensure that the sheath is made of high-quality material that is durable and resistant to environmental factors such as water. Also, you want to ensure that the sheath you use for your knife holds it in place and won’t compromise your safety, regardless of any rugged physical activity.

Colleen

Living in a world where uncertainties can arise, Colleen has taken it upon herself to master the art of survival in the face of natural or civil disasters. With a background in outdoor activities and a keen interest in learning essential survival skills, Colleen has dedicated time to acquiring knowledge in areas such as wilderness survival, first aid, and emergency response.

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