Best Throwing Knives

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

22 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
163 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best throwing knives

Last Updated August 2019

Whether it be for hunting, sport, or personal protection, humans have been throwing knives since we could make them. Believe it or not, knife-throwing didn’t experience a modern revival until about 10 years ago, when professional competition leagues and top manufacturers began to enter the scene. It’s easy to see why. The raw skill, purity, and excitement of high-end knife-throwing is nearly unmatched, because while other precision sports use finely tuned and complex machines, in knife-throwing, it’s just you and the blade.

Basically any knife can be thrown, but throwing knives are unique in their balance and aerodynamic designs. Svelte and lightweight, they generally feature one-piece construction of stainless steel and are shaped for low wind resistance. Some are better for straight, no-spin throwing and others are geared toward rotational throwing, where the knife turns end-over-end as it flies toward its target.

Often sold in sets of three to six, throwing knives are perfect tools for those looking to sharpen aim, increase hand-eye coordination, or simply blow off steam during free time.

Knife throwing can be done casually or as a full-fledged sport. Organizations like the American Knife Throwing Alliance host competitions all around the country pitting the best knife and tomahawk throwers against one other.

Key considerations

Knife size

Throwing knives are simple tools, but the way they fit in your hand determines how well you’re able to throw them. They come in all shapes and sizes, but typical dimensions fall between six to 12 inches long and four to 16 ounces in weight.

Large, heavy knives are easier to throw with force and tend to rotate slower, and that makes them a solid choice for beginners. By contrast, small knives are extremely precise, feature more rotational capabilities, and are easier to conceal. At the end of the day, the knife needs to feel comfortable as you throw it, so keep handle ergonomics and feel at the top of your priority list.

Knife style

There are several different knife styles on the market today, ranging from straight, minimalist designs to ornate blades inspired by Japanese throwing stars (shurikens). A certain style can help throwers express themselves, but knife-to-handle balance is far more crucial to throwing performance.

  • Blade-heavy knives, as the name suggests, have more weight in the blade than in the handle. Since you typically want the heaviest end of the knife thrown first, blade-heavy knives are gripped by the handle. This makes them ideal for beginners who want to learn the basic “hammer grip” style of throwing. The hammer grip entails wrapping the fingers of your dominant hand around the handle with your thumb touching the handle at the top parallel to the blade.

  • Handle-heavy knives store the bulk of their weight in the handle, meaning you throw them by gripping the blade. This style is deal for no-spin throws, or those where the knife spins very little (low-ratio). Many examples actually have no separate handle at all and are instead formed from a single piece of shaped metal. Beginners may have a tough time getting used to this style.

  • In a balanced knife, the center of gravity is in the middle. This allows the thrower to toss the knife from the handle or the blade with similar results, as the rotations are far more predictable. Beginners may have a hard time getting used to these types at first, but their ability to perform well in both no-spin and rotational throwing makes them extremely popular with experienced markspeople.
EXPERT TIP

Throwing knives are often made without separate handles, instead opting for a uniform one-piece design. This is because you want a smooth, straight surface to grip to guarantee a solid throw. Also, handle material — even if it’s advertised as durable — will likely crack or break from extended use. Kraton and other tough rubbers may hold up.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Sheaths

Considering the majority of throwing knives are formed from a single piece of stainless steel, there aren’t many extra features outside of storage. A sheath is the most common form of knife storage out there, and they’re usually made from leather or nylon. Several styles are available, with some attaching to your belt while others fit snugly on your wrist. Depending on the version you choose, a sheath can hold anywhere from one to six knives.

Cutouts

Another way to store throwing knives is on a ribbon which fits through small holes or rings on the handle end of each knife. These cutouts are usually carved out with a laser device for greater uniformity and a lower chance of snagging.

Throwing knife prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level throwing knives can be purchased for less than $10, and for the money, you’ll probably still get a set of three stainless steel blades that stand up to abuse. These models generally include a safe nylon sheath for storage.

Mid-range: For about $20, expect to find larger knife sets with six blades or more. The knives may be larger with more intricate designs as well, with clever sheaths that attach to your belt, boot, or wrist.

Expensive: At the top of the price range, you may pay as much as $50 for a quality throwing knife set. These blades can stand up to the toughest abuse, are typically made in the U.S., and feature high-end leather sheaths for safety and storage.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fixed Distance or Traditional knife throwing involves throwing blades rotationally from a set distance. There are multiple stations on a course, with each corresponding to a particular distance and amount of rotation. Common examples include one half-spin at two meters or one full spin at three meters.

DID YOU KNOW?

In Instinctive or No-Spin knife throwing, the blade is thrown with little to no rotation from various set distances. Rules are strict here — the majority of competitions do not allow more than a one-quarter spin without point deduction or disqualification.

Tips

  • Have old, chipped, or excessively dull knives on hand? With a bit of dressing and deburring on the edges, old knives can make fantastic practice throwers.

  • To practice your throwing posture, stand about 10 feet away from your target. If you’re right-handed, put your left foot forward and your right foot slightly back to form a 45-degree angle, almost as if you’re in a pseudo-boxing stance. Remember to bend your knees slightly for stability.

  • When throwing right-handed, keep your left hand pointed at the target to “aim.” Hold the knife in your right hand above your head and propel it forward by bringing it down in a chopping motion. Shift your weight forward as you do so and follow through for better accuracy. Make small tweaks to your release time to correct any issues as you practice.

Other products we considered

The problem with finding high-quality throwing knives isn’t that there aren’t enough, it’s that there are too many. One blade that just missed our list but is still worthy of mention is Smith & Wesson’s SWTK8BCP. The set includes three eight-inch stainless steel knives that weigh 4.1 ounces each, and all three fit inside the nylon belt sheath. Moving up in price, United Cutlery’s UC2772 Kunai offers longer 12-inch blades that are perfectly balanced for no-spin and rotational throwing. The Kunai design is certainly eye-catching, and the black nylon sheath attaches via boot clip, belt strap, or leg strap.

There are several throwing knives geared toward beginners, but if you are younger than 12 years old, we do not recommend knife-throwing. If you are under 18 years old, we strongly recommend adult supervision and the use of heavier knives to start.

FAQ

Q. What is the best way to clean throwing knives?

A. Throwing knives don’t need intricate cleaning solutions or techniques. On the whole, a quick scrub with a wet washcloth is sufficient to get rid of dirt and/or wood sap stains. However, your knife should be completely dry before storing. If you’d really like to pamper your blade, apply a protective oil such as Ballistol and rub it off the next day.

Q. What is the best way to sharpen throwing knives, and how sharp should they be?

A. Believe it or not, throwing knives are not supposed to be very sharp. They simply need sharp tips to stick into their target; any sharper increases the risk of injury during throwing or handling. If yours needs a tune-up, utilize a whetstone, honing oil, or a very clean file to minimize scratching. If your knife has a double-edged blade, use a slot sharpener.

Q. Which throwing knives are good for beginners?

A. You might assume that small, lightweight knives are the easiest to handle, making them well-suited for beginners. In fact, the opposite is true. Heavier knives rotate slower, are more intuitive to throw, and are less likely to bounce back from the target, so they’re great for novices. Look for examples that weigh seven ounces or more and are free of fancy handles and ornaments that could catch your hand.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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