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Best Hunting Knives

Updated June 2022
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Best of the Best
MTech USA Xtreme MX-8054 Series
MTech USA Xtreme
MX-8054 Series
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All-purpose knife works for hunting or camping tasks. Excellent handle for superior gripping, even when wet.


Good length allows knife to do multiple jobs. Ships with black nylon sheath. Retains sharp edge for a long time. Blade includes blood groove and sawtooth back for versatility. Extended finger guard for safety.


Sheath doesn't have high build quality. Handle size may be too thick for some people to hold properly.

Best Bang for the Buck
Elk Ridge Two-Piece Set
Elk Ridge
Two-Piece Set
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Excellent value. Two knives for one price. Great options for hunters in the field.


Set includes a gut hook knife and a straight-edge skinning knife. Dual carry sheath for both knives. Camo-colored green handles have non-slip texture. Extremely good price for two knives.


Knives may cut through the sheath when in storage. Not the most durable knives.

Morakniv Craftline Robust
Craftline Robust
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Thick carbon steel blade provides excellent durability. Comfortable handle for using for long periods.


Size and weight suit a variety of uses. Ships with hard plastic sheath. Great knife for processing small game and for precise work. Carbon steel blade is easy to sharpen. Finger guard on handle for safety.


Blade length is a little short at less than four inches. Blade may collect stains with certain cutting jobs.

CIMA Full-Tang Outdoor Survival Fixed Blade
Full-Tang Outdoor Survival Fixed Blade
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Blade works well for both hunting and camping purposes. Reasonably good price point for a durable knife.


Extremely thick blade. Ships with sheath and belt clip. Handle and blade are tightly connected for sturdy feel. Basic handle shape fits the hand well. Performs a number of jobs effectively.


Blade length is quite short. Knife fits loosely in included sheath. Blade needs to be sharpened often.

Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade
Ghoststrike Fixed Blade
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Excellent compact knife system that fits tight in the sheath. Well-constructed blade resists corrosion problems.


Compact skeletal frame with indention for finger. Ceramic coating on blade prevents corrosion. Includes sheath for carrying in a vertical or horizontal position on a belt. Works well for processing small game.


Blade tends to dull fairly quickly. Handle coating doesn't last very long. Knife is too light for some people.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About 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.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best hunting knives

A good hunting knife is indispensable, and there are hundreds to choose from. That's great because it means there is a perfect tool for every outdoor pursuit.

However, all those choices can make things confusing. That's where BestReviews comes in!

We run lab tests and field trials. We consult experts and evaluate owner feedback. Independent advice from BestReviews is invaluable – we never take free samples from manufacturers, so you know our findings are unbiased and honest.

The five hunting knives shortlisted are those we recommend. Each offers best-in-class performance and value, with something for every user.

The following shopping guide looks at the elements we considered.

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Don't be tempted buy the biggest knife available. If you're skinning small game, a large knife is too unwieldy to be effective.

Choosing a hunting knife

There are many edge tools, but we're focusing specifically on finding the best knives for hunters. Some are specific to certain tasks. Others can be used for many purposes. When choosing, look at three key areas:

  • Knife Steel

  • Blade Length

  • Blade Style

Knife steel

Manufacturers of cheap hunting knives often tout "carbon steel" as a benefit, but all steel is made of iron and carbon, so the term doesn't mean much. "High-carbon steel" is an equally vague description unless a specific number is included. There are too many variations in steel for us to detail them all, but the following are the most common in hunting knives.

  • Steel labeled 420HC (high carbon) and 440 are types of stainless steel often found in good-quality hunting knives.

  • Steel labeled 7CR17MOV is a variation of 440 that includes vanadium for additional hardness.

  • High-end hunting knives use S30V and 154CM steel. These are very hard, so they retain their edge well, but these knives can be difficult to sharpen. Technically, both of these types of steel are more brittle, but that's seldom a problem in the field. Hunting knives made with these types of steel are more expensive.

"It's vital to have a guard between the knife blade and handle to keep your hand from accidentally sliding down the blade. A secure grip is particularly important on a large hunting knife."

Blade length

While blade length is largely a question of personal preference, there are some specific points to consider.

  • Short: A short knife (three to five inches) is easy to carry and offers more finesse if you mostly hunt small game. It isn’t as useful as a general-purpose tool.

  • Medium: A medium knife (five to eight inches) is a good choice for the occasional hunter, but those who are more committed to the sport might want to buy two knives, so you have the right tool for each job.

  • Long: A long knife (eight inches and longer) gives you power and leverage, useful if you're doing more with your hunting knife than just preparing game. Of course, the longer the knife, the more awkward it is to carry. If you want a particularly long blade, a survival machete might be a better choice for you.

"A knife sheath is vital for protecting you and your gear. Look for a sheath with a belt loop, lanyard, or both."

Blade style

At first glance, there seems to be an endless variety, but blade styles can be narrowed down to just three.

  • Drop Point: The back of the blade curves down toward the sharp end. These blades have a thick spine, making them rigid and ideal for heavy work.

  • Clip Point: The blade tilts up at the end. This classic Bowie knife design gives a useful point for piercing and offers more precision. The blade isn’t quite as strong as a drop point, but the clip point knife is the most versatile.

  • Skinning/Trailing Point: These blades are narrower than the others, with a pronounced upward curve at the end. It's a specialist tool. The blade is unsuitable for general-purpose game processing or campsite work.

You might also want to consider these two blade features.

  • Serrated Edge: This runs along part of the cutting edge or spine. It’s useful for cutting bone.

  • Gut Hook: This sharpened hook is cut into the back of the blade, near the tip. It’s used for slicing skin. Some hunters like it; others get by just fine without it.

Many find traditional bone knife handles attractive, but they can be uncomfortable for prolonged use and hard to grip when wet or cold. Modern non-slip composites are more practical.


Q. Should I choose a hunting knife with a fixed or folding blade?

A. We recommend a hunting knife with a fixed blade. It’s more rigid and easier to clean, and it doesn't have small parts that can fail. A folding general-purpose knife is versatile, but it isn’t what you need to cut brush or process game.

Q. Knife blades can be shiny or matt. Is one better than the other?

A. Blade finish is largely cosmetic, though it can help prevent rust. The type of steel is important, not the color.

Q. How do I keep my hunting knife sharp?

A. Cleaning it after use and keeping it sheathed will prolong the edge. When the knife starts to dull, use a manual stone, not a powered grinder. The latter generates too much heat and can damage the blade. There are a number of good videos online that demonstrate proper sharpening technique. Practice and patience are key.

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