The best machetes for hacking your way through the wilderness

For bushcraft, gardening, or prepping for the next zombie apocalypse.

Best Overall

Condor Bushcraft Parang Machete

Best Value

Ontario Knife Company 18u0022 Military Machete

Best Premium

Condor Warlock

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

There are blades where quality is emphasized over quantity, and there are others where quantity is given priority. Unfortunately, many machetes fall in the latter category, with low-quality steel, dubious heat treats, and terrible handles. Most are designed as expendable tools, where they’ll see minimal use and plenty of abuse, whether that’s due to lack of maintenance or overexposure to the environment. 

However, machetes are one of the most useful blades out there, with a history of combat use and farm utility. Plus, overall, they’re extremely handy to have around the campfire or garden. We’re not the biggest fan of perishable implements that break when you need them most, so we’ve rounded up a list of some of the best machetes on the market.

Best Overall

Condor Bushcraft Parang Machete

Best Value

Ontario Knife Company 18” Military Machete

Best Premium

Condor Warlock

Best Kukri

Ontario Knife Company Kukri

Best Tactical

Cold Steel 18u0022 Latin D-Guard Machete

Things to consider before buying a machete

Machetes come in many different forms and sizes. No matter what task you have in mind or what your local restrictions are, it’s probable that you’ll easily find a machete that suits your needs. You can find them at pretty much any sporting goods store or online, and they’re available at pretty much every price point.

Types of machetes

Fixed blade

This is by far the most common type of machete and with good reason. Simple to make, and even simpler to maintain, a fixed blade machete doesn’t rely on a locking mechanism that might fail. Rather, the blade is fixed in the handle so that it doesn’t move, and is stored in a sheath when not in use. The biggest concern with a fixed blade machete is ensuring that it has a full tang, instead of a fragile rat-tail tang. Thankfully, there aren’t many of these, but it’s still something to be leery of.


Drastically less common than fixed blade machetes, there aren’t many folding machetes on the market, and the few that do exist are often more difficult to open than fixed blades are to unsheath. Some, like the Gerber DoubleDown, require two hands to be able to open and close and have disproportionate handle-to-blade ratios. Others, like the Cold Steel Rajah II, are easier to open, but still have a bemusingly long handle compared to the blade.

Key features of a machete

Steel type

With very few exceptions, the vast majority of machetes will be made from high-carbon steel. This is in part due to its inherent toughness, but also due to how inexpensive it is. There are a few stainless steel machetes, but frequently these are no-name stainless steel machetes that are lacking quality control and durability, making them more a hazard to yourself than whatever you might have to hack through.

Blade length 

Most common machetes are going to have blades between 12 and 18 inches long. There are examples that are shorter, but you have less leverage and reach with those. Longer models are decently common, such as the Ontario 22” Military Machete, however, those are more difficult to use, as the increased length can cause more hand and shoulder fatigue.

Blade shape

There are quite a few different blade shapes used for machetes, all with differing uses. One of the most common types is the Latin blade shape, which features a straight-backed blade, relatively simple in design. These are typically thinner and used more for clearing grass and brush, while thicker blade shapes like the Parang and Kukri are more commonly used for chopping and hacking through tougher mediums like logs and trees.

Handle materials

While antique machetes mostly used wooden handles that weren’t the most comfortable or durable, most modern machetes use some form of polymer. Aside from typically having better ergonomics and being more durable, polymer handles have a much better track record for not splintering with age. More premium offerings will feature man-made materials such as micarta and G10, which are even more wear-resistant.

FAQs about machetes

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

A: In general, if you’re camping or using it for normal tasks around the farm or backyard, yes. However, there are so many different state, city, county, and municipality laws out there that it’s impossible for us to cover them all in the scope of this article. It’s always best to double-check your local laws and restrictions. is a fantastic source for up-to-date information.

Q: How much does a machete usually cost?

A: Most budget machetes are going to be extremely affordable, sitting at around $30 to $50. Mid-tier machetes are typically a little better quality, costing between $50 and $150, while high-end machetes simply go up from there. For practical uses, we’d stick with machetes in either the budget or mid-tier ranges.

Q: Why do machetes frequently come with poor factory edges?

A: A mix of budget-minded blades and poor quality control. Many manufacturers expect that you’ll be either beating the heck out of it or that you’ll be capable of honing the edge if desired. And, to an extent, they’re not wrong. You’re likely not going to need a 20,000 grit, 17-degree edge on a machete; it wouldn’t hold up to any serious use — unless, of course, you fancy yourself to be Rambo in need of a shave.

Final thoughts

We scoured the depths of the machete mania to sort through all the less-than-stellar options out there, and the blades we found are proof of this. The time-tested 1-18 Military Machete easily took the best budget blade, due to its durability and impressive price. The Condor Bushcraft is a great choice for the average user that needs a comfortable blade that’ll last them decades. Meanwhile, the Condor Warlock is hands-down our favorite machete that we’ve ever handled, with a premium micarta grip, fantastic balance, and beautiful sheath.


I’ve been collecting and selling knives for nearly a decade and was even a blacksmith’s apprentice for a while. I’ve also written extensively about the subject for Task & Purpose. In addition to writing guides about Damascus knives, utility knives, and karambits, I’ve also reviewed individual blades like the Cold Steel American Lawman, WE Stonefish, Leatherman Curl, Cold Steel Storm Cloud, QSP Penguin, and Spyderco Slip Stone. Bluntly put, I’m a nerd — pun intended.

For this article, we used recommendations shared in forums around the internet, particularly a handful of Facebook groups for knife enthusiasts. We relied on these sources because the members tend to provide better feedback than what you’d find in product review sections on most knife websites. 

The machetes we selected came highly recommended because of their overall quality and performance. We looked for blades that were durable, versatile, and easy to maintain. We considered things like the materials used for the blade, handle, and sheath, as well as the manufacturer’s reputation for quality control. We specifically looked for blades that were corrosion-resistant, either due to them being stainless steel, or having a protective coating if they were high carbon steel. Wooden handles were avoided due to their tendency to splinter and retain moisture. Lastly, we eliminated any machetes that had partial tangs or thin rat-tail tangs, due to their tendency to be weaker than full tangs.

For more information on our methodology and product reviews, check out the Task & Purpose review guidelines.


Josiah Johnston Avatar

Josiah Johnston

Contributing Writer

Josiah Johnston is an active duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, originally from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He’s dabbled in blacksmithing, martial arts, and competitive shooting, and is a self-described knife nerd.