A survival knife is more than just a sharp blade. It is a tool that you can use for literally dozens of tasks. A good survival knife can do other things than saving your life.
With that said, finding a good survival knife that can get the job done but won’t cost you an arm and a leg is easier said than done.
Today, we are here to help you find the best survival knife of 2020, something durable, functional, and comfortable that hopefully won’t empty your bank account.
- Best Survival Knives: Reviews
- Survival Knife Buyers Guide
- Final Verdict
Kershaw Blur Black (1670BLK) Everyday Carry Pocketknife with 3.4” Stainless Steel Drop Point Blade, DLC Coated Handle Features SpeedSafe Assisted Opening, Lanyard Hole, Reversible Pocketclip; 3.9 OZ
Best Survival Knives: Reviews
Kershaw Blur Pocketknife
Suppose you need a small and convenient pocketknife that you can fit in your pocket and easily carry around. In that case, the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife is an excellent option. It’s a user-friendly pocketknife that you can have ready to use at the flick of a switch.
One thing that stands out about the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife is the Sandvik 14C28N steel that the blade is made of.
This is one of the highest performing types of steel globally, and it is well known for its exceptional hardness and corrosion resistance. It’s the kind of knife you can get wet and put through some real punishment without worrying about damaging the blade.
The 14C28N steel creates a super sharp knife edge that won’t go dull anytime soon.
To help make the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife’s blade even more durable, it features an attractive diamond coating to increase hardness, durability, and corrosion resistance. It also helps decrease friction.
What also stands out is the torsion bar that helps open the knife in a fraction of a second. There are a flipper and a thumb stud, which can open the knife with minimal pressure.
Simply push the flipper or the thumb stud just a little bit, and the blade flips open. The high-quality and secure locking system allows for easy one-finger closing, and it helps keep you safe.
In total, the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife weighs around 4 ounces. Keep in mind that the drop point blade is 3.5 inches long.
We think this is more than small and lightweight enough to be considered highly portable because it is a folding pocketknife. The blade might not be huge, but it can still come in handy and work fine for most basic applications.
On a side note, we like the Trac-Tec on the handle, which a unique material that allows for excellent grip, even if the knife gets wet. The Kershaw Blur Pocketknife also comes with a reversible pocket clip for even higher portability.
The good part about the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife is that it’s a really small, convenient, portable, and affordable pocketknife. It might not look like anything special, but looks can be deceiving because this is very durable and highly functional.
The only bad part about the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife is that the blade might be just a bit too short for big jobs. There’s also the fact that hinged pocketknives have an inherent weak point, that being the hinge.
- Superior durability
- Very high-quality blade
- Convenient and portable
- Secure locking mechanism
- Easy deployment with either hand
- Good grip
- The hinge can only take so much pressure
- Blade might be a bit too short for big jobs
ESEE Laser Strike Knife
Suppose you are looking for a larger survival knife with a longer blade than the one previously reviewed. In that case, the ESEE Laser Strike Knife might be a good survival knife for you to consider.
What stands out about the ESEE Laser Strike Knife is its impressive size. Overall, this knife is around 10.6 inches in length with a 5-inch blade, and it weighs just over 1 pound.
In terms of size, this is more than large enough for any necessary survival job and scenario. A 5-inch blade is quite impressive, and the overall length and design also allow for an outstanding balance.
The spear point blade not only looks impressive but is also highly functional. One pound may not be lightweight, but at least you know that the knife is made out of some solid materials.
Plus, to help allow for some portability, the ESEE Laser Strike Knife comes complete with a really nice sheath.
The blade is made out of powder-coated 1095 carbon steel, one of the strongest metals used for a knife blade.
Thanks to the material and the powder coating, this knife blade is extremely durable and resilient. It has a super sharp edge that is difficult to dull; it is highly resistant to chipping and cracking, and it won’t rust or corrode. The full tang design adds to the knife’s overall durability.
In terms of comfort, the ESEE Laser Strike Knife is very well-balanced. The handle is ergonomically designed for comfortable holding.
Moreover, the handle is covered with a Micarta fabric, which is known for its superior durability. Because it is fabric, it allows for an excellent grip, even when wet.
The ESEE Laser Strike Knife is a really large, impressive, and heavy-duty knife used for hunting, fishing, camping, survival, combat, and more. It’s the kind of knife that a member of the armed forces would be happy to carry.
The only bad thing about the ESEE Laser Strike Knife is that if the Micarta handle gets wet, it will take quite some time to dry.
- Awesome durability
- Full tang
- High-quality blade
- Powder-coated for added resistance
- Ergonomic design
- Great balance
- Excellent grip
- Fabric handle can get wet
- A bit on the heavy side
Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife
If you want a large knife with a long and intimidating blade, a knife that might look simple yet is functional and deadly in any scenario, the high-end Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife is an excellent option. It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for, and here you get quality.
What stands out about the Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife is its impressive size. The overall length of 12.6 inches, and it comes with a 6.29-inch blade.
No matter what you need it for, this knife is sure to be large enough for it. Although this knife is a bit on the larger side, we would say that it is still small enough to be maneuverable and functional.
On that same note, the Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife weighs only 0.8 pounds, which is surprisingly lightweight for a knife of this size. This helps make it user-friendly, non-fatiguing, and quite portable.
A high-quality Zytel sheath makes the knife easy to carry on your person and helps protect both you and the knife when it is not in use.
It’s also worth mentioning is the VG10 steel blade has a cutting edge that can cut through most things. This kind of steel and blade design provides great sharpness and creates a knife that doesn’t need to be sharpened often.
There is also the fact that VG10 steel is exceptionally durable. It’s not easy to chip or crack this blade, and it won’t rust. The full tang design adds to its overall durability; it also allows for an outstanding balance between the handle and the blade.
We like the handle with the ergonomic design for comfortable holding and a great texture for a secure grip.
What is nice about the Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife is that you know that you are getting a big and tough knife to handle any job you put in front of it. It might not be the cheapest knife around, but it’s a really tough customer.
The high price of the Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife is the biggest downfall. The other small downside is that the knife is over a foot long, which may be too large for some.
- Very sharp blade
- Stays sharp with prolonged use
- Very durable
- Full tang design
- High-quality sheath
- Well balanced
- Good handle with grip texture
- Quite long
- Somewhat expensive
Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife
Suppose you are looking for a medium-sized fixed-blade survival knife that is relatively high in quality yet won’t cost you a fortune. In that case, the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife merits further inspection.
One thing that stands out about the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife is the over-molded soft-grip handle with a very rough texture. This allows you to hold the knife easily and comfortably for prolonged periods without suffering from discomfort.
The soft grip is also excellent for impact absorption. This knife is also very well balanced, another feature that helps add to its overall functionality.
Next, the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife is just under 10 inches long with a 4.75-inch blade, and it’s not very heavy.
We would say that this knife is large enough to tackle most jobs, yet small and lightweight enough to remain comfortable and maneuverable.
This knife comes has a MOLLE-compatible hard-plastic sheath that is very durable and will help keep both you and the knife safe when it is not in use. On that same note, you also get a leg strap.
In terms of the blade, it is partially flat and partially serrated, something we like as each has specific things which they excel at.
Let’s also keep in mind that this is a full tang knife with a 420 HC steel blade and additional ceramic coating. This allows for a high level of impact resistance; it won’t chip or crack easily, and it won’t rust.
The cutting edge on the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife is very sharp, and it will stay sharp as long as you treat it right.
On a side note, the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife comes with a glass breaker on the handle, just in case you need to make a speedy getaway in the event of a car accident.
What we like about the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife is how it is just an all-around solid knife that won’t cost you a fortune. It features a surprisingly high level of quality and durability for its low price.
Something that isn’t great about the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife is that the blade needs to be sharpened first. Moreover, the soft handle could be more durable.
- Blade design ideal for most applications
- Good mid-range size
- Very portable
- Nice sheath
- Comfortable and ergonomic
- Durable blade
- Good weight
- Blade comes relatively dull
- Handle material could be tougher
KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife
KA-BAR is a highly trusted brand for knives, and they have managed to produce yet another high-quality yet reasonably priced knife in the BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife.
Something that stands out about the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife is its size. This knife measures nearly 13-inches long with a 7-inch blade. This is a large knife, and its size not only looks impressive but makes it ideal for a wide variety of applications, especially for jobs that smaller knives can’t handle.
Moreover, the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife weighs just 0.85 ounces, which is not that heavy.
We would say that although it is a large knife, it is lightweight enough to remain maneuverable. In terms of portability, it comes with a sheath that protects both you and the knife while it is not in use; it is easy to clip onto a belt loop or any other such strap on your person.
The KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife features a 7-inch 1098 Cro-Van steel blade with a clip-point design.
This is one of the best kinds of steel used in knife making, and it has a high level of durability, impact, crack, and corrosion resistance. It’s a very sharp knife that won’t need to be sharpened much.
In terms of comfort, the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife has an ergonomically designed handle that is comfortable to hold for prolonged periods. It has a pommel and hilt that allow for a decent grip. The handle is made of Grivory, a material known for both its lightweight nature and durability.
The good part about the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife is that while it may look like a very plain knife and does not cost much, it’s actually one of the higher quality options in our review. KA-BAR is known for producing exceptionally high-quality products. It has not failed with the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife.
The only bad thing about the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife is the sheath. What is not great here is that the sheath is quite loose, and the knife does not seem to securely fit into it. Also, the handle could some texture to provide a better grip.
- Large size is ideal for many applications
- Not too heavy for its size
- Good blade material
- Sleek design
- Sheath is a bit loose
- Handle could use some texture
Survival Knife Buyers Guide
Before you buy the first survival knife you’re attracted to, let’s go over some of the considerations that you should keep in mind before spending your hard-earned money.
Blade Length and Thickness
The first thing to consider when purchasing a survival knife is the length of the blade.
Generally speaking, if you are going for functionality, something that can handle any job you put in front of it, a blade between 5 and 7 inches should do. However, if you are looking for portability, a blade between 3 and 5 inches is ideal.
Therefore, to get the best of both worlds, something like a 5-inch blade will do fine. In terms of thickness, just remember that a thicker blade is more durable and will take more punishment. Still, a thinner blade is generally sharper, better at cutting, and better for precision work.
You will also want to pay attention to what the blade of the survival knife is made of.
High-quality steel like 420 High Carbon steel, 1098 Cro-Van Steel, Sandvik 14C28N steel, or VG-10 steel is best for survival knives. You want something very durable, impact-, crack-, and corrosion-resistant. Ordinary stainless steel is generally not good enough for a survival knife.
Without getting too much into the benefits of different blade shapes, the best blade shapes for survival knives include drop point, clip point, spear point, and tanto blades. These are the most functional types of blades, especially in survival, combat, and outdoor applications.
The next thing to look at is the handle, particularly the material it is made out of. Something like glass-filled nylon or Grivory is generally considered the best for this.
These materials are lightweight and durable. While regular plastic is light, it’s usually just not durable enough to handle the jobs that a survival knife needs to perform.
You may go for a softer material, something like the soft molded plastic or Micarta handles that we saw today, but keep in mind that while soft materials are comfortable, they also have limited durability. Then, some people just like the classic look of wood.
We can say for sure that when you are looking for a good survival knife, always go for a full tang design. This means that the blade material extends all the way down through the handle, which helps increase both balance and durability.
The Pommel or Butt
Although not 100% necessary, having a survival knife with a raised pommel or butt is always nice because it helps allow for a good grip. That pommel keeps your hands in place.
Moreover, it might be wise to purchase a knife with a built-in glass breaker on the butt for survival scenarios.
No good survival knife is complete without an accompanying sheath, something to safely carry the knife when it is not in use. It needs to be durable and protect the knife.
For most applications, we would recommend either a hard plastic or a leather sheath. We would avoid choosing a fabric sheath.
What are the Benefits of a Survival Knife Over a Normal Knife?
The benefit is that standard knives, such as a gutting knife or a carpet knife, is only designed for a specific job.
On the other hand, survival knives are designed to handle many applications with the same blade. Moreover, survival knives tend to be built much tougher than your average knife.
What is a Survival Knife Used For?
Survival knives can be used for many different purposes.
A good survival knife can be used for gutting and cleaning fish, hunting and cleaning other animals, cutting rope, building shelter, making firewood, digging holes, administering first aid, and starting fires for combat, for self-defense, and more still.
How do You Sharpen a Survival Knife?
The best way to sharpen a survival knife is with a whetstone, but you may also choose other methods.
Below we have included a video tutorial on how to easily sharpen your survival knife.
What is the Best Type of Steel for a Knife’s Blade?
The best steel types for a survival knife’s blade include 420 High Carbon steel, 1098 Cro-Van Steel, Sandvik 14C28N steel, and VG-10 steel.
All the survival knives that we have looked at are great options in their own right. However, which one you choose will depend on what your needs are. For instance, if you want a super portable, convenient, and lightweight survival knife, we recommend the Kershaw Blur Pocketknife.
On the other hand, if you want a big knife that looks mean and can handle any job you put in front of it, and you don’t mind spending a bit extra, we would recommend the Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife. Whatever you end up choosing, just remember to keep our buyer’s guide in mind!