Pros and Cons of Serrated and Plain-Edge Survival Knives

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

In a survival situation, having a good knife can mean the difference between life and death. But what kind of knife is best for survival? Should you get a serrated or plain-edge knife? We’ll look at the pros and cons of a serrated vs. plain-edge to help you make the best decision for your needs.

When it Comes to a Survival Knife, Serrated or Plain Edge?

When deciding on the right survival knife, it is essential to choose the type of blade that is right for you — plain or serrated edge.

The choice depends on what kind of jobs it will be used for.

A plain edge knife will perform better for cutting, whittling, making traps and shelters, and skinning game animals. It will also provide better control over delicate slicing tasks such as dividing vegetables.

On the other hand, serrated edges are ideal for sawing through branches and rope or any larger material that needs to be broken up. In the wilderness, having a plain-edged and a serrated-edged knife can provide the right solutions at the right moment.

Pros of a Serrated Knife for Survival

A serrated knife is an invaluable tool for anyone hoping to survive off the land in an emergency situation.

The deeply grooved blade allows you to cut through tough materials that a standard, smooth-edged blade could never manage. For example, it can easily slice through rawhide, rope, and similar materials that are difficult to work with and essential in wilderness survival scenarios.

The cutting power of a serrated blade also makes it helpful in preparing everyday meals — it can quickly chop hard fruits and vegetables or cut through a frozen block of meat with minimal effort. This makes it a great asset on any camping trip, especially if there’s no electricity around to simplify meal preparation.

All in all, the versatility of the serrated knife makes it essential for any type of survival situation.

Cons of a Serrated Knife for Survival

One of the most significant drawbacks to using a serrated knife for survival is that it can be more challenging to control and use than a straight-edged blade. A serrated knife is designed for sawing, but its teeth can catch, slip or even break if you twist or put too much pressure on the blade.

The saw-like design can make sharpening and maintaining optimal performance levels challenging. Serrated edges also require special care when cleaning, as dirt and debris can become trapped in their jagged edge crevices; improper cleaning habits may eventually cause the blade to dull or rust.

Finally, due to their design, serrated knives can be more expensive than other varieties of blades.

Pros of a Plain-Edge Knife for Survival

Plain-edge knives are a great choice due to their versatility and efficiency. They are ideal for penetrating, slicing, and digging tasks. The single bevel allows maximum precision when cutting food or plants for eating or fine carving or whittling.

Being versatile and able to perform multiple jobs makes a plain edge knife an invaluable resource in any outdoor setting.

In the hands of an experienced user, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with a good plain-edge blade besides industrial jobs or quick hacking, so any serious outdoor enthusiast should strongly consider adding one to their kit.

Serrated vs. Plain-Edge Survival Knife

Cons of a Plain-Edge Knife for Survival 

Plain-edge knives are often seen as the most useful for survival, yet it is vital to understand their limitations.

While these knives are convenient, they cannot handle all kinds of tasks due to their sharpness and ability to adjust in tight places that would not fit a serrated blade. For instance, a plain-edge blade cannot be used on hard materials like wood and bone.

Furthermore, when the plain-edge knife is used for cutting rope and other thick materials, its sharpness can diminish quickly. Therefore, while this kind of knife has its merits, it should be seen more as a complement to other blades that can help complete the full range of jobs you may encounter in a survival situation.

Can You Sharpen Serrated Knives?

Knowing how to sharpen serrated knives is a vital skill in the kitchen. While regular knives have a simple, flat blade, serrated knives have an uneven edge and are usually made from softer metals than traditional knives.

While some might think that serrated knives cannot be sharpened, they can, but it takes extra care.

To get the best results and avoid damaging the blade, hone each angle of the serration individually on a steel rod, or ceramic sharpening stone specifically made for sharpening serrated blades.

Take your time and go slowly to get a sharp edge without risking any damage. Keeping your favorite serrated knife in excellent condition for years is possible with a little effort.

How to Choose the Right Knife for Your Needs Serrated vs. Plain Edge

The blade edge type is one of the most critical factors when deciding which knife to use for your needs. Specifically, there are two distinct types of blade edges: serrated and plain edge.

A serrated blade has a saw-toothed surface and is primarily used for cutting materials with fibrous textures, such as bread and rope.

On the other hand, a plain-edge blade has a smooth, uniform surface that is better suited for precision slicing, such as preparing fruits and vegetables. Therefore, when deciding on the right knife to serve your purpose, carefully examine which type of blade fits your needs best — either serrated or plain-edged — and choose accordingly.

What to Do With Your Old Survival Knives

If you are a passionate outdoors enthusiast, you probably have a collection of survival knives. But what do you do with them once they no longer make the cut when preparing food or opening packages?

One solution is to turn your old survival knife into a unique piece of art for your home. Many dedicated artisans salvage parts from vintage knives and create amazing sculptures that are both beautiful and functional. You can even give your broken knife new life by mounting it on a wall in an attractive frame or upcycling it into something else entirely.

With some patience and creativity, you can turn any old survival knife into an eye-catching object that will be admired by any visitor to your home.


Plain or serrated, when it comes to a survival knife, the most important thing is that you have one and know how to use it.

With so many available options, choosing the right knife for your needs can be overwhelming, but if you keep in mind what you’ll be using it for and do your research, you can’t go wrong.

And once you’ve got your new knife, don’t forget about your old ones. An excellent way to get rid of them is by donating them to scouting groups or youth organizations — that way, someone who may not be able to afford a quality blade will still have access to one.

Special offer for our visitors

Get your Free Survival Gear Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions