11 Best Survival Knives In 2017 – Reviews and Comparison

Best Survival KnivesA good survival knife is hard to find, especially one that stays sharp and doesn’t overload the user with useless gimmicks. Survival Knives have been popularized in many movies, and are very important to the outdoorsman. Durability is the main thing to be concerned about with a survival knife, and it doesn’t hurt to have a quality sheath and lifetime warranty from a big name brand company. The big names on the list are still Buck and Tops Knives, yet there are still some interesting offerings from other companies like Brite Strike that are actually not too bad, even if they don’t meet certain criteria.

The concepts brought up by the Brite Strike BSTLSK-100-CE and the Tool Logic SLP2 are not at all bad, if they can eventually catch up to the quality of the Bucks and Top Knives offering. There are also several on the list that have the incredible knife, but shabby and less than great sheath. It’s all a balancing act to find the best survival knife, and even then making a custom sheath or typical sharpening of the blade is necessary to make the purchase worth the buyer’s time. There are quite a few choices on the list, and with the variation in cost vs. functionality the end product can be any.

  • ESEE 6P-B
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 6.50"
  • Total Length: 11.75"
  • Knife Material: Handle: Grey Micarta Scale, Sheath: Black Molded Polymer
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • SOG
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 6-inch AUS-8 steel blade
  • Total Length: 11.25 inches
  • Knife Material: AUS8 Stainless Steel
  • Warranty: Repair or Replace Defective Items
  • KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 7" Straight Edge Blade
  • Total Length: Not specified
  • Knife Material: 1095 Cro-van steel
  • Warranty: Manufacturers, Knife Made in USA, Leather Sheath made in Mexico
  • BlizeTec Titanium
  • Blade Type: Folding
  • Blade Length: Not specified
  • Total Length: 8.62 inches in length, closed length 4.88 inches
  • Knife Material: BT981TK is made of #3cr14 stainless steel and coated with titanium ion carbide(TiC)
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

1. ESEE 6P-B Fixed Blade Knife

With an overall length of 11.75 inches, the 1095 steel blade of the ESEE 6P-B Fixed Blade Knife is 6.50 inches of perfection. The handle material is Grey Micarta Scale and carefully matches the shape and form of the blade, making for a great unison in craftsmanship. The entire package comes with a Black Molded Polymer sheath, not the worst, but definitely not living up to what the knife itself brings. It is a bit of a letdown considering the knife’s quality, but isn’t a game changer.

Besides the sheath, there really isn’t anything wrong with this knife from ESEE. Something about it just feels right when in the hand. The blade itself, right down to the tip, is made of some of the best and most durable material available. This all comes in at about a pound, with a very thick and capable blade. As far as survival knives go, the ESEE 6P-B Fixed Blade Knife is one of the best, if not the best.

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2. SOG Specialty Knives & Tools SE38-N Force Knife with Straight Edge Fixed

There is a bit of divide with value vs quality, with a huge outcry in this particular SOG. The very sleek looking knife has a handle made of glass-reinforced nylon, and a nylon sheath with lanyard with a hook and loop closure (MOLLE attachment as well). An incredible bargain, the 6 inch AUS-8 steel blade is touted as virtually unbreakable. The flipside of that claim is that the warranty is limited, of course. There’s still no denying that this blade is one of the more attractive on the list, and most feature rich, even if the features are not of the highest quality.

The first knock would be the limited warranty, the second knock would be the nylon case, and lastly the third would be the handle itself which is going to be a hit or miss for experienced knife handlers. But many in the field swear by the SE38-N, and some even have it as their go to knife for survival. It is a bit of a mixed bag, and as usual depending on the user mileage may vary. At the very least, due to its price point the SE38-N has a place on this list as one of the best survival knives.

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3. KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

When thinking of the marines, toughness is one of the first things to come to mind. That same ruggedness blends its way into the KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife, a unique fixed 7 straight edged blade knife made out of 1095 Cro-van steel. The endorsement isn’t just in the name, and as expected this knife comes with a very nice leather sheath and is one of the most popular knife designs in the world. For further reference look at any Hollywood movie where the final fight scene is two guys where the other one inevitably pulls out a knife-yeah, that’s the one.

It’s the original and the true, but many have passed it since then of better quality. The handle is still one of the best in the industry, but the blade itself is not meant for survival beyond the basics. The heavy duty stuff will most likely wear on the blade pretty quick, as it was not built for the abuse that most survival knives today go through. As a backup, it is still good to have around. And as a collector, it probably is already in the list.

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4. BlizeTec Titanium Folding Knife

The first folding knife on the list comes from BlizeTec, and although pretty standard fare, still is a nice number 2 option as a survival knife. The lifetime warranted 3.8 inch titanium coated blade is held together by a slipless G10 handle with an included emergency rope. The entire set is corrosion resistant and weather proof, and compact enough to fit in just about any pocket. There is an included nylon pouch for carrying, and even without the pouch, the liner lock feature will take care of any safety concerns.

The pricing is extremely low for what you get, and the quality is pretty decent. There are positive reviews all around for the BlizeTec Titanium Folding Knife, but mostly due to its accessible price point. Heavy duty work is not something this survival knife can handle, although in a pinch it does admirably. There are better survival knives out there, but there is nothing wrong with this BlizeTec. It’s a quality piece that won’t go unrecognized in beginner or serious circles.

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  • Ka-Bar Becker BK2
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 5.5 inches
  • Total Length: 10.5 inches long
  • Knife Material: Blade made of 1095 cro-van steel blade for strength, Handle made of Grivory material
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
  • Tool Logic SLP2
  • Blade Type: Folding
  • Blade Length: 3-inch, 50/50 serrated stainless steel with satin blade bead blast finish
  • Total Length: 6 x 6 x 4 inches
  • Knife Material: 1/2 Serrated Knife With LED Flashlight, Magnesium Fire Starter and Signal Whistle
  • Warranty: Three Year Limited Warranty
  • Cold Steel SRK San Mai III
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 6-Inches
  • Total Length: 10 3/4-Inch
  • Knife Material: Steel: VG-1 San Mai III, Sheath: Secure-Ex Sheath
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • Fallkniven A1
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 6.375 inches
  • Total Length: 11"
  • Knife Material: Satin Spear Point Blade, Kraton A1Z
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

5. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade

The sleek looking 5.5 inch blade of the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion will turn some heads. It’s made out of 1095 cro-van steel and personifies durability, while the handle itself was made out of Grivory material. The entire package is 10.5 inches and weighs in at a heavy 1.5 pounds, further showing it’s able to take long term abuse. It’s a nice balance of a great blade and comfortable grip all without breaking the bank.

If there was a complaint to be made it was that it ships with a glass filled nylon sheath rather than a functional Kydex or Leather sheath. This may bog down the value of the knife for some, but shouldn’t sway those that get custom made sheaths anyway. The durability is one of the highest on the list and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s a good survival knife to have handy and one of the primes on the list.

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6. Tool Logic SLP2 Tactical Folding 1/2 Serrated Knife

This is definitely going to be a toughie, as this multifunctional Tool Logic is one of the most unique survival knives on the list by a long margin. The blade is a 3 inch serrated stainless steel with satin blade bead blast finish. Fancy name aside, not a high quality blade when compared to others on this list. As far as features go, it has a built in LED flashlight with fire starter as well as loud signal whistle. The frame is made from Zytel and has a liner style lock for one handed operation.

The knife comes with batteries and the fire starter is set for up to 1,000 strikes. This list favors survival knives, and although these features are cool to behold, for the experienced outdoorsman they are unnecessary. The story would be different if this was on a quality blade, then we would definitely be talking about the best survival knife on the list. As it stands, this is a subpar knife with some nice attachments. With other quality knives on the list, the only reason to look at the Tool Logic SLP2 Tactical Folding 1/2 Serrated Knife is if you can’t start a fire, and didn’t come equipped with proper equipment to begin with.

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7. Cold Steel SRK San Mai III

Cold Steel strikes again with the Cold Steel SRK San Mai III, a small light 6 inch knife that’s pretty light to the touch, yet still has the durability of knives twice its weight. Measuring at 10 ¾ inches the blade is solidly made of VG-1 san Mai III and only weighs 8.2 ounces. The knife is smallish in areas, but the Kraton handle is one of the more comfortable to wield. Unfortunately the quality stops at the knife, as the sheath which is made of the typical Cold Steel brand polymer.

The knife itself is moderately priced and surprisingly light and strong, which is something to keep in mind since the sheath is a bit of a letdown and dulls it over time. It doesn’t seem to contour the knife very well, and nylon strap attached will get a lot of use. Cold Steel does a good job in impressing with the actual survival knife product, but falls short in other areas. Whether a lackluster sheath will deter users from purchasing this light and wonderful knife is going to be the question.

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8. Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife Fixed Blade Knife

One of the most well reviewed knives on the list is the 11 inch Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife Fixed Blade Knife. The 6 1/3 Satin Spear Point Blade often goes unappreciated on top lists, and when combined with the Kraton handle makes for a brilliant combination. The blade is about ¼ thick and holds up to a beating pretty well, even in the most adverse of conditions. And not stopping there, this blade also gets a comparable quality Zytel sheath to hold it in place when needed.

There are a lot of positive things to say about this blade and few negatives. The look will not knock many people away, but the satin finish is very nice for the eye. The blade has been put through the gamut on both youtube and other testing forums and always comes out on top. The price is not a killer and fits perfectly in line with what to expect, and even then, the user still comes out on top in the purchase. The Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife Fixed Blade Knife is a true survival knife, and easily one of the best on the list.

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  • Buck Knives 65 Hood Punk
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 5.62 inch 5160 steel blade
  • Total Length: 11 inches
  • Knife Material: 5160 steel blade with powder coat finish, Ultra lightweight multi-function survival knife weighs 7.4 oz
  • Warranty: Forever Warranty made in the USA
  • Tops Knives Mini Tom Brown Tracker
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 2 1/4"
  • Total Length: 6 1/2"
  • Knife Material: Blade Steel: Black Traction Coated 1095 High Carbon RC 56-58
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • Brite Strike BSTLSK-100-CE
  • Blade Type: Fixed
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inches
  • Total Length: 8.6 x 1.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Knife Material: MILS SPEC 6061 aluminum with hard anodized finish
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

9. Buck Knives 65 Hood Punk Fixed Blade

With the look of a compact folding knife, this Buck Knife is actually an 11 inch (5.62 blade) fixed blade knife made out of high carbon steel with a powder coat finish. It’s very pretty to look at, and very light at only 7.4 ounces. It includes the standard full lifetime warranty from Bucks, and boats about a Shock Mitigation System to reduce shock and wasted energy during use. The interesting concept about this is that fixed blade knives are known for their power and durability, although durable, the power in the blade is definitely lack so the Shock Mitigation System merely is reduced to a placebo effect.

The Micarta handle is one of the best around, and can be removed without much fuss. The sheath has some of the best features of any on the list, but is unfortunately the usual nylon fare. It’s rare that the most impressive quality on a survival knife is the handle, but in the case of the Buck Knives 65 Hood Punk Fixed Blade, that’s pretty much the case. It’s a good survival knife, even if not at the top of the list.

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10. Tops Knives Mini Tom Brown Tracker Fixed Blade

If looking for a sleeper in the list of best survival knife, then the first one that comes to mind is this 6 ½ length Tops Knives Mini Tom Brown Tracker Fixed Blade. The blade is a multifunctional, short 2 ¼ black traction Coated 1095 High Carbon  RC 56-58 attached to a Black Linen Micarta handle. The previous handle in the last review was one of the best on the list, while the blade suffered from quality, in this case the handle and both the blade are one of the best on the list. Other notable features is a fully molded Kydex sheath and TOPS emergency whistle.

This is a highly regarded survival knife that even has a Hollywood presence and backing of many knife collectors. The short, thick, durable blade is more useful than blades twice its size. Concealment is easy, without losing any of the power you would with a folding knife. One of the top five survival knives on the list, it’s easy to see why the Tops Knives Mini Tom Brown Tracker Fixed Blade is admired by many.

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11. Brite Strike BSTLSK-100-CE Brite-Blade Tactical Lighted Survival Knife

For the first time on the list, Brite Strike shows up with an interesting 3.5 inch combo edge serrated blade made of U.S. 440c stainless steel, and even threw in a titanium coating. This is another multifunctional knife that will be more useful to the beginner than the experienced outdoorsman, and favors features over knife quality. Included all in one knife is a seat belt cutter, wire stripper, line cutter, and two detacheable magnetic mini LED flashlights that are waterproof IXP-6. The lights are red and white, and they even squeezed in a fire starter.

Unlike other multifunctional knives on the list, although the blade and handle are not of the highest quality, the handle is pretty comfortable and made of MILS SPEC 6061 aluminum with a hard anodized finish. This is a folding knife that literally can be tucked away in the side of the sock, and with the detachable features, especially the red light, it has some marketable features that set it apart from other multifunctional knives. Not the best survival knife on the list, but definitely work a look even beyond the beginner outdoorsman.

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Survival Knife Buying Guide – How to Pick the Best Survival Knife?

Remember that these are only several of the survival-related features that a survival knife can be used for. There are a lot of other things that can be managed with a survival knife and a lot of other ways to use such a great surviving tool. The priority that every survival knife owner is looking for is performance. But for establishing what top-quality performance of a survival knife is, it is needed to keep in mind some of the most important survival knife features.

Size: if you ever ask yourself about the size of your survival knife, this is indeed probably one of the most important features. In terms of size, big survival knives are not necessarily the best ones. The size of your knife will depend on the purpose(s) for which you are willing to use it; a big knife might not help with small objects, for instance. It is considered that the ideal survival knife size is situated between 9-11 inches in length.

Fixed blade: it is considered that folding knives are not as professional as fixed blades which are more reliable and durable. The challenges that a survival situation brings can be better dealt with a fixed blade.

Full tang: besides fixed blade, your survival knife should also be full tang that indicates that your tool has been made of one continuous metal piece. Full tang knives are considered to be the best ones, compared to rat-tail tang, push tang or half tang. People say that there is no benefit of purchasing a half tang over a full tang survival knife.

Sharp pointed tip: the truth is that there are a lot of reasons why your survival knife should have a sharp pointed tip. The first reason is associated with self-defense because you can use your knife as a weapon. The second reason why your survival knife should have a sharp pointed tip is related to hunting purposes.

Solid pommel: lastly, another important aspect related to the right survival knives that meets your needs and purposes is represented by the pommel. A lot of knives are made of hooked or rounded which is not ideal if you want to use your knife for hammering, as an example. A solid pommel is vital, so you can add as many options as possible for using your survival knife.

Now that you have understood what survival knives are and what their key features are to consider, when ready to purchase one, there is still a lot more to find out about these excellent and helpful tools.

How Do Survival Knives Differ From Other Knives?

When you want to understand what the difference between survival knives and hunting knives is, you need to know how hunting knives differ from other types of knives. First of all, the main difference between the two types of knives consists of their fabrication: hunting knives are made with standards and designs that differ from survival knives. Hunting knives are mostly used for skinning and working animals after they have been hunted.

Furthermore, for being able to make the difference between the two types of knives, there is even more to find out. Hunting knives have shorter blade, unlike survival knives. On the other side, survival knives are rugged and tough. Hunting knives are durable but don`t work the same way as survival knives do. Survival knives are possible to use for more purposes, unlike hunting knives. The main difference between the two types of knives is represented by thickness and blade. Survival knives are considered to be tougher and thicker, unlike hunting knives, while both types might have a full tang construction.

Learn more about hunting knives in this review of the best hunting knives available in 2016.

What brands to look out for?

There are a lot of survival knives to choose from out there. It is true that today`s market offers a wide range of survival guides and brands to choose from, but you are definitely looking for the most professional and practical one that can best fit your needs and purposes. If you are not familiar with the best survival knife brands and want to avoid spending money on useless and poor quality knives, read about the top 4 survival knife brands right now:

Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife: if you are looking not just for surviving but always feeling safe in wildlife, this is the right survival knife for you to choose. The cost of this knife is estimated at approximately $200. This survival knife has been designed and Sweden and was especially thought to use for military and outdoor purposes. Thanks to its great construction, durability, size and quality, this survival knife is probably the best one, especially for survival purposes.

ESEE-6 Plan Black Blade: ESSE is a well-known brand because of its survival knife offers and this model is included in this category of fantastic knives. This top survival knife will not cost you more than $140. This is the perfect knife if you want a great tool for camping purposes. This tool will definitely control any of the survival situations that might stand in your way.

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion: is one of the most popular models of survival knives on today`s market. Knife enthusiast have well-reviewed this knife (more than 700 reviews on Amazon.com) and really know how to use it and how useful it actually is. Any of your outdoor adventures can be handled by this great knife which costs only $70 and possible to use for numerous outdoor purposes, including skinning potatoes and fresh meat, cutting or chopping.

Mora Companion Heavy Duty MG Knife: is one of those survival knife models that every knife enthusiast would love to have in his/her collection. It is entry point survival knife, priced at only $13! Even if it is a small-sized knife, it doesn`t mean it is a useless knife that you should not consider buying because it can be perfectly used for processing wood and is made of only top-quality “ingredients”. This survival knife model is now in the top of the knives because of its performance and quality.

Even if the top-quality survival knife brands might seem to require high costs, you need to understand that if you are willing to purchase a practical and professional knife, you also need to invest in it.

Things to keep in mind

It is important to know what to use your survival knife for, but still not enough. In this section, let us find out what you wouldn`t like to use this tool for.

Throwing: you should never practice throwing your knife. You probably so it in a movie how the knife flies and believed that was cool… and probably think that it can happen in real life as well. If you throw your knife, you will only cause damage to it and then feel stupid and regret your action. The worst thing that can happen is that you never know where your knife could stop, if you throw it; and you don`t want to hurt anyone unwillingly! Be careful; a survival knife is not your tool to make yourself look cool; it is your weapon if you are in danger and need to defend yourself, but that`s all!

Poking things: survival knives are made to be strong on only one of their directions, but this is not valid for their opposite side. Poking and prying with your knife are both not good ideas because you risk to totally damaging the tip of it and even more, risk to cut yourself.

Skinning or hunting: a big survival knife is definitely not the right tool to use for cutting through joints or removing skin or guts. However, most of the hunters do so, until they totally damage their knife and then just throw it away.

These are all important things to keep in mind because you are definitely willing to protect your survival knife and never use for purposes for which it is actually not recommended to use.

How to use them?

There are a lot of ways to use your survival knife:

Self-defense and rescuing people: owning a survival knife for self-defense purposes is a wise thing for both males and females. Males might be attacked by a wolf or any other dangerous animal that will get scared of the knife once you direct your tool toward it; and your chances to survive are high (it is most likely that the animal will run away). Women might also get in trouble because of crazy men who want to hurt them, so a survival knife at hand is always a good friend in these cases. Furthermore, survival knives could even rescue people because if you get blocked in your car and it starts to burn, your seatbelts blocks down but you can cut it with your knife. You can do the same thing with others who get blocked in the car and are unable to get rid of the seatbelt. Even more, a professional survival knife is able to go through the thin metal of the vehicle.

Making shelter: is a very easy task and can be efficiently done, if you follow the right way. If you are willing to cut some branches, a big survival knife will perfectly do the job for you.

Hitting things: you can hit things that need to break with the pommel or the handle of your knife. What you can`t break with your hand or with a stone that hasn’t got the right shape for this purpose, it is easy to do it with the handle or pommel of the right survival knife. If you want to crack a nut, your knife represents the role of a great hammer.

Digging: it is not the best idea to use your knife for digging purposes, but if you forgot to take your plastic shovel with you and really need to dig, a big and strong survival knife will indeed do the job.

Starting fire: sometimes you don`t have the right tools, when you need to make a fire. But a survival knife can help you to start one. How is that?

Processing wood: if you need to cut wood, your survival knife is your friend. Even if you need to cut wood in small pieces for making fire, a good knife will help you to cut the smallest possible pieces of wood. When it is very cold outside, the wood is dry and the knife is able to cut it even better.

As you can see, there are indeed a lot of ways to use your survival knife that is your help in any case. All of the above mentioned purposes should not make you feel worried about your knife, because it is most likely that it will not get damaged or defected from these operations.

How to sharpen?

The main thing to keep in mind, when sharpening your survival knife is a consistent angle. It is important to sharpen your knife because it is easier to use, unlike a dull knife and you also protect yourself against cutting. Sharp knives work faster and easier.

Whetstones, sharpening rods, mouse pads and stropping are the most common ways to sharpen your knife. If you are not willing to use any of these methods, you can visit the closest knife store and talk to the specialist to have your survival knife sharpened.