The term “machete” comes from the Spanish word for sledgehammer, and while any machete can make it through bushes and branches, heavy-duty machetes have all the wrecking power of this tool due to their unparalleled size, weight, and power. A heavy duty machete differs from a regular machete in that it’s meant to be more of a chopper like an axe. Heavy duty machetes tend to have thicker blades that can handle harde to cut materials like thick, woody branches to full on tree trunks.
Here are the best machete options for heavy duty work.
Condor is one of the top names in machetes and survival knives. If you want to use a machete to hack through a forest in search of treasure, the Condor Jungolo lives up to its name for delivering in extreme conditions. It comes in at 13.75 inches in blade length, 19.25 inches overall, and just under two pounds in weight. The .16 inch-thick 1075 high carbon steel blade with black patina finish can take a huge amount of punishment, with a hand-finished edge. The curved walnut handle has a simple, practical aesthetic, complete with brass pins and a lanyard hole. As with any Condor machete, a custom leather sheath is included.
A collaboration between knife expert Joe Flowers and TOPS shop manager Leo Espinoza, at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking the .230 is a cross between a butterfly knife and a hatchet. A unique point and blade design gives the .230 straight-angle power; its 15.5 inch blade is one of the longest on this list. The black Micarta handle looks something like a totem pole, with a hand-grip geometry that is unique among all bush knives for its ability to keep a tight hold on the tool. The machete includes a nylon sheath with two pockets for carrying sharpeners, firestarters, or oils.
Ontario Survival Bolo
Sharp out of the box and possessing a lot of heft, the Ontario Survival Bolo 8689 is a great option as either a beginner machete or an established bushwhacker. A recurve carbon steel blade with a thickness of just over ¼ inch gives the knife a total weight of 1.8 pounds, making it one of the heaviest around. The ergonomic handle makes it easy to use the machete with control. The nylon sheath, by contrast, is much lighter in weight.
A quick glance at Esee’s EXPAT Darian machete may look like it has been in use since the 1980s. The rugged aesthetic of the alloy steel, however, is part and parcel of Esee’s design philosophy. Though it may look well-used, its 12.38 inches of steel are more than ready for work. At .094 inches in width, furthermore, it is surprisingly thin, and at 12.38 inches and 15.5 ounces is smaller than others on this list.
A parang is a type of knife used throughout Malaysia’s rainforests, dealing with the toughest thicket. The Condor Parang is 4.5mm-thick 1075 carbon steel, boasting a 13-inch blade. The geometry of this blade is unique to machetes, with a flowing curve instead of a straight line. The polypropylene handle may feel rubbery to the palm, but has the power needed to handle shocks without jumping out of hand.
Of all the unique designs of machetes, Barebones may top the list for the biggest standout. Their NATA blade, taken from the Japanese word for a tool that trims shrubbery, ends not in a single point but in two 90-degree points, making the entire blade a giant rectangle. This may look odd, but it means the 12-inch stainless steel blade can do all the ordinary tasks of a machete, while having two sharp points for fine details. Read the in-depth barebones Nata Review Here.
Hao Ming Outdoor Knife
The cheapest blade on this list, and closer to a bush knife than a machete, the Hao Ming has a lot to offer for its price point and design. A 15.5 inch blade and a 15.5 ounce weight give it the size and power needed to get through all of nature’s obstacles. At just $25 in price, it costs less than half of a standard machete, making it a great choice for a budget expedition or a good backup blade.
Heavy Duty Machetes
As the name suggests, a heavy duty machete is one that you entrust with the toughest jobs. A standard machete can get through twigs and leaves, but if you need to down a tree, hack through earth, or cut through tough material like ice, a heavy duty machete does what a regular machete cannot. These blades are heavier, usually thicker, and made of higher-quality steel that can take a beating. They can double as an axe or a pick or a trowel, able to get outdoor work done much faster and with much less impact on your hands and wrists.
What makes a machete heavy-duty?
Most heavy-duty machetes feature a thicker and longer blade that is heat treated for extra strength and durability. The weight of the machete and its handle design also helps determine how best it can be used for various tough cutting and chopping tasks. A heavy-duty machete will sometimes have more heft or “belly” near the top of the blade to aid in swing power.
Why is it essential to pick the right machete for the task at hand? Selecting the best machete for whatever job you are up to is key to efficient and safe work. A machetes’ construction, style, and length should be suited to the job at hand to get the best results. You will not be able to chop thick branches, heavy shrubs or tough vegetation with a flimsy Latin-style machete that is more designed for grass and brush. The same goes for a heavy chopping machete; these are not suited to garden or tall grass cutting.
Before investing in the best heavy-duty machete, ask yourself these questions: do I need strength and durability? Do I want an all-purpose machete or a specialized one? How much am I willing to spend?
When picking the best heavy-duty machetes, there are several factors to consider. Here is what you should look out for when shopping for the best options:
Quality of material – You will want something made with stainless steel or high carbon steel blades that won’t rust or corrode over time.
Handle length/style – Pick something comfortable so you can work without fatigue.
Weight – Is it too light or too heavy for your needs? Consider how long you will be using it at a given time. You will tire if you are swinging a beast all day long.
Price – What kind of budget do you have? Don’t be too cheap and end up with something unsuitable for your needs. On the other hand, don’t spend an arm and a leg for something best used by loggers or intrepid explorers!
Over the last few years, we have reviewed a lot of machetes, I mean a lot! Make sure to go back and read some of the individual reviews and stories where we go more in-depth on specific machetes from several manufacturers. We hope the reviews we’ve done will give you a better idea of what to look for in a good machete — and what to avoid.
Read More Machete Reviews and Stories We Have Covered Here:
What Is A Machete
FAQ’s About Machetes
What Are The Different Types Of Machetes
Hatchet Vs. Machete
What Is A Kukri
What Is The Best Kukri for Self-Defense?
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.