Are you in the market for a new machete but have never bought one before? Knowing where to start can be a little overwhelming because machetes are far more diverse than most people realize. This diversity should be embraced because it means you have many unique options from which to choose. Use the tips and suggestions outlined here to buy a machete that makes sense for your needs.
Important Things to Consider When Buying a Machete
When in the market for a new machete, there are many factors to consider. These vary depending on the type of machete you purchase, as well as how you plan on using it. We’ll discuss those elements in more depth after analyzing important material considerations like:
- Blade Type: Machete blades come in many material types, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and much more. They all have benefits that make them worth considering.
- Handle Type: You can choose from options like plastic, wood, rubber, and micarta. Micarta is commonly considered the best for its superior grip and strength, but is expensive.
- Length: Long-blade machetes provide great chopping power but are harder to carry and yield than short-blade machetes, which often work best for camping experiences.
- Thickness: Thin machete blades work best for soft plants and vegetation, while thick machetes are better for wood and more serious and sustained chopping situations.
- Weight: A heavier machete will chop more smoothly through various items but be harder to carry than a lighter machete, which may struggle with thicker chopping situations.
- Tang: Tang indicates how far the blade extends, with full-tang blades extending the full length of the machete. Full-tangs are stronger and more effective but also more expensive.
- Blade Design: We’ll talk more about the varying blade types later in this article, as this topic is far too extensive to highlight in a single section here.
- Sheath: Your machete’s sheath should be made of high-quality material, like nylon or leather, and last for as long as you have the machete. Its commonly included as part of a machete’s cost.
Other things to consider when buying a machete include the lanyard hole, which lets you attach a strap to your wrist when chopping, as well as the hook. A good hook lets you move tough branches out of your way as you chop and can be useful for other chopping situations as well.
Just as importantly, you need to consider things like the knuckle guard, which protects you from stray branches and twigs as you chop. Such features give your machete a higher overall quality and make it simpler to wield and use one of these high-quality tools for extended periods.
Picking Machete Based on Type
The multiple types of machetes available on the market showcase a fascinating range of different options. Each machete comes from different cultures around the world and provides different benefits. While some are good for general purposes, others are more specific and should only be used in appropriate circumstances. They include:
- Barong Machetes: This popular machete has a leaf-shaped blade that is sharp on one side and is useful for hunting, chopping small brush, and hiking in fairly dense areas.
- Billhook Machetes: Billhook machetes are some of the oldest types in the world and have a curved blade that’s useful for cutting around grape vines, shrubs, branches, and hedges.
- Bolo Machetes: Farmers in Southeast Asia often use bolos because they are compact and weighed for woody vegetation and harvesting crops. They have a distinct bulge that produces more blade weight.
- Bowie Machete: Named after legendary American frontiersman Jim Bowie, this machete has a skinner tip that makes it useful for skinning animals and chopping wood for survival in the wild.
- Bush Machetes: This machete type is popular as an all-purpose and evenly weighted machete that’s useful for vegetation, chopping meat, clearing brush, and much more.
- Cane Machetes: Cane machetes are designed for chopping sugar cane, rice, bamboo, and corn stocks and have a thin blade with a hook at the end that makes hauling down stalks easier.
- Colima Machetes: Sharpened on both sides, colima machetes are useful for sweeping large sections of vegetation with even fore and backhand strokes and are weighted on the back for easier cutting.
- Hawkbill Machetes: Reaper blades for cutting grass feature a similar hook or curve to this machete type and are also sharpened on both sides with a sharp point for easier cutting.
- Kukri: The kukri has a three-part blade with a pointed tip for stabbing, a wide middle for chopping, and a narrow handle area for whittling. That makes it one of the most diverse machete types.
- Panga Machetes: This machete type has a deep belly that gives the blade extra weight. The longer curvature along with this weight improves chopping and slicing capabilities.
- Parang Machetes: Originating in Indonesia, these machetes have an appearance like a scimitar and are typically fairly long with a thick and evenly-weighted blade that’s good for cutting wood.
How to Pick a Machete: A 5-Step Guide for Shopping
Before buying a machete, there are a few different steps to take that can help you narrow down your options. This process is a very hands-on one that should make it easier for you to pick which machete fits your needs. To find a machete that you love, you should:
- Know How You Want to Use It: Each machete on the market likely fits specific situations perfectly. Know exactly what chopping situations you’re likely to experience before buying one.
- Balance Usability With Budget: The best machetes in the world are going to cost you more money than lower-quality options, so make sure you balance your budget properly.
- Research Different Brands and Styles: Machete manufacturers may use varying production methods, materials, and design choices, so find ones that fit into your specific needs.
- Try Out a Few Options in a Store: If you have an outdoor shop near you where you can try out machetes, visit one and get a feel for how they sit in your hand.
- Find Someone Who Already Owns a Good Machete: Talk to friends and family members about their machetes and try out a few options if they are available to you.
Getting your hands on a machete is a great way of trying it out and gauging how well it suits your needs. A machete that feels good in your hand with some decent weight that doesn’t tire you out is probably your best option. Swing a few different models to see which makes the most sense for you.
Where to Buy Machetes
Typically, you can find machetes at most outdoor shops near you, as well as camping stores and even major retail outlets. However, the following outline shops should have a diverse array of machete options for buyers like you:
Finding a Machete You Can Love
By following this simple guide, you should easily identify the best machete option for your needs and feel comfortable with your purchase. Check out the online shops linked to above to price a few different choices and see what kind of machetes might fit into your budget as a buyer.
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 clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.