“What in the world is this thing called a machete? It looks like a tool suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. How can one tool look like three different tools at once? I mean, is it a hatchet
? Or a really big knife? Or a mini sword? Or an axe-wanna-be? I don’t know…”
Now, we will apply a little bit of reverse thinking here. Instead of telling you what a machete is, why don’t we tell you what a machete isn’t, so that you can get the big idea? Sold? Good!
A machete is neither a big knife
nor a mini sword. Although there are some really big machetes (about 18 inches) and some petite ones (about 10 inches), there’s still a world of difference between these two classes of tools. While a knife or sword is essentially made for cutting, slicing, or piercing, the essential mechanism of work for a machete is chopping and slashing.
But then again, there presents another conundrum; this is exactly what a hatchet does, or is it? While it may be so, before you pick a hatchet, bear this in mind: a hatchet works best when used to deliver short powerful (emphasis on powerful) strokes when clearing bushes or blazing a trail.
In comparison to a hatchet, a machete should be used to deliver low-power strokes consistently over a longer period of time. Not so for a hatchet. This piece of information becomes material when you join the dots and discover that with a machete, you are less likely to tire quickly than when the weapon you wield is a hatchet. Another score for machetes!
While it may not be as popular as its fellow outdoor adventure counterparts, a machete can boast of being, arguably, the best and most handy multipurpose tool
an adventurer can have with him on any of his expeditions.
In conclusion, there are different types of machetes with unique features available for purchase as you will soon see. Please, keep scrolling.
Many factors go into the pricing of a machete, such as: the quality of the blade, the sheath, and how multi-functional the machete is. Nonetheless, price ranges from as little as $15 to about $90 for a quality machete that works, not like those substandard machetes you might find in the market. We didn’t even bother wasting our time and yours reviewing those cheap machetes, as they did not even pass the basic tests to qualify for a mediocre machete at the very least.
You won’t believe the different types of machetes that exist. We can’t begin to discuss each type independently, but what we can do is to give you an overview of what to look out for in a good machete that can get any job done. Here they are…
- Reason for Purchase
If a “Jack-of-all-trades” isn’t what you need, then you should go through the reviews following this guide to see features unique to certain types of machetes and make your pick.
Construction and Design
First, let’s talk blade. Before you say “the longer the better”, you should know that it doesn’t always work like that. If you are saying, though, that the longer the blade, the stronger the swing, then you’re very correct. But then again, this advantage does not come without a cost. A longer blade will ultimately mean significantly decreased portability and heavier weight, regardless of what the blade is made of; which brings us to the material the blade is made of.
Probably the most important quality to look out for in a blade is the material it is made of, which can be: carbon steel, stainless steel, or a hybrid of the two. The hybrid is definitely the best but comes at a cost too, and this time, that cost is in dollars.
Although, carbon steel gives a more powerful cut and maintains its edge for a long time, it rusts easily and is difficult to sharpen. As stainless steel has proved to us over time, a stainless steel blade is very rust-resistant and easy to sharpen, but it doesn’t give that powerful chop that carbon steel gives, and it loses its edge fast.
How thick is a machete’s blade? That very much depends on what you need to use the machete for. Keep in mind that the machete is a highly varied tool. For every feature of a machete, there are many varieties. Some can be a few millimeters thick, some a few inches, while some can be almost as thick as an axe!
When it comes to the handle, you want something that’s comfortable all-year round, so you should think Micarta™. If it’s too pricey for you then there are the traditional options of steel, wood, cloth and what-not’s. They equally work, maybe not as well, but they do. Tip: if your machete has a knuckle guard that might be an added reason to buy it. It will protect you from the accidental blow of an opponent, in case of a combat or self-defense.
Lastly, we discuss the tang. The tang is that part of the blade that you do not see because it is fixed to the handle to enable the blade and handle function together as a single unit which you know as the machete. It will be best for you to buy one whose tang is visible at the end of the handle so that you can be sure of the overall structural integrity of your machete’s blade.
Performance and Ease of Use
It really isn’t a question of “what is the best machete available?” as it is a question of “what machete is best for me?” Like we pointed out earlier, there is a plethora of different types of machetes, each with their different unique selling points. So, inadvertently, the buck stops with you; which prompts the question: where will your machete be used?
Whether, you’re journeying through a rain forest or a desert, you should be prepared for the kinds of vegetation and unforeseen events you are most likely to come across in that terrain. For instance, a billhook machete works best in the rain forest, kukri for combat, tanto for self-defense, and bowie for outdoor survival.
Once again, let’s look at the blade for another minute. We already know, from the preceding section that the material of the blade determines the strength of its chop, its longevity, and how often you will need to re-sharpen your blade. One thing remains to be treated, though, and that is the weight.
“Man know thyself and to thine own self be true”. Please, do not purchase a blade that’s bigger and heavier than you can comfortably use. Remember what momma told you: “do not play with sharp objects”. Those things can be dangerously bi-polar: trusted allies one minute, cold blooded criminals the next, depending on how you wield them.
To prevent meaningless accidents, check their weight. It might be a little difficult to ascertain from a computer screen but rule of thumb is: the bulkier, the heavier. You’ll just have to trust your guts. Again, swing the machete a few times in your backyard to verify, and if the store has a return policy, you can return it for a lighter or heavier one, as the case may be. Although, generally, bear in mind that machetes tend to be bulky.
Besides the strength of your arm, rate your wielding prowess. If you’re new to knives and machetes, why not try a rubberized handle or quillon guard?
Furthermore, you might want to know that many brands give a warranty for their machetes. Please, check out for this so that you can know the procedure to follow should the product fail to deliver on the brand promise.
We believe that, with the aid of our guide, you will now be able to make a clear-cut decision on the machete that suits you. As you proceed to the reviews, bearing in mind that all the reviewed machetes offer value for money, scan each machete for the features that cut it for you and get ready to place that order.
So you’ve come to the end of this review, congrats! We’re convinced that you are now ready to confidently place that order for the best machete for your needs. Please, go ahead and do just that!