The best all-purpose hunting knife should hold a sharp edge and be easy to sharpen in the field.
It should also fit well in your hands, have a good grip, and be stout enough to crack bone.
But if you are in a rush, here are the top 3 we recommend most.
- Best Overall- Buck Knives 102 Woodsman Fixed Blade Knife
- Best Runners up KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
- Best Budget- Morakniv Mora 2000 Sandvik Stainless Steel Fixed-Blade Knife
Table of Contents
- Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best All-Purpose Hunting Knife
- What is the Best Hunting Knife?
- 1. Best Overall: Buck Knives 102 Woodsman Fixed Blade Knife
- 2. Best Hunting Knife for the Money: KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
- 3. Best Budget Hunting Knife: Morakniv Mora 2000 Sandvik Stainless Steel Fixed-Blade Knife
- 4. Best Folding Knife: Buck Knives 659 Folding Pursuit Large Folding Hunting Knife
- 5. Best Replaceable Blade Hunting Knife: Gerber Vital Big Game Folder
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best All-Purpose Hunting Knife
Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing an all-purpose hunting knife:
The best hunting knife should have a smaller blade because it’s easier to transport and use. A smaller blade also reaches those hard-to-reach areas behind the animal hide without messing up the meat.
Caption: A blue all-purpose hunting knife
A good hunting knife has the hardest steel possible, rated in Rockwell Hardness. Always go for an RC rating of 55 or above. Anything lower, like stainless steel, won’t hold an edge long enough, no matter how well you sharpen.
Some great blade materials you can check out include 420 HC, XHP, CruWear Steel, and S30V.
Some blade designs outperform others in certain situations though most all-purpose hunting knives can do it all.
If you are new to this, these are the common knife blades out there;
- Drop Point. This knife has a straight spine that dips slightly to the blade’s curve. The style allows a more pronounced belly and a sharp tip to help stab and sweep motions.
- Clip Point. This blade style refers to the back clip on the spine. It allows for a better belly and more precise filet-style cutting.
- Straight Back. With this knife, the spine is straight, and it eventually meets the curved belly down there. It’s not the best for stabbing or piercing.
- Trailing Point. The knife has a slender blade with a really good belly to allow long cuts. It looks like a filet or steak knife.
Caption: Using a hunting knife to carve timber
The handle of a knife will determine comfort and grip when in use. A full grip is better than other knife grips because it’s safer, and you can put more weight and precision with a sturdy grip.
Some handles are made of plastic that will get slippery on your hands if you sweat.
What is the Best Hunting Knife?
1. Best Overall: Buck Knives 102 Woodsman Fixed Blade Knife
- Razor sharp clip point blade
- 420HC steel
- Hardwood Cocobolo handle
- Convenient carry sheath
Pros and Cons
- Small enough for small games and other tasks but can still be used to quarter a deer.
- The 420HC blade is superior in strength and edge retention thanks to the heat treatment, and it’s among the reasons Buck is the best hunting knife brand.
- The shape of the blade and the extremely sharp tip makes it perfect for piercing and slicing through skin and hide.
- The hardwood handle is crafted for comfortable grip and balance.
- It can be a tad small if you have large hands.
“A bit smaller than I expected but no big deal, still an awesome knife.”
2. Best Hunting Knife for the Money: KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
- Blade length: 5.2”
- Weight: 1lb
- Chromium vanadium steel
- Drop point blade
Pros and Cons
- The Campanion works just as well as a skinning game as it does cutting up onions and rope in the field. It’s the perfect field knife.
- The lightweight knife features a 1095 cro-van steel blade that’s strong, durable, and holds an edge like no other.
- The wide, thick, and heavy drop point blade is perfect for piercing and deboning, while the tip does a great job slicing and skinning.
- It has a glass-filled nylon sheath to keep the blade sharp and safe. However, this sheath can be a pain when drawing out the knife.
“You get a legendary beast of a knife, and the price is pretty good for a one pound hunk of steel. I would, however, plan on spending another $50 or so on an aftermarket sheath for it.”
3. Best Budget Hunting Knife: Morakniv Mora 2000 Sandvik Stainless Steel Fixed-Blade Knife
- Blade length: 4.3 inches
- Weight: 5 ounces (142 g)
- Swedish recyclable stainless steel
- Straight blade
Pros and Cons
- The Mora 2000 Sandvik is a top-rated hunting knife ideal for any outdoor situation, and it also fits the best cheap hunting knife category.
- The blade may be stainless steel, but it’s enhanced with chromium, making it extremely strong and tolerant against wear.
- The ergonomic plastic handle features a soft friction grip and finger guard for comfortable and balanced use.
- It’s made of stainless steel alone, which may be a disadvantage for some people.
“What a blade! The only thing for me is I OCD about keeping the blade blemish-free. It’s a fingerprint magnet with its polished finish”.
4. Best Folding Knife: Buck Knives 659 Folding Pursuit Large Folding Hunting Knife
- 3 5/8” drop point 420HC blade
- Glass-filled nylon handle
- Polyester sheath
- Weight: 3.8oz
Pros and Cons
- It may not be the sharpest hunting knife on this list, but it’s beautifully rugged, easy to use, and holds the edge for a long time.
- Besides the grippe Versa flex rubber over mold on the handle, this knife also has added details for a comfortable non-slip, and dependable blade.
- The sheath may be a little small if you have big hands
“It felt and looked great, and the price was indeed very reasonable. But…the blade did not lock up as rigidly as I would expect.”
5. Best Replaceable Blade Hunting Knife: Gerber Vital Big Game Folder
- Weight: 4.9oz
- 3.75” blade
- Includes 4 extra blades: 2 drop points and 2 blunt tip
- Rubber overmold handle
Pros and Cons
- This set has amazing handles, a great grip, and a belt clip for easy pocket transport.
- However, the entire knife set comes with a two-pocket sheath. One pocket carries the 4 extra blades, while the other is for putting blunt, used blades.
- The blades may seem small, but they are strong and sharp enough to process any game animal, including elk and bears. You want to order different blades from Gerber if you need wider ones.
“The description says it comes with 4 blades and a quiet carry case (which leads you to believe it’s the nice orange one in the video or the nylon case the knife comes with…But it’s NOT”.
How do you sharpen a hunting knife?
You should sharpen a hunting knife the same way you sharpen other knives- using a sharpening stone or a powered sharpener such as this WorkSharp Precision Knife Sharpener.
The knife and the sharpener should come with sharpening instructions to follow.
Fixed Blade vs. Folding Knives: Which one’s better?
Fixed-blade knives are usually more durable and stronger than folding knives. They are also easier to clean and sharpen.
However, they lack the convenience of a foldable knife, so you must have a sheath or a carry case for safety.
Folding knives are compact, like pocket knives, people are used to carrying.
The best hunting knife comes down to preference, as both types have their good and bad.
As you prepare for the next hunting season, we hope these best hunting knife reviews will be helpful.
Consider your specific needs and choose the most suitable hunting knife.
But if we had to pick just one, it would be the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife because it is fit for an expert hunter and yet simple enough for everyday tasks.