A machete is one tool that should never be missing in a gardener’s shed, and it’s for a good reason.
You have probably heard about gardening and stress relief as you connect with nature. Gardening has been shown to have a positive effect on physical and mental health. However, you have to jump into the heart of it all by weeding, slashing and digging. Only then do you get the benefits. As a nurturer, you need to whip up the machete and get personal with overgrowing shrubs – some things you have to do it yourself – and provide the best environment for your plants.
If you are yet to get one, then the following review of the best machetes will go a long way in ensuring you get a suitable one for gardening.
- 1 What you need to know about Machetes
- 2 The Main Uses of Machetes
- 3 What to Look for in a Machete
- 4 Review of Best Machetes in 2018
- 5 Conclusion
What you need to know about Machetes
Machetes have been in use for centuries and so are not anything new. The main characteristic of a machete is a long heavy blade used among others, to cut plants. The blade is tall, durable, and very sharp. These agricultural tools are standard in regions with tropical climates.
Their primary use is to clear excess vegetation and in some cases, cutting down trees. Most farmers prefer them over axes because they are lighter and easier to sharpen. As a gardener, you can imagine all the ways you can use a machete.
The Main Uses of Machetes
A machete is one of those tools that are very important to have around. No, it’s not just to scare away prowlers; a decent machete is first a survival tool. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a tropical rainforest or something of the sort, then a machete is the first thing to have. It is a survivalist tool and will cut through anything on your way – maybe to find a village somewhere of friendly natives!
If thinking of going camping for a few days, a machete is an essential tool that will help you make a shelter. After all, where will you be staying? There aren’t enough caves! If you are an ardent hunter and is out there in the woods all alone, you will need a good machete for among other things, a combat tool. A suitable machete can help skin the game animal you have killed.
And of course, you can use a machete as an agricultural tool. If you have acquired a piece of land that has never been touched by anyone, a machete will help you clear all the unnecessary vegetation overrunning the place.
What to Look for in a Machete
- Carbon steel: this is the most common type of steel used to make machetes and other kinds of knives. Carbon steel is strong, durable and easier to sharpen. It is better than stainless steel on every front except corrosion and rust resistance. Carbon steel machetes are excellent, but they need a significant amount of maintenance – oiling and stuff.
- Stainless steel: is the next best material for making machetes, of course after carbon. It is softer than carbon, and the blade is also less resilient. Stainless steel machetes are for those that want to skip regular maintenance associated with carbon steel.
- Sharpness: a blunt machete is a dangerous machete. Use your finger to determine the level of sharpness by running it against the blade lightly. Machetes easily maintain their sharpness. However, you can always sharpen them. Carbon machetes retain their blade better than stainless steel.
- The construction: the best machete should have a full-tang construction. A full-tang just means that the piece of steel should run right from handle to the tip. There should never be any joint on the metal. A full-tang machete can take a significant amount of abuse any day without disintegrating on hitting a hard object.
- The weight: you can either choose a heavy or a light machete depending on your preference. However, heavier machetes cut through tougher and thicker objects like wood. The lighter versions are better when it comes to gardening – there are much smaller tasks involved like cutting grass and pruning. Lighter machetes are also easier to carry.
- Blade length: the length of your machete usually is down to use. Longer machetes are better at clearing the bush than the shorter one. But as a gardener, your task with the machete is light, and longer machetes are thus not necessary. Shorter ones have more control and are best suited for garden work.
- The handle: the style and material of the handle is usually down to personal preference. However, the best grip is not the one that makes you look macho, but instead, comfortable and which will make handling easier for you. The perfect handle will easily absorb shock and fit well in your hand for a much firmer grip.
Preferably, you should always go for wooden or micarta handles. Wood is gentle on your hand and a source of a relatively firm grip. Micarta is good, comfortable and has good traction – but is a bit expensive. Plastic is cheap but more prone to slipping than any other material.
If you can find a machete with lanyard holes, the better. They will provide you with the necessary grip and stability to avoid accidents.
Review of Best Machetes in 2018
#1: Ontario SP8 Machete
The best machetes in the market are made of the hard carbon steel. If you are in the market for the best hardcore blade, then this machete from Ontario SP8 may be your thing. The full tang ten-inch blade is hardened to handle any abuse you may meet. For a good grip, there are finger grooves on the Kraton handle. For additional safety, there is a pipe lanyard hole and also comes with a quality leather sheath. The blade is ¼ inch thick meaning that you can possibly use it as an all-around blade.
- Has a good grip – finger grooves
- It is light and maybe good to use
- Made from hard carbon steel
- Corrodes if care is not taken during storage
- Needs a good amount of maintenance
#2 1064206 Ontario Knife Co OKC Kukri Knife
Made by a top US military equipment supplier, this kukri knife promises to deliver possibly an unmatched quality. The 12-inch blade is plain sharp – can go through anything without much effort. It carries a carved design that may make it easier for many people to use it. A machete needs to be lightweight for efficiency in use and this product from OKC weighs only 18 ounces. At a length of 17 inches, this knife should be appropriate for most of your gardening and outdoor needs.
- Carved design that makes it easy to use
- Made from high-quality carbon steel
- A full tang durable blade
- A comfortable handle design
- Lightweight and so is easy to carry around
- Needs maintenance – oiling after use
- The sheath is not the best of quality
#3: Elk Ridge ER523B-BRK Bolo Machete black B521
Stainless steel is the machete material of choice for those that just need a sharp knife for their gardening without the need for maintenance. This 19.5-inch machete is therefore low maintenance. The shape and height will allow you to use it against the overgrowing brush and as an ax for small logs. The handle contains double rubber that helps have a pretty firm grip when using it. A lanyard hole is located at the end of the handle for added safety when in use.
- Easy to use
- Made from stainless steel and so it is low maintenance
- Has a nylon sheath for safe and easier transportation
- Favorably-priced for the quality
- Can easily bend when chopping wood
- Has a thin spine making it too light for specific tasks
#4: Ontario Knife Company 6144 Military Machete
You must have by now realized that Ontario Knife Company is an authority in machete making. At first glance, this is among the tallest machetes you will find, and it is not a bad thing if you have a use for it. If planning on camping, this machete may prove of much use clearing the bush and making a tent – the length is appropriate for this purpose. However, this is not the best to clear the grass and other types of weed from your garden. Overall, it is a decent choice to have around your other tools.
- A good length for camping and chopping wood
- Can perform the same tasks as an axe
- Quality full tang carbon steel
- A little too tall for gardening
- Needs maintenance
#5: ER280-BRK Machete
This is quite an attractive looking blade that will appeal to anybody that comes across it. It is 20.5 inches making it the longest in this review. You can use this machete to cut branches and small trees at home and anywhere else like camping or hiking. The blade’s thickness is 3mm and can easily chop wood. To provide you with a firmer grip when using the blade, the handle is injection-molded. However, don’t expect this machete to clear the brush for you.
- Best machete for outdoor activities
- Has an excellent grip
- It is easy to use – has a sharp blade
- You can use this product to perform heavy tasks
- Not the best when it comes to cutting grass and weed in a garden
- A bit heavy
Whether you are camping, hiking or just gardening, a machete is a great functional tool that you should have around. The best machete is easy to use, sharp, and rugged and has a good handle that supports a decent grip.
All the reviewed machetes are excellent choices depending on your needs. However, 1064206 Ontario Knife Co OKC Kukri Knife should serve most of your needs. It is made from carbon steel and is easy to use.