The Best Hunting Knives

A hunting knife is an essential tool in any hunter’s gear set. The modern hunting knife hasn’t changed much in the last couple of centuries, but refinements in steel and handle materials have incrementally improved this quintessential outdoor instrument over the years, and they’re now available in a limitless number of unique styles. One fact remains certain, the best hunting knives are made from high-grade steel that will hold a sharp edge for a good long time.

We examined dozens of hunting knives and have identified the best for preparing game as well as other general outdoor uses. While looking over these hunting knives we considered factors such as steel quality, handle materials, length, and weight balance in choosing our top picks, and then we compiled a list of many other great hunting knives for you to browse.

Best Hunting Knives Overall
Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire
Portable, practical, and made from high-grade Japanese steel, the Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire is a sharp and stout knife ready for the hunt.

After reviewing many different hunting knives we have chosen the Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire as our overall top pick. It’s a fairly compact folding knife made from high-quality materials, and it is quite robust, lending it to heavy-duty use when the situation calls for it.

The 5 Top-Rated Hunting Knives

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Hunting Knife OverallOff-Grid Knives Rapid Fire4.9
Best Folding Hunting KnifeOutdoor Edge RazorPro4.8
Best Budget Hunting KnifeSmith & Wesson Extreme Ops4.6
Best Fixed Hunting KnifeRandall's Adventure ESEE4.8
Best Hunting Knife for SkinningOld Timer Large Sharpfinger4.8

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Hunting Knife Overall: Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire

A versatile and practical knife that will be useful in many different applications, the Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire is a great choice as a multi-purpose hunting knife. This blade’s design has taken the most important elements of several different hunting knife styles and combined them into one compact, portable knife. The steel has been cryogenically treated down to temperatures reaching -300°F, strengthening the blade to reduce micro-fractures and edge-chipping. This is one tough nut to crack.

But a good hunting blade requires more than just strength, and this knife has plenty more worth talking about. The high-quality Japanese AUS8 steel of the Rapid Fire sharpens as well as a razor blade. It’s tough, too, and will hold that sharpness through extensive use.

The 3.75″ blade is shorter than the handle to give you more leverage, and that handle is comprised of fiberglass-reinforced nylon scale for maximum durability and grip. The oversized grip can be properly held while wearing thick hunting gloves and has a non-slip texture that won’t give even when covered in water or blood.

The fast-flipping blade is triggered by a simple push of a button, one of which is located on either side of the knife handle so that it can be operated with either hand. You can wield this knife single-handedly while working the skin off your dead game with the other. A lanyard hole and pocket clip have been included so that you can latch your knife securely to yourself or your gear. Off-Grid has even gone the extra mile and made it so that you can reposition the pocket clip in four different ways, allowing you to customize how you store your knife.

Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire Key Features:

  • 8.5″ overall length with a 3.75″ blade
  • Made from hard Japanese AUS8 steel
  • Ambidextrous one-hand flip operation
  • All-weather fiberglass-reinforced nylon scale handle

Best Folding Hunting Knife: Outdoor Edge RazorPro

Best Folding Hunting Knife
Outdoor Edge RazorPro
The Outdoor Edge RazorPro is a dual-bladed hunting knife packaged with multiple replacement blades.

While our top overall pick is also a folding knife, this Outdoor Edge RazorPro stands out as a superior folding knife, specifically, thanks to its dual-blade design and the 6 replacement blades that are included in the packaging. This knife is the best choice for hunters who want a compact, versatile, and easy-to-maintain hunting knife. It features a 3.5″ rounded blade with a sharp point and a 3.1″ concave gutting blade with a blunted point. Together, these two blades can properly skin any animal you take down.

Another standout feature is that the primary blade knife is replaceable. When your primary blade has done its duty and starts to dull you can simply swap out the blade with one of the replacement blades that comes included with the knife. You’ll never have to sharpen your primary hunting blade ever again. All of the blades are made from 420 surgical-grade stainless steel. More replacement blades can be purchased separately. The gut hook is not replaceable, but it is extremely sharp and can be sharpened down the road.

A black rubberized handle caps off the handle end of this knife, providing excellent grip even when wet. Also included is a black nylon sheath from Mossy Oak with a fastener to keep the knife secure. This sheath also doubles as a holster so that you can keep your knife at the ready when out in the field.

Outdoor Edge RazorPro Key Features:

  • Dual blades: 3.5″ blade knife and 3.1″ gutting blade
  • 6 replacement blades included
  • Black rubberized handle
  • Black nylon sheath included

Best Budget Hunting Knife: Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops

Best Budget Hunting Knife
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops is a small multi-use knife that can be used to skin and clean small game.

Smaller pocket knives like the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops are convenient, easy to carry, and are excellent for specific tasks such as skinning small game animals and achieving precision cuts. This inexpensive knife is a high-quality option for the price point. It features a black oxide-coated high carbon stainless steel blade with a sharp clip point and a part of the blade is serrated to help with sawing through small bones, ropes, and other materials.

The other end of this knife is a lightweight aluminum handle fitted with friction-giving cutouts and a jimped backside for enhanced grip. When folded, the entire knife measures 4″ long, and altogether it weighs a mere 3.5-ounces. It’s been fashioned with a quick-flip release that can be operated with the flick of a thumb, and, because it has been given a flip knob on either side of the blade, it is an ambidextrous knife that can be operated with a single hand.

A pocket clip has been attached to the handle so that you can easily carry this on your person or clip it to a strap on your hunting backpack. The black oxide coating on the blade protects against corrosion and makes cleanup of water, blood, and guts easier. Despite how affordable this folding knife is, Smith & Wesson stands behind their product by providing a limited lifetime warranty along with it.

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Key Features:

  • 7.1″ overall length with a 3.1″ blade
  • Folding knife with ambidextrous thumb flip knobs
  • Black oxide high carbon stainless steel blade
  • Lifetime warranty

Best Fixed Hunting Knife: Randall’s Adventure ESEE

Best Fixed Hunting Knife
Randall's Adventure ESEE
The Randall’s Adventure ESEE is a multi-use hunting knife meant to be used and abused out in the field.

Made strong and built to last the trials and tribulations that come with life in the outdoors, the Randall’s Adventure ESEE is a professional-grade piece of cutlery that is meant to be used hard. The 1095 high carbon steel of the blade is rock solid and maintains an incredibly sharp edge, but without proper care and protection, the metal would easily rust.

That’s why the blade has been powder coated with a protective black finish. What you get here is a piece of cutlery that would be the prize of any gourmet chef, yet it has been strengthened to endure the mud, rocks, impacts, and entrails that it will be exposed to while you’re on the hunt. The removable handles are made of a utilitarian micarta material, rather than a premium substance that you’d be afraid to scratch, providing plenty of grip with its textured surface and back jimping. The fact that is is removable means that you can replace it if it ever breaks.

It’s also a full tangle handle, meaning that the steel blade goes all the way through to the butt end of the handle. This creates a much more stable and durable knife that can survive about any amount of force you can put into it. The 6.5″ blade contributes to the majority of this knife’s overall length. A molded sheath and clip plate are included with the knife that can clip on to your belt or pocket, and it has a lanyard hole so that you can hang it anywhere. This product is backed by a no questions asked lifetime warranty.

Randall’s Adventure ESEE Key Features:

  • 11.75″ overall length with a 6.5″ blade
  • Black powder coated 1095 high carbon steel blade
  • Full tang micarta handle
  • Lifetime warranty

Best Hunting Knife for Skinning: Old Timer Large Sharpfinger

Best Hunting Knife for Skinning
Old Timer Large Sharpfinger
With a rounded blade belly and a fine clip point, the Old Timer Large Sharpfinger is designed specifically for skinning all sorts of wild game.

Considered by many to be the ideal side in the Old Timer lineup for carrying out on every hunt, the Old Timer Large Sharpfinger has a 4″ skinning blade that falls between the brand’s original Sharpfinger and the hefty Deerslayer. It’s perfectly capable of skinning larger game such as deer or elk, and it has a honed clip point that is perfectly suited to precise cuts, like those required for smaller game animals like rabbits. It’s lightweight at 6-ounces, though it is also solid and dependable.

More than half of this knife’s length is the full tang handle that is fashioned with saw-cut Delrin slabs. This ratio of balance gives the user more leverage when substantial force is needed all the while providing enough room on the handle for a full hand grip. The entire surface area is textured, and the end of the handle has been fitted with a lanyard hole. A high-grade cowhide leather belt sheath with a metal fastener clip and a belt loop comes with the knife, ensuring that your knife is protected and at-the-ready when you need it.

The 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel blade is hard and easy to resharpen. This type of steel must be cared for, and so you should be prepared to oil it regularly to prevent rust and corrosion. The knife comes backed by a lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for the original, smaller version of the Sharpfinger you’ll find it below along with many more noteworthy hunting knives.

Old Timer Large Sharpfinger Key Features:

  • 8.6″ overall length with a 4″ blade
  • 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel blade
  • Saw-cut Delrin handle slabs with full textured grip
  • Lifetime warranty

Who Should Buy A Hunting Knife

Every hunter needs at least one quality hunting knife. Hunting knives are vital for killing, skinning, and butchering game. They can also be useful in a variety of other outdoor applications such as wood splitting and an endless array of survival applications.

Hunters should also purchase a quality hunting backpack that has been designed to carry all of the essential outdoor equipment you need for hunting and survival. Those who like to plan and prepare should also pick up multiple trail cameras to figure out where and when your prey is on the move.

Best Hunting Knives Overall
Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire
Portable, practical, and made from high-grade Japanese steel, the Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire is a sharp and stout knife ready for the hunt.

Important Features to Consider

There are a few important considerations to think through before purchasing a hunting knife.

  • Fixed or folding. Do you want a fixed blade or a folding blade? Fixed blades are stronger and offer more reliable leverage thanks to their solid structure. A folding blade is safer and more convenient to carry, and the blade is better protected as well which results in less wear over time. You’ll need a sheath for a fixed blade. Some states and countries have laws that dictate what styles and lengths of fixed hunting blades you are allowed to carry on your person.
  • Full tang. If you are going to purchase a fixed blade, be sure that it is a full tang blade. A full tang blade is comprised of a solid piece of metal from the tip of the blade all the way through to the end of the handle. This results in a much stronger and more stable knife. Knives that do not use full tang blades are more likely to break where the handle meets the blade when it is put under too much pressure.
  • Purpose-built. While there are some multi-purpose utility hunting knives on our list, many have been designed for a specific purpose. Some blades have curved blade bellies that are made for skinning an animal, while others have serrated blades for sawing through bones. Likewise, some blades have sharp clip point blades for precision cuts while others have blunt points to ensure that you don’t accidentally puncture the skin or animal while you are skinning it. Be sure to choose the correct style of knife that fits your needs.
  • Steel quality. Generally, the more expensive a knife is the more likely it will be made of a high-quality grade of steel, though that is not always the case. Stainless steel blades are strong and durable, and they’re the most common lower-grade steel in hunting knives. Carbon steel blades can be made much sharper than stainless steel blades, and that sharpness will last for much longer, but they can be brittle and must be well taken care of to ensure long-term durability. Many knives advertise where their steel falls on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, which is a measurement of a blade’s hardness. How hard a steel blade is matters for attaining and keeping a sharp edge, but a blade that is too hard will break more easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hunting knife used for?

Hunting knives are portable knives that have been specifically designed for killing and/or preparing game as food and for harvesting their other useful materials such as their skin. There are many styles of hunting knives as well as multi-purpose knives that can work well as a jack-of-all-trades utility knife.

How long are hunting knives?

There are short and long hunting knives. Shorter knives with 3.5″ blades and smaller are typically used for small game and for precise cuts on larger game animals. Longer hunting knives can have blades that are 3.5″ to 9″ long and even larger. These longer blades are best used for killing and preparing larger game animals.

What are hunting knives made out of?

Most every hunting knife will have a hard steel blade that will hold a sharp edge for a long while. All fixed blades should be full tang, meaning that the blade metal is one solid piece for the tip of the blade all the way through the handle. The handles themselves may be made from wood, nylon, plastic, rubber, or anything that can provide a reliable grip and comfortable hand feel.

What types of knives do you need for hunting?

There are many styles of knives that can be used for hunting and preparing game animals. Hunters generally carry one or two knives out into the field, though there are well over a dozen styles of knives to choose from. We have featured three broad categories that encompass the most used knife styles. Here, you will find fixed blade knives, folding blade knives, and knives specifically tuned for skinning.

Other specific styles include boning knives, bowie knives, caping knives, and buck knives. While these all have their specific purposes, we find that most people prefer general-use knives that can be used in multiple ways for skinning, gutting, killing, and even other common outdoor activities such as wood splitting.

Other Hunting Knives We Reviewed

Best Hunting Knives Overall
Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire
Portable, practical, and made from high-grade Japanese steel, the Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire is a sharp and stout knife ready for the hunt.

We looked at 20 other hunting knives. Even though they didn’t make our five best hunting knife list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great item to have in your hunting arsenal. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Fixed Hunting Knives

Bubba 9 Inch Fillet Knife

Bubba 9 Inch Fillet Knife

A multi-purposes filleting knife for hunting, fishing, and cooking, the Bubba 9 Inch Fillet Knife is the right choice for hunters who want versatility and value from their knives. This is a great option for those who like to butcher their kills out in the field or at home.

Key Features:

  • 15″ overall length with a 9″ blade
  • Full tang blade into non-slip handle
  • Synthetic sheath provided

Cost: $50

Cold Steel Survival Blade

Cold Steel Survival Blade

The Cold Steel Survival Blade is on the less expensive side of the Cold Steel knife spectrum, but it is made with quality steel that sharpens like a razor. It’s a great utility knife that’ll be handy to have on any hunter’s tool belt.

Key Features:

  • Textured non-slip grip
  • Lanyard hole
  • Durable, secure sheath with belt loop

Cost: $35

Columbia River Knife and Tool Hunt N Fisch

Columbia River Knife and Tool Hunt N Fisch

There’s no better guarantee of a quality knife than a lifetime warranty. The Columbia River Knife and Toll Hunt N Fisch is yours for life. The high-quality steel blade and G10 handle will never falter.

Key Features:

  • Spine friction grooves for blade control
  • Leather sheath
  • Lifetime warranty

Cost: $70

JEO-TEC Celtibero

JEO-TEC Celtibero

Brilliantly balanced and highly-refined, the JEO-TEC Celtibero is a fine hunting knife. This model comes with a cocobolo wood handle and genuine leather sheath, but there are other handle and sheath options to choose fro mas well.

Key Features:

  • 11″ overall lengths with a 5.7″ blade
  • Cocobolo wood handle
  • Sharpener stone and Firesteel included

Cost: $130

Kratos ZF1

Kratos ZF1

A thick and durable blade, the Kratos ZF1 can be used to split firewood, but it can also be sharpened to a fine edge that is perfectly suited to light-duty tasks as well. The nylon sheath clips the blade in place for a secure hold.

Key Features:

  • 13″ overall length with a 7″ steel blade
  • Full tang blade
  • Nylon sheath

Cost: $40

Mossy Oak Survival Knife

Mossy Oak Survival Knife

Made of more solid metal than anything else, the Mossy Oak Survival Knife has a large blade that takes up two-thirds of this knife’s entire length. It has a sharp clip point end and a serrated spine. A sharpener and fire starter are included within the sheath.

Key Features:

  • 15″ overall length with 10″ blade
  • Nylon sheath with sharpener and fire starter
  • Serrated spine and clip point blade

Cost: $30

SOG Seal Strike

SOG Seal Strike

The SOG Seal Strike knife is a moderately-sized knife with good balance. A unique glass-reinforced nylon handle is fitted with finger grooves and raised texturing that supplies ample grip.

Key Features:

  • 9.6″ overall length with a 4.9″ blade
  • Black titanium nitride coating
  • Firestarter and sharpener included

Cost: $100

Folding Hunting Knives

Benchmade Crooked River Knife

Benchmade Crooked River Knife

An elegant tool made from strong steel, the Benchmade Crooked River knife has high edge retention and does well to resist corrosion. This knife measures 5.3″ when folded and 9.3″ unfolded with a 4″ blade. The composite wood handle has been backfilled with resin for enhanced strength and durability.

Key Features:

  • Clip point edge
  • American made CPM-S30V steel
  • Axis locking mechanism

Cost: $185

Kubey Eris

Kubey Eris

With more handle than blade, the Kubey Eris provides excellent leverage for tough cuts. The cryogenically heat treated D2 steel blade holds an edge well. Equipped with a ceramic ball bearing pivot, this folding knife opens and closes smoothly, yet locks in securely.

Key Features:

  • 8″ overall length with 3.4″ blade
  • Ceramic ball bearing pivot
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cost: $60

Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire Ranger

Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire Ranger

The Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire Ranger opens with speed thanks to the flipping lever action. This knife is coated with titanium nitride to reduce reflections and prevent corrosion. The scaled handle provides top-notch grip even when wet, and it comes set with a lanyard hole and pocket clip.

Key Features:

  • 8.5″ overall length with a 3.75″ blade
  • All-weather scaled grip
  • Fast open flip with flipping lever

Cost: $110

Outdoor Edge RazorBlade

Outdoor Edge RazorBlade

Never sharpen a blade again with the Outdoor Edge RazorBlade. Instead of grinding down the steel, just replace it with a razor-sharp new blade. There are 6 blades included with this knife, all interchangeable with the push of a button.

Key Features:

  • Blade can be changed with the push of a button
  • 6 3.5″ interchangeable blades included
  • 8″ overall length

Cost: $35

Outdoor Edge Swingblaze

Outdoor Edge Swingblaze

The Outdoor Edge Swingblaze is a small knife with big ambitions. It’s a dual-bladed folding knife with a skinning blade and a gutting blade. It’s the perfect tool for skinning and cleaning small mammals, and it can be used for finer cuts on big game.

Key Features:

  • Rotating skinning and gutting blades
  • Serrated spine for bone sawing
  • Nylon sheath included

Cost: $50

Hunting Knives for Skinning

Buck Knives Ranger

Buck Knives Ranger

An exquisite skinning knife made from hardwood ebony, brass, and high-grade steel, the Buck Knives Ranger does the job right. Its classic styling and functional design make it a great skinning knife for any size of game. It comes with a leather sheath and a lifetime warranty.

Key Features:

  • 7.25″ overall length with 3.2″ blade
  • Narrow tip, curved belly, and downward angled point
  • Ebony handle with brass bolstering

Cost: $70

Hobby Hut Hunting Knife

Hobby Hut Hunting Knife

Uniquely designed with a rough blade face and a glossy pakka wood handle, the Hobby Hut Hunting Knife is sure to grab the attention of your fellow hunters. The knife is more than just a showpiece, though. It’s great for piercing, cutting, and performing precision incisions.

Key Features:

  • 9″ full tang knife
  • Included high-grade leather sheath
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cost: $35

Old Timer Copperhead

Old Timer Copperhead

The Old Time Copperhead is a practical tool for the practical hunter. This knife has a rubber handle for a reliable grip without any glitz. The full-tang blade is made from nitride carbon coated stainless steel, and it features a smooth belly for skinning and a gut hook for the dirty work that must get done.

Key Features:

  • 8.1″ overall length with a 3.7″ blade
  • Drop point tip with a gut hook
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cost: $20

Poshland Skinner Knife

Poshland Skinner Knife

The Poshland Skinner Knife is a beautiful knife that has a large lanyard loop and a textured micarta handle. The blade, though flashy, is well designed for skinning with its swooping belly and find drop point.

Key Features:

  • 10″ overall length with a 5″ blade
  • HRC 58-60 blade steel hardness
  • Micarta handle and leather holster

Cost: $45

Budget Hunting Knives

Old Timer Sharpfinger

Old Timer Sharpfinger

This Old Time Sharpfinger is simply a smaller and less expensive version of our top pick for skinning knives. It’s got a classic design with a long handle for excellent leverage and a perfectly curved blade with a fine point for skinning smaller game.

Key Features:

  • 7.1″ overall length with a 3.3″ blade
  • Full tang steel with saw-cut Delrin handle slabs
  • Lifetime warranty

Cost: $13

Outdoor Edge ZipPro

Outdoor Edge ZipPro

Gut and skin game easily with the Outdoor Edge ZipPro. This handy blade is lightweight and can be clipped to your pocket. The extremely sharp blade is ideal for cutting under an animal’s skin, and the blunt point essentially eliminates any chance of an accidental puncture.

Key Features:

  • 8″ overall length with a 3.5″ folding blade
  • Gutting knife design with a blunt tip
  • Lightweight at 3.1-ounces

Cost: $18

Steinbrucke Tactical Knife

Steinbrucke Tactical Knife

A traditional multi-use utility knife, the folding Steinbrucke Tactical Knife can be used for hunting purposes as well as just about any task at home, in the garage, or out in the wilderness.

Key Features:

  • 8″ overall length with a 3.4″ blade
  • Partially serrated blade edge for sawing
  • Black matt aluminum handle

Cost: $19

Tac Force Rainbow Blade

Tac Force Rainbow Blade

The Tac Force Rainbow Blade is an inexpensive, multi-purpose folding knife. It has a partially serrated blade for sawing and a smooth belly leading to a fine point. It locks open and has a convenient pocket clip.

Key Features:

  • 8″ overall length with a 3.4″ blade
  • Partially serrated blade edge for sawing
  • Eye-catching multicolored blade

Cost: $12

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