Kukri knife, also known as the khukuri knife, is one of the most famous bladed weapons in the world. The signature tool of the renowned Gurkha regiment of the British Army, it’s been used by the people of Nepal for centuries. There’s a reason for this too: The Kukri is one serious knife. Today we’ll be reviewing some of the best kukri knives available to help you find the perfect one for you.
- 1 Best Kukri Knives
- 2 Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Kukri Knife
- 3 Final Thoughts
Best Kukri Knives
Finding the best kukri knives wasn’t easy. The category is broad and highly popular, with dozens of different companies producing hundreds of different kukri knives.
We did our best to pick out several great examples of each type, price point, and style of kukri.
EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri
The EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri is a real deal British army issue kukri knife. It was hand forged in Nepal by master Bishwakarmas, the traditional makers of Nepalese kukri.
It has an 11” blade with a 5” rosewood handle and uses a full tang design. It’s made from unpolished Nepalese steel and has a very sharp edge.
The sheath is made from buffalo leather backed canvas with a pair of ties to secure your kukri inside. As is traditional with Kukri knives it comes with both a karda and a chakmak. These are a small utility knife and a blunted steel tool used for sharpening.
One thing to keep in mind is that this kukri is a handmade product. Every kukri will be slightly different from one another, with small imperfections likely.
If you want the most authentic possible Nepalese khukuri knife and are okay with minor imperfections, the EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri is the blade for you.
CRKT KUK Full Tang Kukri
The CRKT KUK is a full tang kukri style knife slightly modified by master bladesmith Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical. It’s made from 65 Mn high carbon steel with a black powder finish to protect against rust and corrosion.
It has a 10.5 in long blade and an overall length of just under 16 inches. Because it uses a full tang design it replaces the traditional kukri handle with a pair of highly textured injection molded scales.
These give you an excellent grip but do take something away from the traditional look of the kukri. It comes with a black nylon sheath that uses a buttoned retention strap for secure carry in the field.
Overall the CRKT KUK is a high-quality kukri style knife from a respected manufacturer. It’s reasonably priced and very well made.
Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife
The Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife is an overbuilt tool designed for serious use. It’s made from 1075 high carbon steel and has a gorgeous natural hardwood handle.
This Condor knife has a 10 in blade, perfect for utility work or as a self-defense tool. The blade has a blasted satin finish for a high polish.
It comes with a natural leather sheath that uses a slip in design with two snaps. This gives you a very secure hold.
The Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri is a rugged and dependable kukri knife. It’s definitely on the high side pricewise, but makes up for it with it’s excellent build quality.
Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri
The Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri is a modified kukri knife optimized for self-defense. It has a 9.25 in blade made from N690Co stainless steel with a powder coated finish.
This gives it excellent corrosion resistance and the ability to take a very sharp edge. The overall length is just over 14 in. It uses a full tang design with FORPRENE composite handles.
These give you an excellent grip even in wet conditions. The blade comes quite sharp and has a nonstandard profile for a kukri knife, without the classic notch. It comes standard with a 1000D black nylon sheath.
The Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri is a very nice kukri knife made from premium materials. It’s definitely expensive for a kukri knife, but you end up with a really nice kukri knife for your money.
Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife
Ka-Bar is one of the most well known names in the knife and self-defense world. Their Marine Fighting Utility Knife has been used on the frontlines since WWII. The Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife combines the aesthetic and functionality of these two famous knives.
It has the curved shape and blade profile of a kukri, with the iconic handle style of the Marine Fighting Utility Knife. This gives you an excellent utility and self defense tool that’s easy to hold onto.
The Ka-Bar Combat Kukri has an overall length of just over 13 in, with a blade length of 8.5 in. That gives you a slightly more compact kukri than usual but still a lot of useful blade.
It’s made from powder-coated 1095 steel and comes with a heavy-duty polyester sheath.
The Ka-Bar Combat Kukri is a really nice utility kukri from a highly reputable manufacturer. It’s a little bit more expensive than some other kukri knives but overall a great value.
Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete
The Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete is an extra large kukri knife intended for utility use. It has an overall length of nearly 21 in, with a blade length of fully 15.5 in.
That’s a whole lot of usable blade. It’s made from 1055 high carbon steel with a black powder finish. This allows you to put an excellent edge on the blade while still protecting it from corrosion.
The handles are made from molded composite materials with an excellent grip pattern. This makes it easy to hold onto even in wet or rainy conditions. It comes with a Cor-Ex sheath.
It’s large size and high-quality build make the Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete an excellent general purpose tool or self-defense weapon.
OKC Kukri Knife
The Ontario Knife Company Kukri knife is a large and highly capable modern kukri. It’s made from 1095 high carbon steel with a black corrosion resistant coating.
It has a 12 in blade with an overall length of 17 in. That’s on the high end of traditional kukri knives, but excellent for both self defense and utility tasks.
The OKC Kukri uses a full tang design with modern G10 composite scales. You get a knife that’s comfortable to hold and secure in your grip. It comes with a black nylon sheath that can be attached to your belt or bag.
It also has an included lanyard to make it easier to retain while using it.
The OKC Kukri Knife is a well made kukri from a respected manufacturer. It’s on the large end of the knife spectrum but is highly used for a variety of tasks.
Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri
The Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri is an unusual entry into the kukri category. We mentioned below that most folding kukri were little more than novelties, this is the exception.
It has a 4.625 in long stainless steel blade that folds into a black G10 handle. This gives you a surprising amount of useful blade for a folding knife, with the distinctive kukri blade profile.
The Magnum has a linerlock to keep the blade steady while in use and folds out quickly with the help of a flipper. As a folding knife it doesn’t come with a sheath but it’s small and light enough, just 7.9 oz, to fit comfortably in your pocket.
The Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri is great for use by fishermen, hikers, and anyone else who wants a large and highly capable folder in their pocket.
Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Kukri Knife
Choosing the right kukri knife really depends on what kind of knife you’re looking for. The traditional kukri is an excellent tool, but it has been modified and improved by dozens of different modern manufacturers.
You can pick between a classic Nepalese khukuri or a highly tactical kukri style combat knife made from the finest modern materials. Before reading our buyer’s guide we also have reviews for the best machetes and best bowie knives you should check out.
There is a wide range in kukri knife prices. They start at value models made from cheaper materials in the $10-$20 range and go all the way up to hundreds of dollars for original Nepalese kukri.
The most distinctive feature of a kukri knife is its recurved blade. Most knives have a curve with the blade on the outside. The kukri reverses this and gives you a crescent shaped blade with the sharpened portion on the interior of the curve.
Wherever the shape and layout came from, it’s great for utility work and highly effective as a close in weapon for hand to hand combat.
The classic kukri handle is made from hardwood or buffalo horn, with a pronounced flare at the butt. This helps prevent the knife from slipping during use.
You can also choose from more modern flattened handles with textured scales. These will usually be more comfortable for folks who are used to Western style knives and machetes.
At the base of the blade you’ll usually find a small notch or cut-out. The reason for this has been lost to history, but different stories say that it’s to allow blood and sap to run off the blade without making the handle slippery, as a guide for sharpening or as a representation of a cow’s foot indicating a connection with the god Shiva.
At this point it’s less a functional feature of the kukri and more part of its distinctive look.
One thing many people are surprised to learn is that the traditional kukri knife uses a partial tang. Rather than a standard stick style full tang extending through the handle the kukri most commonly used a rounded partial tang that made up part of the handle.
Many modern reproductions have changed this to go with a full tang design with a flatter handle. If you’re looking for a true kukri though you should stick with the rounded partial tang design.
Weight and Size
The traditional kukri was similar in size to a machete, with a total length of between 14 and 18 inches and a weight around one to two pounds. Modern kukri are available in a variety of sizes and weights.
You can actually get folding kukri knives now, though the majority of these fall under the curiosity category more than useful tools.
You can get a kukri sheath in just about any material, with just about any level of decoration. Leather and decorated wood were the most common kukri scabbard materials in the past.
Now though you can choose from leather, wood, canvas, nylon, kydex, and any other modern material imaginable.
As you can see above, picking out the best kukri knife isn’t easy.
The best kukri for me probably won’t be the best kukri for you.
Figure out what features you value the most and whether you want to go with a traditional kukri or a more modernized kukri style utility/fighting knife.
Once you know that it’s a lot easier to narrow down the field.