The knife has come a long way from its humble beginnings as cracked piece of stone, and they have always been an important tool in our evolution as a species.
There are a huge range of fixed blade knives you can buy of varying degrees of quality and budget.
They can be used for butchering, cooking, wood processing, fire starting, whittling, construction, bushcraft, hunting, medical and injury first aid, and of course self-defence.
I have probably owned hundreds of knives over the years, and they all excelled at various things, and usually have a draw back or two.
So, I am going to give you a list of my favourite fixed blade knives, that I currently own or have owned. Which will hopefully give you an idea of what you would like to buy for yourself.
I prefer a fixed blade knife to a folding one personally. They have less parts, so there is less to go wrong as there is less likely to be a weak spot that fails you when you really need it.
And because of this they tend to be more robust and can take more of a battering, which means you can use them for more things and in more situations.
This is especially important if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
If it is legal to do so where you are, a fixed blade knife should be an essential part of your kit when you go into the great outdoors, whether that is for camping, hiking, bushcraft, and they are widely used by the military, survivalists, and preppers.
They can also be a great item in your everyday carry (EDC), if appropriate.
This depends on what you intend to use it for really but there are a few things that good knives will have in common:
I am reluctant to give a ranking of the best knives, because they all have their advantages and disadvantages in certain situations, so what I think is the best knife might not fit how you are going to use it.
So, I will just give you an alphabetical list of what I think are the best knives generally. These are all knives that I have owned and have tested thoroughly.
SPEW stands for Small Pocket Everyday Wharncliffe, and it is one of my go to EDC’s.
It is very easy to conceal, as it is small and thin. But for as small as it is, it should not be underestimated. It is very good at doing delicate tasks, but it is just as good as at being a deterrent, and it is really handy in hand-to-hand combat.
Just looking at it, you can tell it can do some damage by its design, I don’t know why but the blade kind of reminds me of a shark.
If I lined up all the knives I have ever owned, you would see 2 distinct style favourites… stealthy looking tactical knives and more flamboyant weird looking knives ha-ha.
This knife is definitely on the flamboyant side of things, and it is meant to be. It has a high-viz coating, and you will never lose it around the campfire that is for sure.
It is in my rotation of EDC (everyday carry) knives, especially when I am in more populated areas and not bothered about it staying hidden.
Even though it is very showy it is also still a very good functional knife with an excellent blade with a drop-point design.
The steel handle might be an issue, but you can buy and easily fit some handle scales with a couple of turns of an Allen Key. I did buy some scales but have found I rarely use them.
I think every list of the best knives articles you will see, will have a Gerber knife on them at some point.
Gerber just make very good knives at a very reasonable price. If you have a tight budget, then a Gerber knife would be a good consideration.
It has a good quality blade (420HC stainless steel), but I will be honest with you… I bought it because it looked cool!
I love the black tactical blade, and the snazzy looking handle. A handle I might add that is very comfortable and still feels grippy in very wet conditions.
A little added bonus is that the sheath is MOLLE compatible, so you will be able to attach it to most of the tactical gear you own.
This is inspired by the classical Japanese knives, but with a modern twist. It has that classic upward curve they makes it look like a mini samurai sword.
But it has substance as well as style. There is often a trade-off from being really sharp but staying robust and usable. And this knife gets it just about right as it is ultra-sharp but still very robust and is very hard to chip.
This is due to the premium standard steel it is made from (S35SVN), and fine craftmanship. At 5 inches it is surprisingly long for how easy it is to handle.
The handle is a bit minimalist though, and a little basic.
I use this knife mainly for hunting and for building bushcraft basecamps and shelters.
And the tactical vibe is very cool looking in my opinion, but it is a very good solid knife with a blade (1095 Cro-Van) that doesn’t need much maintenance to stay razor sharp.
It is excellent for skinning animals on hunting trips, from Rabbits to Elk and because the handle is really well designed, it allows you great manoeuvrability and “feel”.
But it is also very well suited to processing wood for fires and shelters, as well as making twine rope or cutting bought rope or paracord.
I would highly recommend this knife, if you spend a lot of time in the woods having wild adventures.
A tactical, military, fighting knife, or however you would like to define it. It’s probably too big to be an EDC but is idea to take out in the mountains with you on multiday adventures.
The black coating of the blade makes it stealthy, and helps make it more robust, and the blade quality is excellent (1095 Cro-van steel).
The original version of this knife was used by the US military back in World War ll, and it has been a well-respected knife ever since.
I find myself always going back to this knife, and I think it’s because the handle is so luxurious, it is wrapped in leather and it is a true pleasure to hold.
Personally, I think this knife is a bit boring looking to be honest, a very standard and traditional knife. Something you might associate with something coming out of an old communist country.
But a lot of people I trusted recommended this knife, and they were right to do so. It became one of my go to knives for fishing, hunting, and wild camping trips.
Out of the box it is probably one of the sharpest blades I have ever bought, and it stays sharp for a long-time as it is made from carbon steel.
The blade has a nice wide square back, so you can get a really big and consistently big spark from a fire steel.
For those people who want to look like they have just come out of the jungle of Vietnam.
I am rarely going to need a bayonet for the purposes of what you would expect. But it is a valuable knife in my collection. It is the knife I go to if I want some grunt work doing, before using a more refined knife.
It is excellent for doing those initial steps in shelter building where you are processing the large pieces of wood.
It is a big, thick, and heavy knife that you can bash about a lot without fear of damaging it. It is not an EDC knife that you mainly use for opening letters!
This was originally designed as a close combat knife for the Navy SEALs. And you can see why, it has a good weight to it and feels balanced as you move it around.
The handle is one of the features that sets this knife apart, it is ergonomically designed with ridges for you fingers.
So, you can get a really tight grip on the knife and no matter what you are doing with the knife you never feel like you are going to lose control of it.
I also like the additional serrated edge on the back, which always comes in handy.
Talking of the blade (AUS-8 steel finished with black TiNi), it is a very good option if you intend it to be out in wet conditions for extended periods of time. It is as close to rust and corrosion proof as you can get.
Probably the best value for money knife I have ever bought when you factor in the price, the high quality, the amount of uses it has, and how many times I have used it.
If I go fishing, this knife always comes with me. It is a great design for cutting lines, processing bait, and gutting fish.
The handle fits into my hand beautifully and it preforms well in extreme temperatures.
And I love the leather sheath it comes with; I generally prefer leather over plastic sheaths as I just think it looks more natural and dare I say it a bit more classy. But you may lose a bit of function, which I am prepared to accept.
I currently have 2 knives in my bug out bag, and this is one of them.
It is a small compact knife that is great for a whole host of potential survival situations, whether that is chopping, cutting, slicing, and stabbing.
Aesthetically I love the two-tone blade, although the branding on the blade is a bit over the top. It might have looked better on the handle.
I prefer fixed blade handles for my bug out bag, as there is less chance of failure and this knife ticks a lot of boxes that I am looking for in a bug out bag knife.
There is a huge range of fixed blade knives you can buy nowadays.
This is a good thing because you are basically guaranteed to find one within your budget.
But sometimes that huge range can lead to over procrastination.
So, do a bit of research obviously but don’t research too much as at the end of the day it is just a knife and most are reasonably priced.
If you get one you don’t like, stick it on eBay and buy another one… it shouldn’t be a huge deal especially if it is your first knife.
The best fixed blade knife will be the knife that best suits your eye and your lifestyle. So, take tips from articles like this, but at the end of the day you will just have to experiment to find the best fixed blade knife for you.