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The 10 Best Fixed-Blade Knives Available

From cutting wood to skinning critters, these blades are tough enough to rough it.

best fixed blade knives

On September 19, 1827, a fight broke out on a Mississippi River sandbar. What started as a formal duel between two notable Louisiana families ended in a skirmish in which Jim Bowie, originally just a supporter on the sidelines, was shot and stabbed before drawing out a large knife and killing a man named Norris Wright. Bowie survived his injuries, took up the knife as his trademark weapon and became an American folk hero.

The fixed-blade knife has been steeped in hyperbole ever since. Large blades loom massive in pop culture — Rambo’s massive serrated spine knife and Crocodile Dundee’s giant clip-point are two notable examples. Such slabs of steel present a satisfying flash in front of a camera lens but don’t offer more in the way of utility. In fact, their unwieldiness probably makes them less adept at performing the simple, everyday tasks that a fixed blade is most commonly used for.

When used to its best purpose, a knife is a multipurpose tool. (Who really wants to be in a knife fight anyway? Bowie barely survived his first one). A sharp blade is near limitless in its functions, from filleting a freshly caught fish to making an emergency repair on a ripped tent.

This guide provides information on the nine top fixed blades for a variety of activities and applications. In it, we break down each model based on key features like length, weight, materials, price and more.

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Gerber Terracraft

The Terracraft debuted Gerber's Reserve program, which consists of limited runs of pocket knives that are made in the USA with high-grade materials. It's a fitting blade to kick off the program, given that it calls to mind classic American hunting and outdoor knives despite its modern materials, colors and angles. Its four-inch, drop-point blade is incredibly versatile in a wide range of scenarios but its looks aren't explicitly survival- or tactically oriented.

On its face, the Terracraft is expensive at $150, but that price is actually quite reasonable considering it uses high-grade S30V steel that balances knife steel properties better than any $50 blade can, and will hold up to years of heavy use (Gerber also backs it up with a limited lifetime warranty). If you don't want to spend that much, the best option is to go with our budget pick knowing that you'll likely have to replace it.

Overall Length: 9.1 inches

Blade Length: 4 inches

Blade Material: S30V steel

Blade Type: drop point

Handle Material: Micarta

Weight: 6.4 ounces

The James Brand The Hell Gap

The Hell Gap isn’t only one of our top choices for a fixed-blade knife, it’s one of the 10 best outdoor products to come out in 2019. At 7.8 inches with a 3.8-inch drop-point, full-tang blade, it’s the perfect length, maintaining just the right amount of edge and belly for any campsite task, from cutting cord to slicing veggies. It’s neither tactical nor survival-oriented, but some combination of both (plus a dash of kitchen knife), and its Crucible S35VN steel offers better toughness (resistance to chipping) than the Terracraft's S30V steel.

Overall Length: 7.8 inches

Blade Length: 3.8 inches

Blade Material: Crucible S35VN steel

Blade Type: drop point

Handle Material: Micarta

Weight: 3.1 ounces

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Military Green

Typically, a price tag as low as $20 is a red flag and a marker of equally low quality. But somehow Morakniv manages to eke by with a budget blade that holds its own. The Companion is as basic as a fixed-blade knife gets, but for many, that’s wholly adequate. It has a 12C27 stainless steel blade that’s highly resistant to corrosion and wear, which is ideal for new knife users who don’t want to fuss over maintenance. Quality is hard to come by at this price, which is why the Companion also cracked our list of the best bushcraft knives.

Overall Length: 8.75 inches

Blade Length: 4.1 inches

Blade Material: 12C27 stainless steel

Blade Type: drop point

Handle Material: rubber

Weight: 4.1 ounces

Best Fixed Blade for Your Desk
Craighill Desk Knife

Craighill's Desk Knife’s most apparent differentiator is that it’s a solid hunk of metal — no rubber or wood handle here. But that’s what makes it perfect for your desk — its form is tasteful instead of tactical; it's not far off from a letter opener except in that it's sharp enough to handle more than paper. The sharpened portion of the Desk Knife is only an inch or so long, but that’s plenty for routine office jobs like opening packages. In addition to the stainless steel pictured here, the Desk Knife is available in black ($75) and solid brass ($85).

Overall Length: 5.25 inches

Blade Material: stainless steel or brass

Blade Type: utility

Handle Material: stainless steel or brass

Weight: 4.5 ounces

Best Small Fixed Blade
Benchmade Hidden Canyon

With a construction that emphasizes strength over pocketability, fixed-blade knives tend to be on the larger side of the spectrum. But you can still find models that strike that optimal balance between utility and portability, like Benchmade’s Hidden Canyon. The knife is 6.3 inches long with a 2.67-inch blade and weighs just over three ounces, but it’s still large enough to be comfy in hand during use, thanks to an oversized guard that blends into the grip. What’s more, the Hidden Canyon uses premium-grade materials, including CPM-S30V stainless steel and either a G10 or Dymondwood handle.

Overall Length: 6.32 inches

Blade Length: 2.67 inches

Blade Material: CPM-S30V steel

Blade Type: drop point

Handle Material: G10 or Dymondwood

Weight: 3.53 ounces (G10), 3.19 ounces (Dymondwood)

Highest Rated on Amazon

For outdoor usage, there's nothing quite like an ESEE knife. The ESEE-4 is well-balanced in size and weight, and is highly lauded amongst survivalists and the like. In terms of looks, the 4 is a stunner: the carbon steel blade is an eye-catching OD Green, and the fiberglass handle is made to look like natural canvas. The knife is 9 inches long with a 4.5 inch blade and weighs 8 ounces on its own, and eleven with the sheath — it's got enough weight to feel capable, without being too heavy.

Overall Length: 8 inches

Blade Length: 4.5 inches

Blade Material: Carbon steel

Blade Type: Drop point

Handle Material: Fiberglass

Weight: 8 ounces

Best Bushcraft Fixed Blade
KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion

Ka-Bar’s Becker BK2 Companion tops our list of the best bushcraft blades through strength. It’s a workhorse of a knife, with a blade large and strong enough to take care of firewood processing and shelter construction. Its steel is 1095 Cro-Van, a carbon variant infused with chrome and vanadium carbides that help bolster its resistance to inevitable wear and tear. This knife isn’t all brawn though; its drop-point blade shape can take on tasks that require more finesse too.

Overall Length: 10.5 inches

Blade Length: 5.25 inches

Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van steel

Blade Type: drop point

Handle Material: Grivory

Weight: 16 ounces

Best Neck Knife
CRKT Minimalist

Neck knives are, as their name implies, knives that you wear around your neck with a piece of cord or chain. The benefits of doing so are quick access and discretion, among many others. Neck knives are almost always fixed blades and are typically very minimal, as is this aptly named model from CRKT. It comes with colorful polished resin handles and is available in a variety of blade shapes including a mini Bowie, cleaver, tanto, drop point and more.

Overall Length: 5.13 inches

Blade Length: 2.13 inches

Blade Material: 5Cr15MoV

Blade Type: clip point (others available)

Handle Material: polished resin-infused fiber

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Best Wood Handle Fixed Blade
Helle Utvaer

Norwegian brothers Steinar and Sigmund Helle founded their forge on a straightforward yet oft-ignored concept in the age of large-scale production: “Quality craftsmanship is best preserved by quality craftsmen.” That idea holds for Helle to this day and is displayed in the four-inch Utvær. The company named the knife after the group of islands where Norway meets the North Sea and constructed it with a Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade and a gorgeous curly-birch handle.

Overall Length: 8.25 inches

Blade Length: 4 inches

Blade Material: Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel

Blade Type: drop point

Handle Material: curly birch

Weight: 5.64 ounces

Best Fixed Blade for Fishing
Bubba Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade
Now 39% off

The Bubba version of preparedness on the water is a knife that comes with four blades instead of one. The interchangeable system includes seven-, eight- and nine-inch blades that offer a variety of stiffnesses, shapes and edge types. All of them are full-tang and lock securely into the handle with an easy-to-use system that’s bolstered by a magnetic insert. The handle becomes the core of this knife and provides plenty of utility with its grippy construction and a shape that includes oversized guards and a trigger-style finger hold.

Overall Length: 13-15 inches

Blade Length: 7-9 inches

Blade Material: titanium-nitride-coated steel

Blade Type: fillet

Handle Material: non-slip synthetic

Weight: varies by blade

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