Last updated: 17/10/2022

How we pick our products

17Products analysed

55Hours spent

19Evaluated articles

122User reviews

Welcome to our big hunting knife test 2022. Here we present all the hunting knives we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best hunting knife for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a hunting knife.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a hunting knife

The Best Hunting Knives: Our Picks

What is a hunting knife?

A hunting knife is, as the name suggests, a knife optimised for hunting. There are different types of hunting knives, which are used for different jobs. Hunting knives are used for intercepting, skinning and breaking up hunted game.

Hunting knives should be made with a high-quality handle that prevents slipping. ( Unsplash.com / Sebastian Pociecha)

Who is a hunting knife suitable for?

A hunting knife is an obligatory tool that every hunter should carry. Hunting knives are made for the outdoors and are therefore often carried along for other activities, such as camping in the forest or as an all-purpose tool in a hiking backpack. A hunting pocket knife is also suitable for:

  • Bushcraft
  • Survival Adventures
  • Safari Tours
  • Camping of all kinds
  • Hikes
  • Trekking tours

What makes a good hunting knife?

A good hunting knife is not too heavy and not too light. It should have a very good cutting performance and stay sharp for a long time. A good hunting knife should also not be too big so that you can carry it easily.

What types of hunting knives are there?

The different types of hunting knives are distinguished according to the purpose for which they are used. Often separate knives are used for each job, but there are also combined knives with a folding system or a special blade grind that makes it possible to break open and skin with one knife.

Interception

Interception means the killing of wounded game. The intercepting hunting knife used for this is often relatively long and has the typical dagger shape. Interception knives are actually only used for stabbing and should be able to release an animal as quickly as possible. Depending on the size of the animal, wider or narrower blades are used. With wider blades, bears or wild boars, for example, can be killed as quickly as possible. This reduces the danger for the hunter and the injured animal does not have to suffer unnecessarily. We have selected an interesting video for you:

Breaking open

Ripping is the process of gutting the game, which removes the innards. Ripping hunting knives have a blade length of about 10 cm or less, and ripping hunting knives are slightly curved. Ripping knives must fit well in the hand and often have a slightly rounded and less sharp blade tip to avoid damaging the organs of the hunted game. If the organs are damaged, the quality of the meat is greatly reduced or the meat becomes inedible.

Skinning

The hunted game is often skinned and processed with special butcher’s knives of different shapes. As a rule, such knives are not carried by the hunter.

What materials does a hunting knife consist of?

A hunting knife consists of two parts: a blade and a handle.

The blade

The blade of a hunting knife is made of stainless steel. The choice of different types of knife steel is immense and the type of steel accounts for a large part of the quality and price of a hunting knife.

A good steel for hunting knives should have a very good cutting performance, remain sharp for a long time and reliably as well as have a certain degree of hardness.

Knife steel can be rated with four points of criticism:

  • Rockwell hardness
  • Cut resistance
  • Wear resistance
  • Corrosion resistance
Point of criticism Explanation
Rockwell hardness Unit of measurement for steel hardness the higher the value the better
Cutting performance How long does the hunting knife stay sharp?
Wear resistance How durable is the knife? Using the knife causes a certain amount of wear, which varies depending on the type of steel.
Corrosion resistance How resistant is the knife steel to moisture and rust.

Only really expensive hunting knives with premium steel prove to be top performers in all points of criticism.

The handle

The handle of a hunting knife should lie well in the hand and provide an ideal grip even for rough work. The majority of hunting knives are used outdoors, so the handle material should be suitable for outdoor use.

Handle material Explanation
Wood Wood can be carved.
Horn Horn is very popular and known for its density. Horn is very individual as no two are alike.
Plastic Plastic handles can be marked with signal colours. They are very weather resistant and durable, but do not look very nice.

What does a hunting knife cost?

You can buy a hunting knife for between 20 and 400 euros +. Depending on how often you go stalking or how passionate you are about your hobby, it is highly recommended to spend a little more money on a high-quality hunting knife, because here too, “quality has its price“. You usually only buy a high-quality hunting knife once and can use it for a lifetime, so the price should play a less important role. A good hunting knife with high-quality materials can be found for as little as 60 euros.

A hunting knife is a standard part of a hunter’s equipment and, as an all-purpose tool, offers many possible uses. ( Pixabay.com / PublicDomainPictures)

What are the alternatives to a hunting knife?

For general knife work where you cannot make any major mistakes, you will also be well equipped with a normal pocket knife or an outdoor survival knife. Especially for skinning or breaking open hunted game, hunting knives are of course easier to use.

Decision: What types of hunting knives are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a hunting knife, there are two alternatives to choose from:

  • Hunting knives with a folding blade
  • Hunting knives with a fixed blade

What distinguishes a hunting knife with a folding blade and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A hunting knife with a folding blade is also called a hunting pocket knife. As the name suggests, the folding blade reduces the pack size enormously and can be carried in your pocket without any problems. There are some advantages but also disadvantages of hunting pocket knives:

Advantages
  • Reduced pack size
  • Often multitool capable
  • Blades are always safely stowed
Disadvantages
  • More difficult to clean
  • Folding mechanism can be a weak point
  • Hunting pocket knives are often only available with shorter blades

What distinguishes a hunting knife with a fixed blade and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A hunting knife that is forged from one piece of stainless steel and fitted with a high-quality handle is almost indestructible. Due to the high-quality workmanship and the well-balanced handling, a hunting knife with a fixed blade will serve you well for a long time. There are some advantages but also disadvantages of hunting knives with fixed blades:

Advantages
  • High stability
  • Often well balanced to ensure comfortable handling
  • Available in any blade length
Disadvantages
  • Larger pack size
  • Cutting edge must be protected with scabbard
  • Often optimised for only one specific job.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate hunting knives

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible hunting knives. The criteria you can use to compare knives for hunting include:

  • Range of application
  • Steel grade and hardness
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Optics
  • Price

In the following, we will go into more detail on the individual points of criticism.

Area of application

Think about the work you will use your future hunting knife for. Not every hunting knife is suitable for all types of work on game, but there are models that you can use more versatilely than others.

Steel grade and hardness

A hunting knife is a tool made of stainless steel, so the type of steel is crucial to the quality of the knife. You can often recognise high-quality hunting knife steel by its price, which is correspondingly high.

hunting knives are forged to achieve a certain level of durability. ( unsplash.com / Gibbs H.)

Size

The size of hunting knives is usually standardised. Depending on the type of knife, a certain length is necessary to successfully intercept the animal. Of course, the size also determines how easily you can transport your future hunting knife.

Hunting knife type blade length
Interception hunting knife approx. 20 cm (depending on the animal)
Breaking open hunting knife approx. 5 – 10 cm
Hunting knife for skinning approx. 10 cm

Weight

Your future hunting knife should not be too light or too heavy, and it should feel comfortable in your hand. Heavy and large knives often take up a lot of space and are not practical for travelling.

It is important to clearly distinguish what you are hunting with in order to be able to carry the right knives.

Optics

A criterion that should not be underestimated is the appearance. The appearance of the different handle materials and the colour of the hunting knife are certainly a matter of taste. If you want to use your hunting knife for a lifetime, you should like it. Nevertheless, strong signal colours offer the added value of making the knife easy to find again and preventing you from accidentally reaching into the blade.

Price

The price of a high-quality hunting knife is relatively high, but the price should not be the first consideration. If you want to buy a hunting knife and invest a few euros more, you will get a very high-quality product that will serve you well for a long time.

Facts worth knowing about hunting knives

How do you sharpen your hunting knife?

A hunting knife, like any other knife, can be sharpened in different ways. All methods basically work their way from coarse-grained sharpening stones to very fine sharpening utensils.

Can you legally carry a hunting knife?

A hunting knife may be carried in public. Only the public carrying of knives with a blade length of 12 cm or more is prohibited. However, the knives in question may still be carried in a closed container, such as a backpack or briefcase. Possession of the following knives is prohibited in Germany

  • Drop knife
  • Fist knife (except with hunting permission)
  • Butterfly knife
  • Switchblade knife

Picture:123rf.com / Popova T.

Reviews