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How to choose a machete

Bc. Michal Kuczaj

Machetes are perfect tools for literally any job, where a regular knife doesn't do the trick. Thanks to their dimensions, they can also take the role of a proper axe. So whether you are an avid gardener, embark on exciting expeditions or just want to have a solid piece of iron (or rather high-quality steel) nearby, a machete is definitely a must-have in your kit.

When it comes to the word "Machete", everyone probably knows it's basically just a larger knife with a long blade. However, there are countless types of machetes of various shapes, dimensions and features. Now the question is, how to choose the right machete that suits you the best?

machete types

You can come across a wide range of machetes in many different parts of the world. Each culture uses machetes for their specific needs, therefore their design has changed over time to best serve their purpose.

Some of the most familiar and most commonly used types of machetes include:

silueta latin bush.jpg Latin

Also called "Bush" - probably the first type we think of when hearing the word machete. It is, in fact, the most widespread type in the West as well as in Europe, and for a good reason. It's a powerful and versatile tool for any sort of wood cutting and clearing thick vegetation. It is mostly available with a straight, smooth blade which is curved at the end with a slightly increasing blade height. Some manufacturers also offer machetes with the other side of the blade being serrated, serving as a wood saw. The serrations can be either single-row or alternated - making it even easier to saw wood. The handle is usually one-handed and its end features a rounded tip or is widened for a more secure grip.

Gerber Gator machete with sheath

Large machete for heavy work in the field or in the garden, on expeditions or in remote woods.

In Stock in Our Central Warehouse, estimated delivery: April 24 - 26.

€ 47.7

Machete Joker Colombiano JKR487

It is a long military machete made in full tang construction. The handle is made of plastic scrapers. The blade is made of stainless steel.

1 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 21.2

Gerber Clearpath machete

This highly versatile model is ideal for everyday use.

In Stock in Our Central Warehouse, estimated delivery: April 24 - 26.

€ 48.4

silueta kukri.jpg Kukri

Sometimes called "Khukuri". Originating in the borderlands of Nepal and India, this machete, or rather a Gurkha traditional weapon, is distinctive by its curved blade with a significant widening towards the sharp tip. Its shape, and therefore its weight distribution (the centre of gravity is located beyond the middle of the blade), makes it very easy to chop wood or cut meat without any effort.

Ganzo Firebird F804 machete

1x

The Ganzo Firebird F804 is a massive machete based on the traditional Kukri sharp instrument from the Indian subcontinent.

> 20 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 40.8

Machete Joker Congo JKR488

It is a curved machete for multi-purpose use. It has a durable polymer handle with rubberized surface and a stainless steel blade with a length of 30 cm.

10 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 21.3

Cold Steel Kukri

American company Cold Steel brings to the market a machete inspired by the traditional weapon of the Nepalese Gurkhas – the Kukri. A truly impressive cool weapon.

Temporarily Unavailable

€ 44.0

Detail

silueta parang Parang

This curved machete with its signature "Sheepsfoot" blade tip comes from Malaysia. Its main purpose was to hack through dense vegetation. However, its shape also makes it the perfect tool for cutting meat and other meals. The handle is curved at the end for a better grip.

silueta golok.jpg Golok

An Indonesian tool very similar to the Parang machete, sometimes even called the same. However, it features a different blade tip, comparable to the "Straight-back" type. Due to the similar design, it is also used for the same purpose - hacking through vegetation.

silueta bolo Bolo

Originating in the Philippines, this machete is still very popular throughout Southeast Asia as a crop harvesting tool. It is somewhat similar to the Latin/Bush machete, but is shorter, lighter and has a more robust blade end. It is therefore suitable for chopping wood as well as for more delicate tasks.

silueta panga Panga

The Panga machetes originated in Africa, but gained their popularity in the Caribbean as sugar cane harvesting tools. They feature a straight blade with a strong curve at the end, which also makes them perfect for cutting branches.

silueta tapanga Tapanga

Tapanga is rather just another variant of Panga. What makes it different is the "chopped off" tip. Just like the Panga, this type is also designed for harvesting crops.

silueta barong Barong

A machete with a broad, leaf-shaped blade. It originates in the Philippines, where it has been used both for harvesting crops and as a terrifying weapon. The handle is heavily curved at the end to prevent it from slipping out of the user's hand.

silueta billhook.jpg Billhook

A versatile tool particularly useful for cutting smaller trees or removing branches from logs. This machete can be recognised at first sight - it has a heavily curved end of the blade, sharpened from the inner side.

silueta falcata.jpg  Falcata

The Falcata machete is based on the sword of the same name, which was widely used in the Iberian peninsula in the times BC. The robust blade with elegant curves is suitable for chopping wood, harvesting crops and cutting through vegetation.

These days, a lot of machete producers experiment with all sorts of shapes, features and other innovations, therefore some machetes cannot be assigned to any specific category. Some of the most interesting products are made by the well-known manufacturers Cold Steel or Walther.

Walther Mach Tac 2

4x

Walther machete from Mach Tac series, this time in more compact design.

3 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 47.6

Elite Force EF 712 Machete

6x

Quality machined machete of proven Umarex brand with perforated blade surface.

19 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 38.8

Walther Mach Tac 5

Walther Mach Tac 5 is a high-quality machete with a durable Tanto Point blade which is made of 440C stainless steel. The handle is outfitted with walnut grips.

1 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 67.6

Cold Steel Tanto

This medium-sized Full-Tang machete is made of 1055 carbon steel. The Tanto Point blade has a length of 330 mm. The ergonomically shaped handle has an anti-slip surface for safe and firm grip.

7 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 51.6

Walther Mach Tac 3

Walther Mach Tac 3 is a high-quality and unique machete. Its extended handle allows for a two-handed grip. The blade is made out of SS420 steel. The package also includes a practical nylon sheath.

12 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 47.6

Cold Steel Slant Tip 60cm

Cold Steel Slant Tip is a perfect tool for chopping and bushcraft. The blade has a length of 457 mm and is made of 1055 carbon steel. This model comes with a Cor-Ex sheath. The belt loop will allow you to have it always with you.

Temporarily Unavailable

€ 43.6

Detail

the blade

The most essential part of every machete is, obviously, the blade. It can have different length, thickness, construction, combined or smooth blade and let's not forget about the materials it is made of.

the material

The traditional machetes were made from materials that were available in their respective areas of origin. Nowadays, machete producers use high quality steel that contains carbon, chromium and other additives that affect the characteristics of the blade.

The most commonly used materials today are:

Carbon steel

The hardest and toughest type of steel - the higher the percentage of carbon, the greater the hardness. It is easy to sharpen, highly durable, and has overall excellent cutting ability. However, the carbon steel's major downside is its proneness to rust and corrosion and the necessary maintenance that goes with it. However, if you only want to use the machete as a trustworthy work tool and don't mind the occasional maintenance, carbon steel is the way to go.

Stainless steel

It contains at least 10.5% of chromium, which makes the steel corrosion-resistant. As a result, it does not require as frequent maintenance as carbon steel. However, the downside of stainless steel is that it is less wear-resistant, it is harder to sharpen and it is also more expensive than carbon steel.

the length

It is generally stated that the longer the blade, the better. But it also depends on the purpose of the machete and the needs of the user. With a longer blade, you can obviously reach further, which is particularly useful for cutting tall grass without having to bend down so much. However, as the blade length increases, the total weight does too, and the user will get tired more quickly. Storability is another important factor. Some people prefer shorter machetes that can easily fit into a side sheath and offer good manoeuvrability.

The thickness

The blade thickness is yet another important variable. It affects the weight of the blade and thus its ability to cut wood or other materials and, most importantly, its durability. Machetes with thicker blade are suitable for chopping wood because the blade can withstand severe impacts. On the other hand, for harvesting crops or cutting through vegetation, machetes with a thinner blade will do the job really well.

Full-Tang

While browsing machetes and knives, you've probably already came across the term "Full-Tang". But what exactly does it mean? It means that the blade and the inner part of the handle are one piece, giving the tool an extremely high durability so you won't be left with only the handle in your hand when chopping wood or doing other heavy work one day. There is also the Partial-Tang construction, where the blade is extended in the handle area only by a wedge "tang" and secured with glue, screws or rivets.

the handle

The blade alone will not give you the perfect outcome. When choosing a machete, you should also pay attention to its handle. They come in all shapes and materials and not every handle is necessarily going to fit you.

the shape

The shape of the handle is usually determined by the type of the machete, but it is not always the rule. The handle should simply fit well in your hand and its surface should not slip even in a sweaty palm - this can be achieved by various surface treatments, such as the well-known "Gator grip" texture used by Gerber on their machetes, knives and axes of the Gator series.

the material

Originally, the handles were made of natural materials. The modern machetes usually come with simple or rubberized plastic handles.

You may also come across the G-10 material, which is a laminate formed by pressing glass fibers soaked in epoxy resin under high temperatures. It is very durable, grippy and lightweight.

And of course, the ever-popular wood, which not only looks great, but is also comfortable to hold. Plus, each wooden handle is unique. And if you're going to get a quality machete, you probably don't want to be holding a piece of regular plastic in your hand.

THE SHEATH

Most machetes come complete with a sheath. This makes them much easier to carry/transport and also protects them from being damaged or damaging the surroundings. Sheaths are most commonly made of nylon, cordura, kydex, hardened rubber, leather and similar flexible materials. Some sheaths are designed to be worn on a belt, some come with a shoulder strap.

maintenance

Almost every tool deserves at least some occasional maintenance, and machetes are a perfect example. Over time, their blades get dull, each use can leave dirt on it, and even the finest steel can begin to rust.

sharpening

The machete is not a katana or a scalpel, but a tool for hard work. Therefore, the angle of the cutting edge does not have to be as small as possible to split a hair. Instead, you need the blade to withstand heavy impacts, so the angle should be greater than what is usual with regular knives. It is generally said that the edge of machetes used for trimming weeds and harvesting crops should be at an angle between 20 and 25 degrees. The edge of machetes designed for more demanding tasks, such as cutting branches or trees, should have an angle between 25 and 35 degrees.

Even a regular garden tool sharpener will sharpen your machete well enough, but you can use basically anything that can sharpen knives. We offer a wide range of electric and manual sharpeners, whetstones and sharpening rods.

Lansky LPUCK sharpening stone

Round sharpener for sharpening garden tools. Two grinding surfaces offer two grits: 120 and 280.

7 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 11.2

Wildee Outdoor Sharp

3x

Wildee compact grinder with three tools. Its black polymer body with rounded edges provides high comfort during handling.

> 100 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 7.6

Taidea T1051D double-sided pocket grinder

Diamond cutter with the possibility of folding into small dimensions. Grinding surface with two grit levels 360 and 600.

> 100 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 10.3

Lansky diamond sharpener LCD02

The Lansky Tactical multifunctional sharpener contains two grinding blades with medium and fine grit.

In Stock in Our Central Warehouse, estimated delivery: April 25 - 29.

€ 28.8

All knife sharpeners

cleaning and preservation

Every single use of a machete is likely going to leave dirt, moisture or scratches on its surface. These can affect the overall beauty of your tool, and in the case of moisture, the blade can also begin to rust - especially those made of carbon steel. Some machetes are therefore coated with a black finish to prevent this issue, but if the layer gets damaged by scratches, it loses its functionality.

That's why you should take at least a couple of minutes after each use to take care of your machete. It should always be clean and dry, and in the case of carbon steel machetes, you should occasionally apply oil to the blade, which protects it from moisture and thus prevents corrosion. And which oil should you use? Any. Whether it's gun oil, motor oil, WD-40 or even vaseline - its purpose is to prevent oxygen and water from getting in contact with the blade. That's why you can use just about anything that forms a protective layer on the blade.

Ballistol oil spray 200 ml

12x

One of the most preservative oils in spray. It is one of the most universally applicable oils with an excellent protective and preservative effects. Suitable for cleaning sediments in grooves.

> 50 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 7.6

Ballistol Oil 50 ml

16x

Oil in liquid version is suitable for places where the spray can not help.One of the most preservative oils in spray. Oil with an excellent protective and preservative effects.

> 50 pcs in stock, estimated delivery: April 22 - 24.

€ 3.4

Ballistol Gunex oil 50ml

2x

Oil for treatment of metal parts, protects against moisture. Perfectly removes gunpowder and red brass deposits.

Temporarily Unavailable

€ 3.8

Detail

the purpose

If you're choosing a machete, you should ask yourself what you're going to use it for. Then you can go by the types of machetes, materials, dimensions and other features mentioned above.

For heavy work, such as chopping wood, massive machetes with long and thick blades are certainly the best choice.

On the other hand, light and compact machetes are perfect for finer woodworking, cutting meat or harvesting crops - and they are also easier to carry and not as exhausting to use.

Do you require maximum durability and don't mind occasional maintenance? Then a carbon steel blade is made just for you.

Don't want to deal with regular cleaning and oiling of the machete and don't mind higher cost? Then you'll definitely appreciate a machete with a stainless steel blade.

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Autor článku: Bc. Michal Kuczaj

Copywriter

I enjoy everything that shoots, cuts, drives fast and makes noise. I like being creative - which includes graphic design, 3D printing, origami and gardening. I've been writing articles, describing products, taking photos and adding posts on social media in the Balistas company since 2023.

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