The Best Survival Knives Of 2018 – Affordable Prepper Knife Options
Choosing from so many damn survival knives can make one’s head spin. Good survival knives tend to be priced between $30 and $60. There are all kinds. Multi-use (swiss army), fixed blades (awesome power) and folding versions (probably the most reliable and useful). So what’s the best survival knives for the money? Or heck, what’s the absolute best survival knife? There are a number to choose from.
Folding survival knives can also typically doubt for conceal carry knives. Having a useful survival knife is a must for any true prepper. This prepper website is focused on survival, not just if the apocalypse comes, but if power fails you. There are just so many reasons to own at least one survival knife.
I’m not going to rank these in order because I feel like the best survival knives is a subjective matter when you break it down to this level. I will say this, The Tool Logic SL Pro 2 is my favorite because honestly, it has the most REAL necessary prepper uses (so I will list it first). But read them all. In the end, you know what you need. By the way, I also have the best fixed blade knives. Although, this list has a few itself…
Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Survival Knife
High quality, but intended for EDC (every day carry), the Gerber Ghoststrike knife is easy to conceal and comes with an excellent sheath. It is light weight and compact. This is not a knife you buy to use as your primary hunting or camping knife, but it is a great EDC survival knife that does the job. If you are ever in a survival situation, this would be a great knife to have on you. I truly think it is great so long as it is purchased for the appropriate purposes. This knife’s blade does lose an edge, but you shouldn’t be wearing it down with tough tasks frequently. Read my Gerber Ghoststrike fixed blade review for more info, or check out more reviews and buy it on Amazon.
Tool Logic SL Pro 2
I love the thumb notch located on this survival knives handle. It makes opening it incredibly simple and easy. This helps to classify it in the self defense knives genre. The blade is 3 inches, a clear loss in length when compared to the M21. The blade is also partially serrated, as you can see from the images. It comes equipped with a fire starter rod, which is an essential item for any true prepper.
- Emergency whistle
- Flashlight (LED) (waterproof)
- Pocket belt clip
The Tool Logic SL Pro 2 is a steel knife that’s super multifunctional (as noted with the above various functions). The blade is made of stainless steel. The Firestarter is made of magnesium alloy and according to the manufacturer, it is good for 1000 strikes. If the power grid fails, this is a great benefit to have at your disposal.
The Tool Logic SL Pro 2 weighs in at 4.3 ounces. That’s a good conceal carry weight. Out of the package, you won’t need to sharpen unless you just want to. It is ready to go. The Firestarter is awesome and works beyond as advertised by Tool Logic. This is both a superb conceal and survival knife. Here’s a Tool Logic SL Pro 2 review that’s a bit more invovled.
CRKT M21-04G Knife Aluminum Folder
This is ultimately, my absolute favorite survival knife. Of all the survival knives I’ve reviewed, this is one of the most perfect blades I’ve seen. And it’s super affordable.
It was designed by a retired Sergent Major knifemaker named Kit Carson. In terms of cutting power, the M21-G10 Knife is power packed. Its lightweight and super comfortable to handle at 5.9 ounces. The blade length is around 4 inches.
When looking at pictures of the blade, it almost seems as though the blade is exposed when closed, but that’s not true. This is a very safe survival knife to conceal carry.
It’s a steel blade knife, but there is some controversy regarding whether or not it is truly stainless steel. Seeing it is an economical buy, I’d sort of doubt it. The manufacturer only claims it has a titanium nitride blade finish. Its super high quality, no matter. But like anything, if you want higher quality, you will need to pay more. It is made in Taiwan, so in case you only buy good ol’ American merchandise, that could serve up a problem for you.
This survival knife will withstand tons of abuse. The blade has a subtle recurve to it that fuels its supreme cutting power.
The Columbia River Knife and Tools M21-04G Knife comes in under the $150 price, meaning, it is still economical. The blade does as good a job as any that cost less than that mark. It will get the job done opening tough packages, crates, branches, etc. Its super sharp right out of the box. If you want more info, check our full CRKT M21-04G knife review.
Victorinox Centurion Knife
The Victorinox Centurion knife is a multi-tool survival knife. Like many compact survival knives, the Centurion comes with 10 various tools. The handle is made from aluminum and plastic materials. It has 100% stainless steels components. Toothpicks, tweezers, key ring, are some of the various tools available to you in quick fashion.
The Centurion has a 4 inch lock blade aspect to it (that’s wonderful size). It is extremely comfortable to handle. The blade has a safety feature that slows / pauses the blade near the halfway point to help prevent you from closing the blade down on your finger. It really isn’t full-proof safety, but, it’s a good layer of protection. If you are careful with survival knives, this should be more than enough to serve you up some good protection that you might overlook in a brain lapse moment.
It has a pretty nifty screwdriver on it that I think is useful, making the knife’s every day carry value pretty high.
The weight makes it a good option for every day carry. Its comfortable even in a shirt pocket. I wouldn’t say its any good for self-defense. I’m also not a fan of swiss army style knives, but if you are, this is one of the better, more affordable ones available. Check out my full Victorinox Centurion review.
Ka-Bar Mule Folder
I’m a big fan of Ka-Bar in general and this survival knife by them did not let me down. The Mule Folder is used at every division of military. When you purchase the Mule Folder, you get not only the knife, but the sheath as well. It weighs in at a modest .5 lbs. This survival knife is big and robust and high-quality. When it is closed, its about 5 ¼ length. When you open it up, its 9 1/16 (Overall Length: 9.15 in = 23.2 cm – Closed Length: 5.25 in = 13.3 cm). Its made from stainless steel.
The blade is deep, thick and high quality. It can cut through just about anything you task it to. Out of the box, the blade is super sharp, so use caution. You might cut yourself opening the package if you aren’t careful.
Now for the bad news, the lockback seems to fail for a lot of people. This seems to be a result of popping the back of the blade against solid objects. You need to be aware of this because it can easily result in injury.
The Mule Folder fits nicely in the pocket. Check out my Ka-Bar Mule Folder review for more details (if you feel you need them).
Ka-Bar Full-Size Black, Straight Edge (Fixed blade)
A fixed blade and maybe my favorite survival knife around (in terms of fixed blades). You can’t go wrong with Ka-Bar as a survival knife manufacturer.
The blade is a full 7 inches (wowzers). It is made of black carbon steel. It comes with a Kyndex sheath. The handle is made of Kraton. Handle and blade combined, you are looking at a length of 11.75. That’s freaking huge! You can pretty much rule out self-defense knife or conceal carry knife labels with a damn near foot long knife, unless you conceal it in parachute pants. If you wear parachute pants, you might be better off not owning a knife of this caliber, however.
The sheath is super nice and great added value. The blade is furiously powerful and can cut through most any work job you put it to.
The bad news is, it comes rather dull. Use oil, complaints of rusting due to sharpening have been made.
Cold Steel Recon 1 Spear Point
Cold Steel is a company I trust a lot to make great survival knives. And they’ve done it again with the Recon 1 Spear Point. High quality material are used to make this powerful knife.
The blade is 4 inches. The blade is also a single edge. The blade’s tip is delicate. You can shave your own body hair with it, it is that fine and precise in terms of sharpness. It is made from CTS XHP steel. Its super sharp right out of the box.
This survival knife easily doubles as a conceal carry self-defense knife.
Blade’s grip is great with gloves which is very important to those who might be using it for work purposes. The Cold Steel Recon 1 Spear Point is capable of serious labor.
The pocket clip is a 4-way version which allows you to carry it in any way you prefer in your pocket. It’s a great folding knife for the money and the fact that it doubles for self-defense adds to the economics. The lock blade on it can be a bit rough, it pops, if you will, rather abruptly. Make sure you don’t have your fingers in the “zone” between the knife’s blade and handle when closing it (or opening it, for that matter).
CRKT Ultima (Fixed blade)
I love a good ol’ fashioned fixed blade like any prepper out there. Fixed blades are strong, sturdy and seriously can get the job done. The 2125KV Ultima is no exception to that sentiment. It’s one of the more bad ass survival knives I’ve ever seen. Now, it’s a higher quality experience, so expect to pay a bit more for it (but not absurdly more). This is one of my go-to survival knives and for good reasons.
The blade is made of black titanium nitride. The blades length is 5 inches and incredibly sharp and partially serrated (I’d say 50% serrated eyeballing it). The 70 triangular grips make the handle an absolute luxury to hold.
The Ultima knife comes with a sheath and a molded liner. The dual beltloops on it are Velcro and adjustable.
It weighs about 8.3 ounces. That’s a great weight for a high quality fixed blade survival knife.
The sheath that comes with it is tricky to attach, so don’t be too excited for that. If you plan to use the Ultima on wood, it will get the job done and then some, however, the finish might start coming off. This really doesn’t effect the knife’s functionality but for some, the optics of the degredation bother them. I don’t know, I love this knife even with some splotchy blade vanity.
The Ultima feels super sturdy in the hand. It really is a great experience to hold and handle it. It can cut right through a towel like its cutting jello.
If you do purchase the Ultima, you might consider sharpening it. It will be sharp, but not already super sharp like the others I’ve reviewed. To be honest, the Ka-Bar Black Straight Edge is a bit better value (cost less, more quality); but not by much.
Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Survival Knife
This knife is the upgraded “pro” version of the original. The addition of a full-tang blade, upgraded steel and a more balanced experience make this one of the top survival knives on the market. The ONLY downside is that the sheath is not MOLLE compatible like the older version. You might have to get creative with attachments if this is important to you. Check out my full Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Survival Knife Review.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.