survival knife

10 Best Survival Knives for Under $100

The single most important piece of survival gear is arguably your survival knife.

Aside from the obvious uses of a survival knife like self-defense, there are countless ways you can use it for your survival:

  • Batoning wood
  • Making cordage
  • Digging holes
  • Skinning animals

While a dinky $20 knife made in China is better than nothing, the quality of your survival knife really matters.

Those cheap knives will dull easy. Their poor-quality metal will break when put to the test, potentially injuring you in the process.

There is no reason to spend a fortune on a survival knife though.

Here is what you need to know in order to get a good survival knife for under $100.

What to Look for in a Cheap Survival Knife

If your budget only allows you to buy one survival knife right now, then you want to make sure that it is a very versatile knife.

A machete is NOT a versatile knife!

Nor are any of those other big, intimidating Rambo knives that you see on bad TV shows.

The most versatile survival knives are…

  • Fixed Blade: Folding knives have their place, but they are bad choices for your primary survival knife. The fact that they fold means that their blades are weaker and prone to snapping off.
  • Full Tang: Full tang means that the blade goes all the way through the handle. Some really cheap knives just glue the blade to the handle, which obviously isn’t going to be very strong.
  • Blade Shape: A drop point blade is usually the best choice for blade shape. The shape makes the tip very strong but is easy to control for detailed use. A good second choice would be the clip point shape.
  • High Carbon: Standard stainless steel will dull very easily. Look for high-carbon steel.
  • Size: Bigger is NOT better! The blade part of a versatile survival knife should be between 4 to 7 inches. Any larger than this and your survival knife will probably be difficult to use for detailed tasks.
  • Blade Thickness: I find that the perfect blade thickness falls between 0.17 to 0.25 inches.
  • Handle: Avoid any gimmicky knives which have compasses or hollow storage compartments in the handle. These will shatter and break easily. You should also look for a knife with a flat pommel (the back end of the handle) so it can be used for hammering.
  • Grind: A flat grind is best because it can be sharpened easily and has many versatile uses such as splitting wood and chopping.

Note that you probably aren’t going to find all of these features in a cheap survival knife. After all, it takes a lot of resources to produce a good quality knife. Just buy the best quality survival knife that you can afford.

To learn more about how to choose a knife, read this complete guide to survival knives.

But for now, lets dive in and have a look at the best survival knife for the money.​

Best Survival Knives Under $100

Buck Knives 539RWS

4.9 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

8"

Blade Length

4 1/4"

Weight

3 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

S30V Steel

Handle

Rosewood

Made in

USA


Morakniv Mora - Black Bushcraft Knife

4.7 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Partial Tang

Overall Lengh

9.1"

Blade Length

4.3"

Weight

5.4 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Clip Point

Blade Material

High Carbon Steel

Handle

Rubber

Made in

Sweden


KA-BAR Becker Campanion BK2

4.7 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

10.5"

Blade Length

5.25"

Weight

16 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

1095 Cro-Van Carbon Steel

Handle

Grivory

Made in

USA


Knives of Alaska Bush Camp

4.6 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

10.5"

Blade Length

6"

Weight

8.5 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

D2 Steel

Handle

Rubberized Suregrip

Made in

USA


Ontario Knife Company RAT-3

4.4 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

9"

Blade Length

3"

Weight

5.3 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Full Flat Taper

Blade Material

1095 Carbon Steel

Handle

Micarta

Made in

USA


KA-BAR 1258 Short Fighting/Utility Knife

4.5 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

9.25"

Blade Length

5.25"

Weight

6.4 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Clip Point

Blade Material

High Carbon Steel

Handle

Kraton

Made in

USA


Condor Bushlore Camp Knife

4.3 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

6 3/8"

Blade Length

3"

Weight

8 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

1075 High Carbon Steel

Handle

Hardwood

Made in

El Salvador


SOG Tangle

4.4 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

8.5"

Blade Length

3.7"

Weight

5.6 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

Stainless Steel

Handle

Paracord Wrapped Steel

Made in

China


Shadow Tech Knives 032 Wolf

4.2 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

8"

Blade Length

4 1/8"

Weight

12 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

1095 High Carbon Steel

Handle

Micarta

Made in

USA


Ontario Gen II SP-46 5160

4.3 Our Rating

Feature

Value

Tang Type

Full Tang

Overall Lengh

11"

Blade Length

5.5"

Weight

9.7 oz

Blade Type

Fixed

Blade Shape

Drop Point

Blade Material

5160 High Carbon Steel

Handle

Kraton

Made in

USA


Tips for Buying Survival Knives on a Budget

Firstly, resist the urge to buy a bunch of cheap survival knives just because they look cool. Having five 20-dollar knives isn’t going to do you any good when they all break or become dull after a few cuts.

Spend your money to buy ONE really good survival knife!

A good survival knife will last throughout the years.

What was your first survival knife? What do you use now?


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About the Author Jacob Hunter

I'm Jacob Hunter, founder and chief editor of Primal Survivor. I believe in empowering people with the knowledge to prepare and survive in the modern world.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

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