Knivesexpert provides you with the best and honest reviews and buying guides through hours of testing, research and analysis to help you find the perfect knife. You support us through our editorially chosen links, which earn us commission. Learn more.
Karambit knives are not the usual knives you see on kitchen tops and tool kits. Karambit is designed for multi-tasking like safety, efficiency, and precision. The best Karambit knife has an ergonomic handle, a safety ring to hold the knife better and a curved blade that is quite different from the traditional knives or dagger. The history of Karambit is centuries old. The first traces of karambit knives usage is from the 11th century in Indonesia. Because of the flourishing trade in Indonesia, the popularity of karambit grew immensely and it soon spread throughout Malaysia, Philippines, and Southeast Asia.
Today some of the best karambit knives can vary in size and design but it will always have an arcing blade. The design of the best karambit knife is inspired by Tiger’s claw. This is the reason that the best karambit knives are used for slicing, hooking, ripping and tearing. The razor-sharp blade of karambit is known for a high degree of retention, precise cuts and its suitability in any task. Modern karambit knives have multiple cutting surfaces or edges in different configurations for distinct tactical use or utility benefits.
- What to Look for When Buying a Karambit Knife
- Quick Overview (comparison)
- Top 10 Best Karambit Knives
- 1 – Schrade SCH112 8.4″ High Carbon Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife (Best Pick 🥇)
- 2 – MASALONG Claws Blades Straight Claw Tactical Handle Outdoor Hunting Knife AUS-8
- 3 – Emerson Knives – Folding Karambits – Super & Combat SF & BT
- 4 – MTech USA Xtreme MX-8140BT Fixed Blade Knife
- 5 – MASALONG Outdoor Survival Spine
- 6 – Mtech MT670 Hawk Cord Wrap Karambit Knife
- 7 – Spyderco Karahawk Folding Blade Knives
- 8. Tac-Force Tactical Pocket Knives Black Blade
- 9 – Steel Tiger, Karambit knife
- 10 – MASALONG Outdoor Survival Claw Tactical Teeth Knife 01413930966
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Verdict
What to Look for When Buying a Karambit Knife
When looking for the best karambit knife you cannot just simply buy any of the knives with an arc blade. There are factors that you have to consider so that you can find the best karambit knife to buy available in the marketplace. Factors which you have to consider are:
- Price– As per your budget
- Material– Should be high-quality
- Purpose– General/Self-defense/Hunting
- Longevity– Should last for a long time
- Feeling– Feel better in hand
- Design– Custom/Classic/Modern
- Safety Ring– How is it/Where is it placed?
- Sheath– Material made from/ quicker knife deployment
Quick Overview (comparison)
Top 10 Best Karambit Knives
If you are very keen to try your hand on the less traditional yet stylish best karambit knife but not sure which is the best karambit knife to buy then our guide for buying best karambit knife will help you select the best as per your preference. The guide for buying best karambit knife is also intended for people to get an insight into the tremendously unorthodox yet appealing one of a kind knife type. So let’s look at the list of best karambit knife to buy:
1 – Schrade SCH112 8.4″ High Carbon Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife (Best Pick 🥇)
Schrade is known for making reliable and best karambit knife for outdoor adventures. Schrade has been creating some of the most common folding knives in the United States from the past hundreds years. This SCH112 8.4in high carbon full tang fixed blade karambit knife is a perfect companion for camping, hiking, hunting, bushcraft, and so many other activities. It is designed for quick deployment and its double edge is an added advantage in tactical situations.
- Full tang
- Finger hole
- Double blade aspect
- Extremely sharp
- Doubled edged
- Its blade is made of dependable 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel
- It has thermoplastic elastomer handle
- The thermoplastic sheath makes it a very ideal knife for everyday carry because of quick and easy access
- Because of the security of the thumb hole, the blade doesn’t slip in hand
- This knife features a full tang design and dual-edged blade
- The blade of the knife is very strong and sturdy
- This knife doesn’t have a clip but instead have a slot for to slide the belt through
- Its handle is too short and feels like a small knife
- The knife is difficult to remove from its sheath
- The sheath has a long gap on the top edge
- This knife has no handguard or protection at all
2 – MASALONG Claws Blades Straight Claw Tactical Handle Outdoor Hunting Knife AUS-8
Masalong outdoor hunting knife is very sharp, ideal for people who love wilderness or hunting. It is curved at the right angle and is a multi-purpose knife and reliable in the most unexpected ways. Its sharpness of the blade and the ergonomic design is something that is best than most karambit knives. The handle of this Masalong outdoor hunting knife is made up of very high-quality material and lets the user grip it perfectly even with sweating hands.
- Curved at the right angle
- Multiple purposes
- Handy for self-defense
- This best karambit knife is very durable and tough all over
- It is designed in such a way that it fits on most tactical belts
- It fits most hand sizes
- Its protective sheath is nice and tough
- Blade of this Masalong knife is super sharp
- Its cleaning out process turns out to be a great success
- The sheath of this knife can cover up the blade a bit more
- This karambit type requires to be sharpened more often than regular knives
3 – Emerson Knives – Folding Karambits – Super & Combat SF & BT
This Karambit knife from Emerson knives is surely one that can give other karambit knives a run for their money. This is bigger, badder and better than ever and with a full one inch of the blade and ergonomic handle, this is the best karambit knife to buy from the world’s leader in tactical knives. Its design is inspired by a very old Indonesian utility knife that was used for self-defense. This 8 inch long knife is designed as a fighting weapon.
- G10 Grip
- Titanium liners & lock
- 154Cm Blade Steel
- Made in USA
- Longer blade than the combat karambit
- 0.9 inches finger hole diameter
- 3.00″ blade
- This knife has razor sharp chisel grind
- It is big, bold, and equally effective
- It’s almost a similar copy of its little brother the Emerson Combat Karambit but it’s a larger version.
- It’s an ideal knife for those who protect and serve.
- It is the favorite backup tool of law enforcement to counter against random weapon take-away attempts.
- The knife can be opened single-handedly because of the thumb button
- This is very easy to deploy
- The handle has three waves but if someone doesn’t want to use index finger than adjusting 4 fingers in the 3 waves is a bit problematic. It actually divides the power of the hand instead of concentrating it.
- The tough pocket clip makes it hard to keep the knife and taking it out because it’s not smooth and easy.
4 – MTech USA Xtreme MX-8140BT Fixed Blade Knife
If you are looking for a sleek yet beautiful looking blade the grip of which feels nice then MTech USA Extreme fixed blade knife is what you should consider. The blade color provides a different contrast to the whole knife. This knife is designed in such a way that it provides complete control and hand support to the user. It is an ideal knife for people who love hunting and living in wilderness.
- Fixed blade karambit
- Perfect arc
- 9.25 inches overall
- Long lasting
- 5mm Blade
- Thick stainless steel hook blade
- G10 handle
- This knife is perfect for people who like to hunt or spend time in the wilderness.
- At the end the finger hole is large which makes it very easy to control and provides added support
- The scales are a proper fit
- Its nylon sheath is very good for easy and safe carry
- This MTech USA Xtreme needs an ambidextrous Kydex sheath
- This knife is a little bigger than its counterparts
- The sheath is made up of nylon so the user has to be careful about the cut
5 – MASALONG Outdoor Survival Spine
The Masalong outdoor survival spine is one great addition to your tool kit. Its reverse grip is ideal and aids when punching. The front groves provide very nice working grip. The knife altogether feels quite solid and its thickness of steel is almost unreal.
- D2 Steel Blade material
- 60HRC Hardness
- Kydex Sheath
- Single edged
- This knife has high strength and exceptional wear resistance of retention
- The best part is that it can be sharpened on both sides
- This knife has thick spin and it feel good in hand.
- This knife has a great ergonomic design
- It is very comfortable in terms of gripping, handling as well as doing multi-task
- The one problem with this knife is that its sheath is too tight
- The large ring of the knife is good for using the index finder but the holes pinch a little
6 – Mtech MT670 Hawk Cord Wrap Karambit Knife
It is not only one of the best karambit knife to buy but also the most affordable for self-defense. This knife is very sharp and has a very stylish overall appearance. It is made up of high-quality stainless steel and is very sturdy. One characteristic of this MTech hawk cord wrap karambit knife is that it never bends when cutting.
- Durable steel blade
- Paracord wrapped
- The ring opening is about 1 inch
- Blade length is 2 inches
- Ergonomic design
- Edge is finely ground
- Great quality
- Razor sharp edge
- Handle offer good control
- Fit even large paws
- Easy to wield
- The knife is designed with such precision that it fit any normal hand comfortably
- The blade is short enough to be easy to control while still having sufficient blade length for excellent utility
- The tassel on the wrap is one concern that needs to be replaced because it tends to get in the way
- The nylon sheath doesn’t let the user draw the knife with a downward grip in the right hand
7 – Spyderco Karahawk Folding Blade Knives
Made from the very strong VG-10 stainless steel the Spyderco Karahawk is an innovative version of the traditional Southeast Asian karambit. This knife has a precision curved hawkbill blade and a well-designed round hole with a unique opening feature. It is equipped with a high-strength back lock mechanism. It has a reversible hourglass clip that offers ambidextrous tip-up carry.
- Super light
- Extremely sharp
- Compression Lock
- VG-10 stainless steel
- G-10 handle
- 2.35″ blade length
- Saber grind
- Tip-Up carry position
- It is one of the few best locking folding knives
- It is safe, compact and easy to carry
- Its epoxy filled woven glass fiber grip is non-slip, rigid and is impervious to changes in temperature or any chemical alteration impact
- It is a very efficient knife that has a sharpened blade with no serrations or teeth
- The pin holding the blade can come out
- It has a cheap plastic spacer between handle scales in the ring
- It is not very ergonomic
8. Tac-Force Tactical Pocket Knives Black Blade
This Tac-Force tactical pocket knife is way more efficient than you think. It is sturdy and razor sharp and is a perfect companion for hunting and doing multi-task. This knife is mostly designed keeping in mind the bad situations a person can get into and how he can seriously hurt the attacker while safeguarding himself. It is a very sharp knife with no blade wiggle and its liner lock work perfectly.
- Stainless steel blade
- Spring-assisted opening knife
- Everyday carry a folding pocket knife
- Black curved blade
- 2.5″ 3mm thick blade
- Locking mechanism
- Liner lock
- Quality is good
- This is a very nice and well balanced knife and can do a lot of multi-task
- Though it is a Made in China knife its quality is way more superior to other knives.
- The knife opens and closes with ease because of its swift locking mechanism
- It can fit most hand types
- The knife is shaving or near shaving sharp out of the box.
- This knife comes along with a pocket clip that is creatively designed
- The biggest flaw of this knife is that the liner lock only engages 1/3 of the time. If the user is not cautious enough it can lead to very serious injury.
- The metal used in the knife is thin and the blade wobbles
9 – Steel Tiger, Karambit knife
The Steel tiger is a custom made one of the best karambit knife that replicates the ancient Indonesian knife. The best part about this Steel tiger is that it has all the features of the old classic karambit knife accompanied with modern styling. It is vacuum heated and sub zero quenched for optimal strength, edge retention and cutting power due to its stainless steel blade.
- Made of AUS stainless steel
- Stone Washed Finish
- 5″ Grid-Ex
- Kray-Ex Handle
- 4 3/4″ Blade Length
- 8 3/4″ Overall Length
- 5mm Blade Thickness
- Flips well
- Overall the Steel tiger knife is very solid
- It has solid handle and good looking sturdy blade with razor sharpness
- This knife has a tough Grivory core that encapsulates the tang
- It comes with a sturdy secure-Ex sheath for better safety and convenience
- It is sharpened only on one side
- The rubber on the handle is very soft and because of it while drawing the knife in and out the sheath will wear it off
- The ring of the knife is plastic made and not full tang
- The curve on the blade is also not the traditional one
10 – MASALONG Outdoor Survival Claw Tactical Teeth Knife 01413930966
This Masalong outdoor survival claw tactical teeth knife is 7 inches long with a blade measuring 3 inches. It is very durable and a long lasting karambit knife that has numerous features. It is very sturdy and hard because of the material and is very affordable in comparison to other best karambit knife. This is a nasty looking knife handy for those who want karambit knife for self-defense.
- Double-Edged Sharp
- Fixed Blade Karambit
- Belt Clip
- 7inch length
- 31. inch blade length
- 4.3 inch handle length
- 0.5CM thickness
- 190 gram weight
- Damascus Blade Material
- 58-60HRC Hardness
- G-10 Handle
- Kydex sheath
- Full tang
- The user can run his finger along with the serrations with rough pressure because serrations are not deep or sharp. So the user is safe from a cut.
- The double edge of the knife provides an advantage in different tasks like slicing or cutting.
- The knife is sharp as hell on both sides
- All the lines of the knife are a clan
- The knife is a full tang construction so it’s solid and sturdy
- It can require the user to use some force to pull the knife out
- The back edge of the knife is not sharpened and does not have an edge
- It’s a double edged knife so the user must be careful while handling it
Frequently Asked Questions
No both are different. A karambit and a dagger differ in so many aspects that you cannot consider a karambit a dagger.
Yes. The basic purpose for which the best karambit knives were designed centuries ago was self-defense and general utility. Karambit is a good self-defense tool only if you are trained enough because it requires expertise to use it efficiently otherwise you can hurt yourself.
Karambit knives are neither ordinary knives nor they are assault knives. A karambit knife lies between both the categories. A karambit is a perfect tool for self-defense against assault, cutting turf for landscaping, trimming vines, stripping barks, trimming harvest crops, opening cans and bottles, gutting and cleaning fish, loosen rusty fasteners, cutting copper and PVC pipes, rough woodworks, clearing roots from rough terrain, prune nut and fruit trees, etc.
The legality of karambit knives is more of a state’s law concern than your personal preference. Karambit knives are not illegal to carry because there are many states which let you carry a small knife as a tool, like a Swiss army knife for example. Carrying a karambit is same as carrying a rifle on your back. So if your purpose is self-defense or you use it as a tool you must check with your State’s law and if required should have a Concealed Carry permit or license.
Almost all the karambit knives mentioned above are best in their niche and field of use. But if you have to take out the best then it’s a bit difficult because it’s really tough to announce a winner. But if looked upon from different perspectives, factors, features, and ease of handling the best karambit knife to buy is the Schrade SCH112 Full Tang Fixed Karambit blade. This is an amazing knife and has an upper edge over most of its counterparts. To complete your assortment we have a lot more to tell about utility knives.
David Clarke is one of the most active authors for KnivesExpert. He has been working as a professional chef for 8 years now. In his spare time he is always looking for new tastes which he can use in his restaurant. David is also a real knife enthousiast and he only wants to use the best of the best. The search for the best knife resulted in the start of Knivesexpert!