Buyers Guides
best karambit knives

Last Updated April 9, 2019

Buyer Guides



Best 9 Karambit Knives

Are you looking to up your knife game a little? Perhaps you’ve invested in countless other utility and EDC knives in the past but are not as satisfied as you’d like to be from them. Maybe you’ve seen these ferocious looking blades in a documentary and want one in your life. Regardless of what brings you here, buddy, you’ll be glad you came by the time you get through our guide to the best karambit knives on the market.

Originating from Southeast Asia off the coast of the Pacific, in Indonesia particularly, these claw-like knives are becoming rather trendy nowadays. However, they’ve been used for centuries in the area as primarily a weapon of self-defense and in Filipino martial arts and the Indonesian martial art of Silat. If you’ve ever watched either The Raid or The Raid 2: Berandal that were both written, produced and directed by Gareth Evans, a surprisingly very Welsh man and starring Iko Uwais (who also had a minor role in Star Wars: the Force Awakens), you’ll be a little familiar with Silat. Beyond self-defense and marital arts, the karambit can be used as a utility knife.

It has a curved design, which is supposed to mimic that of a tiger’s claw, while increasing the cutting performance. As it can be used in a variety of ways, it’s perfect if you’re looking to take part in some activities in the wilderness. A karambit would be a great companion accessory to outdoors if you’re looking to invest in one of the Top 10 waterproof backpacks for men, we featured late last year or best tactical pens and tactical tomahawks we’ve highlighted. In our guide, we’ve whittled down the choice that’s out there to what we feel are the 9 best karambits available, making it easier for you to decide. Along with our handy reviews, we’ve also provided an informative buying guide.

So, if you’re ready to get armed with a sexy little curved karambit knife, let’s get down to it.

Top Picks

Editor’s Choice

Bastinelli Creations Diagnostic Fixed Karambit with Sheath

Bastinelli Creations Diagnostic Fixed Karambit with Sheath

There’s something really cool about the look and feel of this knife. It’s not too bulky and although there’s no grips, still has a design that lends itself to a versatile range of uses.

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Best Folding Karambit

Edge Knives Reptilian Spring Assist Karambit

Edge Knives Reptilian Spring Assist Karambit

Not only does this have a comfortable and badass reptilian-style design on the handle, but the spring assist feature makes it our favorite folding karambit, for when you need a sharp blade fast.

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Best Fixed Karambit

Knife Geeks Doppler Phase 2 Pro Series Karambit

Knife Geeks Doppler Phase 2 Pro Series Karambit

Menacing, imposing and incredibly functional, we singled this fixed karambit from the many others because it has a very striking appeal and is made to a high standard.

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BEST KARAMBIT KNIVES

1Fox Knives Karambit Fox 599 G10 Emerson Wave

Fox Knives Karambit Fox 599 G10 Emerson Wave

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We’re not pulling any punches with this guide, looking at the Fox 599 G10 folding karambit, which is a rather awesome combination of function and form. As it’s got the Fox Knives branding, you know it’ll be a high-quality piece that is reliable and durable. It benefits from incorporating the Emerson Wave blade constructed from top-notch stainless steel with a handle that’s comfortable for hands that measure 3.5-inches or less across the back of your knuckles. This ensures that the deployment of the blade is quick and smooth.

Although it’s 7-inches in length when opened, the actual blade is only 2.25-inches and the whole thing folds down to 4.75-inches, so its perfect for carrying concealed and won’t take up too much space in a backpack or pocket. With the strap along the side of the handle, the finger spaces and the ring at the base, there’s several options for using it to get the best out of it. So, if you’re inclined to use a karambit (or if you’re relatively new to them, any knife) in a way, you’ll find that this is very accommodating. All in all, a stunning little thing!

Specs

  • Type Folding
  • Dimensions 7-inches (when fully extended)
2Fox Knives Folding Karambit

Fox Knives Folding Karambit

Editors Rating

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Another great folding karambit from Fox Knives is this model that has a more simplistic design than the one above, with just the handle grips and finger ring for holding options, is still very appealing. The Emerson Wave-style blade, made from high-end stainless-steel noted for its durability and robustness, this is worthy of considering for your EDC carry or backpack for those trips out into the great outdoors.

While it has an overall length of 8.64-inches, it closes to around 5-inches. Therefore, if you’re looking for a lightweight and compact knife with a tough blade, this is it. Weighing a little under 5-ounces, it won’t feel too heavy. The only downside we could find is the fact that this is not ideal for wearing gloves with, but that’s a small compromise to pay really for the slick style and sophistication of this knife.

Specs

  • Type Folding
  • Dimensions 8.64-inches (when fully extended)
3MTech Tactical Hunting Stainless-Steel Karambit Knife

MTech Tactical Hunting Stainless-Steel Karambit Knife

Editors Rating

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Next, we have an MTech fixed karambit knife. This would suit being placed in a sheath of some kind, as it’s not foldable and much harder to conceal. However, if you’re heading into woodland, a forest or even on a trip to the rainforest, it would be handy to have this attached to your backpack or utility belt, or just somewhere where you knew you’d be able to draw it quickly for cutting at plants or hunting prey.

The grip is not quite as pronounced or as indented as others in our guide, which makes for a smoother feel in your hand. It’s also much smoother and simpler compared to others with more elaborately designed blades. As is the case with all karambit knives featured here, this utilizes only the finest stainless-steel in the blade, for a durable performance that gives you real value for money.

Specs

  • Type Fixed
  • Dimensions 7.75-inches
4Masalong Big White Shark/Fox Claw Folding Knife

Masalong Big White Shark/Fox Claw Folding Knife

Editors Rating

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Masalong may not have the same sterling reputation as some of the bigger names in the tactical and EDC knife world, but this karambit from the manufacturer is a good entry to the market. The design is based on and inspired by the classic Emerson Wave-style blade that is incredibly popular and although it is not a genuine Emerson (nor does it claim to be), it is a very good representation of that style.

Weighing at just over 4-ounces, it may not be the lightest knife in our guide, but it’s also not the heaviest either. Some have commented that they felt it was a little long to be a true EDC knife, but we’d tend to disagree. Although we’d probably reserve this for more rough and rugged activities out in the wilds, than opening parcels etc. If you’ve got other, more expensive knives in your collection, this is a great choice, though, if you want to ensure your better blades stay in good condition and only use them when completely necessary. All in all, this has a pleasing look and feel and folds away nicely.

Specs

  • Type Folding
  • Dimensions 6.8-inches
5Bastinelli Creations Diagnostic Fixed Karambit with Sheath

Bastinelli Creations Diagnostic Fixed Karambit with Sheath

Editors Rating

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From the world-famous Bastinelli Creations, comes one of the most minimalist karambit-style knives in our guide. Rather than having a full-size handle, the Diagnostic and its relatively small 1.5-inch blade, has a curve for holding it around a finger, with an extra roomy finger ring. Constructed to a high-standard from stainless-steel and finished in black Cerakote, this is a sexy little blade,

It may be small and lightweight, but do not underestimate the quality or strength of this knife. Thanks to its perfectly compact size, its perfect for concealing, but will equally sit well in a utility belt or attached to your pack, when exploring the wilderness. It comes with a special Black Krydex sheath and beaded chain for wearing it around your neck. We love the smooth curve, as well as the Bastinelli logo with the scratch/knife marks and the fox emblem.

Specs

  • Type Fixed
  • Dimensions 3.75-inches
6Knife Geeks Doppler Phase 2 Pro Series Karambit

Knife Geeks Doppler Phase 2 Pro Series Karambit

Editors Rating

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If the last few karambit knives in our guide have seemed a little on the subtle side, why not opt for this big and bold number from Knife Geeks. The Doppler Phase 2 Pro Series is an awesome piece of knife design and construction to behold. Featuring an ABS handle and sheath and a very sharp and menacing-looking stainless-steel blade, this is one you’ll want to be careful with. In the construction process, the blade skin has been bonded on a molecular level to the blade and, as a result, the pattern on your blade will be different to any other from the same line. Perfectly balanced, the sharp blade is ready to use out of the box.

Ideal for hunting and wilderness adventures, it comes in a special presentation box with a display stand, so you can always show it off to your buddies and keep it safe. The grips on the handle have been expertly engineered and as standard, there’s a nicely-shaped and sized finger ring, providing you with versatility when it comes to getting the best out of using the blade.

Specs

  • Type Fixed
  • Dimensions 7.48-inches
7United Cutlery Honshu Karambit Silver Boot Sheath

United Cutlery Honshu Karambit Silver Boot Sheath

Editors Rating

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From the highly regarded and reliable producers of excellent quality utility and self defense blades comes the Honshu Karambit Silver knife. United Cutlery are known for their commitment to designing and constructing high-quality knives and accessories and this karambit is no exception to that rule. This is featuring a comfortable and functional 4.7-inch long blade engineered from incredibly robust and durable stainless steel. As it contains a higher amount of carbon, the blade retention is better, and it has a hardness that’s hard to beat.

Although primarily marketed as a self defense tool, this would work exceptionally well for any sort of outdoor pursuit or survivalist situation. Sharp enough to help with cutting small branches, splitting kindling for that fire you need to bring warmth to your camp, making tent pegs or even as a spearhead if you’re fishing and hunting. Although it’s fixed, it does come with the hardy boot-style sheath that will keep the blade safe and avoid accidents when you’re not actually using the knife.

Specs

  • Type Fixed
  • Dimensions 7.48-inches
8MTech Full Tang Hawk Blade Holster Karambit

MTech Full Tang Hawk Blade Holster Karambit

Editors Rating

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There’s something about a red blade, or just a colored blade in general, that gets us excited here at Men’s Gear. And not for the reasons you may think. It just seems to highlight the definition and smoothness of the edges and how sharp the stainless steel is. This tactical karambit knife is made by MTech, a US-based brand that we’ve already featured. Whether you’re looking for a good quality tactical hunting knife, combat knife or just EDC, this is a good option. Though, you need to be careful as it has a fixed blade.

Having said that it does come with a Hawk blade holster. So, this full tang karambit will only be unleashed when you want it to be. Rather than the smooth edge that many karambits, particularly those featured here, have, this has a Snaggletooth-style serrated blade that allows you to really cut into things easily and quickly. Although any sharp knife will cut through a piece of rope, having those little points to give you some leverage can really make the difference.

Specs

  • Type Fixed
  • Dimensions 5-inches
9Edge Knives Reptilian Spring Assist Karambit

Edge Knives Reptilian Spring Assist Karambit

Editors Rating

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We finish on a high in our guide to the best karambit knives with this hot blade from EDGE knives. Appropriately named Reptilian, it has a textured handle that includes a scaly design, akin to a snake, lizard or other reptile (like the Indonesian resident Komodo Dragon) and features the superbly practical spring-assist opening. This means that you can use the knife quickly and without fuss, when you really need to. Whether it’s cutting through the overgrown bushes and trees or to cut materials when the weather turns nasty and you need shelter.

With a stainless-steel blade, finished in the rather fetching black coloring, and a thickness of 3mm, you can’t go wrong with this in your rucksack or in your pocket. When fully open, it still only measures at 7.125-inches, so is easy to keep concealed when necessary.

Specs

  • Type Folding
  • Dimensions 7.125-inches

BUYING GUIDE & FAQ'S

What is a Karambit?

The karambit knife is a rather nifty and practical tactical blade that has several uses that it excels in. It is also widely known by the name names kerambit, karambiak, karambol and even kurambik. This blade originated, it’s thought, with the native Minangkabau people in Western Sumatra and takes its design queues from the formidable and intimidatingly effective claws of a tiger.

As is the case with most blades and other implements that were weaponized in the area, it was uses solely in the beginning as a tool for raking at roots, gathering the threshing and planting rice. It didn’t start out quite as curved and was used as a smaller version of the sickles used throughout Southeast Asia. Once it became weaponized though, the curve was increased to improve the potential of its cutting performance. Modern karambit knives are used as one of the main weapons of the Indonesian martial art Silat.

Having said that, it doesn’t need to be used as a self defense and makes for an excellent EDC, utility or tactical knife.

How Do You Hold a Karambit?

If you’re going to go to the bother of investing in a karambit, whether you’re going to use it as a self-defense weapon or something more practical, you don’t want to look a fool. Or, get the best use out of it, you need to know how to hold it.

Normally, you hold a karambit knife so that the blade is pointing downwards from the base of the first. Although it’s normally used with the curve pointing forwards, it can be utilized backwards.

How to Use a Karambit?

Karambit knives are designed to be used with either a hooking or slashing motion. However, because of the finger ring that many of them come designed with, a punching motion can also be utilized. Another option is to use it with a hammering movement. One of the things that makes this style of knife so attractive and appealing is the fact that it can be used to strike in a variety of different ways.

The above may make it sound like it’s a self defense weapon, it can be used for any number of applications, such as:

How to Sharpen a Karambit

An important aspect of owning any type of knife, especially one you’ve invested a pretty penny or two in, is knowing how to sharpen it properly. Most karambits, particularly those featured in our guide, come sharp and ready to use straight out of the box. However, over time, the more you use your knife, the more the blade will dull and that’s when you’ll need to look at sharpening it.

To begin with, and this is the exact same process for any kind of knife or blade, you need to ensure it’s free of any dirt and debris and is clean. Then, give it a wipe with a soft, dry cloth.

Next hold it firmly, but not as if you’re in the fight of your life or anything like that. Remember, you’re just looking to sharp it. The act of sharpening a knife is all about being steady, continuous and methodical. Make sure your wrist is nice and flexible and ensure the angle you’re holding the blade to your sharpener is as small as possible. If not, you may end up changing the shape of the blade entirely or could even damage it.

Use a medium grit and start stroking the blade across the surface of the sharpener in a single and smooth motion. Be gentle, and always use the exact same stroke count on each side. You want to have an evenly sharpened blade. After you’ve completed that stage, switch to a finer grit surface and repeat this process until you achieve the sharpness you’re looking for. The finer grit is used to tweak the knife’s edge sharply. Once you’re done, you need to then wipe the blade once more with a dry, soft cloth to get rid of any debris that may have built up during the sharpening process.

You need a Sharp Blade and Mind in the Wilderness!

Our guide to the best fixed blade karambit and folding karambit knives on the market may have been short, but we do hope it was sweet. We didn’t see any point in bombarding you with too huge a product count for this one, instead, homing in on the finest tactical blades. So, if you had preconceived ideas about wanting a folding knife or a fixed knife, we’ve delivered both in spades. Whereas, if you had no idea what type of karambit you really wanted, we hope we’ve been able to steer you in the right direction.

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