What is a Neck Knife?
Do you need a quick-access, discrete knife? Then check out some of the best neck knives on the market. These EDC (everyday carry) blades are perfect for wearing on a chain around your neck, ensuring you feel safe in any situation. They’re also excellent as bushcraft knives. One common survivalist saying is “the best knife is the one you have on you” – and the great thing about neck knives is that (obviously) you wear them around your neck. Which means that you’ll always have a knife with you even in a unexpected bushcrafting situation.
A little, high-quality neck knife could be the only thing between you and an aggressor. Or, it could just be a handy tool to have around base camp. I’d definitely recommend throwing one in your glove box, or just wearing on as a necklace as designed. A neck knife is the very definition of a great EDC item.
Like all survival and self-defense gear, there are millions of options out there when it comes to EDC and neck knives. From premium carbon steel knives to budget-friendly blades to toss in the truck or into your backpack and leave there, there’s every kind of knife out there.
Whichever knife you go for, make sure to take a close look at the specs as each neck knife is a little different. I’ll outline a few key factors to keep in mind when you’re comparing the knives, plus a list of the top 10 best neck knives out there. I’ll give a quick outline of each knife’s specific features as well as the pros and cons of each.
Key features of a neck knife
To find the right neck knife, take a look at the following key features. Whether it’s blade style, length, steel type, or sheath material, neck knives vary between models. Keep an eye on each knife’s specs to guarantee you get the right one for you.
One of the features that varies the most in neck knives is the length of the knife. Because neck knives are designed to be concealed under clothing, most of the knives you’ll see are under 5” long. Some are barely 4” while you’ll see a couple 6 inchers.
Make sure you look out for overall length, blade length, and handle length. If you have bigger hands, I’d recommend getting a longer handle. Shorter blades are less versatile, so if you want an all-rounder, keep an eye out for longer blades.
There are literally hundreds of knife designs and blade styles out there. When it comes to neck knives, you’ll mainly see drop points, though there are some cleavers, Tantos, and daggers.
The blade design determines the knife’s effectiveness at certain actions. For example, daggers are better for stabbing, while cleavers work better for chopping. Drop points are the most popular as they’re the best all-rounders.
Most neck knives have smooth blades, though there are a few serrated edges out there. Smooth blades are better at slicing and stabbing, while serration gives an edge a better sawing capability.
You’ll see every kind of steel being used to make knife blades. Essentially, you can ignore all the different numbers and letters. All you want to make sure is that your knife is at least stainless steel, to ensure corrosion resistance.
If you want to splash out, get a high-grade carbon steel blade. If not, there are plenty of straight-up stainless steel neck knives out there that will get the job done.
Some neck knives are simple single slabs with cut-out metal handles. It’s up to you whether you wrap the handle in tape, paracord, etc. to increase grip or not. If you want extra discreteness, you can keep it with a super low profile.
Some of the knives you’ll see have polymer, plastic, or nylon handles. There’s ergonomic handles with finger cut-outs to aid strength and grip. A few neck knives have jimping to reduce slide.
Most neck knives come with a sheath either on a lanyard or chain to wear around the neck. Some of the sheaths are plastic, while others are leather, and some are fiberglass-reinforced nylon. Most sheaths can be clipped on the belt or a vest.
A few of the sheaths have security features, to ensure safety and ease of deployment. There’s even one neck knife with a state-of-the-art magnetic sheath!
Neck knives are pretty simple tools. All you want is a full tang blade a couple inches long with a half-decent handle. The low-key design of neck knives doesn’t leave much room for extra features.
Some of the knives have a wider edge to use as a striker against a fire steel, and a couple of them have bottle opener features at the end of the handle. Apart from that, a neck knife is pretty much just that.
The 10 Best Neck Knives for EDC, Self Defense, and Survival
Out of all the neck knives out there, these ten are the best of the bunch. They’re all good knives, though, and they could all save your life in an emergency situation.
You’ll see a decent variety of prices, lengths, and qualities, and I’m sure one of them is the right neck knife for you.
Picking the Best Neck Knife: A Buyer’s Guide
Take a look at these key points to keep in mind when you’re buying a neck knife. Whether it’s for hiking and camping, or safety at home, traveling, or at work, answering a few simple questions will guide you towards finding the right neck knife for you.
What’s your neck knife for?
Is your neck knife for hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping, or DIY, or self-defense? If you want to conceal your knife while on the job, you’ll want a smaller, more discrete blade than if you’re wearing it on your belt on a hunting trip.
Think about how you’ll use your knife, and let that determine which neck knife is best for you.
How much do you want to spend?
The price is probably the easiest way to narrow down the choice on anything. Do you want to splash out and get the best neck knife money can buy? Then check out some of the premium knives like the Ka-Bar Becker or ESEE Pinch. Or, maybe you want a low-cost budget neck knife like the Sheffield Bolo.
How discrete does your neck knife need to be?
If you want to wear a neck knife around your neck without anyone knowing, then I’d recommend getting a low-profile neck knife. If secrecy isn’t such a big deal, then you can get a neck knife with a larger, grippier handle.