June 11, 2016

The Best Machete For Clearing Brush

Owning a fairly large amount of untamed land and a husband who loves DIY gardening means a huge chunk of free time spent clearing underbrush. Surely I tried to persuade him to hire a gardener to do the labor, but he just seemed to take brush clearing as a hobby. I always remained supportive and tried to help when I could, but noticed that his machetes didn’t really last long. The blades never quite seemed to hold up against the thick underbrush. Surely, we needed the best machete for clearing brush.

The Best Machete For Clearing Brush Comparisons

Model

Weight

Blade

Warranty

Prices

Our Ratings

Ka-Bar

1.1 pounds

1085 Carbon-Steel Blade​

Limited Lifetime Manufacturer's Warranty

$$$$

Codor Tools and Knives

1 pounds

Epoxy Black Powder Coating Blade Finish

Requested Manufacturer's Warranty

$$$$$

Tramontina

2 pounds

High Carbon-Steel Blade

30 Days Manufacturer Warranty

$$

Cold Steel

1.2 pounds

High Carbon-Steel Blade

30 Days Manufacturer Warranty

$$

Whetstone Cutlery

1.8 pounds

Saw-Tooth Stainless Steel Blade

Requested Manufacturer's Warranty

$$$

Getting The Most Out Of Your Machete

Pairing it with a Hook

A hook is what professionals swear by. Usually made in the field with a bifurcating branch, it can increase the machete’s efficiency when you use the hook in one hand to hold the plant taught while you use the machete in the other hand to chop it. The hook exposes hidden stalks and trunks for easy cutting as well.

It can come in handy especially if you live in an area known for having wild animals around. Since you won’t have to grasp the plants with your hands, your chance of getting bitten by animals will significantly reduce. The hook can also be used to remove obstacles such as fallen limbs from your way to allow unobstructed cutting.​

Machete Sharpeners

What most first-timers fail to know is that some machetes, especially the ones that come from Latin countries, don’t come fully sharpened. This is not because the manufacturers forgot to sharpen the blade, but because the majority of the people from the Latin community prefer to sharpen their knives by themselves.

To get the best bush machete, investing in a good quality machete sharpener is the way to go. However, for a task like trail clearing or cutting brush, you must remember that it doesn’t need to be extremely sharp – just sharp enough to cut through stalks easily.​

Maintaining the Blade

As the blades of machetes are made out of metal, they are prone to rusting. Try to keep your machete as dry as possible and even if it does somehow get wet, wipe it with a light knife mineral oil to protect it from excess moisture.

Key Things To Know Before Buying A Machete

Type of Vegetation

When searching for the best machete for brush, you might want to look for one that has a wide belly near its blade tip. The width of the blade will also be able to add weight to the machete so that more impact is generated. A wide blade with a curved tip might be ideal for you in this situation, as it would slice through the vegetation more easily. However, you might tire out faster with a heavy blade.

On the other hand, if you need to clear an area with a grassy vegetation you might want to use a thin blade as not much power will be needed to slice through the plants. A thin blade also ensures minimal fatigue. You could also increase your efficiency by using a double-sided blade like a ‘Colima’, which can help you chop vines faster.​

Thickness Of The Blade

A thick blade is generally used to split batons and cut through wood, but it can tire you out very easily. A thin blade on the other hand, slices more easily through grasses and stalks and also reduces fatigue. You might want to pick a wide and thin blade while chopping woody brush as the width will give the blade its chopping power, but the thin blade helps to reduce your fatigue.

The Machete’s Style

Different types of machetes serve different purposes. For clearing trails, it might not be best for you to use a Kukri or a Barong as it cannot cut through thick vegetation easily. It might be ideal for you to use a heavy duty machete like Parang, Panga or Bolo.

Length Of The Blade

It might be best to choose a machete with a long blade while cutting brush as the length will prevent you hands from getting cut easily. A long blade will also provide leverage to clear large swaths at one time.

Safety Tips

  • Always make sure to wear eye protection while cutting brush as the stalks bend easily and can whip back if they have not been cut through entirely.
  • As there is always a possibility of abrasion occurring due to the friction between your hands and the handle, wear light gloves (if not work gloves) to protect yourself from cuts.
  • Swing your machete very cautiously, making sure that your thighs don’t come in the way.
  • Check thick brush for snakes and turtles before chopping it straight away.
  • If you are cutting trails, it might be best to do it in a team as fallen timbers can cause injuries.
  • Before going chopping, learn how to identify poison ivy so that you can save yourself irritating and painful rashes.
  • Always keep a lookout for pets and/ or children.
  • When inserting your blade inside the sheath, make sure the knife’s cutting edge faces the fold and not the stitches side to prevent the knife from slicing through and cutting your fingers.

Machetes For Brush Clearing Reviews

Ka-Bar Black Cutlass Machete


  • 18.2 x 4.6 x 2.6 inches
  • 1.1 pounds
  • 100% Synthetic
  • 1085 carbon-steel blade
  • Accepted for refund upto 15 days after delivery
  • Limited lifetime warranty

This Ka-Bar machete is ideal for clearing brush, trail clearing or even chopping down weeds. Although lighter than other machetes in the market, this machete does its job effectively. Its comparatively lightweight characteristic also helps to reduce fatigue. It also has a hollow grind and a 20-degree edge angle.

Its ergonomically shaped Kraton G thermoplastic elastomer handle and nonslip grip feature also makes it very comfortable to hold in your hand, and is one of its key characteristics that make it one of the best machetes for clearing brush . Or if you are the type person who prefers to keep their hands free while moving around, its durable leather/ Cordura combination sheath can help the machete stay put in your backpack or fit conveniently in your belt.

PROS

  • Imported
  • Sturdy
  • Leather/Cordura combination sheath
  • Thermoplastic elastomer handle
  • Durable
  • Lighter than other machetes but effective

CONS

  • Coating on the blade might not be uniform

Condor Tool and Knife Parang Machete 17.5-Inch with Leather Sheath


  • 26 x 3.5 x 1.8 inches
  • 1 pounds
  • Epoxy Black Powder Coating Blade Finish
  • Hardwood Handle
  • 100% leather sheath
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service

This Condor Parang machete is one of the most aesthetically pleasing products in the market with its Epoxy Black Powder Coating Blade Finish, which also protects the blade from rusting very fast. Its hardwood handle is easy to grip and warm to hold in your hand. With a full tang construction, this machete ensures heavy duty work that is ideal for chopping down trees or clearing brush.

Although a little pricier than other machetes, its durability and versatility in terms of its uses makes it worth the price, and makes it the best brush machete for this price.. If you have large under brushes filled with thorns, this might be the machete for you as its long blade can help you clear the brush safely from a distance. The blade comes fully sharpened and is made from 1075 high carbon steel. The Cordura leather sheath is also of the highest quality..

PROS

  • Replaceable soft pads
  • Imported
  • Fully sharpened
  • 1075 High Carbon Steel
  • Full tang construction
  • Highly durable
  • Suitable for thin/thick brush

CONS

  • Blade might be a little thin towards the handle

Tramontina Machete Wood Handle


  • 23 x 2.4 x 0.9 inches
  • $
  • 2 pounds
  • High Carbon Steel Blade
  • Natural Colour Hardwood Handle
  • Contact the seller directly for warranty information

What makes this Tramontina machete one of the best machetes for cutting brush is its high chopping power. It’s slightly heavy nature and its high carbon steel blade ensure a clean cut when you chop through small trees and brush in your backyard. Made in Brazil, this product features a natural colour hardwood handle.

This machete also has a certain flex, although it is less than that of Latin machetes, which can be very useful when you are chopping wood and thick brush as it helps to dissipate energy and the decreased vibration in the handle means that the blade is less likely to bounce back from the wood and injure you. Thus, it is safer than other machetes. It also has more “swing room”.

PROS

  • Made in Brazil
  • Can hold its edge well when working
  • Clean cuts
  • Durable blade
  • Has more “swing room”
  • High chopping power

CONS

  • Doesn’t come with a sheath
  • Might come with a slight dull edge

Cold Steel 97BWM12S Bowie Machete with Sheath


  • 17.7 x 2 x 1.5 inches
  • 1.2 pounds
  • Imported
  • Clipped point

Despite being of the cheapest machetes for cutting brush, Cold Steel Bowie Machete is highly popular for having a sturdy, high quality blade. Made in Taiwan, it comes with an anti rust matte finish, a feature that is especially useful if you live in a humid climate. It also comes fully sharpened.

It also comes with a durable Core-Ex sheath. What sets this machete apart from others is that it can also be used as a piercing tool with its clipped point. The handle provides a strong grip and makes the trail clearing process so much easier. It also has excellent balance makes it one of the best machete for brush in the market.

PROS

  • Excellent piercing tool
  • Sturdy Core-Ex sheath
  • Fully sharpened
  • Anti rust matte finish
  • Imported
  • Strong grip

CONS

  • Relatively thin
  • More weight towards the handle

Whetstone Cutlery Full Tang Rubber Grip Machete with Sheath


  • 1.8 pounds
  • 25.75 inches
  • Saw Tooth Blade Back
  • Stainless steel
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service

The ‘saw’ feature of this machete is what makes it stand out in the crowd. Its saw tooth relieves excess stress from the blade and increases its durability. My husband found this feature incredibly useful while cutting down the thick underbrush near our house. This heavy duty machete has a full tang construction ensuring maximum strength.

Made with stainless steel, this Whetstone Machete is stout and has a contoured, impact resistant ABS handle . There is also a finger guard over the handle which aids your grip even if your hands end up getting sweaty. It also comes with a durable black nylon sheath and a convenient wrist lanyard.

PROS

  • Durable black nylon sheath
  • Convenient wrist lanyard
  • Contoured impact resistant ABS handle
  • Heavy duty
  • Stout
  • Lined with coarse saw
  • Full tang construction

CONS

  • Might come unsharpened

Which One Would I Recommend?

After having carefully evaluated the various types of machetes for clearing brush, I think that the ‘Whetstone Cutlery Full Tang Rubber Grip Machete’ is the best one. Not only does it have a contoured impact resistant ABS handle, it is also highly durable. My husband tends to get a lot of sweat in his hand, which is why we found the finger guard over the handle so useful. It makes sure that a strong grip is maintained throughout.

Another reason why I chose this particular machete as the winner is because it is one of the few top rated machetes that has a coarse saw lining. Plus, its full tang construction makes sure that the blade doesn’t go flying off - an extra safety bonus! Do you think this is the best brush machete?

About the author

Gus Clark

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