For anyone who once thought that any old knife would do when it comes to the skinning of game knows one painful truth: A quality hunting knife can be the difference between artfully skinning game during a hunting exhibition and, well, making a mess.
The best skinning knife should hold an edge, be made of high-quality steel and materials, be highly resistant to corrosion and be specifically designed to skin game as efficiently as possible. Whether looking to buy a skinning knife as a gift or for yourself it pays (literally) to make the best choice the first time around.
In this guide, we will arm you with the knowledge to pick the best possible skinning knife for your particular needs. So, let’s begin.
Top 10 Skinning Knives Comparison
|Picture||Name||Knife Type||Price||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Buck 103BKS Skinner 4"||Fixed Blade||$$$$||4.9|
|2. Outdoor Edge Swingblaze SZ-20N||Folding Blade||$$$$||4.8|
|3. Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade||Folding Blade||$$$||4.8|
|4. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade||Fixed Blade||$$||4.8|
|5. Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite||Folding Blade||$$$||4.7|
|6. Outdoor Edge Butcher-Lite BL-1||Fixed Blade/Gut Hook||$$$$||4.7|
|7. Elk Ridge Straight Edge and Gut Hook Blades||Fixed Blade/Gut Hook||$$||4.5|
|8. Winchester Skinner Knife||Fixed blade||$||4.4|
|9. Mossberg Fixed Skinning Knife||Gut hook||$$||4.3|
|10. WatchFire Guthook Skinning Knife||Gut hook||$||4.1|
Things to Consider
Here are a few things to take into consideration before you select a knife:
- Blade Length. Bigger is not always better. Make sure that the length of your future knifes blade is in line with what you plan on using it for (the game you’re planning on hunting).
- Blade Style. Drop point, clip point, gut hook and tanto with/without serration are the major blade styles available. Drop point is widely considered the most versatile style for field dressing and skinning game.
- Knife Type. There are three main types; fixed blade, folding blade and gut hooks. The fixed variety is generally stronger, but folding blades take up significantly less space. Gut hooks can be useful for quickly opening up an animal’s belly, though sharpening the hook can be difficult.
- Durability. This is tough to judge at a glance, especially if you haven’t had any experience with a particular brand – User reviews and guides such as this one are essential.
- Sharpness. The best skinning knives are those which don’t have to be continuously sharpened. The best skinning knives should require sharpening half way through skinning an animal.
- Blade Metal Composition. Skinning knives which are made from high carbon steel make the best knives. Corrosion resistant alloys which contain vanadium and chromium also make for long lasting blades.
- Handle and Sheath. A great skinning knife should have a solid, slip-free handle which both increases the efficiency and safety for the hunter using it. For increased durability, make sure that the handle and sheath are weather resistant and made of high-quality.
The most important aspect you need to think about when buying a new skinning knife is the game you’re planning on hunting as well as how often you hunt.
- If you’re a occasional hunter and want something highly versatile, then a folding knife is generally a good buy.
- If you’re a professional hunter or looking to hunt seriously, a strong, fixed blade knife would be the best purchase for you.
In terms of game, a fixed blade, full-tang, drop-pointed knife is a great option for large game such as deer. Smaller folding knives may be a better option for smaller game such as rabbits. In general, a fixed blade, drop point knife is the best purchase in terms of strength and durability.
Top 3 Best Skinning Knife Reviews
The best skinning knife on our list is the 103 Skinner Fixed Blade Knife from Buck Knives. This is 4.3 oz. knife is a superb addition to any hunter’s equipment arsenal.
It’s 4 inches, extra wide 420HC steel blade lives up to the legendary reputation of all Buck Knives by possessing the wear resistance of quality high carbon alloys whilst displaying the corrosion resistance observed in chromium stainless steels. This is achieved via Buck Knives exclusive heat-treat process in making their knives which results in a highly durable skinning knife.
This is the best skinning knife in the Buck Knives range. The tip is narrow whilst the wide curved edge provides long sweeping cut which aids with cutting through thicker layers. The downward angle, slightly blunted point has been specifically designed to prevent accidental unwanted slices.
The black phenolic handle has an aluminium pommel and guard which are extremely resistant to weather, wear and are easy to clean (it helps that they look great too).
If all that isn’t enough the American made blade comes with the famous Buck Forever Warranty, so why not go and get one today!
Next on our top three is the Swingblaze SZ-20N SwingBlade by Outdoor Edge. This is a great option for the folding-blade loving hunters out there.
The SwingBlaze is one of the most innovative knives on our list and available to the consumer today. From handle to tip it measures a comfortable 8.3 inches to easily fit in any hunter’s hand.
It boasts a handy 2-in-1 design which allows you to switch from a drop-point 3.6-inch skinner to a highly functional 3.2-inch gutting knife for bigger game at the push of a button. The unique gutting knife cuts beneath the skin to open up the game like you’re unzipping a jacket.
The hand fished shaving sharp blade is made from AUS-8 stainless steel and is sub-zero quenched for long lasting edge retention whilst the handle is made of high quality rubberized Kraton. The non-slip grip handle will protect you from accidental mishaps, even when wet.
The SwingBlaze comes with a handy nylon belt sheath for easy carrying of this knife and a limited lifetime warranty against defects and workman’s ship.
If you want the versatility and advantages of a gut hook blade without some of the hassles which come with them, then this is the knife for you.
Last but not least on our top three is the Piranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife by Havalon. This 7.25-inch knife is undoubtedly one the sharpest skinning blades that we’ve reviewed.
The major advantage of this knife is its ability to simply swap out its blade when it becomes dull due to its innovative quick-change design. What this means is that you’ll never have to carry around a whetstone or worry about keeping the blade sharp again! This saves valuable time, effort and weight (the knife only weighs 3 oz).
The handle of the knife is made of highly durable Zytel military grade plastic and has easy-grip rubber panels to eliminated slippage even when wet. Each knife comes with an additional 12 razor sharp 60XT stainless steel blades. Its thumb studs for opening the blade are ambidextrous meaning that you’ll be able to open the knife no matter what hand it’s in.
Some other additional handy features include an improved lined lock, a lanyard opening and useful pocket clip.
This blade may not be the last skinning knife you’ll ever need for a successful hunting exhibition but it will certainly make skinning large game an absolute breeze.