Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Bryce Haley, May 15, 2020.

  1. Bryce Haley

    Bryce Haley

    Mar 24, 2020
    Looking for a good high quality machete. Preferably one around 18-22 inches. Been looking at the Tops 230. Looks pretty nice. Any suggestions?
  2. kwackster


    Dec 23, 2005
    Probably the best recommendation i can give you:

    The owner is a member here, he knows his stuff and is a very helpful fellow as well.
    DocJD, Eli Chaps, Lee D and 2 others like this.
  3. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    What do you want to do with it? There are a lot of choices. Your choice of blade depends on what kind of vegetation you are goung to be cutting.If you don’t need a heavy chopper you shouldn’t have to spend more than about 20 bucks. An 18-inch Tramontina would be my first choice for a versatile light machete. Buy it from Baryonyx and pay him a couple of bucks to put an edge on it. It will be a little thicker than a lot of other light machetes, and will stand up to some chopping while still being long and light enough for longer sessions in in grasses and lighter brush.

    For chopping, look for a shorter, thicker blade, say 12-14 inches long and 4-6mm thick. Expect to pay $70-100. A Condor Golok or Eco Parang would be my first choices.
  4. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    In normal use a machete blade will be subject to a lot of abuse. They are used near the ground and against targets that obscure visibility. So frequent contact with rocks, metal and masonry happens. True field machetes tend to be simply constructed with resilient springy blades. Tromontina and Immacasa make some really good examples, and they really shouldn’t set you back much more than $20 plus the cost of a sheath if you want one.

    willc and herisson like this.
  5. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Exactly as Henry pointed out, without knowing what you are cutting, its hard to make recommendations. In general, the lighter and more flexible the stuff you are cutting, the lighter and more flexible the machete. Tramontia, condor and marbles are among the leading makers right now. They are tool makers first and foremost, so you should expect a little hand finishing. Or buy from Baryonyx and have him take care of it.

    Think about where you are going to want the sweet-spot and how much swing you will get. A bolo puts the sweetspot out to the end more than a latin which can have an advantage for short strokes, the latin I think is better for wider sweeps. (but I'm not an expert) what I can say is that with any real serious wood (past an inch unless its vines) you want to lean more to the khukuri/parang/heavy bowie end of the spectrum as you will rely on mass more than speed, and the springier machetes will transmit more of that shock to your hand (at least in my experience)

    Joe flowers knows how to design a knife, Tops knows how to make a good design "tacticool". That big of a blade in 1095 at that hardness doesn't make much sense to me, and a coating often hampers the performance of a machete. If I wanted a big chopper, there are a lot of options. If I want a garden tool, 16 or 18 inch tramontia to start, then decide if you want bigger. Not to nitpick but 15 inch is well below your desired size. I think this is an answer you can sort out for yourself with 50$ (two machetes and some sandpaper) and have a lot more knowledge about your real needs and uses (and have a cheap trunk tool when you are done) then if you really want to go high end, there is some nice stuff out there.
  6. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    I just wanted to add that larger machetes can be dangerous for novice users. A poor swing can cause them to bounce back and cut your lower leg. If you haven't played with machetes before you will probably want to keep it at 18" or less.

    LG&M and 22-rimfire like this.
  7. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    Once you let us know your use, @FortyTwoBlades is one of the best resources for machetes.

    If you don't know your use, I would start cheap and get a basic latin machete and see what it can do for you. If you need to do everything, the baryonyx machete is one of the better designs I've experienced for versatility but it can be a bit tricky because it's double-edge and it comes wicked sharp. It doesn't deflect as badly as thinner machetes so that's a pro for safety. It is a bit heavy so it can tire you out if you're new too which is where I think a standard latin machete is a good starting spot.
    Henry Beige and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  8. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Exactly this, plus : long machetes are for greenery (understand wet, lush, tender undergrowth). If that is the nature of your outings, they are the tool for the job. However, if your woods are of the more dry, tough, stubborn kind, you will fare way better with a shorter, heavier kind of tool.
    22-rimfire, diavoli and bikerector like this.
  9. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Using the Condor line as my reference, I highly recommend the wood handled 18" El Salvador machete for general use. A more rigid one that I like a lot is the 16" Swamp Master. As was mentioned, I would shy away from the really long machetes until you get some experience with them. You can really hurt yourself by accident. The Condor stuff is made by Imacasa. Imacasa has essentially the same models offered at much lower cost but at a poorer QA/QC level. I get the Condors because I have been really impressed by them and I love the fine leather sheaths that they provide. They are worth some bucks by themselves.
    Lee D likes this.
  10. abcdef


    Oct 28, 2005
    Condor Tool & Knife Warlock
  11. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    According to Baryonyx, the TOPS machete is just a $20 Ontario blank doctored up, and in my opinion way overpriced. I have beat the living crap out of an 18" Ontario and I can tell you, it's all you'd ever need. The Condors are definitely a nice upgrade if you want something nicer.
  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Pay attention to the handles when you choose a machete. All machetes are not created equally. I prefer wood handles because I am more comfortable sanding them down if I need to adjust the size to fit me better. It is possible to sand the plastic handles.

    When I first bought an Ontario machete, I got the small 12" one thinking it would be a good functional woods chopper that is easy to carry. I have several and HATE the handles. At the time, I wanted something modestly priced to keep in my pickup and use as needed. But the using aspect sucked. Will not buy another Ontario. I believe they have a high end offering with a fitted wood handle but you are into the Condor pricing at that point.

    Baryonyx I have read will make you a sheath out of a kydex like material if you buy one that does not have a sheath from him. I don't know what he charges for such.
  13. kwackster


    Dec 23, 2005
  14. Peter Hartwig

    Peter Hartwig Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 29, 2008
    been very happy with my Ontario(believe heavy duty 18"). It has been serving me for at least 40 years. The handle has bee repaired and wrapped in cloth tape, but it keeps on going
  15. HKGuns


    Jan 28, 2019
    The best machete I’ve ever used is an inexpensive milsurp Ontario bolo.

    I only wish I could find another one.

    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  16. Sidehill Gouger

    Sidehill Gouger

    Dec 29, 2007
    If you actually have much real machete work to do the best plan is buy a half dozen basic South American/Central American brand blades and sharpen them all up. As one gets dull, you toss it in the pickup and replace it with a sharp one. At lunch you stone all 6 and go back to work when you are finished. No machete was meant to hold an edge for long, they are meant to take a beating and be easy to sharpen afterward.
    MarkN86, evilgreg and HKGuns like this.
  17. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    This. I have an 18" Tramontina that was all of $7 and that thing is a steal for the money. I'd rather have a few of them than one fancy expensive machete. You could buy a handful of them and also throw in a 12" or 14" little guy for times when you don't need the long blade and still cost less than the fancy too-thick, too-heavy machetes that some of these companies put out.
    Sidehill Gouger and MarkN86 like this.

Share This Page