A couple of years back I went on a camping trip with my girl gang and took my trusted old Swiss Army knife with me. But with all the trekking, it was getting difficult fitting the knife in my trouser pocket.
Seeing this, one of my friends loaned me what was possibly the best neck knives I ever used. It hung from my neck right under the t-shirt and came in real handy for cutting cords and other things.
From that experience, I decided to add neck carrying knives to my ‘essentials’ list. I quickly figured out that these can be a woman’s best friend when you’re walking home alone at night, and for everyday use as well.
I’ve used a number of these tools in the past couple of years and made a list of which I thought were the best ones. If you’re looking to buy a neck knife, this self-defense knives recommendation list can be a good starting point.
Table of Contents
- Best Neck Knife for 2018 ~ My Recommendation
- Different Types of Knives
- What To Consider When Choosing One?
- What Are the Benefits?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 12 Best Neck Knives Reviews:
- 1. CRKT Minimalist Wharncliffe
- 2. SOG Snarl Fixed Blade JB01K-CP
- 3. Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker
- 4. Schrade SCHF16
- 5. Boker Boker Plus Voxknives Gnome Knife
- 6. KA1477CB-BRK TDI Law Enforcement Knife
- 7. Spyderco Ark Personal Defense Knife
- 8. ESEE Knives Black CANDIRU Fixed Blade Knife
- 9. ESEE Knives Izula-II
- 10. Condor Tool and Knife Mini Bushlore 3-Inch Drop Point Blade
- 11. Boker 02SC743 Magnum Lil Friend Micro
- 12. Columbia River Knife and Tool 2388 Folts S.P.E.W Fixed Blade Razor Edge Knife
- Final Words
Best Neck Knife for 2018 ~ My Recommendation
Among the numerous variations of these knives available in the market, it hard to pick out just a couple of the best ones. But from my experience, two of the best knives currently available are:
1. Schrade SCHF16 Full Tang Neck Knife
A good-looking, practical knife with a large 3.1” blade and G10 handle, this Schrade knife is one of my favorites that features a tanto style blade with carbon-high stainless steel.
Its durability is well-complemented by four holes and a breakaway chain for hanging it according to your style. You can wear it either short or long, which helps particularly during camping and hiking.
2. Condor Tool and Knife Mini Bushlore 3-Inch Drop Point Blade
Call it my womanly instinct, but I know a good-looking knife when I see one. While its leather sheath sets it apart from other knives in the market, the Mini Bushlore’s carbon-high steel blade with blasted satin finish makes it both as the best quality neck knife for bushcraft, as well as a utility one.
The hardwood handle is elegant to look at, and even more comfortable to hold.
Different Types of Knives
So, what exactly is a neck knife?
I’d say that pretty much any knife that can be hung from your neck can be termed as a neck hanging knife. This is usually done using a cord, a chain, or even a leather line. All you need is some sort of hole in the knife handle to attach the line, and you’re good to go.
Depending on the hanging style, these knives can be of two types:
Handle-up: This is where the knife hangs with the blade facing downwards
Handle-down: The blade faces upward, and the handle is on the downside
You should keep in mind that aside from a few specially made knives – off-handle ones in particular – pretty much any neck tool can be used in either form. All you need is a proper sheath and a good cord, and you’re ready to go.
Among the manufacturers of the best ones, the most famous ones are Schrade, Ka-bar, Spyderco, Boker, ESSE, and Condor. There are other brands who produce quality knives too, but mostly lack the consistency of the famous brands.
What To Consider When Choosing One?
Before buying these knives, keep in mind that these are not meant to be used as your primary cutting tool. They are best suited as backup knives and should be treated as such. To get the best one for you, make sure to go over the following points before making a final decision:
Fixed or Folder?
Do you want a fixed blade knife or a folding knife? If you want a concise tool, then folding should be the way to go. They are small, compact, and you can easily pull out the blade when you need it.
The only downside is that you’ll need a precious few seconds to do all that. On the other hand, for the top quality neck knife for self-defense, a fixed blade should be your first pick. They are pretty straightforward – ready for use whenever you need them.
Concealed or Not?
How will you carry the knife? Concealed under your shirt, or over it? Based on that preference, you can decide on the size and design of the knife. If you’re going to wear it over your shirt, you can go for bigger ones with larger sheaths. If it’s concealed you’re looking for, a tool with a blade size between 2 and 3.5 inches should be your pick for comfortable carrying.
Also, make sure to check your local laws when it comes to carrying knives concealed or out in the open. The laws can vary between countries, states, and even cities. Some states like Oregon have pretty relaxed regulations when it comes to carrying knives, while the UK prohibits carrying any knife in public unless it’s a folding one with a blade smaller than 3 inches.
What do you feel comfortable with around your neck? Is it a nylon cord, a beaded chain, breakaway chain, or leather line? Remember, although a tough line means long life, it also means a good thing to grab for your opponent during hand-to-hand combat.
My personal favorite is the beaded chain, as it is durable, yet snaps off when pulled harder. On the downside, if might sting the skin around your neck just a little on cold mornings, that I can tell you from my personal experience!
EDC vs. Outdoor use
How will you use your tool? As an EDC item, or for outdoor trips? If you’re looking for an everyday use neck knife, you should pick one of the lightweight, smaller ones. They are easy to carry and conceal, and will probably save your life in unexpected situations. For outdoor use only, you can opt for a bigger blade as those are designed more with survival in mind.
For a versatile tool, pick a knife that you can hang around your neck, or alternatively attach to your belt. For this reason, these are sometimes jokingly called the no-pants knife, as you don’t need the usual sheath and belt clip to carry them. With neck tools, you get the best of both worlds for all your tasks.
This is a point many people don’t give enough emphasis on. Unlike regular knives like hunting and kitchen ones, neck tools come with rather small blades, which may turn away some people. A knife with a 2” blade? That may be a major no-no for some.
But the truth is, even with a blade size averaging somewhere between 2.5” and 3.5”, neck tools can be quite efficient because of their ergonomic design and better gripping technique. Keeping that in mind, decide for yourself – do you want a neck tool with a small blade (2” to 2.5”) that’s easy to carry, or a comparatively large one (3” to 3.5”, or even more) that cut well?
What Are the Benefits?
Using a neck knife with a pocket knife, or even a full-on utility knife can give you a lot of benefits. As I mentioned before, neck tools are part of my daily essentials. I can’t imagine walking alone through the dark streets without my trusty old knife around my neck. They come with a lot of upsides, and from my personal experience, some of them include:
The biggest reason to wear a knife around your neck is that it is extremely easy to access. Unlike pocket knives, you can just reach for it in an instant, which makes them great survival knives. This comes in handy especially if you face an unexpected situation, or your life is under threat at any given moment. Also, they give you a sense of security like few other things can.
For many countries and states, there are laws forbidding either a concealed or non-concealed knife. A neck hanging knife can be a solution for either situation. You can carry it concealed under your shirt, or open over your top according to your local law.
Also, in many places, knives over a certain blade size are prohibited from carrying – either in the open or concealed. Since most neck tools are small in size when it comes to the blade length, you can buy them while remaining under the legal limit.
These carry knives are usually ultra-light, making it easier to carry in pretty much any situation, compared to heavier pocket knives. From personal experience, I can tell you that it does take a little getting used to a dangling object right on your chest from your neck. But after a couple of days, you’ll barely notice it there – they are that light.
No Missing Luggage
Unlike regular knives or even pocket knives, there’s very little chance of your neck knife actually going missing in the hour of need, right? It’s right there around your neck! You don’t have to worry about losing it, or fumbling for it when you need it most. To me, that’s what sealed the deal for these tools.
As mentioned before, these knives can be worn around your neck, on your waist, or even in your pocket. Don’t want to wear your belt to today’s hiking trip? No problem, wear it around your neck. Not feeling to put a chain on your neck on a cold day? Wear it with your belt. It’s that simple!
Unlike some of the bigger knives like hunting and fillet ones, these tools are extremely easy to sharpen. If you have a kit, you can sharpen it in a couple of minutes by yourself. Even if you don’t have a kit, you can find authorized and aftermarket dealers pretty much everywhere to take care of your sharpening needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the best knife?
There’s no definitive answer to this question, to be honest. There are a number of manufacturers who make quality knives, which include the likes of Schrade, Ka-bar, Spyderco, Boker, ESSE, and Condor. Pretty much any knife from these companies that suits your taste would be a good tool to invest in. There are also imported ones from China and Taiwan which can be good at times, but do not carry the same promise of consistency and performance as the prominent brands.
Should I buy small neck knives? They look rather, well, small!
These knives are not meant to be your primary cutting tool. They are best used as a secondary one, and most importantly for emergencies like in a life-threatening situation. So, even if the knife is small, it should come in handy for situations like that. Besides, even if they are small in size, due to advanced ergonomic designs and better quality blades, they can even outperform your regular knife at times.
What about sheath materials? Which is the best?
Most of these knives in the market come with a plastic or glass filled nylon sheath. If these feel uncomfortable, you can always invest in one with a leather sheath. Furthermore, if you’re looking for something fancy, you can try your hand in a wooden sheath, or a carbon fiber one, although they can be a little bit expensive compared to the other ones. They all serve the same purpose – it’s more about your taste and how much money you are willing to invest in your sheath.
What should I use to hang the knife?
I personally prefer a beaded line as it is lightweight yet durable. In a hand-to-hand combat, if your opponent gets a hold of a cord hanging around your neck, it might be a huge disadvantage. However, beaded lines snap if you pull hard on them, so they’ve got that covered for you. A nylon cord, on the other hand, will never tear or snap, but as I said, is a disadvantage in combat.
Why are most of these knives single-edged? Shouldn’t double-edged be a better option?
Since these knives are pretty small, making both edges sharp would make them pretty hard to hold and use. There’s the risk of cutting yourself too! If you absolutely want a double-edged one, I suggest you buy one with a bigger blade for better handling options.
How would I get my knife sharpened?
Unlike some of the other variation of cutting tools, these knives can be easily sharpened from your local dealer or independent sharpener. Alternatively, you can also send your knife to the manufacturer to get the real deal. But they cost very little, which makes buying these knives all the more justified.
Alright, I’ve heard a lot of things neck carrying knives are good for. Can you tell me some things they are NOT suitable for?
For starters, these tools can be quite difficult to access and use when you’re in motion, especially during hiking, mountain climbing, or jogging. The knife can bounce all over the place if you’re using a long cord, which defeats the purpose of easy access. Also, when lying down, these tools can slip around places like armpits or under your elbow inside the shirt, which causes quite the nuisance. The solution? Simple – use a shorter string. Also, u can carry them on your belt or pocket for that time, and use it as a neck knife after you’re done jogging. Sounds just about right, eh?
12 Best Neck Knives Reviews:
1. CRKT Minimalist Wharncliffe
This 2” knife tool from CRKT is as minimal as you can get without compromising the practicality. With a durable blade, a 3-finger-grooved G10 handle and accompanying nylon holder with a glass-reinforced build, you can use the Minimalist Wharncliffe for your everyday carry.
For the best neck knife under 50, this can be your top pick. Oh, you get a lifetime warranty too!
✓ Lightweight, durable 2” blade
✓ Grooved G10/nylon handle
✓ Zytel sheath included
✓ Braided Cord
✓ Lifetime warranty
⛔ Blade finish is uneven
⛔ Loses sharpness quickly
2. SOG Snarl Fixed Blade JB01K-CP
The Snarl from SOG was designed with practical use in mind. Its 9Cr13MoV steel blade is well-complemented by a finger hole for better grip, as well as a Sheepsfoot design for applying that extra bit of force.
The satin finish on its steel gives off an elegant look rare in its price bracket. You’ll also get a molded black Kydex sheath with the knife.[one_half_first]
✓ 2.3” Sheepsfoot style blade
✓ 9Cr13MoV steel with satin finish
✓ Finger hole for better grip
✓ Sheath included
⛔ Needs regular sharpening
⛔ The grip can be hard for some people to get used to
3. Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker
Ka-bar is reputed for making professional grade knives that are used by the military, security forces, and in outdoor settings. Its BK11 Becker comes with the same effectiveness, with a 1095 Cro-Van stainless steel blade and a nylon sheath.
Tested intensively for durability and quality, you will get the full worth of your money with this Necker whether you have hunting or throwing in mind. A metal clip is also included in case you feel like wearing it around your waist at times.[one_half_first]
✓ 3.25” Cro-Van steel blade
✓ Nylon sheath and 550 cord included
✓ Designed for outdoor use
✓ Goes well with TDI metal clip
⛔ The handle can be a little small for comfortable use
⛔ A sheath is a bit oversized compared to knife
4. Schrade SCHF16
If good-looking knives are your thing, then the SCHF16 from Schrade would be a treat for you. This tanto style blade is made out carbon-high stainless steel that ensures durability and peak performance.
It’s textured and grooved G10 handle comes with four holes and breakaway chain to be used around your neck tailored to your taste. I personally prefer a shorter loop as it helps to access the knife quickly, but you can change it any way you want.[one_half_first]
✓ 3.1” tanto-style stainless steel blade
✓ Anti-slip G10 handle
✓ Thermoplastic Sheath included
✓ Four holes to adjust hanging length
⛔ A little heavy to comfortably wear around the neck
⛔ No thumb groove on the handle
5. Boker Boker Plus Voxknives Gnome Knife
Looking for a designer neck knife that can actually deliver reliable performance?
Look no further, than the Voxknives Gnome from Boker Plus collection. With a 12C27 blade and a green-red fiber handle, you get a well-designed, compact knife ready to be used even as a throwing knife alongside other tasks at a reasonable price.[one_half_first]
✓ Patented Jesper Voxnaes design
✓ 2.125” 440-C steel blade
✓ Green handle with red streaks
✓ Kydex sheath included
⛔ Can be a bit too small for many
⛔ Can sometimes get stuck in the sheath
6. KA1477CB-BRK TDI Law Enforcement Knife
The TDI from Ka-Bar is a tactical knife with a unique design. Intended to be drawn like a pistol, it is an ‘off-hand’ build with a reversible sheath.
The machete-like blade is powder coated steel with partial serration and coupled with its Zytel handles, can provide professional grade performance every time. If you’re looking for a weapon for tactical use, this can be a great pick for you.[one_half_first]
✓ 2-15/16″ full tang, partially serrated blade
✓ Stainless steel construction
✓ Zytel handles
✓ Designed for tactical use
⛔ Finger groove not deep enough for comfortable use
⛔ The unconventional design may not be everyone’s cup of tea
7. Spyderco Ark Personal Defense Knife
For a neck knife, the Spyderco Ark provides surprising efficiency and power. With an innovative ark design made out of h-1 steel, its 2.5” inch blade can hold sharpness over a long period of time.
Its fiberglass-nylon handle provides greater comfort during operation and can be especially effective for right-hand use.[one_half_first]
✓ 2.5” blade ark-style blade
✓ Rust and corrosion resistant material
✓ Small but effective and easy to use
✓ Comfortable fiberglass-nylon handle
⛔ Not designed for left-handed use
⛔ The sheath is a bit small for the blade
8. ESEE Knives Black CANDIRU Fixed Blade Knife
ESEE Knives’ Candiru is a small yet powerful knife designed specifically as a survival tool. Its 2” blade is made from carbon steel that retains an edge for long, while the handle is a skeletonized frame for a comfortable grip.
This knife is well complemented by a molded polymer sheath that will save it from the elements.[one_half_first]
✓ 2” carbon steel blade
✓ Retains sharpness for long
✓ Comfortable grip
✓ Molded polymer sheath included
⛔ Can catch rust quite quickly
⛔ Not the sharpest knife out of the box
9. ESEE Knives Izula-II
The Izula is a professional-grade survival knife from cutlery makes ESEE that comes with a 1095 Steel build designed specifically for outdoor use. This black blade and Tan Micarta handle will deliver reliable performance for you every single time.
A survival tool, in essence, it boasts a black finish and a USA origin to boot.[one_half_first]
✓ 2.63” 1095 steel blade
✓ Tan Micarta handle
✓ Designed as a survival tool
✓ Blade comes with a black finish
⛔ The blade can catch rust very fast
⛔ Needs regular sharpening
10. Condor Tool and Knife Mini Bushlore 3-Inch Drop Point Blade
If you’ve been looking for an alternative to cheap plastic sheaths for your neck knives, then the Mini Bushloreis worth looking into. However, its leather sheath is not even its best feature. A carbon-high steel blade with blasted satin finish works well both as a utility knife and a survival knife, while its hardwood handle is a rarity among top knife makers today.
To top it off, Condor decided to go with a satin finish for the blade, coupled it with replaceable pads for your comfort of use.[one_half_first]
✓ High carbon stainless steel blade
✓ Elegant hardwood handle
✓ Satin finish
✓ Leather sheath
✓ Replaceable pads
⛔ Can be a bit too small for many people
⛔ Knife blade does not stay sharp for long
11. Boker 02SC743 Magnum Lil Friend Micro
Despite the odd name – Magnum Lil Friend Micro – this great little knife from Boker comes equipped with a drop point 440 steel blade and G10 handle. Designed primarily as a neck knife, you can also wear it on your belt.
You also get a Kydex sheath and a limited lifetime warranty with this knife.[one_half_first]
✓ 1-3/8”440 steel blade
✓ Drop point design
✓ G10 handle
✓ Kydex sheath
✓ Limited lifetime warranty
⛔ Can feel very small for some people
⛔ The blade is a bit dull out of the box
12. Columbia River Knife and Tool 2388 Folts S.P.E.W Fixed Blade Razor Edge Knife
This sharp knife from Columbia is perhaps the best neck knife for EDC. With a razor sharp blade made out of 5Cr15MoV steel and an accompanying sheath, you can’t really go wrong with this one.
The steel comes with bead blast finishing, which means it is durable and can withstand quite the rough treatment. Its comfortable handle also adds to the overall good feel of the knife.[one_half_first]
✓ 5Cr15MoV steel blade
✓ Bead blast finishing
✓ Includes sheath
✓ Comfortable handle
⛔ Might be a bit too small to hold
⛔ Handle finish not very smooth
As for our recommendation, the Schrade SCHF16 Full Tang Neck Knife caught our eye with its larger than usual blade at 3.1” and a G10 handle. The tanto style blade is made out of carbon-high stainless steel for durability and edge retention.
For a little off-field choice, we love the Condor Tool and Knife Mini Bushlore 3-Inch Drop Point Blade. With a leather sheath and carbon-high steel blade with the blasted satin finish, it can be used both as a utility and a survival knife.
Neck carrying knives are versatile tools that are easy to carry and comfortable to use. The best neck knives will not only give you peace of mind for any unexpected situation but will come in handy for practical use too.
From my experience with these tools, I can tell you that there’s nothing like feeling your trusty old knife around your neck, knowing that it is always there when you’ll need it the most.
If you’re looking to buy one, you can pick one from this list, and I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.