There are many reasons you might want to own a neck knife. They are useful in survival and self-defense situations, or just to open your mail in a dramatic way. However, if you do plan to carry one around, it’s important to check that it’s legal in your local area. We’ve been scouring the internet to find the best neck knife.
The Best Neck Knife
The first thing you’ll notice about the CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife is the way it looks. Thanks to its compact, carved blade and beautiful handle, it sticks out as one of the best-looking neck knives on the market. The handle is really the main attraction. It’s ergonomically designed, with perfectly shaped holes for three fingers so you can get a really solid grip. And, it’s made from a polished, resin-infused material that is finished in dark green and black. The blade is bead blasted to make it perfectly smooth and it comes in a variety of styles to suit your cutting needs.
The sheath is made from glass-reinforced nylon, which makes it both strong and lightweight. And, importantly, it isn’t too bulky when you drop it down, underneath your shirt. This is an essential feature on any neck knife, so it’s something to look out for. The handle includes a fob for extended grip, so if your hands are on the larger side you’ve got something extra to hold on to. If you’re looking for the best neck knife, we think we’ve found it. But, if you don’t agree, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so you can always take it back. Our guide to the best Karambit knives features more amazing blades like this.
Bead blast blade
Glass-reinforced nylon sheath
Fob for extended grip
Limited lifetime warranty
- BrandColumbia River Knife & Tool
- Weight1.6 ounces
One of the best-looking neck knives around.
Fits comfortable in the hand.
Materials and construction are really high-quality.
Very small – check out the pictures before you buy.
The SOG Small Fixed Blade Knife is a little bit less subtle than the last knife we looked at. It’s still small and lightweight enough to hang it around your neck and hide it from view, but it’s got an altogether more aggressive design. The handle is covered in a textured material and still has small grooves for your fingers. It’s not quite as ergonomic as the CRKT knife, but it feels pretty comfortable in the hand. The thing we do like about this handle is that it’s basically an extension of the blade because the whole thing is made out of one piece of metal. This makes it stronger and less likely to break if you have it for a long time.
The sheath is pretty cool, especially for people buying a knife for the aesthetics. It’s made from hard-molded nylon and is covered in tiny grooves that almost makes it look like a weapon itself. Plus, it has a little skull wearing a beret logo, which gives the knife a sinister look. All in all, this is one of the best neck knives money can buy. The only thing we don’t like is that the necklace isn’t heavy-duty enough and could easily be ripped from someone’s neck. For more similar options, check out our guide to the best keychain knives.
Textured, ergonomic handle
Hard-molded nylon sheath
360º mounting clip
- Weight3.84 ounces
Made from one piece of stainless steel.
Nylon-sheath is hardwearing and looks great.
The necklace isn’t heavy-duty enough.
Some of the neck knives on this list are clearly designed for self-defense, even if the company doesn’t specifically say so. However, the Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket is a different kind of tool. This knife is designed for the survivalists and outdoor adventurers that need a reliable and versatile camping knife. It even won the 2016 Scandinavian Outdoor Award, which is given for products that mix functionality, quality, innovation, design, and sustainability.
The first indication that it’s not designed for self-defense is the blade. It’s very short and very sharp. The technical name for the blade is a square-edged ground spine blade. But basically, it’s designed primarily for carving wood. It can also be used as a striker with fire steel if you don’t have access to a lighter. The second indication is the all-weather sheath. It has a built-in click lock that protects the blade from moisture and anything that could corrode or blunt the blade. This is super important for survivalists because you can wear the blade without worrying about the conditions. The other advantage of this high-quality sheath is that it stays in place when it’s hanging around your neck – there’s no chance of it falling off the blade. To sum it up, if you need a reliable knife for an outdoor adventure, this is the one for you.
Square-edged ground spine blade
Built-in click lock
Winner of 2016 Scandinavian Outdoor Award
- Weight2.56 ounces
Very durable and weather-proof.
Great for carving wood.
The warranty could be longer.
As you might have guessed from the name, the KA-BAR TDI Knife was designed with law enforcement in mind. When a suspect is attempting to take an officer’s handgun from them, this knife can be used as a last resort. It was actually designed by a retired police lieutenant, so you can rest assured that it’s fit for purpose. One of the most striking things about this Ka-bar knife is that it is curved like a banana. The reason for this is that it fits better in the hand and makes it easy to use in a self-defense situation.
Aside from the knife’s design, it’s really well made and durable. It has a hard plastic handle that fits comfortably in the hand and an AUS-8A stainless-steel blade. Probably the most impressive thing about this knife is the sheath. Unlike the other knives on this list, it’s made from hard plastic and is made to be mounted onto some protective clothing. In fact, it’s really designed to sit on a belt, rather than around your neck. The sheath stays in place and you can pull the knife in and out of it.
AUS-8A stainless steel blade
Hard plastic handle
Hard plastic sheath
- Weight6.4 ounces
Subtle and useful knife in a self-defense situation.
Sheath is easy to mount.
Well-made and durable.
Not suitable for survivalists.
Steel on the blade isn’t great quality.
You might be wondering why one of the simplest looking knives on this list is also one of the most expensive. Basically, the Spyderco Ark Personal Defense Knife is really high-quality. When it comes to knifemaking, the price of the knife is almost always determined by the quality of the materials. The blade is machine made from h-1 steel, which is a nitrogen-based alloy that doesn’t rust and almost never breaks. It might not look like much, but this little knife is really hard-wearing. The handle is made from Nylon that has been reinforced by fiberglass.
This Spyderco knife is pretty obviously designed for self-defense. It doesn’t have any features that would be useful to a survivalist or outdoor-types, except for the fact that it’s a great knife. The blade is curved so that it can have as much length as possible, without making it long and cumbersome. Plus, it comes with a neck sheath that is difficult to rip off or turn against you in an attack. This knife is one of the best self-defense neck knives on the market. The quality is amazing, but you’re going to have to reach into your pocket.
H-1 steel machine blade
Fiberglass reinforced nylon handle
Curved edge blade
- Weight 0.96 ounces
Amazing quality steel blade.
Curved blade makes it longer than it seems.
Neck sheath can’t be turned against you.
Expensive for a small knife.
The Boker Magnum Lil Friend Micro is one of the cheapest neck knives around. We had to include it because, at less than $20, it’s a great value option if you don’t want to go and spend hundreds on a beautifully crafted knife. Instead, this knife just does the basic things right. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s absolutely tiny. Whilst the handle has been designed to be ergonomic, it doesn’t really work that well because it’s so small. If you have large hands, this thing will get lost in them.
It comes with a Kydex sheath to cover the blade. Kydex is a good material, but the sheath isn’t well fitted to the blade. You could put it in the oven and heat it up if you want to remold it. One thing that we don’t like is that it comes with a flimsy necklace that could easily be ripped off your neck. We’ve seen this on a few neck knives and it’s not ideal. We’d recommend replacing the necklace with a lanyard that can’t be ripped. As a defensive weapon, this neck knife is pretty useless. But if you’re looking for a tiny utility knife, this is an excellent budget choice.
Stainless steel blade
Limited lifetime warranty
- Weight1.28 ounces
One of the best value neck knives around.
Very small and lightweight.
Quality construction for the price.
Only useful as a utility knife.
The necklace is flimsy and will need replacing.
Kydex sheath isn’t well fitted.
Now back to something more expensive. The ESEE Knives Izula-II was a strong contender to be our Premium Choice, and we’re still choosing between this knife and the Spyderco Ark. The main reason we like this knife is its versatility. It’s bigger and sharper than a lot of the knives on this list, which means it’s great as a utility, self-defense or a survival knife. You could even use it to cut into your steak after a long hard day in the woods. Of course, because of its size, it’s not as subtle as knives like the Spyderco Ark, but you have to sacrifice something for that versatility.
The blade is made from 1095 steel, which is commonly used in professional cutlery. The reason is that it’s super hardwearing and stays sharp. The only downside is that it will rust and stain if you don’t look after it properly. If you choose this knife, you’ll have to keep the blades properly lubricated and cleaned. The handle is completely removable and made from grippy canvas material. It feels fantastic in the hand, even without the need for finger grooves. We also like the solid sheath. It’s similar to the Spyderco’s sheath, which is one of the best in its class.
1095 carbon steel blade
Removeable canvas handle
100% unconditional lifetime guarantee
- Weight 1 pound
Materials and construction are of amazing quality.
It can be used for self-defense, survival, utility, etc.
Can remove the handle for easy cleaning.
Sheath is solid and works well.
Blades need to be looked after.
Cold Steel are pretty well known in the knife industry and one of their best sellers is the Cold Steel Secret Edge. It’s a small and lightweight neck knife designed primarily for self-defense purposes, but it can be used in survival situations as well. There are two main reasons we like this knife: its size and the way it looks. First of all, we think this is probably the perfect size for a neck knife. Some of them are so tiny that you can barely hold them in your hand and others are too large and heavy to hang around your neck. This one fits right in the middle. And secondly, it has a perfectly symmetrical look about it. The three finger holes in the handle and the symmetrical blade give the knife a consistent look that really stands out.
Another cool thing about this cold steel neck EDC knife is that they’ve made it cheap without compromising the quality. Instead of using G-10 plastic on the handle, they’ve used a cheaper nylon plastic with the same grip and durability. All in all, this is a fantastic knife for the price.
AUS-8A steel blade
Grippy, plastic handle
- BrandCold Steel
- Weight2.4 ounces
Perfect size for a neck knife.
Looks perfectly symmetrical.
Great quality for the price.
The necklace is flimsy and will need replacing.
The Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker Neck Knife stands out on this list. Instead of having a comfortable plastic handle, the whole knife is just one piece of steel. The main advantage of this is durability. Because it’s so simple, there’s nothing that can go wrong. The handle won’t wear down after years of use. But it does make it more uncomfortable to hold, especially if you’re using it as an everyday utility knife.
The steel is 1095-grade, which Ka-Bar is well known for using. This high-grade steel will hold its sharp edge much longer than a normal kitchen knife, but it’s much more brittle so you have to be more careful not to bend it. The sheath is a hard plastic one that is much bigger than the knife itself. The upside of this is that your knife is always safe, but it does make it quite chunky around the neck. However, it’s not so heavy that it’s going to give you a bad neck. Overall, we really like this neck knife. However, if you’re looking for a comfortable, everyday utility knife this isn’t the one for you. Buy this knife if you care about the quality of the blade over everything else. For more amazing blades like this, check out our guide to the best boot knives.
- Model BKR11-BRK
- Weight3.2 ounces
1095 Cro-Van steel blade
Hard plastic sheath
Ergonomic steel handle
Not the most comfortable handle.
A little on the bulky side under a t-shirt.
Neck Knife Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Neck Knives
Brand – When we are developing these buying guides, we always think about the brand pretty early. You shouldn’t make your purchasing decision based purely on the brand, but it’s a good place to start. Certain brands have a reputation for quality and innovation, so you know you’re getting a good product.
Price – Price is also important. Everyone has a different budget, so we try to take that into consideration. Generally, when it comes to neck knives, the more money you spend, the higher quality knife you can expect. That’s because most of the money is going into the materials and construction, rather than added features.
Reviews – Reviews are an essential part of any purchasing decision. When we find a product we like, we head straight to the Amazon reviews to see what other customers are saying about it. You can’t believe everything you read, but you will get a solid indication of whether a product is worth checking out or not.
Features To Look For In Neck Knives
Construction And Materials – Most neck knives have a stainless-steel blade. The material used in the handle varies and can be plastic, metal, rubber, or something else. The most important thing is that it’s well constructed. Check for consistency around the neck knife and make sure the blade is far enough into the handle so that it doesn’t snap.
Intended Use And Design – Neck knives are designed for survival, preparedness, and even self-defense. Ensure that the design of your neck knife fits your intended use.
Size And Weight – Because you’ll be hanging the knife around your neck, you don’t want it to be large and heavy. The best neck knives are small and light.
Sheath – A sheath is an important safety feature on your neck knife. You don’t want an exposed blade hanging around your neck.
Chain – The chain should be comfortable and strong. If it’s not strong enough, someone could rip it from around your neck.
Legality – To check if your neck knife is legal to carry around, you need to look at the specific law in your area.
Neck Knife FAQ
Q: What is a neck knife?
A: It’s a small blade that hangs around your neck.
Q: Are neck knives legal?
A: This depends on where you live. Research the laws in your area to find out.
Q: What is the point of a neck knife?
A: The idea is that the knife is close at all times, therefore it’s easy to draw in a survival or self-defense situation.