12 Types of Machetes & Their Uses (Kukri, Bush, Heavy & More)
If you have been looking for a good quality machete then you may surely have come across various models with different names, shapes, and sizes.
While the machete may look like an elongated knife, it is designed in a thought out manner that performs a specific function. In short, you cannot purchase any type of machete simply because you require a cutting tool.
Each type of machete has its own advantages and disadvantages. But for a beginner, the choice can be overwhelming, especially if you have never owned a machete before. Let's find out what type of machete you need, shall we?
12 Types of Machetes
1. Heavy/Weighted Machetes
The heavy machete is the biggest of all machetes. It is a cross between a regular axe and a utility knife. Bottom line, you get a very heavy and powerful chopping machete that will cut through any vegetation, thin or thick.
The beauty of this cutting tool is that it can comfortably be used with one hand and it still provides great maneuverability despite being heavier than most other machetes.
The tip is large and not curved so as it can quickly and easily go through tough vegetation without getting stuck. The blade is also thick giving it greater chopping force.
Uses: The machete of choice for cutting through very thick vegetation. Can be used to fell small trees.
2. Billhook Machetes
With its curved tip, the billhook machete is an agricultural cutting tool that has been used for hundreds of years in its current form. Because of the curved tip, this machete is ideal for cutting small branches. It is also a very popular machete used in the process of “snedding”. This is a practice where branches are cleaned by cutting the side buds and shoots.
Other popular name for the billhook machete are the bagging hook, trimming hook or sheave hook.
Uses: This is mostly an agricultural machete that is extensively used in grapevine plantations, shrub cleaning, bush clearing, and small branch pruning.
3. Barong Machetes
The Barong machete is originally from the Philippines and still currently used by many tribes. This weapon is also known as the Barung by the locals. Moreover, it has a distinctive leaf shape with a sharp edge at the bottom.
This machete is highly maneuverable by both hands as it is lightweight and has a long reach due to its elongated and thin blade.
Uses: Due to the sharp blade of the Barong, it is primarily used as a hunting and livestock slaughter tool. However, back in the day the Barong was also used by the local Philippians to fight off European colonizers. Therefore, this machete can also be used as a self-defense or attack weapon.
4. Bowie Machetes
The Bowie machete is an American machete and owes its good name after American frontiersman Jim Bowie. It is very small, portable and most of the time referred to as a knife instead of a machete. This small knife is incredibly popular amongst backwoodsmen and survivalists as a hunting and self-defense tool.
The sharp and pointed nose of this machete allows it to penetrate materials like animal skin quite easily. Additionally, its weight is low and blade very thin, so it makes a poor machete for cutting through vegetation.
Uses: Dues to its sharp blade and small size, this machete is used by many wilderness hunters for skinning hide. Additionally, it makes an excellent survival and utility machete for the wilderness.
5. Bush Machetes
As its name suggests, the Bush machete works well when it comes to cutting through vegetation. It is very popular in South America where it is the machete of choice for clearing bush and forest vegetation.
However, it remains an excellent all-rounder machete that can be used for all sorts of cutting tasks.
This machete has a fairly long and straight blade that gives it a long reach. Despite its long size, it remains low-weight and portable.
Uses: Cutting small trees, branches and clearing bushes. A very good general-purpose machete for anything related to vegetation, including agriculture.
6. Cane Machetes
The machete of choice for sugarcane planters. The cane machete has been used since colonial times to harvest cane fields. This machete is wide-tipped and the blade is very thin, making it perfect for cutting sugar plants in a clean manner.
It is also very handy when it comes to hacking though bamboo, corn, rice and other soft plants that require stalk cutting rather than chopping.
The cane machete is known by other names, depending on its usage. Its popular names are corn knife, espanding, cleaver and Mache de Suelo.
Uses: Cutting sugar cane plants and other soft plants like rice, corn and bamboo.
7. Hawkbill Machetes
The Hawkbill machete, also known as the Cuma machete, looks a little bit like the Billhook machete, but more curved and with a thinner blade. Both the top and bottom side of the Hawkbill can be sharpened for higher cutting efficiency. The curved inner side of this machete has a pointy tip that provides a lot of cutting force on a small surface.
Bottom line, the Hawkbill machete can be used to cut though tall and thick vegetation like grass and vines with great ease.
Uses: Since it has a curved tip, and the blade is sharp on both sides, it is ideal for providing both a piercing and cutting action when slashing though thick vegetation.
Additionally, the curved tip can be used for cutting bamboo shoots and tall grasses by pulling on the machete.
8. Bolo Machetes
The Bolo machete is a chopping machete that originates from the Philippines. It has a bulging and pointed tip that increases its chops at the end of the machete. When the user swings this tool, a lot of power is transferred to the tip giving the machete a tremendous chopping force.
Additionally, the blade of the Bolo is a little bit bigger than other types of machetes to increase its raw chopping force.
Uses: It is mostly a chopping machete uses for clearing thick forest vegetation, crop harvesting and other agricultural purposes. Also, it is a fairly small and compact machete that can be tucked in a survival bag.
9. Colima Machetes
Both sides of the Colima machete are sharp. This feature can be a very useful for clearing thick vegetation like vines, or a very dangerous tool when mishandled.
Since the blade is thin, it has more cutting power than chopping power. Moreover, the end-tip of the Colima machete is bulged so as to prevent the machete from getting stuck in thick vegetation.
A good technique for cutting with the Colima is to take advantage of its dual sharp edges. Simple slash from top to bottom then pull towards you to provide a cutting action.
Its other popular names are Costeno, Panzon, Acapulqueno, and Caguayano.
Uses: Cutting through thick bushes and vines. Can be used as a survival machete in thick forests.
10. Kukri Machetes
The Kukri is a Nepalese machete with an atypical look. It is also known as the Rawit or Gurkha Blade in this part of the world.
Additionally, it is an excellent multi-purpose machete that is divided into 3 parts.
Tip: It is pointy and used mostly for stabbing though material like flesh and animal hide. This makes it a good hunting machete.
Midsection: It is the largest part of the machete and is ideal for chopping. Since it is a large section, it can transmit a lot of downward force allowing it to chop fairly tough materials.
Carving area: This is the part closest to the handle and used mostly for carving, wooden tool sharpening and other hobby projects like whittling.
Read More: 10 Best Whittling Knives
Uses: A general purpose machete that has a wide range of cutting uses, from animal skinning to whittling.
11. Parang Machetes
The Parang machete is another Indonesian machete. Oddly enough, this machete looks a lot like a pirate sword because of its curved shape. This machete is fairly heavy and has a large and thick blade. This makes it an excellent chopping machete rather than a cutting machete.
The slightly curved shape concentrates the chopping force towards the middle up to the edge of the machete making it very efficient in cutting thick wood cleanly.
Other popular names for the Parang machete are Bedog, Golok and Sable.
Uses: Cutting through thick woody vegetation cleanly.
12. Panga Machetes
The Panga is the most popular machete in Africa. It is also very popular in the Caribbean. This is a chopping tool that is good for clearing woody vegetation due to its shape.
It has an upper and pointed tip that gives it a lot of piercing power. Only the bottom of the blade is sharp and large, and this gives it good maneuverability and chopping power on downward actions.
The Panga machete is also known as the Daga, Rozador, Liniero or Burriquito, depending on the location.
Uses: Chopping thick woody vegetation.
As we’ve seen, finding a good machete is not very difficult. All you have to focus on is on the specialty of the machete, and how you will use this tool. The good thing about machetes is that they are generally not very expensive and you can easily own different models.
Read More: 10 Best Machetes - Reviews and Buying Guide