Best Skinning Knife Guide 2020

For a hunter, there are few pieces of equipment as important as a quality skinning/buck knife. While it might seem like the major challenge when hunting big game is actually killing the animal, you still have to deal with the removal of the hide once the kill has been accomplished. To do so, you will want to have a quality skinning knife as part of your regular hunting equipment. Skinning is a big job, and it takes a combination of experience, talent, and good gear to get it done right.

the kill has been accomplishedThere are plenty of frustrations that most hunters are familiar with when it comes to skinning knives. Some of them don’t come sharp enough right out of the box, some aren’t heavy enough to work their way through the hide with ease, others have a slippery handle and so on. There are plenty of complaints to go around, and plenty of bad knives on the market. If you are going to be happy with your purchase, you need to wade through all of the various options until you are able to find a knife that has great reviews, solid performance, and a fair price tag.

After reviewing all the top skinning knives available, we’ve selected our top 7 picks in the comparison table below. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect model for your needs.

Comparison Table

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One key to keep in mind when shopping for your next skinning knife is the portability of the tool. For some hunters, a large, fixed-blade knife is going to be fine because they aren’t going to be travelling a long distance during their hunt. For others, however, who may be trekking many miles through the backcountry, portability is a key part of the shopping list. Think about your usual hunts, and think about the way you pack your gear, and pick a knife that will fit in nicely.

In this article, we will take a close look at five of the best skinning knives on the market today. Of course, the exact knife that is going to be the right pick for you will depend on what kind of animals you typically hunt, where you do your hunting, your personal preferences, and more. Just as there are plenty of bad skinning knives on the market, there are plenty of good ones as well – and the five below represent some of the very best.

Top Five Rated Skinning Knives

1. Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife

Image of Havalon Piranta Z Folding BladeIt is rare to find a product that is as universally praised as the Havalon Piranta Z. The reviews for this product are nearly unblemished, as users claim that it is one of the best products available for field dressing and skinning. There is a lot to like about this product, and that includes the modest price tag. This is a knife is reviewed as among the best in the business. You may choose another knife in the end, but you should consider this product at the very least. In the end, you may not be able to find a better option when a skinning game is a primary objective you have in mind.

So what is it that makes this product so popular and so successful? Mostly, it is the lack of weaknesses. It includes a large handle that makes it easy to hold onto the knife while getting down to work. The fold-out blade locks into place and it 2 ¾ long. That blade, according to many reviews, comes razor sharp. Rather than having to sharpen the blade periodically after a few uses, this product is designed to have simply the blades replaced so you can get right back to work. There is an ABS plastic handle for control over the tool, and it is offered in both orange and black handles depending on your preference. As a bonus for the performance of this knife is the compact folding design which makes it easy to carry around even on a long day. There might not be such as thing as a perfect knife, but the Havalon Piranta Z sure makes its case as the leader in this field.

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2. Ontario Knives Skinner Knife

Image of Ontario KnivesGoing in a different direction, this is a fixed-blade model from Ontario Knives. This knife features a plain edge with a flat blade grind, and it has a hardwood handle. In contrast to the previous knife on the list, this option is more of a classic regarding appearance and style. Additionally, this knife is less expensive than the Havalon.

There have been plenty of reviews left for this knife, and many of them have praised the product for a variety of reasons. Despite the low price tag, this is a knife that is made from carbon steel, and buyers feel that it is well-suited to the task of skinning. Some have stated that they needed to sharpen the blade initially, and it certainly will need re-sharpening from time to time after being put into use. If you like the appearance of this knife and would like to have a carbon steel blade in your collection, the Ontario Knives Skinner Knife could be a good option.

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3. Gerber Vital Skin and Gut Knife

Image of Gerber Vital Skin and Gut KnifeWould any list of top knives be complete without an entry from Gerber? Probably not. This is one of the most popular brand names in the business, and their Vital Skin and Gut Knife is another winner that they have taken to market. This is a knife that is significantly different from the others on our list so far, as it includes a unique blade shape that is specifically meant to handle the task of skinning and gutting. It is an affordable product and includes a sheath for carrying convenience. This knife includes a rubber grip for easy control, and that grip is black and orange, which will make it easier to see out in the field. The blade is just 2.8 long in total, and the knife weighs 4.6 ounces.

One of the main compliments for this knife from previous buyers is the design of the handle which falls naturally in the hand. Skinning an animal can be tough on the hand and wrist when using a conventional knife, but some of the users of this product seem to feel that Gerber has gotten around that problem.

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4. Szco Supplies SM0016 Real File Sawmill Skinning Knife

Image of Szco Supplies SM0016 Real File SawmillGetting back to something that looks more like a traditional knife, this option from Szco has a classic appearance, somewhat in line with the Ontario Knives model listed above. It is a total of 8 3/8 in length, has a full tang design, and a wood handle. Purchase of this knife includes a sheath, and there have been several positive reviews of this item.

Some of the comments that have been made be previous buyers include the fact that this knife holds it edge nicely, feels heavy in the hand, and is easy to sharpen after a few uses. Also, those who have used the knife claim that it comes sharp, which is not something that can be said for some of the other knives on the market today.

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5. Benchmade HUNT 15016-2 Small Skinning Knife

Image of Benchmade HUNT 15016-2 SmallThe last knife on our list is by far the most expensive, as it comes from Benchmade, a company known for their high quality products. You will need to have room in your budget to opt for this choice. However, there is quality in everything that is produced by Benchmade, and this knife appears to be no different. It is made from S30V stainless steel, it features a Dymondwood handle, and includes a Smith sharpener. Also, it is backed by the lifetime warranty offered by Benchmade so you can feel good about your investment in this product.

There are limited reviews for a product with this kind of a price tag, but they are positive as you would expect. While this is a fixed-blade knife, it should still be relatively easy to fit into your gear as it is only 6.32 long (with a blade of 2.67). If you are a serious hunter, and you only want the finest products along with you for the task, a knife from Benchmade is something worth considering.

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Going out on a hunt without a quality skinning knife is a mistake that you only make once. It is frustrating to try skinning and gutting your kill without a good knife, and it can even be dangerous if you are working with something that isn’t very sharp. Take a close look at the five knives on our list above as you consider your purchase, and hopefully, you will be able to settle on a winner without much of a problem.

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