The Bolo machete is one style of 11 popular types of machetes on the market today. This article is part of a series in which we try to explain which is the best machete for different uses by comparing all types. Make sure you also check out the Kukri, Parang, Golok, Panga, Latin, Billhook, Cane, Barong, Bowie and Tapanga machetes in order to have a complete view of all that’s out there.
- 1 What is a Bolo Machete?
- 2 What Do You Use a Bolo Machete For?
- 3 What are Some Top Bolo Machete Brands?
- 4 How To Choose the Right Bolo Machete
- 5 Best Bolo Machetes on Amazon
What is a Bolo Machete?
A Bolo Machete is a type of machete commonly used in Southeastern Asia as an agricultural and farming tool. Bolo machetes are believed to have originated from the Philippines where they were used for harvesting crops such as rice, peanuts, soybeans and wheat. They were also used for chopping wood vegetation and clearing thick brush.
Bolo machetes are usually characterized by a steel blade that curves and widens to provide a large surface area for clearing vegetation. The handle can be made of either hardwood or animal horn. The machetes also feature a full tang for maximum strength and durability.
What Do You Use a Bolo Machete For?
Bolo machetes were primarily used for harvesting crops in Southern Eastern Asia. Today, they are also used for chopping woody vegetation. This is made possible by their thick ultra sharp blade and full tang. Bolo machetes are also suitable for clearing thick vegetation. If you need a machete for clearing thick vegetation, you should go for one with a long thick blade.
Philippians’s soldiers used jungle Bolo Machetes for combat rather than agricultural work. Bolo machetes that are designed specifically for combat tend to be longer and less wide at the tip. Similarly, bolo machetes that are meant for use as an agricultural or farming tool usually have rounded tips.
What are Some Top Bolo Machete Brands?
There are many manufacturers of bolo machetes today. It is essential that you choose a machete from a top manufacturer so you can be sure of its quality and durability. Here are some top bolo machete brands.
Bolo Machete Brands
Cold Steel Inc.
Cold Steel Inc. is an American-based company that manufactures the world’s sharpest knives, machetes, swords and tomahawks. The company is popularly known for quality, dependability, reliability and strength. Cold steel has manufactured tools and weapons for US self-defence personnel, Emergency Services Personnel, Special Units and Military Law Enforcement.
Over the years, Cold Steel Inc. has continued to introduce new materials and designs that have helped to shape the world of modern knives, machetes and edged weapons. From the introduction of the Americanized Tanto Blade and Kraton® handles to the invention of new blade steels, such as San Mai III and game-changing locking systems. All the machetes manufactured by Cold Steel Inc. are tested for strength, safety and performance. They are guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Condor Tool and Knife
Condor Tool and Knife is another brand known for the quality of their craftsmanship. The brand was formally known as the GEBR WEYESBERG COMPANY in Solingen, Germany before changing its name. The company has been manufacturing quality and knives for more than 225 years. In 1964, Condor Tool and Knife opened a new facility in Santa Ana, El Salvador where their world-famous edged tools are produced.
Condor Bolo machetes are warranted to be free of defects in materials, manufacture or assembly for the lifetime of the original purchaser. All Condor Bolo’s found to be defective are replaced, repaired or substituted with the same or an item of equal value. In addition, Condor Machetes come with a heavy duty leather sheath and the peace of mind of knowing that you are using a top quality machete.
Tramontina is a Brazilian company that manufacturers cookware, machetes, cutlery and home appliances. The company was founded in 1911 and it is named after Valentin Tramontina. Today, Tramontina is one of the biggest companies in Southern Brazil with branches outside Brazil, including in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Tramontina Bolo Machetes are highly rated on Amazon and other online stores. They usually come with a durable, comfortable handle and are usually forged with high carbon stainless steel for maximum strength, durability and long lasting sharpness.
Gerber Gear is an American brand whose products are highly rated throughout the world. The company was founded by Peter Gerber in 1939 and is based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Gerber Bolo machetes are carried extensively by hunters, soldiers and tradesmen.
For over 75 years, Gerber is known for making quality machetes and knives that withstand the use you put them through. Gerber Bolo machetes are made with high carbon stainless tell and come with a heavy-duty sheath. They are all guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Currently, Gerber is a sub-division of the Fiskars Brand Inc, the manufacturer of the famous Fiskars Bolo Brush Axe. Fiskars is owned by the Fiskars Brands Inc.
KA-BAR Knives Inc.
The KA-BAR Knives Inc. is popularly known for their high quality military, sporting, all-purpose utility and outdoor survival machetes and knives. KA-BAR combat knives were used by the United States Marine Corps in November 1942. Later, it was used by the United States Navy as the U.S. Navy Utility knife.
The brand is a subsidiary of the Cutco Corporation and has its headquarters in Olean, New York. KA-BAR machetes are usually made with the 1095 carbon stainless steel and come with a leather washer handle.
KA-BAR has been making knives and machetes since 1898. Each of their machetes undergoes a unique manufacturing process and testing to ensure it has excellent holding ability, ultra-sharp cutting edge, strength and good corrosion and rust resistance features.
How To Choose the Right Bolo Machete
Anyone who loves camping, forest survival, hunting, nature walks and exploration should own machete. A large survival knife is an important tool for any survival situation. It is important you choose the right machete as not all bolos are created equal. You certainly do not want you most valued tool to fail in the field when you most need it. Here are 5 proven-tips on how to choose the best bolo machete.
Tip 1: Choose the Best Brands
As we discussed earlier, there are many companies that manufacture bolo machetes. It is important that you go a machete from a trusted brand. Some top rated brands are discussed above, though there are companies that still manufacture high quality machetes, such as Imacasa, Scrande, SOG and many more. By choosing a machete from a top brand, you can be sure that you are getting a well-built machete that has been tested for strength, durability, sharpness and corrosion and resistance properties.
Tip 2: Choose the Right Size Bolo Machete
Like other machetes, bolos come in a wide range of sizes, usually 14 to 24 inches and a couple of millimetres thick. Note that the longer the blade, the more strength it will take to swing over and over. Machetes that are more than 22-inches are not ideal for an average person. If you‘re an outdoor survivalist, go for a machete with a shorter blade length, so it can be easy to carry it around. If you need a machete for clearing brush or use as an agricultural tool, go for a bolo with a long blade length.
Tip 3: Consider the Blade’s Composition
The blade of a bolo machete can be made out of many different metals. Most top rated bolo’s are forged out of high carbon steel with spring temper. Blades made with high carbon steel are better than those made with stainless steel.
These blades tend to maintain their sharp cutting edge for longer, offer excellent corrosion and resistance properties and can withstand a solid impact with a lower chance of getting damaged. The toughness of carbon steel allows the bare edge of the blade to remain sharp for long and keeps your machete in top shape.
The tempered end is achieved during the blade’s manufacturing process. The manufacturer usually hardens and tempers the blade then reheats it until the carbon steel turns blue. The result of the spring temper process is an improved upper limit of elasticity in the blade with reduced chances of cracking and no loss of strength.
Tip 4: Go for a Machete with a Full Tang
Tang refers to the amount of metal from the blade that extends to the entire length of the handle. The tang can be a full tang, half tang, quarter tang or partial tang. When choosing your bolo machete, go for the one with a full tang.
Full tang means the metal of the blade extends via the entire length of the handle. Full tang is more advantageous as it improves the balance and weight of the knife along with added strength and durability. Avoid anything less than a full tang as you can easily injure yourself.
Tip 5: Consider the Things That Complement the Blade
In addition to the above factors, it is important that you consider things that complement the blade of your bolo machete. First, check the handle. Ensure your machete has a shatterproof polymer handle. These handles feel comfortable in hand and cannot slip out of your hands easily.
Second, go for a machete with a sheath. Sheath allows you to store your machete safely when it is not in use. There are a couple of things you should take into account when choosing a sheath for your bolo.
If you choose a leather sheath, it can increase the amount of moisture on your blade, resulting in premature rot spots. Sheaths made from wood are not practical as they are not flexible. A sheath made from woven fabrics can be of high quality, but you should avoid cheap ones because the blade will eventually wear out.
Best Bolo Machetes on Amazon
Gerber Gator Bolo Machete
At its first glance, the Gerber Gator Bolo machete resembles a jungle machete that has been updated for modern utility. The machete comes with a classic shape that has been used for generations in the Philippines. With a blade length of 15.5 inches, the Gerber Gator can be used for cutting wood, clearing brush and chopping woody vegetation.
The blade of this machete is forged with the 1050 carbon steel for maximum strength, durability and excellent rust and corrosion resistance properties. The carbon steel blade can withstand any heavy duty cutting tasks and does not require frequent sharpening. The full tang extends to the handle for added strength and durability.
The machete also has an ergonomic Gator grip handle that fits comfortably in your hand, offering a secure, concrete grip for perfect cutting. The machete also boasts a rugged nylon sheath that keeps the blade from getting banged up when not in use. Lastly, the Gerber Gator Bolo features belt loop and D-ring attachments for carrying on your lash or hipping to a pack.
Pros & Cons of the Gerber Gator Bolo
- A traditional jungle tool that is updated for modern utility
- Amazingly designed
- Ideal for cutting wood, clearing vegetation and chopping food
- Has an ergonomic Gator grip handle that fits comfortably in your hand, offering a secure, concrete grip for perfect cutting
- Lanyard for added safety and secure retention
- Bolo features a belt loop and D-ring attachments for carrying on your lash or hipping to a pack.
- Made of 1050 carbon steel for corrosion resistant, full tang construction for power transfer and durability
- Has a rugged nylon sheath that keeps the blade from getting banged up when not in use
- The blade is thin and lightweight and requires sharpening after purchase
CFK Cutlery Company D2 Small Bolo
The CFK Cutlery Company Bolo Machete is an ideal option for those looking for a high quality machete for use as hunting, camping or any outdoor survival activity. With a 7-inch blade and a heavy-duty sheath, you can easily carry and use this machete for any outdoor survivalist activities. This small bolo is designed in England and is made from Japanese D2 tool steel for maximum strength, durability and long lasting sharpness.
The full tang of this awesome small bolo extends fully to the handle for enhanced strength and durability. The steel of the machete is vacuum hardened to 58-60HRC for enhanced durability. The blade is well-balanced and sharp; thus you can do anything it without worrying about damaging its cutting edge.
The CFK Cutlery Company Bolo is ideal for hacking, hunting, cutting and chopping. It can also make a good camping/ hunting knife is also excellent for outdoor activities.
The knife comes with a custom free high- quality fire starter and a well fit high- quality buffalo leather belt sheath. It also features a black linen Micarta grips-Aluminum rod pins-brass lanyard hole for safety and secure retention and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Pros & Cons of the CFK Cutlery Company D2
- Made from Japanese D2 tool steel for maximum sturdiness and durability
- Boasts a full tang convex-Flat Grind Blade, further enhancing the strength and durability
- Small sized bolo ideal for hacking, hunting, cutting and chopping
- The steel of the machete is vacuum hardened to 58-60HRC
- The blade is well-balanced and thickened to making it ideal for heavy-duty cutting
- Its ultra sharp thus you can do anything without damaging the cutting edge
- Comes with a custom free high- quality fire starter
- It boasts a well fit high- quality buffalo leather belt sheath
- Has a black linen Micarta grips-Aluminum rod pins-brass lanyard hole for safety and secure retention
- Guaranteed a lifetime warranty.
- The knife has an excellent edge and a comfortable, durable handle that only fits those with small hands.
- It cannot be used for clearing grass due to its small size
Schrade SCHBOLO 20.2-Inch Bolo Machete
If you are looking for a multi-purpose machete with a medium blade length, then the Schrade SCHBOLO 20.2-Inch may be a perfect option. You can use this machete for camping, hiking, executing bushcraft and many other activities.
Made with high quality stainless steel, this bolo machete is incredibly sharp and is easy to sharpen. The blade is made with a combination of reliable TICN 3Cr13 Titanium Coated with stainless steel. Titanium gives the blade the strength it needs to clear thick vegetation or tear through fresh while the stainless steel ensures the blade does not rust when exposed to humid conditions. Overall, the blade is well-designed and is lightweight making it easy to carry around and clear brush without too using too much strength.
The blade extends fully to the handle forming a full tang. The full tang not only ensures sturdy construction but also enhances the durability of the machete. The Safe T-Grip handle feels comfortable in handle, and it designed in a way that it won’t slip out of hand even in the wettest conditions. The handle also features a finger guard and is curved on both sides to provide a firm grip and ensure that your hands are safe as you clear vegetation.
The machete also comes with a lanyard hole so you can hang the machete when it’s not in use. For added security and safe storage, the machete also comes with a polyester sheath that features a storage pouch, belt loop, leg strap and shoulder strap. Since the stainless steel loses its sharpness first, the Schrade SCHBOLO 20.2-Inch comes packed with a sharpening stone and Ferro rod so you can sharpen it whenever you like. The sharpening stone and the Ferro rod can be stored inside the sheath.
Pros & Cons of the Schrade SCHBOLO 20.2-Inch
- Multi-purpose machete for hiking, camping, hunting, executing bushcraft and many other activities
- Comes packed with a sharpening stone and a Ferro rod so you can sharpen it whenever you like
- The polyester sheath provides safe storage of the blade
- Lanyard hole allows you to hang the machete in your garage when it is not in use
- The blade is made of stainless for excellent corrosion and rust resistance properties
- Full tang for enhanced sturdiness and durability
- Safe T-Grip handle for maximum comfort and firm grip
- Lightweight and hence easy to carry around
- The stainless steel edge loses its sharpness fast and needs to be sharpened regularly
- The blade is not ideal for tough cutting tasks
Condor Tool & Knife 15.5-Inch Bolo Machete
The Condor Tool & Knife 15.5-Inch Bolo Machete is another top-rated machete on Amazon. It has unique features that make it stand out among other bolo machetes on the market. The blade of this gorgeous machete is forged with 1075 high carbon stainless for maximum strength, longevity and long lasting sharpness.
The stainless steel gives the blade excellent corrosion and rust resistance properties while the carbon ensures the cutting edge is tough enough to withstand even the hardest cutting jobs. You can confidently use this bolo machete for cutting, slashing, clearing brush, chopping and making kindling.
The blade extends to the handle to form a full tang. The full tang construction helps to boost its durability as well as the strength of the blade. The handle is made of high quality polypropylene and is curved on both sides to ensure it does not slip out of your hand while working. The polypropylene handle also feels comfortable to hold for long. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle so you can safely hand the machete in your garage when it is not in use.
Just like other Condor Tool & Knife machetes, this bolo machete comes with a heavy-duty sheath for safe storage and transportation. The sheath is made of 100% leather, meaning it will last for long.
Pros & Cons of the Condor Tool & Knife 15.5-Inch
- Multi-purpose machete for cutting, slashing, clearing brush and chopping woody vegetation
- Has a polypropylene handle to provide you with a comfortable, secure grip
- The blade is made with 1075 carbon steel for maximum strength and excellent moisture and humidity to resistance capabilities
- Full tang construction to boost the durability of the machete
- Lanyard cord for secure storage of the machete when it is not in use
- A sturdy and rugged leather sheath for safe storage and secure transportation of the machete
- Guarantee lifetime warranty
- Specially designed for maximum durability and performance
- Made in the United States
- The blade appears dull when removed out of the box and requires sharpening to regain its sharpness
Tramontina Bolo Machete
If you are looking for an affordable high quality bolo machete from a top brand, then you should consider the Tramontina. This Brazilian long blade machete retails for just 20 bucks on Amazon. Its long blade and ultra-sharp blade makes it ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities including cutting, clearing and chopping. The long blade allows you to work comfortably without straining or injuring yourself.
The machete boasts a bolo-style SAE 1070 high carbon steel blade with a brown handle to give you maximum strength, moisture and humidity to resist from corrosion. The brown hardwood handle is triple-riveted to ensure it is firmly affixed to the blade. It is also curved on both ends to provide you with a comfortable, firm and secure grip.
The bolo shape and the fact that the blade thickness is the same all the way out give it some forward weight. The machete is not aesthetically pristine and may have minor blemishes that are not considered defective. The blade has the Tramontina logo printed on it to showcase the superiority of the machete manufactured by a top brand.
Pros & Cons of the Tramontina Bolo
- Multi-purpose machete with a long blade that can be used for cutting, clearing and chopping vegetation
- Triple-riveted curved handle for maximum durability
- The handle is made of hardwood and is curved on both ends to provide a comfortable and firm grip
- The blade is forged with 1070 high carbon steel for maximum strength, durability and long lasting sharpness
- Built for maximum performance and durability
- The long blade allows you to clear thick brush without worrying about injuring yourself. You are also able to clear a large area with a single swing
- The tip of the machete requires a file for it to be razor-like sharpness.
- Does not come with a sheath for safe storage and transportation
- It does not have a lanyard hole
- The 1070 stainless steel does not offer the best rust and corrosion resistance properties
Imacasa 14.5-Inch Bolo Machete
The Imacasa 14.5 Inch is another perfect option for machete enthusiasts looking for an affordable bolo The machete only retails for about 20 bucks on Amazon, making it ideal for anyone working with a strictly low budget.
The machete comes with a light-brown wooden handle that is triple-riveted to ensure it is firmly affixed to the full tang blade. The handle is shaped in such a way that it will fit comfortably in your hand without slipping out. The full tang enhances the durability and strength of the machete.
The blade of the Imacasa 14.5 Inch is made with the 1075 high carbon steel for maximum sturdiness, durability and long-lasting sharpness. The blade also has excellent moisture and humidity resistance capabilities, meaning it will not rot or corrode easily.
With a blade length of 14.5 inches, you can confidently use this machete for clearing brush, cutting, splitting coconuts in half and chopping through thicker vegetation. These machetes are intended to excel in industries for example gardening, agricultural and construction. The natural color wooden handle of the machete provides you with a comfortable and secure grip. This machete is not aesthetically pristine and has some minor blemishes that are not considered defective.
Pros & Cons of the Imacasa 14.5-Inch
- Multi-purpose machete for cutting, splitting coconuts in half and clearing thick vegetation
- Specifically designed to excel in industries for example gardening, agricultural and construction
- The blade is made with 1075 high carbon steel for maximum to strength, moisture and humidity resistance properties
- The blade is long enough so you can clear a large area with just a single swing
- Natural color wooden handle provides you with a comfortable and secure grip
- Not aesthetically pristine and has some minor blemishes that are not considered defective
- Long lasting sharpness and does not require regular sharpening to maintain a sharp cutting edge
- Despite the Primary grind established at factory, the machete will still need further sharpening before initial use
- Does come with a sheath for safe storage and transportation
- There is no lanyard hole
Bloody Red Zombie Killer Bolo Machete
The Bloody Red Zombie Killer Bolo Machete is an exceptionally versatile and hardy machete. It has a big blade that delivers brute slashing and chopping power. The Bloody Red Zombie Killer Machete can be used for cutting, slashing, chopping and clearing brush while out in the field.
The blade is constructed from a solid slab of 3cr13 stainless steel blade that features a black anodize finish with a serrated segment on the spine. Its versatile 18-inch long blade comes sharp out of the box. The blade extends fully to the handle to form, what is known as a full tang. The full tang construction helps to boost the durability and strength of the machete.
The handle is made from rubber to provide you with a good grip, thus avoiding slippage. The machete adds heft to the fore –blade for additional cutting energy. There is also a free nylon snap fastened sheath that is reinforced to protect the machete from getting blunt and a lanyard hole for safety and secure retention.
Pros & Cons of the Bloody Red Zombie Killer
- Multi-purpose machete for cutting, slashing, chopping and clearing brush
- Long blade delivers brute slashing and chopping power
- Full tang construction to boost its durability
- Ultra sharp blade that is easy to sharpen
- The blade is constructed from a solid slab of 3cr13 stainless steel blade for incredible sharpness
- Comes complete with a free nylon snap fastened sheath that is reinforced to protect the machete from getting blunt
- The lanyard hole allows you to hang the machete safely when it is not in use
- Rubber-grip handle for a safe, firm and comfortable grip
- The stainless steel blade is soft and has to be sharpened regularly
- The blade is lightweight and cannot be used to clear thick woody vegetation