When sheaths were invented they didn’t only bring about a great method of carrying your blade but they also acted to keep you safe from the blade while it wasn’t in use.
In modern times we’ve adapted this ancient technology to meet our needs and add capabilities to blades that previously weren’t available to us.
Things like belt loops, leg holsters, and torso sheaths are some of the best ways to transport and conceal your blade. For the most effortless, accessible, and oftentimes stylish option you know have access to neck knives.
Neck knives hang off of your neck exactly as a necklace would and give you concealed but rapid access to your blade if you ever need it.
In a pinch when you need to open packages, in the yard when you need to release some pallet straps, in a survival situation where your blade could mean the difference between life and death, or even in a self defense situation your neck knife could and would be the best tool for the job.
Obviously keeping a knife so close to the center of your chest can make you feel a bit vulnerable but that's where the sheath comes in.
A high quality sheath with a secure fastening system is a vital feature in your neck knife so the ones that advertise a ‘high quality nylon/canvas sheath’ should be completely avoided.
You will need a hard shell sheath for any neck knife. To fasten around your neck or your collar, a chain or paracord loop can be extremely secure.
If you’re looking for a knife you can actually use and will be handy to you, you might have to forgo fashion a little bit, not too much as you’ll see, but a leather string or a cute golden mini-Cuban link chain are out of the question.
These good looking chains aren’t strong enough or durable enough to hold a decently weighted knife for any length of time.
We’ve put together a list of the top 5 best neck knives currently available. There are unfortunately a large number of low quality cheap options out there that at first glance may seem to be high quality but after any sustained use will fall apart.
In a Rush?
Do you have a camping trip coming up very soon and you need to make sure you’re fully prepared? Not to worry, we’ve got our top pick right here for you with just a few reasons why we love it.
The Dune from Kershaw is an amazing neck knife. With its minimalist design and molded polymer sheath and paracord lanyard, the Dune meets all your needs without being overly pretentious. It also looks great.
- 7 inches of 3Cr13 steel leading to a 3.8-inch cutting edge.
- Japanese tanto style blade.
- Molded polymer sheath.
- Full tang handle covered by textured nylon.
- Adjustable paracord lanyard.
OUR TOP PICK
Our top pick is the Dune Full Tang Neck Knife from Kershaw. Kershaw has been designing and producing EDC knives in a spring blade, fixed blade and flip blade design for almost 50 years and their expertise in the fixed blades is evident in this neck knife.
Kershaw initially produced knives in and through Japan and the influence is definitely notable in this design.
The Dune takes after a Japanese Tanto knife which is similar to its big brother the Katana except in knife shape and size. This design offers a relatively large cutting edge with high durability and beautiful aesthetics.
The Dune is a 7-inch knife that is on the larger side of neck knives but it still manages to stay relatively lightweight at only 3.5 ounces.
The knife is constructed from 3Cr13 steel which is known to be a cost effective yet durable steel.
This reduces the overall weight of the unit without compromising quality or ruggedness. This type of steel will last you years and because of its weight, you’ll be able to wear it for years without noticing.
The blade has a black oxide coating that increases the rust resistance and makes the whole piece look absolutely stunning.
The sheath is constructed from an injection molded polymer that is extremely durable. It has been designed to hold the knife in place without making it impossible to remove in case you need to.
Kershaw has achieved this by creating a slight edge between the blade and the handle that snaps into place with a corresponding protrusion inside the sheath.
This method of locking the blade in means you won’t have to worry about any parts becoming loose or mechanisms failing, it uses the natural elasticity of the polymer which cannot be worn down.
The top of the sheath has pre drilled holes and comes with an adjustable paracord lanyard already threaded through.
You can change this out for any lanyard you may want to but the included paracord is extremely resistant to wear and the plastic tightener works great to reduce or increase the size of the neck loop.
The handle is made from a nylon synthetic polymer and is reinforced with glass to increase its strength.
It is textured to increase your overall grip and is long enough to fit in most hands without feeling too flimsy in larger hands.
The bottom of the handle also has a cord loop available for you to add a length of paracord if you’d like to for even easier access.
- The Kershaw quality and standards are prevalent in this neck knife.
- The knife measures 7 inches total and has a full tang design for extra rigidity.
- The Tanto style blade gives you excellent piercing and slicing abilities.
- An injection molded polymer sheath protects you and holds the knife effectively.
- The glass reinforced handle withstands heavy use and is textured for grip.
- The blade only weighs 3.5 ounces which is comfortable for extended wear but can seem lightweight when in use.
The Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife is a great entrant on this list from Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) and performs effectively for its small size.
This knife (as its name suggests) is modeled after a bowie knife which is a large clearing knife that would normally work terribly as a neck knife.
At the size that CRKT has manufactured this knife the Minimalist Bowie is made to be a mini chopper.
With an overall length of 6.75 inches and a blade length of 2.125 inches this knife is great for making long comfortable cuts.
The bowie knife shape adds a natural curve to the blade tip that matches the arch your arm makes as you make a sustained cut.
While this knife would be perfect for a farmyard or even a warehouse job it is also designed with a keep fisher in mind. The security the ergonomically shaped handle gives you also makes this perfect for self defense.
The Minimalist Bowie is constructed from 5Cr15MoV steel. This type of steel is similar to the one used by Kershaw but has a higher corrosion resistance and higher carbon percentage.
This makes the blade slightly denser but also slightly harder meaning that it will hold an edge incredibly well.
The knife also uses a full tang design that means the steel from the blade runs all the way through to the end of the handle. This increases the overall structural strength of the knife and makes it better balanced in use.
The blade also has a bead blast finish which makes it less reflective and also gives a stylish matte look to the steel. The whole knife only weighs 1.6 ounces so you won’t even notice it around your neck.
The handle is made from a polished resin infused fiber that has a nice greenish blue tint and is textured for increased grip.
The handle is also ergonomically designed to fit in the hand in one direction. The way CRKT has done this is by shaping the handle to force your fingers into the perfect position without effort.
The sheath is constructed from a molded thermoplastic and has the exact same adjustable paracord lanyard as the previous entrant on our list. The major difference is in the shape of the sheath.
It uses the same recess in the blade method to lock them together but it also has a few extra holes around the edges.
These extra holes can be used along the paracord to attach the knife to your thigh or ankle or you could use the extra included belt loop to attach the piece to your belt.
Finally, the blade comes with a length of usable braided paracord attached to the bottom that you can use to easily remove it from the sheath or as a rope if necessary.
- The high carbon stainless steel blade takes an edge easily and holds it well.
- The shrunken bowie style of the blade makes it perfect for slicing or piercing.
- The resin infused fiber handle is shaped ergonomically for practicality and comfort.
- The thermoplastic sheath comes with an optional belt loop and paracord lanyard.
- At only 1.6 ounces this blade can hang from your neck all day without you noticing.
- The finger recesses are spaced quite far apart and can be a bit uncomfortable for smaller hands.
The next neck knife on our list is the Eldris Lanyard Knife manufactured by Morakniv in Sweden.
This completely practical knife actually won the 2016 Scandinavian Outdoor Award based on functionality, quality, innovation, design and sustainability so you can guarantee this knife delivers what it promises.
The Eldris Lanyard Knife is constructed from Swedish Sandvik 12C27 Stainless steel that is exceptionally hard, razor sharp and highly corrosion resistant.
This knife has truly been designed with the outdoorsman in mind. The minuscule 5.6-inch knife is tough enough to carve large chunks of wood while still being sharp enough to feather an edge for kindling.
The sheath is constructed from a hard plastic that isn’t vacuum formed to the shape of the blade but it does include a stylish leather strap with push fastener to secure the knife in the sheath.
The paracord lanyard isn’t adjustable past you tightening it with extra knots but it does come with 2 firesteel rods included. With this knife around your neck, you’ll be prepared for anything.
The Eldris Lanyard knife also comes in 6 different colors so you can choose which color you’d prefer to have around your neck.
- Award winning design.
- The blade is constructed from Sandvik stainless steel.
- The hard plastic sheath comes with a mechanic fastener to ensure the blade stays put it also has a paracord lanyard.
- The knife comes with 2 firesteels that you can strike on the spine to create a spark.
- The anti-slip rubberized handle works well in all weather conditions.
- If you don’t fasten the sheath the knife can fall out.
At 8.6 inches in length, the Counter TAC Series Knife is the bulkiest knife on our list. It is also the most badass looking knife on the list. With a traditional spearpoint boot knife design, this knife looks the part.
Cold Steel is well known for creating dangerous and effective steel weapons and their abilities are evident in this knife.
The double sided full tang knife can is tough enough for standard usage and sharp enough to be a hunting or fishing knife. The blade is constructed from Aus8a Steel which is a Japanese steel known for its edge retention.
The textured ergonomic handle is made from a proprietary kray-ex that Cold Steel claims can be adaptable to any grip.
With the deep texturing the knife is slip resistant and you will have a secure grip in all conditions.
The sheath is made from a hardened plastic that Cold Steel calls secure-ex. While we don’t understand the naming scheme the sheath is very secure and will keep the knife in place regardless of where you carry it.
The included lanyard is similar to a military chain and is colored black just like the rest of the visible components of the sheathed knife.
The sheath also comes with a removable boot/belt clip and 4 separate 1-inch lashing slots so you can really carry the knife wherever it may suit you best.
- The boot knife style spear point knife is great for all situations.
- The full tang blade is constructed from razor sharp Japanese Aus8a steel.
- The sheath makes the knife able to be carried anywhere on the body.
- The textured grip is great for all conditions and gives most hand sizes a secure grip.
- At 8.6 inches the knife is a bit bulky to carry around your neck for long periods of time.
The last item on our list is the MT-673 Fixed Blade from MTECH USA.
This company has made a name in the USA by manufacturing high quality cost effective blades for any purpose. This knife is no exception and is extremely high quality for its low cost.
The 440C Stainless steel used isn’t the best on the market but will hold an edge reasonably well and is very easy to sharpen.
At 5 inches total length and with a blade length of 2 inches the MT-673 is small but mighty, you’ll be able to get through most utility tasks with this no problem.
The handle is designed similarly to the much more expensive Minimalist Bowie from CRKT and is ergonomically designed very well.
The handle scales are made from G10 which is a durable composite that can withstand most heavy usage. It is also textured to increase your overall grip.
The sheath is formed from Kydex and includes a military dog tag chain similar to the knife from Cold Steel.
The locking mechanism works reasonably well and should stop the knife from slipping out without you intending to pull it out.
- The cost effective design makes this knife half the price of any knife on our list.
- The full tang handle is sturdy and makes the knife well balanced.
- The G10 composite on the ergonomic handle makes for a high performance grip.
- The kydex sheath is low cost but extremely effective, together with the chain you can wear this knife around all day.
- Cheaper quality steel means you may have to sharpen the blade more often.
Best Neck Knife Buying Guide
If you’re looking for a neck knife you’re most likely looking for a preparedness tool. It’s one of those things that you won’t always need but you’ll be extremely grateful that you have it.
A neck knife covers you in survival situations, in self defense instances, and even just when you need a utility tool. They are concealable, lightweight, cost effective yet extremely effective at their job.
If you’re looking for the best possible neck knife there are a few things it’ll need to check off to be a high quality one. After you’ve gone through the checks it's then up to you which one suits you best ergonomically and aesthetically.
You’ll want a knife that’s durable, corrosion resistant, and well balanced. The build materials lend to these features the most so if you look for high quality stainless steel and high quality plastic or fiber handles you’ll ensure that you cater to all of those features.
You also need to consider what you’ll be using the knife for, if you’re looking for a utility knife then any size will work as long as it has a good cutting edge.
If however you're intending on using it as a survival knife or a survival knife you’ll need something a bit more hefty with some extra feature like maybe a hand guard or a firesteel.
The sheath quality is very important, the last thing you want is to trip over and be poked by your own knife. There are many different materials a good sheath can be made from but as long as it’s a hardened, durable plastic and not a canvas sheath you should be fine.
You can be picky here, so if you want to have a knife that’s versatile enough to be carried on your belt or in a boot then a chunkier knife like the Eldris wouldn’t work for you.
Overall, as long as the materials are high quality, it looks how you want it to and the sheath and handle suit you then you’ll have a decent neck knife. The lanyard or necklace isn’t massively important as you can change these out fairly easily.