A few unique survival tools can double up as fashion accessories and functional tools. The best neck knife would be able to carry out both these functions with ease. This tactical knife is worn around the neck, which means you always carry it on your person wherever you are. This is why neck knives are also placed in the category of EDC knives.
You can find almost every type of form and shape of neck knives. They are extremely versatile in their application. However, with so many options available, it can get difficult to choose the best neck knife. This is why we have compiled this guide of 10 stellar options because all neck knives are not created equal.
How to Choose a Neck Knife
It is crucial that you choose a neck knife that fits perfectly with your unique needs and purpose. These weapons are not one-size-fits-all, contrary to popular belief.
These are a few factors you should consider while choosing the best neck knife:
It is important that you identify the purpose of any tool before purchasing one. You need to know whether you want a neck knife for everyday jobs, survival or self-defense. There are several products that are versatile in their application.
For instance, a knife that has a compass and comes with an easily concealable sheath is perfect for both survival and self-defense. You are probably aware of the situations where you will be using these knives. So, keep those in mind while searching for the perfect neck knife.
2. Build Quality
Quality and the overall build are obviously one of the most important considerations while buying any knife. However, when it comes to neck knives, build quality takes on a whole new meaning since these knives are really small and you always wear it on your person. You don’t want the weak blade snapping off when you are in the middle of something.
You also want a neck knife that is low-maintenance and is reliable. Remember, while cheap can be good it is not always great. Manufacturers are going to cut corners somewhere to bring down the overall cost. A knife that doesn’t do its job and falls apart when you most need it is worthless.
You need to remember that best neck knives are ideally worn around the neck on a string or a lanyard. Hence, you may want to keep things small. But one must remember that small is not always feasible for all kinds of tasks. This is where you need to strike a balance between your intended primary purpose and size. If self-defense is a priority, you should look for knives that are concealable and small.
However, if you are purchasing the neck knife for survival situations, you could be fine with a larger knife since that could be of good use for one or the other thing.
4. Neck Tie
How does the knife hang around the neck? Does it come with one chain, necklace or a lanyard? You need to find something that is comfortable for you. For instance, steel bead chains may be great for dog tags, but they can get uncomfortable pretty quickly with anything heavier. You should also look for knives that are easily adjustable and is the perfect fit for you.
The best neck knife is something that can be easily worn around the neck and is accessible in one second or less. Obviously, you don’t want an open blade next to your chest or neck. The sheath in some cases is more important than the knife itself. You want something that is compact and tight, but easily removable.
It should be a snug fit, but not one that is too snug. You should also find a sheath that is not bulky and leaves a minimal imprint. You shouldn’t have to worry about the stylish neck knives showing under your shirt.
You might want to also check our best bowie knives article.
Top 10 Neck Knives
1. CRKT Minimalist – Real Value
The Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Minimalist neck knife minimizes blade reflectivity with its bead blast finish. The knife is lightweight, easy to carry, and offers everything that a compact neck knife should. It is after all designed by Florida based, Alan Folts.
CRKT Minimalist is gear compatible with its durable glass-reinforced nylon sheath. It also has mounting options when hanging the knife around your neck is not an option. CRKT offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers any defects in workmanship and materials. You never have to worry about your neck knife now.
The knife is a solid choice for people looking for EDC, survival gear, or self-defense. It has a strong and tested spear point and a unique Wharncliffe blade. It works equally well with daily tasks and other survival jobs and is built from 5Cr15MoV steel, which is slightly softer compared to other brands but is still quite strong.
The flat blade design means you never have to worry about keeping your tool in a sharp condition again. All it needs is the occasional trip across the whetstone or a little strop work and you are good to go. The Bowie design neck knife comes with finger grooves and Micarta scales on its handle. This one feature allows for enhanced accuracy in all your chores.
Why Buy It?
Sharp – The CKRT Minimalist is sharp like a tack. This neck knife can serve its purpose wherever you are. The knife is great for cleaning, whittling, and cutting through stuff. It looks dangerous and can be of use when you want to keep potential threats at bay.
Sheath – This neck knife comes with its own sheath making it easy for you to sling it around your neck. The sheath itself is built from glass-reinforced nylon, a material that is really the tough one. You don’t need to worry about the sharp steel blade of these knives cutting through the sheath.
- Good ergonomics
- Sharp out of box
- Small blade
- Recurve can be a problem
2. ESEE Izula II – Solid Blade
The ESEE Izula II is crafted from superior quality materials. Something you would expect from ESEE knives. It is built for durability and enhanced performance. This lightweight neck knife can easily double up as a concealed carry knife and comes with full canvas Micarta scales on the handle for enhanced grip.
The blade is built of 1095 carbon steel, a very popular steel among ESEE knives. It also has a cutting edge of 2.625”. The ergonomically designed handle is 3.9”. This is almost ½” more than Izula I. Another nice thing about the knife is its weight, which is 3.2oz without the sheath. If you don’t want to hang it around your neck, the knife also comes with a removable ambidextrous clip plate.
The overall length of the Izula II is 6.75” with a thickness of 0.156” at the thickest point. However, the handle is removable making it easier to carry and more lightweight. The sheath is made from durable black injection molded polymer which won’t allow the tool to cut through.
Why Buy It?
Snug Sheath – The sheath is one of the best in the industry. It’s small, has no rattle, and offers a great snug fit without being too tight. The neck knife easily snaps into place when you put the sheath on.
Rugged Blade – The blade is constructed of 1095 carbon steel, which is strong, sturdy, and hard. This steel is the top choice of professional chefs when they want something heavy-duty. This means you can use the neck knife for the toughest jobs with ease.
- Quality handle
- Perfect for small kids
- Exceptional edge retention
- Bulky for some people
- Grip grooves don’t fit in large hands
Check out our recommended stockman knives article.
3. Morakniv Eldris – Easiest to Carry
Morakniv Eldrisis one of the best neck knives. It is the winner of the 2016 Scandinavian Outdoor Award based on sustainability, functionality, design, innovation, and quality. The blade is built from Sandvik12C27 stainless steel which is known for its razor sharpness. The neck knife features exceptional toughness and hardness with great corrosion resistance.
There is an easy built-in click lock between the handle and the sheath which will make sure the neck knife always stays in place when you have it on you. If not, you can always stick it in one of your pockets – it is small enough. The knife is 5.6” long with a 2.2-inch blade length and a thickness of 0.8” which offers the necessary toughness.
The Morakniv Eldris is lightweight at 2.8oz and comes with a one year warranty. Lightweight in best neck knives allows them to have a versatile use. You can use it while hiking, camping, hunting, or as an EDC. The grip is fashioned out of two different polymers to offer extra strength and stability while completing a job.
Why Buy It?
Sandvik Steel – One of the highlights of the Morakniv Eldris is that the blade is fashioned from the toughest steel available in Sweden. In addition to being strong and durable, the blade also has decent corrosion resistance and is easy to sharpen. This is built with steel, which you can easily manage.
Anti-Slip Handle – Most small knives have lacking handles and grips. However, this neck knife has a comfortable grip which fits nicely into large hands as well. The knife handle is made from two different polymers offering sturdiness and a great grip.
- Corrosion-resistant blade
- Compact size
- High quality materials
- Small size makes it difficult to chop
- Sharp 90-degree spine can be dangerous
4. Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker–Most Versatile
Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker is a multi-functional knife and can be of use in survival as well as self-defense situations. The blade is made from 1095 Cro-Van steel. It is easy to sharpen which helps you keep the edge always good to go. The fixed blade is extremely durable and sharp. Even after several uses, you will rarely see it dull.
This neck knife comes with its own sheath, which is made from black plastic, injection-molded, glass-filled nylon. You don’t always need to hang it around your neck. You can just as well use the TDI metal belt clip. You can mount the knife to your boot, tactical vest, or belt.
The 3.25-inch blade is relatively big when it comes to neck knives, but helps in completing a wide range of tasks. The overall length of the knife is 6.75”. It weighs approximately 2.5oz and is easy to conceal. With the sheath, Ka-Bar BK11 weighs 8.5oz.
Why Buy It?
Impressive Sheath – The sheath is made from injection-molded glass-filled black plastic nylon. It is tough and resistant to metal cuts. You don’t need to worry about the point poking out. The sheath also features a TDI metal belt clip to mount it anywhere you want.
Design – The Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker is one of the most effective designs available in the market. The fixed blade is not just functional but also attractive. Plus, the marginally larger size allows you to get a lot of jobs done, such as chopping.
- Carbon steel blade
- High-quality sheath design
- Large knife
- Handle could be better
Learn more about the best boot knives by clicking here.
5. Cold Steel Mini Tac – Best Budget Buy
This is the latest addition to the Master of G Mudmaster series, which is specifically designed to prevent sand, dust, and mud from getting inside the dial. This feature ensures the best and most reliable performance in the harshest environments, with the sturdy structure capable of handling any challenging mission in extreme areas like forests and deserts.The Cold Steel Mini Tac is as small and cheap as they come. Yet, it is highly effective. The overall length of this knife is just 6.7” with a blade length of 3.5”. The fixed blade is made from 8Cr13MoV steel and is 2.5mm thick. The steel is not that strong, but effective to complete most everyday tasks.
Cold Steel Mini Tac could be the best neck knife if it wasn’t for its 3.14” handle made from G-10 Styled Griv-Ex. The neck knife comes with a bead blast finish to reduce reflectivity. A neck sheath is included with the product. However, it is of somewhat poor quality and doesn’t get the job done as well as it should.
Also, the sheath covers the handle completely which can be a problem when you want to access these knives quickly. You can easily hang the neck knife with its bead chain lanyard. However, people have reported discomfort after prolonged use.
Why Buy It?
Multi-purpose – Cold Steel Mini Tac is designed to be versatile in its usage. It is small and lightweight and can be of use in most survival and self-defense situations.
Perfect Size – The Mini Tac is a perfect size for best neck knives. However, Cold Steel could have used the available real estate for a larger blade than the handle. Still, the neck knife fits perfectly in the hand and the blade is utilitarian in nature.
- No belt clip
- Bead chain is flimsy
6. Benchmade Follow-Up Knife – Best Overall
This neck knife is built from high-quality materials and is designed to be sturdy, durable, and lightweight. The Benchmade Follow-Up Knife has a CPM-S30V stainless steel blade with superb edge qualities, balance, and rust resistance. The handle is skeletonized, which allows for reducing weight. These knives also have a slot for wrapping paracord around it.
It comes with a black Boltaron sheath offering quick accessibility and protection. Benchmade Follow-Up Knife is a utility blade style knife with a drop-point that serves well for a variety of everyday and tactical tasks. The overall length of the knife is 5.99” with a blade length of 2.6”.
The neck knife has a blade thickness of 0.140” which is good enough to carry out most tasks. The blade style is drop point with a black finish. Overall, the Benchmade Follow-Up Knife weighs about 2oz and with sheath it weighs 2.65oz.
Why Buy It?
After Sale Service – The good part about Benchmade Follow-Up Knife is the lifetime warranty that it comes with. You can also avail Benchmade’s LifeSharp Service to keep your knife razor-sharp and in a fit condition for a really long time. Benchmade will take care of your knife if it ever requires sharpening or repair.
Design – The knife is designed beautifully yet simply making it the best neck knife. The blade and handle are both reliable and strong and designed to make cleaning easy. The Follow Up is comfortable yet rugged and can be useful in any situation.
- Blade sharpness
- High-quality materials
- Difficult to grip
- Handle is not thick
Check out our selection of the highly-rated keychain knives article here.
7. SOG Instinct – Best Extra Features
SOG Instinct is a small knife at 5.9” total and is perfect as a tactical neck knife or EDC gear. The knife comes with a handy 360° mount hard-molded sheath with clip. You can feel the snugness as you slide in your Instinct in the nylon sheath. This lightweight knife weighs 2.3oz and can be carried around your neck or in your boot or belt.
It comes with a swivel sheath clip which allows you to access the knife easily in case of any emergency. The blade is full tang and it’s made from satin-polished 5Cr15MoV stainless steel. It is built to be durable and to handle a wide variety of tasks as a backup knife. At 2.3” point blade, the SOG Instinct is just large enough to make its point.
SOG Instinct is built to last and the company making these knives will take care of all repairs and replacement requests. The neck knife is custom designed by Jason Brous to be both functional and formidable.
Why Buy It?
Versatile Features – The SOG Instinct is one neck knife that gives you everything. You get a strong and durable 5Cr15MoV stainless steel full tang blade which makes the knife solid. It also comes with a handy 360° mount hard-molded sheath with a swivel clip that allows you to access the knife easily.
G10 Handle – The handle has jimping and finger grooves which improve its ergonomics. You are always in control of the blade whether you use it in a tactical, survival, or self-defense situation.
- Compact design
- Durable blade
- Easy to carry
- Low-quality belt clip
- Sheath could be better
8. MTech USA Xtreme MX-8035 Knife – Most Resistant
MTech USA Xtreme MX-8035 Knife is a full tang neck knife with a sharp curved blade and can be easily kept in your boot or belt. The blade is fashioned from 440-stainless steel with a curved hollow ground. The brushed finish and Micarta handle allow for a dangerous-looking knife.
The knife is 7” long with a blade length of 3.5” and a thickness of 5mm. There is a lot you can do with your MX-8035, which comes in a black molded Kydex sheath. The sheath has a lanyard hole and a boot clip. However, there is no neck cord included.
The MX-8035 is one of the larger models in this best neck knives list. You may want to consider something else if you are looking for small and compact. However, the solid sheath does its job properly and allows you to feel stable and secure when carrying the knife.
Why Buy It?
Effective – The MTech USA Xtreme MX-8035 is an effective product, whether used as a weapon or a tool. It has a clean handle with an easy-grip which allows for really good maneuverability.
Blade Material – The blade is superior and it’s made from 440-stainless steel which is strong enough to handle anything you throw at it. The blade is quick work and low maintenance.
- High-quality build
- Easy to grip
- Significantly bulky
9. Boker Magnum Lil Friend Micro – Best Grip
The Boker Magnum Lil Friend Micro has a 440 stainless steel blade and G-10 handle scales. The blade length is 1.74” with an overall length of 3.75”. The knife weighs 1.3oz and has a limited lifetime warranty. This lightweight and compact neck knife comes in a Kydex sheath.
However, it doesn’t fit snugly. The good part is that the plastic mold can be reshaped by warming it in the oven. This neck knife is great for everyday use since it is useful, versatile, and can be carried anywhere easily. You can tie it around your neck or clip it to your belt.
It is small enough to be kept in your pocket as well. The tip of the knife is blunt so you cannot use it for self-defense. Apart from that this knife can easily carry out most other tasks.
Why Buy It?
Ergonomic handle – Boker Magnum Lil Friend Micro has an ergonomically designed G-10 handle with a fairly comfortable and good grip. However, it is only built for small and normal-sized hands.
Cuts Through Anything – The knife has a 440 stainless steel blade which is sharp and strong to cut through just anything. However, the drop point doesn’t allow these knives to be used for coring tasks.
- Ergonomic handle
- 440 stainless steel blade
- Kydex sheath doesn’t fit snugly
- Flimsy necklace
10. Spyderco Ark – Most Lightweight
The Spyderco Ark is a fixed blade knife offering reliable high-performance. It comes with evolved ergonomics to minimize fatigue while increasing cutting power. The Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon handle is made from polymer mixed with glass fiber before being injection molded into a lightweight handle.
There are no finger ridges. But, the knife is still surprisingly easy to hold and use. The knife comes with bevels that are concavely ground. The bevels or hollow grind extend the full width of the blade.
The blade itself is sharp with no teeth or serrations. The smooth blade allows for easier maintenance. The blade is 2.5” long and the overall length of the knife is 4.98”. It is fashioned from H-1 steel. One of the best things about the knife is its weight. It is just 0.96oz uncovered which offers an amazing weight to strength ratio.
Why Buy It?
Weight – The Spyderco Ark is one of the lightest among the best neck knives. It weighs just about an ounce but still packs quite a punch. It weighs about 2oz with the nylon sheath on. The weight to strength ratio is highly impressive.
Multipurpose – This solid steel knife can be used for a variety of purposes in different situations. You can easily use it for self-defense and survival or EDC.
- Impressive strength to weight ratio
- Excellent handle build
- Quality steel blade
Why You Should Have a Neck Knife
Neck knives are quite possibly the most underrated survival tools. However, the best neck knife could offer you spectacular benefits, so that you never leave your home without one. These are a few reasons why you should always have a neck knife:
1. Easy to Carry
You don’t need any belts, tactical backpacks or pockets to carry a neck knife. It is always with you no matter what you wear or where you go. You just need to sling it around your head and you are covered regardless of the situation.
This is one of the best reasons for you to carry a neck knife. It is right there next to your heart and can be in your hand in just a second when the need arises.
2. Always Within Reach
Neck knives aren’t just easy to carry. They are also always within reach hanging around your neck. You just cannot lose a neck knife like you can with a pocket, belt, or backpack tool. You won’t forget it lying somewhere or accidentally drop it. You always know that your reliable tool is right there under your shirt hidden.
Most neck knives come with easy to remove sheaths, allowing you to access the blade in just seconds. Sometimes, you only have seconds to protect yourself when you run into a survival or self-defense situation.
You can immediately intimidate threats by hanging your neck knife outside your shirt. Most threats, like muggers don’t attempt altercations with people that are armed. Neck knives look dangerous hanging around a person’s neck. People don’t consider it a judicious idea to confront someone with a dangerous-looking weapon.
Neck knives tend to send a clear message that you are armed, dangerous, and ready to survive. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, neck knives will help keep most threats at bay.
Benchmade Follow-Up Knife is the best neck knife you can buy for almost all purposes. It’s made from high-quality materials allowing for superior durability, strength, and sharpness. The blade is manufactured from CPM-S30V stainless steel blade that provides better rust resistance, superior edge qualities, and balance.
The knife comes in its own black Boltaron sheath that is designed to offer quick accessibility.
The second best neck knife is the CRKT Minimalist with its Bowie shaped flat blade. The knife is affordable and is designed to be powerful and resilient. It comes in an impressive quality glass-reinforced nylon sheath making it easy to carry anywhere.