Best Tanto Knives of 2020 – Ultimate Review

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Finding the best Tanto knife might be a challenge. But if you know what you are looking for and understand some of the basic purposes, you’ll find the search process a lot easier. You’ll need a good, reliable knife for all kinds of purposes.

If you want a great Tanto knife to add to your already growing collection of knives, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of five of the best Tanto knives on the market. 

Before we get to the list, we’ll talk about what a Tanto knife is, what it’s best used for, and what features and characteristics make them stand out the best. 

Comparison of the Best Tanto Knives

  • Best overall Tanto knife
  • Measured at 7 inches in length
  • Blade made from 1055 carbon steel
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  • Made from Cro-Van steel
  • Thick pointed blade for easier penetration
  • Kraton G handles for a better fit and ergonomic grip
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  • Best Tanto knife for the money
  • Blade length measured at two inches
  • Blade made from Japanese stainless steel
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  • Best Tanto Folding Knife
  • Blade measured at 3 inches
  • Handle made from glass-filled nylon
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  • Weighs nearly 3 ounces
  • Made from Japanese steel
  • Blade length measured at nearly 4 inches
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What is a Tanto Knife?

The design of the Tanto knife originated in Japan. The American knife maker, Cold Steel, was able to take the design and base one of their field knife designs on it. A Tanto knife is made simply for EDC use. However, one purpose it excels at is cutting and cleaning freshly killed game. It can also be used as a great survival or self-defense weapon.

What is a Tanto Knife Best Used For?

A Tanto knife has a few good uses. If you purchase one, you’ll need to know what your intents and purposes are with it. Here are a few good ideas of what you can use a Tanto knife for:

Cleaning Freshly Killed Game

The Tanto knife is so sharp you can cut and clean your freshly killed game targets in a short amount of time. There will be times when cleaning has to be done immediately so you can preserve the quality of the meat and prevent it from spoiling. 

Everyday Carry

It’s not unusual or uncommon to carry a Tanto knife for everyday carry and use. Not only that, they are sharp enough to cut through any material. So if you need to cut a piece of string off or open up an Amazon package, this knife will be reliable enough for even the simplest or most menial tasks. However, EDC carry is not limited to that. Let’s take a look at another good use of why carrying a Tanto knife every day is handy.

Self Defense/Survival

Yes, there might come a time when self-defense calls for the use of a weapon. In this instance, we like to call these weapons WOO (or weapons of opportunity). Since you are carrying a knife, it is considered a weapon of opportunity because you have it on you and will be able to use it at a moment’s notice. You’ll be able to cut, slash, or stab an attacker to escape from a dangerous and life-threatening situation.

What Makes a Great Tanto Knife?

Knowing which characteristics and features of a Tanto knife are important to you is key. This will allow you to distinguish a great Tanto knife from one that might be considered unreliable and crappy in quality. Here are a few things to look out for if you’re looking for a great Tanto knife:


If you are on a budget, there’s a good chance you’ll look at the price tag first, especially when you’re trying to invest in a high-quality knife with excellent performance. Invest in the best qualities you can afford. Even if you spend a little extra on the budget side of things, it’s a lot better than spending less and getting something disappointing. 

Blade Quality

The best materials often set the stage for how great the blade quality is. For example, one of the materials that is often used for a blade is carbon steel. It is proven to be sharp and will cut easier than most other steel materials. You’ll want a knife that is sharp and will stay sharp for a long period. It is important to maintain and clean your knife regularly to ensure the knife is long-lasting.

Handle Quality

It is the handle’s responsibility to give you the best support possible for the blade. At the same time, a good handle must make sure the blade stays attached at all times and doesn’t loosen up. Another thing to know is, the better quality the knife handle, the better chance you’ll keep a good grip on it. As a plus, find a handle that is ergonomically friendly so it can be best used for extended periods of use. 

Review of the Best Tanto Knives

The following is a list of the five best Tanto knives currently on the market. As you look through each one, you’ll need to take a look at the characteristics and features of each one so you can choose the knife that fits the ideal description of your perfect knife. If you find one that’s close enough, you know you’ve found a winner. Now, let’s take a look at the best overall choice on our list:

Best Overall:
QEONIX Cold Steel 9733 80PGTK


  • Super durable construction
  • Fits most tactical belts with ease
  • Cuts through almost any soft materials
  • Excellent blade is sharp right out of the box
  • The sheath is great and the Kydex material doesn’t cut through


  • May rust quickly if not cleaned regularly
  • Sheath dulled the blade from time to time
  • Made need to be sharpened more often than expected

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were quite satisfied with the knife. They said they were able to cut through all kinds of animal skin and muscle while cleaning a kill after a hunt. One user also said he uses this as a reliable multi-purpose knife. He says it’s a great hunting knife but also has its uses as an EDC knife, as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The knife is made from a carbon steel blade that is sharp right out of the gate. And it’s at the appropriate length, measuring at around seven inches., so it’s not too short or long. It’s at the right length to carry discreetly if you’re one of the concealed-carry types. The knife comes with a Kydex sheath. The sheath is soft, but it’s impenetrable to most sharp blades and knife points. If you want a knife with a sheath that does a good job keeping it secure, this might be the knife to go with.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be an excellent knife to have on hand for EDC purposes. So if you want to open packages or use it as a weapon of opportunity, you’ll love having this knife. It is sharp, reliable, and will give you the best performance in any given application.

Bottom Line

The QEONIX Cold Steel Tanto Knife is one of the best in the business for a few good reasons. It’s one of the sharpest and certainly one of the most reliable. If you want a knife that is tough all over and will serve some pretty good purposes, this might be what you’ll need.

 KA1245-BRK Black Tanto


  • It can sharpen quickly
  • Super-durable construction
  • Excellent for multiple purposes
  • Easy to clean, takes a few minutes
  • Perfect length for storage and EDC carry


  • Not as sharp right out of the box
  • Sheath quality may be questionable
  • The tipping point may dull over time

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers said this knife took as little as a minute to sharpen. Once it was ready to go, the knife was easy to use and could cut through some of the toughest, hard to cut materials that any average pocket knife can cut through.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The knife’s blade is made from a combination of chromium and vanadium metals. Together, they form one of the toughest blades a knife can have. It’s durable, sharp, and will get any task done and out of the way, if and when you need to use it. The knife point is sharp enough to leave some pretty nasty punctures and it can make entry even easier if cutting through materials like animal skin.

Who Will Use This Most

This will make an excellent hunting knife. When you’re out in the field, you’ll need something useful for cleaning freshly killed targets. So if you need a knife you cannot leave home without, this might be your kind of everyday carry knife.

Bottom Line

The KA1245 Black Tanto Knife is the kind of knife that will be a hunter’s best friend. If you want something that allows for easy and clean cutting, this Tanto knife won’t steer you wrong.

Best for the Money:
Cold Steel Micro Recon 1 Tanto Point


  • Great for EDC use
  • Sharp right out of the box
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • The blade's locking mechanism keeps the blade securely in place
  • Super durable construction, doesn’t scuff up or get damaged easily


  • Lacks a pocket clip
  • May not be suitable for smaller hands
  • So sharp that it may easily cut your hands

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were quite satisfied with the knife. They were happy that such an affordable knife is high in quality and sharp right from the get-go. The usual applications for this knife were EDC purposes and hunting. They managed to use this knife for cleaning hunting kills and even simple, menial tasks that require an EDC knife.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This knife is made from authentic Japanese steel. It’s proven to be tough and retains its sharpness for a long time. But don’t neglect the need to sharpen it every once in a while. This knife is a great EDC knife that will work hard and make short work of a lot of soft materials. It’s super durable and won’t easily chip or break apart. So if you want something reliable for any situation (especially for hunting and cleaning fresh kills), this knife will stay in excellent condition so long as you take good care of it.

Who Will Use This Most

This knife is the best for anyone looking for the best survival knife at an affordable price. This Tanto knife is sharp, hardcore in durability, and does cut through a lot without any issue. If you're looking for a knife that is "more than what you pay for", you might find this intriguing enough to spend your hard-earned dollar on.

Bottom Line

For a knife that is considered the “budget option”, the Cold Steel Micro Recon is anything but a cheap and flimsy knife. It’s tough, sharp, and will rise above and beyond the call of duty whenever you need it. No other knife of this quality will have an affordable price tag. So in short, you’re getting a pretty good steal.

Best Tanto Folding Knife:
Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife


  • Excellent for EDC use
  • Easy to unfold and retract
  • Durable and resistant to damage
  • Solid construction. It doesn’t loosen up or break easily
  • The locking mechanism is cooperative and keeps the blade locked together


  • Should be sharpened first before use
  • May not fit comfortably in most pockets
  • Security lock might be a little stubborn at first

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were impressed with the knife. Before use, they managed to sharpen this in as little as two minutes. Once complete, they did a few test cuts and passed with flying colors. Most of the users chose this knife for EDC applications. One user said he was confident this knife could also get him out of dangerous situations where he would need to defend himself.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This knife is small and compact. But once you get it sharp, it’s a big thing that comes in a small package. You can easily cut through materials like butter. So you won’t deal with any snagging, chipping, or any premature dullness. The folding and unfolding ability is also nice and smooth. So if you want a blade that is easy to deploy whenever you need it most, this knife might be right up your alley.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great EDC knife that will be easy to carry and easy to deploy. Easy to deploy means no struggling to open the blade. The entire design is pretty solid. It would be hard to break the blade off of the handle. Solid, sharp, and reliable are the three words we can describe this knife. If that’s what you’re looking for, this may be exactly your kind of Tanto knife.

Bottom Line

The Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife is perhaps the kind of knife that you’ll want to have in case you have a task or two that requires the use of a sharp, durable Tanto knife. Don’t be surprised if this puppy lasts you years or even decades. Of course, take the best care of it and it will stay loyal to you for a long time.

5. Cold Steel Mini Tac Tanto


  • Nice and compact
  • Sharp right out of the gate
  • It can be easily re-sharpened
  • Easy to clean, takes a few minutes
  • It can cut through hard materials like a coconut shell


  • Sheath design might not be the best
  • May be a little weighty for some users
  • Considered more of a novelty knife than an EDC knife

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, most of the new users were quite satisfied with the knife. They were able to cut through most soft materials like animal skins and even some hardened materials. They also were glad to report that the blade was sharp right from the beginning.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mini knife is small in length, but it’s pretty sharp. Plus, the handle is made in an ergonomic design and will make extended use comfortable for users. The grip itself allows for excellent gripping ability so you won’t lose control over your knife and every cut you’ll make will be nice and smooth.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great knife that can be used for hunting purposes. It won’t be one of those “don’t leave home without them” kind of knives. But it certainly has its uses. So if you want an extra knife that can be used whenever necessary, you may want to consider purchasing something like this.

Bottom Line

The Cold Steel Mini Tac Tanto might be the knife you’ll need for your collection if you’re looking for a novelty. It’s reliable and can stay sharp no matter how much you use it. While it may not be an EDC kind of knife, it doesn’t mean it’s useless.

Pros And Cons of Tanto Knives

Below are the primary pros and cons of these knives:


Knowing what to expect from a Tanto knife is important. Especially the common pros of using a Tanto knife. Here’s what you can expect from a Tanto knife and how it can benefit you:

Strong Tip

Most Tanto knife tips are perhaps some of the sharpest on the market. So they can penetrate through most materials with the greatest of ease. A great puncture can set the stage for the perfect starting point for your cuts. If the tip is dull, you may not be able to do some serious damage, let alone make effective cuts.

Super Strong Durability

Japanese steel is one of the strongest types of steel you can use for a Tanto knife. Of course, the design itself originated from the Land of the Rising Sun. The blade is ridiculously tough and it won’t have any chance of chipping on you after constant, long-term use. If you’re looking for a knife like that, a Tanto knife might be just what you’re looking for.

Easy to Sharpen

Even if your blade isn’t sharp right out of the gate, you can get any sharpener and turn a dull blade into a super sharp one in a matter of minutes. You can probably get away with sharpening it for a couple of minutes and calling it good. You can use this for quite a while before you need to sharpen it again.


Indeed, with pros come the cons. Especially if you need to know some of the common shortfalls a Tanto Knife has. While these shouldn’t discourage you from using this kind of knife, it’s good to know what to expect. Here are some of the cons that you need to know about:

Not All Knives Can “Do It All”

Yes, not all Tanto knives are created equal, which means not every knife will be used for general purposes. That’s why you should consider the application you intend to use your Tanto knife for. If you need a knife for hunting, find one that has a sharp blade (especially one that is sharp right out of the gate).

Some Blades May Take a Long Time to Sharpen

While many blades are easy to sharpen, some might be a little stubborn. They can be stubborn to a point where you may need a few extra minutes to sharpen them. Be sure to have a good high-quality sharpening stone in-hand so you’re able to get the job done much quicker. 


A great Tanto knife will serve you well in the long run if you know what to use it for. Find one that matches your personal needs and preferences and you’ll have one that will stick with you for many years or even decades to come.