Outdoor Edge Swingblaze SZ-20N SwingBlade with Bright Orange Handle Never Lose Your Knife Again

The Best Skinning Knives Ever – Check Them Out!

So you want to know what the best skinning knife is. Prepare to be blown away!

Let me level with you: 

It took me what seems to be forever to find a skinning knife that could actually take the skin of my kill. Everything I tried (on recommendations I might add) ended up being sub-par in quality.

Do you get me here?

Then, in a moment of pure enlightenment, I actually learned about what I should look for in the best skinning knife. Man, I have to say, my life changed in a snap. Well…maybe not my life but definitely a certain aspect of it.

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What do the best skinning knives have in common?

  • They have sweeping blade designs
  • They have curved tips
  • They have thinner blades that are a little flexible
  • They are made from softer carbon steel for easy shaping and edging
  • They come with gut hooks (although not all of them do)
  • They’re lightweight and compact 

Okay great John, but have you got some tips to make the process easier?

You bet your ass I do. Like I said, I’ve been through the horrible ordeal of messing up a perfectly good hide thanks to a crappy knife and zero skills.

Since I’m not keen on letting that happen to you, I’m going to help a fella out here.

Here are some tips for simplifying the skinning process:

Make sure you’re using a skinning knife that fits you and can get the job done

Always go slow and steady – unless off course you’re one of the guys competing in “the fastest deer skinning contest”. You’ll end up with better cuts that don’t have hair on them. 

Use Latex gloves for the skinning process (you won’t get nasty things on your hands, and if you do you can just chuck them and put on a new pair). Please DO use gloves, going without it is just gross and very unhygienic.

Put the power hose down. All that pressurized water will get into the meat and make it taste less-than-palatable.  The low water pressure from a regular hose or just a bucket of cool water will work just fine.

Okay so now we can move on to the good part. What are the options for best skinning knives to consider?

The Best Skinning Knives

HavalonPiranta BOLT Skinning Knife

Coming in at an overall length of 7 3/8 inches, the HavalonPiranta is perfect is size and blade requirements, with a 2 3/4 inch 60A stainless steel blade AND 12 extra blades. I really appreciated the well-crafted knife that cuts with precision and the utmost of ease.

The Pros:

  • The blade is flexible and does a pretty solid job at retaining its edge over an extended period
  • The price compared to the quality of steel you get is just amazing
  • The blades are surgically sharp, so much so that you really don’t want to get your fingers anywhere near them

The Cons:

  • You’ll need pliers to change the stiffly fitted surgical blades
  • This knife will not handle prying jobs, so just stick to cutting
  • It seems kind of obvious by the amount of spare blades you get with the purchase of the Piranta, but they blades are fragile and not really durable at all
HavalonPiranta BOLT Skinning Knife

HavalonPiranta BOLT Skinning Knife

Outdoor Edge RB-20 Razor Blaze Skinning Knife

If you need something that’s razor sharp straight out of the box, look no further than the RB-20 from Outdoor Edge. This flip-knife is easy to use and has a very simple design, yet it works amazingly well!

The Pros:

  • Cuts feel seamless while the knife offers you maximum control
  • The blade is made from super-durable 420J Japanese steel with added chromium to protect it against corrosion
  • The knife comes with 6 spare blades that can be used when the fitted blade dulls, or you can just easily sharpen it

The Cons:

  • The softer steel material means the knife will likely dull easier than most other skinning knives
  • The metal sheath is crap
  • Blade changing is a pain in the butt
Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite Folding Hunting Knife 3-1/2" Replaceable Stainless Steel Blade Kraton Handle

Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite Folding Hunting Knife 3-1/2″ Replaceable Stainless Steel Blade Kraton Handle

Columbia River Ken Onion Skinner

I’ve praised the work of Ken Onion before when I talked about the best quality hunting knives, and the Skinner from Columbia River just goes to show that Sir Onion really knows his stuff. Weighing in at just 3.7 ounces, it’s one of the lightest skinning knives out there.

The Pros:

  • The K110 stainless steel blade is pretty darn sharp, and sharpening it is super easy
  • The balance is superior and you can really feel that the knife was made with durability in mind
  • The double injected molded handle allows you to have a solid grip throughout the skinning process and the texture ensures your hand won’t slip around

The Cons:

  • Since the blade is made from stainless steel, leaving it wet or in contact with water is going to get it rusted up real quick
  • The sheath totally puts this knife’s name to shame
CRKT Ken Onion - Onion Skinner Knife

CRKT Ken Onion – Onion Skinner Knife

Buck Zipper Fixed Blade

I can’t get over how much I just love all Buck Knives. They all come with the legendary Buck Forever Warranty, so you know you’re buying into the best brand when it comes to value for your investment. I love that this knife is equipped with a Guthook, which makes it one of the top contenders in the race for the ultimate skinning knife.

The Pros:

  • The edge of the Zipper is incredibly sharp, and the added bonus of the Guthook just makes the skinning process that much easier
  • The knife is simple, compact and very on-point. It also comes with the perfect grip handle that eliminates any slip.

The Cons:

  • The crappy sheath definitely doesn’t match the overall quality of the knife
Buck Knives 0691BKG Buck Zipper Fixed Blade Knife with Guthook

Buck Knives 0691BKG Buck Zipper Fixed Blade Knife with Guthook

Outdoor Edge Swingblaze SZ-20N

Okay so I get that this knife looks a little unconventional, but just go with the instinct and try it for yourself. If you need a surgically sharp blade that’s built or durability and reliability, the Swingblaze is right up your alley.

The Pros:

  • The blade is crafted from AUS-8 Stainless Steel, which offers you super sharp edges that are easy to touch up
  • It comes with a rotating skinning/gutting feature, so it eliminates the need for separate skinning and gutting knives.

The Cons:

  • This skinning knife will need some initial sharpening because it’s pretty dull upon purchase
  • Cleaning up the knife after a skinning session is a total pain
Outdoor Edge Swingblaze SZ-20N SwingBlade with Bright Orange Handle Never Lose Your Knife Again

Outdoor Edge Swingblaze SZ-20N SwingBlade with Bright Orange Handle Never Lose Your Knife Again

And that’s it guys. 5 of the best skinning knives on the market today, all you have to do is pick one and let the games begin.

I’ll be back soon with another great informational piece on the Shun Paring Knife. Make sure to check back in if you thought paring knives were just for women who love to cook in the kitchen!

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