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The Best Tanto Knives

Generated From 25K+ Reviews!

Buyer's Guide

Tanto knives have one of the most iconic profiles that a knife blade can have. Which is fitting for a knife blade whose history stretches back over one thousand years.

The design of the tanto was traditionally used for puncturing armor which you can tell upon a quick inspection. Similar to the drop-point, the tanto style has a very strong and sturdy tip.

The tanto is also one very modern-looking blade, so if that’s your aesthetic then this might just be the fit for you.

Since tanto is a profile you can find a tanto knife in pretty much any style that you are looking for whether it’s assisted-opening, automatic, butterfly, gravity, folding, and OTF.

So it’s whatever hits your fancy.

Just keep in mind to check the legality of your state, while some states still have ridiculous laws regarding what knives you can and can’t carry.

Our Top Picks For Tanto Knives

Reviews Of The Best Tanto Knives From Our Research

The Gerber Torch II Tanto

Gerber Torch II Tanto Knife, Serrated Edge, Black [22-41586]
  • Gerber Torch II black serrated edge knife with Tanto blade
  • Dual thumbstud provides one-handed opening
  • The finger flip doubles as finger guard
  • Designed with stainless steel handle with machined G-10 inlay

Gerber has been making knives in America since the late 1930s and it shows in every single one of their products. The Torch II is no exception to this, and it is a knife that is not going to break your bank.

Primary Features

  • Affordable for any budget.
  • The large finger flipper doubles as a guard.
  • Easily opened with one hand using dual studs.
  • The handle has G-10 machine patterned inserts for improved grip.
  • Made from high-quality stainless steel the knife is corrosion resistant.

Smith & Wesson Border Guard SWBG10S Folder

Like Gerber, Smith & Wesson has also had a long run in the industry of making knives.

They don’t just make knives but trusted gear for outdoorsmen and law enforcement as well. The Border Guard Folder is a knife made that shows this detail in its construction.

Primary Features

  • Affordability.
  • Serrated blade.
  • A seatbelt cutter.
  • A window breaker
  • G-10 machined inserts.
  • Dual-sided thumb knobs.
  • 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel blade construction.

Benchmade’s 537 GY Bailout

Benchmade - Bailout Axis Serrated Edge, Gray Coated Tanto Blade, Green 60161-T6 Aluminum Handle,...
  • ULTRALIGHT DESIGN: A slim, sleek stealth knife that adds confidence to your kit; Lightweight design for optimal...
  • AMERICAN MADE CPM-3V STEEL: A powder-metal tool steel engineered for high stress and extreme force; Exceptionally tough...
  • 6061-T6 ALUMINUM HANDLE: Originally developed as a premium aircraft grade aluminum it offers a solid handle and form at...
  • AXIS LOCKING MECHANISM: Ensures safety and a smooth open and easy close; Mini tip-up reversible deep-carry pocket clip...

Benchmade is one of the younger companies on this list that started under the name of Bali-Song because their flagship knife was a balisong or butterfly knife.

Since then they have been manufacturing all manner of knives, and are now a common name thrown around amongst law enforcement and members military.

The 537 GY Bailout is a unique offering, designed with the idea of power-to-weight ratio in mind this folding tanto only weighs in a 2oz. Meaning you likely won’t even know you are equipped with this as your EDC.

Primary Features

  • A simple locking slide for blade release.
  • Double side thumb knobs for easy opening.
  • The blade is a straight edge made from CPM-3V steel.
  • A slotted aluminum pommel for attaching your lanyard.
  • An aluminum handle with Grivory inserts helps to keep a grip.

The Cold Steel Recon Tanto SK-5

Now, you wouldn’t get very far in talking about American-made tanto knives without bringing up Cold Steel. This company was the one to bring the tanto profile into the spotlight of knife enthusiasts and makers alike.

Now, this tanto is likely to be illegal in many states, and it’s not your everyday carry. This is a straight-up combat knife and also shaped more like a traditional tanto with the slight curve of the Japanese style included.

However, this is a highly affordable combat knife that is sure to make you feel like a beast. If you have a son or daughter or relative in the military this will make a great gift that you can be sure of its quality, especially if your kid is a ground pounder.

Might even save their life.

Keep in mind, the Tanto was made for combat around 900 A.D. It’s still here even though the empire that used them isn’t. So think about that.

Primary Features

  • A 7” blade length, made from Japanese Sk5 carbon steel.
  • The handle is 4 ¾” Kray-Ex, giving it solid durability and a sticky grip.
  • The included Secure-Ex friction sheath lets you mount the Recon Tanto in numerous locations.

Columbia River Knife & Tool Company’s M40-02

CRKT M40-02 EDC Folding Pocket Knife: Compact Everyday Carry, Bead Blast Blade, Flipper Open,...
  • Strong And Simple: Deadbolt lock provides incredible strength and it's easy to use
  • Fast Opening: IKBS ball bearing pivot deploys the blade fast
  • Strong And Lightweight: Glass reinforced nylon handle is durable and lightweight
  • Designed by Kit Carson in Vine Grove, Kentucky

Columbia River Knife & Tool Company, let’s use CRKT, is a company that was started by a small group of former Kershaw employees, also a knife company, in the mid-90s. They have made quite the name for themselves in a very short amount of time.

They are well known for making high-quality products that are very affordable, when you live on minimum wage or not. This company is unique in that they rep their designers, truly proud of their staff, which might be part of the reason they became well known so quickly.

Pretty cool company culture.

So the M40-02 is a knife made by one of their designers, Kit Carson, who passed away in 2014. However, his knives were so innovative and popular they are still on CRKT’s menu.

Primary Features

  • Sturdy aluminum and reinforced handle.
  • An IKBS ball-bearing pivot, making it incredibly easy and fast to open.
  • Has just the beefiest locking mechanism, CRKT’s own Deadbolt locking mechanism, giving the M40 unprecedented strength.

Kershaw Knives Shuffle II

Speaking of Kershaw, next up on the list is a Kershaw tanto. Interestingly enough, Kershaw was started by an employee in 1974 that had a former employee of Gerber.

The Shuffle II tanto is an incredibly lightweight EDC at 9 grams. That is literally less than ⅓ of a gram.

Primary Features

  • A built-in bottle opener.
  • A large pommel with a screwdriver tip, saving your poor blade from misuse.
  • A 2.6” blade made from 8Cr14MoV steel and a 3.7” glass-reinforced nylon handle.
  • Is made for left and right-handed people, with a dual-sided thumb stud and mounts on either side for the pocket clip.

Gerber’s 06 Auto Tanto

Gerber Gear 30-000118N 06 FAST Knife, Folding Tactical Serrated Edge Tanto Knife, Black
  • F.A.S.T. forward action spring technology
  • G-10 handle for extra grip when wet
  • Tanto shaped blade is designed for thrusting
  • Pocket clip, blade length 3.75-Inch, serrated edge

So going back to one of my personal favorite cutlery manufacturers, let’s up the ante and talk about an automatic tanto.

While all the knives on this list are easily opened with one hand, an automatic knife takes it a step further and makes it as easy as a push of a button.

Primary Features

  • The handle is made from 6061-T6 with textured G-10.
  • The blade is serrated but also made from quality stainless steel.
  • The incorporation of the F.A.S.T. forward action spring making the opening completely automatic.

Cold Steel FGX Balisong Tanto

Buck Knives 893 GCK Tanto Fixed Blade Tactical Knife with Cerakote Coated 5160 Blade, MOLLE...
  • RAZOR SHARP & VERSATILE- 5 1/2" Tanto style 5160 steel blade delivers excellent strength, edge retention, and corrosion...
  • SAFE STORAGE- MOLLE compatible sheath with multi configuration options safely stores the 893 GCK when not in use
  • SOLID BUILD, SMART DESIGN - Durable G10 handle ensures sure grip in any condition
  • DURABLE – The GCK Tanto is coated with Cerakote coating to enhance physical properties including abrasion/wear...

Surely if you are looking at knives you have heard of the Buck knife, a nigh infamous knife with today’s hunters and outdoorsmen and yesteryears frontiersmen. This company was started in 1902 by Hoyt Buck in his search to find a better way to temper steel, unsatisfied with the way knives of his time held an edge.

Five generations of the Buck Family later and the company is still continuing the tradition of making ridiculously high-quality knives. The Buck family has the 893 GCK tanto.

Primary Features

  • A 5 ½” blade made from highly durable 5160 carbon steel.
  • A handle made of G-10 helps you keep your grip even in wet environments.
  • It comes with a MOLLE-compatible friction sheath that lets you set it where you need it.
  • The patented heat treatment gives the GSK tanto the renowned edge retention Hoyt Buck set out to create with the founding of the company.
Cold Steel FGX Boot Blade I with Kraton Handle , black
  • Blade Thickness: 7.5 mm
  • Handle: 4 3/8" Long Kray-Ex
  • Overall Length: 9 3/8"
  • Steel: Grivory

And now the honorable mention of the group, late to the party as usual.

Now, it wouldn’t be very behooving of my appreciation and knowledge of knife makers to bring up the history of Benchmade and not cover a balisong. Remember how I brought up the fact that Cold Steel brought about this tanto blade profile to the knife market?

And that the Benchmade got its start making balisong knives and were so committed to this that their companies name was Bali-Song? They got so popular in the market they still own the trademark Bali-Song and logo.

Well, here we have the FGX Balisong with a tanto blade. Besides being a butterfly knife, is completely unique.

That is because is made out of an entirely non-metal material called Grid-Ex meaning this knife is manufactured purely through injection molding, and light assembly.

Now butterfly knives are still restricted in many areas of the country, no idea what that’s about when you can literally 3d print a gun. So if you decide to purchase this butterfly knife be aware that it can still be a crime to possess one in your state.

But then again, since this knife won’t be setting off a metal detector kinda makes me wonder…

Anyways, let’s wrap this up.

Final Thoughts

Just because tanto knives are some of the most durable and heavy-hitting blades out on the market doesn’t mean you should neglect them. The straight-ishness of this knife profile makes them very easy to sharpen.

Whether you use an electric grinder or stones. But that’s not the part I want to get to.

I’m talking lube baby.

Most of the knives on this list were made with the intention of being EDCs, meaning that you will be using them every day. So if you are new to the knife world just let me tell you that things will get dirty and grimy fast.

Whether it’s glue, sand, dirt, rust, blood, your ex’s tears, strippers make-up, or the dreams of a terrorist, it’s gonna get gummed up.

So Kershaw’s Knife Oil was specifically made to help keep man’s best friend’s joints healthy, fur shiny, and looking sharp.

Kershaw Knife Oil (0.4 fl oz); Engineered to Protect and Enhance the Folding Mechanisms of Any...
  • Kershaw Knife Oil allows knives to function optimally by working to prevent corrosion and enabling the smoother...
  • Keep the small, accessible and portable bottle of Kershaw Knife Oil in a car, backpack, briefcase, boat, nightstand,...
  • The functional Kershaw Knife Oil can be used on all types of blades and for both outdoor and indoor tools, such as...
  • Applied through the bottle’s drop dispenser, just one drop of Kershaw Knife Oil will lubricate stiff knife joints and...

Be nice to you, and be nice to your knife.

Buy Kershaw’s Knife Oil.