Cold Steel Knives Review — Best of the Brand

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

Cold Steel is most broadly known for some of their over-the-top antique replicas and their knife demonstration videos.

The key thing to pick up from the demonstration videos is that the brand actually builds some really solid edge tools. Cold Steel makes great bladed weapons ranging from affordable EDC’s all the way up to some pretty high-end stuff.

Cold steel has a design for every situation, including survival, tactical, rescue, emergency, EDC, and even some antiquities for your collection.

But! How do you know which model is the best selection for your application? Let’s find out in our detailed Cold Steel knives review.

We think the Voyager Folding Knife is the best Cold Steel Knife, which works wonderfully in all sorts of outdoor applications. It’s made from premium materials and is sturdy and durable.

Here are Our Cold Steel Knife Reviews:

ProductDetails
1. Cold Steel Voyager Series Folding Knife

  • 12.25-inch overall length
  • 5.50-inch blade length
  • AUS 10A blade steel
  • Grid-Ex handle scales
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2. Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto Knife

  • 12-inch overall length
  • 7-inch blade length
  • 0.2-inch blade thickness
  • German D2 steel
  • Griv-Ex handle
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3. Cold Steel SRK Survival Fixed Blade Knife

  • 10.75-inch overall length
  • 6-inch blade length
  • 0.20-inch blade thickness
  • SK-5 blade steel
  • 4.75-inch long Kray-Ex handle
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4. Cold Steel Peace Maker II Knife

  • 10-1/4-inch overall length
  • 5-1/2-inch blade length
  • 4116 stainless steel blade
  • Drop point blade with a flat grind
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5. Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife

  • 9-3/8-inch overall length
  • 4-inch blade length
  • AUS 8A stainless steel blade
  • 5-3/8-inch long G-10 handle
  • Clip point blade edge
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1. Cold Steel Voyager Series Folding Knife — Overall Best Cold Steel Knife

Cold Steel Voyager Series Folding Knife with Tri-Ad Lock and Pocket Clip, Clip Point Plain, Large

The Voyager from Cold Steel has been a staple of the knife industry in America for decades. This knife has a solid build and fast action.

Specs

  • 25-inch overall length
  • 50-inch blade length
  • AUS 10A blade steel
  • Grid-Ex handle scales

Designed to custom quality standards, the Voyager sports a 5.5-inch clip point plain edge blade that is capable of just about any cutting tasks.

The blade is crafted from AUS 10A high carbon stainless steel, which is great because it gives the knife an increased edge holding ability as well as a wide performance advantage.

The clip point blade has a unique slightly upswept tip for piercing and a razor-sharp fine edge that’s excellent for skinning, carving, slicing, and any other cutting application.

Another good feature is the Tri-Ad lock mechanism that utilizes a distinctive combination of features, which respond remarkably when opening and closing the blade.

Pros

  • Tri-Ad lock mechanism is extremely strong and safe
  • Long blade length is suitable for tough outdoor cutting
  • Handle scales are large and extremely ergonomic
  • Clip point tip is superior for piercing
  • Large belly is great for skinning, carving, and slicing

Cons

  • May arrive too stiff for quick and safe deployments
  • Closing the blade may require both of your hands

Conclusion

This is a great knife for outdoor applications, including hunting and survival. Not to mention that it is highly ambidextrous.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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2. Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto Knife — Best Fixed Blade Model

Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto

Designed for extreme situations, the Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto Knife has a combat-ready, tough, and durable fixed blade.

Specs

  • 12-inch overall length
  • 7-inch blade length
  • 2-inch blade thickness
  • German D2 steel
  • Griv-Ex handle

The Leatherneck features a sharp blade that is crafted from German D2 steel, which is great because it has high hardness and toughness and outstanding edge holding ability.

The rugged tanto point fixed blade boasts an extremely strong and sharp fine edge cutting power for both survival and tactical situations.

The powder-coated blood groove blade has the mass and strength needed to effectively pierce, slice, and chop a variety of materials under all sorts of outdoor conditions. The knife is fitted with a heavy-duty five-inch long Griv-Ex over-molded handle to the full length of the tang for superior grip power and control.

But here is the thing, the sheath that comes with the Leatherneck appears to be cheaply made.

Pros

  • Hard and tough D2 steel is highly durable
  • Blood groove increases piercing, slicing, and chopping power
  • Tanto point is extremely strong for stabbing into hard-hitting materials
  • Over-molded handle provides a strong hand grip
  • Rugged finger guard for added protection

Cons

  • May come with a blunt secondary edge
  • Sheath appears cheaply made

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a rugged outdoors knife or a unique model to add to your collection, the Cold Steel Leatherneck is the real deal.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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3. Cold Steel SRK Survival Fixed Blade Knife

Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue Fixed Blade Knife with Secure-Ex Sheath - Standard Issue Knife of The Navy Seals, Great for Tactical, Outdoors, Hunting and Survival Applications, SK-5 Steel

The Cold Steel SRK is a very solid option for the outdoors, including rescue, survival, camping, and bushcrafting.

Specs

  • 75-inch overall length
  • 6-inch blade length
  • 20-inch blade thickness
  • SK-5 blade steel
  • 75-inch long Kray-Ex handle

The knife comes with a six-inch blade that is crafted from SK-5 steel, which is exceptionally tough for good wear and corrosion resistance.

I really appreciate the clip point blade profile and the hollow grind edge, considering how effective the knife is at cutting, slicing, and skinning. The 4.75-inch handle is made from Kray-Ex, which is a very durable material that provides you with a strong hand grip and it will never mildew, crack, shrink, or splinter.

Another good feature is the single quillon finger guard that is ergonomically designed to keep the knife from slipping off your hand when cutting.

What I don’t like; however, is the black high carbon steel finish, which can easily be damaged when sharpening the knife.

Pros

  • Tough blade steel with good corrosion resistance
  • Rugged clip point that’s effective for rescue operations
  • Kray-Ex handle provides exceptional hand grip power
  • Finger guard offers additional protection
  • Lanyard hole provides additional versatility

Cons

  • Black blade finish can easily get damaged during sharpening
  • Could be more ergonomic with finger grooves

Conclusion

If a multi-purpose survival and rescue edge tool is what you are for, then the Cold Steel SRK fits the description and budget.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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4. Cold Steel Peace Maker II Knife

Cold Steel Peace Maker Tactical Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath, Peace Maker II

A good tactical knife, like the Cost Steel Peace Maker II, is easy to wheel in tactical situations and combat.

Specs

  • 10-1/4-inch overall length
  • 5-1/2-inch blade length
  • 4116 stainless steel blade
  • Drop point blade with a flat grind

The Peace Maker II comes equipped with a heavy-duty 4116 stainless steel blade, which is great because it has good edge retention and decent corrosion resistance.

It sports a drop point blade with a Scandi grind that provides you with excellent slashing power and unbelievable penetration. The handle design is deeply textured with a rugged stippling pattern, which is sure to provide you with a strong, non-slip hand grip.

What I don’t like; however, is the quality of the sheath. It’s made of cheap plastic material, which doesn’t seem to have long-lasting durability.

Pros

  • Good initial sharpness and edge retention
  • Easily controllable for superior slashing power and penetration
  • Deeply textured handle slabs offer strong gripping power
  • Double finger guards prevent the knife from slipping off
  • Scandi grind blade is remarkably easy to sharpen

Cons

  • Cheap plastic sheath doesn’t seem to be durable
  • Some models may be dull out of the box

Conclusion

The Cold Steel Peace Maker II is well-suited for tactical situations with its excellent fit and finish. It’s a rugged design that is easy to wheel and control.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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5. Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife

Cold Steel , Recon 1, Folding Knife, AUS 8A/Black Teflon, Combo, Tanto Point, Thumb Stud/Pocket Clip, 4", XHP Steel, Box

Every facet of the Recon 1 construction, from its AUS 8A stainless steel blade to the G-10 handle, has been expertly engineered, allowing you to use the knife in the field with complete confidence.

Specs

  • 9-3/8-inch overall length
  • 4-inch blade length
  • AUS 8A stainless steel blade
  • 5-3/8-inch long G-10 handle
  • Clip point blade edge

Developed as a tactical, quick deploying folding knife, the Cold Steel Recon 1 features the brand’s agile Tri-Ad lock mechanism that is extremely strong and durable. Honed from rugged AUS 8A stainless steel, the blade is exceptionally tough, rust-resistant, and capable of acquiring and retaining a razor-sharp edge.

The blade sports a strong clip point that is highly versatile in tactical situations because it allows for quicker stabbing and piercing with minimum drag. The blade folds into two strong black G-10 handle pieces that are ergonomically textured for a strong grip and shape to comfortably fit your hand.

But the thing is, the G-10 handle scales are way too rough, and they can take a toll on your jeans when you pocket carry the knife.

Pros

  • Tri-Ad lock is agile, strong, and very durable
  • Exceptional edge retention and rust resistance
  • Clip point profile reduces drag when stabbing or piercing
  • Handgrip is ergonomically textured for superior control
  • Lanyard hole provides added versatility

Cons

  • Handles are too rough to the extent that they may damage your jeans
  • Could be better with assisted opening

Conclusion

The Cold Steel Recon 1 has set an outstanding standard for tactical folders that is hard to beat. Not to mention its hard-earned reputation for strength and reliability.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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Buying Guide For Cold Steel Knives

If you haven’t found what you have been looking for in our Cold Steel Knife reviews, you can always consider other options by taking into account the following factors:

Fixed or Folding Design

All Cold Steel knives fall into one of two categories: folding or fixed blade.

Cold Steel knives with folding blades are more compact and can be stored with or without a sheath. They are basically more casual to carry and much easier to deploy.

The only significant problem is that the most popular Cold Steel folders are fitted with the brand’s proprietary Tri-Ad lock mechanism. So, you don’t have a variety to choose from as far as the lock mechanism is concerned.

Fixed blade Cold Steel knives are a bit more cumbersome to carry, but they are worth the extra burden. A fixed blade is usually safer to use compared to a folder because it doesn’t depend on a lock mechanism that is bound to fail at some point.

Blade Steel and Blade Shape

Whether it’s a fixed blade or a folder, the cutting performance always depends on the blade steel and the blade shape. There are two main materials used by Cold Steel: high carbon steel and high carbon stainless steel. Both materials are great, but high carbon steel is a better choice when it comes to edge retention.

The most popular blade shapes found on Cold steel knives are: clip, drop, tanto, vaquero, and Kris. Each shape has its benefits and drawbacks, but choose one that best suits your application.

For example, tanto and clip points are best suited for piercing and stabbing, while the large belly of a drop point is good for cutting and slicing.

Balance and Feel

Almost all Cold Steel knives are engineered to perfection with great attention to detail. So, you must consider the balance and feel of a given Cold Steel model before making a purchase. This is usually subjective; however, if a knife does not feel right, then you may never feel comfortable using such a blade.

So, you need to consider the material, shape, and texture of the handgrip. An ergonomic knife handle material may help you maintain a strong grip.

A knife’s front-to-back balance will also influence both feel and function. As such, you need to choose a heavy-duty blade design, whose center of balance matches your application.

For example, a heavy blade is good for chopping while a light blade is great for fine carving and whittling.

Final Thoughts

The Cold Steel knives battle is fierce, but we have a winner, the Cold Steel Voyager Series Folding Knife. This is one of the brand’s all-time best.

It stands out as the best sport utility knife, especially for hunting, thanks to its superior balance and feel. Its giant ricasso allows you to choke up the blade for superior control.

The ergonomics on this knife are also amazing. The thumb studs are ambidextrous, the finger groove is remarkably deep, and the handle scales are well-textured for a non-slip grip.

The AUS 10A blade steel is an incredible material with superior toughness and corrosion resistance. It also boasts an initial razor-sharp edge and good edge retention.

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