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Knife Supremacy

What is the Best Skinning Knife?

You have probably been trying to find a skinning knife that can really skin the hide or skin off of animals, however the knives that you have been finding are either low quality, or they seem good but you don’t know enough information about them. Because in skinning knives there are multiple things you have to look for…

  • Sweeping blade design
  • Curved tip so you don’t puncture the hide or slicing the meat
  • Thinner blade so it can bend a little bit
  • Softer carbon steels so that you can shape and edge the knife better
  • Potentially a gut hook to cut open the belly to pull out all of the innards of the animal
  • Lightweight and compact

These are just some of the things you might be looking for when it comes to skinning knives. However we are going to help solve this problem for you, we have comprised a list of the best skinning knives that the market has to offer.

Quick note: Some of them may be straight edge or will have a gut hook on them… however they are what we found to be the top knives out there that you can use for skinning.

So let’s dive into it!

Havalon Piranta BOLT Skinning Knife

I used it today to skin and quarter a deer and it worked great. It is EXTREMELY sharp and easy to handle.” – Amazon Reviewer

The Piranta is an overall 7 3/8 inches which makes perfectly sized,and is equipped with a 2 3/4″ blade with thick 60A stainless steel blade (also comes with 12 extra blades). The blade is perfectly sized for skinning and making precise cuts will be a breeze.Havalon makes awesome skinning knives, and the Piranta Bolt is no exception; it is well crafted and precise when it comes to skinning game.

What about the sharpness? The blade as mentioned is crafted from 60A stainless steel, which makes the blade hardened and corrosion resistant. This is a higher grade metal that allows for flexibility in the knife without breaking and will stay sharp for a long time.

Hold on, what about durability and stability?  Since the Havalon is formed from the 60A stainless steel, it has a higher durability to breaking or becoming dull. You are getting an extremely good knife blade for the price you are paying.

Overall this is a nicely designed knife, with superior cutting grade. It is one of the best skinning knives you can get for a great price.

Outdoor Edge RB-20 Razor Blaze Skinning Knife


SHARP! You can skin a wild hog in half the time…” – Amazon Reviewer

Up next is the Outdoor Edge RB-20 skinning knife; it is literally razor sharp right out of the box, which is awesome for skinning because it will make seamless cuts and allow for maximum control.

Wait up, what about the sharpness? Oh of course, sharpness is one of the most important qualities in a knife, and the Pardue skinning knife is very sharp. Because it is made from Japanese 420J which is some what equivalent to a 440 A Stainless Steel in America (which basically means that the steel has added in chromium that protects it from corrosion). Although, it is a softer steel which means that it will dull easier, but you will get 6 other blades to swap out in case that does happen, or you can sharpen it.

What about the durability and stability of the knife? Since the Outdoor Edge skinning knife is a flip knife we do worry that the flipping mechanism will break, but we haven’t heard of anyone reporting that it has broke before. Anyways the knife is designed to be used for any hunting or work tasks and some reviewers say that it works very well in almost all work situations (cutting rope, skinning animals, cutting cardboard, etc.).

Overall this is a simple designed skinning knife that is easy to use, it’s sharp and comes with 6 replacement blades. However, it will dull easier due to the stainless steel that it’s crafted from, but you shouldn’t be to worried about that since it comes with replacement bladesA great knife for the price you would be paying for it.

Columbia River Ken Onion Skinner Fixed Razor Edge Knife


Columbia River has done it again. great grip, razor sharp blade and a solid leather sheath. Great product!” – Amazon Reviewer

When it comes to a skinning knife, there really isn’t quite one like the CRKT. We have dug deep to find out what is really nice about this knife; it is only 3.7 ounces, which is very light and will feel like you are holding nothing while cutting with it.

The sharpness of the CRKT is pretty dang good! The people who have ordered this knife, stand by it and really do love this knife. This blade is crafted from a K110 stainless steel; it will get rusty if you leave it out in the water, but is very easy to sharpen and maintain.

It does sport a razor sharp blade that can slice right through the belly of any big game; CRKT prides in crafting very sharp knives that will get the job done for you.

What about the durability and stability? When it comes to skinning, or really cutting anything you want a knife handle that is sturdy and won’t break. Well you get just that with the CRKT. The handle is a double injected molded handle, which gives texture for grip and comfort so that you can skin your game for long periods of time.

  Read the Ken Onion In-depth Review Here

Buck Knives Zipper Fixed Blade Knife with Guthook

Super sharp well made knife , excellent warranty, I highly recomend it to anyone , very high quality made in USA!” – Amazon Reviewer

This is one of the only knives we have on this list that has a guthook. The Buck is definitely a very useful skinning knife and is definitely a contender for being the top skinning knife. And what else is nice, is that with all of Buck’s knives they come with the 4-Ever Unconditional Lifetime Warranty, so don’t ever worry about having to pay to replace this knife! Anyways, let’s take a quick look as to why this knife rocks.

How sharp is the blade? So sharp that it will tear right through the gut of a bear without a problem. And on top of it the gut hook makes it very efficient for cleaning out guts. This knife has some of the best ratings for being very, very sharp. It definitely makes the perfect knife for a hunter, because it is simple, compact and extremely sharp. We suggest though that you always get a knife sharpener to make sure your blades are at top notch quality.

What about the durability and stability? Well the handle is created from textured and rubberized handles and finger handles which gives the handle strength, and an awesome grip. We feel like that since the handle is rubberized and textured that, that will allow for extra traction for your hand so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand while using it. On top of that the blade is made to last, and on top of that it comes with the 4-ever unconditional lifetime warranty, you can check it out here for the full terms. Basically it means that your knife is protected for life from manufacturers defects NOT normal wear & tear. But this knife is definitely made to last.

Overall a very well designed knife with slicing and gutting in mind. A great accessory for any hunter.

Kershaw 1080OR Fixed Blade Skinning Knife

Knife has a short sharp blade. Full tang, light, strong. Nice leather sheath. Very sharp. Orange plastic handles offer great grip and high visibility. Buy it and enjoy.” – Amazon Reviewer

Last but certainly not least is the Kershaw… a well made, compact and extremely sharp skinning knife. This is a knife that almost everybody should have, and is awesome when it comes to skinning… so let’s take a look at the Kershaw.

How sharp is the Kershaw? Compact, yet highly efficient. The blade is formed from Sandvik 14C28N high-performance stainless steel giving the knife a sharp edge that stays for a long time. What we like about this knife, is that it does not require a ton of maintenance, (however you can learn more here about how to maintenance your knife). Most people wouldn’t see this knife as being sharp, however it is very efficient at skinning, because it is compact and very maneuverable. The blade is less than 3 inches, but that only gives you more control of your cuts! (Which is always a plus)

Hold on… if it’s so sharp, then how long does it last? And how stable is it while cutting? Good question… It actually does last for a long time and is the cheapest knife out of the selection, which is surprising. We definitely feel like you get more bang for your buck on this one, however we also like longer knives, so if you prefer a short skinning knife, then this is a good match for you.

On top of that, since it is compact it is more stable. We do feel like though that since it is does run for a smaller price, that you may sacrifice some quality with the grip. However you can read in these reviews that it does have a strong grip and is texturized to allow for grip, and to prevent your hand from slipping.

Overall this Kershaw skinning knife is an excellent choice; it’s sharp and will slice through your game like it’s nothing. A top choice if you are a hunter and need a skinning knife that you can bring out on the field or use in your skinning area.

You can also find an awesome knife sharpener here to help with keeping your knives sharp!

Our Choice on The Best Skinning Knife for Deer & Some Skinning Tips

Skinning deer is an art form, it takes a lot of skill and finesse to skin a deer, and what really helps is having an excellent knife for skinning deer.

Although, we would like to show you first some tips on skinning your deer; deer can be a bit tricky and you want to make sure the entrails don’t taint the meat.

Tips for Skinning a Deer of Any Size (White tail, Elk, Moose, etc.) With a Great Skinning Knife

1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Some people are really good at skinning, heck they almost set (or do) set records for skinning deer… look at the guy below in the video.

Anyways though, it’s better to go slow and steady because you don’t risk tainting the meat with guts, entrails and leftover feces.

On top of that it prevents you from ruining the cuts, and also getting hair all over the meat, which no one likes.

2. Slice and Cut the Fat Off

Whether your end goal is to create jerky, burgers or just a slab of venison, then we deem it important to cut the fat off. This will give the meat more flavor and if are making burgers, then you can add in extra meat like pork or hamburger.

3. Use Latex Gloves to Skin the Deer

Latex gloves have shown to not stick as much when grabbing the meat, and they are disposable as well. Which means if you get hair or something gnarly on them, then you can just take them off and put on a new pair, easy as that.

On top of that, I have seen some guys use no gloves, which to me seems pretty gross and unsanitary because you just don’t know what the deer could have disease wise, and would you want to accidentally get deer blood in your eye or mouth, because you forgot it was on your hand and you needed to scratch your eye? No.

So do yourself a favor and get some latex gloves when you skin your deer.

4. Using Water at Low Pressure to Clean off the Deer

Some people say they use pressure washers, but we tend to think that water can get into the meat, thus watering it down and making it taste not so good.

So we suggest using lower water pressure, (preferably a hose) and a rag to wipe down the deer after it has been skinned. However, you can also use a bucket of cold water and a rag to wipe down your deer after skinning it.

4 Tips to Remember for Skinning Your Deer

  1. Slow & Steady (unless you are an expert and know what you are doing)
  2. Cut the fat off of the deer
  3. Use latex gloves
  4. Use lower water pressure and a rag to wipe down the blood and anything left on the deer

Click here for a great forum thread to read more skinning tips.

Now onto the good part, what kind of knife should I use? All the top ones are great for skinning, but this one has been found to be one of the best skinning knives to use for skinning deer.

The Outdoor Edge Swingblaze SZ-20N SwingBlade

This knife is amazing and cut my field dressing time down to 30 min. The knife goes right through the chest plate and hip. It’s incredibly sharp.” – Amazon Reviewer

One of the top rated deer skinning knife is the Outdoor Edge Swingblaze; it is razor sharp and is highly durable.

You really cannot go wrong with this Outdoor Edge because it is crafted from  AUS-8 Stainless steel which is a very durable metal that can be sharpened and honed to almost near perfection. It will make your life much easier for skinning and can save you a lot of time.

On top of that it is like having two knives in one because it has a rotating skinning/gutting feature which allows for you to seamlessly slice and gut through the deer. No need to waste your money on a separate skinning & gutting knife when you can choose this knife to get  two in one.

Anyways, it is an awesome knife that has one of the highest rating for skinning and gutting, you can’t really go wrong with it.

Other Knife Posts to Check Out

If you enjoy hunting and skinning then you probably like fishing as well; so keep in mind that you can check out our post on the best fishing knives available!

We also comprised an comprehensive list of some of the greatest camping knives on the market as well!

2 comments… add one
  • Thanks for the article. It was very good. Kershaw and Buck sure make some good knives.

    • You can never go wrong with Kershaw or Buck knives, they’re some of the best you can get.

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