If you are a frequent diver or snorkeler, you know that having a dive knife allows you to do many tasks underwater, and it can also save your life. In the event of an emergency, it is imperative to be able to cut yourself out of a tangle of old fishing line, plus you can also help the local marine life in case they get tangled in a rope as well. Many dive knives are available in high-quality titanium making them rustproof, and you can also strap many of these lightweight knives to your thigh. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best scuba dive knife and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
The Best Dive Knives Go As Follows:
Best Dive Knife Buying Guide
Choosing a Dive Knife
One of your first considerations should be where you will be wearing your knife. Areas like your wrist, leg, gauge console, or BCD will dictate what size knife you need to look for, plus if you do a lot of traveling, you may need to consider having a small diver knife. After you know what size knife you are looking for and where you will wear it, you need to consider the type of grip you will need and whether you will be using it with a glove on or with your bare hand.
The best way to test the grip is to try them out. It is important to get a good feel on how the knife releases from the sheath as well as how it feels when you replace it. Remember to get a snorkeling knife that has the features that most appeal to you as it is a vital part of your diving equipment. You never know when you need to cut yourself out of some fishing line or even need to use it as a hammer. A scuba divers knife should never be used to ruin rocks or coral underwater or even to harm marine life.
Typically, the blades of scuba dive knives are made from either Titanium, stainless steel or even a ceramic dive knife. Since these two materials are used on almost 100% of the dive knives you will be looking at, you don’t have to worry about rust as both titanium and stainless steel are naturally corrosion resistant. This is a great feature for anyone that spends a lot of time underwater in a saltwater environment. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
Known as a softer metal, stainless steel has a blade that is easier and faster to sharpen than a titanium blade. They are also less expensive than titanium knives. On the downside, stainless steel blades require sharpening more often, and they are a little less corrosion resistant. Since stainless steel can rust, just a bit slower than typical steel, it does need maintenance by rinsing the knife with fresh water after diving and then let it dry either on the outside of the sheath or unfolded. If you have oil or silicone, you can rub it with that substance as well.
You can check the stainless-steel underwater knife for a series number which should typically fall between 300 and 400. You will find the lower the number, the more resistant it is to corrosion. Also, if you find a lower number, the blade will lose its edge faster. Although a 300-series knife will not rust as quickly as a 400-series knife, a 400-series knife stays sharper and requires less maintenance like cleaning and sharpening.
Stronger and lighter, a Titanium blade takes more time and effort, but it remains sharper for a longer period of time. If you have to travel or are concerned about the weight of your knife, a titanium knife has little to no maintenance required and is very lightweight. Since Titanium doesn’t contain carbon you don’t have to worry about it oxidizing. You want a dive knife that is pretty much rust and corrosion resistant requiring very little to no maintenance. With a titanium dive knife, you also get a lightweight knife with more flexibility that is hard to break. They are also more expensive than stainless steel, but should still be maintained to keep its quality.
Another common consideration when choosing a dive knife is which type of tip is most versatile. If your knife is going to be your primary tool, a blunt tip is a good choice since the squared off shape of the tip makes the perfect cutting tool and a very powerful prying tool. Great for chiseling, hacking, digging, or prying, a blunt tip is very handy and also good for cleaning a boat or welding underwater. You don’t have to worry about having an accident with a blunt tip like puncturing your air hose or wetsuit, and you also don’t have to worry about hurting another diver making it more of a safety type of knife.
If you are more interested in activities like spearfishing, a sharp tip is handy to have so you can kill any fish you spear quickly. Not only will this end the fish from suffering but it also stops unwanted attention that an injured fish can attract from predators. A sharp tip knife can also help if you do end up in the situation with a dangerous marine predator so you can defend yourself and get safely back in the boat.
Although great for cleaning what you catch, a sharp tip is more dangerous and there are more possibilities of accidentally cutting or injuring yourself or other divers. You also have to be a little more careful with a pointed tip since it can break if used for chiseling or digging.
There is also a third option called a Tanto Tip which is a hybrid of the pointed and blunt tips. With an angled tip, it is good for cutting as well as activities where you need a blunt tip.
In this case, size doesn’t always matter. With a diving knife, a short blade can work as well as a long one when it comes to cutting. It’s the handle that can make a difference. Long knives have a longer handle so you can get a nice comfortable grip which makes a difference if you are using it for a long period of time.
When choosing a dive knife, you can either go for a smaller blade that ranges between two to three inches or a medium sized knife between four to five inches. Knives that are larger than that can become dangerous and awkward. If you are recreational diving, a four-inch blade should be enough to cut yourself out if you get tangled up in a line. This length of the knife will have a grip and blade that is about the same length.
A small dive knife, two to three inches, will work just about anywhere, and you can even attach it to your hose to access it quickly. Your main concern should be whether the handle is long enough so that you can grip the knife firmly. The most practical knives will be in the medium size range since it has the strength and weight you need for cutting, plus they can be strapped to you in a range of easy to access areas.
While each size knife has its benefits, no one knife size is the best for everything. It all depends on what you will be doing underwater and how you plan to carry your knife. Your dive style will dictate the size knife you need especially if you plan to spear fish or just need it for safety reason to get untangled from old fishing line. There are many options to choose from. You just have to determine what your needs are and then find the right knife to fit your diving style.
The best blade design is also determined by your diving style. If you just need it for emergencies or to clear out tangles in fishing lines, then a compact knife can be a good option. If you know you will need it for heavy-duty cutting, prying, or sawing, a rugged dive knife with a secure grip and tough blade will be needed. For those that spearfish, you need a sharp blade that can quickly kill a fish that has been speared as well as a tool for freeing or repairing spear points. No matter what blade design you choose, make sure the grip of the knife fits your hand well, especially with gloves on if that’s how you dive.
Dive knives made today are able to resist rust a lot better than those made years ago. Metals like Titanium and some special steel alloys can withstand corrosion, and there are some steels that with the right maintenance can resist rust. To take the right care of your steel, rinse the sheath and knife as soon as you can to make sure you remove all the salt that may have accumulated under the hardware or the handle. If the handle of the knife can be removed, take it off for cleaning and then completely dry the knife by rubbing the metal parts and blade with a cloth to take off any stains or corrosion. It will also help to use a fine coating of silicone lubricant, but not petroleum oil, before you store it away in its sheath.
Other Features to Consider
Line Cutting Notch: Some knives have a small, sharpened groove that allows you to hook a line and quickly cut it. This is useful when you get tangled up in a rogue line so you can free yourself quickly.
Edge: As far as functionality, your blade’s style is very important. The style of your blade is a big consideration when thinking about its usefulness and safety. For increased versatility, a blade that is both serrated and straight is the best. With the straight edge, you will be able to cut plastic like nylon rope and line. With the serrated edge, you will be able to saw at natural fibers like kelp and rope. Both types of blades can be very useful when underwater.
Black Blades: Although it is hard to find if you drop it, it will also not attract dangerous marine life like a shiny knife will and could also scare away the fish you may want to spear.
Straps: You can strap your knife to your arm or leg or even mount it to your dive belt or BCD, buoyancy compensation device. Make sure you are your knife in a comfortable place that is easy to reach. You should be able to access it with just one hand. Also, look for straps that have double-stitched nylon or a durable fabric that can withstand the rocks and sand you will encounter underwater.
Sheath: The sheath should hold your knife securely although you want to be able to draw the knife with just one hand. You will find that the majority of sheaths are constructed of plastic which is a good material for storing a knife in without worrying about blunting it.
Folding: Lightweight and smaller, a folding knife is easier to stow away than a fixed knife. The majority of folding knives will lock into an open position so you don’t have to worry about cutting your fingers. On the downside, some of these knives can be hard to open with just one hand and some of these knives do not come with a strap so you may have to buy one separately.
Finger Grips: Giving you a comfortable and improved grip, finger grips are helpful in keeping your knife from slipping out of your hand.
Handle: When considering handles, a metal handle will have a butt that is perfect for hammering if it is big enough or banging on a metal surface to get someone’s attention in an emergency.
Best Dive Knife Reviews
The Best Dive Knives reviewed are as follows below.
1. TUSA X-Pert 2 Titanium Knife
Made of corrosion resistant Titanium, the Drop Point X-Pert II Knife is a high-quality knife that you can easily take apart to clean requiring very little to no maintenance. With both a straight edge and a serrated edge, the X-Pert 2 comes with a line cutter and an ergonomically designed grip made of plastic and strong rubber that has a counterweight. Measuring ten inches with a blade length of 4.5 inches, the X-Pert 2 has a sheath with straps and buckles that are easy to adjust and lets you create a comfortable fit.
Using a sheath lock release with a single button release, the X-Pert 2 also features a drop point blade. Including an eyelet on the hand grip, you can easily attach this Titanium knife to a wrist lanyard. Available in several colors, this is a lightweight and durable knife that comes with a 12-month limited warranty. It is one of the best titanium dive knives available on the market for it’s price.
- Lightweight and durable
- Great for snorkeling and light-duty cutting
- Nice serrated edge and ergonomic grip
- A little on the expensive side
- You can’t attach it to a standard belt clip
2. Aqua Lung Argonaut Titanium Diving Knife
Made from just one piece of titanium, the Aqua Lung Argonaut Diving Knife has both smooth and serrated edges. This awesome knife has a handle wrapped with seven feet of parachute cord that you can then rewrap to customize the design yourself. And, the Kydex sheath is thermoformed giving you a friction fit that securely grips the knife so that it takes a good pull to draw it out, plus it comes with leg strap holes that are a ¼ inch wide and one inch long.
The Argonaut tactical dive knife can cut through most test lines but does struggle a pit with a heavier monofilament line. Measuring 9.75 inches long, this knife is actually cut out of one rust-resistant 4mm piece of Titanium and then ground to the desired shape. The metal is sharpened after receiving an EDP coating and the logos are laser etched into the sheath and the knife.
- Really sharp and well made
- Well-balanced and will not rust
- Has a really nice feel
- Can come free of the sheath
3. Aqua Lung Ti Dive Knife
With a three-inch-long blade, the Aqua Lung Ti Dive Knife is made of stainless steel that includes all the necessary features. This compact knife comes with a squeeze mechanism that allows you to squeeze the colored tabs to release the lock and unsheathe the knife. This simple movement allows you to easily access your knife without having to mess around with catches or buttons.
The Ti Dive Knife also comes with a serrated edge that lets you easily cut through light to medium rope and features a blunt tip that easily pries things open or chips away concretions. Available in several colors, it also comes two depth compensating leg straps and a bottle opener.
- Good size knife, not too big
- Always sharp and doesn’t show signs of rust
- Great accessory knife
- Double squeeze lock is not foolproof
- A little on the expensive side
4. Promate Titanium Blade Dive Knife
The Promate Dive Knife is a full-sized knife that measures 9.45 inches with a 4.45-inch blade length. Made of corrosion resistant titanium, this is a durable knife with both a straight edge and serrated edge. Equipped with a strong rubber grip, the handle is ergonomic that is rubber molded and easy to grip, plus this knife also comes with a titanium butt which can be used for hammering.
The Promate Titanium Blade Dive Knife is available in either a drop point or blunt tip design that also can be used as a screwdriver. The accompanying sheath is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic that features a push release system with double buttons to ensure a secure lock and also two strong rubber leg straps that are corrosion proof. This lightweight knife has good balance and requires very little or no maintenance.
- Nice balance and good quality
- Good price for what you get
- No maintenance need to take care of it
- The sheath is worthless as the locking mechanism gets jammed with sand
5. Promate Barracuda Titanium Diving Knives
If you are looking for a high-end scuba knife, the handy Promate Barracuda Titanium Dive Knife is worth checking out. This 10.5-inch knife has a thick, ergonomic handle and a very thick five-inch blade that is one of the sharpest on the market. It also comes with both a flat and serrated edge, a sharp tip, and a line cutter.
Sheathed on your ankle, this knife is made of matte materials forgoing any shiny parts that could attract the attention of any marine animals. Featuring a Titanium blade that is rust proof and a hammer on the bottom, the Barracuda comes with adjustable straps that have a quick release. It is also easy to take a part for cleaning but other requires very little to no maintenance.
- Sharp on all sides
- Good price for a titanium knife
- Low maintenance is needed
- The release mechanism can get jammed with sand and shells
The winner of the best dive knife roundup is the TUSA X-Pert 2 Titanium Knife. This is a high-quality knife made of corrosion resistant Titanium. You can easily take apart the X-Pert 2 Knife to clean but it although it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. You get a straight edge and a serrated edge as well as a line cutter.
The X-Pert 2 features an ergonomically designed grip is made of plastic and strong rubber that has a counterweight and only measures ten inches in length with a blade length of 4.5 inches. The X-Pert 2 includes a sheath with straps and buckles that are easy to adjust and let you create a comfortable fit. Using a sheath lock release with a single button release, the X-Pert 2 also features a drop point blade.
The X-Pert 2 also includes an eyelet on the hand grip so you can easily attach this Titanium knife to a wrist lanyard. Available in several colors, this is a lightweight and durable knife that comes with a 12-month limited warranty. The definite winner of the best dive knife roundup is the TUSA X-Pert 2 Titanium Knife hands down.