A good reliable dive knife is a must for serious scuba divers.
Safety is paramount, and whether you are diving in waters with the potential threat of predators, or find your self in a situation where line needs to be cut fast; to know that your knife is safely secured on you ready to perform is a peace of mind all divers should have.
However, with the various models available, which is the right diving knife for you? A difficult question to answer as every diver has different needs, (which of course will impact the type of dive knife you buy).
In our top 5-review roundup we have selected a range of knives that best fulfil these varying needs.
|1. Promate Barracuda Sharp Tip Titanium Diving Knife
|2. Atomic Aquatics Titanium Ti6 Scuba Diving Knife Blunt & Pointed Tip
|3. Aqua Lung Squeeze Lock SS- Blunt Tip Dive Knife (Blue)
|4. United Cutlery UC0247B Sting Ray Dive Knife
|5. Promate Sharp Tip Titanium Dive Knife
For our full review of each dive knife, read on below.
What to look for when buying a dive knife
There are a number of key points you should consider when buying a dive knife. Blade material is obviously important, as is size and style of the knife. There’s also the shape and material of the handle. Before we delve into our diving reviews section, lets take a look at some of these issues in detail.
Different Types of Dive Knife Material
There are 2 main types of dive knife blade materials available:
- Titanium dive knife
- Stainless steel dive knife
Choosing the right type for you is often dependent on budget, (a titanium dive knife is generally more expensive) and for what purpose you intend to use the knife.
Whatever the material, your diving knife has to strike a balance between being hard enough to hold an edge; strong enough to resist breaking; and very importantly considering the work conditions, stable enough to avoid corrosion.
The Titanium dive knife
In our opinion the best dive knives are made from titanium. Titanium knives provide both hardness and corrosive resistance, making them ideal for divers.
(Note: a minor disadvantage to titanium knives is that they can be difficult to sharpen. However, with such good edge retention a good dive knife will last you a long time.)
The Stainless Steel Dive Knife
Steel knives are also a good choice for divers. They are easier to sharpen than titanium knives and also hold their edge well. However, they are more susceptible to corrosion if you do not maintain them properly.
What sized dive knife should I buy?
Diving knife blades generally range in size from 3 inches to 6 inches.
The fact is, a small dive knife is easier to harness while diving and can be more versatile. Very often they can cut just as well as the larger dive knives available.
However, a larger knife has room for a more comfortable handle. This should be considered if you have large hands, or you plan on using the knife for tasks such as cutting several hundred feet of line, (where a short handle would soon prove uncomfortable).
Shape and Style
You may be looking out for a dive knife for spearfishing. You will therefore want a knife designed for dispatching speared fish. For this you will need a blade that can cut well but also quickly and has tools for repairing or freeing spear points.
Other knives are built to withstand sawing or prying or heavy pounding. For this you should look out for a strong and durable knife with a thick, tough blade a secure grip and a hammer in the butt end of the handle.
If you intend to carry your dive knife for emergency use, or to clear away entanglements like fishing line, a small compact tool that can be easily stowed ready for use, will be the order of the day.
All said and done, no one knife will be the right choice for everyone. It is very much down to your individual needs.
Top 5 dive knives reviewed
1. Promate Barracuda Sharp Tip Titanium Diving Knife (5-inch)
The Promate Barracuda Sharp Tip is an excellent all rounder dive knife.
The titanium blade is strong, sharp out of the box and of course highly corrosion resistant.
The knife also features a titanium hammer on the bottom of the handle, for extra versatility and strength.
The handle itself is large enough to be comfortable, with the overall design of the knife prioritising solid build quality.
The guys over at Promate have also added a unique lock and hold system that is built into the sheath, complete with an easy to access quick release button. The rubber straps, meaning this beast feels secure in place at all times.
What we loved about the Promate Barracuda
- Quality titanium build, this will not rust
- Very sharp out of the box (requires little maintenance)
- Access your knife in seconds with the easy to use quick release sheath mechanism
Not so good points
- The knife could do with a hold down strap for the handle. Should the lock and hold system fail, there is no back up and you could lose your knife
- Straps are a bit short for larger thighs.
The Promate Barracuda Sharp Tip is a very well built and designed titanium dive knife that comes highly recommended as a strong go to tool for all scuba divers.
2. Atomic Aquatics Titanium Ti6 Scuba Diving Knife
The Atomic Aquatics Ti6 is arguably the top choice titanium dive knife you can buy for the money. The serrated edge and large line-cutting notch make this ideal for emergency uses and dealing with entanglements.
The corrosion-resistant full-tang Titanium blade, features a curved 4-inch cutting edge and is extremely well made.
You’ll have no problems accessing the knife. The lightweight locking sheath works with an easy to use push-button release system.
This knife comes with different sized leg straps too, so the lengths are appropriate when fixing to your inner thigh, (however they can be a little fiddly to adjust once in place).
The build quality is evident in the handle, which feels very sturdy and well balanced in the hand.
What we loved about the Atomic Aquatic Ti6
- High grade, non corrosive titanium strength
- Little to no maintenance required
- Great sheath with well thought out leg straps
The not so good points
- The small blade length may not be for everyone
An excellent well made knife from a very reliable company. Atomic Aquatic have been releasing quality knives of late, and the Ti6 is no different. A perfect dive knife for those wanting a quick to access tool for emergencies.
3. Aqua Lung Squeeze Lock SS- Blunt Tip
The Aqua Lung Squeeze lock is probably the coolest dive knife in our list. It’s small with only a 3 inch blade, but it makes for an excellent backup knife.
The patented secure locking system allows for the user to release the knife with a natural “squeeze” of the handle.
Hose mounting straps are included for mounting the Aqua Lung to the BC inflator hose, making it really accessible when you need it most. This works very well, locking the blunt tip in securely enough so you don’t have to worry about the knife becoming dislodged.
However, with this being a versatile little dive knife, a locking belt clip is integrated into the sheath for attaching the knife to webbing, and there are also optional rubber leg straps should you wish to fix the Aqua Lung to your thigh.
The knife comes in two blade types, titanium and 304 stainless steel, (the former being the more expensive) as well as blunt or sharp tip versions.
What we loved about the Aqua Lung
- The BCD mount is excellent and very reliable
- The knife is sharp, small and very convenient
- The squeeze clips work really well
The not so good points
- The stainless steel version will require careful maintenance
The Aqua Lung Squeeze Lock is exceptional value. All diver’s should carry a knife for safety reasons and if you want something that sits neatly without being in the way, then this is the knife for you.
As a diver, you never know when you are going to get tangled up in something. Having the Aqua Lung at the ready whenever you may need provides great peace of mind.
An excellent dive knife that comes highly recommended.
4. United Cutlery UC0247B Sting Ray Dive Knife
The United Cutlery Sting Ray Dive Knife makes our list as the Best budget dive knife you can buy in 2018.
The black-coated AUS-6 Stainless Steel blade is nice and strong, and while it will require more maintenance than the average titanium blade, the black coating does help add a protective layer against corrosion.
The knife measures in at 8.5 inches with a 4 inch blade, meaning there’s a comfortable amount of handle to get your fingers around. (This also has a water drain hole design to minimise corrosion and aid user grip)
The black impact-resistant ABS sheath is what actually lets this knife down and is a clear indication of why this is a cheap dive knife to buy. It clearly lacks the quality of the sheaths supplied with the other knives in the list.
Likewise, the straps, although work well enough, do not feel as if they have been made to last, (for some users they may also prove to be a little small).
What we loved about the United Cutlery Sting Ray Dive Knife
- An extremely affordable entry level scuba diving knife
- The coated stainless steel blade will take a beating
- Nice handle size that feels well balanced
- The sheath does its job well considering the cheap build quality
The not so good points
- Some have complained that the blade isn’t sharp out of the box
- The cheapness of the sheath and straps mean you will replacing them before the knife has had its run
As a budget knife the United Cutlery Sting Ray is ideal for basic diving needs. Even with gloves on, the grip is positive and the blade takes an edge very well. The sheath locks into place, and fits securely. This really is an excellent dive knife for the money, considering its low price point.
5. Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Titanium Knife (4 3/8″ Blade)
The Promate Scuba Dive Knife really is a lovely tool to work with. A non corrosive, lightweight titanium is used for the blade.
The easy grip molded rubber handle is specially injected onto the tang of the knife, in a process that is said to increase durability and longevity. A titanium hammer is featured on the handle bottom, which allows the butt of the knife to be used for underwater signalling.
Maintenance really is not an issue with the Promate. All you need do after getting out of the water is to simply rinse and air dry the knife.
There are two different designs available; a sharp tip and a blunt tip, depending on your preference.
A sheath and leg straps are supplied, and it has to be said they do let the package down a bit. Rather like the United Cutlery Sting Ray reviewed above, the build quality and choice of materials just isn’t there. However, considering that at the time of writing the Promate is around double the price of the Sting Ray, means it is quite a large oversight on their part.
What we loved about the Promate Scuba dive knife
- The knife itself is extremely well built and sharp
- The handle looks and feels great
- So easy to maintain
The not so good points
- The sheath and straps feel cheap
A well made, reliable lightweight titanium dive knife that looks and feels great to use. Let down by a sloppy finish on the sheath and leg straps however.
Dive Knife Tips – Why you should have a dive knife and how to mount it.
Why should I have a dive knife?
If you remain undecided on buying a dive knife or why you should need one, here’s a few of the main reasons to carry this handy diver’s tool
Entanglement – Cutting Through Cords, Lines and Rope
Depending on where you dive, there is always the threat of entanglement from discarded fishing lines, cords and rope.
It goes without saying what a hazard it could be if you were ever ensnared under the water. Lines can possibly cause injury to you, damage your equipment as you fight to get out, or worse still, trap you so hard and fast you fail to surface before your tank runs out, (however this final scenario is very rare – that’s why you buddy dive after all).
By wearing a suitable dive knife, the danger of loose lines is diminished significantly. Being able to reach for your blade, you should be able to calmly cut your way out of danger and thus not run the risk of any of the above.
Rescuing trapped marine life
A rare scenario and again very much dependant on where you dive, if you’re in a place abundant with marine life – you may come across something in need of rescue. Whether caught on lines as in the hazards we’ve already described, or stuck in a wreck or other underwater debris, your knife is certainly a better option that trying simply using your hands.
Whether a boat has become grounded or has become caught on underwater debris such as rope and line – again the good old dive knife can be an indispensible tool for carrying out a quick salvage rescue in times of need.
This of course is very rare, however should you be in the water and a bull shark fancies its chances, a dive knife will come in handy.
Not that we condone attacking marine life with a knife, however if your limbs depended on it, you would certainly rather be carrying a blade to defend yourself, than have nothing on you at all.
All said and done, the dive knife is a handy tool to have with you. Granted, there may be many dives where it just remains tucked away in its mounting never to be used. However, when the time comes you will certainly be happy you had it ready or action. In some circumstances it may very well save your life.
How and where to mount a dive knife
Despite the fact many divers may go years before experiencing an incident where they are ensnared on line or underwater kelp, they still choose to have a reliable knife mounted to their form on each and every dive.
So what is the best way to wear a dive knife so it is ready for that rare action, while being conveniently stowed so as not to be in the way.
The most important issue to remember is that the knife should not jut out too far from your body. By all accounts it should be streamlined against your form.
The reason being, a wrongly worn dive knife can actually exacerbate the very problem you are wearing a knife in the first place. It could become something that becomes ensnared on nets and lines, causing you to become entangled.
Here we will look at some of the main ways you can wear your dive knife, in a manner that ensures you remain safe.
Ankle Mounted Dive Knife
The image that springs to mind of an adventure diver with a knife strapped to their body, is to have it around the ankle.
And while this may have been the case in the early days of scuba diving (and famously used in more than one James Bond movie), the fact is, this is not the best place to mount your dive knife.
A knife on your ankle is more likely to get tangled up in discarded line. It will also be difficult to reach in cramped spaces.
If you feel comfortable with a knife around your ankles and this is your preferred mounting location, we advise that you place it on the inside of your ankle, as it is less likely to become entangled there.
Mounted on the BCD low-pressure inflator
This has become a popular place for mounting a small dive knife in recent years. The knife can be attached with cable ties or some cases especially designed mounting rigs to the BCD’s low-pressure inflator hose.
The beauty of this method is that you will be able to reach the knife with both hands. It sis also very easy to reach in cramped spaces.
The risk of entanglement is a lot less than on your ankle, however it can be a little difficult to see how to put the knife back in place.
Attaching a dive knife to the BCD
Many modern BCDs feature attachment points for knives. There is also the option of wearing your dive knife on your waist belt.
Both of these are an easy reach with both hands, with the risk of entanglement being low. It is also relatively simple to put the knife back again. In many ways, this is the preferred method for today’s scuba divers.
Stored in the BCD pocket
If you have gear that allows, there is also the possibility of storing a small dive knife into your BCD pocket.
This will reduce the risk of entanglement to near zero. However, it is of course more time consuming to access the knife in a time of stress.
How to mount your dive knife (video)
Essentially where you mount your knife is a question of personal choice and the environment you dive in.
However, the two main points you should always consider when mounting your dive knife are:
- Reducing the risk of entanglement
- Ensure ease of access.
If you keep this in mind you should not run into any problems. Stay safe and happy diving!