common types of knives

The sheer variety of blade shapes can send your head spinning. Here is our list of most common blade types with their pros and cons

When you are looking to buy a new knife, you are stormed with loads of choices. Various types of blades leading to different knife types make it difficult to wrap one's head around them.

In this list, we will give you a brief explanation of different types of blades. We will look at the kind of knives they make and how to use them to their fullest potential.

Whether you are looking for your next hunting knife or an everyday carry ( EDC) pocket knife, knowing about different blade tips is as important as anything else because the tip defines what you can use a knife for. Different types of blades define different knives and how they are used. So, let's take a look!

Sodbuster Blade

Let's start with a very common and basic type of blade. Sodbuster is a classic knife blade that you will find in almost all kitchens. Their basic blade design makes these types of blades fairly popular for everyday use.

These types of blades have got a straight back. The blade doesn't dip at all but comes up to meet the point. What this type of blade design does is, it gives you good slicing ability and good cutting ability.

With these types of blades, you won't get much penetration power so you can't use a sodbuster blade for piercing purposes. But still, this type of blade is enough to get everyday jobs done which makes it a good classic knife blade.

Clip Point Blade

These types of blades are really popular especially with pocket knives. You won't find this type of blade on many fixed blade knives. Why? Let's look at the design of a clip point blade.

In this type of blade, the sharpened edge comes straight out and towards the top half,  it looks like someone has cut off the top of the blade. So the tip goes way down but remains in line with the handle.

These types of blades give you much better penetration power-particularly for small areas- than a sodbuster knife blade. However, the cutting ability of a clip point knife is questionable. While many people consider a clip point blade to have a good stabbing ability, others doubt the relative strength of these types of blades 

This is because a good chunk of a clip point blade has been chipped off. This makes the blade point fragile. If you want to use these types of blade for a forward thrusting action (e.g.  stabbing) the blade might break away because even though the tip is still in line with the blade, it's a little higher and while you still have those thrust capabilities, this type of blade doesn't have all of the material to reinforce the tip. This gives the blade little shock value.

These types of blades are ideal for precise puncturing though because the blade design gives a smaller profile on the tip. This Is the reason why clip point blades were so popular in dueling and fighting knives back in the day.

Many people actually confuse a clip point knife with a Bowie knife, which uses a slight variation of this type of blade. Many fighters would use clip point knives because they punctured well, and afterwards, the fighters would use the tip of the blade as an alternative to bullets because bullets were expensive so the refined tip made these knives excellent self defense knives or 'wrap up' knives.

Drop Point Blade

These types of blades are so common that drop point knives are a must have for any kind of activity or collection. A drop point blade is similar to a clip point except for one crucial difference.

In a drop point knife, the blade comes out but then instead of having a bite taken out (like in clip point blades), it just drops down in a nice curve. The tip still remains within the handle line though. 

The shape of the blade allows for a long straight spine which gives your index finger plenty of space to rest on it for accurate cutting or working with the blade for long hours.

These types of blades give you a good tip for penetrating but also a great belly for slicing. That Is why a drop point blade is probably the most common blade design today  because it has the sharpness of the tip along with the strength of the belly that clip point lacks. So a powerful thrusting action is possible with these types of blades.

So, a pronounced drop gives you the best of both worlds. You can use these types of blades for their penetrating power while retaining the core strength provided by the big belly of the traditional straight blade.

Spey Point Blade

These types of blades are essential tools for precise carving or if you are working with livestock. The blade design is such that it comes straight out and then at the very end, the blade is clipped off as it curves up to meet the point.

What this blade shape does is, it gives you a little bit of a tip so you can cut into something if you need to but it's really made for controlled slicing- such as when you want a type of blade to give you extremely accurate cuts while preparing your game.

These types of blades were historically used by farmers when they needed to neuter their animals because it gave them great cutting control so they could cut exactly what they needed to and where they wanted to, without running the risk of damaging the anima

Sheepsfoot Blade

The size of these types of blades varies from knife to knife but the shape of the blade remains consistent. A typical sheepsfoot blade comes straight out and then straight down allowing for no tip whatsoever.

These types of blades were originally designed to trim the hooves of the sheep. The design of the blade, makes sheepsfoot knives one of the most benign knives in this list.

These types of blades are perfect for slicing across things without harming nearby areas that are in close contact with the target area. This is because it has no piercing tip to wreck any damage by intentionally or by accident.

Sheepsfoot knives are commonly used today by law enforcement or rescue services because of their limited ability for inflicting injury. These knives are also considered safer to use amongst minors and vulnerable people who aren't experienced with sharp blades.

Hawkbill Blade

A hawkbill knife is also known as a talon knife. The biggest use of these types of blades is that the hook on the blade can grab into something and make its slicing very easy.

This style of knife is often used by people putting in floors, linoleum or carpets. A thinner version of this type of blade is favored by fishermen and people who work on chips because the hawkbill knife can grab a hold of the line you're trying to cut and pull. The blade is not going to let the line go and hold it in and pull into right at the cutting edge of the blade.

These types of blades are not made for cutting away from you but  for cutting mainly with the tip being pulled towards you. If you are a frequent hunter or camper, this knife type will come in handy for a variety of tasks involving hooking and ripping.

Trailing Point Blade

As the name suggests, in these types of blades, you have the tip that is way above the handle. This style of knife is a common part of a steak knife set.

The whole point of a trailing point is that it lets you get into meat and cut it easily. Which is why if you ever go to your grocery store and watch the meat cutters in the meat department they have big long trailing point knives with a prominent curve on it.

These types of blades do a great job of cutting primes into steaks or roasts. This type of knife is not bad either for skinning purposes so most hunting knives have a trailing point blade on them. 

These types of blade have a nice flat grind with the tip at the top of the handle you would find in most fillet knives. The reason these types of knives are so popular is because if you measure the cutting surface on the blade edge, this type of blade has the longest possible cutting surface that you can have on a blade.

Tanto Blade

These types of blades are the most distinct and ancient tools in existence. You can get different variants of a tanto blade especially those leaning towards more Japanese designs than American but the basics of blade shale are the same.

A typical American tanto blade however, has a chisel point leading to a slit and then another cutting edge. So with these types of blades you've got two blades in one. You have got a cutting edge and a chisel stabbing edge.

The reason why tanto blades are one of the oldest blades around is because they are known to have been inspired from Japanese Samurai sword designs. Some even suggest that the original Japanese tanto was formed by forging together chips from broken Samurai swords. This theory is disputed however.

Most of the wives of samurai and Japanese women in the 14th century are known to have carried these types of blade for self defense purposes. A Japanese tanto is curvier than modern American style tanto blades.

These types of blades are great for punching into boxes. Thicker tanto blades have the power to punch into car doors. Tanto blade is also handy when you need to open things up in a hurry or a lot of things. You can say a tanto blade is a jack of all trades type of blade.

Most tanto blades don't have much of a belly so you're not going to get the slicing action that you will get from the trailing point, clip point or the drop point blade but it's still got a lot of stabbing ability.

Spear Point Blade

A spear point blade is common enough and often confused with a dagger. While the shape of the two is similar, there are minute differences in both types of blades

The spear point blade has a tip in the center with a curve on the spine that moves up to meet the tip very evenly. This type of blade has a nice belly that curves up to meet the tip so the tip is right in line in the middle of the spear point knife.

If you ever see a classic dagger, its blade has the same shape as that of spear point knives but the only difference is that most spear points are only sharpened on one edge and can become folding knives whereas by definition a dagger is a fixed blade knife and is sharpened on both edges.


Finally, we have a knife that doesn't have a different blade type but rather an add on feature that can be found on different types of blades mentioned above.

A gut hook knife has a sharp curved hook as an extension of the blade point. Most gut hook knives are hunting knives because the gut hook on the blade-be it tanto or spear point- allows the hunter to cleave off and pierce through small areas inside the guts of the animal.

The gut hook blade allows neat game preparation because it doesn't damage organs by piercing through them. These types of knives are also lightweight with finger grooves on the handle to allow for firm grip in the long hours that the knife is being used for.

This concludes our list for most common types of blades and the various advantages they offer along with some limitations they have. Take your pick!