The best diving knives seems to be an objective exercise, similar to how each land-knife has a different purpose. For example, a big knife in the timber can be used for chopping tasks whereas a Swiss Army knife cannot. However, I’d be quicker to reach for my Swiss Army Camper if I were to be dressing small game or fish than I would a chopper. This aims to be a dive knife buying guide to help walk through the pro’s and con’s of features on a diving knife.
My background is as a free diver, and further, and a spear fisherman. When in the water, I like to spear fish and make films around free diving. I’ll be subjectively making my recommendations from this lens. These use cases are similar to those of a scuba diver.
The criteria for below is simple:
- Is this knife useful to me under salt water?
Dive Knife Buying Guide: Types of Dive Knives
James Bond Style
For what I do, this is the type of knife I avoid. They come in titanium or have a bunch of features and look like they’re made for Robinson Crusoe.
I’m not really sure what’s going on with this particular Promate. It looks cool as hell with a fin-looking serrated edge, but how quickly will this pattern lose its edge? The Bowie style clip point is okay, but I can’t see it doing any dive knife job well. There is a ton of belly on the knife, and a gut hook in the middle of the blade which doesn’t make sense.
This is the Rambo knife that sells at the fair. Personally, I’m not a fan of titanium blades. Per weight, steel is stronger, but more prone to corrosion. What it does have going for it is a decent sheath and a tank banger on the butt of the knife to alert your scuba buddy to hand signals.
Clam Shucker: Gear Aid Akuna
I can see this knife being useful to the right diver. The blunt tip looks useful for abalone or shucking clams. The blade comes in 420c stainless and coated in titanium to prevent corrosion even further. The layout of the knife makes sense with a serrated edge and line cutter on one side, and a flat ground edge on the other.
The sheath looks quality. However, the clip seems like a quick way to lose a knife. Personally, I prefer a sheath with bands that wrap around something, rather than a money clip. I can recommend it in this dive knife buying guide to the right person, but modifications are necessary.
Spearfishing Knife: Riffe Standard Spearfishing Knife
This is the style of knife I use in the water and what I recommend in this dive knife buying guide. The materials are a similar layout to the Gear Aid Akuna in that it is a coated 420c stainless. This knife will corrode on the edge in salt water if not cared for, but don’t let that deter you from a purpose-built dive knife. I dry mine off and rinse with fresh water as soon as I’m out of the water.
One edge is serrated for cutting kelp and rope, and the other is a flat ground edge. The tip comes to a sharp point, without friction, for dispatching your quarry through the “braining” method. The intent is to stab a fish in the brain to quickly end its suffering.
The sheath is good. The knife straps attach to your limbs or a dive belt can be looped in. Additionally, the sheath has a retaining loop made of rubber to help secure the knife even further.
Here’s the biggest hint I can give to you: Riffe copies this knife. My version of this knife says Spettoa, but I’m sure the Riffe knife is the same Italian made dive knife. This isn’t a shot against Riffe, as a bunch of other manufacturers rebrand this exact Italian made knife, and for good reason! It’s good.
The Italians have such a diving heritage with companies like Mare, Cressi, etc coming from that region. They know what’s up.