9 Popular Knife Handle Materials: For Every Day Use

When buying a new knife, a lot of people are only focused on the blade itself. At the time of purchase, the handle is usually just looked at in an aesthetics sense. Of course, it’s important to find a knife with a quality blade, but the handle is equally important. 

The handle of your knife is basically the grip, and if you have a knife with a low-quality grip then you’ll have poor performance. Your knife’s handle adds a lot of character to the knife itself. Depending on your knife’s purpose, you may prefer one style of handle over another. Most people buy knives for either:

  • Tactical Purpose
  • Hunting
  • Survival Skills
  • Collector’s Item

Each knife handle material has its own strengths and weaknesses, which could help you determine which one is best for your hobbies. While there are so many different materials out there to use, most of them can be categorized as either natural, synthetic, or metal. These are the 9 best knife handle materials:

  1. Bone
  2. Wood
  3. Aluminum
  4. Carbon Fiber
  5. G-10
  6. Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon
  7. Stainless Steel
  8. Titanium
  9. Micarta

1. Bone

Bone is the original knife handle material, that is as old as the knife itself. This is one of the more popular materials for knife collectors because it’s traditional and inexpensive. Most bone knife handles have custom designs on them which are eye-catching but they also create a superior grip. They can also be dyed in a variety of colors, giving collectors something to look forward to.

One thing to know about bone knife handles is that they are completely humane. These handles are only made from animals that have naturally deceased. Bone knife handles are made from a variety of different animals but the most cost-effective animal to collect bones from are cows.

Some other materials that are similar to bone include antlers, horns, and tusks. While bone knives are traditional, they are more likely to crack and often more slippery.

Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


2. Wood

Wood is another traditional material that has been used to make handles as long as the knife has been around. These handles are extremely durable, making them easy to work with. However, most knife lovers are impressed by how stylish the handles look compared to other knives in their collection.

There are several different types of woods that are used to make knife handles, and they all affect the handle slightly differently. One thing to keep in mind is that hardwood or stable wood handles are a better choice for wood handles because they are injected with plastic, helping the handle survive in wet conditions.

Most people find that wooden handles are very comfortable to hold. There is a lot of variety when it comes to types of woods, style, and design. However, since there are so many different types of wood the prices of wooden handles vary. 

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3. Aluminum

Although aluminum knife handles can be cold, they are one of the strongest types of handles you can find. This durable material is hard enough to provide your knife handle with plenty of protection. Since aluminum is a low-density metal it gives the knife handle a nice feel without weighing it down.

Aluminum is a fan favorite because it has high corrosion resistance. These handles last a lot longer than other materials. The handles are always made with a thoroughly textured design that provides a secure grip on the knife. However, one downfall is that these handles are more likely to get dents or scratches when it’s dropped.

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4. Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is the most generic form of synthetic knife handles. It is a popular material in general to use in multiple industries, but carbon fiber met its match when it became a knife handle.  Most carbon fiber knife handles have a woven texture to them and this is because the process to make them involves weaving thin strands of carbon together tightly and setting them in resin.

The result is an attractive handle that is also lightweight and strong. Although these knife handles are very strong, if they crack things can get messy. The inside is basically like a bunch of straw stuck together, which is why they are slightly brittle. Users will have to be more careful as these handles could crack upon sharp impact.

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5. G-10

G-10 is very similar to carbon fiber, but far superior when it comes to quality. In order to make G-10, layers of fiberglass cloth get soaked in resin and then they get compressed and baked. The result ends up being far stronger than carbon fiber, which is known to break after the knife handle has been put through the test.

People love G-10 for knife handles because it’s incredibly hard and strong. On top of that, it has a lightweight design making it far easier to use. When put to the test, G-10 is one of the strongest forms of fiberglass. Most of these handles have a checkerboard pattern to create a very secure and comfortable grip. 

Not only are these handles stronger than ones made from carbon fiber, but they are also a lot less expensive to produce. However, one of the cons of G-10 is that they aren’t as attractive as other types of knife handles. 

Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


6. Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN)

If your knife gets a lot of use, you may want to consider getting an FRN handle. This handle is zero maintenance which makes it even better.  FRN handles are nearly indestructible and resistant to bending, even under extreme pressure. These incredibly strong knife handles are also fairly cheap to produce. 

Manufacturing companies find this material very easy to work with because it can get injected into pretty much any type of molding. Knife manufacturers can create a variety of shapes and designs with fiberglass reinforced nylon materials. However, since these knife handles are often mass-produced, their grip isn’t always the greatest.

Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


7. Stainless Steel

Many people love their stainless steel knife handles because they are strong enough to handle the toughest situations. They also have excellent resistance to corrosion, which helps them last a lot longer. However, some people don’t like how heavy they are compared to other handle options. 

Many stainless steel knife manufacturers find it too difficult to produce knife handles with ridging for extra grip. What they will do is use plastic and rubber to make a better quality grip. While these handles may be a little heavier, the rubber makes these knives a lot more comfortable to grasp onto.

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8. Titanium

Titanium is more expensive than other metals, but it’s worth it. It has the best corrosion resistance of all the metals making sure rust is something you won’t have to deal with. Although it’s slightly heavier than aluminum most knife users prefer titanium because its handles are a lot stronger.

While most metal handles are cold to touch, titanium has a nice warm feeling to it making it the ideal knife to take with you during winter. These knife handles go through a bead blasting process in order to give the handle texture. The shade of titanium is very eye-catching, however, it is more prone to scratching and dings. 

Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


9. Micarta

Micarta is made in a similar fashion to G-10 handles. A lightweight but durable handle is made from soaking various thin layers of linen cloths in a phenolic resin. This process makes one of the strongest types of plastic used for knife handles. While this style of knife handle is usually stronger than G-10, it is also a lot more attractive. 

The downfall to Micarta is that there is no surface texture at all on these handles. Micarta handles come out way too smooth and slippery to be effective and often requires hand labor to carve a pattern for grip. This takes a lot longer to make, which often means the knife will be more expensive.

Even though these handles may be more expensive, they are worth it because they are rock hard. They had a bad reputation for scratching easily, but that isn’t true at all. These strong handles can survive almost any fall and come out scratch-free. That superior handle will likely stay that way.

Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Final Thoughts

Picking out the right knife handle can make or break your experience. A good quality knife handle should help your knife last for longer. Whether you plan on using it while you’re out camping or just want to display it in your collection, the handle you choose is just as important as the blade. It turns out your handle is for more than just appearances.

While these are the 9 best materials used to make knife handles, they aren’t the only options. Some more exotic knife handles are made from mother of pearl, while there are also traditional knives made with leather handles. Whichever knife handle you go with, it’s important that you have a good quality grip so it stays comfortable in your hand. 

Ahmed

I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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