Machete Mini-Review: Cold Steel Barong

Cold Steel machetes have been around for awhile. What sets them apart from other machetes is their sword like blade styles. They are also low cost and high value. I got mine from for about 22.00.

For me, and for many others I would guess, this machete fulfills two purposes. For one, it is very much a functional chopper that is capable of any job around the house and for many (most) on the trail. Since getting mine, I have chopped a few small branches/twigs off of ye-aulde-yard-tree. It performed well with no damage to the blade. This blade’s first job was to dispatch a 2-inch snake in our garage. My wife alerted me by phone while I was on my way home from picking the thing up from Walmart. So out of the box and off with its head.

It came with a decent sheath. It is not that great just a basic, though solidly designed, sheath. Not much to write home about here.

I have read where Cold Steel founder Lynn Thompson practices in various martial arts including Filipino Martial Arts. This makes sense as the barong is a Filipino blade and is special to the point of unique in its design. It’s leaf like shaped blade can be easily identified as well as its curved handle. I am surprised that this sword design has not appeared in cinema (maybe it has and I have not seen it). A leaf shaped blade and a curved handle screams “elf” but this is a review not a screenplay 🙂

As a short sword, I believe in my very limited experience that this barong “works”. It’s an incredibly simple design of just a blade and polymer. It is a good-to-great slasher and chopper but it can also stab well. So its a stabby machete, but is still a machete; there is a “clunk” factor here. The blade has virtually no contouring or bevelling on it (obviously to keep cost down). It’s heavy and balanced like a machete – which is not all together a bad thing even when fighting is concerned. All blades are, or should be, designed slightly heavier than one likes to account for sharpening and a loss of blade steel overtime. This is definitely a “beater” sword.

I modified my barong to help mitigate some of the clunk. I had it professionally sharpened which took a fair amount of material off the blade thus lightening it up. I filled up the lanyard hole with bolts; I also wrapped the handle with grip tape. These mods significantly helped to improve this sword’s ergonomics.

In my quest to “more power” this machete, I learned that the tang goes all the way down to the lanyard hole and past it. I also learned this blade easily makes the coolest ping/ring sound of any blade I have handled.

Last, this machete is a great recreational blade. It is fun to hold and even “funner” to chop. If plinking is an acceptable philosophy of use for a gun then slicing random stuff should be for a blade. If you are thinking about getting a sword, a machete, or a machete-sword then take a good look at the Cold Steel Barong Machete.

Ratings (out of five stars)

Styling *****
5 out of 5 stars here. The blade shape stands out, is aesthetically pleasing, and stays functional.
Blade ****
It’s 1055 steel with a baked on finish. It could be better but then the price point would be much higher.
Ergonomics ***1/2
The ergos are good but lacking here. However, some easy mods can mitigate the front heavy blade. An aggressive sharpening and adding some weight towards the back does wonders.
Ruggedness/Durability *****
It’s a machete.
Overall Rating ****1/2
This machete-like sword gets a 4 1/2 star rating. This blade is difficult to beat at any price point let alone one that sits barely above 20.00 USD. I challenge anyone to find a blade that is this tactical yet this bush capable.





  1. stuatb says:

    “a 2 inch snake” – so you cut a a worm, with a machete. Just sayin’

  2. cmeat says:

    please, at least one image for those not inclined to roll video.
    having searched up the item, i must say it looks like a great weapon.
    being cold steel (knee jerk reaction) i’m out.
    for machetes i’m a car leaf spring tramontina bolo guy.
    otherwise, kukhri.

  3. stuatb says:

    Why not just use the worksharp rather than pay for it to get sharpened, especially at this price point?

    Its good to see reviews like this of budget level blades. It seems there are a mess of similar type choppers in the less than $40 range. It would make a great review of whats out there and what is the best of; a ‘chop off’ if you like?

    1. cmeat says:

      because three dollars.

  4. Sam L. says:

    Why the bolt in the lanyard hole?
    Stuatb’s question makes me wonder: how long do the Worksharp’s belts last?
    I’m guessing a pro sharpener would sharpen this barong much easier and quicker than you could.
    I like the looks of this blade and the grip.

    1. David W. says:

      Why the bolt in the lanyard hole?

      Mostly for counter-balancing weight. It does add a little extra won’t-slip-out-of-your-hand insurance too.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Machete Mini-Review: Cold Steel Barong

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email