Scabbard vs Sheath

When you have knives, it is essential to take care of them so they don’t break or get untidy. For this purpose, we have a scabbard and sheath. Most of the time people get confused between these two because even if they are the same, they have some slight differences too. In this article, we are going to help you with scabbard vs sheath.

What’s The Difference Between Scabbard and Sheath?

There’s only a slight difference between them but most of the time they are termed the same. Yes, their purpose is the same–to provide a case cover for sharp things, mostly knives. A scabbard is a bit bigger than a sheath and usually serves as a cover for swords and long knives. Sheath, however, is used for kitchen and pocket knives. As scabbard is used for bigger weapons, it is more rigid and made of metal or wood. You can find sheaths in different materials, ranging from leather to wood.

You can also find some difference in the features of scabbard and sheath. You can check them yourself below:


A scabbard is longer than a sheath. That’s why a scabbard is used for longer knives and swords, and a sheath is used for smaller knives, mostly kitchen, and pocket knives.


As the scabbard is made of rigid and heavy material, it has more weight than the sheath even though both are nearly made of the same material.


The scabbard is available in leather, wood, and metal. A sheath is mostly available in plastic, wood, and leather.

Why Do You Need A Scabbard?

A scabbard is usually used for keeping swords, long knives, or anything with a blade that is too large. When you cannot hold large blades, you need a cover so they don’t get damaged or hurt you. Scabbard comes in the same shape and is available in leather, wood, and metal. It is heavier because it needs to carry sharp and heavy knives.

What Styles Are Scabbards Available In?

You can also find scabbards in the carrying styles same as the sheath. But, conveniently, the scabbard is available in only one style. You may find the styles of straps and belts on the scabbard changed, but the case is almost always the same. Sometimes a scabbard also has a shoulder strap so you can easily carry around the sword or long knife.

Why Do You Need A Knife Sheath?

It is used as a cover for knives. Yes, there are knife holders available too but knife sheaths make it easier for carrying the knife with you. Especially, if you are a chef you will need a knife sheath with you all the time. Knife Sheaths work as a protector for knives because knives tend to get damaged if you are not putting them somewhere safe. If you are traveling somewhere, you will need a knife sheath so your knife cannot damage and you also stay protected.

What Styles Are Knife Sheaths Available In?

Knife Sheath is available in several styles but four of them are the most popular. These are carrying styles that are named vertical, horizontal, canted, and cross-draw. A vertical sheath sits vertically if you have hooked it on your pants. A horizontal sheath is the opposite of a vertical sheath and mostly sits below or over your belt. The cented sheath is also vertical but it has an angle that makes it easier for you to sit and move. The cross-draw sheath is exactly like a cented sheath but it clips at the opposite side of your dominant hand.

These carrying styles are only if you are to carry your knives around somewhere. You can use these sheaths without clipping them to yourself.

How To Choose The Best Sheath For Yourself?

First of all, you must choose a sheath that is of the perfect size as your knife. It doesn’t matter which material you are choosing, if the sheath isn’t of the perfect size it can damage the knife inside it too. Before buying a sheath, check which knife size you are choosing and then try finding the same size as the sheath. Knife sheaths are flexible(except wood) so a minor difference won’t be too bad.

Which One Is The Best For Kitchen Knives? Scabbard Or Sheath?

If you are looking for covers for kitchen knives, a sheath is best for this purpose. The scabbard is a bigger cover and won’t fit your kitchen knife. The sheath is easy to carry and are mostly available in kitchen knife sizes. You can buy a sheath according to your preference. If you want to go with a traditional style, a leather knife sheath is best.

Can Scabbard Be Used For Kitchen Knives?

No, you cannot use scabbard for average-sized kitchen knives. A scabbard is used for longer knives so there’s no way you can adjust the regular knives in it. Just like a scabbard cannot be used for kitchen knives, a sheath also couldn’t be used for smaller knives. Make sure you know the length of your knife before making a decision.


Scabbard and sheath are not difficult to maintain. One thing you have to take care of is that no dirt and impurities get inside them because they can damage the knife. Soapy Water is best for cleaning them. As the scabbard is bigger, you just need to take extra care of it. To keep the scabbard and sheath always clean, keep them in a place where dirt and oil can’t enter.

If you put them in an oily place, there is a high chance that the scabbard or sheath will get damaged quickly. The oil will enter inside them and as a result, it can damage the blade of the knife. Make sure you keep checking on them.

Final Words:

If you have knives, it is a must that you keep them safely tucked away in a case. For this purpose, scabbard and sheath are used. A sheath is probably best for kitchen and pocket knives. You can check different sizes and styles of these scabbards and sheaths to choose the best one for you. So the comparison of scabbard vs sheath should be clear in your mind.

Scabbard vs Sheath


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