Benchmade knives are well known in the survival knife industry. These are knives that you can use outdoors in any type of challenging situation, natural or man-made. The company has been making knives for over three decades as Bali-Song and Pacific Cutlery Corp before they became Benchmade Knife Company. They are partners with organizations such as the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI), The Navy Seal Foundation, American Snipers, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation among others. Together with their partners, the company provides support to families of fallen heroes and facilitates the work of responders on the front lines. They also add their voice to conversations about the responsible use of knives in the knife-loving community. Benchmade knives come in different categories to meet the various needs of their users.
Types of Benchmade Knives on the Market
Millions of people use these knives in a variety of day to day applications. Here are some of the knives you can expect from the company.
Everyday use knives
These are basic knives for small tasks such as cutting open packages, slicing ropes, or scraping gum or mud off your shoe. They have a foldable design and are very light for ease of portability.
Hunting knives are to process game that you kill. They are used to skin, gut and cut up the game when you are preparing the meat. However, do not confuse it with a hunting dagger. This knife is not meant for the actual kill, especially if you are hunting big game. The knife is able to cut through the skin and work through the rib cage, bone, and cartilage. Benchmade offers hunting knives with fixed blades as well as foldable options.
Like the name suggests these knives are used during rescue operations by first responders. They tend to have a curved claw-like design and additional features such as a lanyard hole in the middle to secure your grip and make the knife an extension of your hand. Such nuances make the rescue knife hard to drop and easy to wield. Benchmade has sturdy rescue knives.
Survival knives are crafted to aid you during outdoor excursions. These are the knives you need when you find yourself in real life survival situations. They have fixed, full-tang blades with a very sturdy handle and additional features like a pommel to aid you when you need to hammer items into place. They also come with hollow handles for additional storage of small items. Survivalists rely on them as hunting knives in some cases.
These are the big guns in the survival knife niche. A tactical knife is distinctly bigger in size than your regular pocket knife. It has distinct features like a non-reflective finish and a full tang fixed blade. These knives are used during tactical situations where you have to accomplish tasks while meeting certain specifications and they inherently tie into survival.
Common Features on Benchmade Knives
Benchmade knives have similar features regardless of the category they belong to. Here are some of those features users have come to love from the brand.
All Benchmade knives' handles are made to take different types of impact without falling apart. That is why the company only uses G-10, carbon fiber, dymondwood, aluminum, santoprene, grivory, and titanium on their handles. All their materials are aerospace-grade meaning they have exceptional performance and have been infused with impact and wear resistant properties. They are also very safe to use.
High-quality steel blades
Because their knives are meant for high-performance situations, the quality of steel used is very high. Their knives only feature these 12 types of steel: D2, 154cm, CPM-S90V, CPM-S30V, CPM-20CV, M390, N680, 440C, CPM-M4, 3V, Damascus steel, and Damasteel. By using such exceptional steel products, Benchmade knives guarantee users durable blades that can hold up under very strenuous circumstances.
All the Benchmade knives come with easy to use, highly efficient opening mechanisms whether manual or automatic. These mechanisms do not fail when you need them and most are ambidextrous. The knives come with patented mechanism systems such as the Axis, Axis Assist, Nak-Lok, Monolock, Nitrous, Bali-Song, Axis Automatic, Out-the-front, Ambidextrous push-button automatic, Axis dual action automatic, and Pushbutton automatic. With these mechanisms, Benchmade knives are safer and easy to use in very complex situations.
All Benchmade knives are supported by an incredible after sales service called Lifesharp. When in need of professional sharpening for your Benchmade knife you can send it to a team of the company’s technicians who will not only sharpen it, they will disassemble it, clean and fine tune the parts, replace others and reassemble it back to excellent working condition. All this is done at no charge.
Every new Benchmade knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The warranty, of course, covers any knives with a manufacturing defect but also provides replacement parts on genuine Benchmade knives. However, this warranty only applies if you bought your knife from an authorized Benchmade dealer. Online purchases through discount websites and other unauthorized dealers do not fall under the company’s coverage.
How We Reviewed
Our review paid attention to the design of the knives. We looked at how the mechanisms used on a particular knife makes operation easier. For instance, what sort of opening and closing mechanism does it have? Is it possible to open it single handed? Is the knife usability ambidextrous? We also sampled what consumers of the product think about Benchmade knives.
What Is the Average Cost of Benchmade Knives?
Being the best in the market and because they use the best materials, Benchmade knives can range from $100 to $600 in price.
The Best Benchmade Knives of 2019
Finding the ideal Benchmade knife can be daunting, which is why we have reviewed the best for you.
The Proper 319 Knife, Sheepsfoot
This product not only has a pleasing look but it also fits perfectly into your hand thanks to a contoured Micarta handle. It conveniently fits into your pockets, carry-on bag or compartment in your car's dash because it is a mere 3.85 inches when closed. At full length, it is 6.69 inches. The blade is rustproof, extremely sharp, and is made from CPM-S30V stainless steel. The handle is riveted firmly to the blade for a firm grip and comes in two rich colors, dark brown canvas micarta or red contoured G10. This knife features a slip joint mechanism that makes opening smooth.
This knife is designed to be a general purpose knife, making it ideal for everyday use. It has a consumer rating of 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, further reinforcing why it's a handy tool to add to your arsenal. It is also available on the Benchmade website.
The Freek 560 Knife
The Freek 560 has an excellent design that features an ultra sharp CPM-S30V stainless steel blade with a drop point utility point. This steel is corrosion free and hardy. It holds its edge for a long time, allowing it to be used on various tasks. The blade is attached to a dual density grivory and versaflex handle. The handle has a comfortable yet firm grip for enhanced performance. This knife utilizes the manual axis lock mechanism and is fully ambidextrous enabling you to open and close it using either hand. It closes to 4.5 inches, so you can easily put it with your knick-knacks. The full length is 8.5 inches.
The Freek 560 is a versatile tool that you can use as a tactical knife. Its consumer rating stands at 4.5 out 5 stars on Amazon. The Benchmade online store also carries this knife.
The Adamas 275 drop point
This product is a strong tactical blade. As far as Axis lock mechanism blades go, you would be hard pressed to find a stronger blade than this one. In fact, it is the strongest tactical blade created thus far by Benchmade. This is thanks to a thick blade and G10 handle scales. The G10 handle is stable and durable enough to endure all sorts of temperatures and is a major reason why this knife is ideal for tactical use. The handle also features a lanyard hole, providing more options for carrying. It is hard to describe a knife/tool of this nature as aesthetically pleasing but the optics on this knife are brilliant. The axis lock mechanism is manual but smooth and the blade is D2 stainless steel with brilliant sharpness. The thickness of the blade alone tells you this is a workhorse. At full length, it stands at 8.7 inches but beautifully folds up to a mere 5 inches or so. This particular knife features a Shane Sibert design, making it one of the most prolific knives in the Adamas range.
The Adamas 275 drop point is fully ambidextrous, allowing you to close or open it single-handedly with either your left or right hand. A portion of the sales from this knife go to the Navy Seal Foundation and the Three Rangers to support members and their families. It has consumer ratings of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon depending on where you buy it from. It is also available on the Benchmade website.
The Anthem 781 Drop Point
This knife features a slim design that makes it very portable and ideal for a survival kit. The drop point utility blade is CPM-20CV steel that is highly corrosion resistant. It has exceptional edge retention as a result of the steel’s uniform micro-structure The axis lock mechanism is manual. It is strong yet fluid, allowing you to open and close the folding knife single-handedly with either hand. The lightweight design and basic shape on the handle work in tandem with the grooves to offer a firm non-slip grip. This handle is grooved anodized billeted titanium which is stronger than steel. It is resistant to all weather elements as well as corrosion and abrasive chemicals. When folded, the knife takes up only five inches, unfolding to eight inches when fully open.
The billeted titanium provides great balance for high performance in cutting applications. This Benchmade knife is an ideal companion for outdoor and everyday use. It comes in both plain and serrated edges. Consumers rate this knife at 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. You can also purchase it on the Benchmade website.
The Benchmade Osborne 940
The super lightweight and slim fit of this blade makes it ideal as an everyday knife. With a length of 4.5 inches when closed and 7.9 inches when open, this knife is discreet and highly portable. The Osborne 940’s sleek design features a well-balanced rust-resistant blade that tapers into a solid 6061-T6 aluminum handle. The blade is CPM-S30V stainless steel with a razor sharp edge that has excellent sharpness retention. It has a smooth but strong axis lock system and is ambidextrous. This knife was designed by world renown knife maker Warren Osborne who was well known for his pocket knives.
The Crooked River 15080
Benchmade knives are the epitome of functionality and aesthetics and Crooked River knives score highly on both fronts. The blade is CPM-S30V stainless steel blade and designed with an aluminum bolster. Its edge is super sharp and retains the sharpness well. The handle comes either as the hardy G10 fitted with a resin-soaked fiberglass that enables this knife to withstand rapid changing climates. Or the classy yet firm and durable Dymondwood. Unlike the G10, this handle material is not impervious to moisture since it is part wood. Regardless of the material, the handle comes with a lanyard hole to further increase your carrying options. The axis lock mechanism system makes opening and folding the knife easy. The construction is fully ambidextrous and functions efficiently on either hand. This knife is the longest on our list with an open length of 9.3 inches. It folds up nicely into a discreet five inches.
The Griptilian 551
If ultimate functionality is what you are looking for in a Benchmade knife, then you will find the Griptilian 551 to be your best bet. It can serve as a general purpose knife but also delivers the goods as a tactical knife. It is fully ambidextrous and fitted with a swift axis lock mechanism for easy opening and folding. The stainless steel blade edge is razor sharp with dual stamp studs on the handle. The handle is lightweight Noryl GTX with a firm but comfortable grip. It also comes with a lanyard hole for additional carrying options. The steel used on the blade is 154CM stainless steel which retains the edge very well. It comes with a nice spectrum of different color variations for a pop of color. At full length, the knife is 8.1 inches and it folds up to 4.7 inches.
How They Compare to Other Brands
Other brands have similar offerings and are fantastic competitors who make the niche vibrant. Here are three other popular brands. Let's see how they perform against Benchmade knives.
Ka-Bar Becker Mule Folding Knife
The Ka-Bar is an ambidextrous knife. Its blade consists of AUS-8A stainless steel that has a powder coating with black epoxy. The blade edge is pretty sharp with a 15-degree angle and is partially serrated. The knife utilizes a lock-back locking mechanism that ensures safety. Its handle comes in Zytel, a hard and durable material that does well on high impact tasks. Pitted against Benchmade knives, this knife can go toe to toe with each one. This is because the design and the overall construction are very tactical in approach. The materials used are equally high quality, although it is bulkier and less discreet than some of our favorite Benchmade knives. When open, the full length is slightly above 9 inches and it folds into 5.25 inches.
Consumers rated this item at 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
For those who prefer a non-folding survival knife, the Esse Izula-II offers a great alternative. The blade is 1095 steel, which is great for hard cutting although it is prone to rust if not taken care of properly. It comes with a tan micarta handle that has rivets securing it to the blade. The result is a firm grip. The polymer sheath for this knife has an ambidextrous clip plate that holds the knife securely in place.
When you compare it to the Benchmade Proper 319 sheepsfoot, the CPM-S30V steel blade is more rust resistant, low maintenance and much lighter at 2.32 ounces. The Esee Izula-II is a good survival knife but needs lots of TLC. Consumers rated this product at 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife
This knife has a 4.75-inch multipurpose partially serrated blade. The drop point blade is quality stainless steel for brilliant sharpness and edge retention. The blade boasts a full tang for excellent balance and a textured rubber handle for an ergonomic comfortable grip. The Gerber Bear Grylls comes with a nylon sheath that contains a couple of survival items such as a survival pocketbook and a lanyard with an integrated signal whistle.
Benchmade knives are superior in performance and build when pitted against this offering. They have strength, durability and are extremely functional in all tasks. Consumers rated this knife 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Which One Should You Take Home
All of the above knives are practical and suited for various applications. However, the most impressive is the Adamas 275 drop point. From a remarkably strong blade to a rugged construction, this offering is tough and durable enough to suit the outdoors. Although rugged, it has good ergonomics and is very comfortable to use. If strength and reliability are what you want in a knife, look no further than Benchmade knives. Did we pick right for you? Which knife made your list? If you are a Benchmade user, let us know your experience down in the comments.