It’s hard putting a page together around the best Benchmade knives…There really are a lot to choose from!
In today’s age of cutting costs and globalization, it’s no wonder Benchmade get a love of love. Buying a Benchmade blade virtually guarantees that you’ll receive a top-quality production blade.
Not only that but their products are still proudly made in the USA. And you’ll get incredible customer service and warranties. Something that is increasingly rarer and rarer in the production knife industry.
After a great deal of thought and deliberation, here’s our list of 6 of the best Benchmades. You’ll find 4 folders and 2 fixed blades for a variety of uses.
6 Of The Best Benchmade Knives
|Benchmade Griptillian 551||3.35" Blade|
|Benchmade 140BK Nimravus||4.5" Blade|
|Benchmade BKC Bedlam||3.9" Blade|
|Benchmade 908BK Stryker Ii||3.57" Blade|
|Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife||4.4" Blade|
Benchmade Knife Reviews
Here are our reviews of 6 of the best Benchmade knives. Naturally, “The Best” is subjective so please take it with a pinch of salt. What’s the best for me might not work for you.
That’s what makes collecting and carrying knives so intriguing!.
Besides, if you feel strongly about the knives here or ones we’ve missed (and they may well be elsewhere on this website), please hit us in the comments section!
Benchmade Griptilian 551 Review
Search knife forums and blogs for “Best EDC Knife” and you’ll invariably find the Benchmade Griptilian. It remains a favorite Every Day Carry for many, year after year.
Why do so many people put it in their “All Time Top 3”?
Well, it’s light, has great steel and like the name says a handle that will always stay in your hand. In wet or snowy conditions (or when blood is present which with knives is pretty much a given), the GFN (glass filled nylon) contoured handle won’t slip out of your hand.
Top 3 EDC
When you consider all the specs, it’s easy to understand why so many people love it. The blade is made of American 154CM steel with a hardness rating of about 60. So not your Chinese MOV steel that lesser knives use.
The Griptillian’s size also helps make it one of the best EDC knives. With a closed length of just 4.6 inches and open it’s 8.2”, it won’t take up too much pocket space and can be in your hand in an instant.
The blade length is 3.45″ which allows it to be legal to carry in many states with strict blade regulations.
The injection molded handle helps keep the total weight to just 3.88 oz. This means it’s one of the lightest knives of its caliber.
Like much of Benchmade’s range, the Griptillian has the Axis lock. There are almost as many arguments over the best locking mechanism as there are the best knives.
Still, the overall consensus is the Axis lock is strong, durable and one of the very best all-round locks on the market. It also makes for a smooth and easy deployment which is vital with any tactical knife.
Another thing that is vital is the Griptilian is an ambidextrous knife. The axis lock has an ambidextrous thumb stud so you can open it left handed. To further make things easier for lefties, the pocket clip is also reversible for tip-up carry.
The obvious downside of this knife is the premium price. For this level of quality, you’re still getting a heck of a bargain. It’s certainly hard to make an argument against the Griptilian (or mini-grip) being the best Benchmade folding knives.
- Smooth action
- Axis Lock
- Premium American 154CM Steel
- Grippy GFN handle
- Weighs just 3.88oz
- American made
Benchmade 140BK Nimravus Review
If you’re looking for a great tactical fixed knife, the Benchmade 140bk Nimravus is it. It’s low profile and easy to conceal, yet still large enough to be effective in a self defense situation.
The blade is made of 154CM steel with a Rockwell rating of HRC 61. This is close to the ideal steel for such a blade because it will hold an edge through major abuse but is also still relatively easy to sharpen.
With a blade length of 4.5″, this is just under the 5” cutoff for legality in many US states. The overall length of this knife is 9.45”, similar to many fighting knives of its calibre.
The Nimravus feels very well balanced in the hand and the grip is firm through all conditions.
Its anodized aluminum handle is somewhat unique. This ergonomic handle is very high quality, extremely lightweight and sits atop a full tang. Aluminum handles are light yet virtually indestructible. This helps keep the total weight down to just 6.2 oz.
Different Nimvarus Designs
A quick note on the sharpening and the Nimvarus. You can get a couple of different styled blades and finishes. The “140BK” pictured is a drop-point with a smooth finish. You can also get a Tanto-styled Nimvarus the 141 SBK. The Nimravus 141 SBK has a combo-edge, with a third being serrated.
The tanto and serrations of the 141 SBK make it harder to sharpen than the smooth, drop-point version. Though if you’re just after a combat knife, the fixed blade tanto will provide more piercing power and a reinforced tip.
Durable, Versatile Sheath
The Nimvarus also comes with a nylon sheath that gives you a number of carry options. You can carry it on the left or right side. There’s also a velcro loop that you can tie to your belt or attach to Molle vests and packs.
A lot of detail has gone into the sheath. Some poorly designed sheaths get repeatedly cut when drawing the knife. Benchmade have reinforced the Nimvarus’ sheath with plastic to ensure this doesn’t happen. A nice touch!
No After Market Scales
The drawback with the Benchmade Nimravus are the handle slabs. They don’t match up even with the full tang and there are no after-market scales to replace the originals. This means the handle will become uncomfortable and you might get blisters after prolonged use.
However, this is not marketed as an “All Arounder”. It is a Combat / Fighting Knife (think Jason Bourne more than John Rambo!). The Nimvarus is definitely the Best Tactical Fixed Blade that Benchmade offers.
You can find the latest online price here.
- 154CM steel
- Full tang
- Light & easy to conceal
- Anodized aluminum handle
- Molle compatible nylon sheath
- Uncomfortable Handle
Benchmade 860 Bedlam Review
If you’re looking for a larger “Fighting Folder” – meet the Benchmade Bedlam.
The Bedlam’s 3.9″ curved blade is razor sharp making it a highly lethal weapon, even if you have limited skill with a knife. It is made from American 154CM steel, widely considered the optimal steel for knife manufacture.
With a Rockwell hardness of HRC 60-61 it will hold an edge under punishment yet still be relatively easy for you to sharpen.
The Bedlam was designed from the ground up as a tactical knife with an emphasis on weapon retention in combat scenarios. To be this, a handle that will stay in the users hand is of vital importance.
As you can see, the handle looks more at home on a larger, fixed blade or small sword! The G10, textured surface has three finger grooves to fit your hand. This makes it lethal in either a reverse ice-pick or standard grip and you can really lock your fingers around it.
Now, I need to reiterate that this is a lot of knife. The open length is close to 10″ at 9.71″! Whilst great for “Shock ‘N Awe” it may be too large for an EDC knife. However, its pocket clip does help it ride low. The total weight of 7.3 0z means you might find it uncomfortable to carry all day.
The Bedlam 860 (pictured right) is a manual opener with a smooth blade. There is also a partially-serrated / combo-blade version the 860 SBK (left).
The Bedlam is available as an assisted-opener (Benchmade 8600), and is available on the Benchmade Website for $275. So you’ll have a to pay a bit of a premium for this feature.
As with many Benchmade models, the Bedlam features the impressive “Axis Lock”. So you’re getting great steel, a great lock and a great handle for your investment.
The downsides to the Bedlam is it might be too much knife for EDC purposes. But if you’re looking for a well-made larger folder with excellent fit and finish from Benchmade – this is it.
You can find the latest online price here.
- Premium 154CM Steel
- Axis Lock
- G10 Contoured Handle
- Ambidextrous Opening
- Made in the USA
- Heavy for EDC
Benchmade Stryker Axis 908 BK Review
The Stryker has one of Benchmade’s best-loved blades. It also has a “Dr. Who” quality about it too. It was originally made with a liner lock, and you can get drop points, tantos, autos (for Armed Forces use only), assisted and manual openers.
A couple of years ago it was re-issued with an axis lock – which wasn’t even in production when the first Strykers hit the shelves.
We’ve chosen the “BK 908 ” for review. It’s a smooth 154cm drop point blade. You can also get it in a modified tanto finish, with and without serrations. There’s also a “Mini-Stryker”. So the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, my bank balance isn’t – but that’s always the case with knives.
So, we chose the BK 908 and for our money, the Mini-Griptilian outperforms the Mini-Stryker (nice knife though it is) and makes it onto this list. Also, serrations are a bitch to sharpen. Yes, you can send it to back to Benchmade to be sharpened, but the bad news is they won’t sharpen serrations!
For the price, some might expect more of a “Super Steel” with the Stryker 908. But as we alway stress, heat treatment and blade geometry are equally (or even more) important. Benchmade have a lot of skill and experience with 154 CM. And with the Stryker, you’re getting a tried and tested design that has even been Military issue in the past.
The BK 908 has a tactical black stonewash finish. Its blade length is 3.57″, so it’s in “Mid-Size” folder ” territory. At just 4.38 oz and 4.72″ closed, it’s the size of knife that you can forget is even in your pocket.
The handle has black G-10 scales, and it’s very grippy – even with gloves. If you’ve got the budget and can afford it (priced [amazon_link asins=’B01EGX279S’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’pocketknife06-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c5599b9f-cbd7-11e6-9377-394c1b1958d6′] ), the “Gold Class” 908-61 comes in Carbon Fiber and Damascus Steel…a bank breaker if ever I saw one!
There is also a reversible deep-carry pocket clip. You do need to know that it’s only configured for tip-up carry.
For those looking for a mid-sized Benchmade folder with a great fit and finish, the new and improved Stryker is a knock-out.
- 154CM steel
- Axis locking mechanism
- G10 Handle
- Deep Carry Clip
- Made in the USA
- Tip up only
Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Knife Review
The Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife is a great all-purpose outdoor knife. It’s toothy finished edge makes it ideal camp chores such as carving, whittling, feather sticks, and general duty – but it can also take some serious abuse!
Just heck out this guy batoning with it and then shaving his arm afterward. There are many bushcraft knives on the market, but not many that will stay sharp after that!
The secret is of course, the S30v steel, heat treated to HRC 60. S30V will hold a working edge for a long time and is fairly easy to sharpen. It’s stainless too, which is ideal for a wet climate bush knife as rain and moisture won’t corrode the blade.
The handle is made from injected molded G10 material and is both textured and contoured. The forged forward swell makes it feel great in the hand. Some people find it a bit blocky, but if you have larger hands and want a larger hand it’s fine.
At Home For Survival
At 7.7 oz, it’s a hefty knife with a very solid feel. Part of this extra weight comes from the extra thickness of the spine. Some may feel that this makes the Bushcrafter too “overbuilt” for a woods knife. However, the thicker spine will make heavy-duty stabbing work a lot easier. So this knife can also double as a survival or military knife with each,
The Buscrafter 162 comes with a buckskin leather sheath. It has a “D Ring” and belt loop so it can be easily fastened to pockets, rucksacks or even MOLLE vests. The knife fits snug and it’s comfortable to wear whether sitting, squatting or in a vehicle. The leather sheath is a bit floppy though. If you plan on walking any fair distances you might need an upgrade.
Benchmade may well have entered the crowded Bushman’s market a little on the late side, but the Buscrafter 186 is a great addition to their fixed blade range.
- S30V stainless steel
- Full Tang
- G10 handle
- Can be used as a survival or military knife
- Great fit and finish
- Hefty for Bushcraft
- Sheath not for backpacking
Benchmade 940-2 Review
Some online commentators have heralded the Benchmade 940 as “The Ultimate EDC Pocket Knife”. Now, that’s a very bold claim with all the competition about – even from Benchmade’s own Mini-Griptillian. So what set’s it apart?
Well, starting with the steel it has premium S30v. Benchmade’s famed heat treatment process hones it razor sharp and keep it that way for a long, long time. The 940 is thin, strong and it’s 3.5″ blade does make it perfectly suited for EDC.
You might initially thing having a thinner blade is a drawback. However, the thinner profile and open backspace design reduces the weight to just 2.65 oz. That makes it one of the lightest EDC knife you can expect to carry!
Another plus about the thinner blade is the lightening fast opening mechanism. If this isn’t the fastest manual action on the market, it must be in the top 3!
The 940-2 is an updated design on the original 940. It is a reverse tanto design, so if you want a knife with a lot of belly – this ain’t it. Tantos make excellent EDC knives and their design adds strength and penetration to the tip.
If Tantos don’t float your boat – there is also the 943 which is a clip-point and a really beautiful knife.
Another selling point for the Benchmade 940 series is the G10 handle design. There not so aggressive as to fray fabric in pockets and are definitely an improvement on the nylon scales that the Mini-Grips usually come fitted with.
And last but not least, the 940 has the ambidextrous Axis Lock. You’ve probably heard how good it is already (especially if you’re read around this website). But seeing is believing.
Here is a pressure test where it takes 690 lbs per inch pressure before failure!
If you have the money and are looking for the best EDC on the market, the 940 is definitely among the best Benchmade offers.
You can find the latest online price for the Benchmade 940 series here.
- S30v Steel
- Perfect Blade size for EDC
- Fast Opening
- American Made