Everything from camping to self-defense, we’ve got the best American-made blade for the occasion.
Knife enthusiasts know that you wouldn’t use an automatic knife to do a hunting knife’s job. You wouldn’t use a self-defense dagger as a work knife. You should always choose the right knife for the job. That’s part of the reason why your knife collection gets so out of control that your wife ends up asking to “have a talk” with you.
Anyway. Your marriage is none of our concern. The only thing we concern ourselves with is getting the right gear into your capable hands. Here’s our curated guide to choosing the best Benchmade knife for the job.
BEST OVERALL KNIFE: 535 BUGOUT
The Bugout is a multi-talented, multipurpose folder that any self-respecting knife enthusiast add to their kit with confidence. At only 1.85 ounces, it’s a lightweight option you can easily toss into your luggage or clip to your jean pocket. Speaking of pockets, like any knife intended for everyday carry, it’s got a reversible clip so you can customize it to your handedness or personal preference. The drop point blade is a reliable type, common for survival and tactical situations. So even if all you end up doing with this knife is opening your Amazon deliveries, know that the Bugout is open to more daring tasks.
Best EDC Knife: 940 Osborne
This slender and sleek folder is on the top of the EDC charts. Slim and responsive, the green anodized aluminum handle offers an eye-catching style. At just under 3 ounces, it’s weighty enough for confident handling and cutting, and the smooth, AXIS-assisted opening action feels satisfyingly “flickable.” The Osborne is just an all-around gorgeous, practical, and carry-able knife we can’t recommend enough.
Best Out-the-Front Knife: Infidel Automatic
We’ve already raved about this self-defense automatic dagger in our Benchmade Infidel review. The Infidel’s most distinctive feature is what makes it serve the purpose of a self-defense knife: The Out-the-Front automatic opening action, or OTF. Since the Infidel’s arrival way back in 2006, Benchmade has continued to produce more OTF knives, but the Infidel remains the company’s front-runner for this style of weapon. The ergonomic, ambidextrous T-6 aluminum has plenty of ridges for an extra confident grip, and the extra wide handle at the bottom prevents it from slipping out of your hand in a dicey situation.
Best Survival Knife: 162 Bushcrafter
This fixed-blade workhorse is a brilliant camping and survival knife. The heavy duty, surehanded grip makes batoning firewood feel like a therapeutic experience. But it’s just built for the tough tasks—the drop point blade and carefully considered balance makes the Bushcrafter a great choice for more intricate tasks like cooking and carving. Plus, it comes with a gorgeous American-made full-grain buckskin leather sheath so it’s always by your side no matter where you pitch your tent.
BEST Folding Knife: 551 Griptilian
For first-time Benchmade buyers, you can’t go wrong with the Griptilian. But you know what? Long-time Benchmade buyers keep choosing the Griptilian too. Why? Because for all for all-around functionality and performance, the Griptilian’s reliable design—unchanged for years—is all you need. The ergonomic, textured grip gives you perhaps the most comfortable knife you’ve ever held, and at just 3.88 ounces, the weight and balance feels just right. The Griptilian is the perfect do-it-all knife that’ll last you years of faithful service.
Best Automatic Knife: 8551BK Mediator
The lightning-fast, ferocious push-button Mediator is an excellent choice for an automatic knife. The G10 handle with chevron-pattern offers a comfortable grip that doesn’t “jump” when you deploy the blade, and the serrated reverse tanto edge makes it a multi-purpose tool for slicing and sawing. With a reversible tip-up clip, left and right handed users can customize to their liking, making the 8551 Mediator a versatile choice as an automatic tactical knife.
BEST Dagger: 176 SOCP Fixed Blade
With the 176 SOCP Fixed Blade within arm’s reach on a plate carrier, tactical pros can operate in CQB settings with extra confidence. Many modern engagements require entering tight, cramped quarters, increasing the risk of hand-to-hand combat and wrestling matches. Designed in collaboration with hand-to-hand combat specialist Greg Thompson, this double-edged spearpoint dagger is a last ditch defensive option for military operators and law enforcement tactical professionals. With a generously-sized thumbhole grip, the user can quickly and easily draw it from the chest, and the unique ridged grip still frees your fingers up to manipulate other objects like doorknobs. Affordable, lightweight, and sharp as hell, consider the 176 SOCP Fixed Blade as a reliable tactical security measure.