Spyderco and Benchmade are the two most popular options for folding knives. They’re commended for their quality, durability, and reliability during survival situations. When it comes to lightweight pocket knives, both brands are considered to be consumers’ favorites. But what exactly differentiates these two from one another?
Spyderco has better overall quality, price range, ergonomics, design, safety, and locking mechanism. Benchmade is better in terms of the warranty, customer service, and ease of opening.
When choosing between the two, here are the main differences you should consider:
- The overall quality and price range
- Warranty and customer after-service
- Knife opening
- Ergonomics and design
- Safety and locking mechanism
Overview Of Benchmade
Benchmade is a knife company that has been around since the 1970s and has grown to be one of the top knife brands in the United States. The first knives they produced were butterfly knives, aka balisongs. They have a wide range of knives, the most popular of which include:
This blade measures 4.97 inches in length and is made of durable CPM-S30V steel. The total length is 10.18 inches if you include the handle. This comes with smooth and shaped G-10 scales with a black coat and a plain edge. Different molded sheaths are adjustable.
917SBK Tactical Triage
The serrated edge makes this knife perfect for rough and aggressive work. You can use it to saw through tough meat, branches, and other challenging materials you might encounter in the wild. There’s also a plain blade for normal cutting needs. The blade length is 3.48 inches and it measures 8.33 inches with the handle. It has an axis locking mechanism with a manual opening style.
This is one of the smaller units under Benchmade and it’s perfect if you want something compact and portable. The blade only measures 2.91 inches but you can customize it with a plain blade or a serrated one, depending on your needs. The knife comes with an assisted opening mechanism so that you can open it with just a single flick of a thumb stud.
The Bedlam’s blade measures 4 inches and is made of satin steel. This knife is 9.76 inches when fully open and you open it through its manual opening mechanism. Despite the small size, this is one of the best performing knives in Benchmade’s range. The size adds extra leverage for tougher tasks.
Saddle Mountain Skinner
This is a hunting knife which makes it ideal for survivalists. The knife is constructed for hunting games and field-dressing animals. This is still versatile enough to cut through branches, wood, fabric, and more. Its 4.17-inch blade is made of premium CPM-230V steel which you can pair with two different handle options.
Overview Of Spyderco
Spyderco is a knife company that specializes in folding knives. The company has been operating since 1981and it is said that their inventions changed the way knives are manufactured across the world. They’re currently known for premium quality knives that were manufactured with precision through the latest available technology. Compared to the Benchmade brand, Spyderco has a wider range of products and a more diverse price range. Spyderco remains to be the go-to company for affordable yet high-quality knives. Some of their top knives include:
This is the first flipper-style release from the company. The blade measures 3.49 inches long and is made from premium CPM M4 steel. The knife measures 8.04 inches long when it is flipped open, from tip to the handle. The handle is made of stylish and durable titanium.
Proficient Carbon Fiber Knife
This knife is a remarkable option because it was designed by wilderness expert Chris Claycomb. It was engineered for bushcraft purposes and outdoor cutting methods which are useful for survivalists. It has stellar edge retention and excellent cutting performance so that you can use it for various outdoor survival activities. The blade is made of CPM-S90V stainless steel and has a full-flat grind so that there’s as little friction as possible whenever you try to cut through things. It also comes with a handsomely crafted leather pouch that has a belt loop for convenience. The blade is 4 inches long and the knife measures 8.75 inches overall.
The Manix 2
This model is an excellent EDC knife because of its versatility and portability. The blade only measures 3.37 inches and is made of CPM S30V steel. It also comes with a G-10 ergonomically designed handle. This is good for fishing and other outdoor activities.
Chaparral Stepped Titanium
This is one of the most affordable knife options from Spyderco. The main selling point is the stunning and stylish design. The curved blade measures 2.75 inches in length and is made of CTS XHP steel. The blade is a full flat grind. In total, this knife measures 6.35 inches with a robust titanium handle. There’s also a big hoop that you can use to loop this to your belt or bag.
This is a tactical knife that is made of VG-10 steel and a G-10 handle. The blade comes with a Saber grind and the knife measures 6.50 inches long when fully open. The curve is specifically designed to boost cutting leverage and to keep this knife centered and balanced in the user’s hand. It comes with the trademark ring at the end of the handle. The ring boosts the grip on the handle and adds support for cutting and spinning techniques.
Overall Quality And Price Range
Each brand has a wide range of knife options which affects the price range. On average, Spyderco has more affordable knives while Benchmade has expensive models because they cater to a more premium target market. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that the premium options from Benchmade trumps the premium range from Spyderco just because they’re more expensive. There are still premium knives from Spyderco.
Both of these brands have competent and high-quality knives made from the most durable steel and constructed with precision. The quality is directly proportional to the price. If you want something competent but affordable, go for a premium knife from Spyderco. If you have more money to spare for an even better knife, go for a premium Benchmade. The price and quality somehow balance out.
When it comes to overall quality control, Spyderco takes it a point over Benchmade. Spyderco has been consistent with releasing high-quality knives. There are very few cases of defective knives that need replacement. Conversely, there are cases where Benchmade sent out dull knives or uneven blades which subjects the buyer to the hassle of having it replaced for a brand new one. When you pay a lot for Benchmade knives, it’s a reasonable expectation that you’ll be served with a premium knife that’s free of defects and is ready to be used on the go.
Warranty and Customer After-Service
Spyderco generously offers a lifetime warranty for all of its knives. They also have a range of services that can improve your knives, such as free blade sharpening and other repairs. Spyderco will willingly replace the knives you bought if they have any factory defects. They can also do other repairs for you at affordable rates. Just remember to avoid taking your knife apart so that you won’t void the warranty.
Benchmade also has the same warranty policy about offering repairs or replacements for units with factory defects. They do have more services that are free, like knife sharpening, knife cleaning, and oiling. They also have an affordable laser marking service. There are plenty of reports that say Benchmade customer after-services are better than Spyderco because they cover all damage repairs for free, especially if it’s your first Benchmade knife.
Ease Of Opening The Knife
One of the most important features of an EDC knife is how easy it is to open. It shouldn’t be too easy to open so that it becomes a hazard for kids, but it should be easy enough so that you can immediately use it when necessary. Most folding knives open with a push of a button or a thumb stud.
Both brands have different trademarked opening mechanisms. Spyderco has a hole in the blade through which you loop your finger to lift the blade. This opening style is ambidextrous and may take some time to get used to. Conversely, Benchco knives carry the traditional thumb stud that opens the blade with a simple flick of a thumb stud. It’s very easy and convenient.
It ultimately comes down to preference. But if your sole deciding factor is convenience, go for Benchmade.
Ergonomics And Design
Spyderco boasts of its exacting requirements for superior production lines. There are very few cases of factory defects which means that the company ensures that all of its products are top-notch before being released to the market. The design is very ergonomic to provide comfort to the user. You can use it for hours on end and still not experience any hand fatigue. The spine of Spyderco blades sticks out in a triangular manner which is different from the traditional rectangular shape. This makes their blades more lightweight and therefore, more agile.
Benchmade products are designed after traditional pocket knives. They have a very symmetrical appearance with straight handles that aren’t necessarily ergonomic. This company has three grades of production: the gold series which is the highest quality, the blue series which is the standard class, and the black series which is reserved for law enforcement, emergency personnel, and the military. This classification helps you decide which knives best suit your needs as a prepper.
In conclusion, the decision is up to you. If you want something traditional, go for Benchmade. If you want something progressive but may take a while to adjust to its feel, go for Spyderco. Spyderco wins in terms of comfort because of its ergonomic design that’s suited for survival needs. You can cut through wood or greens for hours with ease because of the curved handle and lightweight feature.
Safety And Locking Mechanism
One main point of difference between Spyderco and Benchmade products is the locking mechanism which ultimately dictates their safety. Spyderco uses the common compression-type locking mechanism while Benchmade uses the axis locking mechanism. Spyderco is deemed to be a safer option because of the traditional compression lock that keeps the blade secure when not in use. It’s also easy to unlock so that you can just whip the blade out when you need to. There’s also a short adjustment period because this is a fairly common locking system among folding knives so it’s not a major change.
The main advantage of the axis locking system is the speed and assistance it offers. It lets the blade swiftly release in a snappy manner. This is a reliable mechanism that you can use every day. The only issue is that axis locks have more fragile and smaller moving parts. These parts can be subjected to corrosion over time and may be hard to replace. This means that Benchmade knives need more attention in terms of lubrication, care, and maintenance. You need to make sure that it’s completely dry before you stow it away and that you’ve oiled every gear so that it won’t rust. In a survival setting, you’ll need a blade that can keep up with the rough outdoor environment and won’t take up too much time for care and maintenance.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Pocket Knife
The brand is only a secondary factor to consider when choosing a pocket knife. Both Spyderco and Benchmade have pocket knives for various outdoor needs. Each has unique features that can be useful to you. The core principle is that the knife you choose must be capable of making clean and precise cuts on whichever surface or through whatever material. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a pocket knife:
The handle is important because your comfort level when gripping the knife can greatly affect your efficiency at doing whatever task is at hand. For example, a solid knife handle with an ergonomic design will give you comfort and leverage. It’s important to choose a knife with a sturdy handle because the pressure to cut is applied through the handle.
You’ll also want to look at padded handles with curvature so that you can grip the handle for long periods and not experience any hand fatigue. The handle should also be well-made so that the blade won’t come off after just a few uses.
Pocket knives are made to be portable. Most of them fold inwards so that the blade is safely tucked in the handle and then you can just put it in your pocket. Other pocket knives have belt hooks or clips so that you can hang them on your belt or bag for easy access. The carrying method is important because it makes the knife more accessible to you so that you can use it on the go. It’s more convenient to reach for your knife from your belt rather than digging for it in your pocket.
Spyderco and Benchmade offer knife accessories that can improve the functionality of the knives they sell. Some knives come in gorgeous leather sheaths, replaceable blades, scales, clips, and more. Choose a brand and model with available accessories that can help you upgrade your knife without necessarily buying a new one.
A locking mechanism is important because it keeps your knife safe when not in use. It also affects how stable the blade is when being used. Spyderco uses compression locks while Benchmade uses axis locks. It depends on the user and which locking mechanism they’re comfortable with.
Both brands have their share of pros and cons. Benchmade exclusively makes premium knives so you can never go wrong with a knife from them. The only downside is that they tend to be more expensive and there are issues with the company’s quality control. Some individuals also prefer Spyderco’s design and locking mechanism.
You’re more likely to find a good knife that suits your needs from Spyderco. Their wide selection and varying price points ensure that you get a good deal. Their handles are also more ergonomically designed so they’re very comfortable to grip and use. Their locking mechanism, warranty, customer service, and overall quality control also make them the superior choice for survivalists.
At the end of the day, you should choose a knife based on your needs as a survivalist. For example, pick a hunting knife from Benchmade if you need a knife for animal hunting and field dressing. Spyderco is perfect for you if you want a versatile knife that you can use for cutting through branches, fabric, and other outdoor survival things.