Benchmade vs Kershaw

Benchmade vs Kershaw
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You’re in the market for an EDC foldable knife that can quickly open one-handed. There are two major companies to choose from: Benchmade vs Kershaw.

While both stand behind their products and offer very similar model lines, which one comes out on top?

Direct Comparison

Benchmade

  • Made in USA
  • 154CM Blade
  • FRN Handle
  • Axis Lock
  • High in Price

Kershaw

  • Made in China
  • 8Cr13MoV Blade
  • 410 Steel Handle
  • Frame Lock
  • Low in Price

Breaking it down

A knife is more than just a blade with a handle. It’s got to be made of high-quality materials, be foldable to go in your pocket, cut well every time, and be easy to take care of. We’re comparing and contrasting the Benchmade and Kershaw knives to see how they stack up.

The Blade

At first glance, the blades on both the Benchmade and Kershaw knives look similar, with a short, stout shape, large knife belly, and swedge tip. But they’re made of two different types of steel that behave very differently.

Benchmade

Benchmade knife blades are made with 154CM, which is a high-quality stainless steel that is manufactured by Crucible Industries. Crucible is an American company headquartered in New York and was founded over 100 years ago. 154CM steel has been modified from martensitic stainless steel.

Molybdenum has been added to it, combining that element with both carbon and chromium. 154CM steel quality is very high, and its sharpness is retained for a long time, making it a prime choice for serious, frequent use.

It’s also easy and simple to sharpen. Due to the quality control, you can expect blade consistency from knife to knife and if you choose to replace the knife.

Kershaw

The blade in Kershaw knives is made with what’s called 8Cr13MoV Steel. That is a popular budget brand of knife steel, it’s made in China, and it’s similar to the Japanese steel quality like AUS-8 grade.

Despite its low cost, it’s worthy of cutting and, for a long time, retains that sharpness. It’s also resistant to corrosion. You’ll find that this type of steel is easy to sharpen and sharpens well. It’s popular because it’s inexpensive and resembles higher quality steel.

However, it’s not as abrasion resistant as the 154CM steel. Where you’ll really notice the quality is in the frequency of sharpening. It loses its sharpness quickly. You’ll also find inconsistency in quality, so there is such a thing as a “bad batch.”

Winner: Benchmade

The Handle

Knife handles are an important feature, since they balance the blade, protect your hand, ensure a good grip, and must fit well. These knife handles are made of two different materials: FRN and 410 steel.

Benchmade

The handle is made from FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon), which is a reinforced plastic. This makes it exceptionally lightweight, durable, and hard in texture. The handle is slightly curved and, relative to the knife’s overall size, longer than the blade.

It’s long enough for larger hands. There’s a rough texture on the handle to enable a better grip. It doesn’t have a full liner, making it even lighter.

Kershaw

Kershaw knife handles are made of 410 stainless steel, which is the best martensitic grade steel. That means it’s made using techniques that require final heat treatment. It’s optimized for very high hardness, just like the stainless steel found in kitchens. Since it’s hard, it makes it resistant to corrosion.

The handle is also coated with a matte gray titanium carbo-nitride. For a regular EDC knife, this steel is heavier than the Benchmade FRN. The handle isn’t ergonomically designed and is short compared to the overall length, meaning those with larger hands might find it uncomfortable to grip.

Winner: Benchmade

Locking Mechanism

Your knife has to have a locking mechanism for safety while you’re carrying it in your pocket. How easy it is to lock these knives and have them stay locked?

Benchmade

Benchmade knives come with an Axis lock located at the base of the blade. You move the toggle back and forth to have the knife lock or unlock in place. It’s also ambidextrous.

Kershaw

Kershaw knives come with a frame lock that keeps the blade open during use. It’s a sturdy style of blade lock. It also has lockbar stabilization.

Winner: Benchmade

Final Recount

Benchmade: 3/3

Kershaw: 0/3

Winner: Benchmade

Pros and Cons of Each

PROS

CONS

Benchmade

  • Made in USA
  • Excellent sharp blade
  • Lightweight handle
  • High in price
  • Blade can scratch

Kershaw

  • Low in price
  • Pocket clip
  • Foldable and portable
  • Made in China
  • Inferior materials

Final Verdict

When comparing both of these excellent knife companies side by side, it’s easy to see who’s the clear winner. Benchmade knives are crafted in the US of high-quality materials, which makes all the difference.

Inferior craftsmanship produces an inferior knife, so Benchmade definitely wins. Invest in one of these amazing tools and you will enjoy it for years to come.

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