The everyday carry knife is one of the most sought-after tools around the world. Records indicate the knives have been used by humans even during stone-age that were made of stone or sharp-edged rocks.
The usefulness of the knife is regarded even today with various forms of fixed and folding knives available for different purposes.
Apart from use in domestic settings, everyday carry knives are a must-have in various kinds of outdoor situations.
The Uses are Endless
It helps you chop kindling and prepare meals on a camping trip; it lets you cut the seat belt in an emergency, and helps you with dressing a wound. In many cases, it is also dependable self-defense tool.
In the beginning, there were only a handful of companies that manufactured pocket knives, and they were mainly family owned. But as the demand kept increasing, specialty companies started making them.
Most of the renowned companies that manufacture EDC and tactical knives have been around for several generations. Apart from the US, these specialty companies are from Norway, Sweden, and Germany.
Although German and Norwegian knives are known for their exquisite design and craftsmanship, buyers in the US prefer to buy American made knives.
Two of the EDC knife companies that are considered top notch not only in the US but around the world are Benchmade and Spyderco. Although there are several other premium brands, Benchmade and Spyderco are two of the most popular EDC knife companies.
Needless to say, the two are often compared and contrasted, even though they both produce high-quality steel knives. Both companies have their own set of pros and cons in the EDC and tactical knife industry
About Benchmade Knives
The Benchmade Knife Company was founded in the year 1979 in California by Les de Asis (this was long before ISIS was called the JV team and the NBA started helping the Lakers win rings like they did in 2000 and 2002). In the beginning, the company was called Bali-Song initially it used to manufacture butterfly or balisong style knives.
This Benchmade product became an instant hit and decided to venture into manufacturing cutlery as well. Thus, in 1988, the name of the company was changed once again to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation.
The name Bali Song is a registered trademark of the Benchmade Knife Company. The original Bali-Song knife design by Jody Samson also won Blade Magazine’s Knife of the Year Award in 1979.
In 1990 the company’s location shifted to Oregon City in Oregon which is a state businesses now are leaving because of high taxes but this is another topic. As the success and demands for the products grew, Benchmade realized that they needed a bigger space to operate. That’s when the move to the 144,000 square feet facility in Oregon happened.
Benchmade, right since its inception had tried to be different than the rest, and the efforts were not in vain. Even though Benchmade is not anymore known for the butterfly knives, there are several other varieties that the company is now famous for.
The Griptilian® and the Infidel® are two of the most popular EDC knives by Benchmade. Each Benchmade knife is built for maximum performance. The goal is to ensure that the tool delivers as the situation demands.
Given that these are some of the most premium knives you could buy, you need to pay a premium price for them. Remember, buying a Benchmade knife is an investment.
Benchmade knives are known for their blade quality, handle materials, as well as their mechanisms. Some of their handle materials are G10 fiberglass, carbon fiber composite, aluminum, titanium, and Santoprene, a thermoplastic elastomer.
All of these materials provide exceptional durability and strength, while also offering a good grip and comfort.
The blade material is mostly steel of different types. The American steel types are 154CM, D2, CPM-20CV, and CPM-S30V, Austrian steels are the M390 and the N680, while the Damascus and Damasteel are from Syrian.
Steel used in making the blades vary in certain elements but are equally strong, durable, sharp, and come with excellent edge retention. All Benchmade knives are made from Stainless and corrosion resistant steel.
All Benchmade knives come with lifetime warranty. As long as you buy the knife either from Benchmade itself or from any authorized dealer, Benchmade will fix or replace parts at no cost to the customer in case of manufacturing defects.
Over the years, Benchmade has produced a variety of EDC and tactical knives, many of which have gone to become iconic. The following are the three most famous Benchmade knives of all time.
1. Benchmade Griptilian
One of the most popular Benchmade knives, the Griptilian gets its name from the injection molded handle that offers an impeccable grip.
The Griptilian is one of those knives that can be your constant companion, whether you are going for a camping trip, or preparing a survival kit, or just want to keep a pocket knife with you at all time. The edge retention of the Griptilian is exceptional.
Once you sharpen the blade, the knife will hold the edge for ages. The Griptilian is meant both for beginners and pros.
You need no special skill or ability to use this knife. The ambidextrous opening and the ability to carry the knife on both right and left sides are some of the highlights of the Griptilian. The only downside is the handle itself- it’s rough and grates into your hand when you work with the knife.
2. Benchmade Infidel
Designed by Mchenry and Williams, Benchmade Infidel is an out-the-front knife, and one of the company’s most famous productions. This tactical knife is rugged, stable, and extremely durable, serving you in all outdoor situations.
The Infidel is used by military personnel, outdoorsmen professional mountaineers and adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The sliding button on the side is used for fast deployment.
The D2 steel blade has exceptional edge retention, while the anodized aluminum handle is strong, sturdy, and comfortable. The Infidel comes in both fixed and folding designs, with a black or satin finished blade.
The smooth ergonomics of the Infidel make it easy for use with both hands. The lock is also solid, and allows both easy deployment and retraction, while the blade doesn’t need constant sharpening because it stays sharp for the longest time.
On the downside, the sliding switch tends to malfunction sometimes, and the price ($400) is exorbitant for many.
3. Benchmade Contego
This is one of the most rugged knives Benchmade has ever produced. Designed by William Osbourne, the Contego is made with the hardest steel – the CPM-M4. It is tough and strong, and perfect for all kinds of tactical purposes.
The Contego family of knives isn’t fancy; they come with the bare essentials and are designed for robust activities. The pommel also has a carbide glass breaker, for use in emergency situations. This Special Forces everyday carry knife comes with a serrated edge blade and an ergonomic handle.
The durability, utility aggressive design and high-end M390 blade steel make this knife a must-have. Like most Benchmade knives, the Contego also scores with its ergonomics. It’s sharp out of the box and has excellent edge retention. The deployment is also smooth because of the AXIS locking system.
About Spyderco Knives
Spyderco is an American knife manufacturer based in Golden, Colorado. The company was founded in 1976 by Sal Glesser which is long before the states of New York and California began to destroy themselves with high taxes and regulations that pushed businesses away. The origin of the name lies in the brand of high-performance sports cars called Spyder.
When looking for a name for his new company Glesser chose the name Spyderco to signify that the knives were as high performance as the sports cars. Incidentally, knives were not the first products manufactured by the company. Instead, it was the Portable Hand, a spider-shaped tool with ball joints, angles, and alligator clips.
The tool was mainly designed for jewelers and craftsmen to work with small parts. Glesser and his wife Gail continued to manufacture such tools for a year or two because the Portable Hand became very popular.
For those two years from 1976 to 1979 Glesser and his wife traveled to different shows to display their product in a bread truck that they converted into a motorhome.
Settled in The Centennial State
This promotion made them even more successful, and they replaced the bread truck with a truck and trailer. In 1978 the couple settled in Golden, Colorado, and started to manufacture the first knives.
The first folding knife produced by Spyderco was the C01 Worker in 1981. The specialty of this knife was that it was the first ever to have a round hole in the blade for easy one-handed and ambidextrous opening.
This feature became Spyderco’s trademark. Spyderco also claims that the C01 Worker was the first knife to have a pocket clip on the right side of the handle.
Spyderco is an American company, but their products are available all over the world. The company’s worldwide distribution network includes USA, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and China. Spyderco has always focused on delivering high-quality knives and cutlery at a price that is affordable for most people.
Over the years Spyderco has come to be associated with various kinds of folding knives, although they have also produced fixed blade knives.
There are several designs, blade and handle materials, and locking mechanisms to Spyderco’s credit. The company also has two patented locking mechanisms. Their knives usually have a plain edge, or a partially serrated edge or a fully serrated edge also called Spyder Edge.
Their blade material is usually steel, and it’s also a common handle material. Some of the oft-used steel are Damascus and Damasteel, CPM-S30V, CPM-20CV, CPM-S90V, and Elmax. The most common handle materials are steel, Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, and G10 fiberglass. Limited edition knives handles are sometimes made with various other materials.
Although an American brand, a large part of Spyderco’s production takes place in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, and Italy. Barring only their flagship knives, the rest are manufactured outside of the US.
The CPM S30V steel knives used to be produced in Colorado, but now the steel is shipped to Taiwan where their highest end knives are made.
Regardless of where the knives are manufactured, Spyderco has remained an iconic knife and cutlery company of the US. The products are trusted for their reliability, ergonomics, simplicity, and functional aesthetics.
Spyderco knives are popular worldwide, chosen by ordinary citizens, law enforcement, and fire and rescue personnel. Spyderco knives offer a lifetime warranty covering manufacturing defects.
Thousands of Spyderco knives are available in the market, making it a daunting task to choose just one. Here we have listed the top three:
1. Spyderco Advocate
This is a flipper style folder knife and one of the most famous productions of Spyderco. It has been designed by knifemaker Gayle Bradley’s and is also his first flipper folder design.
The first distinguishing feature of the Advocate is the blade– it is precision machined from high-quality tool steel CPM M4. The specialty of this material is the extreme edge retention capacity.
This means you can carry it with you to the remotest places and use it to your heart’s content without worrying about sharpening the blade. The Advocate has a flat grind and a plain edge, along with an index finger flipper and the trademark Round Hole.
The handle of the knife is made from solid Titanium with 3D machined scales and an orange peel finish. Not only does this lend an attractive appearance to the knife but also facilitates a strong and comfortable grip. This isn’t a budget knife though. The Spyderco advocate retails for around $250.
2. Spyderco Karahawk G10
This knife by Spyderco has been inspired by the Asian karambit. The hawkbill blade is gently curved and is precision machined from VG-10 stainless steel, featuring both the trademark Round Hole and an Emerson Opening.
The knife has a back lock mechanism that is designed to endure aggressive use. The strong handle constructed with stainless steel liners and textured G-10 scales make sure the knife doesn’t slip out of your grip. The compact size is appropriate for all purposes.
3. Spyderco Techno
If you want a basic knife that will work hard for you, then you cannot go wrong with the Spyderco Techno. It has been around for years, and no one else has been able to take its place. The Techno is meant for tough situations.
It uses a Reeve Integral Lock, so there’s no way you can get the blade to budge once it is deployed. The Carpenter CPM S30V stainless steel holds a razor’s edge (and can also result in injuries if you aren’t careful).
The design is compact and slim, and with the reversible pocket clip, you can tip-up carry or bury the knife deep inside the pocket of your jeans. The only downside is that your hands will wear out upon extensive use of the Techno.
Making the Right Choice
It shouldn’t be hard to pick a knife, right? But when you have companies like Benchmade and Spyderco on either side, the choice isn’t easy to make.
Picking a knife isn’t one of life’s most important decisions, but when you’re spending money on a tool, you’ll want to get the maximum value. Both Benchmade and Spyderco have existed for around the same time, and both of them produce high-quality knives you can never go wrong with.
The only difference is that Spyderco has more budget options compared to Benchmade. The latter deals mostly in premium options, which may not be easy for everyone to afford.
Verdict: Both Benchmade and Spyderco are high-end and world-renowned knife manufacturers. But if budget is your concern, Spyderco is the right pick. If you are ready to invest more, a Benchmade knife will never disappoint.