5 Best Benchmade Folders of All Time

Benchmade has operated for more than 30 years in the knife industry. Before that, the company produced handmade Balisong knives under the names Pacific Cutlery Corp and Balisong. By the way, those knives, also known as butterfly knives, are among the world’s best to this day.

Over the decades, Benchmade has expanded its offerings and they are now perhaps most known for their EDC blades. Whether it’s a combat veteran, law enforcement officer, knife enthusiast, or a beginner who simply wants a reliable knife to carry, Benchmade has claimed its position among the top manufacturers. It offers a wide variety of knife styles, including automatic, out-the-front, and fixed-blade models. But the focus of this article will be to highlight the best Benchmade folding EDC knives ever. 

We know—that’s a tall task. But we’ve narrowed our favorites down to a list of five: 

          Kershaw Launch

          1. Griptilian  

          The Benchmade Griptilian is widely considered to be one of the best folding knives ever made. It’s extraordinarily versatile, and it comes in large and small variants. This means that, depending on which variant you get, you can have something compact enough for EDC use or hefty enough for performing heavy-duty tasks. Not to mention there are plenty of blade and color variations to please any type of knife enthusiast. 

          As with other Benchmade products, the Griptilian comes with a premium stainless steel blade, and the 3.45-inch sheepsfoot blade is ideal for pretty much any EDC task you can think of. When ordering this model, you can expect the blade to be uber-sharp right out of the box and for it to stay that way for several months when used moderately. And don’t forget Benchmade’s lifetime sharpening service, which applies to this knife and all the others. 

          The handle of the Griptilian uses NORYL GTX, which is a rare glass-reinforced polymer grip. This knife fits comfortably in the hand and is easy to hold steady through cutting tasks. When folded, the Griptilian is slim enough to slide comfortably into your pocket or stay clipped onto your pocket. Stainless steel liners hold the handle together. 

          The AXIS locking mechanism and ambidextrous thumb studs set this knife over the top. It’s super easy to flip open the knife, and when opened, it’s not going to close unless you want it to. Moreover, the adjustable pocket clip is built well and can accommodate lefties. 

          • 3.45” CPM-20CV Sheepsfoot Blade
          • G-10 Handle
          • 8.07” Overall Length
          • 4.17 oz. Total Weight
          • Made in the USA
          Kershaw Launch

          2. 940 Osborne  

          Benchmade has been producing the 940 Osborne for well over a decade, and it has remained one of its top sellers. The 940 is remarkably lightweight, especially considering how well it performs in EDC and survival situations alike. The 3.4-inch modified reverse tanto blade is only 0.114 inches thick. What’s more, this model’s handle is just 0.4 inches thick and the entire knife is less than eight inches long when fully engaged. Closed, this knife is 4.47 inches long, so it can easily be concealed in your pocket. With a total weight under three ounces, you’ll have to be careful not to forget it’s there!

          The 940 uses S30V stainless steel, which is widely regarded to be among the best steels on the market. Tension is where this blade shines, as it can withstand weeks and weeks of heavy uses without losing its edge. Plus, the 940 blade is pretty easy to sharpen (especially when you have Benchmade do it!). 

          • 3.4” CPM-S30V Reverse Tanto Blade
          • Aluminum, Titanium, or Carbon Fiber Handle
          • 7.87” Overall Length
          • 2.44 oz. – 2.9 oz. Total Weight
          • Made in the USA


          Kershaw Launch

          3. Bugout

          The Benchmade Bugout pays homage to the 940 Osborne, but it is more modern in many aspects. In short, the Bugout was designed with an entirely different objective in mind. It has a small deep carry clip, it’s exceptionally slim overall, and the blade is thinly ground. If it feels like the 940 disappears in your pocket, you very well may forget the Bugout is even there. It’s one of the most lightweight folders you can buy, and it has several modern frills—and we use “frills” to refer to little elements that prove useful in everyday situations.

          Even though the Bugout is lightweight and compact, it can perform most EDC tasks that you throw at it. After all, that’s where its name comes from; when you’re in a tough situation, you need to bug out. 

          Without a doubt, the Bugout’s S30V blade has proven to be the feature that attracts most knife enthusiasts. It’s only 0.09 inches thick and 3.24 inches long, and it is simply one of the most exceptional blades available for cutting tasks. Plus, it’s a beautiful-looking blade in every aspect, from shape to finish. 

          If you’re looking for an exceptional all-around EDC knife, the Benchmade Bugout should be among your top considerations. The slim and lightweight design, in addition to countless aftermarket customization options, make this knife about as good as it gets when it comes to versatility, reliability, and looks.

          • 3.24” CPM-S30V Drop Point Blade
          • Polymer Handle 
          • 7.46” Overall Length
          • 1.85 oz. Total Weight
          • Made in the USA
          Kershaw Launch

          4. Bailout 537 Tanto

          The Bailout 537 Tanto shares many similarities with the Bugout. And while the Bugout has garnered such a wide following of EDC enthusiasts, it wasn’t originally designed for EDC use. On the contrary, the 537 Tanto was designed specifically for those purposes.

          Essentially, the 537 Tanto was developed to be more tactically focused than the Bugout. It’s slim and lightweight, but it’s tougher and more discrete than its brother. The knife is 0.4 inches thick, 4.7 inches long when closed, and 2.05 ounces total. The primary reason it’s a little longer than the Bugout is that it fosters a more secure grip for heavy-duty tasks without compromising its carry ability. Additionally, the 537 Tanto has a flare guard on the handle that further improves grip, especially during piercing tasks.

          The CPM-3V blade is just over 3.38 inches long, and the tanto shape and serrations of the blade provide optimal cutting, slicing, and piercing performance through tough materials. As with the Bugout and other Benchmade EDC models, the 537 Tanto deploys quickly and securely and includes ambidextrous thumb studs, as well as AXIS lock. It also includes a tip-up deep carry clip that can reverse to suit lefties. In short, if you’re crazy about the Bugout but are looking for something to handle tasks that are a little more heavy-duty, the 537 Tanto is your best bet. 

          • 3.38” CPM-3V Tanto Blade
          • Grivory Handle
          • 8.07” Overall Length
          • 2.05 oz. Total Weight
          • Made in the USA


          Kershaw Launch

          5. 275 Adamas

          Say that you want to take the tactical capability up a notch from the 537 Tanto. That would bring you to the Benchmade 275 Adamas. This knife was designed specifically for military and law enforcement personnel, and it’s the gold standard for heavy-use folding knives. While it shares some similarities with other tactical folders on the market, the 275 is over-built in pretty much every aspect. And we mean that in the best way.

          This knife is as functional and rugged as you will find in a folder—from its practicality to its appearance. It may not be the best for discrete carrying but is without a doubt sturdy, well-built, and ready for any heavy-duty tasks you can throw at it. The 275 Adamas is 8.7 inches long overall and 7.7 ounces total. Yeah, it’s a big knife that’s made for survival. Look at it this way—you probably won’t be able to abuse this knife too much. And though it’s a sizable and weighty knife, it feels very satisfying in hand, and the G10 handle aids grip during heavy cutting, slicing, and piercing tasks. 

          Just like the other knives on this list, the Adamas features two ambidextrous thumb stubs, and deployment is speedy and secure. All in all, if you’re dreaming about a lightweight EDC folder, this is not a knife for you. Also, if you want more of a premium steel than D2, you’ll need to look elsewhere. But there is no getting around the fact that this knife is awesome, dependable, and top of the line for tactical and survival situations.

          • 3.82” Cru-Wear Drop Point Blade
          • G-10 Handle
          • 8.93” Overall Length
          • 6.45 oz. Total Weight
          • Made in the USA

          The Sum-Up 

          Benchmade makes a lot of different styles of knives, and they can all be categorized as top-notch. But when it comes to folding knives, the experienced knife maker is truly among the best in the world. Depending on your needs, any knife on this list would be an excellent addition to your collection, and Benchmade has other folders worth considering as well. Consider the information above to determine which model will most fit your needs, and remember to check out our inventory at Ridgerunner Blades

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