Benchmade vs Kershaw: Blade Showdown

It’s a battle of the blades as Benchmade and Kershaw face off.

Anyone who dabbles knows these are two of the most well-renowned knife brands that can be found anywhere from a Wal-Mart Supercenter to a professional knife shop.

Let’s see what sets these famous knife companies apart.

Origins and Current Location


Benchmade logo
Benchmade originated as Bali-Song Inc. in a small workshop in California before it started taking off. After Bali-Song transitioned to Pacific Cutlery Corp, they soon went bankrupt.

From the bankruptcy, they were able to grow a new company with the lessons already learned from years in the knife industry.

Deciding on the name Benchmade was a show of their quality, as it was neither homemade nor factory-made. 

Benchmade began to create knives for the military when it became the top automatic knife supplier in the world after moving to Oregon and purchasing a high-powered laser cutter to work with incredibly tough steel.

They are still based in Oregon, known as the epicenter of knife creation.


Kershaw logo
Pete Kershaw saw quality in simplicity and set out to build the best. Also in Oregon, Kershaw began producing knives from an old cement plant in 1976, creating simple, high-quality hunting knives.

Kershaw partnered up with Kai, a Japanese blade company that has mastered the art of knife-making over the course of 65 years. It wasn’t until 1995 that Kershaw strayed from their classic design and began producing liner lock knives. This shift made for a boom and a huge step into the modern world.

Kai saw this opportunity and grabbed it. They expanded Kershaw in the US and have continued to push the technology to new levels.

Kershaw has some models still being produced across the pond in China. These tend to be their lower-budget series.

They are still producing and manufacturing new knife technology in Oregon, almost neighbors with Benchmade.

Where Are The Knives Made?

Benchmade: Every Benchmade knife produced after 2010 was made in their Oregon manufacturing facility in the USA. Some knives manufactured before 2010 and in their budget range were made overseas.

Bottom line: All new Benchmade knives are made in the USA.

Kershaw: Early manufacturing (pre-1997) was done in Japan; this has subsequently moved to the USA.

Bottom line: Most Kershaw knives are made in the USA. However, some of their budget range is manufactured in China.


Benchmade and Kershaw are on par with each other, and both provide a limited lifetime warranty on almost all of their products. You buy a knife from either one, and you’ll have that warranty until you die or lose the knife.

Note that there are some reasonable terms and conditions, which you can read below.



One of the best parts of going with Benchmade is the chance to buy a highly customized design. You start with a base model and can customize almost everything there.

The 535 Bugout by Benchmade

Benchmade bugout

Benchmade knives range from high-end kitchen cutlery to sleek and minimalistic pocket knives. They have broadened their production capacities and bring a high-quality blade to every different design.

Whether you are looking for an everyday survival knife or an assisted-opening survival knife that will take a real beating when needed, Benchmade makes it.


While Kershaw produces all different blade styles, they have become much more focused on sport and pocket knives. The company started mainly making hunting knives but has definitely moved away from that.

The Launch 10 by Kershaw

Kershaw Launch 10

They have filet knives, neck knives, and hatchets, but their true glory lies in the SpeedSafe-assisted open-pocket knives. This was the revolution that brought Kershaw up to the top of the knife world and is still what stays as their best seller.

Kershaw does put out a lot more unique knives than Benchmade. They will experiment more with differently-shaped blades, while Benchmade sticks to a more classic design.

Build Quality


Their first mission was to create something better than had existed before. Making the best only happens with the best materials and dedicated production facilities. Benchmade uses the top-quality steels available and aerospace-grade materials for their handles.

Benchmade uses 15 different types of steel in their blades, and seven other materials are used in the handles.

Additionally, they have 11 different mechanisms for opening and locking each knife. This ranges from a traditional butterfly knife to various forms of assisted opening.


Kershaw prides itself on meticulous design and quality control for every knife that it puts out. They use premium materials even on the budget lines.

While a few of their models are still being produced in China, they are still closely looking for any possible imperfection.

Kershaw utilizes 14 different steels that are great for making knives more affordable, or for making knives built to last against anything. Their 5 different opening styles are all based around the classic folding pocket knife, but they tend to push the SpeedSafe opening.

It’s worth remembering that both companies back their knives with limited lifetime warranties. They believe in the quality knives they are putting out and will stand up for it.



With Benchmade, you’re less likely to pick a budget-friendly knife. Their knives are priced a bit higher, mainly due to the US production. They have to pay their workers more and still use only the top-tier materials for both blades and handles.


If you want a lower-priced knife, Kershaw will have a much more extensive catalog of knives. Their knives are a fraction of the cost of most Benchmade knives, but some are also produced out of the US. This method tends to cut down on the price of labor and materials.

The Winner?

Well, between Benchmade and Kershaw, I have to say that Benchmade comes out on top with its quality and customization. Their knives are simply beautiful, and they last longer than the warranty does.

The only place where Kershaw is winning in this competition is the price. Kershaw is your best bet if that is your only factor for choosing what brand to go with.

I recommend getting a budget Benchmade like the Mini Griptilian over a similarly priced Kershaw like the Blur.

Related Reading: Benchmade vs Spyderco Knives

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