Benchmade vs Cold Steel

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Wolverine666, Sep 26, 2020.

Benchmade or Cold Steel?

Poll closed Sep 29, 2020.
  1. Benchmade

  2. Cold Steel

  1. whp


    Apr 26, 2009
    Cold Steel is the better value.
  2. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    used to be great values, until the map pricing.
    Smiling likes this.
  3. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Is the AXIS lock really that fragile? It seems to sell well.
  4. Gideons

    Gideons Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    Seems kind of silly to be asking this guy about the AXIS lock when you've owned at least one yourself. Of course, the axis lock isn't that fragile... it's one of the strongest locks out there. Sometimes the sprints do break, but they're easy to replace and when a spring breaks the lock doesn't fail(at least in my experiences). I wouldn't take the advice of somebody seriously who actively refuses to use the proper name of a part "Omega springs" while instead constantly using terms with a negative connotation, as that is one of the telltale signs of having a bias.
    Smaug likes this.
  5. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    It's a tough call. Cold Steel by far offers the better value, and if collecting is your thing, it's the way to go. Lately, they're making a lot of mass market low-grade stuff. The higher end offerings are all pretty weapon-ish. Basic quality is still good, but they just don't show much imagination and they sometimes use junk steel. (Rc 54-55) I have three, which I really like:
    • Code 4 - Very nice quality, and uses a good steel. (S35VN) The action is nice; it's wrist-flippable. Triad Lock is of course strong, but not as quick to close as many. Big knife though. I think I paid $90.
    • Grik - Lately, I'm favoring 3" blades on my folders, and this is Cold Steel's offering in that blade size. It's comfortable and the steel (AUS8) is lower-end, but notably better at edge holding than the SAKs that I normally favor. I think I paid $30.
    • Tuff-Lite - Great little knife! It's unbelievable, how it fills the hand so well with such a short overall length! Again with the AUS8 steel. I think I paid $25.
    • I'm thinking about adding an American Lawman, now that they're available again, but it's a hard sell, now that the niche has been filled with Spydercos.
    Benchmade starts where Cold Steel ends, price-wise. They don't use any cheap steels, and while some of their knives are pretty weapon-ish, they all seem useful in a day-to-day manner too. They're more flippy, but a lot more dear, too. I have a hard time making myself pay more than $100 for a knife. I have a 940 Osborne and a used Mini Grip on the way. The Osborne is brilliant, it was worth the hefty price tag.

    Now, to your criteria:
    • Quality - tie. There will be a lot of raised eyebrows at that, but I'm thinking about build quality, not how high-end the materials are.
    • Price - Obviously, Cold Steel wins here, in terms of value. But for the connoisseur-level knives, obviously Benchmade has it down pat.
    • Selection - Tie. In addition to conventional lockers, Benchmade makes autos and balisongs, but Cold Steel also makes non-knife weapons: sticks, sheleighleighs, hatchets, spikes; anything a self-respecting mall ninja would want. (or actual real SWAT or soldier, for that matter)
    • Lock mechanisms - I think Cold Steel's TriAd lock is stronger, but not as "flippy" or fun as Benchmade's Axis Lock. Also, although Cold Steel's is stronger, it is probably unnecessarily so, for 99% of the users. It's like having an off-road-modified Jeep: yeah, it's better off-road, but how many of us actually do that?
    • Blade Steels - Cold Steel ranges from cheap mass market to moderately high end. Benchmade starts at high end and goes to ultra high end. Drives the cost up.
    In the end, I voted Benchmade, because they make what I need and like slightly better, even if they're more dear. I don't really NEED 50+ knives, I could get by with 5 or so: Some kind of fixed 4-5" blade, a couple folders (big and small), a plier-based multi-tool, and a SAK.

    Wolverine666 likes this.
  6. cistercian

    cistercian Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Cold Steel is a giant value king. Benchmade is too expensive. I have a lot of Axis lock Benchmades
    but don't carry them or use them hard. I use Spyderco blades for EDC as well as ZT.
    For a giant high quality folder Cold Steel is the only game in town. Both my Ti-Lite 6 aluminum handle
    and Frenzy in G10 have giant S35VN steel blades and excellent construction and fit and finish.
    They are very inexpensive for what they are. Both are strong as well. Giant serious folders.
    midnight flyer and Wolverine666 like this.
  7. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    I’ve owned numerous AXIS lock knives and have never had any trouble with the springs. Just wanted to hear his opinion. Silly or not.
    bigsurbob likes this.
  8. Roy Batty

    Roy Batty Y'all can sling load DEEZ NUTS Platinum Member

    May 25, 2016
    In general, Benchmade makes the more refined cutting instrument. It’s more the “EDC” type brand.

    Cold Steel gives you a lot of bang for the buck... huge chunks of steel and a strong lock.

    For 99% of my needs, Benchmade is my choice. But if I ever need to massacre a pig carcass, stab holes in car hoods, or get into a knife fight with a T-800 terminator in an LA mall, cold steel will be at the top of my list.

    I do own an AD-10, that’s a fantastic knife for hard use.
  9. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Excellent post
    Smaug likes this.
  10. SALTY

    SALTY Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 19, 2000
    To be more precise, the lock itself is not fragile at all; it is actually quite strong. The Omega springs, note that I am careful to call them by their proper name, rather than the experienced based negative monikers such as dinky, dainty, fragile and the like, are the issue. Unfortunately the Omega springs are integral to the Axis lock's design and despite that the Omega springs don't actually lock the blade, the Omega springs are part of the lock and the Omega springs are needed to make the otherwise strong lock work properly - the Omega springs.

    I have had BM's excellent customer service replace Omega springs for me. They may be easy to replace, as you say, but I am reluctant to compromise what seems to be a great warranty with great warranty service by trying to source Omega springs on my own and performing the warranty forbidding disassembly. Besides being fragile and prone to failure, at least in my experience, as a hunter and outdoorsman I cannot help but to note how the Axis lock is more prone to failure to function from foreign object contamination, dirt, blood, fat, mud - stuff present in the field in some uses. Likewise the Triad lock however that is easier to clear in the field and clean. In an overt act of candor - yes, I do have a bias against the Axis lock, but certainly not against the Benchmade company. My bias against the Axis lock - more specifically, the Omega springs is experienced based bias. In further disclosure, I still enjoy owning, carrying and using my BM Adamas but I like the AD-10 much better for the reasons previously posted.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
    Smaug, bigsurbob and Wolverine666 like this.
  11. Gideons

    Gideons Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    Are you sure Benchmade "forbids" disassembly? I don't think that is accurate because as a Canadian, thankfully they just ship me parts and I install them myself instead of shipping the entire knife to the US. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of either company. The first knife I ever owned and used for over 2 years or so, was the mini-recon 1 (which was an okay/solid knife), which eventually developed lock rock and one handle and one pocket clip screw lost their thread and fell out. The limited one-handed closing of the triad lock, bad pocket clip design that also tore up my pocket, the terribly executed jimping plus the aforementioned issues with rock lock + screws made me never buy another cold steel folding knife again. I've bought a lot of Benchmade knives, didn't care for most so I sold them all except the bugout which I use occasionally. I also have the CS SRK in 3V DLC, the DLC is very thinly coated on the knife which is disappointing. However, while I'm not a huge fan of either company in my opinion Benchmade excels more in the highly capable EDC use, while CS knives are generally rather simplistically brutish in their execution and more serves well as a hard use knife.
  12. soc_monki

    soc_monki Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 5, 2019
    Yes and no on disassembly. I think they say that for the same reason they say they require proof of purchase when asking for warranty work. It's just a legal thing, and I've never seen them actually ask for proof of purchase. You fill out the form and send the knife in and they take care of it. And as long as you put the knife back together correctly then I doubt they'd hound you about taking it apart. They'll even put it back together for you if you send them a bag of parts (and $25). So they're pretty lax on the rules, and seem to just want to make the customers happy.

    As for the omega springs being a weak point, yes they are. I don't see them as a problem however, and the axis lock has been shown to be a strong, robust system. I usually carry two knives anyway so if I have an axis lock knife on me I also have a compression lock, or back lock, or triad lock, etc. One is none and two is one and all that. I haven't had a spring break yet but even if one does it won't hinder my confidence in the lock.

    I'd probably make my own springs whenever that day comes because I'm a tinkerer and I'd rather not send my knives off if it isn't absolutely necessary.
    Gideons likes this.
  13. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    I’ve owned a few Cold Steels and numerous Benchmades. Cold Steels seem to be well made, but Benchmades fit and finish is in a whole different class. My vote went to Benchmade.
  14. farmer ted

    farmer ted

    Aug 4, 2013
    I now prefer Cold Steel, they don't support politicians that vote to take away our rights.

    Sucks, cause Benchmade makes good stuff.:mad:
    Wurger190 likes this.
  15. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Benchmade. I have a few, and there a couple more i would like to have, nothing much over a hundred bucks. To my mind, the Axis lock is the shizzle. I have more CS knives, all at the bottom end, and they make perfectly serviceable low-buck beaters, nothing that engenders any pride of ownership, but neither do any of their higher-end knives.

    For my money, the Axis lock is hard to beat. I have never had an issue with an Omega, and the prospect does not daunt me. Anyone who has ever lived with a Ducati or KTM already knows more about the risk of fragile parts in a high performance platform than any knife can teach him.

    Finally, some of Cold Steel’s fixed blades have tempted me, but their large folders simply have no appeal.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
    Allan DeGroot likes this.
  16. Cowboyfromhell666


    May 13, 2019
    I vote benchmade. I can't stand the tacky looking billboards on the blades. I prefer a very small insignia or even sterile blade.
  17. soc_monki

    soc_monki Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 5, 2019
    I have a feeling Benchmade omega springs are worlds more reliable than any Ducati. Would love to own one but I don't think I could deal with the Italian engineering. I'm too used to Japanese bikes you just have to put oil and gas in and go. Can't speak for KTM though, but I've heard stories.
    Smaug likes this.
  18. SALTY

    SALTY Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 19, 2000
    I'm with you on that. I have a "Broken Skull" which is actually not a bad knife ... other than that stupid billboard on the side of the blade.

    As for motorcycles, I stick with Harley Davidson, (have a few) hydraulic lifters and significant aftermarket support as well as Suzuki - great bang for the buck and good performance ... I have 1250S Bandit and a V-Strom 1000 ... and a DR 650 ... and a DRZ 400.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  19. tueller

    tueller Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 16, 2012
    Spyderco... oh wait, sorry.

    cold steel for fixed blades but benchmade for folders. My vote anyways.
    Allan DeGroot likes this.
  20. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    :) Cold Steel for hard use performance , reliability and value . :cool::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    ;) Other brands for more variety and fidgety /fancy . :rolleyes:
    Quapukulu and SALTY like this.

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