You’ll find no greater fan of the humble EDC pocket knife than yours truly. I’ve had more than my share since I was 10 years old. What began as a necessity for my prolific fishing habits in Northern Illinois quickly became a life-saving standard that’s stuck by my side to this day.
I’ve had pocket knives from almost every company under the sun and put each and every one of them through the respective wringer. My knives aren’t just for show, nor are they just for opening up my latest inebriated late-night Amazon purchases. They need to slice and carve wood, rip through rope and braided fishing wire, cleanly cut steaks, and do just about anything I ask them to do beyond the obvious and everyday cutting tasks.
One company I never had the chance to put my hands on, however, was Benchmade. The Oregon-based company produces self-proclaimed “world-class” knives for all sorts of everyday, or not everyday, occurrences. They’re high-end, high-quality products, and from the pictures I have seen, they're gorgeously put together. Benchmade recently reintroduced its Adamas line of knives, so the company sent me three to test: the folding Adamas, the folding Mini-Adamas, and the Fixed Adamas.
Given all your reactions to my story on how a pocket knife saved my life, I wanted to share how the two folding knives got on. The fixed blade review will live on Task & Purpose in the near future, but for now, let’s talk about these folding blades.
Our Initial Reaction to the Benchmade Adamas and Mini-Adamas
- Good: Impossibly sharp, beautifully made, rugged
- Bad: At over $230, it's what many would consider an expensive EDC knife
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I’ve been waiting literal years to use Benchmade’s knives, so I was like a kid on Christmas morning when the package arrived at the footsteps of my home in Utah's Wasatch Range. The packaging itself isn’t too special, though. The box each knife came in features Benchmade’s Butterfly crest and that’s it. Inside, there are care instructions, the knife’s extraneous parts (i.e. holder, Malice clip, knife blade sleeve), and nothing else.
Unpacking them, these knives are beautiful. The blades have perfect silver edges, and the Adamas and Mini-Adamas’ handles fit rightly in my oversized paws. There’s a heft to them, but unlike other pocket knives I’ve used in the past, the weight distribution is exactly on point using the old Thanos one-finger balance test.
A quick paper cut test—where you run a knife down a piece of paper with little to no weight—showed that both knives are, indeed, very frickin’ sharp.
Getting After It With the Adamas and Mini-Adamas
Given my current EDC is a Smith & Wesson of the same size as the standard Adamas, I wore that one first. The Adamas is roughly the same length as my EDC, but its frame is slightly bulkier, meaning I could feel it a bit more in my pocket. Weight, however, is about the same so it wasn’t dragging my pants down or making me uncomfortable.
My first test of the Adamas was shaving off sections of splintered wood on my desk project—now finished and the background you see in the first image above. I tend to lean toward EDC's with a serrated blade, but the drop-point style blade here sank through the pine as if nothing were in its way and gave the desk even more personality with some hand-carved beveling around my cord management hole—and you can get an Adamas with a serrated edge anyway. I traded wood for a zip tie cleanup project on my father-in-law's Acura and the blade went through the plastic like butter. As it did through steak, chicken, and pork, including some of the bones of said animals.
The Mini-Adamas was up next, and I was surprised how much I loved carrying it due to its smaller footprint. It disappeared from my hip, as in, it felt like I wasn’t even wearing it. The blade is just as sharp as its larger sibling and easily cut through a handful of pruned evergreen branches, rope for a coffee table project, a set of BBQ ribs, and all the normal day-to-day things most folks cut—yes, I sliced a few Amazon boxes, too.
Two pieces of EDC knives that typically fail, however, are the pocket clip and the folding action. I’ve routinely had folding pocket knives jam up if they get even an ounce of mud, dirt, grime, or wood splinter in them. So what did I do to the Adamas and Mini-Adamas? I threw them in my kids’ sandbox and then in the sawdust pile in my garage. Nothing stopped either from opening and they feel just as smooth as they did when I first opened them. Obviously, I washed them afterwards.
As for the clip, I’ve had a few fall out after brushes with counters, walls, getting in and out of the car, etc. Or getting bent out of alignment and slipping out of my pocket—I actually lost one running. To calm my fears, I slipped the knives onto a few varying thicknesses of fabric and hard plastic to see if the clips would pop back into alignment once removed. They did. The clip is also movable to the opposing side of the knife for folks who're righty or lefty. Nice.
As for how they’ll hold up after a few years, I’m not sure, though my observations tell me they’d still be good. What is great is if they get screwed up, Benchmade’s lifetime warranty comes into play.
What’s Dope About the Adamas and Mini-Adamas
I can easily see either of these knives replacing my personal EDC. They’re rugged, sharp, and feel like they’ll stand the test of time. Add a lifetime warranty, which includes the brand’s LifeSharp service, and it’s a solid deal.
According to the company, “Benchmade knives are all supported through a team of skilled technicians. Their only function is to ensure your Benchmade is in optimal working condition for your entire life. This service is called LifeSharp®. A name that speaks for itself. When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn parts are tuned or replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. All at no cost to you.”
As someone who uses their knife, this service is invaluable. It’s worth the cost of admission, which is really one of the only downsides to these blades.
What’s Not About the Adamas and Mini-Adamas
I only have two gripes about the Adamas and Mini-Adamas, and one isn’t so much a gripe, it’s more a statement.
There’s no getting away from the fact they’re expensive. Not “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” expensive, but at $280 for the Adamas, and $250 for the Mini-Adamas, they’re pricey. My current position on their price? That’s not bad when you factor in the LifeSharp service. I think back at all the knives I’ve either broken or thrown away or stopped using because I didn’t sharpen them properly and it probably adds up to one of these two. So yeah, it’s a gripe, but one I can get over and you probably should too.
As for the second one, the only issue I really have is how easily the knife falls back to stowed position when you release the lock. My meaty mitts are large and, as such, tend to drop my fingers right where the blade gets stowed. When you release the lock, the blade very easily falls back into place and my fingers have been the stopper on a few occasions—see above gif. The knife feels very butterfly knife-esque in its action, though no harm, no foul, but I can see where some slight resistance, even just to marginally slow the blade as it comes to rest would be a solid update to these knives. I mitigated that by changing my grip ever-so-slightly and letting the blade fall down naturally.
Our Verdict On the Benchmade Adamas and Mini-Adamas
After years of anticipation, I think Benchmade’s knives were worth the wait. The Adamas and the Mini-Adamas are such solid EDC options, I’m ready to give in and drop my personal one into my junk drawer or give it to my little brother so he doesn’t have to carry the mini-orange one I gave him years ago.
Are they pricey? Yes. Do I think they’re worth the asking price? Also yes. If you’re in need of a new EDC or want one that will seemingly last you a lifetime, I’d seriously check out Benchmade’s products, as I’m left thoroughly impressed by these blades. This may just be the last EDC you'll ever buy.
FAQs About Benchmade Knives and EDC
You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!
Q. So do Benchmade knives ever go on sale?
A. Yeah, but it’s not as often as Kohl’s forever sales. You’ll have to pay attention, follow their social media, and really check the prices around the web to get a good deal.
Q. Will Benchmade resharpen a knife for free?
A. You betcha. All you pay for is postage and insurance.
Q. What’s up with the butterfly crest?
A. When Benchmade first started, the company’s primary sales weren’t the Adamas or mil-spec knives you see today. Rather, they were Bali-Songs, known more colloquially as, you guessed it, butterfly knives. The rest is history.
Q. Is Benchmade American made?
A. Right in the great state of Oregon.
Q. Did you actually go full Wolverine?
A. Well, maybe more X-23 than Logan...
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