In the world of knives, two brands stand head and shoulders above the rest: Benchmade and Zero Tolerance. Both of these companies are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship, reliability, and innovative designs.
They have become the go-to choices for outdoor enthusiasts, knife collectors, and professionals alike.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the story behind these two elite companies, compare their top products, and help you decide which one is the right choice for you.
Benchmade Knife Company, founded in 1988 by Les de Asis, has its roots in Oregon City, Oregon. Known for their innovative designs and commitment to quality, Benchmade knives have become a staple in the industry.
Their products cater to a variety of users, ranging from everyday carry knives to specialized tactical and outdoor gear.
Zero Tolerance, a subsidiary of the renowned Kai USA Ltd., was established in 2006. With a focus on producing rugged, high-quality knives for professional use, Zero Tolerance has quickly gained a reputation for their durable and reliable products.
Their knives are designed for military personnel, law enforcement officers, and other demanding users who require the best in cutting tools.
Materials and Manufacturing
Both Benchmade and Zero Tolerance utilize premium materials in their knife blades. Benchmade primarily uses CPM-S30V, CPM-S90V, and CPM-20CV steels, known for their exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance.
Zero Tolerance, on the other hand, frequently opts for CPM-20CV, CPM-S35VN, and Bohler M390 steels.
These materials provide similar performance characteristics, ensuring a high-quality cutting experience.
Zero Tolerance primarily focuses on using G-10, carbon fiber, and titanium for their handles.
Both companies strive to create a balance between durability, weight, and grip, ensuring a comfortable and secure user experience.
Design and Performance
Benchmade is known for its innovative designs and patented mechanisms, such as the AXIS lock. This unique locking system provides users with a secure and ambidextrous operation, making it ideal for various applications.
Benchmade’s lineup consists of folding knives, fixed blades, and automatic knives, catering to a diverse range of users and preferences.
Zero Tolerance Designs
Zero Tolerance focuses on creating heavy-duty knives that excel in demanding situations. Their designs often feature frame locks and liner locks, offering solid and reliable lock-up.
Zero Tolerance knives are typically larger and more robust than their Benchmade counterparts, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks.
Price and Value
Both Benchmade and Zero Tolerance knives come at a premium price due to their high-quality materials, craftsmanship, and performance.
Benchmade knives tend to have a broader price range, making them accessible to a wider audience.
Zero Tolerance, with its focus on professional-grade knives, often has higher starting prices but offers exceptional value for the performance and durability they provide.
Benchmade 940 Vs Zero Tolerance 0450
When comparing the Benchmade 940 and Zero Tolerance 0450, it’s essential to consider each knife’s design, materials, performance, and intended use.
Both models are popular choices for everyday carry (EDC) knives, but they cater to slightly different preferences and needs.
Design and Materials
The Benchmade 940 is a slim and lightweight EDC knife featuring the iconic Osborne design. It comes with a reverse tanto CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, which offers excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance.
The handle is made of anodized aluminum, providing a comfortable and durable grip. The 940’s AXIS lock mechanism ensures a secure lock-up while being easy to operate with either hand.
On the other hand, the Zero Tolerance 0450 is a sleek and elegant EDC knife designed by Dmitry Sinkevich. It features a drop-point CPM-S35VN stainless steel blade, which boasts a high level of toughness and wear resistance.
The handle is made of titanium, offering a premium feel and robustness while keeping the weight low.
The 0450 utilizes a frame lock mechanism, known for its strength and reliability, combined with a smooth ball-bearing pivot system for quick deployment.
Performance and Intended Use
Both the Benchmade 940 and Zero Tolerance 0450 offer outstanding performance in everyday tasks. The 940’s reverse tanto blade is versatile and excels in slicing and piercing applications, making it suitable for a wide range of uses.
Its slim profile and lightweight design make it an ideal choice for those seeking an unobtrusive EDC knife.
The Zero Tolerance 0450, with its drop-point blade and premium materials, is well-suited for more demanding tasks and users who prioritize a high-end feel.
The titanium handle and frame lock mechanism provide a sense of sturdiness and confidence in the knife’s ability to handle tougher jobs.
Top Picks: A Side-by-Side Comparison
Benchmade Griptilian vs Zero Tolerance 0350
The Benchmade Griptilian is an iconic EDC knife known for its versatile design, premium materials, and the patented AXIS lock.
It features a drop-point blade made from CPM-S30V steel and a glass-filled nylon handle. The Zero Tolerance 0350, on the other hand, is a rugged and compact folding knife with a CPM-S30V stainless steel blade and G-10 handle scales.
Both knives offer exceptional performance, but the Griptilian is better suited for everyday tasks, while the 0350 excels in more demanding situations.
Benchmade Bugout vs Zero Tolerance 0450
The Benchmade Bugout is a lightweight and slim EDC knife with a drop-point CPM-S30V blade and Grivory handle scales.
Its AXIS lock and minimalist design make it a popular choice for everyday carry. The Zero Tolerance 0450 is a sleek and elegant titanium frame lock knife, featuring a CPM-S35VN blade and a smooth flipping action.
While both knives are suitable for daily use, the Bugout is designed for weight-conscious users, while the 0450 offers a more premium feel and higher-end materials.
Warranty and Customer Service
Both Benchmade and Zero Tolerance are known for their excellent warranty and customer service. Benchmade offers a limited lifetime warranty and LifeSharp service, which includes free sharpening and basic maintenance for the life of the knife.
Zero Tolerance provides a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects and also offers a sharpening service for a nominal fee.
Both companies stand behind their products and are committed to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Are Benchmade and Zero Tolerance knives made in the USA?
Yes, both Benchmade and Zero Tolerance manufacture their knives in the United States. Benchmade is based in Oregon City, Oregon, while Zero Tolerance is a subsidiary of Kai USA Ltd., located in Tualatin, Oregon.
Can I legally carry a Benchmade or Zero Tolerance knife?
Knife laws vary by state, country, and municipality. It’s essential to check your local laws and regulations before carrying any knife, including Benchmade and Zero Tolerance models. Factors such as blade length, locking mechanism, and whether the knife is concealed may impact the legality of carrying a specific knife.
Are Benchmade and Zero Tolerance knives suitable for beginners?
Both Benchmade and Zero Tolerance produce high-quality knives that can be suitable for beginners as well as experienced users.
However, it’s crucial to understand the features and intended use of a particular knife model before purchasing.
Some knives may be more suitable for advanced users or specific applications, while others can serve as excellent starting points for those new to knives.
When comparing Benchmade and Zero Tolerance knives, it’s clear that both companies offer exceptional products made with top-quality materials and craftsmanship.
Each brand caters to different users and preferences, with Benchmade providing a broader range of designs and price points, while Zero Tolerance focuses on heavy-duty, professional-grade knives.
Ultimately, the choice between Benchmade and Zero Tolerance comes down to your specific needs, preferences, and intended use.
By understanding the unique features and qualities of each brand, you can make an informed decision and select the perfect knife for your needs.