Review: Elevate Your Chef Game With Benchmade’s EDC-Inspired Cutlery

Oct 4, 2021

Category: Gear

Since 1979, Benchmade has slowly garnered a reputation as one of the world’s premier knife makers, offering an ever-growing catalog of premium folding and fixed-blade models that are largely characterized by their quality, craftsmanship, and use of top-shelf materials. Most recently, the Oregon City outfit has harnessed its expertise and wealth of knowledge in the knife sector, applying its more than four decades of experience to delivering a kitchen knife set that sees the brand venture into novel territory while retaining most, if not all of the hallmark traits that have made Benchmade’s knives so revered the world over.

Prior to the release of Benchmade’s new cutlery range, the company gave the HICONSUMPTION team the opportunity to spend a few weeks becoming acquainted with the brand’s new product line, getting a firsthand experience of the weight, feel, ergonomics, balance, angles, and performance of the five knives that comprise the new kitchen cutlery lineup. And after putting these blades through their paces and testing them in a variety of applications, we now have a dialed-in sense of what it’s like living with these knives. Here’s what we discovered.

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

American-Made Cutlery

Getting To Know Benchmade's Kitchen Knives

Coming on the heels of the firm’s table (steak) knife set, the new lineup represents Benchmade’s second foray into kitchen knives — with the first being the 4501 Prestigedges set in 2011 — as well as its most robust and high-end kitchen knife set to date. In total there are five knives that make up Benchmade’s entire kitchen knife range. Rather than simply designing a knife set, Benchmade spent months intensively researching the product space, determining what type of knives to include in order to achieve an optimal kit for the kitchen, as well as how to apply its ample expertise to what is a largely novel segment for the famed knife maker.

Anchoring the new release is a three-piece knife set that includes a 13.02″ 4020 Chef Knife with an 8.04″ blade, a 10.63″ 4030 Utility Knife with a 6.16″ blade, and a smaller 8.78″ 4040 Paring Knife that packs a 4.30″ blade. For those interested in owning an even more complete kitchen knife set from Benchmade, the company has also supplemented its three-piece set with a pair of additional blades. Described by Benchmade as an “EDC knife for the kitchen,” the first is the 10.88″ 4010 Station Knife, which is an ultra-versatile item with a razor-sharp 6.93″ blade that lends itself to an enormous variety of everyday applications on the countertop — making it an excellent addition to the already stellar three-piece set.

The second supplementary knife is the 4050 Meatcrafter. First debuting in June of 2020, the original 15500-1 Meatcrafter was born out of a collaboration between Benchmade and MeatEater and was a hybrid kitchen and camp knife. To round out its new offerings for the kitchen, the Oregon-based knifemaker has released an updated version that maintains the design, dimensions, and profile of the original model while treating it to new materials and color options to match the four other completely new blades offered by the brand.

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Customizable Constructions

Exploring The Material Options Of Benchmade's Kitchen Knives

Just like with Benchmade’s EDC folders and outdoor fixed blades, a major part of what makes the company’s new kitchen knives so attractive — and capable — is the array of decidedly top-shelf materials used to construct them. For this knife set, the firm is letting customers select from a myriad of constructions for everything from the blades and scales to the pivot rings and bolsters.

In typical Benchmade fashion, the blade steel options for its kitchen knife range are thoroughly top-shelf through and through and consist of some of the finest proprietary blade steel constructions that money can currently buy. The entry-level option — which is still an objectively high-end material — is a carbon-rich 440C steel, though the company also offers an upgrade to Crucible’s CPM-154 steel. Both blade steel options are also available in either stonewashed or Black DLC-coated finishes.

The company took just as much of a spare-no-expense approach with its handle material options, giving customers the choice of either G10 or Richlite — the former of which is produced in the buyer’s choice of black, blue, ivory, forest green, cool gray, dark red, or jade, while the latter is available in Redstone, maple, valley, or blue canyon color options. Borrowing a page from its EDC knives’ playbook, the company also has a top-shelf matte-finish carbon fiber handle option that looks absolutely stunning, especially when paired with the black DLC-coated blades.

To add an extra degree of personalization, Benchmade is also letting customers pick the finishes and materials they want for some of the set’s finer details. The kitchen knives’ bolsters are available in carbon fiber or black, ivory, or cool gray G10, while the set’s pivot rings consist of either plain, black DLC-coated, or blue sapphire PVD-coated stainless steel, as well as stainless steel that’s been adorned in 24k gold plating.

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

EDC Qualities For The Kitchen

How Benchmade's Kitchen Knives Retain The Brand's Key Traits

Though the five new kitchen knives undeniably see Benchmade wade into what is mostly previously unchartered territory for the brand, all five models nonetheless boast qualities and key attributes that all readily announce themselves as being a product of the fabled west coast knife maker. Similar to its traditional fixed blade and folding knives, the kitchen cutlery set is made entirely in America, with each piece being meticulously hand-crafted by a team of experts in the Pacific Northwest.

Aside from the aforementioned use of premium materials and high-end finishes and treatments, the kitchen knives also thoroughly retain Benchmade’s stellar industrial designs, boasting a ridiculously attractive appearance with an almost tactically-inspired flavor that’s clearly heavily influenced by many of its existing knives. And, while they may not look a lot like traditional kitchen knives, the set’s decidedly aggressive appearance in no way compromises its performance, with every knife in the set having been thoroughly calculated to achieve an ideal balance, weight, and natural ergonomic grip.

Another signature Benchmade hallmark present in the new kitchen knives is its unparalleled fit and finish, craftsmanship, overall execution, and attention to detail which are all legitimately second to none. In fact, as enjoyable as the knives are to use — and trust us when we say these things are seriously a joy to handle – we gleaned nearly just as much satisfaction simply from looking at the set hanging in our kitchen — a display that received countless compliments over the brief period that the set was in our possession. In fact, we urge anyone considering these knives to also invest in a magnetic knife holder, as keeping these gorgeous American-made blades hidden away in a drawer (or even partially hidden away in a knife block) and not on full display should be a crime.

One more Benchmade staple that its kitchen knives hugely benefit from is the implementation of the brand’s revolutionary new 14-degree SelectEdge technology. Obviously, blades that do a superb job of retaining their edge tend to be composed of harder steels, and while this enables them to stay sharper for longer, it also makes re-sharpening the knives particularly difficult. And this is where Benchmade’s proprietary SelectEdge tech comes into play, as it allows users to return their knives’ blades to their original factory edge with just 5 to 10 strokes on a ceramic rod and leather strop.

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Getting Hands-On In The Kitchen

Putting Benchmade's Kitchen Cutlery Through Its Paces

For our test of the knives, Benchmade laced our team up with all five models with the carbon fiber handle, CPM-154 blade, and blue sapphire PVD-coated stainless steel pivot ring options. Wanting to gain a more thorough and robust understanding of these knives and their performance and capabilities, we opted to test them in a plethora of applications, from mincing vegetables by hand for homemade salsa to deboning small game to basic cutting and chopping duties.

The first thing you’ll likely notice about Benchmade’s new cutlery is just how tremendously sharp they are. The edge that comes from the factory makes even your average premium EDC knife seem somewhat dull by comparison. This became all the more apparent when cutting through certain meats and vegetables — like tomatoes and brisket — as the ease of use offered by the set is nothing short of remarkable. The knives — especially the 4020 Chef Knife, 4030 Utility Knife, and 4050 Meatcrafter — effortlessly pass through whatever they’re cutting.

It’s also abundantly clear that Benchmade did its homework when penning and developing its new kitchen cutlery, as the more technical aspects of its design have clearly been thoroughly considered. When paired with their natural ergonomic handles, perfectly balanced weight and design, and the calculated angle of blades, the sharpness of these items make for an exceptionally competent knife set that affords an amazing degree of precision and performance. So much so, in fact, that the set actually bolstered our confidence in the kitchen — a factor that only grew over our time spent with the knives.

As far as durability goes, it was admittedly difficult to get an overall sense of this area based on the limited time we spent with the knives, though based on the coating and blade steel present on them, it’s hard to imagine the set is lacking in this area. In terms of maintenance, Benchmade’s SelectEdge tech guarantees that keeping a razor-sharp edge is remarkably easy. And, even after several weeks of regular use, the knives felt just as sharp as they were fresh out of the box, maintaining the ability to cleanly and almost effortlessly dice through paper more than a month into our test.

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Putting A Point On It

Final Impression Of Benchmade's Kitchen Cutlery

Overall, we’ve been beyond impressed with what Benchmade has managed to deliver with its new knife set. Before getting our hands on the knives we didn’t know exactly what to anticipate, realizing the development of these blades meant tapping into a new space for the company, though it’s objectively knocked it out of the park. The performance and balance of these blades are simply superb, as is how insanely sharp each edge is, and even when tested side-by-side next to a top-shelf chef knife from a dedicated kitchen cutlery manufacturer — and an objectively elite one at that — the Benchmade items undeniably manage to hold their own.

The pricing of this set is admittedly pretty steep, though the company is clearly looking to tap into a slightly different demographic than normal, targeting hardcore and/or professional chefs and cooks, foodies, and kitchen nerds, as well as diehard fans of the Benchmade brand who have a few extra dollars to spend. And, while the high-end materials and hand-worked and assembled nature of the set unequivocally add to the MSRP, it becomes a lot easier to justify the price tag once you’ve actually gotten the chance to see and feel the knives in person, as even the best photos still don’t fully do justice to the top-notch quality and craftsmanship that these blades possess. You’re also admittedly paying a small premium for the “bling factor,” and for the privilege to say you own a kitchen knife set from Benchmade.

The Benchmade Kitchen Cutlery lineup is available now on the manufacturer’s website. The three-piece set starts at $720 and goes up to $1,350 depending on material options, while the 4010 Station Knife and the 4050 Meatcrafter – which are sold separately — are priced from $270 to $535 and $260 to $485, respectively. While discussing its new kitchen knife lineup, we would be remised if we didn’t mention Benchmade’s Table Knife set — which also benefits from the brand’s game-changing SelectEdge technology — that was unveiled last November, as they pair excellently with the new set and make for a great addition to the main five.

Purchase: $260+

The Ultimate Guide To Kitchen Knives

Interested in learning more about the intricacies of modern chef, paring, fillet, boning, and utility blades? Then be sure to head over to our ultimate guide to kitchen knives for a deep dive into the world of kitchen knives.

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