On November 13, KnifeNews kicked off its second annual Dealer’s Choice Awards, a week-long commemoration of the year’s best new production knives. As the name implies, the awards are bestowed by leading knife dealers across North America. No one is better suited to evaluate and award a knife than a knife dealer, according to KnifeNews, as they “attend the shows, they decide what to carry on their shelves, and they closely monitor what sells and what’s being returned.”
The Dealer’s Choice Awards span ten categories, the last of which is ‘Best Overall New for 2017 Lineup,’ essentially a recognition of an entire brand’s 2017 knife collection. Benchmade won this year, and they won last year, too. Read on for the winners in the nine other individual categories.
Best New Tactical Fixed Blade: Hybris by Spartan Blades $330
Equal parts weapon and versatile outdoor knife, the Hybris is a refreshingly strange reverse tanto blade shape.
Best New Outdoor Fixed Blade: El Chete by TOPS Knives $300
chopper machete with a foot-long blade made of quarter-inch-thick 1095 steel. Great for hacking your way through overgrowth, or just scaring the shit out of people.
Best New Multitool: Baton Q2 by SOG $67
Whatever a traditional multitool looks like, the Baton Q2 is the exact opposite. When closed, the Baton Q2 is essentially a chunky, metallic rod; a quick flick of the wrist opens the Baton like a switchblade, transforming it into a traditional plier-shaped multi-tool.
Best Knife Upgrade: Maxamet Manix 2 Lightweight by Spyderco $280
This year, Spyderco updated its Manix 2 blade with Maxamet, a type of cabron- and tungsten-infused steel legendary for its strength and lightness. It’s also notoriously difficult to work with, but somehow Spyderco succeeded.
Best New Automatic Knife: 110 Auto by Buck Knives $200
A 54-year-old classic, now with a wickedly smooth automatic opening mechansim.
Best New High-End Knife: 781 Anthem by Benchmade $500
Benchmade’s first-ever one-piece handle knife is a testament to its superior manufacturing capabilities — even at a scale much larger than that of smaller, more bespoke knife makers.
Best New Value Folder: Pilar by CRKT $40
Designed by Jesper Voxnaes of Vox Knives, one of the most revered custom knife makers in the world. And only $40!
Best New Manual Folder: 535 Bugout by Benchmade $135
At just 1.85 ounces, the 535 Bugout is among Benchmade’s lightest and most versatile folders, yet still packs a punch.
Most Innovative New Knife: 0055 by Zero Tolerance $275
A genuine work of futuristic art, with an insanely smooth opening mechansim to boot.