What do knife brands have in store for 2017? We’ve already reported some early hints from SOG, Kizer, Reate, and White River Knives. Gerber unveiled their new Center-Drive and Spyderco announced their new for 2017 product line. Early indications are that the industry can expect big changes for the year ahead.
Buckle up for greater uncertainty and a much more competitive market with more new models competing for every last dollar. Without the right mix of product and marketing it could be a bumpy road ahead for knife company shareholders. Knife buyers can expect more innovation, a growing emphasis on made in the USA products in the premium tier, and greater value for money. Starting tomorrow KnifeNews will turn our attention to New for 2017 Knives with some exclusive looks at upcoming models.
It was an absolute pleasure covering all the new for 2016 models, the up and coming makers, and the highs and lows of 2016. There was no more fitting way of wrapping up our 2016 coverage than by recognizing the best that 2016 had to offer. We’d like to thank the dealers for helping us make the Dealers’ Choice Awards a success. The knife brands and designers were so thrilled to be recognized and it meant that much more to them that the awards were chosen by their dealer partners. We’d also like to thank Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpeners. These awards would not have been possible without their generous support.
To the tens of thousands of readers who followed the Dealers’ Choice Awards – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! If you missed our coverage, here are the award winners from each of our 10 categories. Most new for 2017 models won’t be available for some time to come. But, if you’re looking for Christmas shopping ideas or just need a new blade, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be disappointed with any one of these award-winning models.
KNIFENEWS DEALERS’ CHOICE 2016 AWARD WINNERS
Best Overall New for 2016 Lineup: Benchmade
Benchmade stepped out of their comfort zone with a 2016 lineup that took everyone by surprise. New models like the Crooked River and updates to classics like the G-10 Griptilians resonated with fans in a big way. So much so that the company had to expand into a new, second facility to keep up with the demand.
Most Innovative New Knife 2016: CRKT Homefront
The Ken Onion-designed Homefront features the knife maker and inventor’s most innovative technology since the SpeedSafe mechanism. Field Strip technology allows users to quickly take this knife apart for cleaning and maintenance without the need of a single tool.
Best New Manual Folder 2016: Zero Tolerance 0456
Known for the slim elegance of his previous best-selling Zero Tolerance collaborations, this time Belarusian knife maker Dmitry Sinkevich took a chance on a big, bold, and tanky design. ZT brought his characterful vision to life with some of their most intricate machine work to date.
Best New Value Folder 2016: Cold Steel Pro-Lite
The Pro-Lite brings the Tri-Ad Lock’s extreme strength to the everyman. Whether you choose the tanto or the clip point, this blade is an ideal workhorse. Knife designer Andrew Demko says that the handle design on the Pro-Lite is one of his favorites ever.
Best New Assisted-Opening Folder 2016: Benchmade 490 Amicus
Benchmade went all out for its first foray into assisted flipper design. With a sleek silhouette, a disappearing flipper tab, and rare S90V blade steel, the 490 is an impressive gentleman’s folder that fits right in with the company’s high-end offerings.
Best New Automatic Knife 2016: Kershaw Launch 6
The biggest knife in the Launch series, the Launch 6 stands out for more than just its size. Its sleek styling and sweeping blade give it a modern, tactical look. Add CPM-154 steel and a robust locking mechanism and this knife is ready for duty.
Best Knife Upgrade 2016: Benchmade G-10 Griptilian
This year, Benchmade gave fans what they’d been asking for. But the change went far beyond handle material. The new G-10 Grips were upgraded to CPM-20CV steel, open pillar construction, and a great deep carry pocket clip, making it feel like a brand new knife.
Best New Fixed Blade for EDC 2016: TOPS C.U.T. 4.0
With the TOPS C.U.T. 4.0, designer Joshua Swanagon married the tactical to the practical. The C.U.T. 4.0 takes the popular karambit ring handle and combines it with a more versatile drop point blade to make an ergonomic, all-purpose tool.
Best New Outdoor Fixed Blade 2016: Mora Garberg
With the Garberg, Mora finally gave their many fans something they’ve been asking about for years: a full tang Mora knife. This difference makes the Garberg the strongest knife that the Swedish company has ever produced.
Best New Tactical Fixed Blade 2016: CRKT Clever Girl
CRKT’s Clever Girl is part of its new Forged by War program. Austin McGlaun, former soldier and police officer and designer of this knife, says that it was explicitly designed to be a tool for warriors. With a Persian-style blade and sculpted G-10 handle scales, the Clever Girl is a great blade for bad days.