BEST OVERALL NEW FOR 2016 LINEUP: Meet the Contenders

Presented by: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpeners

The KnifeNews Dealers’ Choice Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in the production knife world. KnifeNews turned to knife dealers to determine the winners. With hundreds of new production knives passing through their hands and many hours spent interacting with end-users, dealers have the most comprehensive and informed perspective. 21 of North America’s top dealers cast their votes in 10 different categories to choose the best of the best in 2016.

Best Overall New for 2016 Lineup
For the final award, dealers were asked to consider knife brands’ entire new for 2016 lineups. The award takes into account a whole year’s worth of work and the winner made the most lasting impression of the year.

In alphabetical order, here are the five brands that garnered the most votes. Visit tonight to find out which one is taking home the KnifeNews Dealers’ Choice Award for Best Overall New for 2016 Lineup.

Benchmade was firing on all cylinders in 2016. New blades like the Crooked River were so popular the company had to extended their manufacturing hours and branch out into a second facility. But old favorites weren’t forgotten either. Benchmade brought several classics back in variations that made them better than ever. The Griptilian upgrade just took home Best Knife Upgrade 2016.

CRKT released over 30 models in 2016 and established a whole new product line. The Ruger knife line is a series of fixed blades and folders inspired by the Ruger heritage, and has been well-received. CRKT also reconnected with its military roots by starting the Forged by War program, which brings new knife designs by army veterans into production – including the Clever Girl, which won the Best New Tactical Fixed Blade 2016 award.

Fans expect Kershaw to deliver a wide array of new models, and in 2016 they did not disappoint. The Launch series continued to set the bar for entry-level automatics, with the Launch 6 pulling in a Dealers’ Choice Award in the category. Collaborations with the likes of Les George and Grant and Gavin Hawk brought new options into Kershaw’s expansive catalog – all at the wallet-friendly prices that Kershaw is known for.

Spyderco continued to push on all fronts in 2016. High-end designs like the Nirvana tempted collectors. Fans looking for users could turn to the new Mantra series. Steel junkies were spoiled with new S110V and HAP40 options. 2016 was also Spyderco’s 40th anniversary, and to commemorate it they released a special edition Native 5.

Zero Tolerance
Zero Tolerance has developed a reputation for their incredible machining muscle, and this year they focused on making the most of their strengths. Limited editions dressed up popular knives with exotic steels and handle configurations. New designs leveraged ZT’s capabilities to stand out from the crowd. The 0456 was particularly commended and took the Dealers’ Choice for Best New Manual Folder 2016.


Best New Tactical Fixed Blade:
Top 4 Contenders
CRKT Clever Girl (WINNER)
Friday, November 11th

Best New Outdoor Fixed Blade:
Top 4 Contenders
Mora Garberg (WINNER)
Saturday, November 12th

Best New Fixed Blade for EDC:
Top 4 Contenders
Sunday, November 13th

Best Knife Upgrade:
Top 5 Contenders
Benchmade G-10 Griptilian (WINNER)
Monday, November 14th

Best New Automatic Knife:
Top 4 Contenders
Kershaw Launch 6 (WINNER)
Tuesday, November 15th

Best New Assisted-Opening Folder:
Top 4 Contenders
Benchmade 490 Amicus (WINNER)
Wednesday, November 16th

Best New Value Folder (MSRP under $100):
Top 4 Contenders
Cold Steel Pro-Lite (WINNER)
Thursday, November 17th

Best New Manual Folder:
Top 5 Contenders
Zero Tolerance 0456 (WINNER)
Friday, November 18th

Most Innovative New Knife:
Top 3 Contenders
CRKT Homefront (WINNER)
Saturday, November 19th

Best Overall New for 2016 Lineup:
Top 5 Contenders

Benchmade Knife Company (WINNER)
Sunday, November 20th