Benchmarking is a community-based and (preferably) community-driven activity involving consensus-based decisions on how to make reproducible, fair, and relevant assessments. In catalysis science, important catalyst performance metrics include activity, selectivity, and the deactivation profile, which enable comparisons between new and standard catalysts. Benchmarking also requires careful documentation, archiving, and sharing of methods and measurements, to ensure that the full value of research data can be realized. Beyond these goals, benchmarking presents unique opportunities to advance and accelerate understanding of complex reaction systems by combining and comparing experimental information from multiple, in situ and operando techniques with theoretical insights derived from calculations characterizing model systems. This Perspective describes the origins and uses of benchmarking and its applications in computational catalysis, heterogeneous catalysis, molecular catalysis, and electrocatalysis. It also discusses opportunities and challenges for future developments in these fields.