Reputable Cutlery Knife Brands
Wusthof a family owned company has been providing knives for chefs and home cooks since 1814. Wusthof offers various knife handle options with a wide range of grips. Each knife is forged from a single piece of steel alloy which allows the blade to have a longer lasting cutting edge, a higher resistance to staining, and easier to maintain.
What makes a Wusthof knife perform so well has to do with how its blade is produced. Each blade is forged from one solid piece of heavy-duty steel, and then its edge is beveled on both sides to form a special “V” shape that allows it to retain its factory sharpness for a very long time without having to be sharpened.
Shun is an American manufacturer that produces Japanese-style cutlery. Their blades are forged from a light-weight steel making them much lighter than their Western counterparts making their ‘out of the box sharpness’ like that of a razor. However that presents a caveat; the blade tends to lose its edge faster.
Kyocera offers high-quality ceramic blades that stay sharp much longer and hold their edge longer than the forged or stamped steel knives. The blades do not absorb any food element; thus making them a a very sanitary knife. These knives are used for cutting soft foods and boneless meats. Kyocera stands behind their ceramic products with their Lifetime Warranty and Lifetime Sharpening.
Global Knives & Cutlery are known for their single-piece stainless steel design that makes them lightweight. They produce a thinner blade than most German knives and are they made of a harder alloy of steel than other brands, which allows them to keep a very sharp edge for a long time. That said, because of the harder steel, Global knives are more difficult to sharpen and you can really mess it up by sharpening it yourself.
J A Henckels International
J.A. Henckles is a German manufacturing company that has been around for over 200 years. Zwilling’s higher end knife lines includes the TWIN, Four Star, and Professional “S”. Zwilling knives are similar to Wusthof’s knives in terms of weight and feel, and quite comparable with regard to quality and durability. Each knife is jointlessly assembled, which eliminates weak points in its overall construction. Zwilling knives are also rust-resistant. So if you’re considering a heavy German-style knife, try to test drive a Zwilling before making your decision.
Tamahagane knives are produced in Japan. Their blades are made from a hard VG5 steel core which is then clad with stainless-steel. The stainless-steel on the outside helps protect the blade from moisture damage and corrosion while the hard steel core helps retain its sharp edge after repeated use. Tamahagane knives have beautiful hardwood handles that provide an excellent fit and feel in your hand. Knives by Tamahagane come with a lifetime warranty with normal use and proper care.
Messermeister, headquartered in in Solingen, Germany, produces both German and Japanese-style knives. They are drop-forged from high quality steelwith tapered bolsters. While not as widely known as other knife brands, the Messermeister name is associated with quality. I have a Messermeister potato peeler that is over 10 years old, and it still performs well (having never been sharpened). Messermeister’s German-style knives feel heavier and more substantial than Japanese-style knives. However, Messermeister also has a line called Mu Micarta that is produced in Japan. This line is lighter, made similar to other Japanese-style knives.
Mac Knives are manufactured in America. Like Victorinox, they are stamped knives, not forged. Stamping produces a thinner, more flexible blade and “razor-like” sharpness—however, some cooks feel that stamped blades are sub-par to forged blades. I’ve come to believe that it’s really a matter of personal preference. A knife shouldn’t be crossed off of your list just because it’s stamped. Mac knives are known for being both light and strong. They are a favorite of chefs Thomas Keller (French Laundry) and Charlie Trotter.
Sabatier-K is a 200 year old family business in Bellevue, France. The company specializes in cutlery and folding knives that are forged from carbon-steel as well as stainless-steel.
Al Mar is named after the late Al Mar, a well-known player in the high-end cutlery industry for many years. Al Mar knives are manufactured in Japan; they are quite beautiful in terms of fit and finish. They are also known for being ultra-light. The one drawback for some is that Al Mar makes fewer knife styles than larger cutlery companies such as Wusthof and Zwilling.
Most if not all of these brands can be purchased online, in culinary speciality stores, such as Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table etc., and in the kitchenware sections of major dept. stores.
Tojiro are known for their excellent steel and great value. While perusing their website, I have found them refreshingly open and honest. They truly want to inform their potential customers on what elements should go into a good kitchen knife.
Victorinox (aka Forschner)
Those of you who’ve ever owned a Swiss Army knife, you know that quality and strength are synonymous with the Swiss Army name. Their cutlery line, produced under the name of Victorinox/Forschner, lives up to the excellent reputation the Swiss Army has so carefully created. (Victorinox is the sole supplier of multi-purpose knives to the actual Swiss army.)
Victorinox knives are stamped, rather than forged like most high-end knives. Because of this, they’re not as expensive as the other brands on this list. However, many cooks swear by their quality. They’ve repeatedly been singled out by Cooks Illustrated as a “best buy,” performing comparably to more expensive brands. If you’re looking for a quality knife that won’t break the bank, you’d do well to consider Victorinox/Forschner.
Other reputable brands:
- Calphalon – U.S.A – calphalon.com
- Cuisinart – U.S.A – cuisinart.com
- Cutco – U.S.A – cutco.com
- Ginsu – U.S.A – genuineginsu.com
- Dexter-Russell – U.S.A – Dexter-Russell.com
- KitchenAid – U.S.A – kitchenaid.com
- Rada – U.S.A – radamfg.com
- Sabatier – France – sabatier.com
- TC Blades – Israel – tcblades.com
- Sakura – Japan – kitchen-chef-knife.com
- Chicago Cutlery – U.S.A – chicagocutlery.com
- Korin – Japan – korin.com
- Kyocera – Japan – kyoceraadvancedceramics.com
The best way to narrow down your choice(s) is to know your price point. There are low-end, mid-range, and high-end prices for kitchen knives and many popular brand names make more than adequate kitchen knives in all price groups. After selecting your price range, do your homework (online is best) and then visit your local kitchen supply store. Most cutlery sections provide small vegetables so that you can try out each knife to see how well it performs and most importantly how it fits and feels in your hand.
Filed under: Best kitchen knife brands
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