We have done extensive reviews of kitchen knives over the past year. Here they are all in one place.
Tojiro DP: One of the best knife lines we tested and our best buy among all kitchen knives listed. The Tojiro DP line offers knives that use VG-10 steel at a fraction of the cost of other competitors. Good western handles and nice geometry make these knives our go to recommendation. We prefer these knives to Misono at less than 1/2 the price. A
Misono Knives (UX10) The knives have excellent balance, are scary sharp out of the box and are very pleasing to the eye. Other than cost, there is no downside to these special knives. These are difficult to find but several online cutlery dealers carry a good selection of these superb knives. This is a great choice but expensive. A-
Masahiro Knives: get runner up honors for best Japanese kitchen knives we have tested. The line is new for 2007. Masahiro's MVH's thin blade is constructed from MBS-26 stainless steel which we found to be easy to sharpen and holds its edge very well. The cutting edge is asymmetrical: 80% on the right side of the blade and 20% on the left side, then polished to a mirror finish. This tapered style edge takes pressure off food for a perfect finished cut. Because of the asymmetrical edge, these knives are only suitable for right handed users. The handles are incredibly smooth and rounded using a composite resin handle which feels great in your hand, plus it's much longer lasting than wood options. Overall we like these knives very much. They are also less expensive than Misono knives. If you are left handed, you should consider something else. A-
Masamoto Knives (VG) are renowned in Japan among Sushi Chefs and other professionals. They developed
the VG line to be geared toward the western market and the knives are outstanding. Masamoto knives are
very hard to find but they are worth the effort. Masamoto uses a combination of Cobalt, Molybdenum and Vanadium and we found the steel to be excellent for edge retention and surprisingly easy to resharpen. Fit and finish are good but there are no English care instructions, only Japanese. We think these knives are a step above Mac, Global and Hattori but below Misono. We give this a grade of A-.
Shun Knives (Classic). These are excellent quality knives and are more readily available. Shun is distinctive for their Damascus style blades and D shaped handles that fit snugly into the hand. Shun has one main advantage over many other Japanese knife manufacturers since they give a lifetime warranty on their knives. One disadvantage is that you need to have either a right or left handed version so knife sharing is not an option for households with both a right and left handed person. Overall we give this line an B+.
Mac Knives are the value choice in this segment. Mac consistently gets high ratings in national magazines because they offer great knives at a good price. Once people own a Mac knife they tell their friends and Mac has benefited greatly from word of mouth buzz. If you are looking to build a collection of high quality knives at a good price these are the ticket. They do not perform as well as the Misono or Shun but the difference is not substantial. B
Global Knives have been available in the US market for 10 years. Their distinctive style is easily recognizable by their stainless steel handles with small black dots. The knives are good quality and are both lightweight and easy to resharpen. Many professionals love them for this reason. They are also reasonably priced and come with a 5 year warranty. We like these knives very much and if you like the style, Global knives are a great choice. B
Hattori Knives (HD) are well liked by professionals. Like the Shun, Hattori uses Damascus steel which is very attractive. They are super sharp out of the box, perhaps the sharpest knives we have tested. However there are a couple drawbacks. First, the knives are in short supply. Second, the knives have no warranty which is generally not a problem but we have occasionally had complaints that the edges are somewhat fragile so if you chip the edge you are on your own. For these reasons we think it is wise to choose from the other knives above for most home cooks. B
Hiromoto Knives are somewhat obscure knives and are the least popular in the United States compared to the
others. However we really like the edge retention on these knives. They have a unique water mark on the blade which separates the 2 types of metal used on the knife. This allows for easier sharpening and we also find this an attractive feature. If you can find them, we think these knives make excellent additions to your kitchen. Handle fit and finish is sub par but the steel is top of the line. B-
Henckels Twin Cermax:
This line was developed 2 years ago to compete with the explosion of popularity in high end Japanese kitchen knives. In fact, Henckels manufactures these knives in Japan. The blade is as sharp as a scalpel. We found the Micarta handle to offer excellent ergonomics. The fit and finish overall get our highest mark. Unfortunately, these knives are also the most expensive they offer and there are a limited number of styles available. If you want a great knife from Henckels this is the line to choose. Overall we give this knife line an C+.
The Messermeister meridian line has several features we like in a top quality knife. First, they polish the edge which gives the knife a great aesthetic quality. Second, they use a tapered bolster which is comfortable to use against your index finger while allowing for easy re-sharpening over years of use. These are great knives and would be a fine addition to any kitchen. This line gets a C+
F Dick has a long and storied tradition but an unfortunate name. Their premium plus line of knives is comparable in steel quality to other more popular brands but tend to cost less money than the others. For this reason we give the nod to this brand for best buy. Also, the handles were updated 2 years ago and are slightly superior to Wusthof's Classic and Henckels Pro S lines. This line gets a C+/B- for German Knives.
Wusthof's best selling line of knives. We like these knives very much but we think a few small changes are needed to put them near the top. We like F Dick's ergonomic handle better and Messermeister's tapered bolster. If you like Wusthof we recommend the Le Cordon Bleu line listed above. We give this line a C+.
Henckels Pro S:
This is Henckels best selling line. It features their famous 3 rivet handle design along with their premium forged blades and full tang. Some have criticized Henckels for welding the blade to the handle instead of the more traditional method of forging the entire knife at once. This is a cost saving method but we have never heard of anyone breaking a knife at the weld which is invisible to the user. Again we would prefer this knife to have a tapered bolster and the edge is not very steep out of the box which makes them a little less sharp than we prefer but on the flip side the edge they provide lasts a long time before you need to re-sharpen. Overall we give this line a C+.
Knives to Avoid
These are substandard knives. The handles are made of cheap plastic and the blades are stamped and thin. A general rule of thumb is to avoid products that are marketed by a celebrity. In this case we think you would be well advised to heed this advice. Overall we give this knife a D. Avoid.
Avoid these. We give them a D.
These knives should be called neversharp. Stay away. We don't understand why a company with the reputation of Henckels would want to be involved with making cheap, poor quality knives and sully their reputation. D-.
Furi Knives: Furi offers several lines and the knife we tested was the Rachael Ray Knife with gusto grip model FUR827. This is an exceptionally mediocre knife. The orange handle is poorly fitted and uncomfortable to hold. The blade was dull out of the box and we found rusting issues on the blade. The overall quality of the steel used does not seem to be very good since the knives don't hold an edge very long even after we professionally re-sharpened the knives. A general rule of thumb is to avoid products that are marketed by a celebrity. In this case we think you would be well advised to heed this advice. Overall we give this knife a D.