How To Choose Kitchen Knives
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One of the most popular questions - who makes the best kitchen knives? And the answer is... I have no idea who is the best. I know for sure, it's neither Furi, nor Cutco and I'd be suspicious of anyone who'd claim that. The best is whoever you like the most today, and fits your needs and budget.

Western Knives

 - For western high end cutlery - Chef's Choice, Messermeister, F.Dick, Wusthoff, Henckel, Sabatier, those are well known brands and produce quality knives. At least for what is considered a good western knife. I've listed them according to my preferences, that is who I think produces better knives. Although, Wusthofs and Henckels are pretty close call in terms of performance, again after using both I had an impression that Wusthofs held better edge, though my friend for example disagreed. Messermeister is relatively less known brand compared to the other two German cutlery giants, but nevertheless, their knives are in my opinion better. Design is a matter of taste, but at least the edges on them are significantly better compared to the other two. Pretty much all of them are hardened to standard euro hardness, 54-56HRC, with the exception of Chef's Choice Trizors that are speced to 60HRC and Messermeisters, which are speced at 56HRC precisely. In general precise HRC specification is indicating better attention to manufacturing process and higher tolerances with heat treatment of the steel, which is the key of the steel behavior and performance. Not always the case though.
    Which design will you like more and which one will fit your purposes and yourself better, depends on you, your skills, habits and preferences. So, if you have to have Western style knife those are pretty good choices, except being on the higher end of the budget. Chef's knife 8" to 10" long will cost from 70$ for Henckel's twin star to 180$ for Trizor 10X. F. Dick knives are also worth mentioning for budget minded shoppers. Their 8" is same price as Henckels chef's knife and the edge on the one I've had to sharpen was pretty good initially. Even cheaper is another Henckel line - Gourmet, same 8 incher would cost you 50$. Frankly I have no idea about the performance difference between that and more expensive sigmaforges.
    I guess I have to mention Vicrotinox knives here too. They use the same X50CrMo V15 steel that Wusthof and Henckel use, with minor variations in naming. Hardness is the same and pricing as well. So, if you like their designs then might as well go for it. If this class of knives satisfies you.

Japanese Knives

 - Now for Japanese knives the picture is more complicated. If we go by price ranges then you might be surprised, but Japanese knives will beat western counterparts in price/performance department quite badly. For starters Tojiro DP. 240mm chef's knife, carbon steel knife clad with stainless steel, hardness 60-61HRC, price - 67$. Performance-wise beats the hell out of any competition from the western knives listed above except for the most expensive ones. The only downside if you consider that as such is the exposed carbon edge. The rest of the blade is stainless cladding.
    At the higher price range, from 180$-200$ we have Tojiro Flash series, where 240mm (9.5") gyuto costs 200$or little less, which gives us VG-10 stainless steel core, clad in damascus, at 62HRC! Or even a better performer, less flashy but better edge holding Akifusa 240mm gyuto made of Powder Metallurgy(PM) steel SRS-15. 64HRC(!) and incredibly good edge holding, all that for 185$. Pretty hard to beat. So far only Henckels Twin Cermax can compete in terms of performance/price at 200$, except it's a shorter knife. Fujiwara 210mm gyuto, Molybdenum/Vanadium steel, 58-59HRC, 75$ or Carbon steel with stainless cladding, 60HRC, for 77$. This list can go very long, but even custom makers like Watanabe, Moritaka, Togiharu, Takeda and many others provide excellent knives for very competitive price/performance points.
    As for the Globals, they used to be my favorites before I got into better knives, plus I was really disappointed with the edges on the last batch of Global knives I bought in spring 2008. They're still pretty good performers and priced reasonably, compared to the Western knives listed above, but as far as knife performance goes Trizors outlast them in terms of edge holding and Merssermeisters had better initial edge compared to last ones I bought. Still, Globals are quite good knives and what I like is the most is their thin, lightweight blades. I'm not so fond of their forged knives anymore, too heavy.
    As for the higher end Japanese knives, for more detailed info you should check out reviews of Aritsugu, Akifusa, Watanabe, Takeda, Kobayashi and Kumagoro. They're all exceptional performers. Prices for those knives vary from 100$ to 1000$, but some of them are custom pieces, others are high-end line of the maker, etc. Still, you'll find real bargains in there too.
    There are other, more or less popular brands out there. Some more expensive that those I have listed, some less. Do your research, and try to find a knife that will work the best for you, not the one that is the most expensive or popular.

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Last updated - 05/19/19