Which kitchen knife should I buy? Part 1

There are three types of consumers out there. The first is what I like to call the “blind consumer”. That consumer goes and buys this or that relying on what is said on the packaging. A typical conversation between a blind consumer and the targeted product might go like this:

Blind Consumer: “I need a kitchen knife.”

<Goes to nearest store that sells kitchen knives. Finds the knife aisle. Pulls a knife off the shelf.>

Knife Product: “Buy me! I stay sharp forever! I’m the best knife out there.”
Blind Consumer: “Ooh, it stays sharp forever. AND it’s only $9.99. I’m getting a great deal!”

<Buys the knife. Blissfully unaware of what is really inside the packaging.>

I am ashamed to admit that I fall into that category sometimes. I get pulled into the sometimes-outrageous claims that get put on the packaging. “If it’s on the packaging, it’s gotta be the truth!” The blind consumer is not the smartest of shoppers. The next category of consumer is the “skeptical consumer”. This consumer is someone who will do some research when looking to buy a product (but not much).

Skeptical Consumer: “I know I need a good kitchen knife. I don’t know much about what makes a kitchen knife good, but I’ll see what others have to say.”

<Googles: Best kitchen knife to buy.> <click>

Skeptical Consumer: “This blog raves about Wusthof knives.”

<click> ”

Skeptical Consumer: “So does this site. Hmmmm, I wonder if there are any bad things I should know of before buying.”

<Googles: Wusthof knife reviews.> <click>

Skeptical Consumer: “There are a couple bad reviews here and there, but overall Wusthof seem like a good buy.”

<Orders online or finds the nearest Wusthof retailer to purchase his new kitchen knife.>

OR

Skeptical Consumer: “My friend loves her Tojiro. I think I’ll go on her recommendation and try it out.”

The skeptical consumer knows not to rely completely on what the manufacturer claims its product will do. But he also doesn’t do serious in-depth research. He does enough research to assure himself that the product he is buying is of good value. The last category is what I like to call the “deep consumer”. She does her research. It may be months before she is ready to make a purchase. She combs through the blogs, wiki, reviews, anything that will give her the upper edge. She asks questions on blogs. She becomes an ‘expert’ or very close to one in the product she wants to buy.

Deep Consumer: “I need a quality kitchen knife. Which brands are reputable? etc.”

<Googles: Kitchen Knives, Brands of kitchen knives, etc.> <click> <click> <click>

Deep Consumer: “Hmm.. there are Japanese, German and French style knives. This is more complicated than I thought.” <Googles: style of kitchen knives, Japanese knives versus German knives, steel qualities, etc.>

<click> <click> <Googles> <more clicking>
….(weeks of research to months of research to perhaps even a year later)

Deep Consumer: “I feel confident enough to make a choice. I’m going to buy…”

I think everyone can remember falling into one or more of these categories.  Which are you? I would love to have the time to be a Deep Consumer. I think everyone would like to always be a deep consumer. Despite my desire to be the educated consumer, I can’t always afford the time to sit down and do in-depth research on a product. And so with this blog I hope I can help you, the consumer, to feel more comfortable in the world of cutlery which will hopefully help you make an educated purchase.

But I diverge…Why this huge intro when this post is suppose to be on kitchen knife brands?

There is so much information out there that I decided to divide the information in the following post: What brands are reputable and have quality knives; what the difference is between a Japanese-made knife from a German-made knife from a French-made knife; and what are the must-have knives in a kitchen; and the anatomy of a kitchen knife and how to take care of it. I thought it would be a simple task of finding the top 5 brands of kitchen knives. After doing my research, my task grew into a intricate tree of information. My research branched out from what I thought would be a simple topic to types of steel, types of edges, handle types, brands, sharpening, types of specialty knives,  etc. I still feel like I only know the bare minimum of what is cutlery.

However, I feel confident enough to say this: When buying a kitchen knife, it’s all about preference of the chef. It’s like buying a mattress. The feel of the mattress under you is oh-so more important than what brand it is. A knife is like that. If you don’t like how it feels in your hand and how it ‘drives’, then it’s not the knife for you. Like most artistic forms, it’s mainly about the feel, the touch and less about the mechanics.

Meanwhile, take a look at this  infographic. It shows you what each type of knife is used for. I find it very helpful in deciphering what’s being said when floating around the different kitchenware blogs.

 


Comments

Which kitchen knife should I buy? Part 1 — 4 Comments

  1. There’s no set rule as to have every type of knife. It depends on how you cook and which kneivs feel good in your hand. Each person is different, I use kneivs for different things that are designed for paring. They are more comfortable for me to use. I recommend that you locate your local restaurant equipment store. Go in and look around, you’ll find better kneivs that are truly practical in the kitchen, also they have lots of items to help save time and energy and they will be at a fraction of the cost of a retail store.I would suggest you invest in good baking and sheet pans, just look and see what you find. They will also have items used some times they are in really great shape. and pennies on the dollar

    • If the only thing wrong with your current kivnes is that they are dull than sharpen them!Trust me Wolsdorf (Wustof) kivnes will also get dull very quickly too and they will set you back $ 300+I have Henkle pro S kivnes ($ 250) and they too get dull just as fast as my $ 5 cheapy knife.Go to a knife sharpener and get yourself a sharpening steel and learn how to use it, it’s not as scary after you know how!You might want to just an automatic sharpener, but get the steel too, you don’t need to sharpen your kivnes everytime they feel dull you just have to realign the edge and it will cut an apple and not make it turn brown for at least a day!If you never want to sharpen a knife again and have a pocket full o cash try ceramic kivnes, but be careful these are surgical sharp, I once cut myself with mine and the cut healed with no scab, like I had been cut with a scalpel!Unless your kivnes are history don’t just buy kivnes cause Rachael Ray told you to, keep yours and I am sure they will work as well as any high priced set.

  2. The best knife is the knife that fits your needs. If you prepare a lot of meat, you will want a knife that’s meant for cutting meat. If you do a lot more intricate work with vegetables then you will want more of a paring knife. The knife should feel good in your hand and have a sharp cutting edge. You should learn how to hone your own knives. It will save you frustration in the kitchen when your knife edge starts to get crooked. This will happen over time with any brand. I like using the Seki Edge santoku and gyuto knives. They work well for me. They handle well and they have remained sharp.

  3. The choice of the right knife really is an individual thing. How often do you use it? Which steel do you prefer? Does aesthetic and design also is an important part of a knife for you or does only functionality counts? I for myself can only say good things about Nesmuk (that’s the reason why I connect my signature with their site): They combine tradition and high-tech, sharpness and aesthetic precious materials.

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