Regardless of your cooking skills and habits, everyone’s kitchen should be equipped with quality knives. A kitchen knife is a tool you use just about every day of your life. How many tools do you handle more often in a week? So why wouldn’t you want one that is efficient, safe, and a pleasure to use?
While a cheap stamped-up knife from the supermarket will still cut food, high-quality knives are made from better materials and have an ergonomic design which makes preparing food a whole different experience.
With higher-quality handles and a sharper blade, optimally balanced and better weighted, they are smooth to handle and give your cut more control and precision. Made of a much higher-quality steel, they are easier to sharpen and stay sharp longer.
While even a cheap knife with a blade that runs the full length of the knife (full tang) should last you a long time if taken care of properly, a dull knife is the most dangerous kind of knife. Most accidents actually occur because of blunt knives, as they require excessive force to get through the item being cut and slip, so higher-quality also means better safety!
Last but not least, having a high-quality kitchen knife will make you eat better and healthier. Why? Because owning a kitchen knife you love will make you use it more, which means you’re more likely to eat things that actually need to be cut, chopped, sliced, diced, etc…, so you will eat more food that you actually have to prepare, fresh food; not the processed crap that gets passed off as food these days.
So if you are asking yourself if a quality kitchen knife is worth the steeper price, consider this: you are going to use it every day and it is going to last you for a very long time.
The true frugal approach when buying knives lies in shopping à la carte.
You don’t need to buy a full set of knives!
Why buy a whole set with a bunch of utility knives, when all you really need are just a couple of those pieces?
A lot of guides to buying kitchen knives include the boning knife as an essential, but if you are not breaking down whole pigs or deboning chicken every day, I suggest beginning with a setup of just three high-quality pieces: a chef’s knife, a paring knife and a bread knife. Don’t spend your money on a ton of knives that do nothing for you, invest it instead in the quality of the pieces you need, and enjoy their superior performance for a lifetime! Some people recommend ceramic knives, but longevity (or lack thereof) is the reason why I don’t like them. Sure they are sharp and sexy, but they are also brittle, so they chip and break easily. And you know what’s also sharp and sexy? A top quality, forged metal blade – and all the best kitchen knife brands below back their knives with a lifetime warranty!
Wusthof is a family owned German company that has been manufacturing forged knives since 1814. They have become known as the leading quality cutlery manufacturer in the world simply because they make the best, most durable knives that will hold their edge for decades.
Wusthof really stands by their products and values their customers, so if anything should go wrong with one of their knives, just make use of their lifetime warranty. They won’t just refurbish the knives but will send you brand new ones! So when you buy a Wusthof knife, you truly buy it for life!
Japanese have a long history of making blades due to an honorable tradition of their samurai sword making methods. Nowadays, they are also known for their kitchen knives, which are just like mini samurai swords: sharp!
Shun is Japanese for “at the peak of perfection” and they have continued to provide top quality cutlery to professional cooks for more than 100 years. True to their Japanese tradition, they make incredibly sharp, well balanced, and aesthetically pleasing knives with a thin, hard blade and a small cutting angle. Worry not about how you are going to sharpen such a hard blade, because Shun offers a free professional sharpening service to their customers at all their retail stores!
Since the very beginning, Tojiro has been pursuing excellence in the sharpness department. And indeed, you won’t find a sharper blade for less money. Carefully made by skilled craftsmen, their knives are made from super-steel VG-10 and have a good western handle with nice geometry. An 8-inch chef’s and paring knife for less than 100 bucks is quite a bargain and they too come with a lifetime warranty.
OUR PICK: VICTORINOX – THE FRUGAL ALTERNATIVE
Victorinox is the biggest manufacturer of pocket knives in the world. Notorious for their Swiss army knife, they are also quickly making a name for themselves as the No. 1 choice for high-end performance/low-budget kitchen knives. Many professionals use Victorinox because of their quality and affordability. And as these knives are also backed with a lifetime warranty, they are definitely the best bang for your buck.
Knives are like headphones and wine. When you are used to cheap stuff, you don’t know what you are missing, but once you try the top end products, you can never go back. So get your knives from one of the best kitchen knife brands and enjoy the experience!