Author Topic: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?  (Read 5822 times)

TimmyTightWad

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Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« on: May 25, 2017, 08:55:20 AM »
My DW does about 98% of the cooking in our home and I want to get her a nice set of knives. I had no idea "good" knives were so expensive though. Even places like Bed Bath and Beyond are selling sets in the $300+ range. We mainly have >$20 sets from Ikea and doing things like cutting through the bone in chicken breast is way harder than it should be.

Can anyone recommend a good affordable set or brand? Or perhaps steer me towards a way to identify what I'm getting for my money?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2017, 09:02:45 AM »
Best way to go about it, IMO, is to buy a couple good knives. A chef's knife and a paring knife. Or chef's and filet, if she uses that often. Anyway, pick your two MOST used knives, and buy good versions of those. Then keep them sharp. A shitty knife that is sharpened (NOT jsut honed, sharpened, different things!) will be better than a dull expensive knife. Yes, a good knife will hold an edge longer, but most people think they need new or better knives when in fact they just need sharpened. Anyway, that's my soap box on that =P

Here are guides I like:
http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/knife-buying-maintenance-sharpening-guide-package
--> http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/best-cheapest-chefs-knife-tested-article
http://lifehacker.com/dont-buy-expensive-knife-sets-these-four-knives-are-al-1698973316

Personally, we have Wusthof knives. We also have the wusthof 3-sided whetstone. And then a good honing steel, I forget which we got on that.

spokey doke

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2017, 09:15:23 AM »
Best way to go about it, IMO, is to buy a couple good knives. A chef's knife and a paring knife. Or chef's and filet, if she uses that often. Anyway, pick your two MOST used knives, and buy good versions of those. Then keep them sharp. A shitty knife that is sharpened (NOT jsut honed, sharpened, different things!) will be better than a dull expensive knife. Yes, a good knife will hold an edge longer, but most people think they need new or better knives when in fact they just need sharpened. Anyway, that's my soap box on that =P

Here are guides I like:
http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/knife-buying-maintenance-sharpening-guide-package
--> http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/best-cheapest-chefs-knife-tested-article
http://lifehacker.com/dont-buy-expensive-knife-sets-these-four-knives-are-al-1698973316

Personally, we have Wusthof knives. We also have the wusthof 3-sided whetstone. And then a good honing steel, I forget which we got on that.

+1

and look up America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated recommendations on knives...along with other food sites like Serious Eats and Food52

as for sharpening...I splurged a bit on an Edge Pro, which is quite a bit more foolproof than free-handed wetstones (but those can work just as well).  We have had the electric sharpeners, and they can work well too, but can also be pretty aggressive.


CNM

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2017, 09:15:31 AM »
I agree with Bracken_Joy.   Get a few nice knives.  For me, that would be a chef's knife (maybe 2- one large, one smaller), a serrated bread knife, and a paring knife. Also get a sharpening steel.  Our knives are either Wusthof or Henckles.


Bracken_Joy

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2017, 09:18:18 AM »
Best way to go about it, IMO, is to buy a couple good knives. A chef's knife and a paring knife. Or chef's and filet, if she uses that often. Anyway, pick your two MOST used knives, and buy good versions of those. Then keep them sharp. A shitty knife that is sharpened (NOT jsut honed, sharpened, different things!) will be better than a dull expensive knife. Yes, a good knife will hold an edge longer, but most people think they need new or better knives when in fact they just need sharpened. Anyway, that's my soap box on that =P

Here are guides I like:
http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/knife-buying-maintenance-sharpening-guide-package
--> http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/best-cheapest-chefs-knife-tested-article
http://lifehacker.com/dont-buy-expensive-knife-sets-these-four-knives-are-al-1698973316

Personally, we have Wusthof knives. We also have the wusthof 3-sided whetstone. And then a good honing steel, I forget which we got on that.

+1

and look up America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated recommendations on knives

as for sharpening...I splurged a bit on an Edge Pro, which is quite a bit more foolproof than free-handed wetstones (but those can work just as well).  We have had the electric sharpeners, and they can work well too, but can also be pretty aggressive.

Yeah, you do have to be incredibly steady-handed for the free-handed whetstones like we have, or your blade angle will get messed up.

Professional sharpening is another option. If you're just getting the couple most-used knives done, it isn't *that* spendy I don't think, but then, I haven't done that in over a decade, so what do I know?

trollwithamustache

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2017, 09:19:18 AM »
For serious heavy duty use you gotta go to the store to try them... different handles/sizes/brands sit in the hand differently and your fancy pants brand of best fit may not be mine.

Although I do like Wusthof and global my favorite knives are some no name brand that was re-gifted to me and I had re-sharpened into champions. They balance great for me but not the DW.

Heroes821

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2017, 09:23:17 AM »
I love my CUTCO, but I cannot recommend them to Mustacians based on price alone, and I'm probably biased because I use to sell them...BUT!  CUTCO has a "forever guarantee" which means you don't have to prove you bought them to get them fixed or sharpened. Their double D edge (serrated) can be sharpened but only by a sales member. They do it for free but will try to sell you stuff.

Since I own the sharpening kit from when I sold them, I consider them the only knife set I'll ever own, which can justify the $1000 I spent (Minus 30% commission to myself), but long  before I discovered MMM.


lthenderson

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2017, 09:29:24 AM »
Rather than spend money on good knives, I would rather spend money on a good sharpener. I bought one of these

https://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-120-Professional-Sharpener/dp/B00004S1B8/

and it's kept my cheapo Chicago cutlery knives and my expensive Wusthof knives equally wickedly sharp and a joy to use. After buying it, I will never spend money to buy an expensive knife again.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2017, 09:32:46 AM »
For serious heavy duty use you gotta go to the store to try them... different handles/sizes/brands sit in the hand differently and your fancy pants brand of best fit may not be mine.

Although I do like Wusthof and global my favorite knives are some no name brand that was re-gifted to me and I had re-sharpened into champions. They balance great for me but not the DW.

Yep. DH uses our santoku, and I use the chef's knife. Different hands, different blades. Excellent point! (pun intended).

KCM5

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2017, 09:51:15 AM »
I agree with Bracken_Joy.   Get a few nice knives.  For me, that would be a chef's knife (maybe 2- one large, one smaller), a serrated bread knife, and a paring knife. Also get a sharpening steel.  Our knives are either Wusthof or Henckles.



This is what I have - a large chef's knife, a small chef's knife, a serrated bread knife and a paring knife.

We have a couple of brands - a couple of Furi knives, which are kind of cheap, don't hold their edge well, but are very comfortable to use. And we also have a couple of Wusthof. Those are better.

A good sharpener is important regardless of what knives you get. We have something like this https://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/ZWILLING-J.A.-Henckels-2-Stage-Pull-Through-Knife-Sharpener/15123272/product.html?refccid=IYE3VEJLBLV3ENKLGI6EJXCRXU&searchidx=17. Works great. We're not the type to whip out a knife steel, and I don't have a very steady hand, so it's kind of like cheating and probably doesn't do a perfect job, but it works well enough.

And knife storage. Either a countertop block, a magnetic bar, or a block that goes in the drawer.

omachi

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2017, 09:55:41 AM »
My DW does about 98% of the cooking in our home and I want to get her a nice set of knives. I had no idea "good" knives were so expensive though. Even places like Bed Bath and Beyond are selling sets in the $300+ range. We mainly have >$20 sets from Ikea and doing things like cutting through the bone in chicken breast is way harder than it should be.

Can anyone recommend a good affordable set or brand? Or perhaps steer me towards a way to identify what I'm getting for my money?

Oh man, I hope you aren't cutting through bones with a sharp chef's knife or paring knife. One of the quickest ways to put dings in the blade or at least take the edge off of it. It doesn't matter if the knife was $5 or $500, they're just not the right tool for the job. They have a narrow angle that's really sharp but way easier to damage.

A cheap butcher's knife or better yet a cleaver would be preferred for that sort of work. They'll have a wider angle ground onto the blade that makes them appropriate for going through bone. You'll still have to keep them sharp, but there will be much less carnage with a thicker blade and wider angle on the cutting edge. The extra mass will keep the blade from flexing, too.

As for recommendations, for the price, I've always been impressed with Chicago Cutlery. Here's a nice block with lots of knives for under $50. https://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Cutlery-Walnut-Tradition-14-Piece/dp/B00091SCTQ

Every Chicago set I've used has taken an edge nicely, though you'll probably have to sharpen them more frequently than some of the higher end knives. Not a big deal. No butcher knife in that set, but you could add a cheap one for $10-$20.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2017, 10:21:20 AM »
I love Shun knives, yes they aren't cheap.

However Woot often has them for a greatly discounted price...

It's amazing what a difference it makes. I'll occasionally cook at someone else's house and use their "good" JA Henckle or something knife, and I'll just cry a little inside at how slow it is.

geekette

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2017, 10:21:57 AM »
I have a set of Chicago Cutlery, but it's over 30 years old before they moved production to China.  I bought a few newer ones and they're not so good.  Like others mention, there are really only 2 knives in the set I use.

For day to day sharpening, I use an older version of these Crock Sticks.  They are at the correct angle, and no worries about slicing yourself.

omachi

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2017, 10:54:49 AM »
I have a set of Chicago Cutlery, but it's over 30 years old before they moved production to China.  I bought a few newer ones and they're not so good.  Like others mention, there are really only 2 knives in the set I use.

For day to day sharpening, I use an older version of these Crock Sticks.  They are at the correct angle, and no worries about slicing yourself.

Well crap, sorry for the bad recommendation. My CC are on the older side and made in the US. Parent's set is older yet. Shame that they're trading on brand name and not quality at this point.

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2017, 11:00:28 AM »
Wow thanks for all the quick suggestions. Looks like these Heckels are a good starter knife. I may get a a 8in Heckel ($55-60), cheap butcher knife ($20?), and a sharper all for under $100.
Thanks a lot guys

Lady SA

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2017, 11:05:11 AM »
DH and I buy whole chickens and process them. We use a few tools to get the job done.
We use a pair of heavy-duty kitchen scissors (the kind which separates for easy cleaning) to crack most of the smaller bones and snip the meat from joints and such. It is very versatile.
For the larger bones, we mostly massage to pop the bones from sockets and slice around the bone with a paring knife to separate the meat from it.

We leave thighs and wings bone-in, because we mostly cook those whole within a dish and then pull the cooked meat off easily.

We never use good knives to cut through bone. We avoid cutting/cracking bone unless necessary and for those cases we use the scissors (we sharpen those by cutting aluminum foil).
My uncle is a butcher and this is how he taught me to process poultry.


We are also knife fanatics because we cook all the time. We have 2 really nice chef's knives, one Wustof and one custom-made by my FIL. We also have 3 paring knives, 2 wustof and another FIL knife. Then a bread knife and a sharpening steel. Sharp, quality knives are amazing, and much safer to use.

Rightflyer

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2017, 12:58:24 PM »
Have a look at Victorinox with the Fibrox handles.

Easy to keep razor sharp. Fits the average hand well.
Used by a number of cooks/chefs we know.





prognastat

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2017, 01:05:44 PM »
Have a look at Victorinox with the Fibrox handles.

Easy to keep razor sharp. Fits the average hand well.
Used by a number of cooks/chefs we know.

I haven't upgraded my knives yet, but have looked in to it and these seem to be well reviewed for value. It sounds like they aren't the absolute best, but that they seem to be on the level of very good for a good price.

MsPeacock

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2017, 07:04:48 PM »
Agree w/ others recommendations regarding not buying a set and reading up about knives on Consumer Reports of whatever.

I've had this:

https://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-Classic-8-Inch-Chefs-Knife/dp/B00009ZK08/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1495760304&sr=8-2&keywords=wustoff+chef+knife

For nearly 30 years now (Chef, paring, etc.). I used an electric sharpener on them every so often and never ever ever ever put them in the dishwasher. The blades are heavy, tapered, and high carbon stainless. They seem to be nearly indestructible. Less expensive blades won't have a full tang than runs all the way through the handles, and the blades will be thinner and straight (e.g rather than thicker at the top and thin at the edge, and tapered from handle to tip) and more brittle (won't re-sharpen, likely to chip and get dents and knicks in the edge). 

This is the sharpener:

https://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-120-Professional-Sharpener/dp/B00004S1B8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1495760568&sr=8-3&keywords=chef%27s+choice+sharpener

I was never much good w/ the handheld sharpeners. The electric one is used so infrequently that it will likely last the rest of my life (as will the knives, I suspect) without issue.

sisto

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2017, 09:09:41 PM »
I bought a set of saber knives that I really like good bang for the buck.

Rightflyer

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2017, 01:31:37 AM »
Have a look at Victorinox with the Fibrox handles.

Easy to keep razor sharp. Fits the average hand well.
Used by a number of cooks/chefs we know.

I haven't upgraded my knives yet, but have looked in to it and these seem to be well reviewed for value. It sounds like they aren't the absolute best, but that they seem to be on the level of very good for a good price.

Yes, you're spot on.
I should have said they are (IMO) the best value out there that I have found.




patchyfacialhair

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2017, 08:33:30 AM »
I picked a set of 4 Oneida knives as a work-iversary present from my company.

I bought a honing steel and always use a wood cutting board. Those knives still seem very sharp and work just fine. I use them every day, honing real quick before each use.

I just can't justify $100 knives for myself yet.

loyalreader

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2017, 12:09:20 PM »
I'll second (or third... I lost count) Victorinox. I did a *lot* of research before I purchased a knife set and I'm extremely satisfied. Amazon had a set of 4 - bread, paring and two different sized chefs - for what I thought was a very reasonable price. That's really all you need.

jeromedawg

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2017, 12:18:28 PM »
Same on the Victorinox - I have a 8" chef's knife, a small pairing knife (which rocks), a filet knife and a rabbit/deboning knife. I use all of them regularly and they are awesome knives. Sometimes Amazon has sales on them but it it's maybe once or twice a year and not all that often. Set a price alert via camelcamelcamel if you're not in a rush. I also have some santoku knives which I'm not too crazy about as well as some of those multi-colored cheapo knives (my dad is really into those and has a collection of them and will give us what he doesn't want). The Victorinox knives are the best out of all our knives though, IMHO

APowers

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2017, 09:44:49 PM »
Came in here to recommend Victorinox knives. Guess I didn't need to.

I don't know that they're the best "value", but they are amazing knives and they are relatively inexpensive in the world of good knives.

aperture

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2017, 09:47:56 PM »
Came in here to recommend Victorinox knives. Guess I didn't need to.

I don't know that they're the best "value", but they are amazing knives and they are relatively inexpensive in the world of good knives.
+1

englishteacheralex

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2017, 11:29:26 PM »
Victorinox. America's Test Kitchen recommends them every time they do a chef's knife test. Plus when I used to work in restaurants, every restaurant I ever worked in had Victorinox knives for the lowly prep cooks who didn't have knives of their own (like me). Inexpensive and good quality for the money.

Next time I buy a knife that's the brand I'll get. I bought a set of Henckels at a Macy's fire sale five years ago and they've been great. I have an electric sharpener that we bought for something like $70? and that works great, too.

Capt j-rod

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2017, 08:36:13 AM »
+1 on victornox... Also garage sales and flea markets. I always watch for these items. Estate sales. Most people want a designer matched set in a knife block and let mom or grandmas go for pennies. A decent knife on the cheap is the white handled daily chef knives at sam's club. I think it was $10 for two big kitchen knives. Start to master your sharpening skills and talk to your local butcher. The secret to a sharp knife is to never let it get dull. Practice on cheap knives and then once you got the skills you can make anything cut.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2017, 09:19:36 AM »
I wouldn't buy a set since they usually include all kinds of extras your wife will probably never use (you don't need a boning knife if you don't filet fish, for example). But poultry shears or a cleaver might be a good idea if you have issues with cutting up chicken. I'd ask her what kind of knives she wants (by function) and then buy them one at a time.

Holyoak

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2017, 09:37:48 AM »
Fantes Pro series:

https://www.fantes.com/catalogsearch/result/?brand=343&q=knives

I have their 8" chef, 3" paring, and honing steel...  All handcrafted in Germany to the highest standard using extremely good steel, lifetime warranty, feel heft and feel great, hold an edge well, etc.  IMO, very good value for $$$. 

Fishindude

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2017, 09:41:21 AM »
I recently purchased a real nice 15 piece set in wood block made by Farberware, sold at WalMart for about $50.
Six steak knives, a sharpener, scissors and several types of knives.   they are very sharp and appear to be pretty decent steel for resharpening.

bciocco

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2017, 12:24:47 PM »
My wife is a trained pastry chef. She really likes the Dexter Russel commercial knives she got when she was in school. They have rubber or plastic handles - depending on the knife. They are easy to clean.
Knife tips -
Have them professionally sharpened every couple of years or annually if you use them every day.
Clean them up on a sharpening steel before they get dull
Hand wash and dry them with a towel - never put good knives in the dishwasher.
Magnetic racks are best. Wood knife blocks are germ harbors and dull your knives. We keep them in a drawer, which is better than a block, not as good as a rack. She has a roll for when we travel, but that is a hassle to take out and unroll every time you need a knife at home.

dcozad999

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Re: Best bang for your buck for a set of GOOD knives?
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2017, 03:13:22 PM »
I also recommend Victorinox.

I own the 8" Chef's, 12" slicer, 6" boning knive, and 9" wavy bread knife.  All high quality. 
They are a lot lighter than the upper crust knives though.