A kitchen knife primer?

After a while, I , like many people, start to try out some "premium" kitchen knives. The most common brands I know of are Wüsthof, Zwilling and Shun. Commonly priced in a range of $100-$400. Not something for most people, but enough will try one or a few, once in a long while. (Surely professionals are a different story.) But sadly these are only the very few of the “premium” brands,mostly due to my limited knowledge and experience. I've heard chef's knives as expensive as $10,000 a piece.

Not trying to spend time to figure out which knife is the most expensive, but wonder if there are some readily available recommendations, reviews, comparisons, prices ranges and list of places to shop for the common folks who venture to take a shot to spend a few hundred bucks. Of course doesn't hurt to know a few tricks or places to find good deals for quality products.

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7 Comments

Liza's K. August 28, 2014
I'm likely not one to give advice, as I use 10 year old rather inexpensive knives that were hand-me-downs. I have them sharpened when they need it and they do the job just fine. The most important thing is (as others have mentioned) is to find a knife that works for you. It it feels uncomfortable or unnatural to use you're more likely to cut yourself, have difficulty chopping, or just leave the knife unused (which would be a terrible waste). I also vote for not getting a set as you'll never use half of them.
 
ChefJune August 28, 2014
I suggest going to a cutlery store (if you can fine one near you) and holding a variety of types of knives. It's important for your chef's knife to feel like an extension of your arm, whether you are a professional or a home cook. You will enjoy using it more, and be far less likely to hurt yourself with the knife if it feels like part of you. After you've determined what the best fit for you is, then I'd look for a good deal on that knife. My favorite cutlery store Stoddards (now known as The Proper Moose) http://www.propermoose.com/cutlery/ does that for their customers.
 
sfmiller August 28, 2014
I agree that it's not necessary to spend a lot of money to get a good knife for everyday cooking and that it's important to try before you buy. That said, if you want to check out some high-end knives, with knowledgeable product descriptions and reviews, try this site:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/

They have a really good selection of sharpening supplies, too.
 
boulangere August 27, 2014
Check into a local restaurant supply store. You don't need to own a restaurant to shop in one, nor to have an account. They'll gladly tell you which knives are most preferred by chefs, and the prices will be much more reasonable than in a home kitchen store.
 
Susan W. August 27, 2014
I agree with Meagan. Going to a good knife shop that carries a wide variety of brands and price points will be invaluable. A good sales person (not one who steers you immediately to the most expensive) will help guide you. I love my Shun, but you may like the feel of something else.

One piece of advice is not to buy a set. You'll very likely end up with knives that sit unused. I have my 12" chef knife, a long serrated knife, a boning knife and a small paring knife. A friend did go to my favorite Asian store in SF and bought me a meat cleaver and vegetable cleaver. They are wonderful and icing on the cake, but I would have been fine without them.
 
tinarina August 27, 2014
My husband is a former chef and we cook daily. The main thing with all these knives is keeping them sharp, so you have to be good with a steel or other gadget, or get them sharpened professionally on a regular basis.

We have the $40 set of Ginsu knives that Amazon sells; they are constructed the same way as much more expensive knives and have worked well for years with regular sharpening. I no longer believe in super-expensive knives unless you're working in a professional kitchen.
 
Meaghan F. August 27, 2014
The best piece of knife-buying advice I can give is that there is no substitute for actually going to the store and trying them out. You'll get a feel for what style you prefer (e.g. Santoku, western chef's knife) blade length, etc. The. You can start looking at brands and shopping around for the best price.
 
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