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Knife dilemma - Good price on Henckels Stylus set, but is it worth it?

Hoping for some advice from knife experts. I spotted a Henckels Stylus 8-piece set as seen here...

http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

...for $50 at a local discount store. Seemed like a good deal, but then I wondered about the quality. How do the cheaper Henckel knifes compare to other brands, and would chowhounds recommend these ones with stainless steel handles?

I don't necessarily need 8 knifes, but I'd use them if I had them. Or would I be better not to go for this set and instead invest in a couple of higher quality knifes? I'm on a tight budget.

Thanks...

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  1. Gotta say -being that you can't get a good knife these days for barely $50...I say go for it.

    If you hate it - you can always gift it to someone....

    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: jbyoga

      first of all the knives you speak of are made in the orient and the quality is not the best.they will not hold the edge as long.but the big down side is the all metal handle.when you get a little oil or other stuff on your hands the blades are hard to hold on to and the slipperer they get the harder you grip and your hand gets very tired.

    2. Cheap Henkels knives suck. I had one for about 10 minutes and replaced it pretty well right away.

      If you need a quality inexpensive knife, look at the Victorinox Fibrox.

      Just to add, there's really only three really necessary prep knives - chef's, paring and serrated.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Shazam

        I'll agree with everything here.....I only really use these three knives, Chef, paring, and a serrated bread type knife. I have a Victorinox Fibrox for my Chef and serrated based on best buy recommendations from Cook's Illustrated, and LOVE them both. The Chef's knife was $25, and the bread knife about $22. That should leave you a few extra dollars in the budget for a decent paring knife, and you'll have everything you need. Razor sharp and a good sticky handle. If you can, invest in a sharpening steel and use it to keep a good edge on your knifes, and take good care of them. Better for me than spending big money on expensive knives.
        I don't use a block for any of them, but made a cheap cardboard sheath for them because I don't have a lot of money to spend right now either.

        1. re: egbluesuede

          You can do just about anything in the kitchen with three good knives: a chef's knife, a boning knife, and a paring knife. My chef's knife is sharp enought to cut soft loaves without a problem. YMMV.

          Vicroinox is a great brand at a great price and a great recommendation.

          Steels don't sharpen (with the exception of the F. Dick Multicut, my choice for knife maintenance), that's a common misnomer. They realign the edge to prevent dragging and tearing which make a knife seem dull.

          1. re: bkhuna

            Correct on the steel....sorry if I wasn't clear about that. I do think that's important to mention because I don't think a lot of people take good care of their knives for personal/home cooking. You can have the most expensive knife available and it won't perform very well unless you take good care of it.

      2. If you can't or don't want to spend the bucks on better quality Henkels, then consider Forschner knives. You can get them fairly cheap and they are probably the best knives for the money.

        If you're really on a budget, check out a restaurant supply store. You can find Dexter Russell very cheap. Not glamorous, but you'll find more DR's in professional kitchens than any other brand out there. They take a great edge and can take a beating.

        Do you really think a working kitchen runs around with overpriced Rachel Ray or Emeril junk?

        4 Replies
        1. re: bkhuna

          to Bkhuna
          your saying that professional chefs run around the kitchen with a bunch of Dexter Russell white handle knives is a bunch of crap.i am in the trade and know better. but you are right chefs don't use Rachel Ray or Emeril junk.they use Wusthof,Henckels,Shun,Mac & messermeister.most professional chefs will pay $125.00 to $200.00 for a good chef knife and not blink an eye.

          1. re: big john

            I was referring to working kitchens and budgets here BJ, so dispense with attitude. The poster asked for advise on how to get knives on a budget.
            You don't need to pay an arm and a leg to slice a grilled-cheese in two.

            1. re: bkhuna

              sorry BK did not mean to offend you.you are right as to commercial kitchens such as cafeterias,buffets & schools they do use Dexter Russells

            2. re: big john

              That's it? I would've thought they buy custom knives for > $400.

          2. Henckles makes some fine knives, but they also make some crap ones they sell in discount stores. I was given a Henckles set as a gift and was far less than impressed with them. The blades are very thin and don't hold an edge well at all. Buying good knives from the start will save lots of frustration (and possible medical bills) in the future.

            1. There was a time when most specialty companies made a limited line and did it to one standard. BMW used to mean a damned fine car, and the Twins on a blade meant you were getting a top-of-the-line Henckles. Somewhere along the line companies decided they were missing out on a lot of bucks by ignoring other market segments, so they "diversified" their product lines. Purists snorted in derision at the $40k models as not "real" BMWs, but they sold tons of 'em.

              There's two ways to look at it- 1) the quality of the top models could trickle down or 2) they're diluting the brand. Which is the case? Some folks will buy the Fine Edge stuff and feel good knowing they have Henckles. Most of them will find them adequate to carving the Xmas turkey. Others will say, "omg- this is what Henckles makes?" I dunno, but it's so widespread it's almost pointless to worry about it.

              I would agree that you see a lot of Forschner & Dex/Russ knives in pro kitchens, but it's not necessarily because they're great knives. They're decent knives that are cheap enough to let the line cooks use 'em. I've always called them "disposables"- they're what I give a kid to keep him away from my roll. That said, both of them are okay, soft enough to sharpen pretty easily but hard enough to take a fair edge. My preference would be something like the Messermeister Four Seasons or Park Plaza. The Victorinox Fibrox are really good as well.

              I also don't think a block is the best way to start. I do 85% of my work with 3 knives, so I'd rather have 3 good ones than 8 mediocre ones. I'd suggest you get a nice chef knive and a good paring knife to start (depending upon what you normally cook). A 6" slicer/utility is very handy, too. A 6" or 7" Santoku could be substituted for many things you're use a French knife for if you prefer, and I sometimes do so. If you go that route it's hard to beat the Kai Wasabi line.

              If you're on a very tight budget, get a decent 8" Chef knife and a $5 Messermeister paring knife. I'm not kidding- that cheap paring knife will get you by easily til you can afford better. Start with the best you can afford, even just one or two knives. You'd be surprised how much you can do with an 8" chef, and even more surprised by how much it'll improve your knife skills using that one knife all the time! Just take care of them, cut on a wooden or poly board, and don't let 'em rattle around in a drawer. Get a cheap, empty block or some $3 heavy plastic blade guards (Wustof makes nice ones for cheap).