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Oct 31, 2009 09:15 PM

Best quality knifes?

I need to buy a knife set.I bought a faberware stainless knife from wallmart and when I pulled it out of the dishwasher it was rusting already.Looking for top quality and sharp.Whats the best?Thanks

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  1. Hi Smtnts,

    I am not a knife expert, but I have a few opinions to share. First, you have to decide if you want to go for German/European steel cutlery or Japanese steel cutlery. German knives are usually made heavier from softer yet strong steel. They are easier to sharp on your own. Japanese knives are usually made lighter and nimbler from harder steel. The harder steel allows Japanese knife to take on a smaller edge angle and therefore sharper.

    If you are into German knives, then you have the typical big names to choose from, like Wusthof, Henckels, F. Dick, Messermeister ... If you are into Japanese knives, then the better known and readily available brands are Shun and Global. Now, if you are into American cutlery, then you can pick Dexter-Russell or Lamson Sharp.

    One advice I have for you is: Don't not put your knives in a dishwisher. In fact, the better the knives, the greater the reason not to put them in a dishwasher. Dish washer detergents are very aggressive compared to hand dishwasher liquids and they are not good for knives.

    From Shun's website:
    "...However, we generally recommend against it. Here’s why: The dishwasher can be hard on all your dishes, but it can be especially hard on knives because they tend to get knocked around during the cycle."

    From Global:
    "Q. What help will you provide if the knife is damaged (snaps, rusts or nicks)?

    Our knives are not guaranteed against damage caused by inappropriate use or negligence.
    [Examples of inappropriate use or negligence of GLOBAL knives]
    1. Dropping the knife on the floor
    2. Attempting to cut frozen foodstuffs or extremely hard articles with the knife
    (twisting the knife from side to side)
    3. Using a dishwasher/drier to clean or dry the knife
    4. Storing the knife without cleaning and drying it"

    If you are hoping to buy a new set of knife, so that you can put them in a dishwasher, then I would suggest the opposite. You need to buy cheaper knives.

    1. Buying knives is a complicated issue. The earlier poster gave a good summary of the different brands and avoid the dishwasher advice. There is no "best". Choosing a knife is often a personal preference and how much one wants to spend. It depends on the feel of the handle, the weight, the balance, the type of material, etc. I would go to a cookware shop that carries a large selection and try some of the different brands to see how they feel in your hand. One might prefer a chef knife from one brand, a boning knife from another. I would avoid buying a 'set'. It might seem to be a bargain but most often has one or two that are not particularly useful. If you are a beginning cook, I would start with a good chef knife and a paring knife. Add as you feel you need another such as a boning knife, slicer, etc. Also buy a sharpening steel and learn how to use it keep a sharp edge on your knives. I would do a search on this board as there are many earlier posts on this subject.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        I agree regarding not buying a set. When I met my husband, he had a set that a friend (who'd just finished culinary school!). Most of them never get used. 99.9% of the time it's a chef's knife and paring knife. I have a serrated knife that was my father's which we use as a bread knife. And a number of really cheap, small serrated knives with different shapes and plastic handles.

      2. Since it seems you want the convenience of washing your knives in the dishwasher, I would suggest you consider the Victorinox Fibrox line. They are very reasonably priced (cheap even), but good quality. Most importantly, unlike the vast majority of high-quality knives, they are advertised as being dishwasher safe. They may not be the "best" knives in the world, but they are good, sharp knives and may be exactly what you are looking for.

        1. Smtnts2escape,

          I reread my earlier post. I think I could have been more clear. You see. When most people talk about good quality knives, they are referring the hardness and toughness of a stainless steel blade more than anything else. In short, people talk about performance. As such, a high quality knife is not necessary the most rust resistant. Let's take 440s stainless steel for example. There we have 440A, 440B, and 440C. 440C is considered the best for its hardness and its ability to hold a good edge for a long time. However. 440A is the most rust resistant and 440C is the least. So in your view, 440A may be considered the higher quality, while most people define the other way around.

          Again, I cannot repeat this enough. It is very important not to put high quality cutlery in a dishwasher. You are doing yourself a disservice. For instance, you may think you are saving time by putting 440A steel cutlery through dishwasher, but these knives do not cut as well, get dull easier and you will need to sharpen them often. Hand washing knives are very simple -- much simplier than washing dishes. A simple wipe will do, and typically people do not use more than 3 knives in one cooking session and often only use 1 knife. You can hand wash 2-3 knives in less than 10 seconds. There is no question that hand washing my knives are much easier than sharpening my knives.

          1. If you're used to using Faberware then get the Forschner it will be a revelation, great value for the money. The do not wash them in the dishwasher. It takes two seconds to take a knife, run it under hot water, rub with soapy sponge, rinse in hot water and dry with towel. Dishwasher will dull your knife and a dull knife is more likely to cut you. Treat your knives well and they will last a lifetime. Treat them badly and you'll waste a ton of time, money and blood.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Bubbamike


              Ha ha ha. I like the part "waste a ton of ... blood"

              Talk about Halloween theme.

              1. re: Bubbamike

                I'm trying to visualize the dishwasher washing off the sharp edge...

                1. re: Scargod

                  I'm sorry to even continue this debate, but I would like to clarify this issue somewhat.

                  First and foremost - I don't care much about handles. Use your judgment. Also - carbon steel = not for dishwasher. But you guys already knew that.

                  But, as far as sharpness goes... the issue is not really the water. The issue is that most dishwashers have no specific place for knives. They are loose in the washer, and streams of water will knock them into other implements and the sides of whatever is holding them. We're talking metal on metal or metal on ceramic contact. This will dull a knife, just like leaving it loose in a frequently opened drawer.

                  If your dishwasher has a specialized knife holder, or if you build or buy one (not sure if they are available for purchase - anyone want to make a million bucks?), you can effectively avoid this issue. You can also render this issue moot (nearly) by sharpening often and well.
                  [edit: I suppose meticulously wedging your knives into a dishwasher so the edge touches nothing and there is not enough wiggle room for contact would also work - depends on your knives and your dishwasher]

                  As for rust- not all stainless steels rust at the same rate. I think most forms of stainless would survive a wash cycle in isolation. But some could sit around all day in the dishwasher afterwards or survive many cycles and some could not (note that dishwashers are not the same either). Stainlessness is defined primarily by free chromium content (the amount of chromium not bound up in carbides). This can vary a good deal between different stainless steels and even between different steels with the exact same total chromium content. That said, if someone claims that their knife has been run through a dishwasher repeatedly for years with no rust issues, we should take their word for it - it speaks highly of the rust resistance of their particular knives.

                  I've also heard many worry that a dishwasher can ruin a knife's temper. From what I know of metallurgy (more than your average dude, less than a metallurgist), this is not probable. Even low tempering heats are significantly higher than the inside of a big commercial dishwasher. There is some anecdotal evidence of knives losing their temper via a dishwasher, mostly in the form of people claiming that theirs did. I would consider this remotely possible that repeated exposure to low heat could have a noticeable effect on steel temper, but it is also possible that these people are experiencing a differential temper within their knives that is only revealed after many sharpenings - not all knives are tempered evenly from edge to spine. This would be easy to attribute (mistakenly) to a dishwasher.

                  If anyone has a link to any non-anecdotal evidence (we're talking scientific) of low heat de-tempering of steel, I would love to see it. Until I do see it, I will continue to:
                  A) consider this a myth. And...
                  B) wash my knives by hand anyway. As a majority of my knives are carbon steel, this should not surprise anyone.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    I do have two types of knives - my Shuns and a motley bunch of others. The others go in the dishwasher and are rust free. The dishwasher did ruin a wooden handled Henckell - but only the handle.

                    I agree, de-tempering seems impossible. I fall into the misty area of knowing a bit about metallurgy - just enough to to convince myself I'm right when I'm wrong. In terms of the edge - it may well be possible for the chemicals in a dishwasher to disturb the crystal matrix of the steel or remove the chromium oxide layer at a micro-edge. This is not knowledge - just supposition.

                    1. re: Paulustrious

                      Hi Paul,

                      You have "Shuns and a motley bunch of others"? Shun is going to love that.

                      As for corrosion, most stainless steels are pretty good against water, but the problem of course is more than just water. My understanding is that some dishwasher liquids are more aggressive than others and can speed up the corrosion. To some extents, it is no different than why it is ok to use hand washing detergents to wash a seasoned cast iron cookware, but it is not a good idea to put one in a dishwasher. I also read the same thing for enameled cast iron cookware as well. There are automatic dishwasher detergents which are safe for enamel cast iron cookware and there are some which are not safe.

                      I believe automatic dishwasher detergents have become gentler in recent years. Come to think of it, the old hand dishwasher detergents were very harsh as well. My mom had used to wear gloves to wash dishes.