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Good Affordable Knives?

AlyshaB2005 Jun 25, 2010 11:00 PM

Can anyone recommend a good affordable set of knives?


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  1. s
    smkit RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 26, 2010 03:22 AM

    A lot of people will probably recommend Forschner. I bought this 4-piece Forschner set several years ago and it has been very good to me. Don't get me wrong, I don't care for block sets, but the knives in this package are all very useful. And for $70 you can't go wrong.


    1. Chemicalkinetics RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 26, 2010 07:21 AM

      Like Smkit, I am not into knife set, but if you want a knife set, how many knives are you looking for? There are "2 knives set" and there are "20+ knives set". In addition, what price range are you looking at? Thanks.

      1. m
        MFalk RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 26, 2010 07:25 AM


        Kiwi knives are quite good and very, very cheap. The blade is light and thin, stays sharp for quite a while, and is easy to hone. There's over 150 models of knife in their production line (admittedly many aren't available in America) so it's easy to customize your set to whatever you need. They're not great for cutting harder, firmer things like cheese or winter squash, but they're what I reach for whenever cutting vegetables now.

        9 Replies
        1. re: MFalk
          chuckl RE: MFalk Jun 26, 2010 06:28 PM

          why can't you cut cheese with them? that would seem like something any decent knife should be able to do. What happens when you try to cut say parmesan with one of those kiwi knives? they're made, apparently, in Thailand, what sort of steel are they made of and how long do they last?

          1. re: chuckl
            MFalk RE: chuckl Jun 26, 2010 08:49 PM

            You can cut cheese with them, or anything hard, but the blade is very thin and lots of pressure (which I have to exert for semi-hard cheeses), it feels a little wobbly. Still cuts very well and more than makes up for the limitations. But in most respects they perform comparably to my friend's expensive forged Japanese knives.

            I've had mine since April, which admittedly isn't that long, but I've seen no loss in quality. I hone them every week or two which keeps them in fine order. People who've sung their praises on the internet say they last quite a while. And if they do give out beyond sharpening's repair, you've spent at most $8.

            The blade is stainless steel, stamped, with a wooden handle (plastic ones are also around the internet). I don't know what specific steel it is, but it's not high-maintenance carbon steel, and is completely non-reactive.

            1. re: MFalk
              chuckl RE: MFalk Jun 27, 2010 07:57 PM

              if they can't cut anything hard without being wobbly, how can you compare them to good Japanese knives? I'm suspicious of knives at that price being high quality. I do a lot more cutting and chopping than just fruit and veggies.

              1. re: chuckl
                Chemicalkinetics RE: chuckl Jun 27, 2010 09:16 PM


                I am trying to get my hand on these Kiwi knives. I really want the Kiwi vegetable knife:


                My local stores sell any thing but that particular one. Anyway, my understanding is that they are probably the best $3-8 knives you can get, but they are probably not quiet the level of typical Japanese knives.

                That being said I won't be surprised that these Kiwi knives are better than Henckels International knives. Just a guess.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  MFalk RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 28, 2010 06:14 AM

                  CK, I have it and it's great. It's so wide it's magic for scooping up chopped food.

                  1. re: MFalk
                    Chemicalkinetics RE: MFalk Jun 28, 2010 06:54 AM


                    I know I can get it through Wokshop, but the shipping fee will be as much as the knife. Since I am not in a hurry, I will wait for that particular vegetable knife. I misspoke when I said I am trying to get my hand on THESE Kiwi knives. I am just trying to get hold of that particular one.

                2. re: chuckl
                  MFalk RE: chuckl Jun 28, 2010 06:12 AM

                  chuckl, I wouldn't recommend a product to someone that I don't believe works. You've repeatedly turned my minor caveat warnings into "things they can't do," which is an exaggeration. You can do whatever you like with these knives, such as saw wood (emergency table construction), and they still cut well. Any stamped blade will have a little wobble to it, but that also means you can get them very thin and very sharp. If you don't want to believe me, that's fine. I invite you to explore the plentiful press they've received online:


                  The poster is looking for knives that work well but don't cost much. Kiwis outperform their price with a very sharp edge that stays sharp well. Oh, and the Japanese knife I'm comparing them to? It's a Shun, and it also has trouble cutting through those cheeses. It's just the result of a thin, relatively straight-edged blade creating lots of drag through a sticky protein.

            2. re: MFalk
              puzzler RE: MFalk Jun 26, 2010 07:56 PM

              Second on the Kiwis. I was going to order some on line, then found an asian grocery here in town that carries several models. Under $2 to about $4. Love 'em, very sharp!

              They're not suitable for things like winter squash or hacking through chicken pieces because they're too thin -- great for fruits and veggies.

              1. re: MFalk
                deeznuts RE: MFalk Jun 28, 2010 02:24 PM

                If you're going cheap, I'd go with kiwis. They work. Being of asian descent, my mom, and every other mom of all my friends, use kiwis. They sell them in almost every asian store. Couple of swipes on a steel and they get sharp enough every time heh

              2. k
                kariface RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 26, 2010 04:12 PM

                Hands down, Forschners are a great value and quality. Amazon tends to have very good prices on them.

                1. r
                  rich in stl RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 26, 2010 06:36 PM

                  Sam"s Club sells inexpensive QUALITY knives - Chef's, Santuko. Boning & Utility, Cheap too. Unless you are a professional, These knives are great for a houshold.

                  1. ted RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 27, 2010 06:32 AM

                    I'd rather have 2 or 3 good knives than a drawer full of throwaways. My MIL periodically brings me her discount store bargain knives to sharpen, and I'd bet they hold an edge for maybe a week after.

                    I'd get a few inexpensive knives for things like paring, bread/serrated, etc. But then I'd get a good but inexpensive chef's knife to go with (like a Tojiro DP for example). If you can spend a little more, get a good parer, too. A set at the same store linked below is $100.

                    It's not really an inexpensive knife, but I have a Watanabe mukimono that's an awesome bar knife. I think it's a great bargain. I bought it from the man himself at the Blade Show a couple years ago. It was only $35 and is left-hand ground with basically a chisel edge. Easy to keep a wicked edge on it. It's $45 to order- http://www.chefknivestogo.com/wamu10....

                    1. SanityRemoved RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 27, 2010 11:03 AM

                      I believe you are more apt to find a good set in any price range from one of the cutlery companies versus the companies that make a myriad of products.

                      I agree with the other posters who think that most sets are overkill and it's better to get the nicest chef's knife that you can afford and a good paring and bread knife. Boning, carver/slicer, cleaver and other specialized knives are nice to have but if you don't use them then it's a waste of money.

                      You may find that in a set with a knife block, that the knife block ends up being the most expensive item in the set. Sometimes you can find a cheap set that has a nice knife block, give away the knives to good will etc. and repopulate the knife block with better knives.

                      Since you didn't provide a price range I'll list some in various price ranges:

                      Dirt cheap:
                      Rada Cutlery - wide selection, lifetime warranty

                      Moderate price:
                      Dexter-Russell and Victorinox/Forschner - both manufacturers knives see more restaurant duty than any others.

                      Higher priced:
                      Wusthof and J. A. Henckels - each has different levels of price/quality.

                      If you can hold some knives its that much better. Don't buy a knife that is uncomfortable thinking that you will get used to it because most likely you will not. Better to spend what you had budgeted for a set on one knife that feels like an extension of your hand.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: SanityRemoved
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: SanityRemoved Jun 27, 2010 11:51 AM

                        Agree. Just want to add that the lower tiers of Henckels are worse than Dexter-Russell and Victorinox.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          smkit RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 27, 2010 07:59 PM

                          I'd also add that out of the Dexter-Russell and Victorinox/Forschner, I would definitely go with the Forschner. I have them both, but the the Dexter-Russell is a bit thicker blade and I found that Forschner cuts much better overall (at least out of the box).

                          And even though the new V-LO dexter handle is very comfortable and tacky, the spine is really sharp and needs rounding. Forschner has a more smoothed out spine, and overall comfort is better.

                          I also liked the balance and blade profile better on the Forschner.

                          As a real cheap option Mundial (Brazilian) offers a chef knife for under $20 ($19 for 10-inch and $15 for 8-inch) that is definitely passable. The handle sucks and out of the box it wasn't that great, but with a new edge it is now my picnic and camping knife.

                          Mad Cow Cutlery sells them.


                          1. re: smkit
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: smkit Jun 27, 2010 09:09 PM

                            I have a few Dexter-Russell. Yes, Dexter-Russell knives are a bit thick. I also agree that they don't have good finish. I have to round out the back of the spine (sometime). All my Dexter knives are wood handle knives and they don't have good fit. There are gaps between the wood and the steel, so I have to put beeswax and tung oil to close and seal it. I don't hate it though because I think it is fun, but I am sure others will hate this.

                            I don't have a Victorinox knife. So, I will need to either borrow one or buy one just to test one out. I also don't have those Kiwi knives. I really want to see if those $3 knives are nearly as good as Dexter or Victorinox.

                            1. re: smkit
                              JayL RE: smkit Jun 27, 2010 09:16 PM

                              I'll agree to this. I have, and use, Dexter Sani-Safe, Dexter V-LO, and Victorinox/Forschner. I generally keep the Dexters for commercial work and use my rosewood handled Forschners at home where I don't have to worry about someone mistreating the wood handles.

                              It's hard to beat a Sani-Safe for price, but the Forschner Chefs just feels better in my hand.

                              Don't waste money on a "set" of knives...especially if you're on a budget. Get your mind settled on buying just 2 or 3 knives and start shopping for something that feels good in your hand. You really can get buy with just a Chefs knife and a good pairing knife. Spend your money on these two options and you'll serve yourself well.

                        2. tim irvine RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 27, 2010 06:42 PM

                          all good suggestions but also consider carbon steel. A Thiers Issard at The Best Things will run about 2/3 the cost of a better line Wusthof knife.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: tim irvine
                            SanityRemoved RE: tim irvine Jun 27, 2010 07:17 PM

                            I realized that I had neglected carbon steel after I posted. Bad on my part since my Sabatier Elephants from the mid '70s are my favorite knives.

                            1. re: SanityRemoved
                              tim irvine RE: SanityRemoved Jun 28, 2010 05:01 PM

                              Agree...so light I can (and do) pare with my 10" chef's! I am a lazy butt for sharpening..twice a year through the Chef's Choice, but religious about honing before each use. They are always sharp enough to slice a tomato thin enough to read through just by drawing the blade across with no added pressure. The 10" chef's and 2 1/2" Nogent parer cover 95% or more of what I do. The old Elephant will even cut a hot, crusty loaf better than my Henckels forged bread knife. These things are getting harder to find but are still a great deal. I would urge anyone shopping for a knife who thinks 8" to consider going up a size in these. The extra blade length really reduces work. Even without the heft of a German knife I can cube a brisket for chili with ease.
                              The mid-size (6" and 8") sit in the block when I am cooking, but my bride seems to like them.

                              ALYSHA, before you shell for a lot of knives, factor in the cost of a good steel, maybe an F. Dick.

                              1. re: tim irvine
                                smkit RE: tim irvine Jun 28, 2010 09:10 PM

                                I'd personally recommend the Idahone ceramic hone (steel). It has a very fine grit and is what I use on my Forschners. It only costs $29.


                          2. r
                            RGC1982 RE: AlyshaB2005 Jun 29, 2010 12:18 AM

                            I purchased a few Kershaw knives that worked great for my Mom a couple of years ago. There was a Santoku, eight inch Chef's and a paring knife available at the time. You will probably either need the Santoku or the Chef's, but not both. Kershaw is the same company that makes Shun, and these knives were really sharp with rubberized, non-slip handles. Williams Sonoma actually has great prices on these, and they are usually on sale. Second on the Idahone ceramic steel, which I purchased on line.

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