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J.A Henckels Forged Knife Set at Costco, Good Value?

Hey Guys,

Need your opinion on buying this set of knives at costco.

Is it good value or should I be buying individual knives? My budget is around $150 for at least the essential knives.

Thanks in advance

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  1. When I''ve researched Henckel knives at Costco in the past, I found that they were lower tier knives not made in Germany. I think you get what you pay for on this one. Perhaps others have first hand experience? You probably want to search google and see what reviews exist.

    1. I believe what you looked at are the Henckels International knives.


      As justsayn said, these are lower tier knives. I have sharpened and used these knives and I was not impressed. If I am you, then I would focus on getting one good main knife. This can be a Chef's knife, Santoku, Gyuto, Chinese cleaver...etc.

      If budget is limited, then I highly recommend the Dexter-Russell or Victorinox stamped knives. They are relatively inexpensive and better than Henckels International. For examples:



      A sharpening strategy is very important. You can spend $2000 for a knife, but if you don't sharpened it and maintain it, then it is a waste of money. A $2000 dull knife is no different than a $20 dull knife.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        " I have sharpened and used these knives and I was not impressed."

        What didn't you like about the Henckels International knives? Bad edge retention?

        1. re: unprofessional_chef

          Yeah. But probably more so, it couldn't form a refined cutting edge in the first place.

          "The 6 inch Henckels International knife formed an edge, but it is not as sharp as the Kiwi based on paper cut and hair cut tests and cutting meats."


          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            My experience from sharpening Henckels International knives has been that some take a perfectly decent edge and hold it reasonably well while others, sometimes of the same model, are completely unable to take a useful edge at all. They must be really inconsistent in their heat treatments or something.

            As such, I don't recommend these knives either.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Jim (knifesavers) and you said the same thing about inconsistent edge. As such, I will that this into account. I have limited experience of Henckel International compared to you two, who are professional and semi-professional knife sharpeners.

      2. Out here in SoCal Costco has the Henckels International made in Spain.

        They are OK but can be a bit hit or miss on ease of sharpening.

        Gotta agree with Chem that on a budget Dexter are hard to beat. They aren't fancy looking but especially the V-lo are very light and comfortable. I haven't seen many but like the Dexter Green River for looks. I'm a sucker for a walnut handle. ;)

        Throw one other budget brand at you which is Mercer. They are a great bang for buck blade and look like more expensive knives. They are common among culinary students and are a decent level blade for the money.

        Sure you can drop more cake on a much better knife but stepping up from decent to exceptional gets spendy.

        As Chem said whatever you get will dull so have a sharpening plan.


        1. You would probably be wasting a lot of money if you got a set. If I were starting out, I'd get a good medium sized chef's knife 8" blade), a good santoku (7" blade) and some cheap paring knives. IMO, the best bang for your buck is the Messermeister Meridian Elite line for the first two. The blade angle is 15° rather than the 20-22° edge of most European knives. I have a set of 3 MIU paring knives that came free with something, and other than the paint coming off the wood handle, they've sharpened up nicely (I took them to 15°). This will put you a bit over your budget, but you'll save money in the long run. Cuttleryandmore.com carries many of the Messermeister Meridians. Like all large knife makers, they also carry cheaper lines, but I wouldn't advise fooling with those. One GOOD knife is better than 2 or 3 that won't take a good edge and keep it.


          1. OK. Let's make this clear I am a professional cook/chef who has been working in kitchens since I was 20. YOU ONLY NEED TWO KNIVES!!! A good chef's or french knife(10" seems to be the professional standard) and a pearing knife (mine is a 5"). A "knife set is a rip-off. Spend the same amount of money on one good chef's knives and a whetstone, that's all you need.

            4 Replies
            1. re: andyp83

              <and a pearing knife (mine is a 5")>

              But what if I don't like pear?

              (just kidding)>

              1. re: andyp83

                You might need only those two knives in a professional kitchen, but I find other knives useful. I use a serrated bread knife, a 9" slicing knife, and a 6" utility knife, besides a paring knife and a chef's knife (8"). I also have a boning knife and a filet knife. I probably could get by with fewer knives, but I like having all of them. The knives I mentioned are all Wusthof Classic, but I bought them all at a thrift store for less than $20, for all of them and several more. Oh, I forgot the 12" slicing knife that is used mostly for watermelons.

                1. re: John E.

                  All those Classics for $20.00....WOW....How much $$ to shop for me :-)

                  I agree though with a block full of knives. In addition to Chefs & paring, I have a cheap Dexter Filet Knife for fish (used to buy them by the doz) , serrated for bread products, boning used mostly for whole chickens, 6" sandwich my wife uses for everything, and a 10" slicer I use for carving roasts and a few other knives to boot. I don't think they are all necessary to start off with but in the long run nice & practical to have.

                2. re: andyp83

                  Hi, Andy:

                  Which of those two do you use to fillet fish? Bone beef or break subprimals? Slice bread?


                3. Anything that is just marked Henckels and has only one of the men from the twin/two man logo is the low-grade stuff.

                  Things marked Zwilling Henckels that have both guys are the mid-range.

                  Anything that is Zwilling with both guys is the good stuff.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ProfessorBear

                    <Things marked Zwilling Henckels that have both guys are the mid-range.

                    Anything that is Zwilling with both guys is the good stuff.>


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Zwilling means "twins" in German. Any time you see the logo with both guys or the name "Zwilling" by itself, you're getting the company's premium knives.

                      In general, when things are listed with both names - Zwilling J.A. Henckels - it's the "better" on the "Good-Better-Best" continuum.

                      Items that are just named J.A. Henckels will usually have the one-man logo (cut one dude off of the logo), will generally not be made in Germany, and are their "Good" on the line.

                      1. re: ProfessorBear

                        <In general, when things are listed with both names - Zwilling J.A. Henckels - it's the "better" on the "Good-Better-Best" continuum.>

                        My understanding is that there are only two tiers, not three. Zwilling Henckels is the same as Zwilling.

                        Henckels International (one person) is the lower tier.


                        Now, Miyabi is a division which Henckels bought and it makes high quality Westernized-Japanese knives.

                  2. I know the initial sticker shock can be overwhelming, but high quality knives will last practically forever in a non commercial environment with proper use & care. When you figure you will use them virtually every day for the rest of your life & spread the cost out accordingly the money spent is really a bargain.

                    As many have pointed out, stamped Dexters & Forschners dominate the commercial kitchen market. Great cutting performance, easy to maintain & very reasonable. The performance/cost curve is pretty hard to beat. I would take either in a heartbeat over a cheap thick forged blade that didn't take an edge well which is the camp the Internationals seem to fall into.

                    If you really like and appreciate high quality and craftsmanship then by all means the pricey German & Japanese knives are the way to go. Most of us end up in this camp sooner or later. If on a tight budget, a Dexter or Forschner chefs knife will do everything you want and make a great backup / travel knife if you decide to move up.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Tom34

                      <didn't take an edge well which is the camp the Internationals seem to fall into. >

                      I have sharpened a couple of Henckels International knives for my friends. They are not horrible, but they are no better than Dexter or Victorinox for sure (probably a bit worse)

                      That being said, another poster (who knows much about knives) told me that it is a matter of consistency. He said that some of the Henckels International knives are actually pretty good, but some are not.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Yeah I think it was Jim who pointed out the inconsistency with the internationals. If I was looking in that price category I would take his advice and go with the Mercer's over the International's.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          See my thing Chem is there is nothing worse than a dull "thick" forged knife with a 20 plus degree angle. Even worse is one that is hard to clean up the edge.

                          I love the Tojiro's many of you recommended, but I also have the Edge Pro to sharpen them, and razor sharp they are. On the other hand with the Dexters / Forschners, while they don't hold an edge as long as the Tojiro's, they are thinner than the Henckels International and very easy to clean up the edge.

                          1. re: Tom34

                            I think the age of (factory) forged knife is long gone. It is just that some people realize this fact earlier than others.

                            Yes, a thick forged knife is difficult to deal with -- probably good for arm exercise though.

                      2. What is opinion on the "four star" henkles - do these sharpen well - I have a few and I need to work on learning to sharpen myself before I try on my better knives - but from reading this trying on too cheapo ss knives is a bad way to try to learn

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JTPhilly

                          They do sharpen well.

                          The full length bolster can cause problems over time and will eventually need to be ground down to allow the entire edge to contact the cutting board.

                          Are you concerned about learning to sharpen before you try sharpening the Henckels 4 star series? Or are you asking if you should practice on the Henckels before moving on to some other (presumably nice) knives? In the former case, there are a few brands of cheap knives that reliably sharpen well I could recommend. In the latter case, yes, the Henckels are fine to practice with.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I was going to practice on the henkles - I bought them cheaply, I picked up a 6" for $2 yesterday and it is sharp - I would like to know what I am doing before I mess with the wusthof or Sabatier knives I have - frankly if I could find somewhere to get them all sharpened I would - I used to use Broadway Panhandler in NY but the way they ran my knives through the grinder at Fante's last time gave me palpitations - I have one of those little hand held sharpeners but I need to learn to use the stone if I want sharp knives

                            if you have recs on cheap brands that are good let me know though I will keep eye out for them

                            1. re: JTPhilly

                              Generally speaking, the Henckels 4 star brand is their standard high end German line. An 8 inch chefs knife from the line usually goes for about $100. It would be equivalent in quality to a Wusthof Classic and most Sabatiers.

                              If the knife you bought is in decent shape, you got a good deal.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                yeah, I am pretty happy - I have trouble figuring out henkles because they make too many types after the international