Sexy, Dishwasher Safe, Reasonably Priced Knives
I'm looking to pick my girlfriend up a couple knives for her birthday. She doesn't have anything decent as far as knives go so it will probably just be two Chef's knives (so we can cook together).
Looks are semi-important. Something that doesn't just look plain would be great. Because of this I started looking at Shun stuff (I think it looks amazing).
Next requirement is that it's dishwasher safe. Convenience is big and I'm pretty sure that whatever I tell her they'll end up doing a couple cycles through the dishwasher. Apparently that's not ideal for any knife but it's a reality and it's unlikely to change. I can't much info on whether shun stuff (especially the Premier series) is dishwasher safe or not.
Last requirement is that it's not outrageously priced. Shun stuff is pushing my limit (about $200/knife). I'm in Canada so things are a little more expensive and I'm getting my prices off amazon.ca.
So anyone have recommendations that meet all my needs?
Thanks in advance,
I am not too familiar with Yaxell knives but those do look sexy and with the micarta handle they should hold up better than wood handles for those infrequent "accidental" trips through the dishwasher. (Hate the sin, love the sinner.)
Paul has a great reputation in Canada. You could email him to ask questions.
Depending on your gf's taste in cooking show hosts she may find these reallly sexxxy:
<Apparently that's not ideal for any knife but it's a reality and it's unlikely to change.>
I think you are right. Putting knives in a dishwasher is not good for any knives because there is a tendency to dull the knife edge as they move around, but some worse than the others. For example, carbon steel knives and knives with wood handle will suffer more.
I think you are kind of caught in a tough spot. Knives which are most dishwasher safe tend to be the worst looking ones. Dexter Russell and Victorinox/Forscher offer knives which are as dishwasher safe as they can be, but they don't look great.
Shun Classic knives are technically dishwasher safe, but it pains me to tell you to put them in dishwasher. :(
The following is my opinions of Shun knives. I think they are good quality, but I also think they are slightly overpriced for its quality. You can get similar knife for a bit less. Shun does offer free knife sharpening (for now) which is a good thing for many people.
Shun 7" Asian Chef knife is actually inexpensive, with a straighter edge profile. Try them in Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table if they still have it.
There are many great knives online, but you won't able to see them in person, and they are next to impossible to return. For your case, the other knives are the Henckels Miyabi lines. The Miyabi Kaizen line is similar to Shun Classic or Premier. The Miyabi Arisan SG-2, which is usually a more expensive line, is having a sale for its 8" Chef's knife. It is a SG-2 powder steel knife for $140:
You're probably not going to like this sage advise, but if she can't follow sinple directions, like, knives don't go in the dish washer, you should seriiously reconsider status. My daughter had to train her husband, and I thought that was a serious task, but even he was trainable to that extent. Now I still haven't trained my wife of over 40 years, the knives need to be dried as soon as they are rinsed, but she doesn't use the same knives I use for the most part. My daughter-in-law doesn't touch my son's knives. If you opt to keep the girl friend, then don't waste good money on knives that are going to be ruined in the dishwasher.
You definately don't want a knife with a wooden handle, as that will be shot in no time. The problem is that any good knife that goes in the dishwasher will come out duller than it went in. Hard Japan steel is going to be the most prone to more serious damage as the blade could even chip. The softer German steel will also dull, but is less likely to chip when banged around in the dishwasher. If you must, get a basic knife that's going to be easy to sharpen and has a plastic handle, like the Henckel Four Star. Good solid German knife that isn't an arm and a leg and if it ends up in the dishwasher, well it's not the end of the world.
<The problem is that any good knife that goes in the dishwasher will come out duller than it went in.>
In theory, knives do not have to get dull going into a dishwasher. It is just that the precaution to do so is more than washing the knives by hand. If one is to put the knives in carefully, and hold them in place (so they don't bang left and right and up and down), make sure no dishes are around to hit the knives, then it is fine. However, as you can see, the works to execute all these are more than the work to wipe the knives with a cloth.
I can maybe understand why a large establishment wit 25+ kitchen knives may want to consider using a dishwasher, but for 2-3 Chef's knives... I just don't get it.
Assume that with some newer dishwashers you can secure the knife so it doesn't bang around and and dent and chip the edge, you still have the issue with dishwasher detergent being harsh on the edge. Good pots and pans don't go in the dishwisher and it's not because you can't protect the edge.
To OP, if your girlfriend has a sweater that says dry clean only, does she throw it in the washing machine? If not she's trainable, just train her with a less vaunerable knife.
Me nether. Seconds is not an exaggeration. Like maybe 10 sec to wash and dry. I don't get it
I may wash and dry my knife several times during a single meal preparation
I use my kitchen knife several times a day but only run the dishwasher maybe every other day. Even if I ran it every day the knife would be out of circulation after one use if left in the dishwasher.
Mine go in the dishie all the time. I just do all my salad/ veg prep first and any raw meat work gets done afterwards. If the DW is not run prior to the next meal prep then I just use another one. For this very reason I've got four Forschner chef's knives with a total cost of less than many single Japanese items. Not so easy if you like $200 knives though.
Don't bother with a "sexy" expensive knife if it's going to end up in the dishwasher....Not worth it.
Nothing wrong with a Victorinox/Forshner,just no wooden handles.
Not to give relationship advice per se, but if the OP and the GF are not living together, does the OP have good knives at his place?
I'd sooner buy something functional and well below $100 if there is any chance of lives being merged in the future.
My girlfriend and I keep enough knives around our shared apartment that she always has something useful to reach for and not risk forgetting to take care of the better stuff. She's welcome to use the good knives although she recognizes she's probably not going to be as diligent as I am. Everyone stays happy as everyone has something to use in cutting tomatoes.
There is no such thing as a sexy, dishwasher-safe, reasonably priced, high quality knife. If the dishwasher is an inevitability, get her a set of Ginsu knives. They'll work well enough, and when the dishwasher trashes them, you won't be too upset because you only spent not $200, not $100, not $75, not $50, but only three easy payments of $14.99 (or whatever they're going for these days). Plus you'll be able to cut a shoe AND a tomato in quick succession.
For me, the major consideration is how the knife handle fits into my hand. I don't have small hands, merely sensitive ones :) So, may I suggest that you and your girlfriend shop together for the gift.
I happen to like Wustof Classic and Henkels 4*, both of which are moderately priced in western Canada. If you're planning for two chefs' knives anyways, you could choose one each of French and Japanese style blades.
i like your willingness to compromise, chris--i think it bodes well for your relationship, not to mention the rest of your life.
i don't know that i am the perfect person to give you advice ,,, well, maybe i am. my knives go in the dishwasher (i have a ton of vintage dinnerware, crystal, & silver to wash by hand--knives can fend for themselves, dammit). just melted the plastic handle of a wusthof paring knife when it nosedived onto the heating element in my dishwasher. thus my reading of this thread. otherwise it has done well imo ...
not an answer to your question, but:
if you do end up getting Shun knives, if either of you is left-handed, be aware that as of two years ago, they offered some of their line weighted for left handed people.
iirc, amazon didn't carry them, but other online sources did.
also, fwiw, because, i, too, have an affinity for my dishwasher, i keep a second set of cheap, sturdy knives just for that sort of treatment.
all cerrated knives go in there.
my shun knives and my wooden cutting board are the absolutely only things that don't go in the dishwasher.
I got this off of Shuns site...
Washing: Shun’s knives, due to the revolutionary nature of their Pakkawood handles, are dishwasher safe. HOWEVER, as with any lifetime investment, it’s important to take the best care possible in order to prolong the life of your knife. For multiple reasons, we do NOT advise you put your knives in the dishwasher:
*Putting knives in the dishwasher is a major cause of accidents in the home. If you forget the knife is in the washer, you may cause yourself (or another) unintentional harm when unloading.
*The dishwasher is very hard on all dishes; if you choose to put the knife in the upper drawer of the dishwasher, it may get knocked about which is hard on the dishwasher where the blade hits it. It’s also hard on the blade and may reduce the overall life of the knife.
*When you put metals of different grades into the dishwasher, you may cause brown spotting on your higher quality metals which will not come off.
*Many dishwashing detergents contain citrus extracts. These can be very hard on all your dishes (not just knives!) The citrus can cause pitting or corrosion in the blade.
For these reasons, we recommend that you protect your investment by choosing to handwash your blades with a gentle dish soap which contains no bleach or citrus extracts. With regard to handwashing, it is not advisable to leave your knife sitting in a sink full of water. It can be a danger if you reach into the sink and cannot see the knife. It can also be hard on any knife to be left in water for an extended time period.
The best method is to take a minute and quickly handwash the knife directly after usage.
We enjoy our collection of knives that we have purchased over 40+ years.
The sage wisdom regarding not throwing everything into the dishwasher is very true. Dishwashing will in fact ruin better knives and cutlery.
Our solution has been to use stainless kitchen rails with magnets, placed strategically over the double sink. We happen to use a Rösle Open Kitchen rail system, but any magnetized rail or knife holder will do.
Rinse and soak the knives if you will, but take each knife and scrub it with a soapy brush or sponge, rinse it, and place it on a magnet with the blade pointing down.
The knives dry very quickly, even in our Alpine Winters, and can be toweled off.. We have at last count well over 200 knives, but the prime-use knives are washed and placed back in a Global Knife block, or in special knife drawer inserts.
No dull blades, no mysterious chips or cracks, and no heartbreak over an expensive and favourite knife that needs to be replaced. Most importantly, no arguments !
I honestly would recommend taking her to a store where they sell knives, and let her try them out and pick out her own. A knife is a very individual thing, what works well for one person won't be comfortable for others.
I personally have a Global 10" chef's knife that I really like, as I have small hands and it isn't too heavy. I think it's attractive as well. I will put just about anything in the dishwasher, but I won't put my knife in there (or my cast iron skillet). I don't find washing it by hand to be too bothersome... run some water on it, squirt on the dish soap, swipe it a few times with the sponge on each side, rinse, dry, done.
Never put a knife in the dishwasher, ever. That is one of the worst things you can do to it next to hacking up wood branches and other abuses. The knife police will know the minute you put one in the DW and will confiscate your knife.
Okay to be very serious, you should take her on a casual outing to a cooking store. Linger over the knives and ask to be allowed to handle some. Not all knives fit all hands. She might prefer a 6" chef's knife to an 8". Shun knives, except for the Ken Onion do not have bolsters. It is easier to nick yourself with one. Talk to the salesperson ( I sell knives) and ask about use and care. Ask for suggestions.
Going back to care. It takes less than a minute to wash and dry a knife. It will also help to maintain the edge, oh, and BTW, the hone or so called sharpening steel does not really sharpen a knife. It aligns the edge. Your knives should not need a thorough sharpening more than once or twice a year. If you want to invest in a sharpener, Chef's Choice 15/20 is very good and their small manual sharpener does a good job too.
I've timed my cleaning drying and placing the knife back in it's place and it's around 5-6 seconds and I'm not rushing. No exaggeration, your time may vary but most likely it will not exceed 10 seconds start to finish. I just can't get a grip on why someone would want to put a sharp prep knife in the dishwasher.
I have been re-reading the original posters' post and our responses (including mine). I agree that there probably aren't many, if any, great quality knives which should be put in a dishwasher on a regular basis.
However, reading closely, I realize that the original poster never asked for a great quality knife, but a sexy looking knife. There must be some good looking and dishwasher safe knives out there? The challenge is that "sexy" is very subjective.
Regardless, here are some suggestions:
I looked at the Mac knives (Japan) and Zhen knives (Taiwan), but many of their knives are not dishwasher suitable.
re: Robin Joy
< Are those funky looking Kuhn Rikons DW safe?>
Excellent point. I used to think they are made from carbon steel too, but I do not think so now. First, they are advertized as dishwasher safe. In addition, the more recent Kuhn Rikon's knives I have seen are stated "Japanese stainless steel" or "high carbon stainless steel". I have a feeling that they were always high carbon stainless steel and were mistakenly advertized as high carbon steel.
"high carbon stainless steel blade "
"Made from Japanese stainless steel"
Shun knives are high quality, which is utterly irrelevant if they'll be tossed into the dishwasher. I'm assuming that people who don't take the <10 seconds to wash a knife by hand also won't sharpen them, which makes great steel rather irrelevant. If you aren't interested in sharpening and otherwise caring for your knives, I'd recommend a serrated blade, as it'll cut without maintenance.
The main issue preventing knives from being dishwasher safe is wooden handles. Get plastic handles, and it should be fine. I'd recommend going to TJ Maxx or Home Goods, or whatever discount store you have access to, and picking out the knives you like the look of. Kuhn Rikon and Pure Komachi come to mind as attractive knives that are easily found at such stores.
The makers of Shun, KAI, also make less expensive line of knives. One is the Wasabi line which is easily available on Amazon and elsewhere. Another is the Seki Mago Roku, which are available at this website:
I have both Shun and Wasabi knives. The Shun obviously looks nicer with the Damascus steel but functionally the Wasabi cuts just as nicely at a fraction of the price.