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Entry-level knives: Dexter Basics vs US-made

After cutting myself on the *back* of a cheap knife (pushing down too hard), I decided it's time to finally get an actual chef's knife.

I've narrowed it down to the 8" Victorinox ($26), 8" Kom Kom Kiwi ($9), 8" Dexter Basics ($17), 10" Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe ($13), and a 7" Dexter Sofgrip Santoku ($23).

The Sani-Safe is the best deal, but I don't have a lot of working space, so I figure it might be a bit unwieldy. The Kiwi sounds nice for the price, but from what I've read, it's not quite as versatile as a Western chef's knife or Santoku.

So here's the question. I've heard good things about the Dexter-Russell brand, but most anecdotes I've found are about their various US-made lines. I don't know if those good things apply to their cheaper Basics line, imported from some unknown location. Does anyone have any experience with the Dexter Basics?

(I did find one previous discussion of this question, but there was some contradictory information in that thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/746908)

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  1. Victorinox would to the one I'd grab but in either event there's no reason you can't round off the spine on the knife you have with some emory cloth.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TraderJoe

      Yeah, I'm leaning towards the Victorinox now. The main problem with the current knife is the blunt edge, not the sharp spine. The spine wouldn't be an issue if I didn't have to give celery CPR to cut it.

      1. re: Scrofula

        Learn how to sharpen your knife. A stone is not expensive and it's not difficult to learn. It also seems that you have a cheap and dull knife to practice on.

    2. Dexter SaniSafe and Sofgrip sharpen easy, the Basics do not. They have a hollow grind to them and do not get as good an edge as the USA models.

      The Sofgrip is really comfortable to hold the Basics and the Sanisafe not so.

      What knives do you have?

      FWIW any budget knife will have a sharp spine that needs rounding. I have identical Santokus one original that the spine can peel bamboo and one rounded off so people can see what a massive comfort difference that can make.

      Jim

      1. I like my Dexter-Russell..No hi-zoot factor, but feels good, sharpens nicely, and a heck of a good value

        1. I have a couple of the Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe knives and like them a great deal.

          1. In about 1980, while visiting St.Augustine FL, I walked into a knife store called The House of Ek home of the famous and very pricey handmade combat knives. I mentioned that I was looking for a decent/inexpensive chef's knife. He had one that fit the bill and recommended it enthusiastically. It was the R.H. Forschner/Victorinox 830-8, an 8-inch chef's knife. I believe it was under $15. It still serves me well now over 30 years later and I notice it's still available at under $30.