Are Victorinox Knives Best Bang For Buck?
Been recently researching for a new kitchen knife set. And I've come to like the Victorinox brand from what I've read.
What's mostly in the drawer now is Chicago Cutlery and some no-name grocery store knives. I'd like to replace them with some quality stuff, then throw the old stuff in with the camping garb or to the thrift store.
My bush and EDC beater knives are all Cold Steel and Mora, hunting/fishing knives are all Buck, Leatherman Surge and Leatherman Wave multitools, and wood prep is all Estwing stuff... So I'm pretty set in other fields of my life with cutting tools and now you see my taste in sharp metal. But now want the best bang for buck in the kitchen without spending a small fortune.
Any opinions? Thanks! :)
P.S. Full tang is a must (or most wanted), and I'm not against a full set.
I started with one of the short 5" Victorionox Fibrox Chef knives, to supplement my Wusthofs. LOVED IT!
I have now added about 7 or 8 of the Victorionox Fibrox knives and I just bought my daughter a set.
I think they are really great! My Wusthofs are about 25 years old and are great knives too. I know how to sharpen them and they have worked hard for me, but I am having fun with these different Fibrox ones!
Forshner / Victorinox are the least expensive, most decent knives that I know of. They're a great choice for those on a tight budget, or just starting out. However, the steel being rather soft, dulls easily and will need to be honed / sharpened frequently. With your budget, your better off upgrading the chef's knife as it will likely get the most use, get you better performance and a longer usage lifespan.
Full tangs maybe useful for outdoor or hard usage knives, but the theoritcal additional strength and weight is not needed for a kitchen knives. The blade itself is going to break way before you pry or do whatever enough to damage a partial, let alone full tang.
Like many on CH, I have a love-hate relationship with the Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen folks. Even at the equipment-rating level, since Lisa McManus has dissed pieces that I find perform superbly. Adam Ried tends to favor style a bit more than should be relevant in items that need to function effectively (as opposed to things like plates, that are more aesthetic than practical).
However, between Ried and Kimball, they do seem to arrive at the best functional tools for the price, and they have been recommending Victorinox knives, consistently, since their first ratings some 2 decades ago.
I have Buck CS that I baby, even though they're used for game... From cutting bone to delicate skinning. Very well taken care of.
As far as full tang goes, not needed, just wanted. As long as it doesn't loosen. Actually, My Buck 102 4" fixed blade, and Buck 105 5" fixed blade, aren't full tang, and I would pick them over any knife in the world for even large game. So, yeah, full tang not needed but it would be nice.
<Best Bang For Buck>
It depends on the "Bang" and the "Buck". Really. Different people have different criteria for "Bang", and they are limited differently on the "Buck". Some people cannot spend more than $15, while others can easily afford a $500 knife.
I personally think Victorinox is a very good value knife. Problem is that there are other good-valued knives as you go up and go down the price range.
Starting from the lowest, I consider Kiwi to be best bang for the buck at the $5-8 range.
Pure Komachi2 and Kuhn Rikon Colori are good value at the $10-15 range.
Going further up we have Dexter-Russell, Victorinox, and Mercer in that $30-45 range. CCK knives (at $40-50) are definitely even better performers than Victorinox and Dexter Russell if we are accepting Chinese geometry knives.
Going up further, we have Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM in the $80-85 range.
To me, there isn't a very distinctive area where I can clearly say "Ah, this jumps out at me. Everything below this line are unusable craps, and everything above this are unnecessary improvements"
I think. If $30-40 is your comfortable price range, then Victorinox is a very good choice.
Thanks for the feedback and info. Yeah, I probably should have put a price range... About $40 for an 8" chef's knife... $100-$200 for a set. Then additional knives in the long run if needed. I'm looking for high carbon steel that's not too hard yet not too soft (holds an edge yet easily sharpens), non China made, full tang (even for steak and utility knives) is wanted deeply but not needed, and 2mm to 3mm thicknesses in the bigger knives.
<$100-$200 for a set.>
Don't buy a set if you don't have to.
You can concentration your money to get a really nice Chef's knife instead of spreading it all out for knives which you may not use very often.
For example, you can spend $100 for your Chef's knife, $5-15 for a paring knife, $10-15 for a bread knife...etc.
<I'm looking for high carbon steel that's not too hard yet not too soft (holds an edge yet easily sharpens)>
High carbon stainless steel or high carbon steel? Just want to be sure. High carbon steel often means real carbon steel.
Hmm, .... most of the Victorinox knives which people talk about... they are not full tang. The tang is probably 60-80% deep into the handle, not 100% -- therefore not full tang:
If you really want a set, and really want full tang, then here are the full tang rosewood handle from Victorinox:
Here is a set, also full tang and carbon steel (not stainless steel) from Dexter-Russell:
Let us know if you really want (a) carbon steel, (b) a set, and (c) full tang. I am just going along with your request.
Chemicalkinetics bring up many good points.
The Tojiro ITK should be a very good knife for the money if you are ok with a carbon steel wa-handled knife:
It is, though, 25% more expensive then your ~$40 price limit.
The phrase "high-carbon" is rather misleading as it is used by some knife manufacturers. Technically speaking, any steel with a carbon content of 0.60% or higher can be considered "high-carbon." Most knife steels (especially the mass produced ones) are lower than 0.90% carbon content, while the more specialized cutting steels will hit 1.30%+ or even higher in some of the powdered super steels like ZDP-189 (carbon content of 3.00%) or the CPM-S90V/110V/125V with 2.30%+.
Here's a comparison graph with Buck's typical steel (420HC) in comparison with some other kitchen knife steels:
I'm actually a huge fan of Buck's 420HC steel. Not too hard to take forever to sharpen and hone, and not too soft that won't hold an edge. I'd rather have 420HC than their more pricey and harder steels. However, Buck's recipe for 420HC is much "better" than others'. Silky smooth cutting edge that stays.
I'm loving that full tang rosewood Victorinox set. I love anything wood, and since I'm the outdoorsy type, Victorinox with wood handles would fit the bill. Boy would that be nice on the countertop.
a) Carbon steel is just what I'm used to sharpening and honing. So it is desirable over all.
b) A set would be just for the looks of it all. Not needed but wanted.
c) Full tang isn't also needed, but preferred. My Buck 102 and 105 hunting knives aren't even full tang but they're built like a tank and not used for anything like wood prep or anything too abusive except some bone... And I wouldn't trade them for any other game knife. So yeah, full tang not needed but, in my opinion, the best built knife in the world would be exposed full tang.
My apology. It turns out that Dexter Russell set I was talking about is of stainless steel, not carbon steel. I am sure it is a good set. In other words, both the Victorinox rosewood and Dexter Russell sets are full tang stainless steel knife sets.
Since you do prefer carbon steel, I think there are a few paths. Obviously, you can go with the Old Hickory carbon steel knives. Very inexpensive, but poor finish:
The Sabatier Elephant carbon steel knives. They probably slightly out of your budget. $100 for a 8" Chef's knife. Full tang, carbon steel...etc. The steel is actually a bit on the softer side, so they are easy to hone, but may not hold an edge for a long time.
Or Japanese carbon steel knives. One of the least expensive one I know is the Tojiro ITK Shirogami 8.2 inch Chef's knife for $60 -- also recommended by Cynic2701. Many people love it. Carbon steel, Not full tang, and does not come in a set, and it is somewhat a one of a kind knife. The steel is harden to high degree. HRC61 or above I think:
The other one is the 8.2 inch Fujiwara FKH carbon steel Chef's knife for $73. It is harden to HRC 58-59, so it is slightly harder than Wusthof and Henckels but not by much. It is carbon steel, full tang handle. It does not come in a set, but you can buy your paring knife....etc
I love my Forschner Rosewood knives! I agree that they're the best-looking/best-performing knives at that price point!
I have the 3-1/4" parer, the 7" santoku, & the 8" bread knife. Sharpening is a breeze on the straight-edged knives (parer & santoku). I use a Spyderco medium-grit ceramic bench stone. The santoku gets used the most, so it's the one that gets sharpened most frequently. Even so, it only "needs" it about twice a year, along with a dab of mineral oil on the handle.
Go Rosewood! :-)
Depends the Chicago era. If the old USA stuff which have a number such a 42S and the name such as "42S Chicago Cutlery" on the handle and not ground way down, than a VIctorinox is not going to be a huge step up in quality. Other Chicago eras are iffy and a Victorinox may be a big step up.
They are good bang for the buck knives though.