Although big names like Wusthof Knives, Shun Knives, and Dalstrong Knives are more commonly endorsed by professional chefs, other brands, such as Chicago Cutlery, target simple homeowners looking to either start their cutlery arsenal or expand an existing one.
Chicago Cutlery Knives are an excellent option for users looking for a full knife set without making a hole in their wallets while keeping in mind that they cannot compete with the brands mentioned above. Although they’re not that incredible, these knives can give you the bang for your buck and get the job done no matter what recipe you’re preparing for dinner. So, is Chicago cutlery good?
Enough with the introductions and let’s let the reviews do the talking, shall we?
Chicago Cutlery Review Center 2020
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Now that you’ve seen our top 5 recommendations, we’ll give you more detail on each of them, including why we liked them. When you’re ready, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon!
#1 – Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 18-Piece Knife Block Set with In-Block Knife Sharpener
Chicago Cutlery Insignia 2 Knife Block Set aims at helping those who dread spending hours every week using a Sharpening Steel to hone their knives and maintain them. How, you may ask? Through the intuitive design of the block, which has an extra slot that contains a simple Knife Sharpener, one that renders honing a breeze since all you have to do is insert then remove the blade and voila! The knife is now sharpened to a perfect angle that was carefully selected by the manufacturer.
Before anyone jumps to their keyboard to say that there’s no way you can restore a damaged edge to razor sharpness in a single pass, know that the operation is not as simple as that. The in-built knife sharpener is more a custom honing steel with a fine grit stone that polished and maintain the edge. For home use, that’s more than enough to keep your knives in good shape and state throughout your kitchen endeavors.
The set includes everything you need in the kitchen, including a chef’s knife, Santoku knife, boning knife, Kitchen utility knife, serrated bread knife, slicer, two paring knives, eight forged steak knives, and Kitchen Shears, all inside a stylish block featuring the built-in sharpener that we’ve been praising from the beginning of this Chicago cutlery review.
Other than the impressive built-in sharpener, this knife set boasts several features that make it worth your time. For starters, unlike other mid-range, light knives from Chicago Cutlery, these blades are actually forged and feel well-balanced in hand.
They are made of high carbon stainless steel, which means that they can hold their edge for quite some time. Add that to the fact that they’re easy to maintain thanks to the built-in knife sharpener, and you’ve got yourself a winner when it comes to convenience.
The knives also feature dark synthetic handles that resemble dark wood ones. They are not quite as modern-looking, but they are comfortable and can give you a firm grip while you’re holding your knife to cut, chop, dice, or slice.
What we like about it
The Insignia 2 knife set is an excellent choice for home cooks looking for a stylish collection of full-tang, forged knives that come razor sharp out of the box and that are effortless to maintain. The built-in sharpener is a real charmer in this block set and definitely adds to the quality of The Insignia 2. Again, this block set cannot compete with high-end products from other brands, but for the price you’re paying, it can definitely be the best Chicago knife set for you.
#2 – Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener
The Insignia Knife Set is the predecessor of the Insignia 2 set, and it features the same built-in operationally-foolproof knife sharpener that allowed the latter to top our Chicago cutlery reviews.
Maintenance is also a breeze with these knives thanks to the integrated sharpener that can keep your blades sharp enough for any cutting task around the kitchen, which explains the praise that Chicago Cutlery knives are getting from several experts and consumer organizations.
The set includes a chef’s knife, Santoku, peeler, parer, boning knife, utility knife, serrated bread, slicer, shears, and eight steak knives, and a knife block that, sadly, won’t make it to the lost of the most beautiful Knife Blocks this year, or any year for that matter, as it’s not really a well-crafted centerpiece that would impress anyone visiting your kitchen. Thankfully, that issue has been addressed by Chicago Cutlery in newer lines, such as the Insignia 2 set reviewed above.
Just like the Insignia 2 set, this collection features decent knives that are forged and heavier than their mid-range light blades. They’re also made of high-carbon stainless. Not only does that guarantee that you’ll get your newest cutlery items exceptionally sharp out of the box, but it also proves that they will last for a good number of years if you maintain them properly.
And finally, as with other knife sets from Chicago Cutlery, the Insignia collection comes with a lifetime warranty, one that covers manufacturer defects, which should give you some piece of mind when purchasing products from this brand.
What we like about it
Sure, the block in this set isn’t the most aesthetically-appealing out there, but if you’re more of a practicality-focused person looking for a nice set of low-cost, functional knives that are easy to maintain, you can’t go wrong with Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set, especially that it comes with a lifetime warranty that covers any manufacturer defects you may find. Again, keep in mind that this is no math for high-end sets, but hey, it’s pretty cheap and efficient for home use, so why not?
#3 – Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set
While both Insignia sets focus more on practicality and easy maintenance, the Fusion line takes the other approach, relying heavily on the build, material, and design to compete with big brands such as JA Henckels.
This set is affordable and comes with about every knife you may ever need in your kitchen, including a chef’s knife, Santoku, slicer, paring knife, peeler, utility knife, bread knife, Partoku, and eight steak knives, along with stainless sharpening steel for maintenance. The block doesn’t feature a built-in sharpener, but it surely comes as an upgrade to that of the Insignia line when it comes to aesthetics, mainly because of the gleaming metal faceplate that covers the holes in which you insert your knives. Besides, the included stainless honing steel makes up for the lack of an in-built sharpener, so there’s nothing to complain about here.
The fully forged, full-tang knives are made of the same high carbon stainless steel used in the Insignia lines, with a thicker forged construction that gives them a bit of heft, but the biggest advantage that they offer is that you get to choose your own angle if you decide to sharpen them yourself.
The handles are also an upgrade over the last couple of sets that we reviewed, as they’re gritty and comfortable, which means that you won’t find a problem using these knives for the most complicated of recipes.
What we like about it
The Chicago Cutlery Fusion is a great entry-level 18pc Block Set that’s durable, well-made, and quite affordable. If you’re comfortable using honing steel to maintain your knives¸ the Fusion set is well worth the price and does come as an upgrade over the Insignia knives. Not only is it better-looking, but it also gives you more control as you get to choose which angle to go with.
#4 – Chicago Cutlery 15pc Belden High-Carbon Stainless Steel Knife Block Set
The Chicago Cutlery 15pc Belden High-Carbon Stainless Steel Knife Block Set is right in the middle ground of Chicago Cutlery’s catalog, offering a great balance between the performance, quality, and the cost.
All the essentials that one needs to kickstart their culinary journey are included in this set, including a chef’s knife, two paring knives, bread knife, utility knife, peeler, and six serrated steak knives, along with a kitchen Shear, all stacked and ready to go in a stylish cherry wood block.
As with other Chicago Cutlery knife sets, these forged knives are made of high carbon stainless steel, which guarantees that their 25-degree Taper Grind edge will remain hard, sharp, and strong for long, and ensures that your cuts will be precise and clean every time. The weight and balance of these blades are just right thanks to the full tang design, which adds to the strength and control provided by the blades.
For convenience sake, the knives in the Belden High-Carbon Stainless Steel Knife Block Set boast ergonomically-designed, sleek-looking handles with forged bolster for added balance and control, and they come with a lifetime warranty that covers manufacturer defects.
What we like about it
Not only does the Belden knife block set from Chicago Cutlery look good, but it also feels good. The handles are well-made in a way that provides a perfect balance to the knives, and the forged blades are made of high carbon stainless steel, which adds to the balance and provides impressive durability. The knives are sharp enough to cut through virtually anything, and they can hold their edge nicely. All of that comes with a nice-looking block that would look great on any kitchen counter, making this set a real deal for people on a budget.
#5 – Chicago Cutlery 15pc Metropolitan High-Carbon Blade Block Knife Set
The Chicago Cutlery 15pc Metropolitan Block Knife Set is the cheapest out of the reviewed batch, with a price tag that would make anyone think “How could anything this low-priced be worthwhile.” Well, if you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you certainly shouldn’t judge a knife set by its price, as the Metropolitan High-Carbon Blade Block Knife Set isn’t any less capable than any other collection on our list.
Chicago Cutlery’s entry-level set comes with all the essentials for a home cutlery collection, including a Santoku, two paring knives, Partoku, utility knife, scalloped knife, and six steak knives, along with a sharpening steel, shears, and a hardwood block that’s decent enough for the price.
All the knives in the set are made of high carbon stainless steel, which resists rust, stains, and pitting, and the blades boast Chicago Cutlery’s exclusive 25-degree Taper Grind edge for extra precision and sharpness. They’re also fully tanged, which provides balance, control, and durability when you’re chopping, slicing, or dicing.
Despite its low price tag, Chicago Cutlery’s Metropolitan 15-Piece Block Knife Set comes with a lifetime warranty, which means that the manufacturer does trust in this product.
What we like about it
The Chicago Cutlery 15pc Metropolitan Block Knife Set is a no-brainer for the price you’re paying. Not only is it on a par with other Chicago Cutlery knives when it comes to build quality, material, and design, but it also covers all the items that you may ever need in your home kitchen. The knives are easy to sharpen, can hold an edge, and cut very well, and the blades are comfortable and balanced enough for home use. What else could you ask for? If you’re on a really tight budget, you shouldn’t think twice before getting this set.
How We Chose the Top Chicago Cutlery Knives in Our List
Affordable doesn’t always mean low quality, and Chicago knives are the best example for that. Not all knives are created equal though, and although every piece in Chicago Cutlery’s catalog has its own perks and traits, we chose to include the above products in our Chicago cutlery review based on specific features that they share, including:
Weight and Balance
The Chicago knives mentioned above feature forged blades, which means that they are heavy enough to not feel cheap, but light enough for you to use them comfortably around the kitchen. Add that to the hollow handles, and you’ve got yourself well-balanced knives that’ll make cutting tasks a breeze.
Since they are forged, the above knives boast thick, hard blades that are made of high carbon stainless steel, a material that’s known for durability and reliability, which means that they can hold their edge for long with just minimal maintenance efforts from your end.
All of the recommended knives come razor-sharp out of the box, giving you enough precision to perform the finest of dices with ease. Remember to hone your knives properly using sharpening steel or Sharpening Stone every now and then or let someone else do it if you’re not diligent.
Another feature that we looked for when searching for the best Chicago Cutlery knife sets is the ease of maintenance. Requiring only a couple of honing sessions in their lifetime, these knives are simplicity itself to maintain, and certainly all the reviews can attest to the nice and easy maintenance aspect to the Chicago Cutlery knife sets.
Different Types of Chicago Cutlery Knives
There are 4 main types of Chicago Cutlery knives:
Forged Vs. Stamped
Forged knives are made using a single piece of steel that gets heated and hammered into its shape. Stamped knives, on the other hand, are manufactured by cutting a large sheet of steel then tempering, hardening, and finishing the pieces.
When it comes to characteristics and features, forged knives are usually thicker, with a full-tang design that runs all the way through the handle and a bolster in the middle, both of which contribute to the weight and balance of the knife. Stamped knives are more lightweight and flexible thanks to their thinness, making them more affordable than their forged counterpart.
Chef’s Knife Vs. Santoku
Both Chef’s knives and Santoku knives are general purpose all-around blades used for an array of cutting tasks around the kitchen, such as chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing, making them one of the most commonly used knives in both home and professional kitchens, and great alternatives to any Apple Peeler, Apple Slicer, Avocado Slicer, or Onion Chopper.
Chef’s knives originate in Germany and France, and they feature a broad blade that curves upwards forming a tip, with a thick spine to add weight, making them heavier to hold. They come in different sizes ranging from 6 to 12 inches, with the 8-inch variant being the most commonly used. The thickness and weight of Chef’s knives make them suitable for heavy-duty usage.
Santoku knives, on the other hands, were created in Japan, and they boast a thinner, sheepsfoot blade without a tip, as the dull back spine curves down to meet the front blade in these knives. The thinness of the blade allows for more refined cuts, which makes Santoku knives more suitable for delicate tasks.
Why You Need the Best Chicago Cutlery Knives in Your Kitchen
Chicago Cutlery Knife Sets are an excellent option for people trying to build their cutlery arsenal in a fast manner. Despite being fully forged and using high carbon stainless steel as the base material, these blades are quite affordable, which means that you can get a full knife set for the price of a single Chef’s knife coming from another brand.
If you’re moving out into a new house or just starting out in the culinary world, Chicago Cutlery offers a great array of options that won’t cost an arm nor a leg, thus giving you the opportunity to kickstart your journey in an affordable manner. Furthermore, even if you’ve been chopping veggies and boning chicken for years, adding one if Chicago knives to your Steak Knife Sets or an entire set of them on your kitchen counter is totally worth it, as they are quite durable, practical, and easy to clean and maintain.
Although Chicago knives come razor sharp right out of the box, it’s essential to learn some honing techniques if you want to keep your blades to keep their edge for ages. If that’s not your thing, do not hesitate to take your blades to a local shop to be honed every so often. That way, you’ll be able to keep them in excellent conditions for years on end.
While you’re here, check out some of our other kitchen accessories and knives! As always, we recommend you keep your knives sharp with an electric knife sharpener, as well as safely kept in either a knife block or on a magnetic knife strip held safely in your kitchen pantry or kitchen island.