How do you determine the quality of a knife set? Is it by price, quality of the build, or longevity? All of these factors are present in a Cutco knife set. Using high-grade American steel and made in America, these knives are famous for lasting an entire lifetime. Not the knife’s lifetime, but the owner's. However, a Cutco knife set is also one of the most expensive on the market.
Then there’s Cutco’s strange business model. Instead of distributors and retailers and web advertising, Cutco’s success comes entirely from direct marketing. Vector Marketing is Cutco’s sales brand. They send sales reps into homes across America and Canada to demonstrate the power of Cutco knives. People are often impressed enough to place an order. Word of mouth does the rest of the marketing.
So, should you consider buying a Cutco knife set?
All About Cutco Knives
A Cutco knife set can be a great addition to your kitchen, but it can set you back quite a bit financially. These are not cheap knives. One reason for their high price is because they are 100-percent made in America. Founded in 1949, Cutco is still in Orleans, New York, where they first opened for business. They still operate in the same original factory and warehouse.
What sets a Cutco knife set apart is their build. To start, they are grade 44A stainless steel, which is high-quality steel and requires an extreme heating process to mold. The result is a finish that rarely goes dull. Cutco knife edges are famous for never losing their sharpness, and these things are incredibly sharp. Also, all Cutco knives have a full tang which extends along the length of the handle to the butt. The blade can never snap off. The handles have an ergonomic design for comfort and grip. These are heavy knives that feel good to hold.
Another thing that sets Cutco knives apart is their unique sales funnel. You can’t buy a Cutco knife set at Walmart. Instead, you need to visit the Cutco website or meet with a Vector Marketing sales representative. You can also find a Cutco knife set on Amazon.
Vector Marketing is a Cutco owned company whose sole job is to sell Cutco knives. How it works is they hire sales reps, mostly college students, retirees, and homemakers, who spend an hour in your home. Chances are that you will know the rep or know someone who does. They demonstrate a variety of knives and let you hold some and play with them. They’ll even impress you with a penny-cutting demonstration of Cutco’s ultra-sharp scissors! Whether you place an order or not, the sales rep will ask for the names and numbers of ten of your friends and family, who will then receive a call from the rep asking to put on a demo.
Even if you don’t buy a Cutco knife set from the sales representative, they’ll receive payment for putting on the demonstration. This shows how successful word of mouth advertising is to the Cutco sales model. These knives sell themselves, and the chances are that you will be impressed with them enough to talk about your fun demo the next day at the office.
How We Created Our Review
To make this review of Cutco knife sets, we researched as much as we could about the company. Also, as a reviewer, I have personal experience both using and selling Cutco knives when I was a college student many years ago. They really do live up to the hype even if I couldn't afford a set of my own.
Next, we stopped by two review sites to see what the professionals had to say about Cutco knives. We checked out the reviews at Delishably and On The Gas. Then we read through Amazon customer reviews from people who had bought a Cutco knife set. This gave us a good idea of people’s real-world experience with these knives.
Finally, we compared the Cutco knife set to the competition to see how they stack up.
Cutco Knife Set Specifications and Features
Because Cutco knives have 44A stainless steel, have an unbreakable full tang, and include ergonomically heavy-weight handles, they feel premium. That being said, these knives are not for everyone. You may find you don’t like the weight or the look for the handles. Also, the price can scare away a lot of people. A Cutco knife set is an investment. However, you will never need to repurchase another knife set for the rest of your life.
Types of knives
A Cutco knife set comes with a variety of different knives. Cutco has a blade for every use, and all of them have the same high-grade stainless steel, full tang, and ergonomic handle. Also, Cutco has kitchen knives, steak knives, and outdoor knives.
Cutco’s serrated edges are interesting. Every edge on each of the teeth is a blade, so every groove has three blades slicing in three directions as you cut. These blades are the same quality and sharpness as other Cutco blades.
Here are the kitchen knives commonly found in a Cutco knife set:
Also, many Cutco knife sets come with a set of steak knives. These steak knives are serrated. They slice through the thickest meats without issue.
Cutco knife sets
With so many different knives to choose from, each Cutco knife set has its arrangement depending on what you need. For instance, you can get a full Homemaker set and enjoy almost every Cutco knife available. Of course, this will cost quite a bit. Or, you can buy a set of four essential kitchen knives. While still expensive, it won’t cost you your entire savings account.
Also, many of these knife sets come with blocks for safe storage, although the Galley set, and Kitchenette set, come with trays, while the three-piece knife set only has sheaths for the knives.
Prices for a Cutco knife set are quite high but there are reasons for these high prices. First, as mentioned earlier, these knives are made in America. Second, again, these knives are premium, high-quality materials which aren’t cheap. And then there’s the unbeatable warranty.
The lifetime guarantee
Because every Cutco knife comes with a lifetime warranty, you never have to replace them. Usually a “lifetime warranty” is a set amount of time over the life cycle of the product. Not so with Cutco. Their Lifetime Guarantee means that your knives will stay sharp and never break for your entire life. You don’t need a receipt or to fill out any forms. Merely owning a Cutco knife is proof enough. They’ll even sharpen your knives for you, free of charge. If ever they get dull, that is. This is highly unlikely.
So, you can see that when you buy a Cutco knife set, you are investing in something you will never have to replace. It's kind of like Men in Black; this is the last knife set you'll ever buy. This is what drives the high prices.
What Others Said
Together with researching Cutco knife sets, we checked out the reviews at Delishably and On The Gas. A reviewer at Delishably has owned her Cutco knife set for 18 years, and they have never blemished, dulled, or cracked. She loved Cutco and offered nothing but praise. Meanwhile, over at On The Gas, the reviewers were impressed overall with the knives but didn’t believe the high prices were justified or would suit everyone. They urged caution before spending this much money on a Cutco knife set.
Finally, we checked out lots of customer reviews on Amazon. With an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars, people were pretty happy with their purchase. Cutco’s steak knives were among the most popular, but the white Homemaker set was also a fan favorite, receiving 5 out of 5 stars from every customer. One reviewer even said it was the best set of knives they had ever used.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Before you decide about whether or not to spend serious money on a serious knife set, you should know that Cutco knives aren’t perfect. They have their flaws, just like everything else under the sun.
How They Stack Up
A Cutco knife set could be the last set of knives you ever need to buy. That's why it’s worth checking out the competition before committing. After all, when you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a product that you will never shop for again, you want to make sure you’ve done your research.
To see how Cutco knives stack up to the competition, we compared them to knife sets from three brands. These are Henkel’s, Dalstrong, and Cangshan knives.
Henckels knife sets
First up in our comparison is Cutco’s biggest competitor, and one of the world’s largest brands of kitchen knives. Zwilling J.A. Henckels is the official name of this German manufacturer, which has been giving the world quality knives since 1731. For nearly 300 years, Henkels has kept the same logo and operated in the same town.
Like Cutco knives, Henkels’ knives have a full tang. They use a lower-grade steel alloy to make their knives, but it’s not a poor-grade. The steel in these knives is decent and won’t rust. Unfortunately, the edge will dull after use, and you’ll need to resharpen it yourself at least once a year. You can buy a Henkels knife set for between $100 and $900. Also, unlike Cutco, Henkel’s knives come with a limited lifetime warranty which protects the blade only, not the handle, and doesn’t cover normal wear and tear.
Customers on Amazon rated the Henkel’s knife set we looked at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most people said the knives were well-balanced and looked good. They also started off surgically-sharp but required sharpening to keep them like that. Another complaint people had was that the steel began to rust after a year of dishwashing.
Dalstrong knife sets
Next up in our comparison is a knife set from Dalstrong. David Dallaire owns Dalstrong. But the knives themselves come from a specialized high-tech factory in Yangjiang, China. This city is the knife-making center of China, famous for blades across Asia.
Dalstrong knives are indeed strong. They use imported high-quality Japanese steel, and it shows in how beautiful these knives look when on display. Another aspect of Dalstrong knives is that these are professional-grade knives. Chefs buy these, so they would definitely be a conversation piece in your kitchen. You can buy a Dalstrong knife set for between $275 and $800. Also, they back every Dalstrong knife with a “rock-solid” lifetime warranty.
Customers on Amazon rated the Dalstrong knives 4.6 out of 5 stars. Almost everyone loved these knives. One lady wrote, “Believe the hype, folks!” The weight is perfectly balanced. Also, they don’t blemish or rust after use. However, people complained about the wood block splitting apart.
Cangshan knife sets
Finally, we have a Cangshan knife set. Like Dalstrong and Henkels, Cangshan is for professionals. These knives are stylish and extremely good-looking. Also, like Dalstrong, Cangshan knives come from Yangjiang, China, where blades are a lifestyle. Unlike Henkels and Dalstrong, and certainly Cutco, Cangshan knives are more affordable.
These knives use forged steel and sport a full tang which merges gracefully with the handle, so you don’t even know it’s there. To protect the edge and to give the knife some extra sparkle, the steel has a fine-diamond coating. Every blade goes through six heat treatments of varying intensities, so you end up with a beautiful and robust knife. You can buy a set of Cangshan knives for between $129 and $500. Also, they come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects, but that doesn’t include normal wear and tear.
People on Amazon gave the Cangshan knife set 4.5 out of 5 stars. Almost everyone praised the stunning beauty of these knives. They really do turn heads. Also, people loved how sharp, well-balanced, and premium the knives feel. If there was one complaint people had, it was that the blades lose their edge quickly.
Should You Buy?
The decision to invest so much money in a Cutco knife set is subjective. We haven’t found any other knives that can match up to the lifetime promise of Cutco. Also, we know from personal experience that these knives do last a lifetime. You won’t ever have to buy another set of knives again.
That being said, if you do have enough money to spend on knives, but you’re not sure about the style that Cutco knives offer, go with Cangshan. We are in love with Cangshan knives. There is nothing as good-looking as these, and if you can get over the fact that you’ll need to sharpen them from time to time, they are perfect. They’re also a lot cheaper than Cutco. You can save literally thousands.
However, if you want a set of knives built with exceptional quality and price is not an obstacle, then we recommend that you buy a Cutco knife set. It's a major investment for a set of knives, but you'll know where your money went the second you start cutting with them.