Ahh, Chicago. “City of the Big Shoulders... Hog Butcher for the World.” After more than a century is Carl Sandburg’s assessment of the city still accurate? Quite frankly, we don’t know, but you would have to figure there are at least some great knives sets in town.
Sandburg would have been 52 when Chicago Cutlery was established in 1935, though he would have been long passed when the company claimed to have “the world’s most responsive cutlery,” which doesn’t have the same ring to it that “hog butcher [knife] of the world” does.
Nevertheless, the company does offer some pretty sweet-looking black-oxide and stainless steel knife sets as a part of their new Responsive Touch Technology series, a line of knives that forms to the user's grip and comes with a Lifetime Guarantee.
Game. Set. Match: Chicago Cutlery Reviews Knife Set
Chicago Cutlery’s bread and butter as a knife company has always been in there knife sets, of which there are many. But how does one go about whittling down the lists to what is good and what is not so good? The answer is easy. Just follow us as we rate knife sets for families, expert chefs, novice chefs, knife newbies, budget sets, first home buyers, and everything in between.
We will run through as many knife sets as we can here, but, that will, in all probability, only represent the tip of the iceberg. Not to worry, tough, as we promise to provide interesting, useful, and entertaining information along the way. So let’s get started with our Chicago Cutlery reviews of best knife sets.
Insignia Block Set
To begin the list of knife sets, we select the Chicago Cutlery 18-piece Insignia Block Set, which has a 5.5 rating (out of six) by 96 reviewers and is marketed as a family knife set. It features an in-block sharpener and a bamboo cutting board as a bonus. Plus, at around $111, you get high-carbon forged stainless steel and with full-tang with a forged protective bolster. Further, Chicago cutlery’s the Tapered Edge Technology makes for a razor-sharp blade and easy sharpening. The knife set includes:
- 3" peeler
- 3-1/4" parer
- 6" boning knife
- 5" utility knife
- 8" serrated bread knife
- 7" Santoku
An 8" slicer, 8" Che’fs knife, kitchen shears and eight 4-1/2" steak knives round out the usual knife set suspects, and the included sharpener works well. The blades stay sharp and make short work of kitchen duties, light and heavy.
Fusion-Forged Block Set
Another 18-piece knife set that we liked a lot in the Chicago Cutlery Fusion-Forged Block Set, which has a rating of 5.5 by 1,572 reviewers. The knives are made out of durable high-carbon stainless steel and are forged for incredible sharpness. The addition of the shears and a bamboo cutting board make this a complete knife set, indeed, a great-looking set in anyone’s home.
The Fusion Forged knife set is both affordable and comprehensive. Its great looks with its stained pine block and stainless steel knives are not only attractive but useful, and a sharpening tool is included to help keep your blades at their best. This set is perfect for the novice chef, and the following knives with a Taper Grind edge technology and are included in the set:
- 8” slicer
- 5” utility
- 2.5” paring
- 3” peeler
- 7.5” chef
- 7.5” bread
- 5” Partoku
- 7” Santoku
- 8 x 4.25” steak knives
This set even adds Chicago Cutlery’s own exciting new Partoku knife, which is a sort of cross between a Japanese Chef's knife and a paring knife. This unique little knife can do everything a parer can, but it can also stand in as a utility knife if need be.
Belmont Block Set
By far the most budget-friendly set that we are featuring on the blog is the Chicago Cutlery Belmont 16-Piece Block Knife Set. First home buyers, renters, and college kids will love this set, as it has all of the necessary knives one needs for a small starter kitchen, and it boasts blades made of forged stainless steel.
The knives come pre-sharpened and, by many accounts, they stay sharp for a long while. Plus, the full tang design and polymer no-slip handle do not skimp on quality like other sets. The following knives are included
- 7.5” chef’s
- 8” bread
- 5” utility
- 3” peeler
- 5” paring
- 8 x 4.25” steak
As an added value, other items include are kitchen shears, a sharpening tool, and the attractive knife block itself. While the knife handle is not supple and rubbery as to with Chicago Cutlery products it is still no-slip, and the Belmont set, all in all, is a great entry-level, everyday knife set that is worth than the money you will pay for it.
Design Pro Block Set
The Chicago Cutlery DesignPro 16-Piece Block Knife Set includes a wooden knife block and a sharpening tool, in addition to forged Japanese high carbon stainless steel blades that retain their sharpness over time. Also included are a unique bolster and an innovative no-slip grip for the ultimate control in cutting, chopping, and slicing. Each of the 13 knives below comes with a full Lifetime Warranty. For around $99.99 and a four-and-a-half stars rating for 51 reviews, you’ll get Japanese high-quality stainless steel and a whole lot more.
- 8" Chef
- 7" Santoku
- 8" Bread
- 5" Utility
- 3-1/2" Parer
- 2-3/4" Peeler
- Four 4-1/4" Steak Knives
Elston Block Set
The Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Block Set may be the best starter home knife set we have seen in a long time, and, at around $55, it also gets the Amazon’s Choice Award and our Chicago Cutlery reviews. This full-metal stainless steel high-carbon stainless design feature metal blades and handles, in a unibody design that is sleek, professional looking, and sanitary. Plus, the forged steel gives each knife a nice weight and balance, with full tang and Taper Grind edge Technology. The set includes the following blades backed by a lifetime warranty.
- one 8” chef
- 6-3/4” bread knife
- two each 4-3/4” utility knives
- 3-1/4” parers
- eight 4-1/2” steak knives
- sharpening steel
A Brief Review of Knife Steel
Now, before we continue with our list, let’s examine some essential element of steel and what high-quality steel actually means.
By now, you ought to have heard of Carbon (C), which, when added to iron, increases the hardness and edge retention of steel blades. But, another common element in knife-making is Chromium (Cr), which, when combining with Nickel (Ni) and adding steel in amounts of up to 13 percent, gets you a shiny, rust and stain resistant finish. Both Carbon and Chromium promote the formation of carbides. Carbides are extremely hard bits that form as metal is cooling and can be notoriously hard to sharpen.
Keeping in mind that traditionally steel is from either one or the other element - carbon or chromium - knife makers have now begun to combine them to create high carbon stainless steels.
Apart from increasing hardness and decreasing staining, Molybdenum (Mo) is a chemical element that promotes wear resistance in cutlery and helps to protect the blade against chips and dings or other damage because of sudden, hard impacts.
Cobalt (Co), on the other hand, is a rapid hardener which does not promote carbide formation but speeds up the metallurgy process to a point where it is difficult to control. And Tungsten (W) helps to improve tensile strength and wear resistance against pitting and tearing.
Other elements used less frequently in knife-making include Aluminium (Al), Boron (B), Lead (Pb), Copper (Cu) Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Manganese (Mn), Vanadium (V), and Silicon (Si). For a complete list of metal additives, please see this informative website.
A List Of Pros and Cons: Chicago Cutlery Knife Set
not recommended for small kitchens because knife set will occupy some space
not intended for large scale use
Knife Set Reviews: But wait, There’s More
So let’s continue with our review of Chicago Cutlery reviews of knife blocks and see if we can’t spot some more useful knife-making terms and information along the way.
Belden Block Knife Set
Chicago Cutlery Beldon 16pc Block Set offers blades are high carbon stainless steel and triple-riveted polymer handles. Plus, the knives come with a full lifetime warranty, full metal tang, and Taper Grind edge technology for optimum sharpness.
- one 8” chef
- 6-3/4” bread knives,
- two each 4-3/4” utility knives
- 3-1/4” parers, eight
- 4-1/2” steak knives, shears, sharpening steel, and a wood block
The cherry wood knife block, alone, is worth staring at, but the knives, too, are attractive stainless steel with black polymer handles. And, at just over $70, this is our favorite budget set.
Chicago Cutlery PRIME 7-Piece Block Set, Black Oxide
And, finally, what would a knife review be without some fine cuts? Well, the new Chicago Cutlery Prime line of knives might be taking a page out of Sandburg’s book after all, as it is after USDA’s premier grade for beef as an indication of its exceptional quality.
Engineered for excellent weight and balance these knives feature patent-pending ergonomic handles that respond to your grip and 5CR15Mov German stainless steel for extra hardness and a corrosion-resistant, easy-to-sharpen edge. Plus the black-oxide finishes not to chip and looks really cool.
Not available on Amazon, we found this Chicago Cutlery Prime 7-piece Block Set on William Sonoma for a cool $200, and we see it as being a great gift for the home cook who might be America’s Top Chef. The storage block features eight extra slots, two for large knives and six for steak knives, and the set comes with the following items:
- 4" paring knife
- 5" Partoku® knife
- 5" utility knife
- 8" chef's knife
- 8" bread knife
- Stainless-steel black oxide shears
- 14-slot storage block
- Please note: Storage block is as good as an individual piece.
Chicago Cutlery Reviews Wrap Up
What more can we say about a company that has run the gamut of kitchen knife sets? From sets for new home buyers and novice chefs to sets for families and professional cooks? It seems there is no a demographic out there that Chicago Cutlery does not market to. And, now, they have even entered the high-end game, too.
They may never achieve the reverence of a Wusthof Classic or a Kramer by Zwilling J.A. Henckels. It seems that they are certainly going to be making a game stab at it. Hey, if all else fails, at least they are dominating the knife set market, right
Knife Sets Are Attractive
And that is not a bad place to be, as, while you can easily purchase individual knives, buying a knife set can save you a ton of dough. Knife sets are attractive to people because of all of the perceived value in a knife set. And some of that value may even add up, as buying three quality knives, in some cases, costs more than buying a complete set of knives.
Also, you get a knife block out of the deal. And the deal gets even sweeter when the block comes with sharpeners. Many manufacturers of knife set are realizing what a strong draw a real wood knife block can have. Chicago Cutlery even offers a cherry block on one of their sets, as listed above
In our opinion, though, if you do opt for a knife set, try to weed out the set overwrought with meaningless pieces. A good quality chef’s knife, utility knife, paring knife, and a few steak knives are all that you need unless you have a large family with multiple chefs.
Small Knife Block Set Is Perfect
A small knife block set is perfect in most cases and we really like The Chicago Cutlery DesignPro 13-piece Block Set and the Belden for this reason. The knives are high-quality and your block doesn’t get the plug with unnecessary tools.
However, we also like the Prime 7-piece set for the same reason. While it may be pricey, it is chock full of extremely high-quality steel knives and, in our opinion, that might be worth every penny in the end. Plus, the black oxide finishes, if we haven't said it, is really cool. Would you expect anything less from the “hog butcher [knife ] for the world”?