Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17 Piece Review
Compare to Similar Products
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17 Piece
$128.99 at Amazon
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|Pros||Great price, plenty of steak knives, sharp, durable||Good variety of knives, nice curves on handles, convenient storage block||Terrific precision, great balance||Decent construction, nice curve on handles, modern aesthetics||Affordable, sleek design|
|Cons||Knives may be too heavy for some, not ideal for compact kitchens||Grip could be more comfortable, no stainless steel bolster||Bulky storage block, no steak knives||Steak knives may be too light for some, low quality kitchen shears||May not last, manufacturer flaws on some steak knives|
|Bottom Line||A terrific buy for families who need a multitude of pieces at an attractive price||A top-performing set with an attractive price to match||A great entry-level set of Japanese-style knives||A moderately priced lightweight stainless steel set for the whole family||A basic set for the occasional cook|
|Rating Categories||Chicago Cutlery Fus...||J.A. Henckels Inter...||Ginsu Gourmet 8 Piece||Cuisinart 15 Piece...||Marco Almond KYA32...|
|Sharpness and Precision (35%)|
|Quality and Durability (25%)|
|Handle Ergonomics (15%)|
|Specs||Chicago Cutlery Fus...||J.A. Henckels Inter...||Ginsu Gourmet 8 Piece||Cuisinart 15 Piece...||Marco Almond KYA32...|
|Construction||Full tang, forged||Full tang, stamped||Full tang, forged||Full tang, stamped||Full tang, stamped|
|Blade Material||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
|Handle Material||Polymer||ABS||Resin||Stainless steel||Plastic|
|No. of Pieces||17||12||8||15||14|
|Storage Block Included||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
What sets the Chicago apart is its reasonable price. That and the super comfy knife handles. While most sets offer a decent number of pieces, Chicago offers them at a steal of a price. The rubber grip on the handles enhances the ergonomics, leaving you with more energy and less strain. They also offer a solid grip to prevent slippage. This is an attribute we found most useful when cutting hard foods that tend to cause more resistance. Although weighty, the hefty knives are built to last.
Sharpness and Precision
A sharp blade is vital to the overall performance of a kitchen knife. With that in mind, we're glad to report each knife in the Chicago set is plenty sharp.
Perhaps what shocked us the most were the steak knives. The unassuming blades sliced right through red meat with little resistance. The same can be said for the other knives in the set. Whether cutting through butternut squash or potatoes, wielding the Chicago knives was an overall pleasant experience. The minor shortcoming is the blade width. These blades are by no means thin or dainty, which makes precision a bit more challenging. That said, we found the precision to be slightly above average.
Quality and Durability
There is no question about it, Chicago is a quality set that factors in durability. Upon unboxing, the full tang, forged blades didn't show any sign of weakness or flaws for that matter.
Weighty and robust, the larger build is more than likely to withstand the abuse of day-in and day-out use. The only potential weakness we can fathom is the rubber handles. Although we didn't experience this in our testing, there is a possibility that they get a nick in them over time. However, this is far less likely to happen if you use and store them with care. Considering the price, you are getting more than a bargain when it comes to quality and durability.
During use, we found the balance of the Chicago is better than average. However, the knives are handle-heavy.
What tipped us off right away was the balance point. Grip the chef's knife where the blade meets the handle and you will find it tilts toward the handle. Upon use, this appeared to be less of an issue. We didn't notice any wobble while slicing cleanly through produce. In fact, the heavy handle gave us more control when making precise cuts with the tip of the blade. Depending upon your preference, you may find this to be an asset rather than a hindrance. Especially if you tend to hold your kitchen knives by the handle rather than at the bolster.
How a knife feels in the palm of your hand will be different for everyone. However, our testers all agreed the cushy rubber handles were a nice touch.
When chopping up squash, the chef's knife handle didn't fail. It provided a solid grip that was firm yet comfortable. The same thing goes for tackling smaller foods with the paring knife. Even cutting into a steak felt incredibly satisfying. Despite the lack of curves, the handles felt good in the palm of our hands. So good that we successfully prepared a whole meal without thinking twice about our comfort level.
Although we didn't need it, we should mention this set does include a rubber knife assist. Place it on the blade's spine and rest your other hand on top. With one hand on top of the blade and one on the handle, you'll have more control with less strain when cutting through laborious ingredients that cause a lot of resistance.
Cramming 17 knives into a storage block is no easy task. And yet, Chicago manages to fit them all in.
The drawback with so many pieces is a bulkier storage bulk. It's also very heavy. Considering you get more pieces than most, it's not much of a surprise. As long as you have the space to park it, the size and weight of the storage block won't be an issue. You may even find that the angle provides a quick grab to select a knife and get choppin'. As for aesthetics, everyone will have their own opinion. Our testers think the wood grain isn't too flashy or outdated. So it works for a range of kitchens.
Should You Buy the Chicago Cutlery 17 Piece?
When it comes to durability and affordability, the Chicago is a leading competitor. The weighty knives are built to withstand daily use, even when that means slicing up butternut squash for soup. For those who want a comfortable grip, these are hard to pass up. If you've got the kitchen counter space, we do not doubt that your family will enjoy what Chicago has to offer.
What Other Kitchen Knife Sets Should You Consider?
If you don't have the space, but still want a reasonably priced knife set, J.A. Henckels International Statement 12 Piece may be a better choice. The storage block is more compact and gives you plenty of options within the same price range. The ZWILLING Twin Signature 3-pc Starter is another fantastic pick for smaller kitchens. Although it's pricey, you'll enjoy a razor-sharp set that's built to last and you won't have to worry about making room on the counter. And if you want to keep them razor-sharp in the long run, consider pairing these blades with a top-ranked knife sharpener.
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