For most people, there is very little thought that goes into purchasing new kitchen knives—usually it is an impulse buy when they are browsing the kitchen section of the local department store, or they finally get tired of their dull knives and decide to grab a new one the next time they visit Wal-Mart or Target. Retailers of quality knives are frustrated in knowing that there is a large group out there that is missing out on the experience of using quality cutlery. Purchasing kitchen knives without any thought and research is just one mistake made when stocking the kitchen with one of the most important tools in food preparation.
Top mistakes made when purchasing kitchen knives include:
- Not doing any research into what kind of knives you need for your kitchen and how you cook. Purchasing a block full of knives may not be best for you if you are only going to use three out of the set. For the price of a block of lower quality knives you can purchase 3 or so good knives. Also, a more economical stamped blade knife may work well for the amount of food preparation that is performed, without making a larger investment in forged knives. If you aren't willing to put proper care into the knife, then a more economical knife may be best.
- Not researching the various brands of knives available by using online reviews and cooking forums. You can usually count on getting quality knives, backed by really good warranties if you purchase knives made from actual knife manufacturing companies—instead of purchasing a retail brand name knife that is probably made at various factories in China.
- Believing that quality, commercial grade knives are too expensive—you can get a quality 8” high-carbon stainless steel chef knife starting at $14.00, if you don’t need it forged. Most commercial kitchens aren't full of high end, expensive knives, but rather the more economical stamped blade knives. These commercial kitchens will probably produce more food in a day than you will in three months, but they manage to slice and dice in a fast pace environment--all the while keeping their knives sharp.
- Basing your knife purchasing decision off of a few reviews from discount stores’ websites. Base your decision on what knives are best for you off of reviews from retailers that sell to actual cooks, restaurants, and butcher shops, or read reviews on forums for cooks, restaurants, etc. Getting reviews from people that use knives on a regular basis is a great way to gain knowledge about quality knives. Discount store site reviews are full of reviews by others that never had used a good knife to compare to the quality of the one they reviewed. Also, look for independent tests performed by chefs—some can be found online or in publications. Be careful with some magazine and online reviews, because some are basically paid advertisements for a certain product. After reading enough reviews, you will quickly realize which knives would work best for you.
- Thinking there isn’t much difference between a cheap chef knife and a lower priced commercial grade chef knife. This thought process can be easily changed by purchasing just one commercial quality chef knife from an online knife retailer, or your local restaurant supply store. Compare it to the $5 chef knife you picked up at your local grocery store. It will become obvious from the start that for slightly more money, you gain much more in strength, durability, sharpness, and feel.