52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Okay, so they are made in Spain rather than Germany...so what? These knives are a great starter set for anyone looking to "upgrade" from the dull knives they got as a hand-me-down or when they went off to college.
Chefs say that a safe knife is a sharp knife, and you just can't get that with inferior knives. This line by Henckels probably gets overlooked because you don't find it on the shelves of Williams-Sonoma, but they are just as good. Cutting is also faster with a well-balanced knife with some weight behind it, which this set has as well. I've added kitchen shears since I bought mine, and I'll probably add the utility knife, carving set and cleaver before I'm done. The knives you start with though are all you need. I find myself using just about all of them (except the boning knife) almost every day.
Two caveats though...don't put them in the dishwasher and don't forget to use the steel either before or after you use your knives. My sister put her knives (not Henckels, but of similiar quality) in the dishwasher on a consistant basis and the edges got nicked from all the banging around that goes on. Also, using the steel will keep you from having to have the knives professionally sharpened.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2006
Looks like there are three kinds of Henckels knives on the market: the ultra expensive kind (which don't have the word "International" tacked onto the end), the expensive kind (which do have the word "International" tacked onto the end and which are made in Spain), and the less expensive kind (which also say "International," made in China or elsewhere). I have the Spanish set and a couple of the Chinese knives, and I just don't think the Chinese ones are worth the price. The Spanish knives, on the other hand, are so amazing that I assume the only reason anybody might want the ultra high-end ones probably has something to do with snobbery. My spouse and I comment almost every time we use the Spanish Henckels knives, "Wow! Why didn't we buy these years ago? Who knew what we were missing?" These knives are absolutely superb and ultra sharp. And speaking of sharp, I've never had to sharpen the Spanish Henckels knives, even a year later, but I did make the mistake of buying a Henckels sharpener, the kind with ceramic disks inside that you're supposed to draw the blade through several times, and tested it out on another stainless knife I've had for years. It took off way too much metal. The sword-like sharpener that comes with this Henckels set is far more effective and gentle, if you ever need it.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2007
I have owned an overgrown set of these knives for about 4 (UPDATE: NOW 7 YEARS AND STILL LOVE THESE BLADES) years now and waited until I had significant use and comparison to write this review. I also own similar knives in Wusthof Classic and will compare directly. This review has been copied from other Henckels International Classic Reviews I wrote and has been modified slightly for the particular item being reviewed although I left comments about the other knives in.
Disclaimer: I enjoy sharpening knives so edge retention is rarely an issue for me as I probably sharpen even my best knives too much. Besides stone sharpening every 6 months or so, I also steel my knives just about every time I use them.
The bottome line: I really love this set of knives (although I got one dud in the bunch; the only reason I am not giving this line a 5 rating). The edges are almost if not just as good as the more expensive knives but the finish is lacking (although only somewhat). Relatively great value. I did not feel like these knives were very sharp out of the box but they take a scary edge quite easily and keep it for a long time (many, many months with regular steeling and home use).
8 Inch Chef: This is a very nice knife if you can get over the fact that the finish is not as nice as the higher end stuff. By this I mean that the edges on the handle and bolster are sharper than they are on my Wusthof Classic. It takes and holds an edge well. I also own a Wusthof 8 inch chefs knife and feel like this one takes just as sharp of an edge. I have yet to determine a difference in edge retention between the two lines, so that means they are at least comparible. As much as I thought I would be enamored with the wusthof, I really don't believe that the additional cost is worth the small amount of performance gain you might get by buying the Wusthof. In truth, I still enjoy using the Henckels International Chef's knife just as much as the Wusthof. The heft is wonderful and the curvature of the blade is ideal for chopping. I really like how the point is taperd to a very thin blade. Finish aside, this is right up there with the best of them and allows the user to slice with the point quite effectively.
6 Inch Chef: My wife swears by this knife and it is consistantly one of the sharpest we own. For some reason (perhaps the thinner blade), it holds its edge like the sharp little devil it is. This knife is a true pleasure to own and use. It is very effective and feels wonderful in my hand. I may be becoming a knife snob, but I see no reason to buy any other 6 inch chef's knife, as all you would be getting is a fancier name and smoother edges along the handle and bolster. We reach for this one multiple times each day and it retains its edge far better than expected for the price.
4 inch parer: I don't like this one as much as my Wusthof parers but my wife likes it much better. It is always the one she reaches for (many times per day). I personaly prefer the thinness and flexibility of the wusthof parer blades. This one is quite rigid and although it is very sharp, it does not seem to be as sharp as the thinner wusthof parers, nor does it hold its edge as long. On the other hand, its size is perfect for a parer, coming in at the sweet spot between the 3.5 inch wusthof and 4.5 inch wusthof parers I compare it to. I would love to own a 4 inch wusthof parer. Aditionally, the diminished depth of the blade is probably preferable to the deeper wusthof parer blades for tasks such as peeling toward you. I bought one of these for my mother and it is a good test for edge retention as she rarely sharpens and never steels. [...].
6 inch utility: I do not use this knife much. It seems to be quite redundant with my 4.5 inch Wusthof parer (which also does not see much use) or my favorite boning knife (a beat up and resurected chicago cutlery 5 inch utility that is scary sharp and a joy to use). In truth, almost every task in my kitchen is done quite well with either a parer or a chef's knife. I really don't see much use for a 6 inch utility. That said, this knife is sharp and pleasureable to use. Still, on this one, I would prefer a thinner and perhaps more flexible blade. It is quite rigid and that makes me not want to use it as much. For sandwiches, cheese, tomatoes, etc. it is quite appropriate, but I would still probably prefer my 6 inch or even 8 inch chefs knives for such tasks as they are thinner at the edge and therefore seem much sharper.
Bread knife: Aside from the fact that this would benefit from a longer blade, this is as effective as any other we have tried. You don't have to have a bread knife this nice, but this one certainly does the job well.
Boning knife: I have honestly never used this knife on more than a trial basis. It just does not stack up to my older chicago cutlery boning/utility knife. You can't really compare the two, however, since one is very flexible and thin(CC) and the other is very rigid and thick(HIC). I strongly prefer a thin, flexible boning knife. The finish on this knife was horrible in my particular set. It was rounded (not supposed to be) on the end and the blade had not been sharpened at the point, leaving a rounded and blunt tip (exactly the opposite of what you want in a good boning knife). I have never been able to get the point to where I want it. I am certain that I just have a lemon and will try to return it if possible.
So overall, I love these knives. Between myself and my wife, they get just as much use as my Wusthof Classics. Unless finish is critical to you or you like to have other people know that you spent a lot of money, do your pocketbook a favor. I think these knives are just as good for much less money.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2004
I bought this block set to replace my Chicago Cutlery chef's knife and paring knife, which I've owned for years. The Henckels are excellently balanced and construction is solid. Out of the box, they are not the sharpest knives ever. However, they're likely to be sharper than the knives they're replacing, and if you get them sharpened, they'll hold an edge with good maintenance. I've used every blade in the set and have been satisfied with them all. I have some slight discoloration of the blades, but nothing too terrible. I've been hand-washing them religiously, but a friend has the same set and tosses them in the dishwasher, and his knives have held up better than mine.
1. Not the sharpest knives ever.
2. Require significant maintenance.
3. Shears should be included in this set.
1. Excellent balance, highly functional.
2. All the basic blades are included.
3. They hold an edge well.
4. Block is utterly functional.
5. You will never be able to buy cheap knives again.
Overall, this block set was a fantastic investment. I'd recommend it to anyone getting into cooking. If you're a professional, you'll probably want something better (there are better Henckels, and Wustof too). If you don't cook much at all, this set is probably overkill.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2003
Thses knives stack up quite well when compared to Henckel's made in Germany forged knives. The feel and balance are excellent, they are razor sharp (though you will need to hone them regularly to keep them that way) and the quality is apparent when you hold them in your hand. I would also reccomend getting the 5 inch serrated utility knife for slicing ripe tomatoes and smaller pieces of bread. Women with small hands may also like to get the 6 inch chef's knife if they find the large version included to be too cumbersome and tiring to use.
Overall an excellent set, so far I am completely satisfied with them.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2003
These are great knives, especially for the price. They are just like the Pro-S line from Henckels only are not hardened the same way. They are sharp. The chefs knife sliced a very ripe tomato straight out of the box. They have excellent weight and balance and the handles are comfortable. All in all, a great buy! I can't believe I used dull knives for some many years when these wonderful and affordable knives were so accessible. Definitely worth their weight in gold.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2005
Okay, so I'm not a chef, but more of a Seinfeld fan. I am an amatuer who wanted to have a decent set of knives and I picked these out after quite a bit of searching.
A real chef will tell you to get the knife that "feels right" to you. Alton Brown recommends that you handle the knives before you buy, since you won't use an uncomfortable unergonomic one even if it looked awesome before you bought.
These have a very solid handle riveted to a full tang of high quality steel. The top of the blades are all thicker than many of the other brands (and even other models from the Henckels brand). They felt good to me, they are perfectly balanced and heavy in the hand. They feel substantial when you pick them up.
They didn't seem to be as sharp as I expected from such a set of knives, but regular use of the included sharpening steel improved on my impression of this. One detractor is that most burgeoning young chefs have never used a steel or hone and they don't include instructions in the set for this. BAD IDEA! I have since found instructions on the web, from Henckels themselves, even. When I do it properly and take my time, they are simply amazing. Leaving out instructions was bad form. Maybe mine was missing?
Dishwashers are not recommended as bouncing around can nick the blade. I have a plastic basket and I keep planning on putting them in there to see how fare. But I can't bring myself to do it. Handwashing is a pain, but I know they will last that way.
I'm going to chalk up the sharpness to my own unskilled hands (and I'm pretty sure that goes for many others). Even the German made ones would get dull without proper steel use. They are absolutely top notch quality at an amazing price. They hold their edge very well when you use the steel. Avoid bone and glass-surface cutting boards. The only thing I wish is that I could toss them in the dishwasher. But like quality stainless pans, you don't want to subject them to the heat, caustic detergent and banging.
Don't hesitate to buy these knives. Maybe you could use them to whip up some "Clams Casino"! Hmmm... tastes funky.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2003
These knives were really nice looking and felt good in the hand...much like the Henckels Pro S line, but they were not very sharp. This could have just been a bad set, but that may be due to lower standards at the manufacturing facility in Spain. I recommend spending the extra few bucks and getting the Henckels Four Star knives made at the original facility in Germany. When I got the Four Star set they were razor sharp, felt great and worked beautifully. There is a reason the International line is so much cheaper...
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2002
I love these knives. They are heavier than the Wusthof Grand Prix line that I looked at, and for not being made in Germany, they are remarkably well-made.
They are fully forged and razor sharp.
I compared these side by side to several sets of Henckels and Wusthof knives, particularily the Henckels Pro S made in Solingen, and I could not tell a major difference.
They might not be top notch, but they are certainly nice enough for anything I'll ever need them for.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2002
I just received my knives and they are even better than I had imagined. I purchased the set plus the 8 inch utility knife, 6 inch cleaver, and scissors. The knives were razor sharp right out of the box. Their weight and balance in my hand felt great. I can't imagine what I would gain by buying a more expensive set of knives.