Are you shopping for American-made kitchen knives but don’t know where to start?
Although many of the most popular knife brands are made in Germany, Japan, and China, high-quality American-made knives are also available.
In this guide, I highlight the best kitchen knives made in the USA. You’ll learn where they’re made, how they perform, and what makes them unique.
I also provide a comparison chart, so you can quickly see the key features of each brand side by side.
Use the links below to navigate the guide:
- Best Kitchen Knives Made in the USA: Comparison Chart
- Kramer Knives
- New West KnifeWorks
- Rada Cutlery
- Warther Cutlery
- Bottom Line: Which American-Made Kitchen Knives Are the Best?
Best Kitchen Knives Made in the USA: Comparison Chart
The chart below provides a quick comparison of the best kitchen knives made in the USA.
Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.
|Feature||Cutco||Kramer Knives||Lamson||Dexter-Russell||New West KnifeWorks||Rada Cutlery||Warther Cutlery|
|Where It’s Made||Olean, New York||Bellingham, Washington||Westfield, Massachusetts||Southbridge, Massachusetts||Victor, Idaho||Waverly, Iowa||Dover, Ohio|
|Blade Steel||440A steel||Damascus Steel||High-Carbon Stainless Steel||DexSteel||CPM S35VN Steel||T420||CPM S45VN or CPM MagnaCut|
|Handle Material||Thermo-resin||Micarta, Cocobolo||Acrylic, G-10, walnut, striated wood||Polypropylene, Santoprene||G-10, Desert Ironwood||Brushed Aluminum or Stainless Steel Resin||Birch wood|
|Handle Color(s)||Black||Wood grain||Marbled red/orange, black, walnut||Black, gray, orange, wood grain||Wood grain, multicolored, black||Silver (aluminum), Black (resin)||Wood grain|
|Edge Angle Per Side||15 degrees||9 – 12 degrees (varies by knife)||18 – 20 degrees||15 – 18 degrees||17 degrees||22.5 degrees||Not specified|
|Rockwell Hardness||56 – 60||60 – 63||58||Not specified||59 to 60||50||58 – 60|
|Top Reason to Buy||Unique Wedge-Lock handle||Exceptional craftsmanship, master bladesmith quality||Marbled handle design||Affordable, NSF-certified||Superior edge retention||Affordable||Superior edge retention|
|Top Reason to NOT Buy||High pressure sales demos||High cost, limited availability||Full bolster doesn’t allow you to sharpen the entire blade||Dulls quickly||Expensive||Dulls quickly||Sharp corners on handle|
|Price||$$$ (Amazon)||$$$$$ (Zwilling.com, Amazon)||$$$ (Amazon)||$ (Amazon)||$$$$ (New West KnifeWorks)||$ (Amazon)||$$$ (Warther)|
Cutco was established in 1949 in New York and has since become North America’s largest kitchen cutlery manufacturer.
Unlike other brands that have shifted production overseas, Cutco has remained true to its roots, producing knives in its Olean, New York factory for over 70 years.
One of the unique features of Cutco knives is their Wedge-Lock handles. These handles aren’t your typical smooth surface; they contour in and out, creating grooves for easy and secure gripping.
This design was crafted by textile designer Thomas Lamb in 1952, originally known as the Lamb handle. It was later officially named the Universal Wedge-Lock Handle in 1972. Now, it’s simply referred to as Wedge-Lock.
Another distinctive feature of Cutco knives is their rivets, which are exposed and made from Type 65-18 nickel silver, a copper, zinc, and nickel alloy. This material is notable for its silver color and resistance to staining, corrosion, tarnishing, and pitting.
The blades of Cutco knives come in two edge types: straight and Double-D. Paring knives come with a straight edge, while slicers have a Double-D edge.
The straight edge, featured on the Petite Chef’s Knife, offers a traditional design ideal for precise, clean cuts and slices.
Cutco outshines most kitchen knife brands with its return policy and warranty. While others typically offer a 30-day return policy and a limited lifetime warranty on defects, Cutco goes a step further.
Each knife comes with Cutco’s Forever Guarantee, which ensures a correction or replacement of the product if you’re ever unsatisfied with its performance. They even provide a free lifetime sharpening service, where you only have to cover a small shipping fee.
Buying Cutco knives is also a unique experience. You won’t find them in retail stores; you can purchase them online or arrange an in-home demonstration with a sales rep from Vector Marketing, the main distributor of Cutco knives. However, be aware that this could potentially lead to a high-pressure sales presentation.
Overall, Cutco offers well-built, American-made knives with impressive guarantees. They’re a testament to American craftsmanship and the dedication to producing high-quality kitchen tools.
Kramer knives are handcrafted by Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer, an esteemed title held by only around 120 other individuals in the US. He has been making these masterpieces in his Bellingham, Washington workshop since the mid-1990s.
Most Kramer knives are made of Damascus steel. This type of steel has distinct wavy patterns created by repeatedly heating, folding, and hammering together different types of steel.
However, Kramer knives aren’t just about aesthetics — they’re also designed to perform exceptionally well.
To earn the title of Master Bladesmith, Kramer had to ensure his knives met the strict standards of the American Bladesmith Society.
- Rope Cutting: To pass the sharpness test, the knife must cut through a one-inch, free-hanging rope in a single swing.
- Wood Chopping: For edge toughness and retention, it should chop through two 2x4s and still be capable of shaving hair without re-sharpening.
- Bending: Lastly, in a heat treating test, the knife should survive being bent 90 degrees in a vise without breaking.
You can’t buy Kramer knives at your local kitchen supply store. Instead, you have to bid on them through auctions on KramerKnives.com. The bidding starts at $250 and goes up in $250 increments. Some knives sell for thousands of dollars. Another option is to shop the limited selection of fixed-cost knives.
For most home cooks, these knives are too expensive and impractical. But if you can afford it and appreciate the craftsmanship of a Master Bladesmith’s work, signing up for the email list and placing a bid in the next auction could be a worthy investment.
If the auction prices are too steep, Kramer has licensed several of his designs to Zwilling. These collections, produced in Zwilling’s factories in Japan, offer a taste of a Kramer knife for a lower cost.
Lamson launched in 1837, making it one of America’s oldest cutlery manufacturers. The company was founded in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, but its manufacturing facilities are now 50 miles south in Westfield.
Their robust forged blades are crafted from high-carbon stainless steel imported from Solingen, Germany, or Lamson’s proprietary alloy.
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The Premier Series features blades precision-forged from the finest high-carbon Grade 4116 stainless steel from Solingen, using the traditional hot-drop method. The blades are then tempered and ice-hardened, reaching an optimal 58 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale.
The result is a hard, incredibly sharp blade that is corrosion-resistant and retains its edge for longer. These knives have full bolsters that add heft and balance, and you can choose between several handle designs made from Tough Acrylic, G-10, striated wood, or infused walnut.
Lamson’s Vintage Series is a testament to its signature craftsmanship. Knives in this series are crafted with infused walnut handles and proprietary high-carbon USA-made stainless steel.
A blend of state-of-the-art technology and meticulous hand finishing results in a sharp, durable, and corrosion-resistant blade.
The knives also feature Infused Walnut handles, full tang blades with double brass riveted handles for balance, and a curved and recessed integrated bolster for better control.
However, it’s important to note that you’ll need to cover the shipping and handling costs ($15 for the first four knives, $5 for each additional knife).
For over 200 years, Dexter-Russell has been crafting reliable and affordable kitchen knives in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
Established in 1818, the company is one of the longest-operating cutlery manufacturers in the US.
Dexter-Russell primarily targets the food service industry and is a significant supplier to restaurant kitchens globally. Their knives are designed with three key attributes: endurance, user comfort, and affordability.
They are built to withstand heavy use while retaining sharpness, feature comfortable non-slip handles, and are economically priced. So if they become damaged and you need to replace them, buying a new set won’t break the bank.
While they might not be classified as high-end or high-performing like many German and Japanese knives, Dexter-Russell prioritizes functionality and value.
For example, the 8-inch chef’s knife in the 360 collection features an ergonomically designed handle that fuses slip-resistant Santoprene with durable polypropylene. It reminds me of the Victorinox Fibrox chef’s knife.
This knife delivers excellent performance at a fraction of the cost of high-end knives like Wusthof or Shun.
Another feather in Dexter-Russell’s cap is the NSF-Certification of their knives. The NSF, or National Sanitation Foundation, is a non-profit organization that sets safety standards for food safety and sanitation. NSF certification assures you that the product meets these rigorous safety requirements.
In short, Dexter-Russell offers affordable, functional knives that, while designed for professional kitchens, are also available for home use.
Corey Milligan, the founder of New West KnifeWorks, started his knife-making journey in 1997. As a raft guide and line cook, Milligan was determined to create chef knives that stood out from the crowd.
His determination and hard work paid off, as New West KnifeWorks now operates from a sprawling 10,000-square-foot facility in Victor, Idaho.
New West KnifeWorks knives are as unique as the company’s origin story. They’re made from CPM S35VN steel, an alloy developed specifically for knife-making with excellent edge retention, toughness, and stain resistance.
The smaller grain size of CPM steel leads to significantly improved performance as the carbides formed during the steel-making process are much smaller. In comparison, larger carbides in traditionally wrought steels can result in difficulty in sharpening and increased brittleness.
Here’s a quick comparison table that underscores the superior composition of New West CPM S35VN steel in contrast to VG10 and German Steel:
|New West CPM S35VN||VG10||German Steel|
New West KnifeWorks handles are made from two exceptional materials. The first, G-10, is a fiberglass cloth/epoxy laminate. It’s incredibly strong, durable, and resistant to oil, saltwater, and most solvents.
The second, Desert Ironwood, is richly textured and ultra-durable wood that looks elegant and will never rot. This material is stable and heavy, which balances the thick blades.
Lastly, New West KnifeWorks backs its products with robust guarantees. They offer a 30-day return policy, a lifetime warranty for home use, and complimentary tune-ups to ensure your knife is always as sharp as possible.
If you’re looking for knives that combine character, performance, and a lifetime guarantee, visit NewWestKnifeWorks.com.
Rada Cutlery, founded in 1948, is a family-owned business based in Waverly, Iowa. The company prides itself on superior craftsmanship and quality, offering a range of products, including knives, commercial-grade pans, and other kitchen essentials, all 100% made in the USA.
Rada blades are crafted from surgical-quality, T420 high-carbon stainless steel. This alloy contains the following:
- Carbon (C): 0.15-0.38%
- Chromium (Cr): 12-14%
- Manganese (Mn): < 1%
- Silicon (Si): < 1%
- Phosphorus (P): < 0.04%
- Sulfur (S): < 0.03%
Since T420’s carbon content is lower than CPM S35VN (the steel used by New West KnifeWorks), VG10, or German steel, this steel is much softer.
The lower hardness level means you’ll need to sharpen the blade more frequently, although re-sharpening soft steel is much easier than hard steel.
On the positive side, Rada’s steel is more flexible, making it less prone to cracking or chipping.
Rada offers two handle options: a permanently cast brushed aluminum handle with a satin finish (silver) and a stainless steel resin handle (black). Both materials are remarkably durable, fitting beautifully into any kitchen décor. The brushed aluminum handle, blending seamlessly with the steel blade, offers a unique, smooth look.
A key selling point for Rada Cutlery is its affordability. You can get a complete set for less than the price of a single high-end German or Japanese chef’s knife.
While American-made knives often carry a higher price tag, Rada breaks this convention, making theirs accessible to a broader range of customers.
The story of Warther Cutlery began in the hands of Ernest “Mooney” Warther, who crafted his first kitchen knife in 1902 out of frustration with the options available in stores. The quality and sharpness of his creation led to the establishment of a family knife business.
Today, the business is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Warther family. They continue the tradition of producing high-quality, handmade knives in Dover, Ohio.
Warther Cutlery uses two types of steel for their blades: CPM S45VN steel and CPM MagnaCut.
CPM S45VN steel is an upgrade from the CPM-S35VN steel used by many other manufacturers (like New West KnifeWorks).
The chemistry of this steel has been rebalanced to enhance its corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and edge retention. It contains higher levels of carbon and nitrogen:
- Carbon: 1.48%
- Chromium: 16.00%
- Vanadium: 3.00%
- Molybdenum: 2.00%
- Niobium: 0.50%
- Nitrogen: 0.15%
CPM MagnaCut is a premium stainless blade steel with high toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Compared to S45VN, MagnaCut is easier to sharpen, more resistant to corrosion and chipping, and has better wear resistance.
- Carbon: 1.15%
- Chromium: 10.7%
- Vanadium: 4.00%
- Molybdenum: 2.00%
- Niobium: 2.00%
- Nitrogen: 0.20%
Every Warther knife is polished to a convex grind, which can only be achieved by hand grinding. This method ensures that the knives retain a razor-like edge with light honing.
Each knife handle is made of layers of natural birch wood impregnated with resin to make them more durable and water-resistant. Each handle’s natural variation in shade, grain, and color adds a unique touch to every knife.
For meticulously crafted, high-quality kitchen knives, go to WartherCutlery.com.
The best kitchen knives made in the USA are Cutco, Kramer, Lamson, Dexter-Russell, New West KnifeWorks, Rada, and Warther.
But which brand should you buy? Before I give you my recommendation, let’s quickly recap:
- Cutco, a longstanding American kitchen cutlery manufacturer, is known for its unique Wedge-Lock handles, Double-D edge, and an impressive lifetime guarantee with free sharpening services.
- Kramer Knives reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer, offering exceptional performance and aesthetics but at a higher price point.
- Lamson has a longstanding tradition of creating top-tier knives, with standout features like their high-carbon stainless steel blades, multiple handle designs, and “Sharp for Life” program.
- Dexter-Russell offers reliable, user-friendly knives geared towards the food service industry, valued for their affordability and NSF certification.
- New West KnifeWorks specializes in high-performing CPM S35VN steel knives with excellent durability, edge retention, and stain resistance.
- Rada Cutlery is a family-owned business that provides high-quality, affordable, 100% American-made kitchen knives crafted from T420 high-carbon stainless steel.
- Warther Cutlery, a family-run business, crafts high-quality knives from premium CPM S45VN and CPM MagnaCut steels, featuring unique convex grind and durable, resin-impregnated birch wood handles.
Although you can’t go wrong with any of these brands, the one I recommend the most is Cutco. Of these brands, Cutco balances performance, durability, and overall value the best. With their thermo-resin Wedge-Lock handles and Double-D edges, you get long-lasting, high-performing knives. And each knife comes with Cutco’s Forever Guarantee and Free Sharpening for Life.
If you prefer American-made knives with a more rustic aesthetic, consider Lamson’s Vintage Series, New West KnifeWorks’ Ironwood Series, or Warther knives. All these options feature distinct wood grain handles, giving a warm, vintage appeal without compromising performance.
Check out all the options at the links below:
- Cutco: Amazon, Cutco.com
- Kramer Knives: Zwilling.com, Amazon
- Lamson: Amazon, LamsonProducts.com
- Dexter-Russell: Amazon, Dexter1818.com
- New West KnifeWorks: NewWestKnifeWorks.com
- Rada Cutlery: Amazon, RadaCutlery.com
- Warther Cutlery: WartherCutlery.com
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