Are you thinking about buying Cutco kitchen knives but unsure if they’re right for you?
I’ve been testing Cutco knives for several months, and in this review, I break down the pros and cons.
- The brand’s history
- How the knives are made
- How they look, feel, and perform (with lots of pictures)
- What they cost
- Their downsides
- And much more
So, if you’re ready for an unbiased and in-depth review of Cutco kitchen knives, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Cutco Review: Key Takeaways
- Company Background
- Materials and Construction
- Warranty and Guarantees
- FAQs About Cutco
- Bottom Line: Are Cutco Knives Worth It?
Company Background: Cutco, short for Cooking UTensil COmpany, was founded in 1949 in New York and is the largest kitchen cutlery manufacturer in North America. Cutco knives are primarily sold through in-home sales presentations, but you can also find them online and in retail stores.
Materials and Construction: Cutco knives are made from high-carbon AISI 440A grade stainless steel, which is durable but not as high-quality as other steel alloys. The blades are laser-stamped and triple-riveted to a thermo-resin handle, which is dishwasher-safe and non-porous.
Design: Cutco offers a unique Wedge-Lock handle design, which is ergonomic but different from traditional Western-style handles. The knives are full-tang and have a hollow ground edge to reduce food sticking. However, they are thinner and lighter than some German knives, requiring more effort for cutting tough foods.
Warranty and Guarantees: Cutco offers an impressive “Forever Guarantee” that covers performance, sharpness, and satisfaction. They also provide a 15-day unconditional money-back guarantee for all cutlery except personalized knives.
Price: Cutco knives are expensive, especially considering the blades are stamped rather than forged. Being made in America drives the cost up but ensures strict quality standards are met. Other high-quality knife brands are available at a similar or lower price point.
Downsides: The main downsides of Cutco knives are their high cost, stamped construction, high-pressure in-home demonstrations, mid-quality steel, lightweight design, limited options, unusual handle design, and the need to pay for shipping on returns.
Bottom Line: Cutco knives are well-built, American-made, and have excellent guarantees. However, they’re expensive, and the Wedge-lock handle may feel unfamiliar and take time to get used to. Cutco is a good choice if you want American-made knives, but if you want more options and a potentially better value, there are alternatives from other brands like Wusthof and Zwilling.
Before I get into the details of the knives, let’s quickly discuss Cutco as a company.
Cutco, short for Cooking UTensil COmpany, was founded in 1949 in New York. Today, it is the largest kitchen cutlery manufacturer in North America, employing over 600 people at the Olean, New York, factory and administrative headquarters.
In fact, Cutco is one of the few cutlery manufacturers left in the United States (most moved production overseas).
Although the company is best known for kitchen knives, Cutco also makes accessories like kitchen shears, tableware, fully-clad cookware, and garden tools.
One of the most unique aspects of Cutco knives is how they’re sold. You won’t find Cutco in retail stores. Instead, the knives are primarily sold through in-home sales presentations. They’re also available on Cutco.com, Amazon (via 3rd party sellers), and in Cutco retail stores.
There are rumors that Vector Marketing, the sales division of Cutco, is a scam, pyramid scheme, or multi-level or network marketing organization, but this is entirely untrue.
Cutco sales reps only sell cutlery, so if you opt for an in-home demonstration, no one will try to recruit you to join the team. That said, these reps are paid a fee for every demo, plus a commission.
The more they sell, the more they make — which can lead some reps to employ aggressive tactics (although Vector claims the knives sell themselves).
Overall, Cutco has built a solid reputation for its American-made, quality knives and exceptional customer satisfaction guarantees (more on this later).
But are Cutco knives right for you? Let’s take a closer look.
Materials and Construction
Most kitchen knife brands offer several collections, but Cutco keeps it simple. It offers one knife collection, and every piece is made with the same materials.
In the world of kitchen knives, there are two types of blade construction: stamped and forged.
Stamped blades are cut out from a sheet of steel. Forged blades start as an individual bar of steel.
Stamped blades are thinner, more flexible, and cheaper to mass-produce. They’re not always full-tang (one continuous piece of metal from handle to tip), have no bolster (thicker part of the blade right before the handle), and are usually more affordable.
Forged knives offer more heft and balance, include a full-tang, are easier to sharpen, hold their edge (sharpness) longer, and are usually more expensive.
So, which construction technique does Cutco use?
Cutco blades are laser stamped (cut out) from a sheet of high-carbon AISI 440A grade stainless steel. Then, they are heat-treated and buffed before attaching the handles.
440A steel is durable and resistant to corrosion, but it won’t hold an edge as long as higher-quality, more expensive alloys.
Cutco blades are triple-riveted to the knife handle, which is made from a highly engineered thermo-resin. The handle is dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, and non-porous.
Unlike some wooden handles, this material won’t harbor bacteria, and it will never crack or get damaged from moisture or high heat.
Once the knife is assembled, its blade is sharpened to a 15-degree angle on both sides.
In total, it takes about 25 steps to produce a Cutco knife.
Watch the process in this quick video: How a Cutco Knife is Made.
Now that you know how Cutco knives are made, let’s take a look at the design. I’ll take you from handle to blade using the Cutco 8-inch Petite Chef’s Knife as my example.
Keep in mind that Cutco only offers one knife collection, so any blade you buy will have the same features as the Chef’s knife.
Cutco knives have exposed rivets made from Type 65-18 nickel silver. The “silver” refers to the color. It’s an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel, known for resisting staining, corrosion, tarnishing, and pitting.
The rivets are flush to the handle’s surface, so there is no risk of food particles getting trapped.
Most handles are thermo-resin (highly-heated durable plastic), although there is one stainless handle in the collection (Stainless Table Knife).
In my opinion, the handle design looks a bit clunky, but it is crafted for ergonomic comfort. Cutco calls the design: Universal Wedge-Lock. If you turn it on its side, you can see the areas where it rises and falls, creating an ideal shape for gripping.
The design is unique to Cutco and is made to fit an average-sized hand, whether you are a righty or lefty. But if you have very small or large hands, you might find the grip uncomfortable.
The design was created in 1952 by Thomas Lamb, a textile designer commissioned by Cutco to create a unique handle for its knives. Originally known as the Lamb handle, it was officially named the Universal Wedge-Lock Handle in 1972. Today, it is referred to as Wedge-Lock.
Some people absolutely love the Wedge-Lock handle, but others think it’s more of a gimmick. It’s certainly unusual and takes some getting used to.
Resource: Check out this in-depth comparison of Cutco vs. Wusthof to learn more.
Another unusual aspect of Cutco handles is that they’re longer than most. The handle on the 8-inch Chef’s knife is 5.5 inches. In contrast, most 8-inch Chef’s knife handles are 5 inches long.
The added half-inch isn’t necessarily a negative, but it can make the knives feel a bit unwieldy, especially if you have small hands.
Cutco handles come in three colors: black, red, or pearl. It’s hard to tell from the pictures on Cutco’s website, but there’s actually a slight marble pattern in the handles; the color is not completely solid.
The high-sheen polished stainless steel blade features a hollow ground edge visible to about a third of the way up the blade on both sides.
The hollow grind reduces drag, allowing food to fall off of the blade while you cut. As you can see in the picture below, some types of food still stick to the blade, but the hollow edge reduces the occurrence.
Cutco cheese knife blades feature large holes to help release sticky cheeses.
All Cutco knives are all full-tang with a few exceptions (Table Knife, Cheese Knife). The tang, which is the steel that runs through the butt of the handle, helps balance the knives, so they aren’t overly heavy in the blade portion.
The blade is thinner and lighter than some German blades, which means you’ll have to apply extra pressure when tackling tough or fibrous foods like pineapple, cabbage, or beets.
Cutco makes blades with two types of edges: straight and Double-D.
The type of edge varies by the knife; you can’t choose which edge you prefer. For example, all paring knives have a straight edge while all slicers have a Double-D edge.
Straight edges, like what you’ll see on the Petite Chef’s Knife, have a traditional design for clean, precise cuts and slices.
The Double-D edge features three recessed edges with pointed teeth to protect the edge from surfaces that could dull it. Cutco claims it’s different from a serrated edge, but it’s essentially the same.
While you can sharpen a Cutco straight edge knife at home, you must send a Double-D knife back to Cutco for sharpening (Cutco offers free lifetime sharpening).
Warranty and Guarantees
Unlike most kitchen knife brands which offer a 30-day return policy and a limited lifetime warranty on defects, Cutco is committed to customer satisfaction, offering multiple guarantees.
The Forever Guarantee addresses performance, sharpness, and customer satisfaction. This lifetime guarantee is given to the knife owner and extends to anyone who receives the knives as a gift or inherits them.
Let’s break down all the aspects of this guarantee.
Forever Performance Guarantee
The Forever Performance Guarantee states that Cutco will replace or repair any knife that doesn’t stand up to typical, in-home use (not commercial). In other words, if you’re not happy with how the knife is cutting or if something breaks during regular use, you’re covered.
Forever Sharpness Guarantee
With The Forever Sharpness Guarantee, Cutco will sharpen your knives for free for the lifetime of the knives, only charging a small shipping fee. This service really comes in handy since you can’t sharpen the Double-D edge at home.
Forever Replacement Service Agreement
If your knives break, even as a result of misuse, you can get a new set at half the price. That’s an impressive guarantee that I haven’t seen from any other brand.
15-day Unconditional Money Back Guarantee
Cutco offers this guarantee for all cutlery except personalized engraved knives. You can get a full refund of the purchase price whether the knives are new in original packaging or used.
Those are some pretty extensive guarantees that take the pressure off of trying Cutco knives, especially considering they aren’t cheap.
Typically, stamped knives are less expensive than forged ones. Cutco only offers stamped knives, and in many cases, they are equal to or more expensive than high-quality forged knives from competitive brands like Wusthof, Zwilling, and Shun.
Cutco knives are expensive because they’re manufactured in the United States, where production costs are higher.
If Cutco manufactured overseas, they could offer a lower price, but the brand is committed to producing its products in the United States.
Is Cutco still a good value?
They’re quality knives and some of the best stamped knives you can buy. But, in my opinion, they’re overpriced.
You can get a high-quality forged knife from a brand like Wusthof or Zwilling for a similar price or cheaper — not to mention a choice of multiple designs.
The following chart shows current Cutco prices along with their top competitors for comparison.
|Knife / Knife Set||Price||View Details|
|Cutco 21-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Cutco 19-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Cutco Steak Knives (set of 4)||Amazon|
|Cutco Gourmet Prep Knife||Amazon|
|Cutco Vegetable Knife||Amazon|
|Cutco 9-Inch French Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Cutco 8-Inch Petite Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic 12-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Zwilling Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Zwilling Pro 10-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Global Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Global Classic 6-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
Before you buy Cutco knives, you need to understand the downsides. Here are the main disadvantages of Cutco.
As I mentioned, Cutco knives are expensive. You can get knives of similar or greater quality for much less from other brands. For example, Wusthof, Global, Made In, and Misen have comparable knives (some are even forged) at lower prices. To Cutco’s credit, those brands don’t offer anything close to The Forever Guarantee.
Stamped blades are not a bad choice, especially with advances in knife manufacturing technology. The issue here is that, with Cutco, you have no choice: all blades are stamped.
Stamped knives lack the weight and balance that a forged knife provides, although there are exceptions. For example, Global knives are stamped, but the company adds weight to the handle for balance.
Stamped blades are often flexible, so cutting rigid or thick foods and sharpening them on a whetstone can be challenging.
The bottom line is that stamped blades aren’t as durable or high-performing as forged.
If you want to see Cutco knives up close before making a purchase, you’ll have to schedule an in-home demo. While not all Cutco salespeople are pushy, you might be subject to a high-pressure presentation, making the experience uncomfortable.
The only alternative is to go to a Cutco Kitchen retail store. The issue here is there are just over a dozen stores scattered across the United States, and they may not be convenient to where you live.
Cutco stores are in the following locations:
- Olean, NY
- Atlanta, GA
- Wilmette, IL
- Castleton, IN
- Novi, MI
- Okemos, MI
- Edina, MN
- Creve Coeur, MO
- North Olmsted, OH
- Erie, PA
- North Wales, PA
- Austin, TX
- Fort Worth, TX
- Houston, TX
- Plano, TX
You can often find Cutco knives on Amazon, but they’re offered by 3rd-party sellers, and inventory is hit or miss (check to see what’s available now on Amazon).
The steel Cutco uses to make its blades (AISI 440A grade) is mid-range quality. As a result, Cutco knives will need to be sharpened more often than knives made of higher quality steel (for example, Wusthof and Zwilling use X50CrMoV15, a high-quality German steel).
Require Professional Sharpening
You can’t sharpen Double-D edge knives at home; you have to ship them to Cutco for professional sharpening. Otherwise, you’ll risk damaging the blade. While the company sharpens the knives for free, you have to pay for shipping.
Cutco offers only one knife collection. The design obviously won’t appeal to everyone, especially if you prefer more traditional aesthetics like smooth, wood grain handles.
Unique Handle Design
The Wedge-Lock handle is unique. It’s curvy, and although many people find it comfortable, many others strongly dislike it. These handles are designed for an average-sized hand but can be uncomfortable for very large or small hands.
Similarly, the handle is about a half-inch longer than average, making the knife more difficult to maneuver.
Lack of Bolster
Cutco knives don’t have bolsters; therefore, they lack the balance and a finger guard that bolsters provide.
You Have to Pay for Shipping on Returns
Cutco knives come with generous return and repair policies, but you have to pay for shipping.
FAQs About Cutco
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Cutco.
No, you can also buy Cutco knives from a Cutco Kitchen retail store or online at Cutco.com or Amazon. Occasionally, membership stores like Costco may have in-store Cutco events.
At any time, you can view Cutco’s library of product videos. If you would like an in-home demonstration, use this form to search for sales offices by zip code. Once you find an office, you can send the team an email and coordinate from there.
The sharpening is free but you pay for shipping both ways. The return shipping fee varies by the number of knives you have sharpened.
The fee is $9 for 1 to 5 knives, $11 for 6 to 10 knives, $13 for 11 to 25 knives, and $16 for 26 to 40 knives.
Yes and no. You can sharpen Cutco straight-edge knives at home. However, you cannot sharpen Double-D edge knives at home; they must be sent back to Cutco for sharpening.
Theoretically, forever (or as long as the company lasts). The Forever Guarantee offers replacement or repair on all knives used at home. Some testimonials state that the knives have lasted over 60 years.
No, it is a BBB accredited business with an A+ rating. It employs sales reps through its distribution division, Vector Marketing.
These reps earn fees for setting up demos and commissions on sales, but they are not compensated or even encouraged to recruit new sales reps (the crux of a pyramid scheme).
They are sourced (raw materials) and made in the USA and primarily sold through sales reps. The in-home demonstrations are a highly effective way to show off and sell the knives, but that process costs the company money, driving up costs and, ultimately, the price you pay.
They also have brick-and-mortar retail stores, which drive up costs.
Additionally, Cutco has a long history of producing quality knives and, because of that track record, they can demand higher prices.
The 440A steel is 16 to 18% chromium, .60 to .70% carbon, up to .75% molybdenum, up to 1% manganese, and 78% iron.
No. All Cutco handles are BPA-free.
Just in case you leave your knife on a hot surface by mistake, the handle can withstand between 300 to 350°F before melting.
Bottom Line: Are Cutco Knives Worth It?
In this Cutco review, we covered everything from construction and materials to pricing and warranties.
The brand’s longevity and track record are testaments to the quality of the knives. So is its status as the largest knife manufacturer in North America.
There are pros and cons with any knife brand, but how can you know if Cutco kitchen knives are right for you?
To recap, here are the main advantages of Cutco knives:
- Proven track record of durability (company launched in 1949)
- Made in the USA
- Wedge-Lock handles provide a secure grip
- Gorgeous high-sheen blade with a hollow ground edge
- Superior customer satisfaction guarantees
- Free lifetime sharpening service
- In-home product demonstration (you can see the knives in action, test them out, and ask questions before you buy)
- Sharp blade with decent edge retention
These are the downsides you need to consider:
- Mid-quality stainless steel blades
- Stamped construction
- Very expensive (especially for stamped knives)
- Unusual handle design that might feel uncomfortable
- Pressure to buy during the in-home demonstration
- Lightweight and bolster-free design
- Only one knife collection (only one design available)
Bottom line — Cutco knives are well-built, American-made knives and come with excellent guarantees, but they have several downsides to consider before purchasing.
If you’re going to spend the money on a good knife set or even an individual piece, consider a higher quality forged knife from makers like Wusthof, Made In, or Zwilling. In many cases, they are more durable, higher-performing, and less expensive than Cutco.
However, if you’re committed to buying American-made kitchen knives, Cutco is an excellent choice.
If you decide to try Cutco, I recommend avoiding the in-home demo and buying from either Cutco.com or Amazon. If you don’t like the feel of the handle or the way it performs, you can ship it back for a full refund. There’s not much to lose.
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