Are you shopping for kitchen knives and wondering if Dalstrong is a good brand?
After testing them for several months, I give you a definitive and unbiased answer to that question.
In this in-depth review of Dalstrong knives, you’ll learn:
- How they’re made
- How they look, feel, and perform (with lots of pictures)
- The difference between collections
- The downsides
- And much more
By the end, you’ll have the facts you need to decide if Dalstrong knives are right for your kitchen.
Use these links to navigate the article:
- Company Background
- Knife Collections
- Where They Are Made
- Materials and Construction
- Bottom Line: Are Dalstrong Knives Any Good?
In an industry of well-established knife brands like Wusthof, Zwilling, and Global, Dalstrong is a newbie.
Founded in Canada in 2014, the company is led by founding CEO and visionary David Dallaire. He’s the master designer of every Dalstrong collection.
Dalstrong’s goal is to provide striking, reliable knives at affordable prices. The designs (which you’ll see up close in a minute) are bold, taking inspiration from different cultures, art, nature, and even infrastructure.
Dalstrong is an innovative company that’s constantly releasing new products. Currently, they offer 11 kitchen knife collections, but you can expect to see more on the way.
The brand also offers knife accessories, kitchenware, and stainless clad cookware. But the primary product is kitchen knives.
Dalstrong offers several knife collections with unique materials, design features, and price points.
I dive deeper into the details throughout this review, but the chart below shows the key differences between each collection.
Scroll or swipe to view the entire chart.
|Collection||Blade Construction||Handle Material||Blade Hardness (Rockwell)||Sharpness||Price|
|Shogun||67-layer Damascus with AUS-10V core||ABS Polymer||62+||10-degree angle per side||$$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Gladiator||High-carbon German stainless steel||G10 fiber resin||54-56||14 to 16-degree angle per side||$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Shadow Black||High-carbon 7CR17MOV-X vacuum treated steel||G10 fiber resin||58||16 to 18-degree angle per side||$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Phantom||Premium Japanese AUS-8 steel||Laminated PakkaWood||58||13 to 15-degree angle per side||$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Crusader||German-made ThyssenKrupp X50CRMOV15 steel||High chromium stainless steel||58||16 to 18-degree angle per side||$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Omega||American BD1N-VX hyper steel||G10 woven fiberglass||63+||8 to 12-degree angle per side||$$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Frost Fire||7-layer High carbon 10CR15MOV steel with added cobalt||White resin enclosed in aluminum mesh||60-61||16 to 18-degree angle per side||$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Quantum 1||American BD1N-VX hyper steel||G10 fiber resin/fiber carbon hybrid||63+||8 to 12-degree angle per side||$$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Ronin||Premium Japanese AUS-10V steel||G10 Garolite/Rosewood||62+||15-degree angle per side||$$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Valhalla||5-layer stainless steel||Wood/resin handle||60+||8 to 12-degree angle per side||$$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Delta Wolf||High carbon 9CR18MOV steel||G10 resin handle||60||8 to 12-degree angle per side||$$ (view on Amazon)|
Where They Are Made
Dalstrong makes its knives in a factory in Yangjiang, China, a city with a storied history in knife crafting dating back over 1400+ years.
It’s a departure from where well-established German and Japanese knife brands produce their products. But Dalstrong seems to pride itself on doing things differently.
The company has administrative offices and warehouses in the United States, Canada, the UK, and soon, the Netherlands.
Materials and Construction
One of the main complaints I hear from home chefs about knives manufactured in China is the inconsistent quality.
And it’s true; many brands opt for the cheapest manufacturing cost, which often means lower quality knives. That isn’t the case with Dalstrong.
Let’s review the materials used and processes Dalstrong follows when crafting its knives.
Dalstrong imports high-quality German and Japanese steel to construct the blades.
While the exact steel varies by collection (see chart above for details), most utilize mid to high-tier steel that is much higher quality than what’s used in typical discount made-in-China knives.
For example, the Gladiator series blades are made of ThyssenKrupp German steel, which has a similar composition to the steel renowned knife maker Wusthof uses for its blades.
Another example is the Shogun series which features high-quality Japanese steel, AUS-10V. This steel is hard, holds an edge well, and is similar to the materials used by premium Japanese knife makers, including Shun and Miyabi.
Besides the quality steel, Dalstrong blades are forged rather than stamped.
Making a forged blade is a more complex manufacturing process. It starts with a single bar of steel that is heat-treated and molded into shape before it’s tempered, ground, polished, and sharpened.
In contrast, stamped blades are cut out of a sheet of thin steel. As a result, they are much cheaper and easier to mass-produce but aren’t as durable, hefty, balanced, and don’t feature a bolster.
The bolster is the thickest part of the steel where the blade and handle meet. It adds heft and balance, and some bolsters are designed to protect your hand from slipping on the blade.
If you want to learn more about the differences between forged and stamped blades, check out my in-depth comparison. But the key takeaway is that forged blades are typically more durable, higher-performing, and more expensive.
Remember that all Dalstrong blades are forged.
Dalstrong uses different materials across collections for the handles. Here’s a snapshot:
ABS Polymer: A super durable, sleek, food-grade plastic that is hygienic and can withstand heat, cold, and moisture without degrading. See it on the Shogun series.
G10 Garolite: A composite material formed under high pressure resulting in an ultra-tough, military-grade handle that resists high and low temperatures. It expertly repels water to prevent moisture issues like mold and rust. See it on: Gladiator, Shadow Black, Omega, Quantum 1, and Delta Wolf series collections.
PakkaWood: Beautiful, rich laminated wood imported from Spain makes handles that are aesthetically pleasing and durable. It is a sanitary material perfect for busy kitchens. See it on the Phantom series.
Rosewood: A handsome redwood that serves as an accent on G10 handles. It’s a strong, durable wood with a rich color. See it on the Ronin series.
Stainless Steel: It gets no cleaner than stainless steel with a high chromium content to inhibit corrosion. These non-porous handles leave no places for debris to settle. See it on the Crusader series.
Resin/Wood: A mix of wide-grained wood and mosaic blue resin. It’s an impact-resistant combination that can withstand heat and cold. See it on the Valhalla series.
Resin/Aluminum: An eye-catching combination of sealed resin and aluminum mesh. It is resistant to heat, cold, and moisture, like most Dalstrong handles. See it on the Frost Fire series.
Clearly, each Dalstrong collection features a signature look designed around the materials and construction of the blade and handles.
Let’s dive deeper into the design.
Overall, Dalstrong’s designs are bold, though some borderline on gimmicky.
Take, for instance, the Shadow Black series. It’s crafted to resemble a stealth fighter — a sleek yet musclebound design. But how comfortable is it to use long term?
One thing is for sure, Dalstrong pushes the envelope and doesn’t stick to designing traditional blades.
If you like an out-of-the-box interpretation of kitchen knives, this may be appealing. But if you prefer knives with more classic features, you might want to look elsewhere.
That said, Dalstrong offers a wide range of designs across collections, with a mix of ABS, wood, resin, and stainless handles. So if you’re looking for knives that aren’t quite as flashy as the Shadow Black series, you can find it.
Let’s start with the blade. It’s a wide, 67-layer Damascus-style blade with a Tsunami Rose pattern.
The blade is precision-forged from one piece of multi-cladded high carbon stainless steel and features a Japanese AUS-10V steel core. Its cryogenically tempered with liquid nitrogen to increase durability, flexibility, and hardness.
It features a tsuchime (hammered) finish with a mirror-polished edge.
Shogun is sharpened using the three-step Honbazuke method and features bleeding-edge technology. The blade has a 20-degree total edge angle (10 degrees on each side). Initially, the blade is exceptionally sharp.
It’s a full-tang knife with a half bolster allowing for more cutting surface on the blade while still offering your fingers protection.
The handle has a nice sheen and is made from a military-grade, fiberglass-like material. The polished stainless end cap is a nice touch and is engraved with the Dalstrong logo.
The triple-riveted handle features an added design bonus, with the center rivet doubling as a copper mosaic pin. It adds a subtle visual contrast to the other stainless steel rivets.
Finally, the handle comes in four colors: black, Army green, Dalstrong blue, and glacial white.
It’s a good-looking knife with a Japanese-inspired style. Dalstrong knives feature prominent branding. You can find the logo etched onto the blade, on the end cap, and even on the included protective sheath.
The Phantom series is also Japanese-inspired. Like all of Dalstrong’s knives, you’ll notice a heavy commitment to the brand identity on both sides of the curved, ice-tempered blade, as well as the protective sheath.
Along the blade’s spine, you’ll also see the etched Japanese kanji (script) for “phantom.”
The full-tang forged blade is made of AUS-8 steel and features a mirror-polished half-bolster. It’s narrower than the Shogun Chef’s knife, and this profile boosts agility and makes the knife easier to maneuver for precise cuts.
The blade features a prominent arc beneath the bolster. While it looks sleek, it creates an unnecessary sharp point, so you need to be extra careful when reaching for this knife.
The tapered blade has an edge angle of 13 to 15 degrees per side. It’s incredibly sharp and can handle a variety of foods.
The D-shaped handle, designed to make the knife easy to grip in your palm, is made from PakkaWood, a beautiful, fine-grained wood that is super durable and sanitary.
The red line between the wood handle and stainless steel blade adds a nice touch of flare, as does the brass and copper mosaic accent.
The polished stainless end cap adds a nice contrast against the darkness of the laminated wood.
As mentioned earlier, depending on the collection, Dalstrong offers a mix of blade and handle designs. Two eye-catching designs are the Valhalla series and the Crusader.
Quantum 1 knives a one-of-a-kind, futuristic look with a “Nova Prime” pattern on the blade and a black handle that tapers towards the butt end.
Crusader knives boast an all-metal design perfect for those who like a minimalist look. However, the extra space in the handle means more surface area to clean.
Each collection is unique, and no two look alike. Check out all the designs on Dalstrong.com.
Based on the design and construction of Dalstrong knives, the company is attempting to compete with high-end German and Japanese knives.
While Dalstrong knives are good quality, they aren’t at the level of some of the more well-known brands like Wusthof or shun.
Are they sharp? Absolutely. And, for the price, I am impressed. They cut through ingredients with ease, and the hammered blade design creates pockets of air to prevent sticking.
Yet, when placed head-to-head against some of the reigning champions of the cutlery space, they fall short.
For example, the knives feel blade-heavy. When put up against brands like Wusthof or Shun, the balance just isn’t there. The handles, although aesthetically interesting, feel too lightweight.
While a lightweight knife is more nimble and easy to maneuver, it’s more challenging to cut through firm ingredients. You have to press down harder rather than using the weight of the knife, and this can quickly cause hand fatigue.
Here are a few other things I noticed:
- There is a range of sharpness rather than a set standard for all knives. For example, the Japanese-style knives have blades sharpened to an 8-12 degree angle on each side, while the German-style knives are sharpened to a 16-18 degree angle on each side.
- The hardness of blades also varies across the collections, ranging from 55 to 63 on the Rockwell Scale. The higher the number, the harder the steel. Harder steel means that the sharp edge will last longer, but it also means that the knives are more brittle and prone to chipping.
- The full tang on the Gladiator series makes the knife heavier, but the bolster gets in the way of performing a pinch grip.
- Dalstrong claims its knives are full tang, and they appear to be. But I noticed the handle makes a “ding” noise and sounds hollow when you tap it with your fingernail.
Although these knives are undeniably sharp, I question their long-term durability and performance.
The key point is that Dalstrong knives are sharp, lightweight, nimble, and get the job done, but they don’t have the solid, sturdy feeling you get from other top knife brands like Wusthof, Zwilling, and Shun.
One of the key selling points for Dalstrong knives is the price.
These blades are much more affordable than the kitchen knives from high-end, well-known brands.
This, in part, has to do with them being manufactured in China, where overall costs are lower than countries like Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United States. But also because Dalstrong sells exclusively online (Amazon, Dalstrong.com, and Walmart.com), avoiding high retail markups.
Not only do you get a more palatable price point with Dalstrong, but the company also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So if you’re not totally satisfied with the knives, you can get a full refund, including the shipping cost. Plus, you have up to 120 days to decide if it’s right for you.
Dalstrong also offers a limited lifetime warranty to protect against defects due to workmanship, but you must join Dalstrong Elite, which is essentially their mailing list. It’s free to sign up.
While the price depends on the collection you choose, all are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to other forged knives.
To see the latest pricing, refer to the chart below (click the prices to learn more):
|Knife / Knife Set||Price||View Details|
|Dalstrong Shogun 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Shadow Black 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Gladiator 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Phantom 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Quantum 1 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Crusader 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Shogun 5-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Gladiator 18-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Phantom 6-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Shadow Black 5-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Dalstrong Gladiator 8-Piece Set||Amazon|
There’s a lot to like about Dalstrong knives. But before purchasing, it’s important to understand the downsides.
Dalstrong is still a relatively new and unproven brand. There just hasn’t been enough time to test its longevity.
Dalstrong blades with the highest Rockwell Scores (like Omega and Shogun) may be too hard and prone to chipping. Alternatively, a common complaint about softer steel knives, like the Gladiator series, is that the edges dull too quickly.
If you plan to use your knives for chopping, go with softer steel (lower Rockwell score), but if you need ultra-sharp blades for precise cuts, hard steel is ideal.
As interesting as they are in appearance, many of Dalstrong’s unconventionally designed handles aren’t the most comfortable. For example, the handles in the Shadow Black series have a geometric shape with sharp edges that give the knives an awkward feel.
Full Bolster Design
The full bolster on the Gladiator collection adds weight and balance, but it prevents the ability to sharpen the entire blade. It also gets in the way of performing a pinch grip.
Even though the knives are forged and feature a full tang, they don’t feel as sturdy and balanced as many other forged, full tang knives I’ve tested and reviewed.
Knives made in China may be a sticking point for some, and Dalstrong knows it. That’s why the company spends time explaining the rich knife-making history of the region and how the factory in Yangjiang stands heads and shoulders above all others due to their standards and practices.
They also introduce the craftspeople, sharing their occupation and years of experience.
Bottom Line: Are Dalstrong Knives Any Good?
Dalstrong has made a name since its founding in 2014, thanks to its eye-catching designs and affordable prices.
It offers almost a dozen knife collections, each with its own signature style.
The brand uses quality materials and stays true to German and Japanese knife-making traditions and techniques.
But are Dalstrong knives right for you? Let’s recap the pros and cons.
- Variety: Dalstrong offers several unique knife collections, so you have plenty of options.
- Forged Blades: Blades are forged using similar processes to high-end brands.
- Price: It’s one of the most affordable brands making forged knives.
- Quality Materials: The blades and handles are made from premium materials, including German and Japanese steel, PakkaWood, and G10 Garolite.
- Striking Designs: The designs are unconventional but striking.
- Money-Back Guarantee: If you don’t love your knives, you can get a full refund within 120 days of purchase.
- Too Many Options: Dalstrong offers so many collections, it can be overwhelming.
- Unproven: The brand launched in 2014, so the long-term durability of the knives is still unknown.
- Unusual Designs: The designs are bold, and some may say gimmicky. That is a pro if you want knives that stand out but a con if you prefer a more traditional look.
- Unbalanced: Compared to other forged knives, Dalstrong knives feel light with most of the weight in the blade.
- Made In China: Despite the German and Japanese-inspired designs and materials, Dalstrong knives are made in China.
- Online Only: Currently, Dalstrong knives are only available on Amazon, Dalstrong.com, and Walmart.com. While selling exclusively online helps keep prices low, you can’t hold and feel for the knives in-store before buying.
Bottom line — If you want the look of a traditional Japanese-style knife but can’t afford a Shun or Miyabi, then Dalstrong knives are a quality and affordable alternative that will get the job done. Plus, the company offers a 120-day risk-free guarantee, so if you’re not impressed right away, you can get your money back.
If you want an affordable German-style knife, go with a trusted and more established brand like Henckels instead. They offer a variety of traditional western designs with a proven track record.
Dalstrong certainly has thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, but mixed in are complaints about durability, discoloration, and poor edge retention.
Furthermore, without the long history, there is some risk involved, as the durability issues may not show up right away.
If you decide to go with Dalstrong, I’d recommend starting with a chef’s knife and, if you enjoy the look and feel, then build a complete set.
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