HexClad is best known for its innovative hybrid cookware but also offers a collection of Japanese-style kitchen knives.
Are HexClad knives any good? Are they worth buying?
In this review, you’ll learn the pros and cons of HexClad kitchen knives. I break down the design, construction, performance, and much more.
By the end, you’ll have the information necessary to decide if HexClad knives belong in your kitchen.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Materials and Construction
- FAQs about HexClad Knives
- Bottom Line: Are HexClad knives worth buying?
HexClad knives are forged from 67 layers of Japanese Damascus steel. The cutting core (the middle layer that extends to the edge) is made of AUS-10 steel, a hard, rust-resistant alloy.
The blades are hardened to 60 on the Rockwell Scale, which is typical of quality Japanese knives. For example, Shun, one of the best-selling Japanese knife brands, hardens its blades to 61 on the Rockwell Scale.
German knives, like Wusthof and Zwilling, usually have softer steel in the 56 to 58 range. Softer steel is less prone to chipping but doesn’t retain a sharp edge as long.
With HexClad, you’ll get excellent edge retention, but you need to be careful when cutting through bones and other hard ingredients. Slamming the blade on the cutting board can chip the edge.
Unlike most brands, HexClad doesn’t disclose the specific angle of its blades. Instead, they state that they’re “sharp.”
Many Japanese blades are sharpened to between 9 and 16 degrees on each side. The specific sharpening degree varies between brands and collections and is often used as a key selling point. With Hexclad, we’re left guessing.
HexClad knives have PakkaWood handles. Unlike natural wood, PakkaWood is non-porous, which makes the handles waterproof and fade-resistant.
I need to call out one imperfection — the seam where the metal and handle meet isn’t completely straight (there are a few jagged parts) and has a tiny gap.
Most people wouldn’t notice unless they looked closely or rubbed their fingernail across the seam. The gap doesn’t impact performance but may be a sign of quality control issues.
Overall, HexClad knives are made of quality materials. An AUS-10 steel blade and PakkaWood handle is a common pairing for mid-range Japanese knives.
The first thing you’ll notice when you look at HexClad knives is the matte, green-tinted faux-wood handle.
As I mentioned, the handles are made from PakkaWood, a wood and resin composite resistant to moisture and heat. Several high-end Japanese cutlery brands, such as Shun and Miyabi, also use PakkaWood for handles.
But unlike those brands whose handles feature a natural wood look, HexClad opted for green. The greenish tint gives these knives a distinct look but might not fit with the style of your kitchen.
Most PakkaWood handles, such as the Shun Classic, have a polished finish. But HexClad handles have a unique matte finish.
The handles are round with a slight curve, making them comfortable to hold. The HexClad logo is engraved into the steel end cap.
Besides the handle, the next feature you’ll notice is the Damascus blades. The wavy design is a result of the layered construction. The edge is shinier than the upper blade.
After washing the blade dozens of times, the wavy pattern is less noticeable. Micro scratches from the sponge have dulled the finish slightly, and the wavy pattern is tough to see unless you hold the knife at a certain angle.
HexClad knives have thin profile blades. In other words, the distance from the spine — the dull side of the blade — to the edge is less than most knives.
For example, the HexClad 8-inch chef’s knife blade is 1.75 inches wide (measured at the heel).
While the slimmer blade design makes HexClad knives lighter and more nimble to handle, it’s harder to scoop up ingredients, especially compared to other knives like the Dalstrong Shogun 8-inch chef’s knife, which has a 2.25-inch wide blade.
Because of the thinner blade profile, there’s minimal knuckle clearance. If you have large hands, your knuckles might hit the cutting board when you rock chop or attempt to cut with the blade’s heel.
At 2.1 mm, HexClad blades are relatively thin. The 8-inch chef’s knife weighs only 6.6 ounces.
For comparison, the Zwilling Pro 8-inch knife weighs 9.4 ounces, and the blade is 2.7 mm thick.
Thinner and lighter knives are nimble and cause less wrist fatigue, but you’ll need to apply more pressure to cut through thick ingredients like squash.
Overall, these knives look almost exactly like the Shun Classic collection (which is a good thing). The main standout features are the green handle and thin blade profile.
I’ve been testing HexClad knives for several months, and there are several positives and a few negatives.
On the positive side, the handles are extremely comfortable. I have no complaints about the handle design. They fit nicely in my hand, and the matte texture feels smooth — sometimes, handles with a polished finish can feel sticky.
HexClad knives are balanced. If you rest your index finger under the bolster, the knife won’t tip forward or backward. The weight is evenly distributed throughout.
Even though HexClad doesn’t disclose the exact edge angle, my testing proved that these knives are incredibly sharp. They slice through fruits, vegetables, and meat with ease. They even pass the paper test.
I’ve used these knives to break down tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, potatoes, and chicken, and they perform as advertised. Due to the thinner blade, it’s easy to navigate in tighter areas required for breaking down a whole chicken.
I used HexClad knives almost daily for two months before they started to dull. Thanks to the hard steel, they hold their edge well.
The most noticeable downside is that these knives are lightweight. Nimble knives like these have huge advantages but aren’t the best tools for extremely hard ingredients.
For example, I wouldn’t recommend using HexClad knives to cut up a butternut squash. Sure, it’s possible, but thicker, heavier knives are better suited for that job.
The other issue is the thin blade profile. If you’re dicing peppers, onions or herbs, it’s difficult to scoop the ingredients and transfer them to the pan because there’s not much room on the blade.
Also, the thin blade profile means you have to be conscious about your grip. If you wrap your entire hand around the blade and attempt the rock chop technique, there’s a good chance your knuckles will hit the cutting board (depending on the size of your hand).
Overall, I’m impressed with the performance of HexClad knives. For a company known for pans, their knives cut as well or better than some of the biggest brands focusing solely on cutlery.
HexClad knives aren’t cheap, but they’re not as pricey as other Japanese-style knife brands, such as Shun.
For example, the HexClad 8-inch chef’s knife costs under $100, and the Shun Classic 8-inch chef’s knife costs over $200 on the brands’ websites. Price may vary depending on where the knives are purchased.
Additionally, unlike other brands with several knife collections at various price points, HexClad only offers one collection at a single price point.
Check out the table below to compare HexClad’s prices to other similar options.
|HexClad 3.5-Inch Paring Knife
|HexClad 5-Inch Utility Knife
|HexClad 7-Inch Santoku Knife
|HexClad 8-Inch Chef's Knife
|HexClad 8-Inch Serrated Bread Knife
|HexClad 6-Piece Knife Set
|Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
|Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef's Knife
|Shun Classic 5-Piece Knife Set
|Miyabi Mizu 8-Inch Chef's Knife
|Miyabi Birchwood 7-Piece Knife Set
There’s a lot to like about HexClad knives, but they aren’t perfect. Here are the most notable downsides.
- Lightweight: A lightweight knife has pros and cons, depending on how you use it. For example, a lightweight knife can reduce hand fatigue but won’t cut through dense root vegetables or meats as effortlessly as a heavier knife. As a result, you’ll need to use more force while cutting through tough foods, which increases the risk of your hand slipping.
- Thin blade profile: The thin blade profile makes these knives more nimble but limits how you use the knife. For example, you won’t be able to scoop ingredients onto the blade as easily as you would with a thicker blade profile.
- Not sharp out of the box: Many reviews of HexClad knives indicate the blades aren’t sharp straight out of the box. That wasn’t my experience with the HexClad knives I bought, but it’s a common complaint and another sign that there might be quality control issues.
- Minor imperfections in the handle: Regarding fit and finish, HexClad knives could be better. There’s a slight gap at the seam between the blade and the handle. Most people won’t notice, and it doesn’t impact performance, but it’s another sign that the manufacturing process has room for improvement.
- Made In China: Although HexClad knives are made using traditional Japanese methods, they are made in China. Manufacturing in China helps keep the prices low but takes away some perceived authenticity.
- Poorly made knife block: HexClad knife storage is a poorly made magnetic block. The vertical part of the block isn’t attached straight to the metal base, and the non-slip mat underneath the base is also crooked. Every block may not have these issues, but it’s another sign of poor quality control.
Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about HexClad knives.
HexClad introduced its knives in 2022. The HexClad co-founders, Daniel Winer and Cole Mecray, spent years developing these knives to achieve the same quality as HexClad cookware.
HexClad offers one line of knives: an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch Santoku knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 5-inch utility knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, steak knives, carving sets, and a variety of knife sets including the 6-piece Essential set and a 4-piece steak knife set. View the entire lineup on HexClad.com or Amazon.
HexClad knives are designed in California and manufactured in China.
The best way to preserve HexClad knives is to wash them by hand and dry them thoroughly. The dishwasher’s extremely hot water and harsh detergents can dull the blade and handle. Additionally, use a wood cutting board. The softness of the wood will help maintain a sharp edge.
Many people confuse honing and sharpening. Honing maintains and straightens the cutting edge of the blade. Sharpening restores sharpness to a dull or damaged edge.
To hone your knife, hold the honing rod at a 90-degree angle to the cutting board. Position the part of the cutting edge closest to the handle at a 20-degree angle to the rod. Apply gentle pressure and sweep the knife down the rod, ensuring the blade’s edge stays in contact with the rod.
Usually, 3-5 swipes per side will evenly hone your knife. Check the blade by cutting a piece of fruit. Repeat the process if necessary.
When you sharpen a knife, you remove materials that can dull the blade and realign it to cut effectively. HexClad recommends using a whetstone or knife sharpener. After you soak your whetstone and place it on a towel, position your blade at a 20-degree angle against the stone. Apply light pressure and slide the knife down the whetstone 2-6 times per side.
HexClad doesn’t offer a knife sharpening service.
HexClad offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for customers who aren’t satisfied. The company also provides exchanges for defective or damaged knives.
Yes, HexClad knives come with a limited lifetime warranty covering manufacturer defects. It does not cover damage from abuse, misuse, or product alteration.
Now that you know the pros and cons of HexClad knives, are they worth buying?
Before I give you my recommendation, let’s quickly recap the key points.
Materials and construction: HexClad knives are forged from 67 layers of Japanese Damascus steel, including an AUS-10 steel cutting core. The handles are made of PakkaWood, a non-porous wood composite that’s waterproof and resistant to fading.
Design: HexClad only offers one knife collection with Damascus steel blades and greenish PakkaWood handles. They look and feel like Shun Classic knives, but the blade profile is thinner.
Performance: HexClad knives are incredibly sharp, lightweight, and balanced. They work great on most ingredients but aren’t the best option for cutting through thick or tough food like potatoes or squash.
Price: HexClad knives aren’t cheap but they’re less expensive than high-end Japanese-style knives like Shun and Miyabi. Manufacturing in China helps keep costs low.
Downsides: Inconsistencies in sharpness and imperfections in the knives and knife blocks are signs that the company needs to improve its manufacturing and quality control processes.
Bottom Line — HexClad knives look, feel, and perform similarly to much more expensive Japanese brands (like Shun and Miyabi). The handles are comfortable, the edges are sharp, and the Damascus finish gives these knives an elegant look.
If you’re looking for affordable, lightweight knives that are easy to use and won’t strain your wrists, HexClad is an excellent option.
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