One of the most essential tools in the kitchen is a sharp, well-balanced knife. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt if it has a sense of style, too.
If you’re searching for a new knife or knife set and considering Mercer Culinary, you’re in the right place.
In this Mercer knives review, you’ll learn how they look, feel, perform, and how they compare to the competition.
I’ll also cover where they are made, how much they cost, and what other cutlery experts and reviewers think of them.
Reading this unbiased review will help you make an informed decision about whether or not Mercer knives belong in your kitchen.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Knife Collections
- Materials and Construction
- Company Background
- Where They Are Made
- What Others Are Saying About Mercer Knives
- Bottom Line: Are Mercer Knives Any Good?
Swipe or scroll to view the entire chart.
|Knife Collection||Price||Handle Material||Steel Hardness (Rockwell Scale)||Blade Construction||Top Reason to Buy|
|MX3||$$$$$||Delrin||60–62||Forged||Ergonomic, balanced handle|
|ZüM||$$$$||Delrin||55–57||Forged||Taper-ground edge for lasting sharpness|
|Renaissance||$$$$||Delrin||55–57||Forged||Classic German design|
|Genesis||$$$||Santoprene||55–57||Forged||Ergonomic non-slip grip, thick bolster for balance|
|BPX||$$$||Glass-reinforced nylon||57–58||Stamped||Textured ergonomic grip|
|Millennia||$$||Santoprene/ polypropylene||53–54||Stamped||Textured grip with finger guards for safety|
|Millennia White||$$||Santoprene/ polypropylene||53–54||Stamped||Textured grip with finger guards for safety|
|Millennia Colors||$$||Santoprene/ polypropylene||53–54||Stamped||Textured grip with finger guards for safety|
|Praxis||$$||Rosewood||53–54||Stamped||Stunning rosewood handle|
|Ultimate White||$$||Polypropylene||55–57||Stamped||Textured, slip-resistant handle|
|Asian Collection||$$$||Wood or Santoprene||55–57||Stamped||Traditional Japanese craftsmanship, extremely sharp blade|
Mercer offers both German and Japanese knife styles across its collections. I’ll cover design features from each collection but start this section by taking a close look at the Genesis line.
The Genesis collection is one of the most extensive Mercer offers. All knives feature a black Santoprene handle that is a soft material designed to provide comfort and non-slip usage.
The handle can withstand hot and cold temperatures and oily foods without degrading. It’s also a hygienic option as there are no crevices for food and debris to hide.
The handle has a flat profile, unlike the Asian Collection, which features a rounded handle. There is a pronounced divot toward the underside of the butt of the knife for a sure grip.
The full tang knife features a Mercer logo-engraved stainless steel stylish rivet on one side of the handle.
Genesis knives feature a thick half bolster for balance and durability. Half bolsters allow you to sharpen the entire edge, unlike full bolsters where the thick part of the steel extends through the edge’s heel (example: Wusthof Classic).
This collection features a straight blade with smooth taper-ground edges.
Edges are razor sharp and hand polished. They are designed to be easily honed at home when needed.
The forged blade is thick and offers a good amount of heft. It feels solid in your hand and has a brushed stainless look instead of a mirror finish.
The type of steel, the Mercer logo, the model number, and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) food safety and sanitation designation are featured prominently on the blade.
Besides Genesis, Mercer features 10 other knife collections. Each has distinct design elements covered briefly below:
MX3: The MX3 is a forged knife with a half bolster and three layers of laminated carbon steel on top of a VG10 steel core. It features a triple-riveted black ergonomic handle made of crystallized plastic known as Delrin.
ZüM: An incredibly sleek knife that features a Delrin handle with a rounded spine. It’s an exposed full-tang knife with a half bolster that features the Mercer logo on the handle. Handles are black with a slight sheen.
Renaissance: A classic German-inspired knife with full-tang construction. Aesthetically, it’s similar to the MX3 but with a rounded spine and a pronounced grip on the knife butt. The black, triple-riveted Delrin handle is ergonomically-designed for comfort and stability.
BPX: An offering of butcher knives designed to handle thick cuts of meat or vegetables with ease. This stamped collection features angled blades, and black glass-reinforced nylon handles with finger guards that offer a stable grip and overall durability.
Millennia: There are three different Millennia collections, but they differ in color options. Millennia features stamped blades and black ergonomic handles with finger guards made from Santoprene for comfort and polypropylene for long-lasting performance. Millennia White features black and white handles, and Millennia Colors features handles in up to six colors: yellow, red, purple, green, brown, and blue.
Praxis: A stamped knife collection with eye-catching Rosewood handles. The three gold-toned compression rivets provide a nice contrast against the wood grain and keep the knife handle sturdy. The ergonomic handles make it comfortable to hold.
Ultimate White: A stamped knife collection with stunning white polypropylene handles. Handles feature a finger guard and textured areas for secure gripping and slip resistance. Blades are hollow ground with smooth or wavy edges.
Asian Collection: The stamped knives in this collection are inspired by Asian cuisine but made with German steel. Blades are delicate and lightweight while balanced with the rounded Santoprene handles with a glossy dark neck at the top. You also have a choice of light-colored wood handles.
There are many options with Mercer Culinary. You can choose from forged or stamped knives, German or Japanese steel, and an array of handle types suitable for beginner cooks and professional chefs.
This section breaks down the materials and construction across Mercer’s collections.
Mercer uses three different steels in its collections and prominently features the type of steel on the blade of each knife.
Their blades are made from either high-carbon German steel, high-carbon Japanese steel, or high-carbon stainless steel with a VG10 stainless core.
- German steel (X50CrMoV15): An alloy with carbon, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and other elements. The elements work together to resist wear, stains, and corrosion. They also strengthen the blade and help it retain sharpness. The following Mercer knife collections use German steel: ZüM, Renaissance, Genesis, BPX, and the Asian Collection (interestingly, they use German steel in the Asian Collection).
- Japanese steel (X30CR13): A type of stainless steel that is softer than German steel because it has less carbon, vanadium, and molybdenum content. It requires more frequent sharpening but is less likely to chip than rigid steel. All Millennia collections use Japanese steel, as well as Praxis and Ultimate White.
- VG10: A high-end Japanese steel thought of as a gold standard among steel. It’s high in carbon and chromium and contains vanadium, molybdenum, and cobalt. It has superior rust resistance, is highly durable, and retains its edge well. VG10 serves as the core steel in the Mercer MX3 collection. The core is covered by laminated high-carbon stainless steel.
Mercer knife handles are made from Santoprene, DELRIN, polypropylene, a mixture of Santoprene and polypropylene, glass-reinforced nylon, or wood.
Santoprene, DELRIN, and polypropylene are synthetic thermoplastics — a hard, rubber-like material. Most Mercer knife collections, including MX3, Renaissance, and Millennia, use one or more of these materials.
Wood offers a natural material choice for those who don’t prefer synthetic handles, but it is limited to Praxis and Asian Collection knives.
All handles are either ergonomically designed or crafted with comfort in mind.
MX3, ZüM, Renaissance, and Genesis collections feature full-tang knives. A full-tang knife features a single piece of steel that runs the length of the handle and extends through the tip of the blade.
Therefore, they offer better balance and weight.
Some Mercer knife collections are forged: MX3, ZüM, Renaissance, and Genesis. The rest are stamped.
How are forged and stamped kitchen knives different?
Forged knives are better balanced because they have weighted handles so that the blade doesn’t carry all of the heft. Unlike stamped blades, forged blades are created from a single steel bar. Stamped blades are cut out of a large steel sheet, producing multiple knives at once.
Forged blades require an extensive manufacturing process. To put it in perspective, it can take 40 steps to make a forged blade, while a stamped blade might require 15 steps or less.
Forged blades tend to be more expensive than stamped blades and last longer because of their robust construction, but they are also heavy. Stamped blades are lighter, thinner, and lose their edge quicker.
Each construction is suitable for different tasks and varies in comfort and performance. For example, forged knives tend to handle tough meat or thick vegetables easily, while stamped knives are better for delicate tasks such as deboning a fish.
I’ve been testing Mercer knives, and the overall performance is excellent.
When you pick up Mercer knives, the first thing you’ll notice is their heft. These knives are heavy and sturdy. You won’t mistake these knives for a cheap department store brand.
The blades and handles are thick, especially in the Renaissance, Genesis, ZüM, and other forged collections (the stamped options are much lighter).
I really like the Santoprene handle featured in the Genesis collection. It’s a grippy texture that prevents slipping, even when your hand is wet, or you’re wearing a glove.
The forged and stamped blades are incredibly sharp straight out of the box. Despite the thick German-style blades, Mercer knives slice through ingredients with ease. I made paper-thin slices of grapes and beets to demonstrate the edge’s sharpness.
As good as Mercer knives are with delicate ingredients, they’re even better for dense ingredients like squash, watermelon, yams, and any type of meat.
Most collections are sharpened to a 15-degree angle on each side, a standard angle for quality German-inspired knife brands.
The Asian collection offers two edge angles on its knives. The Sashimi and Deba knives are sharpened to 6 degrees on one side and 15 degrees on the other. The Santoku and Nakiri knives are sharpened at 16 degrees per side. These angles are in line with other Asian-inspired knife designs.
But, you may be wondering, “why do edge angles matter”? It’s important because the edge angle determines how the knife will perform on specific tasks.
For example, preparing sushi or sashimi requires a knife with a smaller angle (12-17 degrees) for precision. A knife with a wider angle (17 degrees or more) is suitable for general cutting, deboning, or carving.
Hardness is another important factor. Mercer knives are between 55 and 62 on the Rockwell scale. Knives in this range are ideal for maintaining a sharp edge longer without making the blade too brittle.
Overall, Mercer knives are tough, hefty, and sharp. That said, performance varies by collection. If you’re looking for a well-rounded workhorse, my top picks are Genesis and Renaissance. If you’re looking for lighter, more precise knives, go with the Ultimate White or Asian Collection.
Mercer knives are made in Taiwan, making them significantly more affordable than knives of similar style and quality. While they are not top-tier knives price-wise, they are good enough to compete with high-end brands like WÜSTHOF.
These knives are a favored choice of young chefs attending culinary school and home chefs who want a quality knife set on a budget.
The price of each knife or set will depend on the collection you choose. However, all Mercer knives are relatively inexpensive, costing a fraction of German knife brands, such as Zwilling.
Mercer offers a limited lifetime warranty on all collections for home use. For commercial use, the warranty is adjusted to 25 years.
For current pricing, please refer to the following chart:
|Knife / Knife Set||Price||View Details|
|Mercer Culinary Genesis 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Ultimate White 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Mercer Cutlery Renaissance 10-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Renaissance 7-Inch Santoku Knife||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Millennia 5-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Zum 6-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Millennia 13-Piece Culinary School Set||Amazon|
|Mercer Culinary Züm 10-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
Officially known as Mercer Tool Corp., Mercer was founded in 1968 by Mel Wallick on Mercer Street in New York City. Back then, the company made files for industrial use.
Today, the second-generation family business is headquartered in Ronkonkoma, New York. It offers an array of products under different brands such as Mercer Culinary for professional kitchen tools and cutlery and Barfly Mixology Gear, a collection of essential bartending tools.
Mercer Culinary is known for its professional cutlery, kitchen tools, storage, chef’s apparel, and kitchen safety and sanitation products. The brand is also globally renowned for delivering culinary education.
You won’t find Mercer knives strolling around your local department store. For more than 30 years, Mercer has been one of the leading kitchen cutlery and tools suppliers to culinary institutes in North America.
Yet, Mercer’s kitchen knives and tools are quite popular on Amazon. They appeal to home chefs who desire professional cutlery at an affordable price.
Where They Are Made
Mercer is based in New York but manufactures its German- and Japanese-style cutlery in Taiwan.
If you compare Mercer to German-made WÜSTHOF knives, you’ll notice that some of the collections look similar, from handle to blade, such as WÜSTHOF Classic and Mercer Renaissance.
That’s because Mercer uses the same type of German steel and style as high-end brands like WÜSTHOF and Zwilling.
Manufacturing the knives in Taiwan keeps the costs of Mercer knives lower than WÜSTHOF, Zwilling, and knives of similar quality.
There’s a lot to like about Mercer knives, but they come with some downsides, too. Here are the main drawbacks to know before you buy.
The following data is based on our tests and feedback from verified purchasers of Mercer knives.
Many collections use thermoplastic handles. Although I really appreciate the added grip and safety the textured finish provides, some home cooks prefer a classic, smooth handle.
The stamped collections feel unbalanced; the blade feels heavier than the handle. This is especially true on longer knives like slicers and bread knives. The Millennia collection gets the most complaints about balance.
While the Mercer knives arrive sharp, some users complain that they don’t hold their edge as long as other knives that they own. Some also find that, even after sharpening, it’s difficult to regain the initial sharpness.
There are reports of blades displaying rust or chipping after limited use. In regards to rust, it’s important to remember that knives should be washed immediately after use and thoroughly dried before being stored.
Also, do not put the knives in a dishwasher. The heat and chemicals in detergent can alter a knife’s appearance. It’s also wise to use a cutting board to protect the blade from chipping.
Some collections feature knives with a significant curve on the blade’s cutting edge, such as Renaissance’s Chef’s knife and a variety of BPX knives. This can take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to knives with a straighter edge.
Mercer caters its products to the foodservice industry; they’re primarily available online and not in stores. This means you can’t see, touch, or test the knives before buying them.
Although Mercer makes German- and Japanese-style knives, they are not manufactured in those countries. They are made in Taiwan, which can cause people to question authenticity even though they are quality knives.
What Others Are Saying About Mercer Knives
Mercer has a solid reputation, especially in the culinary industry. For decades, it has been a major supplier of knives, kitchen tools, and other chef accessories.
Here are what some reviewers and online publications are saying about Mercer Culinary.
Food & Wine picked the Mercer Ultimate White 8-Inch Chef’s Knife as the top Budget Chef’s Knife. The knife, which has good reviews on Amazon, is comparable to high-end stamped knives at a steep discount. Editors love the knife because it is easy to maintain and sharpen at home, is affordable, and offers solid performance.
Good Housekeeping shared the 12 Best Kitchen Knives, and Mercer’s Renaissance 8-Inch Chef’s Knife was named Sturdiest Chef’s Knife. The forged knife was praised for its heft, balance, and high-carbon steel construction. The sharpness of the blade made the knife work effortless, even with thick vegetables like carrots.
Serious Eats recently listed The Best Chef’s Knives and two Mercer Culinary knives placed in the top six: the Genesis and Millennia 8-Inch Chef’s knives. Both were called affordable. The Genesis Chef’s knife was lauded for being lightweight, grippy, and comfortable. The Millennia Chef’s knife stood out for its durability and sharpness, making it a good choice for beginners. Yet, reviewers thought it was off-balance, and its handle was too thick for small hands.
The New York Times’ Wirecutter named the Best Chef’s Knife, and although the top honor did not go to Mercer Culinary, the MX3 gyuto still performed well in kitchen tests. The Genesis Chef’s knife was sharper than the Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s knife (a top pick) out of the box. The Millenia Chef’s knife was considered uncomfortable and not sharp enough.
Mercer is an established brand with a long track record of developing high-quality knives. In fact, I named it one of the best German knife brands due to its mix of performance, durability, and affordability.
But are they right for you?
You should buy Mercer knives if you value:
- An established brand that culinary professionals respect
- An affordable alternative to high-end German and Japanese knife brands
- A choice of forged and stamped blades
- The use of quality materials like German and Japanese steel
- Multiple collections with diverse style elements
- Knife offerings with a range of hardness and different edge angles
You should NOT buy Mercer knives if you do NOT want:
- Synthetic or textured handles that are soft or too grippy
- To sharpen your knives frequently
- Stamped knives that don’t feel properly balanced
- Knives that require extra care to present rust, discoloration, or chipping
- Knife collections that must be purchased online and are unavailable for testing in person
- Blades with prominent curves
- German- or Japanese-style knives that are made in Taiwan
Bottom line — Mercer offers quality German- and Japanese-style knives at a fraction of the price of its competitors. If you’re looking for a professional-grade knife without a high price tag, Mercer is an excellent choice for you.
I highly recommend Mercer for cooks that love the look and feel of Wusthof and Zwilling but don’t want to spend over $100 on a single knife. The Genesis collection is my top pick, but Renaissance and ZüM are excellent options, too.
Mercer kitchen knives are available on Amazon, where you can learn more and read hundreds of reviews.
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