Chicago Cutlery Reviews

Chicago Cutlery Reviews:  The Top 5 Best Knife Sets for 2020

By Bobby B. |  January 1, 2020  | Knife Brands

Chicago Cutlery makes several different kitchen knife sets in their many collections, mainly marketed to home chefs at very affordable prices.  The company was originally founded back in 1930 and offered just knife sharpening services.  With demand being high, they started making professional, American-made knives for the meat and poultry industry.  It wasn’t until 1969 that Chicago Cutlery knives were available to the public.

My first experience with Chicago Cutlery knives (and likely yours too) would be the old, wooden-handled butcher knives that every household seemed to have back in the 70’s and 80s.  Believe it or not, they still make a similar knife today!  But that’s no longer what they’re known for.  Today, they’re well-known for their great looking, truly affordable kitchen knife sets for the value-minded home chef.

Wood Handle Chicago Cutlery Knife (Walnut Tradition)

Chicago Cutlery Knife Series/Lines

Chicago Cutlery provides a wide gamut of knife choices from high-quality, heavy-duty, forged knives to very inexpensive, cheaply made knives that aren’t something that will last very long.  In an effort to cover this variety, we’ve provided names, a description, and a link to several of their knife series below.  This is NOT an exhaustive list, but does include their most popular options.

Their knife lines tend to follow the Good, Better, Best model.  The best Chicago Cutlery knives are made with quality in mid, most of them forged from a single piece of stainless steel.  Their “better” level includes nice knives, still many that are forged, but that focus more on providing the consumer with great value for their money.  And, their “good” knives are a cheaper version to get a decent-looking set of knives to customers that don’t care to spend money on high-quality knives. 

Best 

  • Fusion:  Chicago Cutlery’s Flagship Line – High Carbon Stainless Steel Forged Blades w/ Comfortable Poly Handles
  • Insignia: “Guilded Grip” Encourages Home Chefs to Use the Professional “Pinch Grip”
  • Insignia Bronze:  Same as the Insignia Series Above, But with a Matte Bronze Finish
  • Insignia2 or Insignia II:  Full-Tang, Forged, Heavy-Duty Bolster Knife (Knife Set Includes In-Block Sharpener)
  • ElstonAll Stainless Steel Knife Set w/ a Modern Look & Feel
  • Beldon:  Uses Unique 25-Degree Sharpening Angle

Better

  • Burling:  Forged, Full-Tang SS Knife w/ Black Handles (Knife Set Includes In-Block Sharpener)
  • Malden:  Modern-Looking All Stainless Knife (Set Includes In-Block Knife Sharpener)
  • DesignPro Very Unique Design On Both the Knives and the Knife Block
  • BeechwoodAsian-Inspired Design, Made w/ Beechwood Handles
  • Avondale:  Forged Knife w/ Dual Material Handle w/ Great Balance
  • Fullerton:  Black/Stainless Forged Knife w/ Dark Espresso Knife Block

Good (Some of these are VERY POPULAR knife sets)

  • EssentialsOne of Chicago Cutlery’s Most Popular Knives (Stamped Blade)
  • Metropolitan:  A Top-Selling Knife Line that is Very Affordable (Stamped Blade)
  • Walnut Tradition This is the Old-School Wood Handle Knives Discussed Above (Stamped Blade)
  • Damen Forged Knife, Looks Great, Priced Right 
  • Kinzie:  Offered in Black and Many Other Colors (Stamped Blade)
  • ProHold:  Ultra-Unique All-Black Knife Design and 2-Tone Wood Block

Yes, Chicago Cutlery makes lots of different knives and knife sets.  In addition to the small snippet on each of them above, here are detailed reviews on our top 5 favorite Chicago Cutlery knife sets!

Chicago Cutlery Fusion Review - 18pc Knife Block
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set

Knives Included:

3.25″ Paring Knife, 3″ Peeler, 5″ Utility Knife, (8) 4.25′ Steak Knives, 7.75″ Chef Knife, 8″ Slicer, 7.75″ Bread Knife, 5″ Partoku, 7″ Santoku Knife, and 8″ Sharpening Steel

Blade Material:

High Carbon Stainless Steel

Block Material:

Wood

Pros:

  • Heavy-Duty, Forged Blades w/ Full-Tang
  • Feels Great in Your Hands
  • Brings a Modern Look to Your Kitchen
  • Great Value!  Lots of Knives for this Price Point and Quality
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Steak Knives Not Exactly the Same Design as other Knives in Block
  • No Kitchen Shears Included in Set

Chicago Cutlery Fusion Review:

The Fusion Series by Chicago Cutlery is our favorite in their line-up.  They are made of a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel that holds sharpness on their blades.  They are also forged to complete a strong, long-lasting knife with great, modern design.  And, if you look at other brands outside of Chicago Cutlery, you’ll be VERY hard pressed to find a larger set of decent knives at this price point.  Yes, you can find cheaper knives, but this is a great knife set for consumers that care about getting quality knives at a good price, not just a good price.

Knives Included:

3″ Paring Knife, 3.5″ Paring Knife, 5″ Boning Knife, 5.5″ Utility Knife, 7″ Serrated Bread Knife, 7″ Santoku Knife, 8″ Chef’s Knife, 8″ Slicer, (8) 4.5″ Forged Steak Knives, Kitchen Shears

Blade Material:

High Carbon Stainless Steel

Block Material:

Maple Wood

Pros:

  • Forged Knife w/ Heavy-Duty Bolster
  • All Necessary Knives & Includes Kitchen Shears
  • Classic Styling
  • Affordable Price for Quality
  • 8 Matching Steak Knives
  • In-Block Knife Sharpener Included
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Look Like High-End Classic Knives, But NOT the Same Professional Quality

Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 Review:

We love the classic look of the Chicago Cutlery Insignia 2 Knives.  Because they resemble them so much, the Insignia2 often gets compared to some of the more expensive J.A. Henckels or Wusthof knives.  While these are some very nice knives at a great price point, they are not the same high-end steels that are used in those more professional knives.  That doesn’t take away the fact that these are great knives for a home kitchen that look similar to those knives.

Chicago Cutlery Insignia Review - 19pc Forged Knife Block
Chicago Cutlery Insignia Review - 19pc Knife Set

Knives Included:

3″ Peeler, 3.25″ Paring Knife, 6″ Boning Knife, 5″ Utility Knife, 8″ Serrated Bread Knife, 7″ Santoku Knife, 8″ Slicer, 8″ Chef Knife, (8) 4.5″ Steak Knives, Kitchen Shears

Blade Material:

Satin Finished High-Carbon Stainless Steel

Block Material:

Wood Block and Bamboo Cutting Board

Pros:

  • Large Set of Knives, Great Price
  • Includes FREE Bamboo Cutting Board
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • In-Block Knife Sharpener
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Light-Weight Design (Can Feel Insuffiecient In Your Hands)

Chicago Cutlery Insignia Review:

The Insignia series has an ultra-modern feel and is made of an all-stainless steel design.  Since they’re all stainless, they are also dishwasher safe.  This particular set comes not only with the in-block knife sharpener, but also a FREE bamboo cutting board.  Another great set for a great price.

Chicago Cutlery Essentials Review - Cheapest Knife Block Set
Cheapest Chicago Cutlery Knife Block Set - Essentials Series

Knives Included:

3″ Peeler, 3.5″ Paring Knife, 4.5″ Serrated Fruit Knife, 4.75″ Serrated Utility Knife, 5″ Santoku Knife, 7″ Santoku Knife, 8″ Scallopped Bread Knife, (6) Serrated Steak Knives, and Kitchen Shears

Blade Material:

High Carbon Stainless Steel

Block Material:

Wood

Pros:

  • Cheapest Price for a Large Set of Chicago Cutlery Kitchen Knives
  • Great, Classic Look
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Low Quality Knives
  • Stamped Blades 
  • Not Heavy Duty

Chicago Cutlery Essentials Review:

The “Essentials” knives from Chicago Cutlery are the best option for those folks just looking for the cheapest set of “name-brand” kitchen knives.  With this set, you get so many knives for such a low price.  But don’t kid yourself, these are NOT high-quality knives even if they do look like some of the higher-end knives.

Chicago Cutlery ProHold Review - Dual Knife Block Set
Chicago Cutlery ProHold 14pc Set with Non-Stick Coating

Knives Included:

8″ Chef Knife, 8″ Bread Knife, 5″ Serrated Utility Knife, 5″ Santoku Knife, 3.5″ Paring Knife, 3.25″ Peeling Knife, (6) 4.5″ Serrated Steak Knives

Blade Material:

Stainless Steel w/ Black Non-Stick Coating

Block Material:

Two-Tone Wood

Pros:

  • Unique and Attractive Knife Set
  • Non-Stick Coating on the Blades
  • Space-Saving Block Takes Up Less Counter Space
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Low Quality Knives
  • Stamped Blades 
  • Not Heavy Duty

Chicago Cutlery ProHold Review:

The ProHold Series by Chicago Cutlery is also very inexpensive for the amount and type of knives that you get, so there’s a ton of value for consumers in this set.  The black non-stick coating on the blades prevents food from sticking on the blades during dinner prep.  Not only does the two-tone wood block give a modern feel to your kitchen, but with the vertical-standing knives, it saves space on your counter tops, making this set ideal for small kitchens.

Chicago Cutlery Steak Knives

Many of the sames series listed above offer extra steak knives in 4, 6, or 8 piece sets that can be purchased separately.  It’s always a great idea to have extra steak knives on hand for dinner parties and other larger events where you’ll need more than just the few that came with your set.  Again, here are some of our favorites, but you can find a larger list of those available here… Chicago Cutlery Steak Knives at Amazon

Chicago Cutlery Review Summary

Chicago Cutlery is part of the larger “Corelle Brands”.  They likely have several kitchen brands that you’ll recognize, including Correlle (dishes), Pyrex (glassware), CorningWare (baking/serving dishes), Snapware (food storage), and of course, Chicago Cutlery for kitchen knives.  Their knives are built around the credo of bringing great looking kitchen knives into the homes of those that can’t afford (or just don’t care) to buy professional, high-end knives.  And, they do a great job doing this!

CC provides tons of different options for consumers and give them tremendous value in the process.  As you can see above, they offer some of the best knife sets (with MANY knives) at a great price point.  With their lifetime warranty, it’s a no-brainer to consider Chicago Cutlery for your next set of kitchen knives if you’re budget conscience. 

Chicago Cutlery FAQs

Where Are Chicago Cutlery Knives Made?

Chicago Cutlery knives, like most other knives at this price point are made in China.  The cheaper labor rates in this country are a big reason why they are able to price these knife sets so favoriably.

Are Chicago Cutlery Knives Dishwasher Safe?

Chicago Cutlery recommends that you hand wash their knives “with a soapy cloth and dry immediately.”  Washing them in the dishwasher can cause premature damage and nicks to the blades as well as unsightly stains/corrosion due to the carbon content in the “stainless” steel blades.

What is the Best Chicago Cutlery Knife Set?

The Fusion Series of knives is the best they offer.  They are forged, full-tang, stainless steel knives that can be purchased in 12-pc set, 17-pc set, or an 18-pc set.  All of the their Fusion knife sets are a great value to budget-conscience consumers.

Does Chicago Cutlery Make Good Knives?

This of course depends on your relative meaning of good.  There are certainly both better and worse kitchen knives available to consumers.  In the grand scheme of things, Chicago Cutlery’s knives are closer to the budget-friendly end of the spectrum than high-quality, but that doesn’t make them bad.  They are good knives if you want a nice, large set of knives for your home kitchen that doesn’t break the bank.  You can’t get “good” knives at this price point. 

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