Sabatier Knives: An Explanation and Reviews of the Best French Knives
By Bobby B. | June 12, 2020 | Knife Brands
If you’re not familiar with the story behind Sabatier knives, you’re in for a treat. You can read the full history about all the craziness towards the bottom of this page, or click here to be taken directly to that section. If you already know the story or don’t care, we’ll get on to the meat and potatoes… our Sabatier Knife Reviews! But first, if you skipped the history, you should know that there are over 30 different companies claiming the “Sabatier” brand name these days. You can see many of their logos in the image above. Just keep in mind that their product quality is obviously not all the same.
For this reason, you should consider sabatier knives as a “style” of knives rather than a “brand” of knives. This page contains reviews and a list of our favorite versions of the sabatier knives, but they are not all made by the same company and you shouldn’t assume that since we like these knives that all sabatier knives are good. Many are, but there are some poorly made imitations also.
In general, sabatier knives are a French-inspired design, usually forged and triple-riveted. Most of them are high quality knives, especially those that are still using the old, traditional knife making process and made in France. In fact, some would call sabatier knives the “best French knives”.
Characteristics of Sabatier Knives
Most sabatier knives all have the same characteristics, following the originals from the early 19th century. Most are fully-forged knives, meaning they are shaped from a single piece of steel. This is the preferred method for making a knife (vs. stamping the blade) because it’s a stronger build.
Typically the handle is secured on with three rivets over a full tang blade (metal extends all the way to the butt of the knife). The full bolster gives added weight for balance, and it also makes the knife feel substantial in your hands. Something unique to most French-style knives is the straight spine. Most Western-style knives are slightly curved int he spine. It’s all about preference. One is not necessarily better than the other. Last, but not least, the original sabatier knives were all hand sharpened by a skilled artisan for best performance.
The Best Sabatier Knife
Since there are so many different companies making sabatier knives, it can really be difficult to discern the good ones from the bad ones. To the untrained eye, they all look exactly the same, but as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” We’ve researched which sabatier knives are easily attainable for consumers online and reviewed a few of our favorites. But, as you’ll see, they’re not all produced with the same quality.
K Sabatier Knife Review:
We really like this 10-inch traditional sabatier chef’s knife from the brand K Sabatier. It has a great weight and heft to it and the full bolster give great balance in your hand. The blade is made out of a high-quality, high-carbon stainless steel so it should last a lifetime. It does have a sabatier logo on the blade (important to some).
They claim this is an “authentic” sabatier knife. It’s typical for knife enthusiasts to call knives made in Thiers, France, like this one, either genuine or authentic. That’s just because this is where the originals were made. This one is special however. It’s actually made in one of the original sabatier factories, and has been for roughly 150 years! The company claims to also be run by descendants of Philippe Sabatier himself.
A knife like this brings back a lot of nostalgia for many of us that saw them in our parents or grandparent’s kitchens when we were young. Although this is not a cheap knife, it’s relatively inexpensive when compared to other brand-name, 10-inch western chef’s knives. If you’ve been wanting sabatier chef’s knife for your kitchen, this should be the first one consider for purchase. To be frank, in our opinion, it’s the best sabatier knife currently available at Amazon. Some of the others don’t come close as you’ll see below.
Other Sabatier Knives Available
These knives are of less quality than the one listed above from K Sabatier. There’s nothing particularly bad about them, and frankly, it has nothing to do with where they’re made. It’s just that they aren’t made of the same materials and/or craftsmanship that make a quality knife. It doesn’t mean they’re junk. In fact, there are tons of home chefs that want good looking knives that are budget-friendly. That’s more or less what these are.
Sabatier Knife Set Review
This knife block set is made by another company called, you guessed it, Sabatier. These are great looking knives and a perfect set for most families looking for a good value. It includes almost every knife you could want in your kitchen, plus kitchen shears, a sharpening steel, and 6 steak knives!
The knives are fully forged and contain a sabatier logo on the blade. They’re comfortable to hold and use. They put a modern twist on the traditional sabatier knife. The butt of the knife has exposed stainless and it’s shaped a bit differently than most. If you like the design and you’re looking for a budget knife set, don’t be afraid to consider this one. Just don’t expect this to be a high-end knife set.
Sabatier Knives Review
This knife block set is similar to the one reviewed above. In fact, it appears both are made by the same Sabatier brand. The build quality of these knives is also similar. They’re decent knives that look great, but they’re not made with high-end materials, but rather mass produced kitchen knives. The good news is that they’re priced as such.
We picked this set in particular to review as it’s quite unique. Almost all sabatier knives we’ve been around have black handles. The white handles on the knives in this set give a nice touch.
The story starts back in the early 18th Century where two families were producing knives in Thiers, France under the same namesake. By coincidence, it just so happened that they both had the same name, SABATIER. Though unrelated, they were both marking their knives with the same “brand”, also SABATIER. It might be hard to believe, but remember, trademark laws didn’t exist back then in the same capacity that they do today.
This of course made things confusing to anyone purchasing knives. It didn’t make things easier that both knives were considered to of very high quality and made with the utmost craftsmanship. The dispute of who trademarked Sabatier knives still exists today in fact. Both families even claim to have proof they were the first.
But that’s just where this story begins. In the many years since, there are now over 30 different companies making sabatier knives. Many of them are even still made right in Thiers, France along side the originals. This is how many cutlery connoisseurs decide if they are “authentic” or “genuine”. Let me be the first to tell you that a knife being made in Thiers, France does not automatically make it a high-quality knife. The fact is, there are so many companies out there making sabatier knives that you have to look at the build quality and materials uses to identify if it’s really any good. Using a blanket statement of saying sabatier knives are good or sabatier knives are bad is a generalization that just doesn’t give you enough information. Both are true. There are good and bad sabatier knives.
Consider Sabatier knives as a style rather than a brand of knives
With modern trademark laws, the days of the wild, wild, west are over, but there are still many, many sabatier brands. They got together and decided that while all the knife producers can still use the sabatier name, they must attach a mark, logo, letter, or addition word to the brand name to differentiate themselves and make it a bit less confusing. That’s where we stand with it today.
Sabatier Knives Summary
All of our knife brand reviews typically come down to What are the best things about the brand? and Are they worth buying? For all the reasons mentioned above, this review is quite different. Sabatier knives are cool because most of them have kept the traditional look and feel from knives made over 100 years ago, along with the quality craftsmanship. Are they the best French knives? It’s depends of course.
There are so many sabatier (air quotes) knife brands that just shove the name on cheap, poorly made knives mass produced in China to mark them up a few extra bucks and we feel like that’s mis-representing themselves.
Just be careful when searching for this type of knife and keep your eyes peeled for those imitators. Or better yet, look back at our advice above for an awesome sabatier knife that’s well-made and uses good materials.