The Best Equipment Review: Best Carbon-Steel Chef’s Knives & Our Testing Winner Reviews 2019

Best carbon-steel knife:
Best stainless-steel knife:

Full review and results chart:

Carbon-steel enthusiasts have long considered these knives sharper and more durable than stainless. But do they really perform better—and are they worth the upkeep?

We tested 8 carbon-steel knives to find the best one:
Bob Kramer 8″ Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henckels
Tsukiji Masamoto Gyuto, 8 1/4″
Togiharu Virgin Carbon Steel Gyutou, 8.2″
Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou, 8.2″
Masamoto Sohonten Virgin Carbon Steel Gyutou, 8.2″
Messermeister Park Plaza Carbon 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
R. Murphy Chef’s Select 8 Inch Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife
Sabatier Mexeur et Cie 8″ Chef

ABOUT US: Located in Boston’s Seaport District in the historic Innovation and Design Building, America’s Test Kitchen features 15,000 square feet of kitchen space including multiple photography and video studios. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and Cook’s Country magazine and is the workday destination for more than 60 test cooks, editors, and cookware specialists. Our mission is to test recipes over and over again until we understand how and why they work and until we arrive at the best version.

Each week, the cast of America’s Test Kitchen brings the recipes, testings, and tastings from Cook’s Illustrated magazine to life on our public television series. With more than 2 million viewers per episode, we are the most-watched cooking show on public television.

More than 1.3 million home cooks rely on Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines to provide trusted recipes that work, honest ratings of equipment and supermarket ingredients, and kitchen tips.

If you like us, follow us:

The Best Equipment Review: Best Carbon-Steel Chef’s Knives & Our Testing Winner Reviews 2019


  1. This is incredible. It's not a review, it's an academic experiment, and a sound one at that. I've never seen one like it, but I hope to see more.

  2. what do you mean "if you have the cash?" i've been using old hickory carbon steel knives for years and they'll stay as sharp and hold an edge as well as the 52100 steel used in the kramer.. however, there are better stainless steels for edge retention than the victorinox stainless, like SV35N

  3. Misleading. Focus on carbon steel knives and don’t change course and wander off to opine about stainless. Also, give all knives a comparable sharpening on a steel before comparing them, microscopically or otherwise.

  4. What sharpening method get's you the best longevity for the least amount of work? I don't like the idea of using a whetstone. Ceramic rod?

  5. If you ever see this woman in a restaurant you are eating in I suggest you ask to move tables. Mary you ruined my dinner.

  6. A great great video. And backed up with MIT information, crazy good.

  7. Awesome Video!!
    So thorough! Great Job=)

  8. When she said CHEAP my ears kinda awoke and thought damm..It would be irresponsible for me not to by it.

  9. You can shave with my knives. Keep them wiped with canola oil. One knife I got from an estate sale and it is, according to what I found on google, 72 years old. I have had it 30 years. NEVER use a stone on them, just ceramic rod. In time a stone wears away the knife, Ceramic won't wear it out in your lifetime. Knives don't have to be shiny and pretty, they are after all, tools. If you want pretty, you can get Stainless knives that have "high Carbon" added to the stainless. These knives perform very well, but still can become spotty with acids.

  10. I want a Kramer so bad

  11. This is the best review channel of all. I have looked to ATK for almost all reviews of kitchen items we’ve purchased, from coffee makers to pans. Thank you!

  12. This isn't a review it's a commercial for Amazon. No mention of edge maintenance. Carbon steel is harder to sharpen. Also Higher Rockwell hardness doesnt equal 'stronger' or better knives as there's a trade off between harder knives like carbon are more prone to chipping/cracking.

  13. Well if you are not going to use it, I will take that Kramer. Thank you. Happy holidays.

  14. Really informative and thorough. Would have liked to see a comparison of the Zwilling carbon steel with a stainless steel Zwilling like Pro series

  15. I always laughed my ass off watching culinary goobers cutting onions sideways. LMAO dumb ass it has rings that isn't necessary! EXPERIENCE not expensive schools make you great.

  16. Only issue is sharpening stainless is much harder, but for the money difference I'd agree I'd get the victorinox knife as well

  17. I have several knives from swiss army to paring to chef's knives made by victorinox some 45 years old and I have been more than satisfied with all of them, it's nice to know a company still has such great standards that you can buy one today and it works as well as the ones I have had 45 years. And the price is still great.

  18. Kudos for the brief metallurgy discussion, but this alone shouldn’t grant the recommendations made here to be all that great. I think this test discussion is missing a huge, critical, and practical aspect: sharpening and serviceability. When I say sharpening, I mean real sharpening with a decent pair of stones, not necessarily Japanese waterstones. I bet you that the Sabatier can be brought to a razor, hair-splitting state, even if it’s not a K-Sabatier. I like blades that are thin and have a distal taper. This is probably the most important aspect I look for in a kitchen knife. I don’t particularly care anymore for a blade that has a hardness of 57+. I’m a home cook. I don’t do hours of cutting, and if I did a honing still would probably get me through the day…Around 57 is very good, especially if the blade has a nice tight grain structure which will allow the edge to come to a very fine line with great edge stability and ease of sharpening. I would rather have this than a harder blader that does not have fine metallurgy. You can have a harder blade with grains that are not as even and tight, and will not sharpen as nicely or easily. If you sharpen enough knives, I think you can get a decent relative sense of the metallurgy based on the feel and the results, especially when repairing chips of a blade that was pushed beyond it’s thinnes and thoughness. Also, consider the type of food you prepare. Japanese knives are great for preparing delicate foods and are designed for more specific, precise and delicate tasks. European knives are true workhorses in the kitchen, very versatile and can take on tougher tasks, yet still come back to thinly slice a ripe tomato with ease. I prefer the French flatter belly style over the more rounded German belly style. Overall, I personally prefer European knives over Japanese, because of the type of food prep that I do. Lastly, the best knife, is a knife with balanced properties: thin, but not flimsy, distal taper, ergonomic, decent metallurgy – don’t need anything crazy as long as its not utter junk; however, most important of all is you and how well you sharpen and service it. For example, I have some nice knives, but one of my favorites, is still is a cheap Chinese Sabatier…I got it back when i knew little…but I learned on that knife, and sharpened that to nearly a true flat grind (something i normally wouldn’t do due to risk of easier edge damage – I don’t care for this knife) with hair popping results – it has generic high carbon stainless steel. Even if it’s relatively thick, it slices with the best of them…(as long as the food isn’t so high of the board so that there is some wedging), with the added bonus that I don’t care to use it like a semi-cleaver…chopping through chicken bones. Oh, and because of the near flat grind, honing it on a steeling rod is waaay easier than the stupid factory v-edges. I get a higher tolerance on the angles I can steel at and still touch that edge up….unlike steeling the shoulder of the v-edge and not really touch the primary cutting edge.

    I have a few Victorinox blades. Excellent blades for the money. They are thin, have distal tapers, great metallurgy for the price, and come with one of the best factory edges i have seen on a western knife. Normally for western knives, i consider the factory edge to be a coustesy so that you don’t have to take a completely dull knife home and are forced to sharpen it before first being able to use it. Japanese knives come with great edges too – even better ones. When i talk about the edge, I’m not talking about the silly v-edge put there by grinding wheels. I’m talking about a nice profile all the way down to the primary edge that really slices into food without the drag from the shoulders of the v-edge, or if its a hollow ground, those shoulders drag too if the food is not slim and high enough off the board.

    Victorinox is a great value option. Another one is Mercer – compares almost to the same level as my Wusthofs and Henckels. If you like Japanese, Tojiro.

    I guess for the people that don’t need a recommendation, it doesn’t matter because they are knife-a-holics and will probably want to collect every knife financially feasibly…

  19. Victorinox knives , along with Forschner (another inexpensive brand) have been used for many years by professional meatcutters. There`s a good reason for that, they get the job done !

  20. Good job very good video.

  21. victorinox 8" swiss army fibrok chefs knife?

  22. I can't boil water, but I am a knife collector and enthusiast. Thank you for this most informative video. I've been studying metallurgy for close to 40 years. I truly enjoyed your polished presentation. Thanks again.

  23. I don't understand why I can't access the page on your site with the results of your tests. You have Amazon affiliate links, so why is it behind a paywall?

  24. lets see whats better after 10 years in commercial kitchen you get what you pay for. the only victorinox I have is boning knife for 20 years and its half the size needs thinning and need to be replaced Had my $400 carbon steel Japanese cook knife for 15 years and still like new . had many victorinox they all in garbage pile now

  25. They did not test an authentic Sabatier knife. There are 31 manufacturers that uses that name, but only one that is “the real thing“ from Thiers France. It should say: “K Sabatier“. I have some of them and they are F`in amazing. By far better than Victorinox knives in my opinion.

  26. Great test. I would also like to see a test on sharpening and steeling carbon vs stainless. Please?

  27. I had the victorinox and wasnt very impressed. It did no better than no name chinese knives when the cheap knives are maintained. That said I prefer a mid priced Japanese VG10 blade of Japanese style and a water stone or leather strop for most use and a generic knife for bone work. If I could justify the $300 I would buy the Kramer but I can get 2-3 nice knives for that price.

  28. the knife in the video is masamoto not togiharu 😅😅

  29. One of the best channels on the Internet, period.

  30. Very well explained. I was looking for a better knife. By co-incidence my knife is the Victorinox so your comparison was hugely useful to me.
    I also like that you get on with the subject, no waffling.
    I rate this vid 10/10, thank you.

  31. Ya, nigates.. go Zwilling, or go home../…nothing bad comes out of Germany…. a duhhhh..

  32. Sorry , but at 0:32 seconds in,, the proof was there that totally unprofessional actions were at hand,, never in a million years would a "proper" cook/chef/ butcher, or fishmonger wipe a knife like that !! Never Ever?!! A really properly sharp , professionally used knife with a good sharp edge is wiped dry on a flat surface, one side at a time!! Carbon steel can be sharpened much better , sharper and easier than stainless, all day long,, a good sharp carbon steel blade can shave the hair on your arm,, a stainless steel knife will struggle. The makers of expensive stainless steel knives make the steel too hard, therefore limiting sharpening options, and unlike carbon steel will retain a stubborn burr!, unless stropped!!! I have been sharpening all kinds of tools and knives for nigh on 60 years,, so I know what I am talking about and have no axe to grind, nor anything to gain by advertising or promotion on here

  33. Lamson sharp? Where's the Lamson knives?

  34. then victorinox it is!

  35. Never leave any knife in any sink at any time.

  36. You show a Masamoto but call it a Togiharu. So which actually came in 2nd?

  37. Excellent video. This and understanding the Rockwell Hardness part C is vital in holding the edge. But don't get carried away the highest score is not always the best. It can be brittle and lose durability. It is not as ductile of flexible for the day to day use for most of us non Chefs. The Victornox is fascinating. Chromium Carbides are not your friends.

  38. Which are easier to resharpin ?

  39. Can she talk or what

  40. Victorinox rocks !

  41. Swedish steel…..Can't beat it..

Leave a Reply