Outdoors enthusiasts know that swiss army knives are indispensable tools. Can the same quality be had for the dining table with Victorinox steak knives?
Victorinox has been crafting cutlery for over 130 years, and steak knives are not new territory. The company invented the Swiss Army knife in 1897 and continues to make cutlery a priority in its product line.
Steak knives are useful kitchen tools that are often an afterthought. Many people simply use whatever knives came with their knife set. Even after replacing cheaper kitchen knives with better chef’s knives, they may hold on to their inexpensive knife-block steak knives.
But, if you serve steak and other cuts of meat frequently, or just like high-quality kitchen tools, you might want to upgrade you steak knife game.
Since Victorinox steak knives are popular, let’s take a closer look to see if they hold up to the hype, or if another knife brand should grace your steak knife block.
The Victorinox Story
Victorinox has a storied past, and while many know of the brand as the makers of Swiss army knives, the company started as a cutlery shop. Since 1884, Victorinox has been making all sorts of knives, from professional butcher’s implements to kitchen knives and, yes, military pocket knives.
Along the way, the company has dabbled in everything from watches to apparel, and only just recently decided to stop making clothing.
The company’s name has an interesting origin. Founder Karl Elsener named his cutlery shop after his mother, Victoria.
The name is a portmanteau, or mashup, of Victoria and inox, short for the French term for stainless steel. Today, Victorinox stands for quality European craftsmanship, but the brand is less-well-known in the kitchen.
What makes Victorinox different?
While Victorinox has a full line of kitchen cutlery, cutting boards, and accessories, many people only think of their army knives and lifestyle brand.
The company’s history and reputation for high-quality make it a unique choice for your steak knives.
When most people think of steak knives, they are likely looking for a sharp tool that is light and easy to use — similar qualities of a good pocket or army knife.
Why do you need steak knives?
A review of steak knives presents a good opportunity to discuss why there even is a separate category of sharp knives for eating.
Why aren’t all tables knives sharp? In America and Europe, primarily, the steak knife’s history reflects manners and etiquette rather than utility.
About 400 years ago, a French clergyman — Cardinal Richelieu — was repulsed by the table manners of his guests who used pointed sharp knives similar to modern steak knives.
These uncouth diners would use the sharp pointed blades to cut meat, then pick their teeth with the pointed edges.
Richelieu didn’t like this practice, and his influence reached the King of France, who eventually made pointed knives illegal.
This law turned into a dining custom, and even today, table settings all over the world feature a rounded-tip, dull table knife that is mostly useless for cutting steak.
However, steak knives began to come back into favor with the growth of steak and chop house restaurants in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Diners started looking for sharper knives for their home-cooked meals as well. Soon, steak knives became a popular cutlery product.
Steak knives are not necessary for every meal and are not the best tool for spreading butter on bread, but they are essential tools for cutting substantial pieces of meat after service.
Victorinox Steak Knives Features
For this review, we chose Victorinox’s 4-3/4-inch straight-edge steak knife set with rosewood handles. The knives do not have serrated edges, but rather rely on high carbon stainless-steel blades for sharpness and edge retention.
With a sharp straight-edge blade, a knife effortlessly slices through meat, instead of sawing away at your steak.
The surgical precision comes in handy with both tough cuts of meat and the tenderest steak, and one wonders why so many steak knives are serrated rather than straight-edge like chef and utility knives.
Not all Victorinox steak knives feature pointed, straight-edge blades. Like other manufacturers, Victorinox sells steak knives with rounded tips and serrated edges, too.
For precision cutting and a high-end dining experience, we think the straight-edge product is the best on the market. Victorinox also sells knives with polycarbonate handles instead of rosewood.
In addition to the sharp blades, this set of Victorinox steak knives features rosewood handles, which are light, durable, and attractive.
The knife set comes in a gift box that doubles as a storage box. Victorinox recommends hand washing, to protect both the blades and rosewood handles.
Victorinox is a highly regarded brand, and the rosewood handles on these knives are a premium upgrade. The retail price reflects these features. The range for this set is from $120 to $145.
What do others say? Professional and customer reviews
“Cook’s Illustrated,” the highly respected, advertising-free publication about cooking methods, recipes, and kitchen tools claims that Victorinox steak knives are the best on the market.
The magazine is similar to “Consumer Reports,” which is well-known for its unbiased reviews of consumer products.
Not only is “Cook’s Illustrated” not funded by advertisers — such as knife manufacturers — the publication delivers objective reviews on a wide array of kitchen tools each issue.
The “Cook’s Illustrated’s” test kitchen endorsement carries much weight, but we wanted to see how these Victorinox steak knives fare for home cooks.
We looked at reviews and comments of actual purchasers, which are mostly positive. Victorinox makes a popular knife set, so there are over 200 customer reviews.
Many reviewers liked the high quality of the rosewood handles and the extreme sharpness of the blades. There are, of course, a few negative reviews. Interestingly, several noted that the knives emit a rank odor after handwashing.
Some pointed out that the smell lessens over time, but since it was brought up in several reviews, it is a consideration for potential buyers.
The Victorinox steak knife set has a customer rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Comparison with Other Brands
While professional and consumer reviews can provide insights into a product’s quality, it is also crucial to know the details of comparable competitive brands.
There are a lot of steak knife sets on the market, and the price is no longer an accurate reflection of quality.
Because of this, we analyzed the cutlery marketplace to find a set that is closest in quality and features to Victorinox steak knives.
How we reviewed
As with our review of Victorinox, we looked at features and user reviews to determine value and quality. When available, we also looked at professional reviews to help determine which steak knives are the best for your kitchen and dining table.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro-S steak set
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Since the Victorinox set we reviewed was on the higher end of the price scale, comparing it to Zwilling J.A. Henckels makes sense. Henckels is one of the premier European knife makers, and like Victorinox, the company has a deep-rooted history of quality.
Its Twin Pro-S series features German manufacturing, high-carbon “no stain” steel, and ergonomic polymer handles.
The blades are forged from a single piece of steel and are ice-hardened using Henckels’ proprietary “Friodur” system.
Unlike the Victorinox steak knives, this Henckels set only comes with four knives. If you plan on entertaining and serving steak or other tougher cuts of meat, you might want to consider picking up two sets. Zwilling J.A. Henckels is a high-end brand, and the price range for this set of four steak knives is from $190 to $210.
The professional culinary team at Saveur.com listed these steak knives in their top five, with no mention of Victorinox at all. Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, but the total number of reviews on Amazon is much lower than Victorinox.
The positive comments note that the knives are very sharp and durable, with some calling them the best steak knives on the market since they are forged rather than stamped.
Henckels knives are not immune to criticism, though, as some customers experienced rusty and broken blades with this set.
This Henckels steak knife set has a customer rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Messermeister Avanta steak knife set
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Another popular knife set that is comparable to Victorinox steak knives is the Messermeister Avanta set. This four-piece set features pakkawood handles, which have similar features to rosewood. The blades are 5 inches long, which is slightly longer than most steak knives.
The knives feature a cambered or slightly arched blade, which helps the knives slice through tough cuts more easily.
Although the construction uses German high-carbon stainless steel, Messermeister manufactures these knives in China. Messermeister is more of a bargain brand. The price range for this set of four steak knives is from $45 to $60.
While we found no professional reviews of this Messermeister set, it is an Amazon’s Choice product with over 300 mostly-positive customer reviews. Positive reviewers claim that these are the best steak knives for the money.
Some, however, complained about the quality, noting that the knives are not sturdy enough for daily use. Many of the positive reviews noted the importance of proper care, including how even the highest quality steak knives will weaken if subjected to a dishwashing machine.
This Messermeister steak knife set has a customer rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Wusthof Gourmet 4-piece steak knife set
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Much like Henckels, Wusthof is a well-known high-end European cutlery brand. Its gourmet four-piece steak knife set is strikingly affordable for a German-made product.
This set only features four knives, so, again, those looking to entertain may want to double their order. These knives feature high-carbon stainless-steel and straight-edged blades with polycarbonate handles.
The blades are not forged, but rather are precision stamped from steel. However, this doesn’t reflect poorly on the overall quality.
Wusthof utilizes laser precision cutting methods, and all other manufacturing specs are identical to their higher-priced knife sets. Wusthof’s Gourmet steak knives have a price range from $55 to $70.
The professional culinary team at Saveur also listed these steak knives in their top five, alongside the Henckels Twin Pro-S set. Saveur’s editors liked the fine, thin blades with sharp points that are useful for skewering meat.
Customers also liked these knives, stating that they hold their edges and last long. Some of the positive reviews weren’t raves, but general thumbs up for a quality, reasonably priced product.
Others made a note of how these knives cut, rather than tear, meat. This is due to the straight edge, which is like using a razor on your food.
This Wusthof steak knife set has a customer rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Pros and Cons of Victorinox Steak Knives
After reviewing the features and benefits of Victorinox’s knives, as well as customer and expert opinions and comparisons with other similar products, we compiled a list of positives and negatives to help guide consumers in their steak knife choice.
- Sharp, straight-edge blades are perfect for all cuts of meat
- Rosewood handles are functional and attractive
- Quality stainless steel construction
- 6 knives vs. 4 in several of the reviewed sets
- Blades can have durability issues
- Wooden handles can develop a nasty odor
- Rosewood handles also can become rough and faded over time
Do Victorinox Steak Knives Bring the Swiss Army Experience to Dining?
If you enjoy steak, you need a decent set of steak knives. The old rusty ones in your knife block probably don’t cut much better than the table knives in your silverware drawer.
Victorinox knives have a cool vibe to them, evoking the Swiss Army brand which combines history with cutlery excellence. They are sharp, and their straight-edges outperform serrated blades.
The rosewood knife handles are great-looking and durable. They would make a great addition to any kitchen knife set. Just make sure to hand-wash them, without letting the handles soak in the dishwater, which contributes to the wet wood odor.
Just imagine impressing your dinner guests not only with your steak-cooking abilities but with Swiss Army heritage on the place setting.
Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API