Cuisinart made a name for themselves starting in 1971, with the introduction of their home use electric food processor. Now, nearly 50 years on, they’ve branched out into every area of kitchen tools and appliances, including cutlery.
In this Cuisinart knives review, I’ll be combining my personal and professional kitchen experience to give you my verdict on five series of knives from the company. By the end, you’ll know whether Cuisinart knives are right for you — and which ones might make the best fit for your kitchen.
Though not for the professional chef, Cuisinart’s knives are easily the best you can get for under $20 a piece. It’s impressive how well they work given their price, making them a good choice for first-time knife buyers. Once you’re well practiced with your knife skills, consider upgrading to a higher end brand.
What we like
- Highest quality knives at this price point
- Surprisingly comfortable handles on most knives
- Better than expected edge retention
What We don’t
- No opportunities to upgrade
- Not suitable for experienced cooks
- No full tang blades
Cuisinart Knives Review, By Series
Though they’re all priced within about $10 of each other, each Cuisinart knife set is designed to appeal to a certain sort of cook. Let’s take a closer look at what makes each series unique, with notes on what cooking style each is best for.
The Cuisinart Classic series is the baseline for all of their knives, and the first series they ever debuted. To be frank, I find it impressive that Cuisinart is able to offer a fully forged knife at a price usually reserved only for stamped blades.
That means that, all said and done, the Cuisinart Classic series chef’s knife is the best blade you can get for under $20. The triple riveted handle and high carbon stainless steel blade balance each other nicely, and the full bolster will protect your finger while you’re cutting.
In short: The Cuisinart Classic series gets my highest recommendation of any of their knife lines. The chef’s knife in particular hits all the points you want out of a beginner’s kitchen knife.
Building on the successful DNA of the Cuisinart Classic series, their Graphix line forgoes a molded plastic handle for a bumpy metal one. As a result, this line offers substantially better grip, even while your hands are wet. That’s combined with the same high carbon stainless steel blades, and offered at the same price as the Classic series.
The Graphix series paring knife is the major standout from this line. That’s because a paring knife requires delicate movements, and even a small slip can lead to nicked fingers. The textured grip from the Graphix series helps keep this paring knife firmly in your grip.
In Short: The Cuisinart Graphix series offers an upgraded handle materials which provide for a better non-slip grip.
Once more based on the Cuisinart Classic design, the Nitrogen series reimagines the handles for a more ergonomic grip. This is especially evident in the Nitrogen santcoku — a Japanese style knife that greatly benefits from the balance provided by a thicker handle.
On top of that, this series is true to its name, with each blade infused with nitrogen. This process creates a harder, sharper steel with better edge retention and corrosion resistance. That also makes the blades more prone to chipping, though, and less than ideal for first-time users.
In Short: The Cuisinart Nitrogen series offers a harder, sharper steel with better edge retention.
Inspired by the hammered tsuchime finish of Japanese knives, the Artisan series is Cuisinart’s biggest departure from their Classic series. They still use forged high carbon stainless steel blades, though there is no bolster to protect your lead finger.
The hammered finish of the Artisan series helps ingredients to slide off of your knife rather than stick to it. That’s because of the small air pockets that are created, making for smoother and easier cuts. This is especially nice for the all-purpose Artisan utility knife, which makes a great backup to your chef’s knife.
In Short: The Artisan Series has no bolster, which means that you can use more of the knife blade but also means there is less protection for your lead finger.
Brightly colored and coated in ceramic around a stainless steel core, the Advantage series is Cuisinart’s most specialized. That’s because the colors aren’t just meant for decoration. They’re a way of helping you to avoid cross-contamination, by keeping each knife for a dedicated purpose.
This is mainly a concern in commercial settings, not home ones. At home, it’s easy to wash your knife and cutting board between ingredients. Whereas in a commercial setting, having dedicated areas for cutting meats, seafood, and vegetables will keep everything hygienic and be more efficient.
In Short: The Advantage series comes in a variety of colors which will help you designate specific color knives for specific purposes. For example, if you don’t want to cut broccoli with same the knife you were just using on poultry.
The only way to decide whether a Cuisinart knife is right for you is by comparing it to knives from other brands. That’s why I recommend paying close attention to the following six aspects on each of Cuisnart’s knives. Each criteria will give you greater insight as to the sort of knife you need, and how much you should budget for it.
The majority of a knife’s price comes from the quality of its blade. That goes for both the materials used, and the processes by which they’re turned into sharp and durable tools.
Forged blades are better than stamped blades, as the heat used in their production makes them sharper and more durable.
Cuisinart’s forged knife lines (Classic, Graphix, Artisan, and Nitrogen) are among the most affordable forged knives available in the world. Look especially towards high carbon stainless steel knives, as they combine performance with low maintenance requirements
The tang of a knife describes an essential aspect of its construction: How far the steel of the blade extends into the handle.
In the gold standard full tang knives, one piece of steel will extend from the tip of the handle through the butt of the knife. The Cuisinart Classic, Graphix, and Nitrogen are full tang knives.
Partial or semi tang knives are often lightweight and less expensive, but sacrifice durability for these qualities. Knives in the Artisan and Advantage series are partial tang.
The best knife handles will have three characteristics:
- They are comfortable for a wide variety of sizes and shapes of hands. This is accomplished by a combination of material and ergonomic shaping. Both the Classic and Nitrogen lines
- They are slip-resistant or non-slip. Again, this is a product of both the material used for the handle and how it’s shaped. The Graphix collection is an excellent example of a highly slip-resistant knife.
- They provide a balance to the weight of the blade. Riveted handles like those of the Classic series add both weight and durability.
Care and Maintenance
Before buying a knife, I always ask: Does it have any extra maintenance requirements outside of the usual three? Those are:
- Keep your knife dry when not in use.
- Store it safely when not in use.
- Sharpen it when it gets dull (for most cooks, every 6 months or so)
None of Cuisinart’s knives require more than these basic care and maintenance steps. It’s worth noting as well that though Cuisinart’s knives are advertised as dishwasher safe, hand washing them is always recommended. This will give the knives greater longevity and longer edge retention.
Type of Knife
Lastly, what sort of knife do you need for your kitchen? If you’re starting a collection from scratch, a chef’s knife should be your first addition. It will take on the majority of cutting jobs. From there, add a paring knife for doing more detailed work. From there, check out my guide to essential kitchen knives for the at-home cook to see if you need any more for the style of food you want to cook.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cuisinart Knives
Before concluding with my recommendations, I’d like to take a brief moment to address two common questions about Cuisinart knives. I hope that beginners will find this helpful in building their base of knowledge about knives, and that more experienced cooks can use it as food for further thought.
Does Cuisinart Make Good Knives?
Every successful knife brand — including Cuisinart — is the best knife for someone. So instead of asking whether Cuisinart knives are good, I’d encourage you to ask who they are good for.
At less than $20 for any of their knives, Cuisinart has made their tools friendly for budget-conscious buyers and beginners.
For this price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any major brand that can compete. The closest competitor is Victorinox, though their Fibrox Pro chef knife still comes in at nearly twice the price of a Cuisinart chef knife.
The flip side of this affordability is that Cuisinart doesn’t have any meaningful upgrades for more experienced chefs. Once you’ve been practicing your knife skills for a while, their blades will feel clumsy in comparison to a Wusthof or Zwilling J.A. Henckels knife.
What Are the Different Cuisinart Knives For?
Each knife in Cuisinart’s repertoire is part of a long history of Western culinary tools. From the workhorse chef’s knife, to the delicate paring knife, to the serrated bread knife, each fulfills certain roles in the kitchen.
And while a full explanation of every type of kitchen knife is outside the scope of this article, I can direct you to my article on essential types of kitchen knives for the at-home chef. There, I explain the design and function of 19 different knives, with examples of how they’re used.
And we’ve made it to the end of our reviews! Thanks for reading.
To recap, here is my overall recommendation: Cuisinart makes the most affordable forged knives that you’ll find on the market today. Their Classic line is a perfect starting point for kitchen first-timers. Once you’ve learned and practiced with your Cuisinart knife for a few months, consider setting aside money to invest in a higher-quality blade and continuing to develop your knife skills.