The Cutco vs Chicago Cutlery debate is one of the iconic local derbies of the kitchen knife industry.
It’s the all-American bout that features two of the top knife brands in the country. So let’s see how they hold up against each other when we lay it all on the table. By the end of this article, you’ll be much more well-acquainted with Cutco and Chicago Cutlery kitchen knives.
What is Cutco?
Cutco is a New York-based company founded in 1949. They have been manufacturing stainless steel knives for over 70 years since its establishment. The name was derived from a combined abbreviation of the words Cooking UTensil COmpany.
Cutco has since risen up as the largest manufacturer of kitchen knives in North America, with over 600 employees in their New York factory.
What is Chicago Cutlery?
Chicago Cutlery was founded in 1930 as a knife conditioning company before it grew to make knife manufacturing its primary business. As demand for American-made quality knives increased, Chicago Cutlery began crafting professional-grade knives designed for home use.
They now manufacture their knife sets and distribute them globally in regions across the USA, Europe, and Asia.
How are they different?
The first difference (perhaps the most notable) is that Cutco stamps their knives, whereas Chicago Cutlery forges theirs.
Cutco makes their knives by laser cutting them out of a large sheet of stainless steel and “stamping” it onto the handle. As a result, their knives are two-piece, consisting of the blade and the handle separately.
Comparatively, the Chicago Cutlery make their kitchen knife by exposing a thick metal rod to extremely high temperatures. Then, they mold the rod into shape. This process of forging is called full tang construction. It means the blade extends through the handle so that the entire knife is a single entity.
Forged knives are typically more durable and have greater edge retention than stamped knives. However, this is also what tends to make them more expensive.
Another difference between these two brands is their price and warranty. Despite only selling stamped blades, Cutco knives are the more expensive choice. However, some may attest to their higher quality despite being stamped knives. Cutco’s true value comes from its famous Forever Sharpness Guarantee, ensuring 100% customer satisfaction for a lifetime.
How are they similar?
These two knife companies may have their set of differences, but ultimately they are both American brands with a similar mission. Providing beautiful knives to homeowners high in quality and low in price is a shared vision of Chicago Cutlery and Cutco. As a result, both have earned a good reputation in the knife industry.
Cutco goes the extra mile with their Forever Sharpness Guarantee. Chicago Cutlery and Cutco are similar in that they offer limited lifetime warranties.
It may be true that Cutco does not offer forged knives, but Chicago Cutlery offers stamped knives and forged knives in different ranges. Furthermore, both brands typically include chef knife sets in their product offerings. You can also purchase sharpening tools and honing steel rods to maintain your knives.
In addition to kitchen knife sets, both brands offer individual knives you can purchase as one-off items. These include the Cutco Gourmet Prep knife or the Chicago Cutler Essentials chef knife.
What’s better about Cutco?
The major advantage of Cutco over most kitchen knife companies is their iconic Forever Sharpness Guarantee. This warranty comes as part of the brand’s warranty package. So you can return your knives or knife set back to the manufacturer at little to no cost and have your blades resharpened for free.
This is a perk of Cutco knives that is available to its customers for a lifetime. In addition, they can save money and effort by purchasing and using sharpening tools.
Another advantage of Cutco is that stamped blades are more flexible and less prone to chipping and cracking. They also offer various options with the handle material and design. Such styles include synthetic riveted handles or aesthetic stainless steel handles that merge nicely with the blade (1).
Cutco sharpens their knives to a 15-degree blade angle on each side. This makes it sharper than average but not quite as sharp as some brands like Wusthof knives and their Classic Ikon knife.
What’s better about Chicago Cutlery?
The immediate benefit of Chicago Cutlery is that their knives are full tang and forged. This means the blades of their products are quite durable. In addition, they have ever-lasting edge retention design that stays sharp for a long time.
The brand offers excellent knives at affordable prices. In addition, the quality of their performance is comparable to top-tier Japanese brands such as Shun knives.
Chicago Cutlery sharpens their knives to a razor-sharp 13-degree blade angle per side. As a result, they are sharper than most knives on the market, including the Classic Ikon offered by Wusthof knives. This sharpness not only pierces through just about any ingredient but is backed by a solid, full tang construction.
Also, Chicago Cutlery offers both forged and stamped blades. This gives customers a more comprehensive range of options at more affordable prices than Cutco.
Who should get Cutco?
Cutco offers knives with relatively good sharpness and durability, but that is not why you should pay the extra cost for them. What Cutco has, above all other brands, is a Forever Sharpness Guarantee.
Sharpening your knives yourself can permanently damage the blade if not done right. Unfortunately, that is something not even your warranty can save you from.
With Cutco, you can leave sharpening and maintenance to the experts while saving your wallet. The best knife sets are the ones that never let you down. You’ll never deal with a blunt knife when you choose Cutco.
For those that want a demonstration in their own home before purchasing, you will want to go with Cutco. They are one of the few brands on the market offering this service.
Who should get Chicago Cutlery?
If durability and cutting prowess are non-negotiable requirements for your kitchen knife sets, then go for Chicago Cutlery. The brand caters to budget buyers, elite kitchen enthusiasts, and professional chefs.
This is because C.C. crafts its knives in a harder, thicker, and stronger way than Cutco’s stamped blades. This results in greater edge retention and chopping power (2).
Great knives can cut through anything, and Chicago Cutlery ensures this by sharpening its blades to a razor-thin 13-degree angle per side. Their knives even surpass the sharpness of Wusthof and Shun knives, coupled with an ergonomic handle and high edge retention. As a result, they may offer the best knife sets on the market.
C.C.’s kitchen knives are also available at an affordable price despite being mostly forged. This allows them to fight competitors like Cutco or Shun knives.
Both brands offer kitchen knives made of strong rust-resistant American stainless steel, sharpening their blades steeper than most brands. In addition, Cutco offers stamped knives with a killer warranty. Chicago Cutlery offers excellent knives in the form of forged and stamped blades at a great price.
The harsh truth is that Chicago Cutlery outclasses Cutco in almost every way, from sharpness to strength and edge retention.
Cutco blades have one advantage: their softer steel. This allows it to bend more easily around tougher ingredients without running the risk of chipping or cracking. Their blades are also quite lightweight due to being stamped, so some might prefer that over the heavier C.C. blades.
However, this perk alone cannot contest with Chicago Cutlery knives. Especially when you consider that Cutco’s knives are not built in full tang. This means they can still snap from the handle under immense pressure.
Winner: Chicago Cutlery
Regarding knife set options, both brands have various products available to purchase at their stores or through retailers. Their kitchen knife lines typically include chef’s, paring, utility, and serrated bread knives.
However, Chicago Cutlery ultimately has the superior range because they offer both forged and stamped knives. Cutco only offers stamped ones.
Winner: Chicago Cutlery
Both Cutco and Chicago Cutlery offer limited lifetime warranties upon purchase of their products. This means you can have your kitchen knife or set replaced or repaired at little to no cost, assuming the issue is related to manufacturing or lack of material quality.
However, there aren’t many kitchen knife brands that quite have your back like Cutco, their warranty being undoubtedly one of the best.
Offering a Forever Sharpness Guarantee with every Cutco kitchen knife, you get precise, expert resharpening whenever your blade goes dull. On that note, while C.C. knives do offer a limited lifetime warranty, the time, money, and effort you save with Cutco’s enhanced warranty cannot be beaten.
Cutco vs. Chicago Cutlery FAQ
What knives are as good as Cutco?
Cutco has one of the best product warranties on the kitchen knife market today, but in truth, there are plenty of brands that are as good, if not better than Cutco. Wusthof, Chicago Cutlery, and Shun knives are a few examples of brands offering more durable and sharper forged knives that outperform Cutco’s stamped blades.
Does Cutco have a good reputation?
As one of America’s leading manufacturers of kitchen knives, Cutco’s beautiful knives have an excellent reputation on a global scale. They are famous for their stamped blades made of premium American steel. Plus, their Forever Sharpness Guarantee ensures 100% satisfaction for a lifetime.
Are Cutco knives a rip off?
Cutco sometimes receives criticism for being too expensive for their own good, especially for stamped knives. In truth, stamped kitchen knives have increasingly become higher quality over the years due to improved crafting practices. In addition, the brand can be a good investment if you use the great Cutco warranty.
(1) – https://mechanicaljungle.com/types-of-rivet/
(2) – https://www.corrosionpedia.com/definition/5503/edge-retention