Why America’s Test Kitchen Calls the Bob Kramer 8″ Chef’s Knife the Best Carbon-Steel Knife

Buy winner at Sur La Table: https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-180374/

Many chefs and knife enthusiasts prefer carbon steel (a higher-maintenance alloy) to stainless steel for a harder and stronger blade that’s able to take on—and retain—a keener edge. This is true of the Bob Kramer 8″ Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, the showstopper in our tests. Its razor-sharp blade, sloping ergonomic handle, and good looks make it both visually stunning and a pleasure to use.

*** Our editors proudly maintain an unassailable reputation as an unbiased and advertising-free cooking authority, and our objective reviews are strictly uninfluenced by product manufacturers, distributors, or retailers. ***

How did we put carbon steel knives to the test?

Seven test kitchen staffers subjected eight chef’s knives (with blades as close as possible to 8 inches in length), priced from $72.99 to $299.95, to a battery of kitchen tasks to assess sharpness, comfort, and overall performance. Manufacturers supplied Rockwell ratings (a measurement of the metal’s hardness in a unit called HRC) and blade angles. Scores from each test were averaged to get the overall rating.

Read the full review: http://cooks.io/1XE2ZZU

America’s Test Kitchen is the most-watched cooking show on public television—up to 2 million viewers watch each episode. The show is filmed in the test kitchen of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, located just outside Boston.

Each episode features recipes we’ve carefully developed to make sure they work every time. Christopher Kimball and the test cooks solve everyday cooking problems, test equipment so you never have to waste money on things that don’t work, and taste supermarket ingredients to save you time in the store. It’s a common-sense, practical approach you won’t find on other cooking shows.

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Comments

Jake Jemas says:

Can you do an episode on sharpening?

Lupe Ramirez says:

you guys no how to cook it looks good

Moonstorm0551 says:

Carbon steel knives stay sharper longer between sharpening. They last longer. I know a family who has passed down their carbon steel knives to their children for over 150 years. You just have to keep them dry.

Ritz says:

There are so many youtube clips showing off the “best knife”, the best way of sharpening and how expensive they need to be to keep them sharp, “or hold the edge” as they say.
Well, I am a happy home cook, and I can say that I totally agree with the first choice, the Victorinox because of the value of quality vs. price. There are other good choices of course, but “show off knives” does not make the dinner.
Learn to sharpen the knife e.g. on a 400/1000 grit diamond stone and learn to hone it on a normal honing steel. You don’t need more for kitchen work unless you are a top chef with special thing going on which we normal deadly can’t cope with anyway.

Normal use in a normal home kitchen require maybe one sharpening of the Victorinox a year, maximum 2. If you are sharpening more than that, you eat too much!
Clean the knife immediately after every use, hone it and hang it/ lay it isolated in a towel. Not loose in the drawer – never in the dish washer.

A knife like this, kept the way described above, will also last you a life time. If not, you can buy a new and it’s still a fraction of the price of that swilling thing.

Use your time cooking and evolve with it. Don’t waste your time on the knife. Just keep it clean and sharp with no stress.
Why make it more difficult than it is?

Digs Fossils-n-Knives says:

FYI: All steels contain carbon, if the steel did not contain carbon it would be called iron. 440C stainless steel has 1-1.2% carbon and is actually quite high in carbon when compared to non-stainless steels. The better term is tool steel when referring to non-stainless cutlery steel. And there are stainless steels out there that are just as good as the tools steels for strength and edge holding.

Nik Man says:

can you please tell me how is different quality between victorinox fibrox against also victorinox but forged chef knife. I have seen there big difference but not much known about quality of the second one.

busa89 says:

Bob Kramers shop is in my town in Olympia, WA. His knives are absolutely stunning but I couldn’t even afford a pocket knife from him lol

Zakk Peters says:

@2:10 ATK uses DDMS

VirtualLife says:

Woh ! $250 for a single knife is an overkill for slight edge in performance to good $50 knife for home cooks. There r alot of ~$50 knives that will satisfy home cooks. I have an 8 or 9″ santoku Henkel stainless knife that’s held up for over a decade on regular use. It’s very narrow and sharp like the $250 and do not rust even if some water got on it overnight. Very low maintenance. I think I only paid like $20-30 for it.

Petite Poulette says:

Bob Kramer had a background working in the culinary industry before he became educate in the metalwork of knife making. I’ve wanted a set of his knives for years. I was told a few years back that there was a waiting list to have them custom made, which would be great peoples hands do vary a bit. You can read his story on his web page. I love all the different patterns on the patina–on his website. It’s an investment for sure & more useful & will last longer than other expensive investments.

chef mike says:

Good job of clearly defining that this is high dollar for high value. Knives of this quality are once in a lifetime purchases. Do not buy these knives if you’re only an occasional cook of limited skills. These knives won’t make you a better cook, they will make a better cooks life easier.

Jay busa says:

okay you guys said you like tge knife and its kept tge edge but you did not mention how it was to live with and maintain. was it as difficult as you said in the beginning or was it easier than you thought? how about sharpening the knife…..

Cornell Blake says:

smh, this has to be an advertisement. Bob Kramer is awesome but real cooks do not use this knife. there are lots of Japanese knives w/o the name attached that perform as well or better

Adam Li says:

getting my 10 inch krammer

fso506 says:

Don’t get the Zwilling set as they are very poor in quality and fit and finish. I just got the block set of 7 knives for the carbon collection and I was surprised at how poor the fit and finish is on the handles. You can feel all the pins and tang of the blade as they are not flush for ground smooth. I even got a knife and the blade was bent to the right…wow and I spend over $1500

aldom92 says:

nice infomercial

G5 says:

The problem with a carbon steel knife is that there are many, many choices that are far more corrosion resistant that can perform just as well. A modern steel like ZDP-189 or SV90 can far exceed what plain 1090 can do. This Kramer-but-not-a-real-Kramer is a nice knife designed to appeal to those who want to be seen with a cool knife more than those who actually use a knife seriously. 

NOBODY who cooks frequently has time for a carbon steel blade. Carbon steel is for skillets, not blades that don’t get seasoned.

Very sorry to see ATK heading down the path of the shill.

riaz hassan says:

every knives need its master. if you know how to cut or slice then you can do it with any sharp knife

apachedisco says:

Meh, I use a F Dick 7″ Offset Knife for everything. When it gets dull I just buy a new one. I think I got turned onto this knife from reading Kitchen Confidentials.

Martin Netušil says:

I don’t want to slander this knife at all, I’m knife enthusiast and this
peticular knife is gorgeous piece of art.. But you pay like 180 USD for
KRAMER by ZWILLING stamp on it.. It’s 52100 carbon steel – commonly
used in ball bearings and even if it was heat treated to perfection
(which is more crucial than steel type) it still won’t outperform other
alloys at this price level.. But Fit and Finish is defintely remarkable,
Cheers

Andrew Thomson says:

A Henkels made Kramer is not a Kramer knife, folks. His knives run into the thousands. If you want even a true Henkels chef knife, you will spend 140 bucks. Do you think your Ten piece Henkels knife set with the block from Target for forty bucks is the same as having a Henkels knife? People and companies lend their names to sell things, and sadly, it truly waters down the quality that the original proud brand name had to begin with. Buy a Gibson guitar for your teenager at Wal-Mart, with an amp and a case for $150. OR….. Buy a true Gibson for $1500 that you can give your kids thirty years from now, that will most likely be more valuable then than it is now. I hope that you understand that this comparison applies to many brands, in many industries. It’s almost a shame that a quality brand of Anything offers an inferior representation using their established brand name to sell garbage. You make superior things, and we love you for it. Let’s keep it that way. Buy a Fender guitar or Wustoff blade at target?! Shame on them, not you.

megaman12521 says:

I remember watching Anthony Bourdain talking about these knives.

Danger Mouse says:

i got a walmart piece of shit fake ass chef knife and i sharpen it once a week and that bitch works like a champ. sharp as fuck too. i cook every day, breakfast lunch and dinner for the family, chopping it all up. same knife from the thrift store. I’ve just seen the same brand at walmart. my knife skills are sweet too. never cut my fingers chopping and im super fast. i have sliced my knuckle on a mandolin though. fuckin almost fainted. the restaurant i used to work at was fancy and had bunch of cooks and chefs that loved to act like they were iron chefs were always cutting their fingers and hands. i washed dishes and when i wasn’t, i was prepping their veggies or fruit showing them how to use a knife. no training except for watching ming on pbs.

Rico Suave says:

This fat lady has no idea what she is talking about, go Kniveware if you want to see some real fucking knives!

Dean Ellison says:

I sure could butcher myself with that!!Lol. I like my Cutco chef knife, and they sharpen it for free.

mad thumbs says:

Kramer isn’t even the one making the knife (who’s being romanticized for his blacksmithing skills). Why wouldn’t you go with a better known Chef’s knife design like Morimoto who heavily uses knives? Spending that much on a knife that you need to baby, keep an eye on, lock up, and worry about isn’t worth it especially now when PM stain resistant steels come close at about half the price, and edge retention can have a lot more to do with handling, edge angle, micro-bevel, and sharpening technique.

Tenzin Thinley says:

chicken seem to butcher themselves? then i must buy one. 🙂

vegasrenie says:

This is a knife meant not only for everyday use, but also as an item that can be handed down to your grandchildren. The Victorinox, not so much. It is a functional, utilitarian knife (and nothing’s wrong with it), but sometimes, having something just for beauty’s sake – and it has the extra bonus of being an outstanding performer – is more than okay and if you can afford/save for it, then do it.

bassboost says:

Looks pretty amazing. I just wish you guys would be honest about why it was your “favorite”

daveheel says:

what happened to atk’s video for the victorinox chef’s knife? can’t find it now.

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