The weight of the knife alone usually provides all of the force you need. When it comes to chopping, dicing, and other more dynamic cutting techniques, a sharp knife still works wonders. Not only do you need less force, but your cuts are also more precise and even.
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You’ll find it much easier to fall into a rhythm with a properly sharpened knife than an old dull one. Schmidt Brothers is a trendy knife manufacturer that makes a variety of expensive knives and knife sets for retailers around the world.
These knives are starting to pop up for sale online, too. With many knife manufacturers to choose from, however, should you really choose Schmidt Brothers over Dalstrong, Zhen, or even Ginsu?
Let’s examine several of Schmidt’s top knives and find out!
* Schmidt Brothers Butcher’s Best Knife Set
This beautiful knife set comes with highly polished stainless steel blades, pleasant rosewood handles, and a vertical knife block to keep everything together. While the blades are serviceable, this set simply costs too much money to be worth buying.
Let me explain. There are a number of things that you look for in a nice knife, including the ergonomics of the handle, the exact style of knife, the type of edge, and the metal that the knife is made out of. For me (and for many kitchen experts around the world), the last factor is probably the most important one.
Why is metal so important?
The metal that a knife is made of defines how it cuts. High carbon steel is highly sought after because it’s one of the few types of metal that’s hard enough to retain a sharp edge. If you get a knife that’s made out of softer metal the edge will vanish after a few days, hours, or in some cases, even a few cuts.
In other words, if you want a sharp knife, you want it to be made out of a fairly special kind of metal. These kinds of metal are almost NEVER resistant to corrosion. In fact, the nicer a knife is, the more carefully you have to store and clean it in order to avoid corrosion and rust.
This Schmidt Brothers knife set (and pretty much every knife sold by the Schmidt Brothers) is NOT made out of high carbon steel. Instead, it’s made out of an unspecified type of stainless steel that’s advertised as being rust and stain resistant. This is a bad sign if you want a set of high-end knives.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with picking up a cheap stamped stainless steel set. I personally have a cheap Ginsu knife block in my kitchen from many years ago that I still use when I don’t want to pull out the good stuff. Caring for an expensive knife or three isn’t for everyone. If you know that you’re not going to want to hand wash, sharpen, and otherwise baby a knife, it’s probably a good idea to err on the side of caution and get a more basic rust-resistant knife set.
The problem with this Schmidt Brothers set is that it’s not priced like a cheap set of stainless steel knives. Instead, it’s got a price tag that’s more comparable to a mid-range set from a brand like Cangshan or Dalstrong.
For me, this is an absolute dealbreaker. I would never recommend buying this set over pretty much anything Cangshan makes as long as it’s priced higher. If you can pick it up on sale, of course, it’s not awful — the knives are serviceable, the aesthetics are okay, and the “patented Schmidt Brothers curve” is a pleasant enough feature, even if it’s not unique. The problem here is that this performs more like a $40 knife set than a $100 one.
Before we dismiss this set entirely, let’s quickly examine the “patented Schmidt Brothers curve.” This is a bit of marketing speak that simply means that there’s a little indentation in the very bottom of the blade for your finger to fit in. This feature is certainly not unique: you can find Dalstrong knives with a more pronounced curve, for example.
One other point to make is that these knives (especially the chef’s knife) are a bit taller than knives from other brands. The difference isn’t huge here, but you may notice that there’s a little bit more knife in between you and the cutting board. It’s most obvious when you’re chopping. With other knives, you might find that your knuckles graze the cutting board with each downward stroke. With Schmidt knives, you’ll find that there’s a bit more of a gap.
Of course, this feature is NOT unique. It’s simply a function of the style of knife you’re using. While knives that are geared towards professionals are going to have a heavy bias towards a pinch grip, that doesn’t mean they all have super skinny blades. Instead, knives designed for chopping (like santokus) will have fairly tall blades, especially towards the handle. If you notice your knuckles making a lot of contact when you chop you probably have a knife that’s designed for slicing.
So should you buy these knives?
If they’re on a very steep sale or you get them as a gift, sure. Otherwise, I’d strongly recommend looking at a brand like Ginsu (which makes excellent cheap stainless knives), Dalstrong (which makes astoundingly good midrange knives), or Cangshan (which makes remarkably affordable professional-grade knives). All of these options give you much more quality for each dollar you spend.
* Schmidt Brothers Cutlery Titan Knife Set
Just like the set above, I’m definitely not enamored with the quality to cost ratio of this Schmidt Brothers knife block. It’s incredible to look at, sure, but the aesthetics here do not translate into a superior product. Instead, this knife set will have difficulties performing as well as a Cangshan set at half the price.
For starters, this knife set has the same material issues as the set above. “German stainless” steel is a bit of advertising-speak that doesn’t really mean anything. What you actually want in a knife is high-carbon steel or at the very least a specific named type. These knives are not particularly sharp out of the box and don’t hold an edge well, even if you use the provided sharpening tool.
While there’s a titanium coating on these blades, it serves very little purpose. It makes the knives look cool, sure, but that’s really it. Normally, titanium serves to help make your knives more resistant to corrosion. With these knives, however, that’s not a useful function.
Why? Because the titanium is in the wrong place. The comfortable, ergonomic composite handles on these knives have a glaring design flaw: they’ll trap water inside your knife and rust internally. This can result in the cap at the end of your knife falling off due to irreparable corrosion. There’s no real fix for this other than being ESPECIALLY sure that you keep water out of the handles of your knife.
At that level of care, there’s no real point for the titanium coating. There’s no real point for these knives, either: they’re hilariously overpriced, meaning you can literally pick up a cheap set of Shun knives for less.
When it comes to less expensive brands like Dalstrong, Zhen, and Cangshan, there’s no comparison. You can get a set of knives that are better quality, easier to care for, better looking, and cheaper than this knife set for less money.
Of course, online prices are subject to change. If you can pick this set up for a pretty low price (think Ginsu low) then it’s arguably worth your money. Otherwise, it’s best to skip this particular set in favor of other options.
* Schmidt Brothers Santoku Knife
This is a striking santoku knife with jet-black titanium plating and a dark composite handle. It looks cool, functional, and professional. With other options on the market, however, I can’t recommend this knife in good conscience unless it’s on a very steep sale.
To me, the most striking part of this knife isn’t the color or the sleek lines. Instead, it’s the engraving. Many knives are laser engraved these days with manufacturer logos, knife information, and the type of metal that’s used.
This knife attempts to emulate this branding by engraving the manufacturer’s name, the knife line, and the material used in the construction on the side of the blade. Unfortunately, Schmidt Brothers managed to confuse their marketing speak and put “stainless steel” down instead of “titanium plated,” which would have actually sounded cool. Instead, the knife simply advertises to any knowledgeable observer that it’s made of cheap material. It’s like wearing a shirt that advertises the fact that you drive a 1998 Toyota Carolla. Sure, it’s not particularly uncommon, and it might get you places, but you probably shouldn’t brag about it.
Again, my main concern with this knife is not the performance. It’s the price. When compared to a $7 Ginsu it might very well prove to be a slightly better tool. It is not, however, priced at $7. It is priced much, much higher than that.
If you can’t find this knife on a very steep sale, skip it. If you’re looking for a cheap, throwaway knife with a striking design, check out these Hampton Forge sets instead. Otherwise, I’d recommend grabbing a Victorinox, Cangshan, or Dalstrong santoku instead.
* Schmidt Brothers Cutlery Bread Knife
There are knives that you want to pay a lot of money for. These knives include things like santokus, chef’s knives, gyutos, and even paring knives. The smooth, sharp edge of these knives is incredibly important. By paying more for a better quality metal, you’ll get a knife that holds the edge you want longer and is easier to care for.
Bread knives are not in this category. Bread knives aren’t all exactly the same, sure, but there’s not a huge difference between a super cheap bread knife and a super expensive one. The reason is simple: you’re primarily cutting with the serration. The knife itself doesn’t need to be very sharp. The pointy bumps on the end will do most of the work for you.
Not only are these knives less necessary to sharpen, they’re also very difficult to sharpen by hand. Using honing steel or even a whetstone on a serrated knife is a frustrating exercise that won’t have the results you want unless you’re extra patient with special tools. Even then, you’re not going to achieve anywhere near as much as you would with a non-serrated knife.
So what does this mean for this bread knife? It means I think it’s overpriced. While this particular knife has subdued serrations that make it plausible to sharpen, it’s not going to cut bread any better than a super cheap basic brand knife from a different brand. Unless it’s on a very, very steep sale, I’d strongly recommend you skip it for a less expensive option.
Schmidt Brothers: A Safe Brand To Skip
Just because something is made for a luxury retailer doesn’t mean it’s good. Schmidt Brothers knives may have been carried in some fancy brick and mortar shops a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean that they’re worth buying. Instead, I’d strongly recommend that you check out knives from different brands.
You can get knives at about the same price that are made out of higher-quality metal or knives that are about the same quality that are a tiny fraction of the cost. In either case, Schmidt Brothers lose.