Knife-sharpener inside block
Knives could be sharper
Block arrangement not intuitive
Brand name causes some confusion
We purchased the Sabatier 21-Piece EdgeKeeper Pro Forged Cutlery Set so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
We’ll admit it: We like kitchen knives, so we were more than ready to take the Sabatier 21-Piece EdgeKeeper Pro Forged Cutlery Set for a grand tour of the kitchen. This set includes every type of knife a cook might want to use, and we made sure to test each one, at least once, from the large chef's knife to the hefty cleaver to the cleverly curved bird’s beak paring knife. We tested the sharpener’s ability, snipped string with the scissors, and used the fork to steady meat as we sliced. And after we properly washed and dried the knives, we made sure to store them properly in the knife block each time.
Design: Looks more expensive than it is
This set looks higher end than we’d expect considering the very affordable price tag. The not-quite-black knife block with the Sabatier name visible—but not flashy—looked elegant on the counter. The knives all have a full tang, which is visible as a silver stripe of metal in the center of the dark gray handles. The knives that sat sideways in the block showed off their three rivets that securely held the handles together.
One thing to keep in mind is that Sabatier is not a trademarked brand name. Although there’s a famous Sabatier company in France that has used the name for generations, the name is legally used by a large number of companies, which can be confusing. The knives we reviewed were made by Lifetime Brands and were not made in France, which explains the affordable price.
The knife block that comes with the set is fairly compact for the number of knives included, which is both good and bad. The compact size saved space on the counter, but it crowded the knives together. The handles of the steak knives were nearly touching each other, and while the rest of the knives had a bit more space, we felt they could have used more room to make extracting them from the block a bit easier.
The compact size saved space on the counter, but it crowded the knives together.
Many of the knife slots were the same size, so we had some ability to customize the arrangement. A few pieces, like the cleaver that fit in the third row from the top, and the scissor that fit just above the row of steak could only be placed in their assigned slot. Of course, we can get used to any arrangement, but we would have preferred the small paring knives together along the front with the scissors on the side. But that’s a minor quibble.
A knife sharpener is integrated into the top right edge of the block. In order to use it, we had to remove the items below it. That wasn’t a dealbreaker, but it makes it less likely that users will casually run a knife through the sharpener on a regular basis. And, of course, the sharpener is just for the straight knives and not for the serrated ones.
Material: Stainless steel
The blades are high-carbon stainless steel, which is the expected material for most kitchen knives, but the metal information doesn’t get more specific. While we had no issues with our knives, some users complained of corrosion, perhaps because the knives weren’t cared for according to the instructions.
The handles are a dark material, but the company doesn’t specify what it is. It looks and feels like a composite material, which is common with knives. The handles felt comfortable to hold and the dark color looked attractive.
Performance: Less than razor-sharp
We were a bit disappointed with the sharpness of some of the straight-edged knives right out of the box. We have come to expect that new knives will be wicked sharp, but these weren’t. Oddly, some knives were sharper than others. The santoku was almost as sharp as we wanted, but the slicer was duller and dragged through the food rather than slicing smoothly. Even the less-sharp knives managed to do the job but not as effortlessly as we prefer.
Since we had knives that needed sharpening, it gave us a chance to test the sharpener. It worked fairly well, but with no knife guide and no instructions, it’s probably not as useful as it could be for cooks who aren’t used to manual sharpening. Still, we think it’s a great inclusion for light sharpening to keep the knives in good condition.
Once we finished sharpening, we were much happier with the set. We’ll concede that some cooks are scared of too-sharp knives, so they’d be happy with this set as it arrived.
We appreciated the inclusion of the bird’s beak paring knife, which is great for peeling round fruits and vegetables. The cleaver was an unusual addition to a knife block. While the cleaver and the boning knife might not be used often, they’re handy to have on hand when needed. Our favorite knives, and the ones we suspect most cooks would use most often, were the slicer, the chef's knife, and the serrated utility knife that was our preference for slicing tomatoes and sandwiches. The fine-edge utility knife and the three paring knives are also quite useful.
The steak knives worked well as far as cutting through steak, but because of the style of serrations, it felt like we were sawing tough meat when it was actually quite tender. Still, they got the job done.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Wash by hand
These should be hand-washed, and they should be dried immediately, before storing them in the knife block. Like any knives, these will need sharpening eventually, and regular sharpening will keep them in good condition. We found that the integrated sharpener did a fair job, but a stand-alone sharpener would be our preference because it’s more precise and can be faster.
A small knife sharpener is integrated into the top right edge of the block.
Price: Very affordable
Definitely priced as a starter set, it costs about as much as could be spent on a single knife. Sure, these aren’t handmade by hardworking elves in a secret forge, but they look great and do the job, particularly after just a little extra sharpening.
Sabatier 21-Piece EdgeKeeper Pro Forged Cutlery Set vs. Calphalon Contemporary SharpIN 20-Piece Cutlery Set
On the surface, the Calphalon Contemporary SharpIN 20-Piece Cutlery Set, which we also tested, is similar to the Sabatier set we reviewed. After closer inspection, they are quite different. The Sabatier set is built and priced for economy, and we love it for that. The Calphalon set is significantly more expensive, and the knives are of higher quality. We’d certainly choose the Sabatier set on a tight budget. If money were no object or if we had time to save for a better set, we’d pick the Calphalon.
- Product Name Sabatier 21-Piece EdgeKeeper Pro Forged Cutlery Set
- Product Brand Sabatier
- UPC 045908119485
- Price $105
- Material High-carbon stainless steel blades
- Warranty Limited lifetime
- What’s Included 8-inch chef knife, 8-inch slicing knife, 6-inch cleaver, 6-inch boning knife, 5 1/2-inch serrated utility knife, 5-inch santoku knife, 4 1/2-inch fine-edge utility knife, eight 4 1/2-inch steak knives, 3 1/2-inch paring knife, 3-inch serrated paring knife, 3-inch bird’s beak paring knife, 6-inch carving fork, all-purpose shears, and knife block with built-in sharpener