Every single individual who has cooked at least once in the lifetime knows that a sharp knife is key to the effortless prepping of ingredients. Whether you have to chop vegetables or debone a fish, you need a reliable knife. Since every job requires a different type of blade, investing in a set of knives is perhaps the most cost-effective solution.
When it comes to choices, the Calphalon self-sharpening knives stand out. They come in two collections, Classic and Contemporary, both dedicated to home users. Are they really worth it? Find it out in our review below.
Calphalon Classic Knife Block Set
The Classic selection is the brand’s first line of self-sharpening knives, available in three sizes. The most popular is the 15-piece set, comprising a range of chef knives as well as eight steak knives to get the party started.
The Classic set by Calphalon is dedicated to avid home users. Specialty knives include a 6-inch serrated utility knife as well as a straight utility knife of the same size. Aspiring chefs will also enjoy the 7-inch Santoku knife or the smaller parer.
Ideal for anything, from dicing to chopping, these high-carbon, no-stain steel knives can undoubtedly impress avid home chefs and aspiring professionals alike.
We particularly like the presence of 8 rather than 6 steak knives, which makes it more fun to share a meal with your extended family or friends.
Knives aside, this set also includes a pair of useful kitchen shears you can use for portioning chicken or cutting bones.
One of the things that most impress about this set is the attention to detail. These knives stand out thanks to their beautiful, classic design featuring high-carbon steel blades and sturdy handles. The blade extends throughout the whole length of the handle, adding durability as well as an enhanced visual factor, while the rivets made from the same kind of steel also add strength and aesthetics.
We particularly like the no-stain feature of the blade. You can use these knives to cut anything, including staining foods, without worrying about unflattering spots on the blade.
We also like the labeled handles that allow for easier identification of each knife in the stand. Do you need a chef knife or a utility one? Just check out the label to know which one it is.
Knives can be well-designed and aesthetically-pleasing, but if they lack performance, you’d better steer clear. Luckily, the Calphalon Classic Set is truly impressive. The ceramic sharpener in the knife block keeps the blades in excellent condition.
The high-carbon steel blades not only stay clean and shiny over time, but they also slice through all kinds of foods. Furthermore, the kitchen shears are also sharp enough to cut through anything, from raw to cooked poultry, ropes, paper, and a variety of other foods or materials.
One of the things you might expect straight out of the box is sharp, ready-to-use blades. However, these knives don’t deliver to expectations. They come with dull blades, that will need proper sharpening with a good knife sharpener before the first use.
Keep in mind that the self-sharpening function won’t do miracles unless you properly sharpen them, to begin with, so this is indeed a letdown.
Nonetheless, you’ll undoubtedly be satisfied with their performance and self-sharpening function once you’ve got past this initial stage.
As mentioned above, the self-sharpening feature of these knives is carried out by the block, which comes with integrated ceramic sharpeners. However, in order for these to work, the block itself is low and keeps the knives at an awkward angle.
While this isn’t a deal-breaker, it will still make it harder to get the knives out than a regular knife block.
Calphalon Contemporary Knife Block Set
The main difference between the Classic and the Contemporary lines is the design. Needless to say, the Contemporary knife set has smoother lines and a nicer block that pairs well with all kitchen designs. Like the Classic line, it comes in three variants, counting 14, 15, or 20 pieces. Perhaps the most popular is the 14-pcs set that brings the most in terms of value for money.
Full Tanged Design
The feature that makes the difference between the Classic and the Contemporary sets is the full tanged design of the latter. There are no rivets, but a visually pleasing molded handle. This feature adds durability, while the ergonomic shape and perfect balance deliver a professional-like experience to your home kitchen.
Despite the lack of rivets, the blade still extends throughout the full length of the handle, adding durability.
While this set doesn’t include the 7-inch Santoku knife the Classic set comes with, it does have all the other knives.
As we mentioned above, we like that it comes with eight rather than six steak knives, allowing you to host a larger party.
Furthermore, we like the steel the blades are made from. All cutting and chopping knives are made from German steel, which is known for its durability, while the steak knives are made from Asian steel.
Overall, this set will surely give your kitchen a fresh, contemporary vibe. The dark mahogany block and smooth knife lines enhance the visual factor compared to the classic set. We particularly like the stainless steel plate on the block.
Rubber feet under the block prevent sliding, and as a whole, this set looks more refined and expensive.
One thing you might notice when buying the Calphalon Contemporary set is that it’s missing three knives. This isn’t a mistake – the brand actually added three additional slots on purpose, and even recommends which knives to get to complete your set.
While we like this sort of versatility, we can’t deny that buying three additional knives from the brand will drive up the costs. Depending on your selection, it might even double the original price.
So, you’ll either have to spend more than anticipated or settle for keeping an incomplete knife block on your countertop. Because of the three empty slots, we wouldn’t recommend this set for a gift either.
If you’ve ever worked in a professional kitchen, you might know that real chef knives are heavy. The higher heft is supposed to add balance and improve maneuverability. However, most home users prefer lighter knives. As a result, you might find these slightly awkward to use – at least until you get used to handling them.
Calphalon has been known for its quality knives for decades, and the brand still attracts home users. Both the Classic and Contemporary lines come with impressive features. They might not be the most durable knives out there – which is somewhat disappointing, considering their price range – but they look great and perform as expected.
While you will have to sharpen the knives before the first use, the self-sharpening feature works like a charm after that. In other words, you won’t be bothered with sharpening blades again, which undeniably saves a lot of valuable time.
The high-carbon steel blades are also stain-resistant. Water stains are also easy to remove if you wipe the blades with a dry, clean cloth after you’ve washed them, so you’ll be able to enjoy that shiny, chef-knife effect.
We also like the weight and construction of the blocks. Admittedly, you will have to get used to the angle these knives are held at, but once again, you won’t have to bother with any sharpening.
Overall, we’re happy with both the Classic and the Contemporary line. Various size options give you plenty of choices, and the prices are affordable—no doubt, a great choice either for yourself or as a gift for someone you love.