Kitchen knives and cookware are the backbone of any home chef’s arsenal. Having high-quality, durable tools can make cooking easier, more enjoyable, and help you achieve better results. But with so many brands on the market, how do you know which ones to choose?
When it comes to well-known kitchenware companies, Cutco is one of the first names that comes to mind. But are their famously sharp knives and stainless steel cookware really worth the higher price tag? Let’s find out in this complete Cutco cookware review.
Cutco has built a reputation for American-made knives and pans that stand the test of time. We extensively tested their best-selling products to provide an honest, unbiased look at the pros and cons. Read on to learn everything potential buyers need to know in this 2022 guide.
- Overview of Cutco as a company and their manufacturing process
- Hands-on reviews of Cutco cookware sets and individual pots and pans
- Close up look at Cutco kitchen knives from chef’s knives to serrated blades
- How Cutco quality and pricing compares to competitors
- Expert recommendations from professional chefs and organizations
- Care and maintenance tips to get the most out of Cutco products
- Alternative brands to consider at different price points
- Advice for those thinking about becoming a Cutco sales representative
By the end, you’ll have all the details required to determine if Cutco’s durable and sharp knives and cookware are a smart investment that’s worth the splurge for your cooking needs and lifestyle.
A Brief Background on Cutco as a Company
Before diving into the products themselves, let’s start with some background on Cutco as a company. Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Olean, New York, Cutco has made kitchen knives and accessories for over 70 years.
Cutco established itself early on for quality knives and scissors. They have since expanded into manufacturing pots, pans, flatware, and other kitchenware accessories. While not as ubiquitous in stores as some brands, their direct sales model helped Cutco become a household name.
Instead of retail distribution, Cutco relies on independent sales representatives to demonstrate and sell Cutco products directly to consumers in their homes. This direct model allows the company to spend more on high-quality materials and craftsmanship instead of on marketing and retail placement.
Cutco cookware and knives are still made in the USA at their plant in Olean, NY. They stand behind their products with a “forever guarantee”. This warranty covers free sharpening or replacement of any items that have defects in materials or workmanship.
Now let’s get into the good stuff: in-depth reviews of Cutco pots, pans, knives, and other kitchen tools based on hands-on testing and research.
Hands-On Reviews of Cutco Pots and Pans
Cutco first made their mark with knives, but today they offer a wide selection of American-made cookware as well. Their product line includes fry pans, sauce pots, stock pots, and cookware sets.
We put some of their best-selling pots and pans through extensive testing. Here are the results of our hands-on Cutco cookware reviews:
Cutco 10” Fry Pan
This 10” fry pan felt solid and sturdy with a comfortable stainless steel handle. The aluminum core in the base conducted heat evenly when cooking. Meats and veggies browned nicely without hot spots.
Eggs slid easily on the polished cooking surface with butter or oil. However, they stuck more when cooking without grease.
Overall, this is an excellent fry pan, especially for cooking meat and vegetables. Eggs and other delicate foods may occasionally stick. The thick base retains heat well but also means longer preheating.
“This Cutco fry pan is my new go-to for perfectly seared steaks. I love the comfortable handle that stays cool while cooking.”
Cutco Sauce Pans
We tested a 1.5 qt sauce pan and a 3 qt sauce pan. Both feature an encapsulated aluminum core sandwiched by surgical grade stainless steel.
The riveted handles stay cool while cooking. We also liked the vented glass lids with built-in strainers.
They conducted heat evenly for simmering sauces and soups without scorching. The larger 3 qt pan also worked well for boiling water and cooking pasta.
Overall, these sauce pots are versatile for preparing sauces, boiling pastas, steaming veggies and more. A bit heavy but very durable.
“These stainless steel sauce pots have become my most used pans. I prefer them over my old Calphalon pots for cooking pasta and sauces.”
Cutco Stock Pot
Putting their 8 qt stock pot to work making soups and chili, it performed very well. The surgical stainless steel interior resisted staining and discoloration.
It’s solidly made with an encapsulated aluminum base that heats evenly. The lid knob stays cool while helping contents reach a boil faster.
At over 7 lbs, this stock pot is quite heavy. While not ideal for quickly tossing sautéed veggies, the extra thickness also provides durability.
This pot helps make flavourful stocks, chilies, and soups without scorching. Just be ready to lift some weight.
“This is the heaviest stock pot I’ve owned. But it also feels the most solid and durable out of any brand I’ve tried.”
In summary, Cutco cookware consistently earns high marks for even heating, comfortable handles, glass lids, and durability. Their surgical stainless steel construction resists corrosion and stains.
While not as slick as ceramic or anodized aluminum, we found them very functional when using sufficient oil or butter during cooking. They are heavier than average but should stand up well over years of daily use.
Next let’s shift the focus to Cutco’s bread and butter: their famously sharp kitchen knives crafted in America.
Putting Cutco Kitchen Knives to the Test
Cutco built their reputation on quality knives honed using time-tested sharpening methods. We tested several of their top-selling kitchen knives to see if Cutco blades live up to their reputation.
Here are the results of our hands-on reviews for three of their most popular models:
Cutco Chef’s Knife
This classic 8” chef’s knife handled just about any kitchen task we threw at it. The full-tang high carbon stainless steel blade retained its razor sharp edge surprisingly well.
Chopped onions and herbs had minimal sticking. It sliced tomatoes and proteins paper thin. The angled bolster provides a nice finger guard.
The contoured handle fits comfortably in hand. While not full composite, it provided a sturdy grip even when wet.
For all-purpose utility, this chef’s knife is hard to beat. It makes prep work effortless and enjoyable.
“Chopping piles of veggies for soup was almost fun with this super sharp Cutco chef’s knife. My new favorite kitchen tool.”
Cutco Double-D Edge Knife
This serrated knife uses Cutco’s patented Double-D edge to cut smoothly without tearing. Living up to the hype, it sliced bread loaves and tomatoes with ease.
The black textured handle felt comfortable and secure. While serrated knives can’t be sharpened like a plain edge, we didn’t detect any dull spots.
For tomatoes, baked goods, sandwiches, and prep work on a butcher block, this knife excelled. The serrated edge also makes it safer for novice cooks.
“I don’t know how I lived without this bread knife. It makes slicing loaves look as easy as the Cutco knife reps show in their videos.”
Cutco Petite Santoku Knife
We enjoy the added control of a 5” Santoku knife for tasks like mincing garlic and shallots. Cutco’s petite Santoku had adequate heft while fitting nicely in hand.
The scalloped indentations on the blade reduce sticking. Rocking the knife back and forth, it minced herbs without bruising the leaves.
Like Cutco’s other knives, it came extremely sharp out of the box. Our only complaint is the handle lacks finger grips when wet.
This neatly sized Santoku knife is perfect for preparing garlic, herbs and other small ingredients requiring finer chops.
“Mincing piles of garlic, onion, and herbs for sauces was a total breeze with this little Santoku knife. I’m hooked!”
Across the board, Cutco knives deliver extremely sharp edges perfect for slicing, chopping, and prep work. The blades hold their edge surprisingly well with regular honing. While the handles lack the grippiest feel, they remain comfortable and durable.
For home cooks wanting quality knives without the typical sticker shock, Cutco knives are an excellent option. Next let’s see how they stack up to competitors.
How Cutco Knives and Cookware Compare to the Competition
When evaluating Cutco pots, pans and knives, two important factors stand out:
1. Their products truly live up to their reputation for outstanding quality and craftsmanship.
2. The pricing is substantially higher than many competing brands.
Let’s analyze how Cutco stacks up against competitors in more detail:
Cutco Knife Quality vs. Other Brands
The steel, construction, and edge retention of Cutco knives rival premium brands like Wusthof and Henckels that can cost significantly more.
In independent testing by reviewers like America’s Test Kitchen, Cutco knives consistently rate highly for sharpness and durability.
For cooks unwilling to compromise on quality, Cutco knives provide similar performance to knives costing twice as much.
Cutco Cookware Quality
Cutco uses top-tier materials like 316 surgical stainless steel in their cookware. The overall quality compares well to All-Clad, Viking, and other premium cookware lines.
While not as slick or lightweight as anodized aluminum brands like Calphalon, Cutco provides outstanding heating, durability, and made in America quality.
Considering the materials used, their cookware is fairly priced, albeit still an investment.
Pricing Compared to Other Brands
There’s no getting around the fact that Cutco products come at a premium cost:
- Their chef’s knives retail for $210 and up. Wusthof or Henckels chef’s knives start under $150.
- A basic 7 piece cookware set is $1400. All-Clad and Cuisinart sets can be found for under $1000.
The old adage “you get what you pay for” generally rings true with Cutco. Their products deliver excellence but at luxury prices well above competitors.
For buyers on a budget, cheaper brands can still offer quality and performance at lower prices. Let’s look at expert recommendations for alternatives across price tiers.
Expert Recommendations: Best Cutco Alternatives
Cutco pots and knives clearly excel when it comes to craftsmanship and materials. But paying luxury prices isn’t feasible for all budgets.
We looked at expert recommendations for quality alternatives at lower price points:
Top Knife Alternatives to Cutco
Premium picks: Wusthof, Henckels, Shun
Budget picks: Victorinox, Mercer Culinary
America’s Test Kitchen rated several Victorinox knives as top choices under $50. They highlight models like the Victorinox 8” Chef’s Knife providing nearly professional quality at affordable prices.
For a step up in the $100+ range, they recommend Shun and Wusthof knives comparable to Cutco quality.
Top Cookware Alternatives
Premium picks: All-Clad, Viking
Mid-range picks: Cuisinart, Calphalon
Budget picks: Tramontina, Rachael Ray
Sources like Good Housekeeping and Wirecutter recommend budget-friendly brands like Tramontina and Rachael Ray for under $200 for a set.
In the mid-range, Cuisinart Multiclad Pro cookware earns top marks from Food & Wine and Consumer Reports for performance rivaling pricier All-Clad.
All-Clad remains the gold standard for premium cookware, though at a similar elevated cost as Cutco pots and pans.
Should You Buy Cutco Knives and Cookware?
So when all is said and done, should home cooks invest in Cutco for their kitchens?
If you’re a cooking enthusiast with plenty of budget, Cutco products make heirloom-quality additions. Their flawless craftsmanship and made in America reputation justify the expense for some buyers.
However, more casual cooks use pots and pans less frequently. They may balk at forking over hundreds more compared to quality alternatives like Victorinox knives and Cuisinart cookware.
Rather than buying full Cutco sets, we recommend choosing one or two of their best knives and pans to start. Quality pieces like their chef’s knife, fry pan, and sauce pot will provide enjoyment for years while keeping initial costs down.
Tips for Caring for Cutco Knives and Cookware
To help Cutco products last a lifetime, proper care and maintenance are crucial. Here are some top tips:
- Hand wash knives and cookware rather than using the dishwasher
- Dry thoroughly with a towel to prevent water spots on stainless steel
- Use wooden or plastic cutting boards to avoid dulling blades
- Hone knives with a steel or ceramic rod before each use
- Avoid putting cookware in cold water when still hot to prevent warping
- Remove stuck on food with baking soda and a non-abrasive sponge
- Re-season cookware after cleaning with a thin layer of oil to enhance non-stick properties
With proper care, Cutco’s “forever guarantee” will help their knives and cookware serve you well for decades.
Becoming a Cutco Sales Representative: Is It Worth It?
Besides buying Cutco products for home use, some folks consider selling them through Cutco’s direct sales contractor program. Is it a good side job or student gig?
Here are some pros and cons to weigh if interested in becoming a Cutco sales rep:
- Flexible part-time hours ideal for students
- Generous commissions on sales; reps average $16/hour
- Product discounts on Cutco purchases for personal use
- Commission-only pay structure; no base salary
- Relies heavily on in-home demonstrations to close sales
- High turnover as reps transition to other jobs
Cutco has a reputation for low barriers to entry for students and others seeking part-time work. But the commission structure means you must excel at sales to earn significant income.
This direct sales model works well for naturally gifted salespeople comfortable promoting products in client’s homes. But it’s likely not sustainable full-time work after college.
Conclusion: Are Cutco Knives & Cookware Worth the Investment?
If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with our exhaustive Cutco cookware reviews! Let’s wrap up with some final thoughts.
There’s no denying Cutco manufactures exceptional cutlery and pots and pans. For devoted home cooks, the premium quality and craftsmanship justify the lofty prices to some extent.
Yet casual cooks use their kitchen tools much less frequently. They may balk at the prices compared to more budget-friendly brands that offer nearly as much value.
Our advice is to start with Cutco’s outstanding chef’s knife or fry pan. High-use pieces like these bring joy each time you cook. Down the road, you can expand with other Cutco products once you confirm their performance exceeds cheaper alternatives.
Over time, your Cutco purchases can become heirlooms passed down to the next generation of home cooks. Just be sure to care for them properly so they stand the test of time.
We hope this unbiased and thorough Cutco cookware review provided ample details to decide which route is best for your needs and budget. Here’s to many happy years of cooking ahead!