5 Common Mistakes When Buying Knives

Published on 08/29/2022 · 5 min readShopping around for knives? Check out these 5 avoidable mistakes from Kitchen Expert Alex Alcarraz to ensure you end up with the best knives for your needs!
Alex Alcarraz, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Alex Alcarraz

Photo by Alyson McPhee

Buying anything these days can be a daunting process. With the ease of the internet, you no longer need to go to a brick-and-mortar shop to look at great tools. This is where an unorthodox mixture of excitement and disappointment comes together.

I hate returning things once I buy them. When I receive a package in the mail, I look forward to opening it and trying it out. Sadly, there are times when the product does not live up to what I expected. It takes me a long time to come to terms with it, and I have missed a few return policy windows due to this.

Thanks to my loathing of returning things, I have developed a system for shopping online. This aligns perfectly with knife shopping. Let’s look at five common mistakes when buying knives and what to do to avoid these mistakes.

1. Impulse Purchase

Photo by Jacek Dylag

I am sure this is something we have all experienced at some point. There are some items you’ve been wanting to buy. All of a sudden you get a moment of inspiration and take the plunge with the credit card! It feels great at first, but after a few moments, even a couple of days, you regret the whole event. The worst part is that you end up realizing that what you bought is not what you needed at all!

Knife shopping on impulse could be quite a predicament. Good quality knives are not cheap, and temporarily numbing out a price tag only lasts so long. Rather than shopping for something that makes you feel like you have to fill a void, think about what will happen after you buy the knife. Will it be for special occasions? Will it be your everyday workhorse? The answer will most likely be uncertain. If you arrive at this conclusion, grab a coffee or a burger, anything else besides a knife. It will offer quicker gratification for a fraction of the price.

2. Not Enough Research

Photo by Christin Hume

You know you need a new knife, and you know that it is going to be amazing. You simply go online and look at what looks nice and in your current budget. You make the purchase, and when it arrives, the quality you expected is not there and you end up having to return it. All of a sudden, you are back to square one without a knife. Researching makers, styles, and professionals’ favorites will make all the difference in choosing your next tool. Speaking with people who cook or have cooked in professional kitchens will always be the best way to find your ideal tool. Luckily, the Kitchen Experts here on Curated are just this sort of folks.

3. Choosing the Wrong Style

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When looking for a knife, you will have an initial choice of Western or Japanese. Japanese knives look extremely attractive, but they require a lot of care. If you are getting started on your cutlery journey, start with knives that are easier to care for and comfortable to use. You do not want to have a bunch of chipped, dull high-carbon steel blades that are rusting because you were not made aware of their needs.

4. Buying the Most Expensive Option

Photo by Kevin Doran

I love expensive knives. There is a little bit more history behind the making of the blade and the tradition of the craft. There are also many benefits like very good quality, very small production, and being individually hand-made in most cases. However, there are many great-quality knives at different price points. Set up a budget for yourself. You could buy a great knife set for about 500–600 dollars, or even less than that!

5. Not Considering Your Work Space

Photo by Conscious Design

This is probably the biggest mistake when buying a knife. It is very important to know where they will end up! If you have a small kitchen, consider having a magnetic bar for some chic wall storage to allow your knives to not be damaged in a drawer. Along with this, don’t buy the biggest knife you see. I have made this mistake myself. Thinking bigger is better can make your cutting sessions a little clunky if you have very limited space. Your environment will influence the tools that you need quite a bit.

Buying knives can be a daunting task if you have not prepared yourself with a basic idea of what you want out of your new tools, how much you want to spend, whether you are sure you are ready and happy to invest, and which side of the east versus west styles you land on.

Let’s say that you have avoided all of the mistakes above, and you have your new knives. What’s next? Obviously, get comfortable with them, and start using them to their fullest. However, you will soon discover that this is not enough. You will inevitably want to purchase more! This is absolutely normal and largely welcomed. Learning about other styles and brands makes collecting knives a big part of the excitement.

You must continue to remember to avoid the above mistakes with every new addition to your repertoire. Shopping is as much a physical action as it is an emotional one. Do the research and reach out to one of Curated’s Kitchen Experts whenever you are unsure of anything. Even the most knowledgeable experts wouldn’t mind exchanging a few pointers with peers.

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