Expert Review: Mercer Genesis 8in Chef's Knife
This review is my honest opinion of the knife, which I received as a sample in September of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the knife, which I received as a sample in September of 2022.
I’m not too fond of using rubber grips on knives and kitchenware, so it is no surprise that I am not a fan of the rubber handle on the Mercer Genesis 8in Chef's Knife. It’s too bad because the knife otherwise is made from a robust piece of high-carbon forged steel that is quite sharp and easy to maintain.
About the knife
- Model: Mercer Culinary Genesis Chef’s Knife
- Knife Type: Half-Tang, forged, high-carbon German steel
- Blade Length: 8in
- Handle Material: Santoprene rubber
- Handle Shape: Traditional
- Experience: With over 15 years of professional kitchen experience, almost all of my cookware has been selected over the years to have durable and long-lasting handles. I love cookware that I don’t have to worry about damaging.
- When I received it: I received this as a sample in September 2022.
- Days tested: 4
- What I’ve used it on: Vegetables: Kale, onions, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage
- Foods I’ve found it best for: Easy-chopping veggies that don’t require much effort.
- Surfaces I’ve used it on: Wood cutting board
- Sharpening/Honing routine: When I can, I hone a knife like this before every meal prep. It has to be sharpened fairly often, but it takes well to it.
How it performs
What I was looking for
This knife came to me as a sample from Mercer to test and try out, and when I first saw it, I thought the material would be composite like their other chef’s knives, the ZUM and Renaissance. Sadly, I soon discovered the handle is made from a medium-hard rubber called “Ergonomic Santoprene.” So I don’t love the handle material because I know that, in time, it will not last like the rest of the blade. As for the blade, it’s quite sharp. I have noticed it does require frequent honing to stay sharp, but it seems to take well and stays sharp with regular maintenance.
Why I chose this knife
I had been using a stamped metal knife for some time and was getting frustrated with its inability to hold an edge. I chose to work with this knife out of curiosity to see how well a budget-forged knife could perform. The classic 8in European blade is tall and very approachable. I feel like anyone can pick up this knife and find a way to use it safely.
What I love about it
- Versatility: This knife is great, like any traditional European 8in blade. If I were to have just one knife in the kitchen, I could happily get by with this knife.
- Weight: The knife’s weight is inviting. It feels like it wants to be held and moved, but I can’t say it’s a very settled weight. Sometimes a knife feels like it wants to rest on the cutting board. Sometimes a knife feels like it securely plants into the hand. However, the weight of this knife feels like it’s hanging all the time and makes for a less confident handling experience.
- Flexibility: This is a rigid design, but one should not use it in situations when the blade is forced to flex.
- Performance with Hard Vegetables: This knife is ideal for all vegetables, but I would say it’s better for simpler and less refined prep work. I would not choose this knife for nuanced cuts, but it will do just fine if it’s the only available knife.
- Protein Fabrication: The bolster and heel of the blade are reinforced on this knife, which gives me some sense that it’s a little bit safer to use for chunky protein fabrication. No knife of this size and dimension will be great for nuanced meat handling.
- Applications: This blade is best suited for rolling chops with the knife's edge resting on the cutting board. Slicing is possible and okay, but it’s secondary to the best abilities of this blade design.
- Blade Profile: The height of the blade is perfect for my larger hands as it allows the knuckles of my fingers to relax on the handle without any worry that I’ll make contact with the cutting board. It’s a traditional European blade shape with a rocking edge and a very smooth and predictable motion. I like it a lot.
- Blade Length: If I had only one knife in the kitchen, a blade like this would be one of my top considerations. An 8in knife with a pointed tip can do just about everything pretty good. It can break a watermelon with the hand at the back of the handle and make fine chops of shallot with the blad pinched between the fingers.
- Blade material: The material of the blade is one of the best parts about this knife. It’s forged steel which is overall very durable and easy to service. Because this is a lower-cost knife, there are not a ton of refinements to the material, like hardening and heat treating, so the blade does need to be honed often to maintain sharpness.
- Warranty: This knife has a limited lifetime warranty.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: While the blade is durable and resistant to chipping along the edge, it does require quite a bit more sharpening and honing than a knife that has endured more edge refinements. That said, this knife takes well to frequent maintenance and, if done so properly, will keep an edge throughout its life. The handle material will not last for more than a couple of years or so, with the way I have seen similar rubber material hold up in my lifetime. I know UV light and heat will shorten the lifespan of this handle, ultimately causing it to fall apart and lose texture. Because of this, I am just sad. I want my cooking appliances to last for generations, and when they called this “Genesis,” it’s like, this knife will be around for the beginning, and that’s all.
- Handle Profile: Despite me normally loving this traditional European handle shape, the rubber material throws me off. It’s too soft and gummy when I’m used to firm textures that weather with a patina.
- Balance: I already said above that this knife doesn’t feel stable to cut with, and that point needs more emphasis. The balance doesn’t appear to be a problem at first glance, but when I really got some time with it, I decided my hands had to work too hard to keep this blade steady.
- Quality of Materials: I’ve already said it a lot, but I don’t like the handle's material. If this knife had a composite handle, I would give it a raving review for the price. I love the blade, and the handle is comfortable and grippy. But the rubber will not withstand the test of time and ultimately makes this a knife that will never be an heirloom.
Favorite moment with this knife
After all my harsh feedback for this knife, I would still say it’s a great knife for having around as an extra. I loved handing it to my friend when they came over to cook with me. Also, the extra material on the bolster encourages a sense of safety: I don’t have to worry so much about accidentally getting my hands stuck under the blade. Because I feel that way, I feel like maybe someone else might also have that experience. Otherwise, I have it in my travel kit as a backup blade, like I said, to give to someone else who’s helping me cook. I love having that option.
Value for the money vs. other options
While it’s worth the money, this knife is not on the same level as knives of similar price. There are bolstered knives made with forged steel that have longer-lasting composite handles that will endure the elements better than this. For this price, one can save $10 and get a better knife from IKEA that will last much longer and hold about the same edge as this blade, such as the IKEA 365+ Stainless Steel 8in Chef’s Knife.
Don’t buy this knife. There are better options for less money. But if the Mercer Genesis ends up in one’s life for some reason, I think it’s a great backup for handing to any cooking assistant. It’s especially great for beginners because the bolstered heel of the blade and extra grippy handle seems to give a small sense of confidence. It’s a great knife to bring camping because it’s cheap, and the blade is durable enough to withstand heavy use and loose storage.