Expert Review: Mercer Millennia 8-Inch Chef’s KnifePublished on 10/25/2022 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the knife, which I received as a sample in September of 2022.
All photos courtesy of Jacob Cummings
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the knife, which I received as a sample in September of 2022.
The Mercer Millennia 8in Chef’s Knife is an ultra-budget stamped metal knife that is sharp for three uses until the blade completely loses its edge and ends up chipping in three places because one’s roommates left it sitting to dry in the bottom of the dish rack. For under $20 and paired with heavy and regular maintenance, it’s disposable and has the mild promise of holding an edge. A knife like this is typically found in commercial kitchens and usually only in commercial kitchens. But many college kids end up with these because they’re so cheap.
About the knife
- Model: Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef’s knife
- Knife type: Half-Tang, stamped, high-carbon German steel
- Blade Length: 8in
- Handle Material: Nylon and rubber
- Handle Shape: Non-traditional
- Experience: I have used many stamped knives in my lifetime. I prefer forged knives. After working in professional kitchens for over 15 years, I have almost exclusively used low-budget cutlery in those situations as that’s what was provided. I use either forged Santoku knives or Damascus and carbon steel prep knives at home. I encourage everyone to embrace spending more money on knives and cookware because, in the big scheme of things, it’s not much money, and the quality of a nice piece will stay for a lifetime.
- When I bought it: I received this as a sample in September 2022.
- Days tested: 5 weeks in an outdoor shared kitchen on a farm.
- What I’ve used it on: Every vegetable the farm produced, dozens. Name it, and this knife cut it.
- Foods I’ve found it best for: Soft and easy vegetables
- Surfaces I’ve used it on: Wood cutting board
- Sharpening/Honing routine: as an experiment, I did not sharpen this knife for five weeks of heavy use to see how bad it would get.
How it performs
What I was looking for
When this knife showed up for me in a sample kit, I was thrilled to see that I could donate a cheap piece of cutlery to the shared outdoor kitchen on the farm I was staying at. I’ve used knives like this thousand of times, most specifically the stamped metal Victorinox knives, which are the main blade I will compare in this review. These knives, when cared for regularly, will never be as good as the day they were first used, but they can be kept in serviceable condition for unrefined prep work.
Why I chose this knife
Stamped metal knives are very cheap and easy to replace. They’re great for putting in a kitchen used by many people who might not all share the same ideals on how to treat cutlery. So I needed something I didn’t have to worry about, even for one second. The blade on this knife is incredibly versatile, albeit unrefined and not the very best. It’s a great option that can do everything good enough. Easy to handle and lightweight, cooks of all skill levels will find this knife approachable.
What I love about it
- Versatility: Stamped metal knives that cost under $20 are the highest level of versatility for about one week. Then their durability starts showing its dull face and suddenly cutting potatoes isn’t as much fun. However, it’s still a very versatile piece of hardware.
- Applications: Best suited for high-traffic kitchens where the tools change hands between several people. It’s great for rolling chops that do not require precision.
- Blade Profile: This is my favorite blade height because my chunky fingers never have to worry about smashing into the cutting board while I chop.
- Blade Length: For stamped steel, I think a 6in Santoku is preferable because there’s less flex. But an 8in blade overall is the most versatile knife. This blade is comfortable to choke up and pinch for more accurate cuts. And the length is long enough for stabilizing difficult chops with hard vegetables.
- Warranty: This knife has a limited lifetime warranty.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: Stamped metal is lightweight, and when paired with a nylon handle, it becomes an ultralight chef knife. I usually prefer heavy knives, but for long prep sessions, it can be nice to mix it up with tools that aren’t so much effort to lug around.
- Flexibility: The blade does have some flex to it, but it’s not intended to be flexed; it’s just because it’s cheap. Do not bend this blade.
- Performance with Hard Vegetables: If the knife is just sharpened before the meal, it will do okay with potatoes, squash, watermelon, and carrots. But by the end of a long session, the edge will have already deteriorated and need to be sharpened again.
- Blade Material: Normally, I would say the material of the stamped steel knife is an issue. And I am still advising in many places in this review that this knife is not durable. But the knife does sharpen okay for what it is, and considering the value and cost, it’s a fairly high-performing knife. That said, it’s pretty much junk compared to even the lowest-cost forged steel knives, which are only roughly $10 more.
- Durability: While this knife is by no means durable, it can be serviced regularly into working condition. Because of that, I would say it’s an issue but not a dealbreaker. There are far worse stamped metal knives.
- Handle Profile: I do not like the shape of this handle. The bolster is not fun or comfortable to choke up for pinch cuts. But I forgive it since it’s so cheap.
- Balance: It’s not good, but the whole knife is so lightweight that it doesn’t really matter anyway. I would say it’s less offensive than some heavier and more expensive knives that I’ve looked at.
- Quality of materials: Disposable. This knife is not going to last long at all. It will never be the same after the first use. If the blade sees a sharpener often, sometimes before each meal, it might remain in service for a couple of steadily declining years. At some point, it seems knives like this just won’t produce a good edge. I’m sure having a professional recraft the edge would help, but why?
- Protein fabrication: This knife can work for rough prep, but I would absolutely hone the blade beforehand and not expect nuanced cuts. I don’t recommend it.
My favorite moment with this knife
This knife is 100% for sharing, not caring about how it returns. I love offering people opportunities that I don’t have to worry about. This knife is like a full-time opportunity to prepare a meal without fear of someone dulling the blade by dragging the edge across the cutting board as they dump chopped onions into the skillet.
Value for the money vs. other options
It’s not a great value, if I’m being honest. I don’t know why anyone would buy one of these when for $10 more, there’s a whole world of forged blades that will last so much longer and be comfortable and fun to use. Save money and buy a knife only once. Instead of getting this knife, try the IKEA 365+ 8in Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife.
Pass on this knife. Ask a neighbor if they have anything in their house that they aren’t using. Then ask someone else if they can loan $10. Tell them when the IKEA knife arrives, they’ll receive an invite for dinner. Enjoy!