April 7, 2023

Last Updated: July 30, 2023

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Dalstrong Knives: The Good, the Not So Good, and the Goofy

By trk

Last Updated: July 30, 2023

Dalstrong knives, kitchen knives, Knife review

If you haven't heard of Dalstrong knives, you're either new to cooking or have been living in a cave. Dalstrong has an extremely active social media presence and a gung-ho marketing campaign that's loud, fun, and over the top--but may make it hard to know exactly what you're buying.

We take a look at Dalstrong knives, and provide detailed reviews of our five recommended lines below--plus enough information about the rest of them for you to decide if you want to take a closer look.

We also include a buying guide to help you pick out the right knives for your cooking style (even if they're not Dalstrong).

Dalstrong Shogun Chef knife
Dalstrong Knives Summary

Best Features: Decent prices on most lines, a huge variety of blades, steels, and handle designs to choose from.

Worst Features: Gimmicky marketing, some odd designs, a few quality issues, and we think some lines are overpriced. And they are made in China.

Recommendation: As with all kitchen knives, try before you buy. Make sure a knife is comfortable and feels good when you use it before you commit to it. Dalstrong has an excellent return policy, so it's easy to test these knives out.

Table Of Contents (click to expand)

Dalstrong Knives at a Glance

Here is the Dalstrong knife lineup as of June 2023, listed alphabetically. (They change their lineup often, so we apologize if it's changed by the time you read this. We'll try to keep it current.)

The first table below has the Dalstrong knives we recommend. These are Dalstrong's most popular and best-selling lines, with a large selection of buying options. 

The second table lists the rest of the Dalstrong lineup. These are knives with  limited buying options (fewer blade choices and/or no sets), and some have gimmicky features (we think). 

Recommended Dalstrong Knives

Dalstrong Knife Series


Dalstrong Crusader chef knife

-"A minimalist aesthetic with unobtrusive beauty."

-X50CrMoV15 steel

-HRC 58

-16-18 degree double bevel

-High chromium steel handle, polished smooth

-Blade and handle are different pieces welded together

-Includes acacia wood magnetic sheath (individual knives only) and collector pin

-NSF certified

-8/18pc sets and all standard blades avail.

-8" chef's knife about $60 (an affordable line)

Dalstrong Gladiator chef's knife

-"Carefully designed for maximum comfort and maneuverability."


-German-style blade and handle

-HRC 56

-16-18 degree double bevel (single on some Japanese blades like the yanagiba)

-Full tang, full bolster

-G10 or ABS handle, depending on color (several colors available)

-Triple riveted, steel endcap (double bolster)

-Huge selection of blades and sets

-Sheath included w/individual knives, collector pin
-8" chef's knife about $75.

Dalstrong Phantom chef knife

-Japanese AUS8 steel

-HRC 58

-13-15 degree double bevel (yanagiba is single)

-Satin-finished blade, polished spine

-Full tang, partial bolster

-D-shaped "wa" pakkawood handles

-Several buying options, incl. 6pc set with room for expansion (about $400)

-Individual knives come with sheath and collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $100.

Dalstrong Shogun Chef knife

-"Put a lion in your hands!"

-AUS10V Japanese steel core w/66 layer Damascus overlay

-62 HRC

-8-12 degree double bevel (single on some blades)

-Honbazuke finishing

-Full tang, partial bolster

-G10 garolite handle, triple riveted, several colors

-Large selection of knives/1 5pc set avail.

-Plastic sheath w/individual knives, collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $130.

Dalstrong Vanquish 8 chef knife

-"There is beauty to be had in refinement, and no knife knows it better than the Vanquish."

-High carbon German steel

-HRC 55

-12-14 degree double bevel

-Tall, stone polished blade

-Full tang, partial bolster

-POM handle, black or white

-Several sets available

-Plastic sheath included w/individual knives,  collector pin

-NSF certified

-8" chef's knife about $70.

Other Dalstrong Knives

Dalstrong Knife Series


Dalstrong Call of Duty chef knife with box

-"Brace for advanced culinary operations."

-The only officially licensed collector’s Call of Duty culinary tools.

-9Cr18MOV high carbon stainless steel

-Terrain-etched blade pattern reduces drag

-12-14 degree double bevel

-HRC 60

-Full tang, no bolster

-G10 resin/fiberglass camouflage handle

-Limited buying options

-Includes imitation leather sheath and collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $110.

Dalstrong Centurion chef knife

-"The Roman Empire was the most extensive political and social structure in western civilization... Leading its expansion were the noble but ruthless Centurions."

-14C28N Sandvik steel

-HRC 58

-12-14 degree double bevel

-Broad, satin finished blade

-Hollow near bolster for added pinch grip control

-Full tang and full bolster

-Contoured G10 handle, black, triple riveted

-Several blades available

-Only set is 4pc steak knife set

-Includes leather sheath and collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $100.

Dalstrong Delta Wolf chef knife w:box

-"Named after the elite Special Operations Force, the Delta Wolf Series was created to help daring chefs go further."

-9Cr18MoV high carbon stainless steel

-HRC 60

-8-12 degree double bevel

-1.6mm thick spine

-Full tang, no bolster

-Titanium nitride coating (corrosion, drag)

-G10 black camouflage handle

-Only 2pc sets available

-Includes imitation leather sheath and collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $100.

Dalstrong Firestorm Alpha chef knife w:box

-"Channeling the fury of mother nature into a lightning rod of a blade."

-One of Dalstrong's highest end, Japanese style knives

-10Cr15MoV high carbon stainless steel core

-66 layer Damascus blade

-HRC 61

-8-12 degree double or 20 degree single bevel (tuna slicer)

-Wood/resin composite handle, "wa" shield shape

-Several blades but no sets avail.

-Individual knives include ABS (plastic) sheath and collector pin 

-8" chef's knife about $180.

Dalstrong Frost Fire chef knife w:box

-"Takes inspiration from two polar extremes — intense heat meets frigid temperatures" -10Cr15MoV steel

-HRC 60

-16-18 degree double bevel

-"Frosted" sandblast finish to reduce drag

-Full tang, partial bolster

-Several knives avail.

-Resin handle w/aluminum mesh pattern

-Several handle colors avail.

-4pc steak knife is the only set

-Individual knives include imitation leather sheath and collector pin

-NSF certified

-8" chef's knife about $100.

Dalstrong Gaia 3pc set w:box

-"Uses the most sustainable materials possible and caters to the aesthetic of simplicity."

-88% recycled premium German steel

-HRC 56

-9-13 degree double bevel

-Full tang, partial bolster

-Contoured, high density wood fiber handle 76% recycled paper

-Includes wooden sheaths (76% recycled) and collector pin

-Minimal biodegradable packaging

-Avail. only as 3pc set: chef's, santoku, paring, for about $200.

Dalstrong Night Shark chef's knife

-"65 million years of evolution couldn't improve upon this apex predator."

-7Cr17MOV high carbon stainless steel w/black titanium coating

-HRC 58

-16-18 degree double bevel

-TPE and PPE handle for excellent grip

-Sheath and collector pin w/individual knives

-8" chef's knife about $65.

Dalstrong Omega Kiritsuke chef knife w:box

-"A high performance blade for high performance chefs."

-BD1NVX Hyper steel, American 

-HRC 63

-"Liquid metal" blade pattern reduces drag

-8-12 degree double bevel

-Partial bolster, full tang

-G10 military grade handle

-Several knives avail., only kiritsuke chef knife

-Includes imitation leather sheath (individual knives only) and collector pin

-4pc steak knife is the only set

-8.5" kiritsuke chef's knife about $130.

Dalstrong Quantum 1 chef knife w/box

-"The epitome of culinary magnificence."

-BD1NVX Hyper steel, American

-HRC 63

-8-12 degree double bevel

-"Nova Prime blade pattern reduces drag

-G10/carbon fiber composite handle

-Similar to Omega w/different handle shape

-Several knives available, plus one 5pc set

-Individual knives includes leather/carbon fiber sheath, collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $120.

Dalstrong Ronin Honesuki knife w:box

-"Ronin may have no master, but the Ronin Series Chef knife has mastered functionality."

-AUS10V steel, Honbazuke finished blade

-HRC 60

-8-12 degree double bevel on chef's knife, single 15 degree bevel on Japanese blades (usuba, tuna knife, 

-"Liquid Kusari" finish reduces drag

-Octagonal "Wa" G10 Garolite handle

-Partial tang

-Acacia wood sheath included

-Mostly Japanese knives and no sets or steak knives avail.

-Individual knives include acacia wood sheath, collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $130.

Dalstrong Shadow Black chef knife w:box 6

-"Designed to be sleek, aggressive, and muscular looking."

-7CR17MOV-X high carbon, vacuum treated steel

-HRC 58

-16-18 degree double bevel (yanagiba blade 16-18 degree single bevel)

-Blade has titanium nitride coating to reduce drag

-Full tang, "handle" bolster

-G10 fiber resin handle, black (some red also avail.)

-Handle shape inspired by F117 Stealth bomber

-Several blades and a few sets avail.

-BPA sheath included w/individual knives, collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $90 ($80 in red).

Dalstrong Spartan Ghost chef knife w:box

-"The ultimate expression of uncompromising knife performance."

-S35VN powdered steel w/Dalstrong Lion Armor coating

-HRC 100 (from coating)

-8-10 degree double bevel\

-Convex edge grind

-1.6mm thick spine (thin!)

-Full tang, partial bolster

-Coating improves corrosion resistance

-D-shaped "wa" handle, wood/resin composite

-Includes leather sheath, collector pin

-Chef's, santoku, utility, paring avail. (no sets)

-8" chef's knife about $240

Dalstrong Valhalla chef knife w:box

-"Reserved for only the most courageous of warriors, a Valhalla blade demonstrates your valor and brings glory to your kitchen."

-9Cr18MoV high carbon stainless steel

-HRC 60

-8-12 degree double bevel

-Full tang

-"Odin's Frost" sandblasted finish to reduce drag

-Resin/wood handle

-Several blades avail.

-No sets available

-Imitation leather sheath included, collector pin

-8" chef's knife about $130.

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About Dalstrong (The Company)

Dalstrong is a Canadian company founded in 2014. They make kitchen knives, knife accessories like whetstones, carrying cases, and cutting boards, as well as other small utensils for the kitchen. They also make two lines of clad stainless steel cookware.

The company was founded by Canadian entrepreneur David Dallaire, who is the visionary behind the innovative Dalstrong designs. 

Dalstrong sells only in online stores--Amazon, Walmart (limited availability), and their own site--to keep costs down. (The Walmart prices were high, though that can change. Amazon and Dalstrong had nearly identical pricing on most products.)

Dalstrong headquarters are in Canada and the US. All their knife manufacturing is done in Yangjiang, China.

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Dalstrong: The Good

Dalstrong knives are good quality. Most use high-end steel and durable handle materials. Not all lines are equally top quality or priced well, but our favorites are definitely worth looking at.

All Dalstrong blades are cold- and heat-treated for maximum durability. While all high-end makers do this, not all mid-range makers do (we consider Dalstrong a mid-range maker).

Each knife bought individually comes with a sheath, which is great for storage and traveling.

Dalstrong knives come in beautiful, if somewhat elaborate, packaging: a box inside a slip cover inside plastic wrap. The box is themed for each series and is beautifully colored and quite sturdy. The knife, in its sheath, is nestled in a mold that fits it perfectly, so there is almost zero chance of any damage during shipping. In fact, the boxes are so nice, you may want to keep them around for storage, or to keep all the little extras that come with the knife.

Extras can include a collector pin, a wiping cloth, an instruction booklet, and more. It seems to vary by series and Dalstrong probably changes them over time. If you are a collector or like getting extra stuff with a purchase, you'll appreciate Dalstrong knives.

Maybe the best thing about Dalstrong is that they're affordable, or at least our favorite lines are. You can buy a Dalstrong German style chef's knife for under $100, and you can get a genuine Japanese blade, made with super hard Japanese steel, for a lot less than you'd pay for a Shun or Miyabi. 

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Dalstrong: The Not So Good

Probably the biggest ding against Dalstrong knives is that they're made in China. True knife aficionados hate this about Dalstrong and say they can't possibly be as high quality as knives made in Germany, Japan, or the USA. 

There may be some truth to this, as Dalstrong knives do seem to have some quality issues you hardly ever see on competitor brands, such as inconsistent blade sharpness, loose rivets, cracked handles, and blades that rust within a few months of purchase. However, these complaints are rare, and the majority of Dalstrong knives sold produce satisfied customers. 

Dalstrong does use some Chinese steels, such as the 7CR17MOV-X for the Shadow Black series, and 9Cr18MOV, used on the Call of Duty, Delta Wolf, and Valhalla series. While these are Chinese knock-offs of higher end steels that allow Dalstrong to sell their knives at a lower price, we don't recommend them because of what we know about Chinese steel: it's more prone to rusting than non-Chinese steel and typically does not have the same durability (maybe why the Shadow Black series is coated with titanium nitride). 

Chinese-made products aren't all bad, and Dalstrong claims their Chinese knives are made with every bit as much care and tradition as Japanese or German knives (which we quite honestly doubt, but that doesn't mean the knives aren't perfectly good for many cooks). Reviews indicate that most buyers love their Dalstrong knives. But we do recommend that you avoid the lines made with Chinese steel (yes, even despite their many positive reviews). 

We also dislike some of the Dalstrong design. For example, some of the knives have odd balance, are very heavy, or have handles that seem to be designed more for appearance (or should we say coolness?) than for ergonomics. 

And do you really need a knife with a built-in bottle opener and a double-pronged tip that doubles as a fork? Or a collector pin? Despite the positive reviews, we think probably not (though it is a creative sales technique, for sure).

We also dislike all the etching on the blades, as well as many of the deep grooves meant to help with food release. Somewhat ironically, these are places for food to stick and in some cases make the knives harder to clean.

Not all of Dalstrong's products are affordably priced. Some of their knives go for as much as Japanese- and German-made knives do, and many of their accessories--cutting boards, honing rods, and whetstones--cost as much as other brands or even more. For products made in China, this shouldn't be the case, no matter how good the quality is. 

Finally, other reviewers we've read while doing research for this article have said that there is a remarkable resemblance between some of Dalstrong's knives and other Chinese knives that sell for a lot less on aliexpress.com. (This link goes to one that looks a lot like a Dalstrong Shogun.)  We can't be positive they're the same knives, as many knives look alike. But it's certainly something to be aware of, and perhaps to dig into a little deeper before you buy. (Sorry we don't have more information about this.) 

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Dalstrong: The Goofy

"Dominate dinnertime! Put a lion in your hands! Strike with mastery!"

Goofy may be a strong word, but it's no exaggeration to say that the Dalstrong marketing campaigns--and designs--can be over the top. For example, Dalstrong has a Call of Duty knife series designed for fans of the video game. What kitchen knives have to do with video games, we don't get--but if you're into cooking and Call of Duty, Dalstrong offers the only overlap we know of (not that we've looked terribly hard).

Some other creative Dalstrong knife lines are Delta Wolf, named after the military special operations force, with a chef's knife that looks a lot like a hunting knife, sheath included. 

And then there's the Shadow Black line, which has a handle designed like a F117 Stealth Bomber--words we never thought we'd write for a kitchen product review (and ergonomics be damned!).

There are other examples (see the table above), but these are some of the weirdest. 

Dalstrong knives come with a collector pin unique to each series. This is something new that we haven't seen with other knife brands, and probably goes along with the over-the-top sales techniques.

Dalstrong Gladiator collector pin

Dalstrong has clearly put a lot of thought into their marketing, and in portraying many of their knives as extensions of the male ego. Add the intense music and dramatic product descriptions on their website, and you have to wonder how much of their success is driven by marketing, and how much is driven by actual product quality.

Whatever their strategy is, it's working for them. Buyers--no doubt mostly men--seem to love the knives and the masculine zeitgeist surrounding them. Dalstrong fills a niche--an emotional one?--that other knife makers weren't aware existed.

We find some of their marketing just plain silly, and some of it bordering on the absurd. But it's a lot of fun, too. And some silliness doesn't mean Dastrong knives aren't good. If you're intrigued, you should test a few out and see if there's a Dalstrong knife out there that fits your cooking style.

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Who Should Buy Dalstrong Knives?

Dalstrong marketing is overwhelmingly geared to men, and many of the knives are heavy and have large handles, which makes them a better choice for men than women (though some women may prefer heavy knives). So in general, Dalstrong knives are best suited for men.

There are a few exceptions, such as the Gaia line, made with recycled steel and handle material, and the Vanquish, which is a plain, affordable knife that offers durability and dependability without a lot of over-the-top marketing. But overall, Dalstrong marketing is laden with testosterone.

We rank Dalstrong as a mid-range quality knife brand. They aren't premium quality, but they are far from junk. They're a good choice for any home cook who loves the unique Dalstrong look and finds the knives practical and comfortable to use. 

Dalstrong's popular lines are also more affordable than many other knife brands, which makes them appealing to anyone on a tight budget. 

Dalstrong has a few celebrity chef endorsements, but it's hard to say what these mean when we don't know if they're paid endorsements or not (and most celebrity endorsements are paid, so we don't put a lot of stock in them, whatever the product). Our research has shown that pro chefs tend to choose other brands, possibly because Dalstrong knives aren't marketed to professional chefs, but rather to serious home cooks. For example, they have several specialty knives for dedicated carnivores (again, men) such as barbecue knives, brisket knives, butcher knives, "pitmaster" knives, and cleavers--not knives a pro chef typically needs.

Some pro chefs have also made comments in various online forums (such as reddit) about Dalstrong steel not holding an edge very well, handles being uncomfortable, and the balance being off, which are not good traits for professionals, who often use their knives for several hours each day.

However, these concerns are far less important for home cooks because most home cooks don't use a knife for longer than about a half an hour at a time, so neither hand strain nor the ability to hold an edge matter as much. You'll probably have to hone and sharpen Dalstrong knives at the same frequency you do other kitchen knives.

So if you like Dalstrong knives, they're probably a good choice for you and your kitchen. 

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About Dalstrong Steel

Dalstrong Omega Kiritsuke chef knife w:box

Dalstrong uses several different types of steel, including Japanese steel, American steel, German steel, Scandinavian steel, and Chinese steel. The type of steel used is listed for each Dalstrong series in the tables above and the reviews of our recommendations below. Here are more details about each steel type. 

7CR17MOV-X high carbon, vacuum treated steel: (Shadow Black, Night Shark) HRC 58. Similar to 440A steel, this is a Chinese stainless steel seen mostly in budget knives. It is high in chromium which gives it excellent corrosion resistance, but even at this hardness rating, it doesn't have great edge retention like most Japanese steels with a similar hardness rating--but on the plus side, this makes it easier to sharpen. It's a good steel for a budget-priced kitchen knife. 

10Cr15MoV high carbon stainless steel: (Firestorm Alpha, Frost Fire) HRC 59-62, depending on heat treatment. Similar to Japanese VG10 steel--a premium steel--this is a Chinese steel with a lower price. It has excellent corrosion resistance and edge retention, but is also quite durable for such a hard steel. It is fairly easy to sharpen, depending on the heat treatment/hardness rating. All of these traits make it an excellent steel for thin, Japanese-style blades (and good steel for knives in general). Dalstrong uses this steel on some of their highest end Japanese knives.

14C28N Sandvik steel: (Centurion) HRC 58-63. Sandvik is a Swedish steel company and this is their brand that's similar to Japanese AUS8. It's found mostly on mid-range quality knives as it is a cheaper version of AUS8. However, it has great corrosion resistance due to a high chromium content, and very good edge retention. It's fairly durable, but its hardness makes it somewhat brittle, as well as harder to sharpen than some softer steels. It's considered a good-but-not-great-quality knife steel.

9Cr18MOV: (Call of Duty, Delta Wolf, Valhalla) HRC 58-60. This is a high-end Chinese steel used for knife blades and other steel calling for high corrosion resistance. It is most similar to 440C, which is seen most often in low- to mid-range knives. It can make excellent kitchen knives, but you do have to be careful with the blade because it can chip.

AUS8 steel: (Phantom) HRC 58-59 Japanese steel. This is a high carbon stainless steel with molybdenum and vanadium. This is a good quality steel that has an excellent combination of durability, hardness, and corrosion resistance. It can be sharpened easily with a whetstone. It is not the highest quality Japanese steel available and requires more sharpening than some other Japanese steels (VG10, for example), but it is a quality steel and a good choice for most kitchens. 

AUS10V: (Shogun, Ronin) HRC 60-62 Japanese steel. (Note: Other sources say the hardness ranges from 58-60 HRC.) AUS10V is a good quality Japanese steel. It is not considered as high quality as VG10 (seen in Shun and other top Japanese brands) largely because it wears down faster and requires more sharpening, though not as much as AUS8. 

BD1NVX Hyper steel: (Omega, Quantum 1), HRC 60-63. This is an American steel made by Carpenter Technology. It is different from most other knife steel in that it contains nitrogen, which, according to Dalstrong, allows for a more refined grain structure. This means it holds an edge well and is easier to sharpen than many other premium steels like VG10. Nitrogen also "softens" the steel a bit so it is less prone to cracking and chipping, which are common problems with steels this hard. This steel is also vacuum-melted, which increases the fine-grained properties of the steel. BD1NVX is a fairly new steel to kitchen knives and there isn't a lot of information to be found about it outside of the Dalstrong site. It looks to be a good quality yet affordable steel.

High Carbon German Steel: (Vanquish, Gaia) HRC 55. "German" steel can mean several high carbon stainless steels, so it's hard to know exactly what was used in making these knives. One of the most common is X50CrMoV15, but Dalstrong uses this in their Crusader and Gladiator lines, so it's probably not this steel in the Vanquish and Gaia series. The high carbon German steel used by Dalstrong is likely a steel slightly lower in quality than the X50CrMoV15, yet still durable and resistant to corrosion. 

S35VN powdered steel w/Dalstrong Lion Armor coating: (Spartan Ghost) HRC 100 from the armor coating. S35VN is a premium American steel. It has a hardness range of 58-61 HRC and is considered a high quality steel for knives with a great combination of sharpness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and durability. Dalstrong coats their S35VN blade with their Lion Armor Coating, which increases the hardness rating to 100 HRC, which means this knife has incredible sharpness and edge retention. An over-the-top blade if ever there was one. 

X50CrMoV15 steel: (Crusader and Gladiator) Hardened to HRC 56-58. This is the most common steel found in high quality German knife brands, including Wusthof and Zwilling. It has superb corrosion resistance and good edge retention. It's easy to sharpen, making it an excellent choice for home cooks. You probably already own at least one knife made from this steel.

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About Dalstrong Handles

Dalstrong Firestorm Alpha chef knife w:box

Here are the materials used in Dalstrong handles.

ABS: (some colors in Gladiator line) A thermoplastic polymer with both plastic and rubber properties. Durable and lightweight. 

Carbon Fiber: (Quantum 1, combined with G10) A top quality handle material, graphite fibers are woven together and fused in an epoxy resin. The carbon strands reflect light, providing a three-dimensional appearance. Lightweight and extremely durable. Dalstrong uses carbon fiber combined with G10 in the Frost Fire handles. As far as we know, no Dalstrong handles are 100% carbon fiber.

G10: (Gladiator, Shogun, Centurion, Call of Duty, Quantum 1, Ronin, Shadow Black) Also called Garolite, this is the most common material in Dalstrong handles. G10 is a phenolic laminate, which is essentially layers of fiberglass in an epoxy resin. It is similar to Micarta, which is also a phenolic resin common in knife handles, but G10/Garolite is less expensive to manufacture and is easy to customize to different colors and designs, which fits with Dalstrong's aesthetic. In many cases, Dalstrong combines G10 with other materials to create unique-looking handles. A comfortable, durable material for knife handles.

Pakkawood: (Phantom, probably Spartan Ghost and Firestorm Alpha, which are just listed as "wood/resin composite") Pakkawood is a composite of layered wood and resin. It looks like wood, but is extremely durable and resistant to bacteria. It is excellent handle material, seen mostly on Japanese knife brands.

POM: (Vanquish) POM stands for polyoxymethylene and is a durable thermoplastic with high resistance to heat and cold. POM is naturally resistant to bacteria, making it a hygienic choice. Most people like the feel of POM in their hands. It is a fairly inexpensive synthetic, but because of its comfort, durability, and resistance to bacteria, it is seen in several high quality knife brands, including Wusthof. Seen more often on German/Western style knives than on Japanese knives.

Resin: (Frost Fire) Though there are several types of resin knife handles, Dalstrong doesn't state what type of resin is used in the Frost Fire handles. It's probably similar to G10 or ABS. In the Frost Fire line, resin is combined with aluminum mesh to create a unique honeycomb look.

Stabilized wood: (Gaia) A high density wood fiber handle. The Gaia handle is made from a minimum of 76% recycled paper, and probably includes a synthetic material to bind the pulp and increase durability. 

Steel: (Crusader) The Dalstrong Crusader line has stainless steel handles. Note that even though the knives look like they're all one piece, they are not. The handle is a high-chromium stainless steel, but it is not the X50CrMoV15 steel of the blade, mostly because you don't need the same quality steel in a handle as you do in a blade. Steel handles aren't for everybody, so you really have to try it out before you decide if it's right for you.

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Other Helpful Terminology

Parts of a Knife

Here are definitions for some terms you may not be familiar with.

Belly: The part of the blade that curves upward to the tip of the knife.

Bevel: Also called blade angle or edge, it's the degree of sharpness to which a blade is honed. Dalstrong knives have a wide range of bevel angles and even include single bevel Japanese-style knives, something not commonly seen in knives sold in the West.

Bolster: The handle end of a knife blade that provides a balancing point between the blade and the handle and also provides protection for your fingers. A kitchen knife can have a full bolster, which goes down to the cutting edge, a partial bolster which goes halfway down or less, or no bolster, which is usually the case with stamped knives.

Butt: The back end of the handle.

Cutting Core: The steel used for the sharp cutting edge when underneath a layer (or layers) of softer protective steel (like Damascus).

Damascus Steel: A folded steel containing several layers of different steels, which enhances strength and provides a lovely, marbled appearance. Today's Damascus steels are primarily for appearance, as modern steels are much stronger and more durable than when the Damascus method was developed (in the pre-industrial era). 

Hardening: All Dalstrong knives undergo a hardening process that makes the steel more durable. Hardening can be done several different ways, but generally involves heating and cooling the steel to extreme temperatures. Different hardening methods can create different hardnesses for the same steels, though all steels have a maximum hardness they can reach, depending on their composition.

Heel: The bottom of the blade at the handle end.

Hollow Ground: Hollow ground means the knives have dimples along the edges, and can also be called a granton edge. The divots help with food release, so food doesn't stick as much to hollow ground knives as to smooth blades.

Honbazuke: Japanese for “true cutting edge,” this is a three-step honing process that gives Japanese blades their exceptional sharpness. Each step is done by hand. First, blades are coarsely ground with a vertically rotating whetstone, then fine-honed with a horizontal rotating whetstone, then polished using a leather belt.

HRC: The Rockwell hardness rating of a knife. Most good quality German knives tend to be 56-58, and most Japanese knives tend to be 60-62. The higher the rating, the longer a knife will hold its edge, but harder blades are also more brittle and prone to chipping. Dalstrong knives range from around 55 HRC (fairly soft and durable) up to 63 HRC (extremely hard and brittle). They even have a blade that's coated to bring the hardness up to 100 HRC.

Spine: The top of the blade, usually 1.5-3mm thick, depending on the type of knife. (Japanese knives tend to be thinner, German knives tend to be thicker.)

Tang: The tang is the part of the knife that extends into the handle. A full tang knife has a blade that extends to the butt of the knife; a partial (or "rabbet") tang extends partially down the handle. Some Shun knives have a "composite tang," which means the blade steel and the handle steel are different, and welded together where the blade joins the handle.

Tsuchime: This is the hammered finish seen on the Dalstrong Shogun line. The hammering produces a beautiful textured pattern but also helps with food release.

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How Much Should You Spend on Kitchen Knives?

There are many schools of thought as to how much you should spend on kitchen knives. If we're talking about chef's knives, some people think $20-$30 is plenty; others think a good knife starts around $100, while still others think you need to spend $300 or more to get a good one.

There are positive and negative qualities for all knives at all price points. A $30 chef's knife may last just as long as a more expensive knife, but the softer steel will go dull faster and require more frequent sharpening. A $300 chef's knife might hold a blade extremely well, but if it's very hard, it's brittle, and isn't a good choice for hard foods and bone.

And at the $100 dollar level, all sorts of things can happen: you may overpay for a poor quality knife; you may find a nice knife that isn't quite what you want; or you may find a really nice knife that works really well for your cooking style. 

Our point is that price should not be the sole determiner as to what makes a knife good. Instead, you should think about what makes a knife right for you. If you have a tight budget, then a $30 knife is probably the best choice--just be sure you have a honing rod and a way to keep the knife sharp.

If you have a bigger budget, then you have more options, but this doesn't necessarily mean you need to buy a $300 knife. You might find the perfect knife for a lot less than this. We think you can get a really good quality chef's knife starting at about $100: one that's durable, sharp, holds an edge well, and feels good in your hand.

You can find good knives at just about every price point. So it's important to try different knives and find the one that works for you. 

Dalstrong makes knives in a wide price range, with some starting around $60 (and some starting at $260). We think Dalstrong's less expensive knives can be a great choice for many people; in some cases, as good as knives that cost quite a bit more. On the other hand, if you're going to spend a lot on a knife, you may want one that's actually made in Japan or Germany rather than in China, as Dalstrong knives are.

This probably isn't very helpful, because we're not giving good specifics. But when it comes to kitchen knives, the only thing that matters is if a knife performs how you want it to and feels comfortable in your hand. This covers a huge range of price and quality--so the best thing is to try a lot of knives before you decide.

We love that Dalstrong has an excellent return policy, so if you try one of their knives and it's not what you want, they'll take it back, no questions asked. 

It's not always easy to find the knife that's right for you.

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What is the Rockwell Hardness Scale (HRC)?

The Rockwell hardness rating of a knife (HRC) measures how hard the steel is. Good quality German knives are rated around 56-58, and most Japanese knives are around 60-62. (Less expensive knives, like Victorinox, are rated around 56 HRC or below.) The higher the rating, the harder the steel and the longer a knife will hold its edge--but harder blades are also more brittle and prone to chipping. Thus, harder Japanese steel is best for standard prep work and thin slicing, while softer, more durable German steel is the more versatile choice: better for cutting bone and hard foods, and also great for prep work. 

Knives with a lower hardness rating are not poorer quality. In fact, they can be quite durable and great to use. They just need to be sharpened more frequently than harder steel. How often is "more frequently"? It really depends on how you use the knife. But if you hone the blade regularly before use, you'll probably need to sharpen a 56-58 HRC blade about every 4-6 months.

Dalstrong knives come in a wide range of hardness, starting around 55 HRC and going all the way up to 100 HRC. In general, the harder the steel, the more expensive the knife. We think Dalstrong's best knives range from 55-58 HRC (Vanquish, Gladiator, Crusader, and Phantom). 

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What Is NSF Certification?

NSF stands for the National Sanitation Foundation. The NSF was founded in 1944 as a nonprofit testing agency to establish and enforce standards for food sanitation and safety. 

If a knife has NSF certification, it basically means that it meets all the requirements for food sanitation and safety. Such a knife is eligible for work in a restaurant or other professional kitchen.

Why is this important? To the average consumer, it really isn't. But restaurants are required to use NSF certified equipment to keep the possibility of food contamination low. 

In general, knives with synthetic handles are eligible for NSF certification, while knives with wooden handles are not because wood harbors bacteria and other food pathogens more easily.

Not all knives with synthetic handles are NSF certified, because certification is something the maker has to apply for. A lot of makers don't bother, especially if their knives are sold primarily to home users.

For home cooking, it really doesn't matter all that much--but if it matters to you, then Dalstrong offers a few NSF certified lines, such as the Crusader and the Vanquish.

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Dalstrong Knife Pros and Cons

This is not a complete list of pros and cons, and we included pros and cons for each line we reviewed below. But this is a good overview of what we like and don't like about Dalstrong knives in general.

  • Many lines are good quality for the price
  • Large variety of blades, steels, handles, and colors to choose from
  • Beautiful packaging, with lots of extras included
  • Excellent customer service
  • Excellent return and exchange policies
  • Sheaths included with individual knives
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • Some knives are heavier than we think they should be, and/or poorly balanced
  • Some of the designs are gimmicky
  • Some of the handles are designed more for appearance than for ergonomics
  • Some of the deep grooves and etching can be hard to clean (food gets stuck)
  • Made in China.

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Caring for and Sharpening Dalstrong Knives 

Because Dalstrong uses so many different steels for their knives, it's hard to provide a complete guide to caring for them, and in particular sharpening them. So in this section, we'll just go through basic knife care and sharpening.

Caring for Dalstrong Knives

Use: When you buy a knife, be sure you're buying it for the right thing. The many different steels available today make it a little tricky to do so. 

If you want an all-purpose knife that's durable and that you can use for anything, go with a softer steel (an HRC of less than 60). These knives (typically German or Western style knives) are all-purpose so you can use them without worries of chipping them.

If you want a more nimble knife primarily for veggie prep and cutting meats (not bone), you can go with a harder steel (above 60 HRC). These harder steel knives (typically Japanese-style knives) are great fun to use, but they can chip easily, so you have to be careful to not use them on hard foods, and to not twist the blade or scrape it on the cutting board--and don't use the tip as a prying tool, or you're just asking to break it.

Cleaning: As with any good kitchen knife, you should always wash by hand and dry before putting away. Never put a knife in the dishwasher, even if the handle is "dishwasher safe." Dishwasher soap contains abrasive particles that can ruin both the steel and the handles.

Dry the knife after use to prevent rusting. Stainless steel is rust resistant, but it is not rust proof, especially the high carbon stainless steels used for good quality knives. If you let your knives air dry, you may end up with rust spots on them.

Sharpening Dalstrong Knives

Using a Norton Whetstone

Using a whetstone.

Dalstrong knives come in a wide range of steels and edge angles, so how you sharpen them is going to depend on which line you have. This is why we include the edge angles (bevels) for each line: it's important information when it comes to sharpening the blade correctly. At least, it is if you want to keep the original edge angle on a knife (which you should).

If a knife has a bevel between 14-16 degrees, you can use almost any standard sharpener--almost always 15 degrees--whether it's electric or manual. 

However, many Dalstrong knives have much thinner angles, some as narrow as 10 degrees. These thinner angles produce extremely sharp knives, almost like razor blades, but if you want to keep that angle, you need a special tool: either a whetstone or a guided rod system. 

With a whetstone, you can sharpen a blade to an infinite number of angles, as it all depends on how you hold the knife (alternatively, and a great idea, especially for people new to whetstones, is to use angle guides). This makes the whetstone a versatile tool, but it's also tricky to get the hang of, and you should not practice with your expensive knives because it's easy to take too much steel off the blade and ruin the knife.

Guided rod systems are more expensive and can be clunky to set up, but they hold a knife at the correct angle so there is no way to put the wrong edge on a knife. 

Dalstrong only sells whetstones and honing rods; they do not make any other types of sharpeners. (This kind of goes along with their male marketing strategy, we think.) However, you can find pull-through sharpeners with 10 degree angles, like this Wusthof Asian sharpener. It's convenient and affordable, but it will never get the same edge on your knives as a whetstone or guided rod system.

For more information on knife sharpening, see our article A Beginner's Guide to Knife Sharpeners.

Alternatively, if you don't want to deal with sharpening (and a lot of people don't), you can send your knives out for professional sharpening. Many grocery stores and butcher shops offer this service, or you can find one in your area by googling for "knife sharpeners." Dalstrong also offers a sharpening service on their website.

Honing a Knife

Using a honing rod.

Finally, and this is non-negotiable, you must invest in a good honing rod. A honing rod keeps the edge aligned, and using it frequently--at least a few times a week or even every time you use a knife--will keep a knife sharp so you can go longer between sharpening. 

You can see Dalstrong honing rods here and Dalstrong whetstones and sharpening equipment here. But you don't need to go with Dalstrong just because you have Dalstrong knives, so if you can find a better deal, then go with it. 

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Review: Dalstrong Crusader

Dalstrong Crusader chef knife

See Crusader knives on Amazon

See full Crusader line at Dalstrong

8-inch chef's knife about $60

8 piece set about $250


  • X50CrMoV15 steel
  • HRC 58
  • 16-18 degree double bevel
  • High chromium steel handle
  • Blade and handle are different pieces welded together and polished smooth
  • Individual knife purshase includes acacia wood magnetic sheath
  • NSF certified (can be used in a professional kitchen)
  • 8-inch chef's knife weighs 6.5 ounces.

A "minimalist aesthetic with unobtrusive beauty," the Crusader is what Dalstrong calls design purity. That is, it's simple, minimalist, and affordable. The knife has a German design, with a deep groove in every blade reminiscent of medieval swords used by the Crusaders. 

Whereas the Global all-steel knives offer Japanese design, the Crusader offers a modern, all-steel package with high carbon German steel used in top brands like Wusthof and Zwilling and a Western style cutting edge and fairly thick blade. The open handle keeps the knife light, with the 8-inch chef's knife weighing just 6.5 ounces. 

Do note that though the Crusader knives look like they're all one piece, they're not: the X50CrMoV15 blade is welded seamlessly to a higher chromium handle. It's pretty cool that they can do this without any seam showing.


It's not for everyone, but a lot of people love this knife.

The handle may look uncomfortable, but most of our testers liked it. It's especially nice when using a pinch grip, where your thumb and index finger are "pinching" the blade. A handle grip was okay for short sessions, but some users found that their thumb or fingers got sore when they gripped the hollow handle for too long because the edges wore against their fingers. Other people had no problem with the handle at all and loved it.

The knife is super sharp right out of the box, with a blade thick and heavy enough to handle everything from herbs to chicken bones (again: German design). It has pretty good balance, though it does feel a bit blade-heavy to some users and just a bit inexplicably clunky to others.

The deep groove is supposed to help reduce food sticking to the blade, but it's at the top, so our testers didn't notice it helping much. But this may be an unfair criticism, since most attempts to reduce stickiness (hammering, scallops, etc.) often don't make a noticeable difference. 

Softer foods like cheese sometimes got stuck in the deep groove.

A few Amazon reviewers complained about the uncomfortable handle, the knife being dull out of the box (not our experience), and the blade rusting within a few months of purchase. But the majority (more than 90%) of the reviews were positive: most buyers love the look and the performance of the Crusader knives.

Buying Options

Single blades: 8-in chef's knife, 8.5-in kiritsuke (Japanese chef's knife), nakiri knife, santoku knife, boning knife, fillet knife, 6-in utility, 5.5-in serrated utility, serrated bread knife, paring knife, bird's beak paring knife.

Sets: 18 piece block set, 8 piece block set (or get 8pc set plus whetstone), 4 piece steak knife set, carving knife and fork set.

Pros and Cons


  • Affordable
  • Sharp
  • Good quality steel
  • A lot of buying options, including a modernist glass/wood knife block for the 8 piece set
  • Great customer service and return policy.


  • The handles won't be comfortable for everyone
  • Softer German steel will need more frequent sharpening than Japanese steel (yet is still very sharp)
  • Some comments about chips and scratches, but Dalstrong replaced these knives, no questions asked.

Recommendation on the Dalstrong Crusader Series

The Dalstrong Crusader Series is a minimalist German design that's durable and will be easy to sharpen. It's a good knife for newer cooks, if they find the handle comfortable. Fortunately, Dalstrong has a great return policy, so you can try the knives without worrying about being stuck with them.

Dalstrong Crusader 8pc set

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Review: Dalstrong Gladiator

Dalstrong Gladiator chef's knife

See Gladiator knives Amazon

See full Gladoator line at Dalstrong

8-inch chef's knife about $75

5 piece block about $200


  • X50CrMoV15 steel (high carbon German steel)
  • German style blade and handle
  • HRC 56
  • 16-18 degree double bevel (single on some Japanese blades like the yanagiba)
  • Full tang
  • Full bolster
  • G10 or ABS handle, depending on color
  • Several handle colors available (black, white, blue, green, red)
  • Triple riveted with steel endcap (i.e., double bolster)
  • Huge selection of blades and sets
  • Sheath included with individual knives
  • 8-inch chef's knife weighs 11.5 oz.

"Carefully designed for maximum comfort and maneuverability," the Gladiator series has the largest offering of all the Dalstrong lines and is also one of their most popular and affordable lines. It's a classic German design, with good quality German steel blades and durable synthetic handles. The Gladiator 8-inch chef's knife is one of the heaviest we've reviewed, at 11.5 ounces (compare to a Wusthof Classic at 8 ounces; a Zwilling Pro weighs 9 ounces). (Note: We've seen different weights for the Gladiator chef's knife online, but this was the weight we got on our scale.)

Gladiator knives compare well to the high-end German Wusthof and Zwilling knives. They're durable and you can use them for anything from herbs to cutting through bone. The steel sharpens easily yet will hold an edge for awhile--long enough to satisfy most home cooks.

If you want a handle color other than black, Gladiator has several options, including white, blue, red, and green.

Some older reviews said the Gladiators have a pakkawood handle, but today the website says the handle is G10 (black), or ABS for other colors. These are both good quality handles and not a drawback at all (although pakkawood is the more expensive handle option).


The Gladiator chef's knife has a wide, thick blade and is designed to be an all-purpose kitchen work horse. The thickness, along with the softer German steel, makes the knife great for all foods, including hard foods and bones (softer steel means more durability). The wide blade provides plenty of knuckle clearance, great for large hands and for scooping up veggies to drop into a skillet or bowl. The curved belly makes the blade good for slicing, rocking, and chopping.

The knife was extremely sharp out of the box and held up through many cutting tests. It cut through meat, vegetables, herbs, and fruit with ease. It cut up a chicken easily as well, with just a bit of pressure applied to get through the bone.

The first thing you notice about this knife is how heavy it is. With the thick blade and enormous full bolster, this knife is a handful. And most of our testers found it to be blade-heavy and not have the best balance; some people liked this, while others hated it. 

The handle is comfortable, although some reviewers on Amazon said loose or poorly fitted rivets cut into their hand when using the knife. Others complained about hand strain because of the weight (and possibly also the blade-heavy balance). 

Sharpening the knife is fairly easy because of the German steel, but the full bolster makes it nearly impossible to sharpen the entire blade (an issue with all full bolster knives, not just the Gladiator).

Also, because of the width of the knife and the huge bolster, it isn't likely to fit in any knife blocks you already own. If you want to store it in a block, you should probably buy a Gladiator block set.

Buying Options

Single blades: The Gladiator line has more than 100 unique types of knives, including chef's, boning, fillet, paring, serrated, vegetable, cleavers, steak, Japanese knives, and more. Go to the Dalstrong Gladiator page to see all the options.

Sets: Gladiator knives have several set options, including a 12 piece set with block; an 8 piece set bundled with a steak knife set or with a whetstone; an 18 piece set with block; some steak knife sets, and many more. To see all the sets, go to the Dalstrong Gladiator page linked in the above paragraph.

Pros and Cons


  • Affordable 
  • Sharp
  • Lots of buying options, both sets and individual knives
  • Good quality German steel
  • Excellent customer service and return policies.


  • Heavy (some people prefer this)
  • The full bolster can get in the way, especially when sharpening
  • Softer steel will require more frequent sharpening.

Recommendation on the Dalstrong Gladiator Series

Though the Gladiator knives get really excellent reviews, they weren't one of our favorites of all the Dalstrong knives we tested. The heavy blade and thick full bolster made the knives a little hard for some people to handle, and others didn't like how the knife was balanced. 

But the blade was razor sharp and the knife could cut through just about anything, so if you like a heavy knife in a durable German design, the Gladiator could be a great knife for you.

Dalstrong Gladiator 8 piece set

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Review: Dalstrong Phantom

Dalstrong Phantom chef knife

See Phantom knives on Amazon

See full Phantom line at Dalstrong

8-inch chef's knife about $100

6 piece set about $400


  • Japanese AUS8 steel
  • HRC 58
  • 13-15 degree double bevel (some Japanese blades are single bevel)
  • Honbazuke blade finishing
  • Satin finished blade with polished spine
  • Full tang
  • Partial bolster
  • D-shaped "wa" pakkawood handle
  • Several buying options
  • Individual knives come with sheaths ("sayas")
  • 8" chef's knife weighs 6.5 ounces.

A masterful statement in culinary expertise.

The Dalstrong Phantom Series is a beautiful knife with great Japanese style. It features AUS-8 Japanese steel engraved with the Dalstrong name down the spine as well as the Japanese kanji for ‘phantom’ or ‘ghost’. The blades are sharpened with the honbazuke method, a Japanese three-step method for achieving superior blade sharpness. The blade is hardened to 58 HRC, which is an excellent hardness for home kitchen knives; not so hard that they can't be sharpened or will chip easily, but hard enough to hold an edge well and go awhile between sharpening sessions. 

Phantom knives have traditional  thin, rather narrow blades that are great for slice cutting, but also wide enough and curved enough for the Western rock cutting style. 

The handle is a traditional Japanese "wa" D-shaped pakkawood. It's larger in both diameter and length than you see on many Japanese knives, making this a great choice for anyone who wants a Japanese knife but has larger hands. It has a beautiful red spacer near the blade and a steel end cap both for beauty and to help provide balance.

Overall, a great-looking knife with a sharp blade and a comfortable handle.


The Phantom chef's knife is light and well-balanced, making it fun to use. It came extremely sharp out of the box, and cut easily through meats and veggies, sliced through tomatoes, and chopped herbs beautifully. The handle is quite comfortable and the knife has nice balance.

The partial bolster has a great feel to it and is great for a pinch grip. 

One thing we did not like about this knife is the exaggerated backward point on the heel. Yes, it looks really cool, but it's easy to catch on things like dishtowels and fingers--be careful!--and it really serves no purpose other than appearance. 

As with other Dalstrong knives, the Phantom gets overwhelmingly positive reviews. But there are a few complaints about dullness (ours were not at all dull) and poor quality such as lack of finishing and crooked blades. One customer showed a broken blade. These were a small minority, though, and overall, the Phantom is a great knife for the price.

Buying Options

Single blades: You can choose from several blade styles, including Western chef knives, paring knives, serrated knives, utility knives, cleavers, and more; as well as several Japanese knives, including the santoku, nakiri, kiritsuke (Japanese chef knife) and more. See the full line on the Dalstrong/Phantom page.

Sets: As far as we can tell, the Phantom series has only one 6 piece set available. It's a great set with useful knives (kiritsuke, chef, santoku, bread, utility, paring), and the "block" will hold up to 12 knives--great for anyone who wants to add to their collection. But some reviewers complained about it scratching easily and not holding up well. 

Dalstrong Phantom 6 piece set

Pros and Cons


  • Light and nimble blades
  • Comfortable D-shaped handles
  • HRC 58 great for holding an edge and still sharpening easily
  • Excellent customer service and return policies.


  • The backward point on the heel makes the knife a little dangerous (be very careful with it!)
  • A lot of writing on the blade (you may not mind this but we think it looks cluttered and can be hard to clean)
  • Some complaints about quality.

Recommendation on the Dastrong Phantom Series

The Phantom is one of our favorite Dalstrong knives: light, nimble, super sharp, and a lot of fun to use. It's not as hard or as fancy as the Shogun, but it's lighter and provides the same quality (we think) at a lower price. Overall a good knife at a good price.

Dalstrong Phantom chef knife

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Review: Dalstrong Shogun

Dalstrong Shogun Chef knife

See Shogun knives on Amazon

See full Shogun line at Dalstrong

8-inch chef's knife about $130

5 piece set about $400


  • AUS10V Japanese steel core w/66 layer Damascus overlay
  • 62 HRC
  • 8-12 degree double bevel (single on some blades)
  • Honbazuke blade finishing
  • Tsuchime finish (that is, hammered)
  • Full tang
  • Partial bolster
  • G10 garolite triple riveted handle
  • Handle available in black, white, red, green, tan, and blue
  • Plastic sheath included with individual knives
  • Large selection of individual knives and one set available
  • 8-inch chef's knife weighs 8.75 ounces.

Put a lion in your hands! The Dalstrong Shogun series is one of their most popular. This is a Japanese-style knife (though made in China), with several characteristics of a Japanese knife: It has a 66 layer Damascus steel overlay that adds style and protects an AUS-10V cutting core. The hammered Damascus pattern is called Tsuchime, and it is hand polished to bring out a "Tsunami Rose" pattern. 

And yet, the Shogun also has characteristics of a Western or German chef knife: the wide blade and big belly make it a good shape for the rocking motion used by Western chefs. It's also fairly heavy, much closer in weight and feel to a German blade than a Japanese blade.

The Shogun line is super sharp and retains sharpness well with a hardness rating of 62 HRC. This is a knife for people who want razor sharpness and enough durability to stay that way for a while.

The G10 Garolite handle is durable yet affordable, which keeps costs within reach of people who may not be able to afford other brands of Japanese super steel knives.

The Shogun is one of Dalstrong's more expensive lines (we think too expensive for what you get). It has harder steel and a fancier finish than the Phantom (reviewed above), but is also considerably heavier, which is somewhat unusual for a Japanese-style knife; most people who buy Japanese knives want them light and nimble.


The Shogun is extremely sharp and will work for just about any kitchen prepping jobs. Stay away from hard foods or you can chip the blade. 

Though the cutting angle is a narrow 12 degrees, the blade itself is fairly wide, so once again, it feels more like a German knife than a Japanese knife in use. The blade bites into food quickly and easily, then it widens out--like a German knife. We're not sure it needed such a narrow blade, or if having one, why they widened it out so much.

In any case, the Shogun is designed to cut with both a Japanese slicing motion and a Western rocking motion, which mostly works: some testers thought the knife was great at both, but others found it a little bit awkward using both styles.

Despite the many positive reviews on Amazon, most of our testers found the Shogun overly heavy and not very well balanced, especially compared to the Phantom. (At 8.75 ounces, the 8-inch Shogun chef's knife is as heavy as many German chef knives.) 

Overall, this knife gets great reviews, but we just didn't like it very much. Some of the few negative reviews included complaints about the knife not being sharp out of the box (ours was quite sharp), being heavier than a Japanese-style knife should be (we agree), and a few quality issues such as rusting within a few weeks of purchase and the blade breaking (yikes). 

Finally, and this is not a performance issue, but the Damascus layering isn't very consistent, and also just not very pretty. The hammered appearance varies greatly among different knives, and the hammering looks mechanical, like it may not be done by hand. (We don't know if that's the case, that's just how it looks to us.)

Buying Options

Single Blades: The Shogun knife comes in more than 60 different blade types. Many of these are Japanese style but also include standard chef's knives, paring knives, bread knives, steak knives, even Dalstrong specials like pitmaster knives and cleavers. See all the Shogun knives at Dalstrong's Shogun page.

Many Shogun knives come in a choice of black, white, green, red, tan, and blue handles.

Sets: Somewhat surprisingly, sets in the Shogun series are limited. There's one 5 piece set in a block--or get it with a cutting board or with steak knives; a three piece paring knife set, a carving knife/fork set,  a charcuterie set, and a set of four steak knives.

Pros and Cons


  • High quality, hard Japanese steel
  • Great edge retention
  • More than 60 blades to choose from
  • Excellent customer service and return policies.


  • Expensive for Chinese-made knives (we think overpriced)
  • The Damascus layers aren't consistent--they vary a lot amongst the Shogun knives
  • Heavier than you might expect from a Japanese-style knife, and many users found it not very well balanced.

Recommendation on the Dalstrong Shogun Series

The Shogun has some good qualities, but we prefer the simpler and less expensive Phantom. The Shogun is expensive for a Chinese knife; we think too expensive. 

If you really want a Japanese knife but don't want to spend a fortune, a good choice would be the Global G2. The 8-inch chef's knife costs under $100, making it a better deal than this knife--and it's a really great knife for the price, with a thin blade and light, nimble Japanese feel (and made in Japan, too). 

Dalstrong Shogun Chef knife

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Review: Dalstrong Vanquish

Dalstrong Vanquish 8 chef knife

See Vanquish knives on Amazon

See full Vanquish line at Dalstrong

8-inch chef's knife about $70

8 piece set about $250 (24 piece set about $400)


  • High carbon German steel
  • HRC %%
  • 12-14 degree double bevel
  • Wide (tall) blade (great for moving veggies), stone polished for a satiny finish
  • Full tang
  • Partial bolster
  • POM handle in black or white
  • NSF certified (can use in restaurant kitchens)
  • 8- chef's knife weighs 8.5 ounces.

There is beauty to be had in refinement, and no knife knows it better than the Vanquish. The Vanquish is one of Dalstrong's newer lines, and a bit of a dark horse, but we liked this knife a lot and are recommending it as one of Dalstrongs more affordable and best-performing lines. 

It's nothing fancy. You get an unspecified high carbon German steel with a hardness rating of just 55 HRC. This makes this knife a little softer than Wusthofs and Zwillings, but for the price, you get a really nice knife. The steel is sharp, the handle is comfortable, and we love the price point--it's right where a knife of this caliber should be.

The NSF certification is a nice extra, but since most people buying this knife will be home users, it's not a huge selling point.


Our testers liked how this knife cuts. It reminded people of a Wusthof Ikon in weight and balance. The partial bolster makes a pinch grip easy and feels like you could handle the knife for hours. They're a great weight for a German-style knife: heavy, but not too heavy. Right where you would expect the weight to be.

The steel is soft enough and durable enough for any use in the kitchen, including hard foods and bones. The handle is comfortable. The full tang and steel endcap give the knife good balance.

This is a great all-purpose kitchen knife that our testers enjoyed using. It gets mostly positive reviews on Amazon, with a few complaints about being dull out of the box (but as with all the other Dalstrong knives, this was not the case with our test knives).

One tester thought the curve of the knife was a little off, making the rocking chop difficult to maneuver. Otherwise, we found the Vanquish to be an excellent tool at an excellent price point.

Buying Options

The Vanquish line has just a few knives and sets available, though it should be everything you need. Interestingly, the 24 piece set has just about every type of knife you can imagine, though most of them are not available individually (yet). This will probably change if the line catches on (which we hope it does).

Single blades: Chef's knife, santoku, paring knife.

Sets: 3 piece set (without block); 8 piece set in black or white handles; 24 piece set.

See all Vanquish buying options on Amazon

Pros and Cons


  • Great price point
  • NSF certified
  • Plain blade easier to clean
  • Excellent customer service and return policies.


  • Softer steel than most other Dalstrong knives (will need more frequent sharpening)
  • Not a lot of buying options for individual knives
  • Nothing fancy; just a dependable, German-style kitchen knife.

Recommendation on the Dalstrong Vanquish Series

The plain, simple Vanquish was one of our favorite Dalstroung knives. It will need to be honed regularly and sharpened more often than harder blades, but this is a small price to pay if you want a dependable knife you can use for everything. We think it's a great choice for most home cooks.

Dalstrong Vanquish 8 chef knife

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A Buying Guide for Kitchen Knives

This section provides general information on buying kitchen knives to help you make the right decisions (whether you go with Dalstrong or another brand).

How Many Knives Do You Need?

Those gigantic sets are appealing, but how many knives do you really need? Most cooks have three or four knives that they use regularly, and maybe one or two more that they use occasionally. So even though that huge set is a great deal, you'll probably find yourself reaching for just a few of the knives in it.

For this reason, if you go with a set, we recommend a smaller set, one with no more than five or six knives. If you get a storage block, you can get one that has room for expansion, so you can add to your collection with knives of your choosing.

Which Knives Do You Need?

Most cooks really need just these three knives:

  • Chef's knife for general food prep (veggies, meats, herbs, fruits, etc.)
  • Paring knife for working with small items (e.g., stemming strawberries)
  • Bread knife, or any serrated knife you can use for bread and other soft foods. 

There are dozens of different kitchen knives you can buy, and they can be useful for cooks who need them. But most cooks will use their chef's knife about 85% of the time, and the other two knives the rest of the time.

Yes, other knives can be useful to have. If you prefer a flatter chopping motion, you may want to try a santoku or nakiri knife for your veggie prep. You may also want a few different chef's knives, such as a lightweight Japanese one for softer foods and a heavier German one for hard foods and bone. And if you like paring knives or do a lot of small, detailed work, you may want a few different types of paring knives (there are several to choose from).

There's really no limit on how many knives you can (or should) have, and it's a lot of fun to try new knives. Our only suggestion is to be sure you need them before you buy them.

Blade Considerations

This section covers the important features of blades.

Forged Vs. Stamped

One of the most basic things to know about kitchen knives is whether they're forged or stamped.

Forged knives are hammered and ground from a piece of steel. Forged knives vary in thickness, which is most easily seen in the bolster: they always have a bolster and usually a full tang, the part of the knife that extends into the handle. 

Stamped knives are cut or stamped out of a piece of steel. They don't have a bolster because the piece of steel is all one thickness; or if they do have a bolster, it's part of the handle, not the blade.

forged knife

Forged knife: note the bolster.

stamped knife

Stamped knife: no bolster.

Forged knives are generally considered higher quality. However, there are many high quality stamped knives on the market, too. Because forged knives go through a more rigorous hardening process, they do tend to be more durable than stamped knives. However, with today's high carbon steels, the difference in durability is very small, especially for most kitchen use.

Some people believe forged knives have better balance, while others prefer the lightness of a stamped blade. 

All Dalstrong's knives are forged.

Shape and Size

forged knife

German chef knife: wide (tall) blade.

Japanese chef's knife

Japanese chef knife: a narrower blade.

You can get lost in all the blade shapes and sizes on the market. If we're looking at chef's knives, in general the German knives tend to have wider (taller, from spine to edge) blades and the Japanese knives have narrower blades. We say "in general" because there are exceptions on both sides: that is, narrow German blades and wider Japanese blades. So you really have to look at each individual knife to know its shape.

Wide blades are a little more durable and are good for scooping up vegetables to dump into a skillet; narrower blades are lighter and probably more fun for most people to use. Some people like one (or more) of each so they have a choice depending on what they're making.

As for size, 8-inches is the standard chef's knife blade, 3.5--4 inch is a standard paring knife blade, and 9-10 inches is standard for a bread knife. The standard for santokus and nakiris is 7 inches.

However, you can find most knives in a variety of lengths, such as chef's knives as short as 6 inches and as long as 12 inches.

There's no right or wrong choice, and it's all about your preferences. You should try a lot of different knife shapes and sizes before you decide what you like best. We recommend you start with standard sizes first--they're standards for a reason--and experiment with other sizes, to compare.

Dalstrong makes knives in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. Which is great, but it can make your choice harder. 

Of course, handle design is just as important as blade design, so be sure to look at that as well before you decide (see below for more information).

Type of Steel/Hardness

We've already talked quite a bit about steel types and hardness ratings. Most non-professional cooks do well with a steel that's 56-60 HRC. It's perfectly alright to go out of this range on either side, but the further out you get, the more sharpening a knife will need on the low side (because they dull faster), and the more care you'll have to use on the high side (because they're brittle and can chip).

As for the particular type of steel, it really doesn't matter all that much. The differences between high carbon stainless steels are tiny, and they're all high-performing. Whether you go with German steel, American steel, or Japanese steel won't make all that much difference in your daily use (other than the hardness rating).

We do recommend, however, that you avoid Chinese steels. While they can be perfectly fine, they have a reputation for inconsistency, and are more prone to rust than other steels because they don't always have the highest testing standards. For Dalstrong knives, this means not buying the Call of Duty, Delta Wolf, and Valhalla lines.

Cutting Angle

We've already discussed the cutting angle, and give the angle for each line of Dalstrong knives. 

Unless you're looking for something specific, the cutting angle probably won't be a priority when you buy a kitchen knife; any cutting angle will work fine for most jobs. But it is important that you know what the angle is for sharpening. 

Or, if you are looking for something specific, then the cutting angle can make a difference.

A standard cutting angle is around 15 degrees, double bevel. If you don't know the angle of a knife you own, you can safely assume that this is probably the angle, or close to it, especially if it's a German knife. This is a good angle and cuts quite well. And, a knife with this angle can be sharpened with just about any electric or manual pull-through sharpener.

Thinner cutting angles are found mostly on Japanese knives (but not all Japanese knives). These thinner angles provide a razor sharp, scalpel-like feel and are a lot of fun to use. But if you put them in a standard electric or pull-through sharpener, you'll ruin that.. 

In summary, you need to know the cutting angle of your knives so you use the right method to sharpen them.

Handle Considerations

The most important handle consideration are shape, size, and material.


Above all, a handle should be comfortable. It should fit your hand and feel good in it. There should be no protruding rivets or rough edges that could cause blisters. There should be no awkward contours that could cause blisters.

Also think about whether you prefer the contoured German style handle or the smoother Japanese handle. Japanese handles can be round, D-shaped, or octagonal, but typically are not contoured like German knife handles.

All the shapes are comfortable, so once again, it's really about personal preference.

While most knife handles feel good when you pick them up, think about using the knife for hours on end: will the handle still be comfortable?


Most kitchen knife handles are one-size-fits-all, but different brands of knives tend to have different handle sizes. In general, Japanese knives tend to have smaller handles than German knives (but there are exceptions to this, too). 

Dalstrong handles are good-sized, which makes sense because they market most of their products to men. 

This doesn't mean Dalstrong handles are too big for women. As we said, most handles are one-size-fits-all, though different brands tend to be on different ends of that spectrum.

If you're not sure what size handle is best for you, try several out. This is the best way to discover what's right for you.


Knife handles can be made out of dozens of different materials. The most popular ones are wood and durable synthetics.

The handle material is probably the least important aspect of buying a knife--because they're all functional and comfortable--but it's nice to know what the material is so you can better know how to care for the knife.

Wood handles are beautiful, but they are more expensive and can harbor bacteria and other food pathogens. There are a variety of synthetic handles, some of which are cheap and not very durable, and some of which are tough, durable, comfortable, and pretty. Some of the best synthetic handles are POM, ABS, and G10 (garolite).

Pakkawood is a wood/resin composite and is also beautiful, and durable, but a little on the expensive side.

Dalstrong uses several handle materials, but one of the most common is G10. This is a durable, fairly inexpensive synthetic and it lowers the price of some high-end blades that would otherwise be out of many people's reach (the Shogun, for example). 

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Dalstrong Knives FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about Dalstrong knives. We covered most of this in the article, but here's the summary (if you didn't read the whole article).

Are Dalstrong Knives Any Good?

Dalstrong knives are mid-range quality: not the best, but far from the worst. They use many different steels and handles, so it really depends on which particular line you're considering, as well as what you're looking for.

What Is the Best Line of Dalstrong Knife?

This really depends on what you're looking for in a knife. Dalstrong makes everything from budget lines to high-end super steel knives, and the price points vary considerably. Our general take is that if you want an affordable knife, Dalstrong has some good options (Vanquish, Crusader, Phantom, and Gladiator). However, if you want to buy a fancy, expensive knife, you may be better going with a different brand.

Where Are Dalstrong Knives Made?

All Dalstrong knives are made in China. This helps them keep costs down, but also makes some people question their quality.

Where Can You Buy Dalstrong Knives?

Dalstrong knives are sold only online, at Amazon, WalMart, and the Dalstrong website. This also helps them keep their costs down.

Are Dalstrong Knives Forged or Stamped?

All Dalstrong knives are forged.

Are Dalstrong Knives Dishwasher Safe?

No! No kitchen knives should ever go in a dishwasher. Wash and dry your knives carefully by hand. Dishwasher detergent can be abrasive to the blades and can absolutely ruin certain handle materials.

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Final Thoughts on Dalstrong Knives

Dalstrong Crusader chef knife

Dalstrong doesn't make the world's highest quality knives, but they are far from the lowest quality. Dalstrong offers good quality steel (in most of their lines) and a huge variety of blades and handle designs, many of them at an affordable price point. If you don't mind knives made in China, then Dalstrong should be on your list for kitchen knives.

If you're a home cook (or maybe even a pro) and like Dalstrong's style, you can probably find a great knife that won't break the bank. Our favorites were the Phantom and the Vanquish--see the reviews above for more information.

Thanks for reading!

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About the Author

The Rational Kitchen (TRK) is a collaborative effort, but the founder, editor, and writer of most of our articles is Melanie Johnson, an avid cook, kitchenware expert, and technical communications specialist for more than 20 years. Her love of cooking and the frustrating lack of good information about kitchen products led her to create The Rational Kitchen. TRK's mission is to help people make the best decisions they can when buying kitchen gear. 

When not working on product reviews, Melanie enjoys reading, playing with her dog Ruby, vintage video games, and spending time outdoors and with her family.

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