One of the most famous brands in America for knives is Chicago Cutlery. Like you would expect for a top player in the market, they frequently change the lineup of available products. And recently, they have revamped the entire knife collection. The new has loads to offer, which the old lineup could not meet.
Likewise, the new lineup lags in some of the factors the old one excelled. So, was the change worth it?
Did they make the knives better or worse? You will get to know all about the topic through this discussion about Chicago Cutlery old vs new. How did we manage to gather all of the required information?
Well, we had the old set, and we also managed to get our hands on the new version. We compared both of them head to head and found out their differences. So, without further ado, let us get into it!
Chicago Cutlery Old Lineup
Let us first give you a brief idea about the brand. They started their operation back in 1930. However, they did not start by being a knife manufacturer as they are today. Instead, they were in the market for sharpening the knives. The targeted people were the butchers that required razor sharp blades.
They got into the blade manufacturing process with all of the knowledge and experience they gained after sharpening loads of knives. And they were in full bloom in the 1960s. The old lineup started ever since then. All of the sets that they offered were handcrafted. That offered each offering a rustic but professional aesthetics.
Benefits of the Chicago Cutlery Old Lineup
As you can tell, the old lineup was pretty famous among both the home and professional chefs. But what did the old lineup actually offer to gain so much popularity? Let us walk you through.
One of the main reasons that caused the manufacturer to gain massive popularity was the quality of the steel they utilized for the blades. However, they did not state which composition they originally utilized. Many still argue that the edges were mainly of high-carbon steel, and they are correct to a vast extent.
The blades indeed have the traits of high-carbon steel. That made the blades achieve a higher overall durability level. The old lineup was capable of handling a good amount of load. And you would not notice them struggling one bit when working with dense foods.
Being a company that initially sharpened knives, you would expect them to offer reasonably sharp blades. And you would be totally correct in that regard. The old lineup indeed had razor-sharp blades. The brand claimed that they utilized a 13-degree angle on each side.
The OG lineup had wooden handles. You will not find any of the sets containing handles that are of other materials. And the wooden handles made the cutlery achieve a unique overall outlook. The sets would look aesthetically pleasing in the kitchen.
As you know by now, the original lineup went through the handcrafting process. For that reason, each of the design aspects had a touch of ergonomic features to them. The chances of you facing discomfort while handling the cutleries are exceptionally low.
Attention to Detail
The original lineup went through the entire manufacturing process within the USA. That, combined with the handcrafting process, allowed each of the offerings to look distinct compared to the competitors' offerings. You would feel like holding something premium when you worked with those.
Disadvantages of Chicago Cutlery Old Lineup
It seems like the old lineup did everything right, correct? Well, that is not really the case. There are still some things where the old lineup lagged behind.
The overall construction of the cutlery sets was made of high-quality materials. Sourcing out and working with those materials were not cheap. Even the handcrafting process bumped up the end price. That is why it was pretty hard to find a budget offering from the company at that time.
Even though the cutlery set came with a razor-sharp edge, they were not that well-known for holding the edge for a long time. As a result, you would find yourself resharpening the blades from time to time. However, it is not a significant issue as the edges are pretty easy to resharpen.
Chicago Cutlery New Lineup
As we mentioned, Chicago Cutlery does not offer the old lineup of cutlery anymore. To keep up with the modern needs and budget constraints, they have moved their entire manufacturing process. They have even changed the manufacturing location.
So, was the change really required? Does the new lineup offer more advantages than the old one? After going through this segment, you will get to know all about the benefits that the new lineup brings to the table.
The manufacturer does not use the same material as they used to. Now, most of the lineups will be of stainless steel. And as you know, this type of steel is well-known for being resistant to steel. So, you will not even need to worry about edges getting rusted and corroded over time.
Due to stainless steel construction, the new lineup is pretty easy to maintain. You would not have to go through the intensive cleaning process, nor will you need to go through any hassles. Also, as the edges can resist stains pretty efficiently, there will be no need to do frequent cleanups either.
The manufacturer has moved its operations to China. And as you might have guessed, the manufacturing cost dropped down significantly for that. It became more manageable for the company to source out suitable materials.
It even became easier for the manufacturer to carry out the entire manufacturing process. So, it is now possible to get a Chicago Cutlery set at the budget price point.
Alongside others, the design of the set also changed with the new lineup. However, it is an improvement because the offerings now incorporate modern designs, making them blend exceptionally well with the contemporary design that most kitchens have nowadays.
Over time, the brand took a couple of notes for ergonomics. The handles now have a highly ergonomic design, which will make them fit right in hand. Also, the balance of the blades will be at an adequate amount. For that reason, you will not have to worry about facing discomfort or fatigue while handling them.
Even though there have been significant improvements in the other factors, the new lineup still has some drawbacks. Among all, these are the ones that seemed important to us:
The new lineup does not rely on the handcrafting process anymore. Instead, most, if not all, of the cutlery goes through machinery. That reduces the build quality. The knives do not feel that premium in hand. However, that does not mean that the build quality is that bad. The price of the units does justify the overall quality.
Although a couple of the old issues were addressed in the new lineup, the edge retention issue is still present. You will often find yourself resharpening the edge before moving into any cutting or slicing task. And that can be a bit annoying sometimes.
Differences Between the Chicago Cutlery Old and New
Yes, both the lineup is from the same manufacturer. However, there are a good amount of differences in both. Here is a description of the ones that stood out the most to us:
The stainless steel material that the brand uses at the moment is undoubtedly high in quality. However, it does not match the sturdiness level of the high-carbon steel they used to rely on. As a result, the durability level of the new lineup will be comparatively low when you compare it with the old one.
If you consider the price, the new lineup has an edge. Instead of being in the premium range, the new lineup will be in the affordable range. That means you will not have to break your wallet just to get a cutlery set that offers decent overall performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the new lineup of Chicago Cutlery from?
Even though the brand is still USA-based, all of the manufacturing processes are now in China. The brand has made this move to lower the production cost. And for that reason, it is possible to get yourself a proper set from Chicago Cutlery without having to break your bank.
Does the new Chicago Cutlery lineup has wood handles?
Not all of the sets will come with a wood handle. Only the higher-end sets will come with that. On the other hand, the sets that reside in the medium to low budget will come with plastic or handles of similar material.
Are the Chicago Cutlery sets still handcrafted?
No! The new lineup of the Chicago Cutlery does not go through the handcrafting process. That process is pricy and requires a lot of production costs. For that reason, they have shifted to the machine manufacturing process.
As you can see, a lot of the things are different when it comes to the Chicago Cutlery old vs new. Some of the changes made the sets achieve a higher value proposition.
And now it is finally possible to get one of these sets without having to break the bank. On the other hand, some of the changes have made the lineup feel entirely different. For example, the stellar build quality and exotic wooden handles of the old sets are no longer there. So, it is pretty hard to choose a winner in this case.