By February 7, 2007

Henckels Synergy Asian Knife Set review

Sometimes you get what you pay for. Sometimes you get more than you pay for. Sometimes you get much less.

Such has been my experience with Henckels knives. Introduced to this manufacturer of fine kitchen knives by my then-employer in Oregon, I picked up an eight-inch Henckels Twin Star Plus chef knife, to the tune of about $100. The Twin Star Plus had a very nice balance to it, plus a specially-coated edge that never needed sharpening. Seemed like a great deal at the time: a very good manufacturer, and a no-maintenance knife. The problem? The knife because dull in short order, and it is impossible to sharpen the special edge. The never-sharpen edge didn’t work.

Like my hairline, I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten until I gained some outside perspective. Lady Jaye’s folks Ramba and Steve® were here for Thanksgiving last year, and it wasn’t until I was carving the turkey that we realized how dull and borderline useless the Twin Star Plus was. They came to the rescue a month later with the Henckel Synergy Two Piece Asian Knife Set. The set includes a seven inch Santoku-style chef knife, and a three inch vegetable knife.

I use the Santoku knife all the time, but have only used the vegetable knife once. I’ll tell you this: the first time I cut a green bell pepper with the Santoku knife I said, “whoa.” It was so much sharper than my Twin Star Plus I had to dig the old chef knife out of the drawer and do a comparison. There was no comparison. Peppers, onions, poultry, cheese, the Synergy Santoku knife sundered them all with ease. I have used my Twin Star Plus once since, and that was to hack apart a pineapple.

The Synergy series is not without its faults, however. Henckles has to protect their (much) more expensive Four- and Five-Star lines, and the easiest way for them to do so is to use a lesser-grade of steel on the Synergy blades. The blades are thinner and will flex under pressure. I don’t know if it would be possible to snap the blade under extreme conditions. Mishandling such as trying to cut through a bone instead of a tendon might stress this blade to the limit. From an everyday standpoint, the Synergy blade collects water spots and at least one reviewer has stated that his knife set rusted. The Synergy line in particular is not dishwasher safe, but I don’t run my kitchen knives through the washer anyway. Lastly, the Synergy line is forged in China, unlike the rest of the Henckles line, which is made in Germany. I am not sure if this makes a big difference or not in the performance of the knives, but it would further explain Henckles’ pricing structure.

The grip on the Synergy blade is nice, but not as nice as the Twin Star Pro line. My TWP has heft, like you could use that junk in a fight to the death with a zombie. The Synergy? Not so much. I’d be afraid to do anything crazy with it aside from cutting off someone’s pinky finger for withholding information.

I am not sure about the long term durability of the Synergy line, but if you’re predisposed to spending $100 on a chef knife, you might as well buy three of these sets and come out WAY ahead in the performance department.

Henckels Synergy Asian Knife Set, I slice off:
Four out of five STFU mugs!
full STFU mug full STFU mug full STFU mug full STFU mug empty STFU mug

The Henckels Synergy Asian Knife Set can be found at Target, and similar retailers for $39.99 before applicable tax and shipping.

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1 Comment on "Henckels Synergy Asian Knife Set review"

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  1. kitchen says:

    Sounds like it would be worth the extra money to get the Henckles four and five star range.

    By for the occasional chef the Synergy sounds great.