Rating: 4/5

If you've seen my review of their bathrobe, you know how I feel about Italic.

They're a company trying to apply the Costco business model to luxury clothing. They sell products from the same factories as some of the worlds best brands, and then sell them "at cost." Instead of marking them up, they charge a $100 annual fee.

While I would argue that it's not actually at cost (in order to get factories to work with them, they let the factories charge more than usual), you are still getting high quality products at far closer to cost than you would otherwise.

I was looking for a new knife set, and decided to give the Italic one a try.

The way the knives came packaged, in paper sheaths.

First impressions

The package arrived almost on time, only a day after the estimated delivery, though still taking about a week. This has been a consistent issue with Italic, but isn't enough of a problem to take any points off in the review.

They arrived in a medium sized box, the majority of the space taken up by the knife block. The knives were all closely packed together in a corner, each one in a paper sheath with a plastic tip to prevent it from cutting through the package (though a couple had fallen off).

What surprised me most was how shiny they were. In the product images they had a little bit of a patina, but I'll chalk this up to the fact that they were brand new.

There was also a few very minor imperfections of on one of the blades, but they were so small that they didn't even show up in photos. A few of the handles also had minor discoloration.

The good

The set comes with the all the essential knives:

  • A chef's knife
  • A slicing knife
  • A bread knife
  • A utility knife
  • A pairing knife

It also comes with a pair of kitchen shears.

The minimalism of the set is good—it's easy to fall into the trap of buying a 128 piece knife set on Amazon, only to find out you have no idea what to do with 127 of them. With the Italic set, you're not paying for more than you can use.

The knives come from the same manufacturer as Zwilling and WMF, both well regarded knife brands. I was able to find a similar knife set from Zwilling selling for around $300.

The knives are made of German 1.4116 steel,  which is commonly used in knife sets and generally well regarded, though nothing special.

They're also full tang, which means the metal runs all the way through the knife, and adds balance and durability.

The shears are made from Chinese 3CR13, a cheap steal that is pretty durable, but at best mediocre, and often used in cheap pocket knives.

The exclusion of a knife block is also nice—they're bad for the knives (dulling the blades each time you put them in and out), and can take up loads of counter space, while bringing up the cost.  

It's a nice set of good quality knives, without any fluff, at a great price.

Bad

Though there is a lot to love about the kit, there are also a few things missing.

By far the biggest thing missing is a honing rod, a circular steel rod that keeps the knife edges straight. Most knife kits come with one, and it just seemed like an oversight by the Italic team—if you're buying this kit, you probably aren't going to be assembling your own, but if you want to take good care of these knives you will need a honing rod. There's not even a place to put one on the cutting board—it's like they just forgot about it.

If you do want to buy one, you can see Wirecutter's favorite here.

In this vein, I also don't love the knife block. It's a little easy to tip over, and I found that when I was removing the larger knives from it, there was enough force to make me have to hold the block down while taking the knife off.

Having the basic bamboo block does help keep the cost of the set down, which is good.

The shears don't detach, which is a minor thing, but also a detail that can make cleaning easier. Combined with the lower quality steel, and there's nothing to love about the shears.

There isn't a steak knife set, which I put in the bad because it would be great if there was a matching set of well priced steak knives. Italic is still a small company though, so it's totally understandable. It's better than them fluffing the kit up with a set of trashy knives.

The knives are also a slightly lighter than I would dream of—I compared them to my Wüsthof set, and while it's not super noticeable, they are a little bit lighter.

Conclusion

Like a lot of Italic's stuff, it is a good (but not the best) product at a great price.

The knives aren't handmade, they don't have beautiful walnut handles, they aren't made of the rarest type of steel.

Instead, they're made by a high quality manufacturer out of reliable materials, and are one of the best sets you'll be able to get for anything close to $80.

If you just moved into your own apartment, or are looking to finally purchase a real set of knives, this is for you.

If you want to splurge on some really luxurious knives (maybe as a gift, or for some holiday), you might be disappointed by this set.

If you liked this review and are thinking about signing up for Italic, you can use my link here and I'll get a small amount back to put towards future Italic purchases and reviews.