Electric knives are often brought out of the cabinet when a freshly cooked turkey needs to be sliced to perfection. Perfect for cutting through softer meats, electric knives have a variety of uses that make them a versatile addition to any chef’s arsenal.
WHY ARE ELECTRIC KNIVES USEFUL?
These types of knives were extremely popular in the 1970s. Sold in most retail stores at the time, electric knives were the ideal choice for slicing meat and an iconic addition to every Thanksgiving dinner.
While many people have discarded the idea of electric cutting, many still embrace it.
The reason why you should own an electric knife is because they’re extremely useful if you eat meat a lot. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t eat meat often, your electric knife will sit in the drawer and collect dust.
Bread is the only other food that can be cut properly with these knives.
THE OLD TIMES
You may have heard horror stories about these knives – we all have. Many models were produced in hopes of convincing consumers to go the electric route of cutting, but the technology simply wasn’t up to par for people’s standards.
Older models would often shred and tear meat, causing chefs to fall back to their standard knives for cutting.
In all honesty, there were a lot of bad models to hit the market, and I gave up on the electric knife for many years, too. Nothing is worse than cooking a turkey for 5 hours, cutting into tender meat and having the meat shred into pieces. Time after time, this would happen before electric models were all but discarded.
As technology advanced, we started noticing electric knives coming back.
The new, quality models don’t:
- Shred the meat.
- Cause a mess.
- Break as often.
Cutting technology has allowed electric knives to make a comeback, and they finally work properly.
BENEFITS OF ELECTRIC KNIVES
When you’re using any knife, you’ll find that there are some tasks a knife is great at achieving and other tasks where it simply doesn’t excel. For an electric model, you wouldn’t use these knives with:
- Tough meats
- Soft foods
Poultry is a great meat to cut because it’s moist and not as tough as red meats. You can definitely cut red meats with these knives, but you want to avoid the blade hitting the bone and becoming damaged in the process.
The main benefits these knives offer are:
- Less Exertion: From the cutter’s perspective, you have to put a lot less force into the cutting process when electricity is involved. The blades slice through food quickly without you having to apply a lot of pressure.
- Speed: It can take 10 minutes to cut a turkey by hand and just one minute with an electric knife. Since the blades move rapidly, they can achieve faster cuts than a regular blade.
- Precision: Evenly cut slices of meat are able to be cut time and time again. Electric knives will cut through the meat perfectly every time.
Again, if you cut a lot of meat or bread, these knives are perfect; they’re made for carving and little else.
ELECTRIC KNIVES: OUR BUYING GUIDE
There are a lot of features and considerations you need to keep in mind prior to buying an electric knife. The most common features to consider are:
CORDLESS VS CORDED
Cordless models are great at first glance. Easier to use and offering true craving freedom, the issue with a cordless electric knife is that they require a battery to supply power. Since most people don’t use their knives often, they’ll inevitably go to carve a delicious roast, only to find that their electric knife’s battery is depleted – it has happened to me.
Corded models simply work better in my experience.
With a cord, you’re sacrificing some maneuverability and gaining consistent cutting power.
There are two blades that you’ll want to have included with your purchase: a blade for carving meat and a blade for slicing bread. All models will come with a blade for carving meat, but many will make you buy the blade for bread cutting.
I find that a lot of electric knives vibrate so violently that they actually hurt your hand or make it numb – it’s not a good feeling. Newer, quality models will come with an ergonomic handle that will fit the contour of your hand perfectly.
Always choose a knife with an ergonomic handle when possible.
In my expert opinion, these are the main features you’ll want to look for in a knife. Sure, you always want to look at the quality of the design and a storage block is a nice touch, but the blades and the way the knife feels in your hand are the two most important factors.
MY FAVORITE: CUISINART CEK-40 REVIEW
I’ve tried a lot of knives over the years – some were great, while others became a doorstop. The one that has impressed me the most is the Cuisinart CEK-40. Powerful, affordable and made by one of the most trusted brands in cookware, the CEK-40 has lasted me years without breaking or slowing down at all.
Features at a Glance
- 2 stainless steel blades
- Wood storage block
- Ergonomic handle
- 4-foot electrical cord
- Blade release buttons
- Blade safety locks
- Safety button for on/off control
Immediately, you’ll notice that the CEK-40 fits perfectly in your hands thanks to the ergonomic handle and has the perfect balance of weight to slice through meats or bread with ease. The entire set – the handle and two blades – fit perfectly into the wooden butcher-block storage tray.
The block’s base is big enough to allow it to fit on your counter, but small enough to slide into the corner and not take up too much space.
Two blades are included: one for meat and one for bread cutting. The stainless steel blades are ideal for:
- Slicing meats
- Cutting loaves of bread
- Cutting vegetables
If you’ve tried other electric knives before, you’ll be shocked that this model makes precise cuts time and time again without shredding the meat or bread in the process. The blades are so precise that they can be used to cut vegetables to go with your roast or turkey dinner.
When you’re done cutting, you can slide the trigger to the off position and pop the blades out using the one-touch release. There is no tugging on dangerous blades involved – ever.
If you have kids and are worried they may get hurt when using this knife, don’t be. The on/off trigger has a safety button that is used to ensure no accidents occur. There is also a black safety lock that keeps the blades firmly inside of the storage block at all times.
With cord storage included, you never have to worry about little ones using the knife when you’re not around.
Precision carving at its finest, the included cord is 4-foot long and allows more than enough slack to cut any meats without needing an extension cord in the process. A powerful motor takes care of the hard work as you cut slice after slice of meat.
- Powerful motor.
- Easy storage solution.
- Two blades included.
- Sleek design and easy to clean.
- Gears can strip.
One issue that others have had (not my own experience) is the gears stripping because the blade got stuck in a bone. These electric knives are not meant to slice through bone, so it really isn’t the fault of Cuisinart.
Plus, there is a 3-year warranty, so if the knife breaks, you’ll get a replacement for free.
The Cuisinart CEK-40 is powerful, durable and makes precision cuts using either the carving or bread blade that’s included. An ergonomic handle and wooden butcher-block allow for comfortable use and easy storage. It’s the perfect, affordable electric knife that every home should have.