Dalstrong Gladiator Series & Shogun Series X Review
If you have been in the market for picking up a new chef’s knife, you have undoubtedly seen the Dalstrong brand show up continuously in your search on Amazon marketplaces. No one would blame you for not knowing the Dalstrong brand, as they are relatively new to the chef knife scene in general.
If you have been wondering about the longevity, quality and durability of the Dalstrong Gladiator Series and Shogun Series X, have no fear as The Culinary Cook has taken an entire year of alternating use of both knives to give you a comprehensive review of both products.
Dalstrong provided us two chef knives for us to use, both 8″ chef knives from the Gladiator Series and Shogun Series X. Here are our impressions after an entire year of use.
The Gladiator Series chef knife had a light feel. Almost too light.
The packaging of both knives was quite well done, and I was impressed with the presentation of the product. Both knives came with a blade sheath. The Shogun Series X had a much more intricate sheath, with a protective notice preventing accidental slippage of the blade during transport.
The Gladiator’s sheath, while not as high quality as the Shogun Series, was adequate. However, I ended up tossing both sheaths out at around the one month mark as I preferred to have them hang from my magnetic knife rack so no pictures, sorry.
It is important to note that both knives came incredibly sharp. While this is to be expected, this was a much sharper knife than many that I have seen before. I was doubtful of how well the edge would hold up upon first holding the chef knives in my hands, especially when it came to the Gladiator Series chef knife.
Anytime I get a new chef knife, I will always be sure to put it in its paces immediately. The Gladiator Series chef knife had a light feel. Almost too light. The blade felt thin and brittle. I was a bit disappointed in the amount of flex as well as I would expect to see such heavy flex in a boning knife or fillet knife. Definitely not an 8″ chef’s knife. Despite that, it was very sharp and the tang of the knife felt good, although the wood felt grainy and a bit on the cheaper side. The bolster looked like it was made of good quality steel, which I liked.
It gave it a decent balance and I felt agile. Being used to a heavier chef knife, I got used to the light weight of the Gladiator Series. What was interesting to note was that when this knife was tapped, it gave off a ringing sound. I did not feel entirely confident in a blade so thin that it vibrated at a frequency when hit, however, I could see how this could appear to be a positive feature for the home chef or novice.
Daily use was good, although the heel of the knife was angled a bit odd. This made high-speed production chopping a bit difficult as many items chopped towards the heel of the knife remained uncut. If you are a home user, this is not a big deal. But for anyone who is involved in commercial prep work or needs a quality knife for the line, you may want to look at the Shogun Series X or perhaps a name brand, such as Wusthof or Henkel.
Shogun Series X
The Shogun Series X is a very pretty knife, but the Damascus steel-style pattern looks to be more an effect than a byproduct of production. This knife was considerably more rigid and durable, living up to what I would consider a standard for a chef’s knife. The heavy blade must be offset with a balanced handle and this chef knife did it very well.
The knife is a bit blade-heavy which was likely due to the quality of the blade. The handle seemed to be made of higher quality material as well. There was very little flex in this blade and gave off no ring when hit, unlike its Gladiator brother.
Daily use of this knife was a pleasure to use at home but did not hold up as well as other knives when it came to holding an edge. It came out of the box incredibly sharp and did keep that edge for quite a while with careful use. For higher speed production, it fared quite well and it earned a place in my knife roll as my #2 knife behind my Wusthof.
It is important to know that these knives are manufactured and sourced from China, despite the clever claims of being Japanese or German steel. While it may be true that they are manufactured according to proper specifications required to be named as such, they are at the end of the day, made in China as evidenced by the origin of the product.
German, but not really
This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it is important to temper your expectations of these knives to be more in line with what to expect. I knew from the getgo where the knives were from so they were not a disappointment. On the contrary, for the price, I feel they are a good introduction into the chef knife’s world – a good 1st knife if you will.
After a solid year of use with these knives, I have found myself reaching for both knives on occasions. While my Wusthof gets the majority of the work, I find the Gladiator Series fantastic for small precision cutting such as chiffonade or slicing garlic, while the Shogun Series is great for production cutting and processing meats. The Gladiator‘s edge did not hold up as I expected, however, I have yet to have it sharpened.
I made sure to steel the knife before every use to ensure the edge remained strong. If you are not steeling your knives, expect the edge to wear significantly quick if you are using it on a daily basis.
The Shogun Series X knife has held up well and that can be attributed to the weight of the chef’s knife blade. I felt that the Dalstrong Shogun Series X chef knife was just a better quality knife all around. The cost does reflect the quality, coming in at a price of $129. But if you are choosing between these two knives, and you are using the knife for production or commercial use, the extra cost for the Shogun Series X is a smart move.
Overall, the quality held up and I was impressed with the brand. Dalstrong is a brand that seems to be wanting to create a quality product for longevity which is great to see, especially in a world when a million private brand labels are out there on Amazon and e-commerce sites.
I was happy with both knives during my time with them. Do they compare to the name brand Wusthof or Henckels? They do, however, I have had Henckels in the past and while I currently use my Wusthof 8″ on a regular basis, I do prefer it over the Dalstrong. But Henckels I have not loved for a long time, and that is due to how quick the blade edge degrades. Unless you are getting a 4 star Henckels, I still prefer the value of the Dalstrong.
Dalstrong chef knives hold a unique niche in the chef knife world, nestled somewhere between the low-end junk knives and the high-end multigenerational knives. If you are a home chef aspiring to learn how to use his chef knife, opt for the Shogun Series X or look into the name brands.
If you are in need of a chef knife for every day or every other day use, the Gladiator Series is for you. And for the price, it is a fantastic value. If its a long-lasting chef knife meant for production level cooking, or if you are someone who wants the best, then the Shogun Series X is your knife. Overall, the Dalstrong has made a strong impression on me and it is up to them to continue developing their brand to get the buy-in of professionals from both home and commercial use in order to take their brand to the next level.