I'm not a vegetarian, but neitheram I a huge meat eater, so the thought of purchasing an electric knife has never before entered my head. However, my partner came home with a bargain huge piece of gammon, and the thought of slicing it up with a standard knife didn't exactly appeal to me! I decided to have a look at the pricing of electric knives to see if it was worth investing in one, and I was pleasantly surprised.
This Kenwood knife received the best user reviews and was available from Argos at a price of £17. Cheaper knives were available but I decided to go for this one based on previous reviews and the information I read about it - I wanted one that's going to last me a very long time and Kenwood seemed like a brand that could be relied upon, and for the sake of the £4 difference between this and the lowest priced knife, I thought this would be worth it.
The knife comes boxed along with full and clear instructions on how to use it. It's pretty self-explanatory to be honest but it's useful to have simple instructions to be sure you're doing it correctly! It is supplied with two blades, one for fresh food and one for frozen. I haven't had cause to use the frozen one yet but it's nice to know it's there if necessary.
The blade is detachable from the main body of the knife and simply clicks into place and is released by pressing a small button. This makes storage and cleaning so much easier. The blades are of a good length too which means you don't have to risk cutting your fingers when handling them as insertion and detachment can be performed whilst holding the non-serrated area.
Now for the moment of truth...did it actually work? The only possible answer to that is YES! It took me literally minutes to carve a large joint of meat into thin slices. A button is pressed on the knife body to power the blades and it then glides effortlessly through even tougher parts of the meat. It requires a minimum amount of downwards pressure, and no sawing action is required. Meat can be carved thinly, quickly and effortlessly at the touch of a button. I was so impressed with this that I had to ring my partner in great excitement...sounds a bit sad, but true! I felt like I'd made a life-changing discovery!
I now use the knife at every opportunity, for meat, bread or anything I can really. I can whole-heartedly say I am delighted with this product and anyone thinking of getting one will not regret it!
I have a large family (three, now -adult children, their partners, my grandchildren - the list gets longer each year!)
It is no longer an easy thing to do , to invite everyone round for a meal - but when we do manage to tie everyone down to a date that suits us all, it is nice to cook a big roast dinner.
This year, over Christmas time, I bought a very large Beef joint, and though I say it myself, it was cooked to perfection.
I had thought ahead on this and I will be honest, I despise carving a joint of meat.. I personally prefer thin slices, although not everyone does - my knives are never sharp enough, so I had previously taken the plunge and bought myself an electric carving knife.
I had owned one many years before and remember it being very effective, but it was something that I did not bother to replace when it broke.
I sent my hubby out to pick one up for me, he is not the "savvy shopper" that I am as a rule, and whereas I would have looked for the Basic/Value brand, he chose one that was made by Kenwood. To be fair though, he only paid around £11 for it - I can only assume that this was a special offer (so maybe I must give him credit for being Savvy too!) as the price for this model today (February 2013) in Tesco is £18 - in fairness, £18 for a very useful kitchen appliance is not too bad at all.
The exact model is a Kenwood KN400 Electric Carving knife.
I have used this knife around ten times since we bought it, cutting cooked beef, crusty loaves of bread and even cutting through a raw joint of pork, so that we could cook half and freeze half. Each time I have used this knife, it has worked perfectly.
The blades went through both the bread and the cooked meat very easily, it struggled somewhat going through the raw joint, so I would say that I would probably not do that again, for fear of pushing my luck with the internal motor - although, credit where it is due, the knife coped with the raw meat, just with more effort.
The knife comes with two detachable blades, that rotate, so when the power is on the blades move, you only need to put gentle pressure onto the item you are cutting and it will cut through without any problems.
Obviously, it goes without saying that this item could be dangerous in the wrong hands, in fact the manufacturer states, not for under 18 year olds and I would assume that no shop would sell the blade to a minor either, due to government regulations. That said, it doesn't matter how old you are, you still need to be aware that the blades are exceptionally sharp and great care should be taken when handling this product, whether it is on or off.
The blades easily detach for cleaning and can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.
The blades are made from stainless steel and the actual casing/handle of the knife is white plastic, very easy to keep clean.
The knife, when assembled with the blades weighs 0.54 KG, not at all heavy - but you can feel the sturdiness of the assembly in your hands.
I consider this product to be well made. It certainly does not look or feel like it is going to split or fall apart and you certainly need to have trust in something that is powering two rotating blades, and yes - I do have trust in this product.
I cannot compare this knife to any others on the market, as I say I had one once, many years ago and it worked well - this new one was a good price and works well too - absolutely no complaints.
==Price and Availability==
After moving into our flat we were given loads of different bits and pieces from people, one thing being a bread maker. As I have a complete inability to cut a decent slice of bread from the loaf I decided to buy an electric knife which I knew were a lot better for this sort of thing as my Mum and Dad have one too. As usual, I bought from Argos, my Mum previously had a Cookworks Electric Knife and it was good for a while but quickly gave up the ghost so I decided on a slightly more expensive model. The Kenwood KN400 Electric Knife is priced at £16.99 at Argos and can be picked up in store or delivered; I didn't mind paying a little extra as with a brand like Kenwood I'd expect my knife to last.
. 100 watts.
. 1 type of blade included.
. Self-sharpening stainless steel blades.
. Safe blade removal.
. Easy grip.
. Fingertip trigger.
. Dishwasher safe blades.
==Packaging and Appearance==
The knife comes in a cardboard box with a few details and a picture of the product. Inside the box is a well packaged knife as well as the instruction manual which gives all the information needed as well as containing the one year guarantee included with the knife. The electrical body of the knife is white plastic which with a quick wipe over with a damp cloth can be kept nice and clean. The stainless steel blades are also simple to clean, we just put ours in warm soapy water but they can also be cleaned in the dishwasher. The buttons are very soft and easy to operate and the power cord is long and flexible.
==Using the Knife==
The blades slot into two holes at the front of the body, this is very easy to do and then you're ready to start cutting. The knife is quite lightweight making it easy to hold, it also sits nicely in the hand. All you have to do is press the button and the blades start to move, the knife easily glides through bread, even freshly baked and soft bread with very little effort the blades really do all the work for you. Now I did mainly buy it for bread but I often find myself using my electronic knife for lots of different things, especially meat, again the knife is easy to use and does all the hard work. The electric knife allows you to get a much better cut allowing you to slice bread and meat thinner than usual which obviously makes it more economical and allows you to get a much more even slice.
Overall, I'd recommend the Kenwood KN400 to anyone, not just those who have difficulty cutting even or thin slices of meat or bread. The knife is great for carving and allows you to get a lot more servings than usual, as well as being quick and easy to do. I used to have real trouble cutting a loaf, all the slices of varying slices but now all my slices look the same and I find I can get more out of one loaf than before. For the price it's definitely worth buying, it's not just an item which will be used once as it really does save a lot of time and makes cutting a lot easier.
I always wanted an electric knife even though I as slightly intimidated by them - I had a million and one different accidents going through my head but although I can cut meat nicely whenever I have tried to cut it myself it always looks like Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre has been at it so I took the plunge and purchased the Kenwood KN400 electic knife who said their knife was simple and safe to use.
Looks wise, it is fairly nice but also basic. It is made of hard and shiny white plastic with a long cable so you can plug it in and still have plenty of give to move about with it. The blades are stainless steel and very sharp which can cut through anything be it meat, poultry or bread. You name it, this is going to cut it.
The electric knife is easy to hold as it has a large handle which you can get a really tight grip on. It has a simple on and off button and a separate button to release the blades when you have finished using them so that you can give them a good wash. The blades are also very easy to put in, it is just a case of clipping them into place at the base of the knife. but do make sure they are clipped into correctly.
Since using it I can honestly say I would never go back to cutting my meat up by hand. I can actually cut nice slices and put them on the plate now instead of giving out chunks of meat which look like they should have gone in the dog's bowl! One thing I will say about this knife is that it feels as though I never have to put on pressure on it to cut through whatever I give it to cut through. It just glides through without breaking a sweat or without any force from me.
Definately worth the £14.99 I purchased it from Tesco and is comes highly recommended!
Carving up meat or carving up bread was always done by special knives, when I say special I mean like bread is cut with a bread knife (not very sharp) and meat is cut with a knife like a butchers knife (very sharp), watching my dad when I was younger carving the turkey, cutting the chicken or just in the kitchen hacking away on a leg of lamb.
When I grew up I wanted to purchased these same knives just because that's what I saw people do it with when I was younger.
So I was shopping around to get a good set of knives when I started to notice that there were electrical knifes and wondered how good they would be.
The Kenwood Electric Carving Knife is a very prestigious gleaming white in colour, showing off how slim this kitchen appliance is, measuring at: (L)17.5 inches x (H)2.5 inches x (D)4.5 inches, really proving how slim line it is.
This is a multi-purpose electric knife, which can cut through practically anything you may want to use it on including, meat, fish, poultry and even bread without misshaping it.
The unit uses 2 serrated stainless steel blades.
On the main body of the electric knife you will see a wide enough hole that acts as your handle allowing a secure grip as you control the knife, with the 2 buttons placed on top making it very well placed so your thumb can reach both with complete ease, one is an on/off button which once you press down on, you activate the knife, you have to hold the button down for as long as you want the electric to power the knife and simply remove your finger when you have reached your desired result. This feature of the on/off button does annoy a few people but I find it to be fine (and a good safety feature), but the button can be a bit hard to push in the beginning stages as I think the button gets easier the more it gets used. The second button is a release button (for the 2 blades for the storing/cleaning process).
The 2 blades connect to each other (so when in operation they work together) and then they click and lock in to the front part of the main body.
When using the blade there is no real force of your hand required to do anything, there is no need to mover your hand back and forth because the 2 blades that are connected together move backwards and forwards at such a fast rate that all that is required is for you to slightly push down with your hand to guide it on a cutting course of your choice. Even though with a butchers knife you can hack through bone it is advised that you cut the meet from around the bone as attempting to go through it will not only be a slow process but will also seriously shorten the life of the blades.
This electric knife is provided with a good length of power cable of around 3 meters, so be sure to have the cable free from the surface area before carving.
When the unit is on and cutting you may find that if you are trying to have a conversation you may have to shout to be heard because this does let out some sound.
Once you are finished with the knife it is a simple process of cleaning the unit: push the release button which you will feel the blades pop out a bit (so be careful) and simple pop them into your dishwasher to clean or simply hand wash them, take a damp cloth and wipe down the main body of the unit to clear it of any splattering that may have occurred (obviously not with the bread).
If there is any thing you would like to know more about of what I have mentioned there is a manuals provided in the box.
Don't forget that these stainless steel blades are very sharp and can be dangerous, so treat these like you would any other knife, especially if you are washing the blades by hand.
When storing this away there is no stand for it or a cover, but the blades are provided with a thick plastic covering that only the blades fit into so the handling of the blades are stored safely which we then put the whole thing back in it's box and put it away in our cupboards until its next use.
You can get the Kenwood Electric Carving Knife from Amazon for £17.89
I think the price for this Kenwood electric knife is spot on, it can be used for practically any type of food, it means that anyone can cut the meat and doesn't have to be left for the men, even though in my house hold it's still left for me.
I rate this very highly, but because it has to be stored away every time I am not using it, and is a bit loud I give it a 4/5.
But this takes nothing away from it's performance.
After years of struggling with a non electric carving knife and large meat fork I purchased the Kenwood electric carving knife. I was getting embarrassed serving our guests large slabs of meat when cooking a roast dinner. My husband being a huge meat lover didn't see this as a problem hence why it took so long to buy one.
This kitchen gadget is extremely simple to operate. On unboxing you have the body of the unit that has a comfortable handle incorporating the unit as a whole with just 2 buttons on the top. The button nearest the handle is the on / off button. The other is the blade release button. You get 2 stainless steel blades that are dishwasher safe included. The blades join together at the tip by sliding the blade with the small metal bump through the hole on the other blade and along as the hole gets smaller (I wish I could draw this for you as it is a lot easier than I have described it). The other end of the blades then attach to the body via 2 holes, one for each blade as only the tip of the 2 blades are joined. You will hear a click so you know they are in far enough. All that's left to do is plug in and press the on button.
The sound once on takes me straight back to my childhood hearing my dad carving the Sunday joint. I asked them before writing this how long they had had theirs and believe it or not they haven't replaced it in all their married years (over 25!). That tells you how well made and durable they are (the carving knife not my parents, although...)
As I said I purchased it for doing meat when doing a roast. It performs very well not only is it light enough for even my Nan to use who has arthritis but it is very comfortable to hold. This is important if carving for a large family which can take a long time especially at Christmas!
It carves meat quick and easily to whatever thickness you would like.
The only downside is the noise when the knife hits the plate etc that is holding the meat, it is a grating noise and sometimes I would prefer it if I could lift the joint slightly to finish slicing each slice. The blades are fairly sharp but you shouldn't cut yourself if you touched them when the unit is off. My parents still find their blades sharp enough so I don't there will be a problem of the blades getting blunt. The instructions do say never attempt to slice bones, food containing stones or seeds, food in wrappers such as aluminium foil or plastic film, or other hard food. This might damage or blunt the blades.
As for cleaning, the body should only need a wipe over, the blades as already said are dishwasher safe. The blades then have their own clear plastic cover to store in the box so you won't get cut boxing and un boxing the unit
Although I have only used for meat and very occasionally a lovely uncut loaf from the bakers it lists it uses as cooked meat, cooked poultry, bread, cakes, sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. I am not sure about the last 3 suggestions but if like my Nan you suffers with a form of arthritis I think you would use for a lot more than I do. Overall I am very glad we purchased and hope it will last as long as my parents.
Before you rush out and buy though I will mention that when purchasing I didn't see a Kenwood KN450 carving knife which according to the instructions in my KN400 has a set of frozen food freezer blades that have larger teeth, suitable for cutting partially thawed or lightly frozen food but not solid deep frozen foods. These extra blades sound very useful and if I was to purchase an electric knife again I would search out this model.
I purchased mine from Sainsburys at £14.99. I have seen them in Tesco for £19.97 or Currys for £14.99 not seen it cheaper than £14.99 unless second hand on Ebay.
It comes with a years guarantee from Kenwood.
I treated my self to this carving knife for my birthday at the begining of this year as i had had enough of always struggling to cut up joints of beef into managable slices and thought it would be realy useful to cut the bread from my bread maker instead of me hacking away at it and making a right mess.
Since getting this knife i couldnt imagine life without it, it is small enough to store away easily although mine never stays away long.
It makes light work of slicing my beef joints for our dinner and gets me nice thin slices of beef very easily, it is great for cutting the bread as its even cutting motion makes the bread not end up with lumps missing out of it like it does when i calv it by hand.
Although it makes light work of carving up the chicken i prefer not to use it as it also goes through the chicken bones very easily and i have found that sometimes i get slivers of bone in my meat.
It is easy to hold and get a good grip of so no worrys about dropping it, it has an easy to operate on/off button and a quick release button for removing the blades which can be washed by hand or in a dish washer and are made from stainless steel.
It is a nice weight to use as it is only 1/2 a kg so wont make your arms ache and is powered by electric.
I payed £9.99 for mine and am very pleased with the quality and performance for the price.
Christmas should be a time of giving, a time where the whole family should feel relaxed around the warmth glow of the home and where everyone learns to take things slowly and easy. If that is the case then why do half of my mum's friends still carve away roughly at the Turkey/Roast Beef/whatever is on a bone with old knives which should have been consigned to the bin years ago? Quite simply, they don't have an electric carving knife. And this Summer our electric carver knife has been out on the barbecue too!
Most experienced cooks and bakers will have an electric carving knife - it's not just for Christmas! My mums best friend has one she bought at Argos but this is her second Cookworks kitchen carver knife which replaced the first one when the motor burnt out. As such I didnt want a similar experience and plucked for a Kenwood instead.
These days the humble electric carving knife hasn't really changed its blue print from the first ones which appeared in the mid 1970's. Although the basics are there from a hand mixer type design with a twin blade shooting out at the end of it, some companies such as Russell Hobbs have incorporated additional storage boxes or areas on the bodies of the motors which allow the blades to be stored. More helpfully, there are also electric carving knives which can cut through frozen food - but this model from Kenwood is beyond any advantage such as this.
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Spec **
Kenwood KN400 Electric Carving Knife model.
Price £14-99 Woolworths.
Twin removable lockable stainless steel, dishwasher safe serrated blades. Plastic protection cover supplied.
On/off control - will not go on permanently.
100 watts total power
Long 3 metre power cord and reasonably lightweight.
** Setting up **
The look of the KN400 is the standard set design that Kenwood seem to give all their white finished kitchen food prep machines; even our can opener has similar decals showing the Kenwood name in grey capitals whilst the finish is still looking quite new despite a couple of months breaking in. Similar to our own Kenwood hand mixer then (and Chef AND Food processor), the KN400 incorporates two twin blades which hook and lock together at one end whilst are able to be pushed into the lock at the mouth of the knife to lock the blades in. Once this is done, unravel the longish 3 metre power cord, plug in and away you go!
** Using the Kenwood **
Think there's flap all to be said about using an electric carving knife? Well, think again! Against using a normal knife where the human user is using their hands and in some cases sheer brute force, I found using the Kenwood as similar as using our old Haden; for all that the Kenwood has 50 watts extra power, it mimics our old Haden carving knife right down to the speed and efficiency of which the knife slices through cooked meat and fresh baked bread. Aha! You see, this is another reason to why you should buy an electric carving knife, especially if you own a bread maker and use it often! Another advantage I find with the Kenwood is that the 100 watt motor has a finer and more precise band of power; the motor load compensates easily when hard and soft foods are put in its way - without the motor cutting out - another issue which our low powered Haden was famous for doing.
The KN400 slices thickly and thinly depending on how you angle the blade across the width of the food in question and it is not easy for the blade to get straight lines wrong as the handle of the Kenwood is a darn sight softer on the hand than our blocky Haden which had sharp corners on the handle and a seam running through the middle which made it uncomfortable for fingers to rest on the body of the motor. Here Kenwood have addressed this slightly with a smoother body and makes carving a lot easier, quicker and safer.
The on/off switch however cannot stay on permanently without the user holding their finger onto the button. Although it is recessed into the body of the Kenwood and infinitely easier for the user to clean the machine after use, the switch can become annoying for longer prolonged slicing actions where you have to hold your finger down on the button all the time - but then for safety reasons most electric carving knives are like this to avoid accidents in having a switch that can be left on without a user's assistance - otherwise it would be like a runaway mini kitchen chainsaw massacre possessed! The weight of the Kenwood is a lot lighter than our old Haden too which is better for all concerned as the Haden got quite uncomfortable after short uses.
Which brings me onto the arthritis issue; my mum finds using the KN400 a lot easier than a standard serrated edge knife, presumably because the two locking knives (serrated as well) on the Kenwood take the ease out of normal wrist wrenching whilst the motor compensates with the movement as the blades move in and out against one another. Over our old 50 watt Haden, the Kenwood tackles tough food very well such as Roast pork just out of the oven and with the crackling included.
Another aspect I have used the KN400 is for slicing vegetables especially hard raw vegetables such as potatoes and beetroot before cooking. Kenwood also state that the blades never need sharpening as the blades re-sharpen themselves as they are used.
But there are other uses this knife has. For example out in the garden when we realised our old garden saw couldnt cut down an old tree branch and access was tight due to the lopper tools not gaining access, mum thought about the Kenwood and came back with the extension cord. A couple of minutes later and the trees in our garden had all been cut safely and finely. Not that Im suggesting that this is a great garden tool, but in some cases where electric power is needed, the Kenwood came up trumps regardless of it really only being the kind of appliance needed for cutting food!
** Safety **
Safety is extremely important - well it goes without saying when handling sharp knives - to keep your hands and fingers away from the serrated knives in use. I've never experienced cuts with any electric carving knife but for the uninitiated user it is best to use a two pronged meat fork when carving cooked meat regardless of whether you have an electric carving knife, just to secure and hold the food you are slicing. Also stand back a fair distance to where you are slicing and beware of the long power cord as it can get in the way! Where bread is concerned, I place one hand on the back of the loaf to keep it steady and avoid wavy or angled lines which product "tramlines" thicker than they should be!
Electric carving works extremely well if the food is on a flat level surface and if you don't actually cut the bone with the knives. It is possible to carve around the bone rather than try to attack the meat at angles. The beauty of the Kenwood's handle is that it allows me to adjust easily as slices fall away off the bone.
Common sense would dictate that any serrated knives are dangerous and the Kenwood is no exception regardless of whether a motor does the cutting work for you.
** Noise and Interference **
Over our old Haden model, the Kenwood is actually a little noisier but it is impossible to talk to anyone without shouting over the din of the motor. Whilst it sounds like an energetic sewing machine at times, we only discovered yesterday through carving cold cooked meat whilst listening to the radio that the Kenwood interferes with the radio and whilst listening to radio broadcasts the Kenwood's motor noise could be heard interrupting the stations every so often!
So whilst carving up our Turkey we had to endure the constant interruption on the kitchen radio through blasts of Carols from Kings choir...
** Cleaning **
One of the disadvantages of having any white appliance let alone its size is the inevitable splatters of meat juices, gravy and anything else which gets onto the body of the machine. As the 2 page user manual states (and it is quite a clear manual with useful diagrams and bullet pointed written sections similar to just about every other Kenwood appliance we've had where the manuals are concerned) the body of the KN400 should be wiped with a slightly damp cloth.
The stainless steel blades however release the moment the lock button just under the power switch is pressed and these are dishwasher safe. If washing by hand I'd recommend holding the blades by the pick up sections which are grey plastic and scrubbing under a hot water tap with plenty of washing up liquid. Just as you would do with a normal serrated knife, common sense should dictate you don't hold the knifes by the metal serrated edges.
** Price **
I paid £14-99 from Woolworths for the KN400 and across the internet it would appear that this price is a general standard retail price in high street shops. Online suppliers have this model priced at a lot more right up to £25 but there is no way I would pay this price for something which is basic but does the job.
** Downsides **
Aside from interference and general noise, if there is one thing which is apparent with the KN400 it's the lack of another set of twin blades which can cut frozen food. I've used a Russell Hobbs model before which had this feature and it was great slicing frozen home made bread before defrosting it. Kenwood would do well to include these blades since it would appear this is the only recent model they now make.
Against product specs of this product, there are no actual storage areas set into the design of the KN400 but the product does come with plastic covers to protect the serrated knives when not in use. The power cord can however be wrapped around the body and handle of the KN400 which results in a compact motor easily stored away in a far part of a cupboard or stood up on it's rear hind by the motor vent at the back.
** Conclusion **
If you have worries of carving then any electric knife could well be the answer. Kenwood's KN400 is a back to basics approach which works well even if it is a touch noisy. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007
Short name: Kenwood KN400