THE BOTTOM LINE
The one thing that kept standing out during our testing is that the Victorinox Fibrox Pro chef knife kept performing better than we expected. When you get down to reviewing a knife with a 56 HRC rating, an-18 degree angle, plastic handle, stamped build and a partial tang, you just don’t expect it to perform that well in many of the tests. And it definitely did. Is it perfect? Definitely not. But considering the price tag and some of its commercially friendly features – it’s a worthy candidate for any kitchen. A practical utilitarian tool, at an affordable price.
PRICE : From $49
GET TO KNOW THE KNIFE
KNIFE SPECIFICATIONS & VISUAL INSPECTION
Blade Heel Length
Knife Forging Method
Knife Tang Type
Blade Steel Grade
Blade Geometry Grind
Blade Grind Angle
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife, model 5.2063.20, is a western-style chef knife that showcases a blend of simplicity and functionality. The knife, featuring a partial tang and stamped construction – both attributes that accommodate reduced costs – weighs a comfortable 5.6 ounces and measures 13.2 inches in length. In line with its stamped construction, the knife is designed without a bolster, instead featuring an exposed choil that blends into the handle. It’s crafted to be versatile, catering to both right and left-handed users. Additionally, it meets the standards of the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), ensuring its suitability for professional kitchen use.
The blade of the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife is crafted from X55CrMo14 high carbon stainless steel, a durable material known for its resistance to corrosion. With a Rockwell hardness rating of 56, the blade strikes a decent balance between hardness and toughness. The blade measures 8.3 inches in length, and 2.5 inches at the heel in terms of width, making it a relatively wide blade. The blade’s spine features a curved spine shape, with a width of 2.5 inches at the heel. The blade’s cutting edge is flat grind with a double bevel, and set at an angle of 18 degrees. The blade’s tip comes in a drop point shape, and the belly is curved, contributing to its overall functionality and versatility.
In terms of aesthetics, the blade features a silver steel color and is polished to a satin finish, which we determined to be highly reflective (to the point it proved to be a real challenge when we tried to shoot our review). The blade bears the two Victorinox logos, adding a prominent touch of brand recognition to its design. It also includes the NSF certification logo on it.
The handle of the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife is constructed from plastic (thermoplastic elastomer, or TPE) that is easy to maintain and resistant to moisture. The handle is straight and contours gently for a comfortable grip. Measuring at 5.6 inches, the handle proportionally complements the length of the blade.
In terms of texture, the handle has a non-slip texture and features a finger guard, offering added safety during use. The Victorinox logo is subtly embossed on the handle maintaining a very minimalist aesthetic. The handle’s butt has a guard as well, an attribute that aims to improve safety but also to slightly contribute to its balance and grip.
The handle color of the 5.2063.20 is black, but there are six color variations overall, according to the use of the HACCP color coding system (black, red, blue, yellow, green and white).
KNIVES ACADEMY TESTING
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife exceeded our expectations in terms of overall cutting performance. Despite its more modest attributes, such as a Rockwell hardness rating of 56 and an 18-degree edge angle, the knife delivered impressive sharpness and edge retention. Interestingly, the knife felt harder to the touch than other knives with a higher hardness rating that we tested, which may have contributed to its superior cutting performance. Our testers were particularly impressed by its initial sharpness and its ability to maintain this sharpness over two weeks of daily usage. This suggests that with regular honing and care, the knife can effectively maintain its cutting edge for longer periods of time.
Our testers found the knife to be very sharp right out of the box, surpassing our initial expectations. The blade’s high-carbon stainless steel material (X55CrMo14), and its flat edge geometry grind likely contribute to this. Despite the 56 HRC rating, which is typically softer, the knife felt quite hard in hand. This suggests that the blade’s heat treatment process may have enhanced its hardness, and consequently, its sharpness. The knife excelled in both the tomato and paper tests, demonstrating its superior slicing ability.
The knife demonstrated very good edge retention in our tests, nearly maintaining its sharpness after two weeks of daily usage without any sharpening or honing on our side. The knife’s performance in the paper and tomato tests remained nearly consistent, scoring very good on our tests, indicating that with regular honing and care, the blade can adequately maintain its cutting edge over time.
FUNCTIONALITY & VERSATILITY
In order to evaluate the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife’s versatility, we put it through a series of tests involving a range of cutting techniques. The knife demonstrated outstanding performance in chopping, dicing, and mincing tasks, and was very good in slicing and carving. However, it was only mediocre in more delicate tasks such as peeling, turning, deseeding, trimming, and filleting. The knife excelled in heavy-duty tasks like butchering, cleaving, and breaking down dense and tough ingredients. Its up-down chopping motion was excellent, and its rocking motion was outstanding, thanks to the curvy blade shape. Given its performance, this knife is best suited for everyday tasks that require robustness and strength, while also being somewhat capable of handling more delicate tasks if required to.
STRENGTH, TOUGHNESS & DURABILITY
Our testers found the knife’s durability to be excellent. Despite its partial tang and stamped forging method, which are typically associated with less durability, the knife demonstrated excellent strength and toughness. This can be attributed to its Rockwell hardness rating of 56 and blade angle of 18 degrees, both of which contribute to a more resilient and less brittle blade. The high carbon stainless steel material, known for its toughness, further enhances its durability. While it might not be the top choice for heavy-duty tasks or cutting through very hard or dense ingredients, the knife proved to be reliable and resilient, handling a variety of tasks with relative ease.
The knife demonstrated very good leverage in our tests, despite being a stamped knife and relatively light in weight. The 8.3-inch blade length and sharpness contribute to efficient force transfer during cutting tasks. The fact that the knife is ever so slightly offset, also contributes to its leverage. The knife performed well across various techniques and chopping motions, even in heavy-duty tasks, indicating its robustness and suitability for a range of kitchen tasks.
DEXTERITY & MANEUVERABILITY
The knife showcased very good dexterity and maneuverability in our tests. Its lighter weight contributes to easy handling of the knife. The flat grind enhances its dexterity, allowing for intricate cutting tasks. The minimal handle design enhances the knife’s maneuverability. The blade’s dimensions are reasonable for an 8 inch knife, although the blade is a bit wide, making it a bit more challenging to move around. These attributes make the knife suitable for delicate work, although it performed slightly less well in this area compared to heavy-duty tasks.
FLEXIBILITY / RIGIDITY
Our testers found the knife to lean towards rigidity during our tests. Its Rockwell hardness rating of 56 suggests a balanced blade hardness, yet the blade felt notably rigid. This rigidity proved beneficial for heavy-duty tasks, such as chopping dense vegetables, with the blade maintaining its course without deviation. However, its flexibility was rated as very poor, suggesting it may not be the best choice for more delicate tasks like peeling and filleting. Despite this, the knife’s rigidity did not compromise its overall performance, demonstrating its versatility across a range of kitchen tasks.
FEEL & EXPERIENCE
Our testers found the feel and experience of the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef Knife to be a mixed bag, which could be its biggest downside compared to other metrics. The knife excels in grip stability and control. It is blade-heavy, which may require some adjustment, but it excels in minimizing hand and wrist fatigue during extended use. We believe that most users will find it a practical tool that meets their needs for a controlled cutting experience, once they adjust to its balance. We couldn’t, however, shake off the somewhat cheap feel of the plastic handle, which just may make this knife more of a practical tool than an enjoyable one.
COMFORT & ERGONOMICS
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife’s comfort and ergonomics are average at best. The plastic handle, while contoured to fit the wielder’s hand, feels hard and may not provide the most comfortable grip. The handle’s length is average, likely to fit most hand sizes comfortably. The blade is very close to the handle, and some may find the finger guard a less natural ergonomic experience than a bolster.
GRIP STABILITY & CONTROL
The knife demonstrated excellent grip stability and control in our tests. The contoured plastic handle, despite its hard feel, provides a secure and stable grip, preventing slippage or unintended rotation during use, mainly thanks to the finger and butt guards on both ends of the handle. The handle’s length, being average, allows for precise control during various cutting tasks. The handle’s smooth but at the same time still rough texture contributed to its excellent grip stability and control. Despite the somewhat cheap feel of the plastic, it does not compromise the knife’s grip stability and control.
The balance of the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef Knife was tested using three different grip styles: the pinch grip, the handshake/thumb grip, and the fingertip grip. The knife scored very good in the pinch grip and fingertip grip balance tests, but was unremarkable in the handshake/thumb grip balance test. In all grip styles, the balance point was found to be blade-heavy. This indicates a weight distribution leaning towards the blade, which might require some adjustment for users, but can contribute to effective and more leveraged cutting once accustomed to.
Our testers found the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef Knife to be excellent in minimizing hand and wrist fatigue during extended use. The knife’s partial tang and stamped construction contribute to its relatively light weight of 5.6 ounces, reducing the strain on the user’s hand and wrist during prolonged use. The 8.3-inch blade length is well-balanced, further aiding in fatigue reduction. The contoured handle design also plays a role in reducing strain and fatigue.
CORROSION & RUST RESISTANCE
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife demonstrated outstanding resistance to corrosion and rust in our saltwater spray tests. The high carbon stainless steel blade, known for its excellent rust resistance, coupled with an almost mirror-like polished finish, contributes to its superior performance.
WEAR, TEAR & SCRATCH RESISTANCE
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife’s resistance to wear, tear, and scratches was found to be mediocre in our tests. Despite being made of high carbon stainless steel, which is typically resistant to wear and tear, the knife’s polished finish made it more susceptible to visible scratches. The relatively softer blade, while contributing to its overall durability, was not enough to prevent noticeable wear and tear. This suggests that while the knife can withstand regular use, it may show signs of wear over time. Regular maintenance and proper care can help mitigate these effects and prolong the knife’s lifespan.
The knife showed very good edge retention in our tests, which simplifies its maintenance. Even after two weeks of regular use without honing or sharpening, the knife maintained its sharpness, performing well in our tests. This durability is a pleasant surprise given the knife’s relatively lower Rockwell hardness rating and mid-level edge angle
STRENGTH, TOUGHNESS & DURABILITY
The knife demonstrated excellent strength, toughness, and durability in our tests, contributing to its low-maintenance appeal. Despite its stamped and partial tang design, which is typically less durable, the blade material and balanced 18-degree edge angle enhance its toughness. While the ease of sharpening hints at a potential compromise in wear and tear resistance, the knife maintains its structural integrity well, reducing the need for frequent repairs or replacements.
EDGE RESTORATION (EASE OF SHARPENING)
The knife was found to be outstandingly easy to sharpen, adding to its overall low-maintenance appeal. Overall, the knife’s edge was easy to restore by sharpening, and took relatively little effort and time. The straightforward combination of a double bevel design, a flat grind, and a softer blade simplifies the sharpening process, requiring little to no expertise whatsoever. The fact that the cutting edge runs throughout the blade’s heel without interference allows for easy access to the entire edge during sharpening.
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife is equipped with several safety features that contribute to a secure and comfortable cutting experience. The knife’s handle has a finger guard, providing a buffer between the hand and the blade, enhancing safety. The handle’s butt is also equipped with a guard, which helps further secure the grip and set well-defined grip boundaries. The wide blade and curved choil shape offer more surface area for the index finger to rest on and increase knuckle clearance, reducing the likelihood of accidental contact with the cutting edge. The contoured plastic handle ensures a good grip and a non-slip experience. The knife’s lighter weight helps prevent hand fatigue and loss of control.
However, the knife does have a few areas where safety could be improved. A better balance could definitely enhance the control one has over the knife. The blade is really close to the finger guard, which, for some grip types, may not provide enough protection and finger clearance. Despite these areas for improvement, our testers concluded that the knife’s safety features contribute to a secure and comfortable cutting experience.
Priced at approximately $59, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8 Inch Chef Knife is a prime example of an affordable knife that exceeds expectations in terms of performance. Victorinox is a notable and trusted manufacturer that manufactures all of its knives in Switzerland. With this knife, they seem to have deliberately chosen lower-cost alternatives in the knife’s construction, but without sacrificing performance. The knife’s high carbon stainless steel blade, known for its balance between durability and ease of maintenance, contributes to its value.
However, the knife’s stamped construction, partial tang design, and plastic handle, all cheaper alternatives to forged construction, full tang, and more premium handle materials, are indicative of its aim for affordability over a premium feel and aesthetics. Certain areas, such as the junction between the blade and the handle, may exhibit lesser construction quality. But despite these cost-saving measures, the knife’s excellent performance in our tests and its overall high-quality build make it clear that performance was not sacrificed for the sake of affordability. This makes the knife a worthwhile investment for those seeking a reliable and affordable chef knife.