Although no electric knife in our sources gets uniformly positive reviews, the Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife is the only knife that consistently delivers clean, even slices of both meat and bread. It's also much easier to use than its competitors, thanks to its ergonomic handle (a good choice for lefties, arthritis sufferers and users with small hands), 4-foot cord and dishwasher-safe blades. Although this model does receive more durability complaints than other models, Cuisinart's three-year warranty is longer than average. Though it's not perfect, we think this blade's superior performance makes it the clear frontrunner.
Outperforms rivals in users' kitchens. The biggest problem with most electric knives, in both professional tests and user reviews, is that they tend to shred the meat. The Cuisinart CEK-40, by contrast, is praised for its clean, even slices. The phrase "like butter" came up over and over again in discussions of this knife's slicing ability. Owners say it gets close to the bone on a Thanksgiving turkey and can make thin slices of brisket or roast beef.
In addition to its carving blade, the CEK-40 includes a separate bread blade, which also gets high praise for its performance. "The knife blades are so sharp that they can cut through hot bread without mashing or creating a pile of dust from the crust," says one owner at Amazon.com. When carving is done, it's easy to release the blades from the molded plastic handle and pop them into the dishwasher for cleaning. Storage is also simple; the knife comes with its own butcher-block tray that neatly holds both blades and handle, while the 4-foot cord tucks away underneath.
Users say this knife is much faster and easier to use than a standard carving knife. An owner at Cooking.com says it "makes quick work of a turkey, goose or roast." The handle is generally comfortable, no matter whether you're right- or left-handed. One owner with arthritis says this knife is much easier to grasp than a regular carving knife; however, another says that having to hold down the power button while carving is uncomfortable. For most users, however, the position of this switch is convenient enough that holding down the trigger isn't a problem.
Durability is a weak point. Several users say the knife motor "burned out" on the third, second or even first use. A few ambitious owners who opened up the knife to investigate say the gear that moves the blades back and forth is made of nylon, rather than metal, and it was stripped during use.
Although this is the most common mechanical problem with the knife, it's by not the only one. Multiple users say the knife produces an unpleasant burning smell for the first hour or so of use; a couple of owners say the trigger switch stopped working consistently; and one reports, rather alarmingly, that the blades started to slip out of the knife while it was running. Cuisinart backs this knife with a three-year warranty, although a few users say that getting repairs is a hassle because customer service is hard to reach and the owner is responsible for shipping costs.
It has a sleek, simple design. The black plastic handle has a graceful curve that contrasts with the rigid straightness of the blade. While owners describe the knife as attractive, we found more praise for the appearance of the accompanying butcher-block tray. Several reviews say the disassembled knife, tucked neatly in its wooden case, looks great sitting out on the counter.
1. Good Housekeeping
Sharon Franke, kitchen appliances director for the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, reports that the Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife is the clear winner in a Good Housekeeping Research Institute test of six electric knives. Tested on hot and cold turkey, crusty bread, roast beef and a baked ham, the Cuisinart knife was judged to offer the best performance. Franke says it glides through food without leaving any markings on the slices, and that the blades are easily inserted into and removed from the base. She also cites the safety lock as a plus, noting that there's no worry that the unit will accidentally start up.
Review: The Best Tools for Carving and The Best Electric Knives Video, Sharon Franke
Nearly 200 users have posted comments to Amazon.com about the Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife, giving it an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Most users report that the knife cleanly and easily slices hot meats, cold meats and bread. Some note that the knife works well whether you're left- or right-handed, and some applaud the long 4-foot cord, adding that it easily tucks away. Users also say that the knife washes well in the dishwasher, and many say it's worth the high price compared with other brands. A few users, however, say it gives off a burning smell upon first use. Many of those who give the knife 1-star ratings report that the knife stopped working due to problems with the trigger or internal mechanism.
Review: Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife earns an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 from the more than 100 users posting ratings on Cooking.com. Nearly all users say they recommend it, and more than 90 percent call it a good value. Comments include "This electric knife is the best I have ever used" and "It worked brilliantly on my turkey, cutting close to the bone and really getting all the meat off." Others report that it works well slicing bread or ham, and some say the display stand is attractive and convenient on the countertop. A few, however, say they noticed a bad smell upon first use. One user also reports that the blades are too bendable, and one found that the blades did not fit completely into the sockets.
Review: Electric Knife with Holder by Cuisinart, Contributors to Cooking.com
Bestcovery.com ranks and reviews products in a wide range of household categories, providing links to websites where readers can purchase recommended products. Charlotte Raynor, who writes Bestcovery.com reviews for the indoor-living category, ranks the Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife as her first-place choice. She says it has an extremely powerful motor and two high-quality stainless-steel blades, and she adds that the handle is ergonomic and comfortable whether you use your right or left hand. She also praises the one-touch on-off trigger control.
Review: Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife with Holder Review, Charlotte Raynor