Most users say the Hamilton Beach Carve 'n Set works well on both meat and bread, although some complain that it shreds meat instead of making even slices. Its biggest downside is the size and shape of the handle. Many owners say it is uncomfortably large and hard to grip. However, the blades are sharp, and the knife is free of mechanical problems. While this knife can't match the performance of the more expensive Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife (*Est. $50), it should meet the needs of most once- or twice-a-year users.
For carving, users say this knife is good -- but not great. Most owners say the Carve 'n Set's blade is sharp and stays sharp with use, and they are also impressed with its speed. Users at Walmart's website say it makes short work of carving the Thanksgiving turkey, and one professional chef says it can cut a whole beef tenderloin into even slices twice as fast as a carving knife. However, other users are disappointed with its performance. Some complain that the vibration of the knife and the spacing of the twin blades make it impossible to slice cleanly, leaving meat shredded. A few say it won't go through meat at all; one user at Walmart.com describes abandoning the knife on Thanksgiving Day and reaching for a regular carving knife to finish the job. Other users say the knife has trouble cutting through thick-crusted bread.
Owners' biggest problem with this knife, however, is the handle. Many owners -- including some who say they have pretty large hands -- say the handle is too large to grip comfortably. The on-off switch, which is located on the underside of the handle, must be pulled back and held back while slicing. Many users say this is very hard to do, especially with moist or greasy fingers. "My hand was ACHING by the time I'd carved the brisket," complains one user at Amazon.com.
Durable, but not necessarily rock-solid build quality. We found very few complaints about mechanical failures, unlike the pricier Cuisinart knife. However, other parts of the knife may not be as durable. Several users describe its stainless-steel blade as flimsy and express concern about putting any pressure on it for fear it will bend. A few users also find it difficult to disengage the blades from the knife. One owner at Cooking.com describes using the handle of a wooden spoon to get enough leverage to press the release switch. Once the blades are free of the knife, they must be washed by hand, although most users say this isn't too much of a hassle.
In addition to the knife itself, the Hamilton Beach Carve 'n Set includes a carving fork (which, unlike the blades, is dishwasher-safe) and a storage case. Users don't have much to say about the carving fork, but the case gets lots of comments, both pro and con. Many users find the case a great convenience, but quite a few say that it's almost useless because it's so hard to open. "I threw the case out after the third use," says one user at Walmart.com. "You have to literally fight with it to get it to open."
The Hamilton Beach knife is utilitarian. Its large, plastic handle gives it a somewhat clunky appearance, and the plastic storage case, though functional, isn't very attractive. Nonetheless, several users at Cooking.com and Walmart.com say they like the look of the knife.
More than 60 users posting to Amazon.com give the Hamilton Beach 74250 Electric Knife a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. Reviewers using it on brisket, turkey and ham say that it has a powerful motor and sharp blades and that its storage case and accompanying fork are convenient pluses. Many report using it multiple times and call it a good deal for the price. Users also comment that it is easy to disassemble for cleaning. The negative comments mainly center on its handle design, which some complain makes the knife awkward and uncomfortable to use. Some also say the knife does not cut cleanly and has a tendency to shred foods.
Review: Hamilton Beach 74250 Carve 'n Set Electric Knife with Case, White, Contributors to Amazon.com
Almost 50 users posting comments to Cooking.com give the Hamilton Beach 74250 Electric Knife an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Nearly 100 percent of reviewers say they recommend the product, and 95 percent call it a good value. Comments include "good price," "worked great," "well balanced" and "cuts well." Many also like the storage box and carving fork, and one says the knife even works well when slicing brownies. Some users, however, complain that the knife is difficult to use for those with smaller hands, and some say the blades do not eject easily.
Review: Electric Carving Knife Set by Hamilton Beach, Contributors to Cooking.com
Bestcovery.com's stable of experts provides rankings and reviews of many consumer products, with links to retailers that sell their top picks. Charlotte Raynor, one of Bestcovery.com's reviewers specializing in indoor-living products, developed the top-five electric-knife list, and the Hamilton Beach 74250 Electric Knife earns the second-place spot. She says the knife's blades operate at "stealth speed" to make slicing a breeze, and she calls the product a great choice for either holiday meals or everyday use.
Review: Best Electric Knife, Charlotte Raynor