TUO knives may have come out of China, but they’re not the Chinese crap knives I always complain about.
They have already spent some years in the market, and they show no sign of slowing down.
In this TUO knife review, I look at everything from the build material to quality assurance, versatility, and value for money.
At the end of this piece, you’ll already know whether the knife is worth spending on or better off checking other knife reviews.
General Overview of The TUO Knives
Before you get into the review, I wanted to give you a TL; DR breakdown of the knife brand as discussed in this review.
|Knife series||7 (Ring/ Ring Lite; Legacy/ New Legacy; Falcon/ Falcon-S, Black Hawk/ Black Hawk-S, etc.)|
|Core steel(s)||Japanese AUS-8 steel; Japanese AUS-10 steel; German 1.4116 steel.|
|Handle material(s)||Pakkawood; Military-grade G-10;|
Where Are TUO Knives Made?
The TUO company isn’t shy about its heritage and gladly posts that its knives are made in China.
TUO set up a manufacturing shop in the Yangjiang province of China. This is the area where more than ¾ of the world’s knives are made, similar to the Seki City in Japan in terms of quality.
While poor brands also come out of Yangjiang, it’s rarer to find them here than if the knives were made in other areas of China.
TUO being forthcoming about where they are instead of trying to throw us off with some tactics already scores them some good points in my book.
What Knives Do TUO Carry?
There are seven (7) main knife series from TUO, with some enjoying better popularity than others. TUO also created spinoffs from their main series, all of which I have reviewed in this piece.
TUO Ring Series
Not to be confused with the Ring Lite series (discussed below), the Ring series from TUO is one of the signature models that established their place in the market.
The TUO series combines functionality and aesthetics, choosing to go with the Damascus pattern over Japanese AUS-10 core steel. Under the AUS steel category, this AUS-10 is currently the best rated.
The core steel is a relatively high carbon stainless steel that still handles corrosion and wear very well. It’s hard enough not to be flimsy but not too hard that it breaks under pressure.
I also love the pattern that the steel brings out of the box and the relative lightweight of the material to boot. Finished with an ergonomic G-10 handle, you easily find your way around the kitchen with this one.
Knives in the series: 8’ Chef Knife; 6.5’ Nakiri Knife; 3.5’ Paring Knife
TUO Ring Lite Series
The TUO Ring Lite series focuses on the strengths of the Ring series above, choosing to double down on the things that work at a lesser price.
This results in a knife set with Japanese AUS-8 core steel, handled with Pakkawood and designed with excellent cutting control.
As the name implies, this Lite series is an attempt from TUO to allow more users into the promise of what their Ring series offers but at a lesser price. You don’t get the Damascus steel pattern here, but the bare blade is enough to handle most of your kitchen needs anyway.
Fortunately, TUO went all out on this one to offer more types of knives in the series.
Knives in The Series: 8” Gyuto Chef Knife; 9” Serrated Bread Knife; 5.5”/ 7” Santoku Knife; 6.5” Nakiri Knife; 3.5” Paring Knife; 9” Slicer Knife; 8.5” Kiritsuke Knife; 2.5” Paring Knife; 6” Boning Knife; 9.5” Chef Knife.
TUO Legacy Series
The TUO Legacy knives employ German 1.4116 core steel, which brings high carbon content too. This ensures the promises of better edge retention, improved sharpening, and high-level sharpness isn’t lost on this series.
I also love that they opt for a military-grade G-10 handle here, giving the knife a comfy, ergonomic, and practical feel during usage.
I cannot rule out the beauty of the handle, but I am just more interested in the fact that it works the right way.
After checking the blade steel and handle, that’s everything about a knife for me. For this set, though, you will appreciate the pleasant handling of the knife.
Depending on how you hold your knife, this one might be blade heavy on some models and handle heavy on others. Make sure to switch holding modes to get the correct knife balance if you’re getting the entire set here.
Speaking of what knives you get with this TUO Legacy…
Knives in The Series: 4” Paring Knife; 5.5” Fillet Knife; 8” Slicer Knife; 5” Utility Knife; 6”/ 8” Chef Knife; 8’ Bread Knife; 6.5” Meat Cleaver; 7” Santoku Knife.
TUO New Legacy Series
TUO built on the success of the original Legacy series, going back to the drawing board to change things around. That’s one of the reasons why this brand has stayed relevant for this long since they continue to innovate and bring the market what we want.
TUO kept the German 1.4116 core steel on the New Legacy series but dumped the G-10 handle in favor of Pakkawood.
I would have still preferred the G-10 handle, and if going for wood, we should have seen the best knife handle wood instead. I understand how they would want to keep the price low with the handle for the price range and the excellent work they have done on the core steel.
TUO opted for laser engraving craftsmanship on the core steel to make the knife finish smooth and beautiful. I appreciate such small attention to detail because not all knife brands keep to that.
The New Legacy series is no slouch when it comes to options. Taking some units from the original Legacy series and adding more of its own, this one is a winner too.
Knives in The Series: 6.5” Cleaver Knife; 7” Santoku Knife; 8” Slicer Knife; 8” Serrated Bread Knife; 5.5” Boning Knife; 6”/ 8” [Professional Chef Knife; 5” Utility Knife; 4” Paring Knife.
TUO Falcon Series
The Falcon series is yet another well-planned and well-thought-out series that comes with many options. This is the first series on this list where TUO even adds a dedicated honing rod to promote better knife maintenance and usage over time.
The most notable mentions with the Falcon series are in the T-shaped rivets chosen for the craftsmanship. They add an extra flair to the knife, bring something different to the table and make sure the blade is functional for the most part.
Paring German 1.4116 steel with Pakkawood seems to be a winning formula for TUO in cost and value for money balancing, so they have gone the same route with this series.
Designed to handle home and professional kitchen tasks with grace, this is yet another no-fail model from the brand.
Knives in The Series: 10” Chef Knife; 7” Fillet Knife; 8” Chef Knife; 6.5” Chopper; 5’ Utility Knife; Set of Kitchen Shears; 7” Santoku; 8” Serrated Bread Knife; 12” Slicer Knife; 8.5” Kiritsuke Knife; 6.5” Nakiri Knife; 5” Steak Knife; 2.75”/ 3.5” Paring Knife; 7” Cleaver Knife; 5” Tomato Knife.
TUO Falcon-S Series
If the S in Falcon-S stands for Special, that would be just fitting. I don’t know what it stands for, though.
Whenever I see a sub-series, it’s usually a rundown version of the top series. That’s not the same with the Falcon-S series.
Going back to the Japanese AUS-8 steel means we get a Damascus design finish on the steel. This steel might not be as durable and strong as the AUS 10 steel, but it’s no pushover.
You still get exceptional reliability from this steel’s strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. The steel is also oxidation resistant, built to perform, and lasts longer on average.
Another place where TUO nods to its legacy materials is in the G-10 handle employed for this one. Achieving the proper blade-handle balance when using any knives in these sets isn’t fatiguing.
Knives in The Series: 7” Santoku Knife; 7” Boning Knife; 8.5” Kiritsuke; 6.5” Chopping Knife; 8” Bread Knife; 12” Slicer Knife; 7” Cleaver Knife; 3.5” Paring Knife; 5” Steak Knife; 6.5” Nakiri Knife; 8”/ 10” Chef Knife; 5” Utility Knife.
TUO Black Hawk/ Black Hawk S Series
The Black Hawk and Black Hawk S series are designed with luxury.
They might come with the same high carbon German 1.4116 steel, but their luxury, imported Pakkawood handles make them stand out.
Even though they’re made of such premium materials, they’re still affordable.
Behind that promise of affordability are a high-tech finishing, vacuum heat treatment, and cryogenic nitrogen tempering for the Black Hawk and Black Hawk S blades.
The most significant difference between these two is with the Black Hawk using a clean blade finish while we get the Damascus style pattern on the Black Hawk S.
Overall, both sturdy knives offer superb handling and state-of-the-art craftsmanship, which translates into better cooking usage for you.
Are the TUO Knives Worth Your Money?
From the Ring series through the Falcon, Legacy, and Black Hawk series, TUO knives are worth every penny they slap on their knives.
These are some of the areas I checked out to determine if this brand is a waste of money or offer something worth buying:
One of the things I like the most about the TUO company is how they state their core steel right out of the box. There are no guessing or underhand tactics here – what you see is what you get.
The company cycles through quality, high carbon German stainless steel, Japanese Damascus steel, and the AUS grade steels to develop these fine knives.
They don’t cut corners with the handles, using luxury imported Pakkawood or sticking with the tried-and-trusted, military-grade G-10 handles.
The table below shows an overview of how the knife series pair with steel and handles:
|Ring||Japanese AUS-10 stainless steel||G-10|
|Ring Lite||Japanese AUS-8 stainless steel||Pakkawood|
|Falcon||German 1.4116 stainless steel||Pakkawood|
|Falcon S||Japanese AUS-8 stainless steel||G-10|
|Black Hawk||German 1.4116 stainless steel||Pakkawood|
|Black Hawk S||German 1.4116 stainless steel||Pakkawood|
There is no sub-par pairing on that list, showing how well TUO knows what it’s doing. When it comes to materials, this brand doesn’t miss.
The best materials in the world won’t make a difference if the knives aren’t built fine. Thankfully, TUO knows more than the average brand when the argument is on craftsmanship.
Each knife is built to taste with some hand-sharpened to maintain a specific angle. TUO varies the craftsmanship style on all of these knives to present you with options based on your preferences.
Some of the craftsmanship styles on their blades are shown in the table below:
|Ring Lite||Mirror Polished|
|Falcon-S||3D wave pattern|
|Black Hawk||Laser engraving|
|Black Hawk-S||Mosaic Rivet|
If that shows you anything, it’s how dedicated the brand is to ensure every knife comes out in the best possible way.
All the steels chosen by TUO boast relatively high carbon content, which is a recipe for edge retention.
Note that this also makes the knife more susceptible to rust, so take care of these premium blades better so they can keep serving you for long too.
When it’s time to sharpen these knives, all German 1.4116 steel, AUS 8, and AUS 10 steel take to the whetstone just fine. They don’t require much effort to bring out their more refined edges again.
Check out this whetstone sharpening guide for the best approach to restoring the edges on this blade.
Remember that you would hone the blade steel more than you sharpen it for the best effect. Honing pushes the edge back in shape anyway, so you get a sharper knife without having to wear the steel out on a whetstone every time.
Finally, remember to strop the blade after sharpening. Otherwise, you might not get the complete pleasure of the sharp edge.
Versatility of The Knife Series
If there is one thing that TUO knows how to do, it’s to make sure their knives are highly versatile.
Even though the Ring series contains just three knives, those are the essential knives for home chefs and even professionals. You can get away with almost all kitchen tasks using those three knives alone.
When you’d like to have some specialty, the knife brand makes other series with a broader variety of knives.
Whether you want a Nakiri, Kiritsuke, or chopping knife, TUO got you covered. If you don’t know which to choose between a chef or santoku knife, they have both in-store to compare.
They’ve made it such that even if you’re not buying a set, you can choose individual knives from each series that will handle several tasks well.
Now, that’s the kind of versatility to love.
What Do I Like the Most About TUO Knives?
The choice of core steel and how it pairs with quality handles.
I also love how good the knives look, but I am more interested in what makes up the build. Seeing how they almost always have a new form of craftsmanship for each blade shows they’re constantly developing and innovating themselves.
TUO has also shown that not all knives from China are crap, and I believe that is good for the region.
Although I will always remain partial to knives made in the Yangjiang province, it’s still nice to see that this is a well-made blade out of China.
What I Don’t Like About the TUO Knives
I don’t think we need all of the series that TUO is pushing.
Of course, I like that they’re trying to make options available to everyone who wants it. Seeing that most of the series comes with Pakkawood/ G-10 handles on German 1.4116-grade steel, I think they could have streamlined their offering better.
It doesn’t hurt to have this many picks to choose from, but it could also make the buying process longer than usual.
Would I Buy Any of The TUO Knives?
I wouldn’t hesitate to put my money on TUO knives right now.
The TUO knives are better suited to home chefs and small-time to medium-scale professional cooks who want better value for money and flexible options. The knives are well-made and sturdy with ergonomic handling, featuring premium core steel and handle material to boot.
You also get various choices, from the kind of series you’re interested in to what style of knife you hope to get.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop where you get all the affordable knives you want without regret, start shopping for TUO knives.