Often overlooked since their heyday in the 1960s, electric knives remain on the market and claim to be able to cut every course of a holiday meal, from appetizers right on through to dessert. During our testing, passersby from other departments in our company all had the same reaction when they saw what we were testing: “I haven’t seen one of those in years. Does anybody still use them?”
We selected four new models under $20 and tested them slicing roast beef, turkey breast, angel food cake, and apple pie. The results were clear: Contrary to manufacturer claims, electric knives are not adept at slicing meat neatly and thinly—all four models (including the winner of a past testing) shredded beef roasts. Plus, they're aggravatingly loud; we prefer to carve with our favorite slicing knife. What their powered pairs of independently moving serrated blades do best is cut through delicate baked goods without crumbling and slice through crisp turkey skin without ripping.
This powerful model produced jagged meat slices. Turkey fared slightly better, and the skin remained intact. Pie slices came out clean. The handle was comfortable and easy to “choke up” on for increased control. This knife may be purchased solo or with a carving fork.
This knife felt more balanced than other models, but was shaky when slicing through turkey skin and angel food cake. Slicing pie, however, was a breeze. While the instructions state to refrain from sawing, the knife wouldn’t slice through meat without some action from testers.
While this knife sliced through cake, pie, and turkey skin with ease, it left unattractive striations on the meat and cake. Its noticeably weaker motor struggled to slice roast beef. The awkward top-mounted power button cramped testers’ fingers throughout testing, and the two speeds were unnecessary.
Our past winner fell short, stuttering through slicing, leaving ridges on meat. Turkey skin was pulled and tattered from the violent shaking of the motor. Being able to choke up on the handle helped control the blade’s range of motion, which, in turn, helped us to cut even slices of pie. Inserting the blades was tricky, leaving us wondering if we had attached them correctly.