Mercer Millennia Knife Set Review

The TL;DR version is that the knives in this set are okay at best, but the convenience of the magnetic board for storage makes them invaluable.

That’s not to say the knives are bad. In the grand scheme of things, they get the job done. The big handles make them feel a little weird, but they’re otherwise comfortable and capable.


Blade Steel:X30Cr13
Steel Hardness:53 – 54 HRC
Handle:Santoprene / Polypropylene
Construction:Stamped, partial tang
Magnetic Board Dimensions:9.5″W x 5.25″D x 7.5″T

In This Set

8″ Chef’s knife
7″ Granton edge Santoku
8″ off-set bread knife
3″ slim paring knife
What I LikedWhat I Didn’t Like
Magnetic board made storage easy and space efficientHandles make a pinch grip feel awkward
Blades are tough and can take a very sharp edge with some workSteel doesn’t hold an edge very long
Highly corrosion resistant

Concerning Short People and the Problem with Regular Knife Blocks

The Mercer Millennia santoku knife dicing a red onion.

This is more a story about being a small person with very little counter space.

Both my wife and I are short people, and frequently use a kitchen that has limited counter space without bringing in extra tables. Neither of us like having a regular knife block set, even if we like the knives that are in them.

Approaching a knife block for us is exactly the same thing (I assume) as approaching Mount Doom: by the time we get there we’re probably tired and bitten by some kind of weird bug, and the fact that people as small as we are have to deal with something that tall is a sign that something has gone critically wrong with the world.

The only difference is that we have to make it back down the mountain alive without the help of giant eagles.

The typical solution to the big knife block is a magnetic strip mounted into the wall, but we’re shoestring on wall space as well. Don’t ask me how. That’s just how the cards fell when someone decided to go with a galley kitchen while building the house.

Point being, the storage solution presented by a self-supporting magnetic board turned out to be the giant-eagle solution we’d been looking for. I just wish the knives were a little nicer.

The Knives

The Mercer Millennia chef's knife cutting a thin slice off a tomato.

They work fine. They cut about how I would expect budget kitchen knives with rubber handles to cut, so not all that different from Victorinox or Dexter Russel. The rubber handles have a good grip, but the bolster-ish bump at the top makes pinch grips feel kind of awkward.

  • The chef’s knife is okay as a workhorse. It doesn’t hold an edge all that long. When I was cooking an especially large meal I would hone it up about halfway through. The balance is pretty good, though. It’s mostly neutral with maybe a touch more weight toward the blade.
  • The Santoku is about the same, but I mostly ended up using it for cutting slices off larger blocks of cheese (a lot of cheddar, but some semi-soft stuff like Havarti), and it worked well in that capacity. I’d also recommend it for slicing tomatoes since the granton edge makes the blade a little less prone to food sticking.
  • The bread knife might be the best one in the bunch. The serrations are surprisingly gentle, so they cut rather than tear most of the time. Plus it has an offset handle, so there’s plenty of knuckle clearance.
  • The paring knife is the other one where the handle helps rather than hinders. It actually feels solid in a proper paring knife grip.
The bread knife cutting slices off of a soft loaf.

I wouldn’t recommend this set just for the knives. The set as a whole does get you the full spread of tools most kitchens need, besides shears, and they’re within the range of acceptable quality, but nothing to go crazy about.

They’re tough, but not hard thanks to the relatively soft X30Cr13 steel, Mercer chose to use on this knife series. They cut well so long as you keep up on the edge maintenance, and they don’t rust easily.

They work.

Storage and the Magnetic Board

I ended up testing this set for several weeks longer than I’d planned, and it was entirely because of the magnetic board. Because:

  • It takes up far less room than a standard knife block,
  • It’s easier to reach and pull the knives for use,
  • Being stored in the open air means they can finish air drying after I put them away.

After experiencing that kind of luxury it’s hard to switch back to a regular block set.

Once I worked out the angle I needed to pull the knives off (lift the edge first so you don’t dull it, then lift the knife off) it felt like a near-perfect ergonomic situation. I could switch between knives quicker, and everything was easier to keep clean.

Most importantly, I could pull a knife without having to lift my arm in a weird way. I didn’t realize how much of an interruption it was to working in the kitchen to have to draw knives from a block like the jankiest Excalibur test until at had the freedom of simply pulling a knife off an open, vertical surface.


There are other good small-space solutions for the kitchen, starting with some from Mercer.

  • The Genesis 4-piece set with a roll is a decent small-space solution if you really don’t have any counter space. It’s more of a traveling or student set, but it gets the job done, and if you have a bit of drawer space it’ll keep your counters uncluttered.
  • The Cangshan S1 3-Piece set is a nicer looking option. There are only two knife types in this set, but the knives are well made and they take up a small amount of space in a very tasteful way.
  • The Ginsu Gourmet Chikara series comes in an upright block, so it takes up a minimal amount of space, but you still need to be vertically gifted to comfortably get the knives out.
  • The Cangshan Helena 3-Piece knife set is another budget alternative, but it does not include a storage block or board.

Is It Worth It?

End of the day, I have a hard time sticking to this set because I want to play with different and better knives.

That’s partly a consequence of being someone who regularly tests and writes about knives, but I also can’t fully gel with the way this set looks and the way the knives feel.

Personal preference aside, though, this thing will get you through miles of cooking, and you’ll have a hard time finding something that takes up this little space holding this many knives (except for all the other magnetic-board sets out there, of course).

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Avatar of Andrew North

Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

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