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Types of knives
Most of MAC knives are made from Molybdenum high-carbon steel which is rust-resistant and offers great sharpness and has optimal hardness of between HRC59 and HRC61. The company also uses other types of steel including AUS8, Damask, White #2 steel, Yasuke Hagane, Ginsako steel and Super Blue steel.
The blades are ground and sharpened by hand on water-cooled stones. Like the Global knives, the edges of MAC’s blades are ground to a 15 degree angle on either side which makes them razor sharp. They stay sharp for long and are easy to re-sharpen.
The handles are mostly made from pakkawood, except for the Japanese series like the SE, HO, TO ranges, which have ebony and magnolia wood handles with buffalo horn reinforcement. Most knives are made for right-handed users.
MAC offers around eight series, each having a good number of variants. They include:
MAC Original Series
This is first MAC’s series and it features knives with ultra-thin (1.5 to 2.0mm), flexible blades that cut effortlessly through food. The blades are light weight, very sharp, easy to sharpen, and maintain their edge very well. They also have rounded/curved tip for safety. The handles are made of pakkawood and are triple-riveted to a full tang but they don’t have a bolster. They slightly extend to the spine to provide a better and safer grip, plus they are angled upward to create better knuckle clearance, especially when working on a board. The series is also distinguished by the hole that’s punched near the tip of the blades for easy hanging of the knives. The knife types include: Utility, Paring, Cheese, Carving, and Fillet.
MAC Superior Series
This is the updated line of MAC’s Original series. It features slightly thicker blades (2.0 to 2.5mm) for more weight and strength but the tips are still round. The blades have also gone through an additional processing step known as subzero treatment/tempering where Tungsten carbide has been included in the blades to make them harder, and to provide better edge retention compared to the Original series knives. The knives also have larger handles for a much better grip. The material and design is still the same as the Original series. They are made of pakkawood and are triple-riveted to a full tang, plus they are elevated to provide better knuckle clearance and don’t have a bolster. The punched hole into the blade has also been carried over from MAC’s Original series. The knife types include: Utility, Fillet, Cleaver, Paring, Santoku, and Bread.
MAC Chef’s Series
The blades of the Chef’s series are made of the same Molybdenum alloy as MAC’s Original series but they are as thick (2.0 to 2.5mm) as MAC’s Superior series blades. However, unlike the two earlier series, the tip of Chef’s series blades is pointed rather than rounded or curved. Most of the Chef’s series knives also have traditional European shapes that feature handles that are straight with blade’s spine. The handles themselves are made of pakkawood, are triple-riveted, and don’t have a bolster. They also lack the punched hole seen on MAC’s Original and Superior series. The knife types include: Paring, Boning, Chef’s, Bread, Utility, Chef’s Hollow Ground, Asina Chef’s, Preparation Hollow Ground, and Nonstick Sushi knife.
MAC Professional Series
This is MAC’s most popular series. The blades have the same thickness as the Chef’s series (2.0 to 2.5mm) but are made of Molybdenum alloy like the Original series, except for the Santoku (MSK-65) and Chef (MTH-80) knives, which use the Superior series steel. All the blades in this series also have pointed tips like the Chef’s series. The knives equally have more of a classic European shape with a bit more heft and a good balance. The handles are made using Pakkawood. Some are triple-riveted while others are dual-riveted only. They come with bolsters too for weight and balance. They are more Western-looking handles. They are narrowed at the bolster and some flare at the butt. Most of the handles are straight, except for the Santoku (MSK-65), Slicer (MCK—105), and Bread (MSB-105) knives which feature elevated handles. The knife types include: Chef’s, Slicer, Flexible Sole Fillet, Honesuki Boning, Nakiri, Paring, Bread, Slicer Hollow Ground, Chef’s Hollow Ground, Santoku Hollow Ground, Utility, and Slicer Hollow Ground.
MAC Ultimate Series
The Ultimate series knives have the thickest blades of all MAC lines. The blades are 2.5 to 3.0mm thick, with the Ultimate Cleaver (SDK-85) knife having a 4mm-thick blade. These knives are designed to mimic the heft and feel of traditional European forged knives while still maintaining the thin, Japanese-style stamped blades. The blades are made of the same sub-zero treated Molybdenum alloy used on the Superior series knives in order to provide better edge retention. The handles have larger bolsters that the Professional series, although they are made of the same material and are also triple-riveted or dual-riveted to a full tang. They are as well straight and flare at the butt. The knife types include: Chef’s, Slicer, and Cleaver.
MAC Japanese Series
The Japanese series is made up of various traditional, Japanese shapes like Yanagiba and Deba. The blade material is mostly high carbon stainless steel and the knives often have laminated plywood handles that fit in the hands comfortably. The Series features the traditional Japanese one-side grind (single edged) suitable for right-handed use, except for the Nakiri (JU-65) knife which is two-sided (double edged). The series is further divided into four categories which vary mainly due to the steel used, blade thickness, and the design of the handles.
Japanese Series Molybdenum Steel Range
These features Japanese knives made of the Original Molybdenum steel and in traditional Japanese shapes. The blades are single-edged, except for the Nakiri (JU-65) knife which is double edged and they are 3.0mm thick. The handles are made of pakkawood with some triple-riveted and others double-riveted only. They are straight and have bolsters. The knife types include: Deba Cleaver, Boning, and Nakiri.
Japanese Series Sub-Zero Steel Range
The blades of these knives are made of sub-zero tempered Molybdenum steel used on MAC’s Superior series knives and 3.0mm thick. The knives have traditional Japanese shapes with single-edged blades and the handles are made of pakkawood and are round. They don’t have bolsters and are triple-riveted or double –riveted. The range includes only Yanagiba (Sashimi) knives that come in different blade lengths.
Japanese Series “HO-Series”
These knives feature blades made of Yasuki Shirogami (white #2 steel), clad by softer steel. The blades are 4.5mm thick and have a Kasumi polished finish. They come with traditional Japanese round-shaped magnolia wooden handles that feature water Buffalo horn bolsters. The knife types in the range include: Yanagiba, Fugubiki, Takobiki, Mioroshi, AIdeba, Deba, Kakugata Usuba, Kamagata Usuba, and Santoku.
Japanese Series “TO-Series”
The blades in this collection are made of Solid Yasuki GIN-3 steel which is extremely hard, offers better stain resistant and it’s easier to re-sharpen. The handles are traditional Japanese octagonal magnolia wooden handles featuring a water Buffalo horn bolster. The knife types in the range include: Gyuto, Deba, Yanagiba, Kamagata Usuba, Kakugata Usuba, Aideba, Fugubiki, Takobiki, Sajibiki, and Kiritsuke.
MAC Black Fluorine Coated Series
This is the non-stick version of MAC’s Chef Series. The blade material and design is the same but unlike the Chef Series, the blades’ surface is finished with fluorine resin coating which not only gives a beautiful black color but also non-stick properties that allow the knives to glide easily through food without sticking. The handles are large and offer a comfortable grip. They are made of the same material as the Chef’s series, are straight with the blade’s spine, and have no bolsters. They are all triple-riveted, though. The blades are equally pointed and have no punched hole. The knife types in the series include: Chef’s, Paring, and Santoku.
The price range of MAC knives is almost comparable to Global and Masahiro knives. Their knives cost from around $30 to $400 which is pretty reasonable in contrast to most other Japanese brands like Masamoto and Yoshihiro, which have knives costing over $1000.
Their Original series is the cheapest with knives costing $30 to $100, while the Ultimate series is the most expensive with the prices of its knives ranging from $300 to $400. The Japanese Series HO-Series is also a bit pricey – the knives in the series cost from around $250 to $350.
When it comes to knife types, MAC’s Santoku knives, for instance, are reasonably priced, although there are many options. The main cause of price variance is the blade design and the steel used to make the blade. The Superior Series offers the cheapest Santoku knife from the company, which is 6.5-inches and costs $90.
The same sized Santoku knife from the Professional series which has Hollow Ground blade costs $150. The most expensive MAC’s Santoku knife is in the Japanese Series “HO-Series” range which costs $250 and the reason is because it’s 7-inch knife and the blade is thicker (4mm) and is made of Yasuki Shirogami (white #2 steel) with traditional Japanese round-shaped magnolia wooden handle.
The company’s Nakiri knives also fall within the same price range as the Santoku knives and there are also not many options to consider. MAC offers Nakiri knives only in their Professional and Japanese series. The 6.5-inch Professional Series Nakiri knife costs around $150.
The same sized knife with the same handle material and design but in MAC’s Japanese Series Molybdenum Steel range also costs $150 – the same version of the knife in the same Japanese Series range but without a bolster costs $105.