Every cook needs a great set of knives. Essential for chopping, slicing, dicing, and other food prep tasks, knives are among the most important tools in the kitchen.
As you choose the best kitchen knife set for your purposes, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cutlery is created equal.
With this in mind, we’ve tested dozens of the best-selling kitchen knife sets, and we’ve read thousands of reviews, all with an eye toward helping you choose the best knife set for your kitchen and your budget.
Our Top Picks:
Since knives can represent quite an investment, and since a poorly manufactured set can be disappointing, dangerous, and lead to frustration, it’s very important to know what to look for in a good set of kitchen knives. If you cook only occasionally, then it stands to reason that you’ll require a bit less in terms of selection; if you prep several meals each week or spend time in the kitchen every day, then a wider selection will probably serve you better.
- Durability – Because kitchen knives can be expensive, it’s a good idea to choose a set that will stand the test of time. Durable knives are usually built with full tangs, meaning that the metal that forms the blade extends through the handle. This isn’t the only mark of quality, but it does tend to offer some reassurance that the knives won’t come apart.
- Quality of Materials – Most kitchen knife sets are made with stainless steel or stain-resistant steel, but not all steel is the same. American, Japanese, and German or European steel tends to be far superior to steel made in China. As for handles, quality construction often matters more than materials alone; plain wood may be attractive, for example, but may lose integrity with age and repeated washing.
- Forged or Stamped Blades? – Forged blades are stronger than stamped ones, but they tend to be more expensive.
- Gimmicks – The idea of knives that never need sharpening may seem fantastic, but don’t fall into this trap. The “no sharpening needed” knives are poorly made and cannot be brought back to sharpness once the edge fails. The same wisdom applies to ceramic knives; these are sharp in the beginning and definitely have their uses, but if you want a kitchen knife set that will last you for many years to come, you’ll want to select traditional knives that can be sharpened as needed.
- Price – Professional chefs often pay thousands for their knives, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. You can find a good, reliable set of kitchen knives for a few hundred dollars, and if your budget is tight, you can find a cheaper one that will work pretty well for a few years before needing replacement. In general, you get what you pay for; good kitchen knives are not normally cheap.
- Types of Knives Included – Most kitchen knife sets include at least a few of the following basics:
- Chef’s knife – used for a variety of chopping and cutting tasks
- Paring knife – used for cutting, trimming, and other tasks that call for a small blade
- Bread knife – used to slice breads and other baked goods
- Carving knife – used to slice cooked meats such as roasts, hams, and poultry
- Fillet knife – used to filet fish
- Cleaver – used to chop meat and large, heavy vegetables
- Sharpening steel – used to hone knife edges and keep them sharp
- Steak knives – used to cut meat into bite-sized pieces while dining
- Is a Storage Block Included? – Many kitchen knife sets come with a storage block of some type; this keeps blades protected and helps keep knives within easy reach. Many chefs and experienced cooks opt to store their knives on wall-mounted magnetic knife bars as an alternative; this is a fantastic idea for anyone who enjoys an extensive collection of knives and likes to keep them within view.
- Reputation – Some brands come with a great reputation, while others aren’t as well-known. Do a little bit of homework if you’ve never heard of a certain brand. Consumer reviews can be very helpful here; you’ll find out what others thought and this can prevent you from making a costly mistake. We’ve gone to great lengths to complete this sizeable task on your behalf, in hopes of helping you save time and make the right choice with confidence.
With these factors in mind, we’ve selected ten of the best kitchen knife sets available, at different prices and with a variety of knives and accessories included.
Tips for Caring for Your Kitchen Knives and Knife Block
Now that you’ve chosen the best kitchen knife set for your purposes, take great care of all the components so that they’ll last you for years to come. The following tips will help you keep your knives in great shape, plus you’ll learn how to clean the slots in your knife block.
- Hand-wash and dry your knives. True, it takes a little time to get through this task, but it will help keep your knives sharp, and it will prevent rust and other damage.
- Don’t soak your knives. Wash your kitchen knives immediately after using them so that you don’t have to soak them. You don’t want to give water the chance to penetrate the space between the tang and the handles.
- Hone and sharpen regularly. Hone your knives with a steel and use a good sharpening stone to maintain their edges. Perform this task regularly and it’ll be quick and simple – and you’ll never have to worry about the danger that comes with using dull knives.
- Clean your knife block regularly. You can use a hair dryer to blow debris through the slots if they go all the way through the knife block, or you can vacuum them out with the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner. Use a pipe cleaner to gently scrub if you need to. Carefully wipe the exterior of the knife block and dry it immediately, and it’ll look as good as new. That’s it!
The better you care for your knives and the block that holds them, the longer they’ll last you. This is great news, since a great set of kitchen knives can represent quite an investment. We wish you all the best in your coming culinary adventures!