It's dishwasher safe (a rarity for cutlery), but we recommend hand-washing to extend its lifespan. It's a quintessential, all-purpose tool that does an ace job of blitzing parsley into dust, dicing onions, or defining a chicken.
It practically guides you to hold the knife exactly how you should (by pinching the bottom of the blade.) The handle sits in the center of your palm, making this knife a true extension of your hand.
This fully forged, high-carbon German steel knife cut through almost every task very easily. It also comes with a protective plastic covering, making it extra safe to store.
One of the sharpest knives we've tested, Global's Santos is all stainless steel, so there aren't crevices along the handle that trap food. This Japanese knife excelled at all tasks but wowed us with its ability to power through chicken bones.
Super sharp to power through any task Entirely stainless steel Notched blade prevents food from sticking Shun's beautiful chef's knife literally glides through ripe tomatoes with its sharp edge.
The rounded black Lakewood handle is comfortable even for small hands to get around, and if an 8-inch size (the most common length of a chef's knife) feels excessive and heavy, we think the 6-inch blade on this one will be a perfect fit. Heckles Chef's Knife is one of the top-selling knives on Amazon.
In our testing, it made quick work of chopping parsley, slicing tomatoes, dicing onions, and even boning a chicken. The knife's gorgeous rosewood curved handle gives you a comfy, ergonomic grip.
This 8-inch chef's knife is lightweight and super sharp, which made it very easy to cut through all off the veggies in our test without tiring our hand or wrist. Its Lakewood handle is smooth, strong, and easy to grasp with a full tang that helps it feel balanced in your hand.
Durable but not overly heavy Super sharp for effortless cutting The Made In 8-inch Chef's Knife did not disappoint: In addition to being very pretty to look at, it performed every cutting task well.
At the end of the day, finding your go-to chef's knife is largely based upon personal preference. The type of material affects the weight of the knife, the feel of it, as well as the price.
Our best words of advice: Look for a knife that feels like an extension of your hand and keep it sharp. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping Institute Senior Editor & Product Analyst, Kitchen Appliances & Technology Lab Betty Gold earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Studies and Nutrition from New York University, and prior to joining Good Housekeeping, she worked with the James Beard Foundation and other leading food media brands like Bon Appétit, Food Network Magazine, and The Martha Stewart Show.
Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute Senior Testing Editor & Producer Nicole is a recipe developer trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition who specializes in testing and developing kitchen appliances; she currently runs the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
No kitchen is complete without a chef's knife, a slicer, a utility knife, and a parer, and a great cutlery set is the perfect addition to your kitchen countertop. Get our expert, independent ratings and reviews, trusted reporting, plus tools to help keep you informed, safe and connected.
Unlimited digital access to our unbiased and independent ratings and reviews for products and services. We test, evaluate, and compare the latest kitchen knives to give you the cutting edge in your kitchen.
But if you don’t have good cooking knives so you have to waste a lot of time struggling to prepare food. But if you have a good knife set then you can easily handle your all cooking with fast and easy.
Because only a single knife can’t handle different kitchen jobs such as slicing, cutting, and mincing. But a knife set has different small to large knives for cutting your bread to frozen fish or meat.
There are already hundreds of popular kitchen knife brands making knives. And it is very natural to get confused to find a good cooking knife set among all.
But after deep research and analysis, I’ve been able to pick these highly demanding cooking knife sets for commercial and home use. So, before making a purchasing decision, you may go through the reviews with PROS and CONS for choosing the ideal knife set according to your daily needs.
Check Price Stone Boomer 14-piece knife block set Made of premium stainless steel Polished tapered handle And especially their European style blade and well performance impressed home cook and professional.
These are forged blades and made from high carbon stainless steel. Even their Precision Edge Technology enhances the blades' sharpness up to 20% only for effortless cutting and slicing.
And each blade is completely buffed & polished by Author’s high skilled knife makers. All knives featured full-tang with triple rivet and the safety bolster added amazing balance and weight.
However, this set, especially for restaurants and professional chefs even serious cooking enthusiasts may fall in love with it. However, these knives have a very beautiful black Polyoxymethylene handle that offers a very sift but tighter grip even in wet.
Pros These blades are extremely sharp out of the box Made from high-carbon stainless steel Up to 20% more sharpness than regular knives Each blade is buffed & hand polished Full tang with bolster for balance and weight Super slip space-saving storage box Made in Germany High performance, classic looking, all chefs knives in one package from Strong.
Strong achieved a great honor to provide the best quality cutlery and already there are more than thousands of chefs and home cook those who are familiar with this popular knife set. Because Strong used imported high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel with 56+ Rockwell hardness.
And these forged knives are easy to sharpen and rust and tarnish resistance. Handle & Overview: The award-winning design, and premium materials that will give you a different glamorous feel.
That ensures the best comfort and easy maneuver to maintain slicing, dicing, or other work in a busy kitchen. Even the hand-polished bolster offers a brighter outlook and real weight which is really needed for safe cutting and slicing.
And the bolster works as a safety guard, that ensures your fingers will never cut as long as not come nearly the blade. Because of its versatility, classic design, and superior performance are enough to impress any professionals or home chefs.
And for its overall features and gorgeous looking, I have listed it in my best cooking knife set collection. Because these blades are made of sturdy German high carbon stainless steel.
But Emo joy recommends taking proper care and maintenance for longevity and performance! And full-tang features with forged bolster give the knife for easy maneuvering.
Beautiful Graphite look, well price range, FDA Certified even safety feature all majority includes this knife set which is come from Cook. Even Cook engineered “Taper Grind Edge Technology” for maximum sharpness and performance even these blades are easy to sharpen.
Some of them have stainless steel end cap for balance and beauty and nice polished finger bolsters for your safety. However, this block knife set finally shows it is really a great choice for any serious home cook and professionals.
Pros Budget-friendly Easy to maintain Classic French-style handle and blades Rust and tarnish resistant Self-sharpening technology Because it will be met with your budget even it’s certified by NSF And it is one of the best top-rated knife sets in the market.
And it comes with a nice looking tempered glass storage block to store your knives and it’s extremely durable. Especially I love this modern storage block because it’s easy to find the right knife through the window.
So cut and slice your all favorite foods or vegetables with ease and easy. Well, balanced, incredible sharp which is absolutely a real workhorse for kitchen purpose.
And this is really a beautiful package that inside of some premium quality knives for cooking. These are (7.75 chef knife), (8 – 4.25 steak knives), (3.25 parer), (3 peeler), (5 utility), (8 slicer), (7.75 bread), (5 Partake), (7 Santos), 8 stainless sharpening steel and beautiful block.
This Chicago Cutlery Fusion block set made of high-carbon stainless steel. And special thanks to Taper Grind Edge Technology to make them wicked sharp and easy to re-sharpen.
Its black color and stainless steel end cap give it a nice look and balance. These knives are crafted with forged bolster for the safest cutting and slicing.
Pros Comfortable grip Taper Grind edge technology Special finger bolster and end cap 18 pieces set with different sizes High carbon stainless steel blade The set comes with a wooden block for storage But no one likes sharpening because it’s time-consuming, difficult, and needs previous experience.
The Clifton knife set each blade is very sharp because they are forged and made from high-carbon stainless steel. I would say this set will fulfill your most kitchen cutting and slicing jobs which are very important for everyday cooking.
The set all knives are full tang and features with triple-rivet for durability and longevity. The polished bolster provides the best safety and strength so that anyone can do their job with fast and easy.
I’m really so excited to explain about this knife block set features and specifications! There are a lot of home chefs and cooking enthusiasts love to use premium quality knives.
Whereas they are fully stamped blades that’s why these knives are very lightweight than forged and affordable. Maybe it has no bolster but these blades are full tang that offers durability and longevity.
Because for everyday different cooking needs small or large knives for cutting, from foods to frozen meat. The Amazon basics home kitchen knife set would a great collection who needs different knives for several daily works.
It is really an ideal choice for serious home cooks who am interested in different types of kitchen knives. These premium knives are made from high carbon stainless steel that gives a razor-sharp edge, and easy to re-sharpen.
But keep in mind, for the last longer performance, you should use only your hand to wash. Its overall feature makes it a great value for investing money on kitchen purposes! And triple-riveted full tang construction makes them very durable and very comfortable to hold.
However, these knives are really very beautiful and pine woodblock will catch the attention of any first time user. Other-hand in this dynamic world, it’s really so difficult to find the cheapest knife set.
Pros Easy to store in kitchen countertops Very useful for slicing, dicing and chopping work A perfect item for newlyweds Superior high-carbon stainless-steel blades Comes with the affordable price Japan is one of the major countries that have a history and popularity of manufacturing high-quality knives and cutlery materials.
And you can use this great quality Japanese knife set for your home or restaurants. These knives are crafted with ordinary Japanese steel, featured from tip to tang.
Each of the knives is wicked sharp and requires low maintenance for longevity. This is an ideal Gourmet white blade with the block that you can purchase for your lovely home kitchen or restaurants.
These stainless steel knives ergonomically designed for the best comfort and control for any kind of cutting or slicing. Handle & Overview: All heavy cutting and slicing you can do with these knives with fast and easy.
Pros These knives have perfect stability and control It contains a sharp and fine edge Dishwasher Safe It has the best knife blade material This set includes all kinds of chef knives This stainless steel knife set includes different types of knives.
Even extra (6- 4½” steak knives), with (8 kitchen scissors), 8 sharpener with acrylic block stand. However, for this block set, they used premium stainless steel to prevent tarnish and corrosion.
Chef’s Knife: It’s usually 8 inches long and it’s a workhorse for every professional and home kitchen. But especially a good quality boning knife for chicken, meat, beef, and poultry.
Also, the paring knife people used for fruits and vegetables to remove the peel. It is long between 5 and 7 inches and sometimes closed to 8 It is a Japanese version professional knife and can handle all types of small to medium kitchen slicing job.
This tiny chef’s knife has a 6 to 8-inches blade with a nice wicked sharp edge. For smooth cutting, it has very NATO teeth with a nice wooden handle.
Because it has a very long blade than others which is between 8 and 12 inches for handling beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and many others. If you need to slice or cutting big-size meat then a good butcher knife would an ideal tool for those jobs.
A storage block would a plastic or wooden even bamboo to keep your knives and tools together. But forged blade which made from stainless steel they are a little heavy.
It ensures the edge will never dull and you should avoid plastic cutting board. Storage : After completing your cooking and cleaning the knife, you should store them in a block or sheath.
Surprisingly with each set, you’ll get a nice looking wooden or plastic storage block to keep your all knives safe. Because there are a lot of kitchen knife brands, and they provide different knives for home and restaurants.
But carbon steel knives could get dull too fast, but it’s very easy to sharpen. But other hand stainless steel blades edges goes well for a long time.
But the stainless steel blade will give you the best performance and low maintenance. A perfect kitchen knife handle ensures the best comfort and grip.
Because some wooden handles are not dishwasher safe warm water can damage them. But the stainless steel handle is very popular and highly durable and never water can damage it.
And stainless steel handle is not an ideal choice, who loves lightweight knives. It has a good brighter outlook, very lightweight, and ensures a perfect grip and comfort.
For purchasing a knife set for the kitchen so storage space is very important! But fortunately, some knife companies provide a good-looking wooden or plastic box for storage.
If you are a serious home cook and want to show your knife collection to your friends and family? So you can use magnetic strips or choose a set of knives that have an acrylic block stand for safe storage.
There are a lot of professional chefs they love to soak their knife in water. Hopefully, if you choose the best dishwasher safe knife set then you’ll never face these washing complications.
Also, keep in mind if your knives are dishwasher safe then warm water and detergent will never damage the blade and handle. I hope the article was well articulated for you to understand each and every aspect of the knife block sets.
Also, to help you make the purchasing decision easier, I have incorporated the strengths and weaknesses of each of the sets. I understand how important a knife set for a home chef or professional.
But when you will buy a set, then you can easily get many kinds of knives even in a small budget! Here my objective was to discuss the construction quality and performance of a knife set.
The Victorinox Fibrous Pro is priced for home chefs, but with an edge that even a professional would covet. The laser-tested blade handles many tasks with ease, including dicing, chopping, slicing and mincing.
Author has a solid reputation for its durable and robust products, and this kitchen knife is no exception. Its versatility makes the eight-inch blade an especially popular choice, but you can find this knife in sizes ranging from six to 10 inches.
The blade is precision forged from high carbon stainless steel for durability and stability. The best kitchen knives are ground very thin for optimal performance, as is the case with this Author knife.
Pros: Available in a wide range of sizes Common and unique knife variations available Stands out for its comfortable ergonomic handle Aside from its affordable price tag, this kitchen knife stands out for its comfortable ergonomic handle, which includes textured finger points for improved grip and slip resistance.
Pros: Chrome material helps protect against rust and corrosion Has a comfortable ergonomic handle Well balanced for prolonged use Having a comfortable and ergonomic handle is crucial if you plan to spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen.
Not only is the handle comfortable over a longer period of time, it’s appropriately balanced for prolonged use without causing hand fatigue or discomfort. The knife’s multipurpose design allows you to use it for just about any ordinary cooking task, including chopping, dicing, slicing and cutting.
Pros: Ideal for super-fine slicing and dicing Wide blade allows plenty of knuckle clearance Properly balanced handle Strong describes its Gladiator Series as “battle ready culinary tools,” and this knife doesn’t disappoint with its durable high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel.
This knife is hand sharpened 14-16 degrees on each side and is designed for effortless super-fine slicing and dicing. Despite its ability to finely chop food, the blade is wide enough to allow ample knuckle clearance.
Not only is the handle made with eye-catching and durable Lakewood imported from Spain, but it’s also designed to accommodate right- and left-handed users. The properly balanced handle lets you make thicker and heavier cuts just as easily as more detailed ones.
Cons: A bit big for smaller hands Weight could be balanced better Blade is heavy A triple rivet design ensures the handle and blade are firmly attached for optimal control and stability.
The Hakka handle is not only ergonomic, it also helps reduce numbness and pain in the fingers and hands from holding the knife for a prolonged period of time. The blade features a combination of carbon and chrome, which keeps the finish glossy and ensures it won’t fade or tarnish over time.
The blade is razor sharp out of the box and is corrosion resistant, meaning it won’t rust when it comes in contact with fruits, veggies and meat. The end result is a knife that provides one sharp edge and one flat side for added versatility.
Pros: Stylish hand-polished Marta handle Each side is sharpened to 18 degrees Durable steel blade This chef’s knife features a VG-10 Damascus steel construction, which provides optimal sharpness and edge retention.
The multi-functional knife stands up to a wide range of kitchen tasks, including chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing. The hand-polished Marta handle adds a stylish look to the knife without compromising comfort, control or agility.
This classic chef’s knife stands out for its precise, fine-edge blade, which is expertly honed for long-lasting sharpness. The Classic series consists of some of the more moderately priced items, but that doesn’t mean quality is lacking.
Ease of use is the main draw of this kitchen knife, from its versatile blade to a handle designed for precise movements. The blade is made with carbon stainless steel, which is resistant to rust and won’t tarnish over time.
Cons: Sheath opens towards the blade tip Not the most compact for traveling A few complaints of rust developing over time The ergonomic handle reduces hand fatigue while ensuring you have a solid grip on the knife as you work.
Cons: Designed for right-handed users Unique angle can make it tougher to sharpen A bit large for smaller hands This vegetable knife has a single bevel design and is sharp enough to expertly cut delicate veggies without causing damage.
Its combined ergonomic handle and distinctive blade shape make the knife well suited for cutting, dicing and mincing. This Wingnut Chef Knife stands out for its overall value, between its high-carbon stainless steel blade and an ergonomic wood handle.
This is due in large part to the ergonomic Hakka wood handle, which is mirror polished for added style. Most cooks agree that the best kitchen knives have a full-tang construction, and this chef’s knife is included in that category.
However, most cooks find that pricier knives offer better stability and comfort, not to mention sharper and more capable blades. Whether your budget is limited or you're set to splurge on the right knife, these kitchen knives have all made the cut for various reasons.
Dull blades tend to be more dangerous than sharp ones, as they require more pressure to use and have a greater risk of slipping, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. But if they really, truly loved this person, they would pause, consider the action they were about to take, and put away their method of payment.
This is why every time you gift us a Star Trek pizza cutter, a pair of onion goggles, or pretty much anything on lists like these, we tend to do that thing where we force a smile and say “Oh cool, this is so cool, and secretly wonder to whom we can promptly re-gift this ultimately useless piece of cooking crap. Here I am thinking, by the size of the box, that you were giving me a leg of Jason Iberian.
The only way I would be able to afford that scenario is if I somehow re-sell this $800 set for full price to some club who doesn’t understand that 90 percent of these knives are completely useless. A chef's knife can slice through onions quickly so that you won't have to humiliate yourself by donning goggles.
A chef’s knife, if it’s sharp enough, can slice through bread with ease. Okay, yes, a pairing knife is handy for little kitchen tasks, such as removing the stem nub out of a tomato or peeling the rind off citrus, but a chef’s knife can perform these jobs, too, if not in slightly different ways.
You also absolutely don’t need that giant honking knife block that comes with the set either. To use home cooks, countertop space is vital and knife blocks are like cookie jars, microwaves, and other one-trick-pony cooking gadgets in that they gobble up vital prep space.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. This Review covers 20 KitchenKnives Sets which we consider the best value for money in year 2019.
Among the plethora of Japanese chef knives we will be presenting, we will nonetheless start this list with a French knife. This makes it one of my personal preference knives, and a great tool for home cooks.
Design & Usability French style chef knives definitely have an elegance of their own, with their firm, wide blade and a delicately curved edge. This knife wide blade boosts the usability rate of the Twin Pro S line.
Heckles is an esteemed German manufacturer that crafts some of the most beloved French-style knives in Europe. You may not have to sharpen your Twin Pro S for months at a time, but we recommend a bit of honing before every use.
More weight for smooth movements and cuts Well-balanced and perfectly bonded The Fríður blade is ice-hardened for superior resilience Ergonomic, three-rivet handle No-stain HC stainless steel Design & Usability Despite some customers founding the Damascus steel pattern misleading, it’s actually a detail incorporated by the company into the product to boost its Japanese look.
We also want to tip our hats to Sou full for delivering this accessible piece in a lovely, black gift box. The classic Hakka wood handle and angled bolster are also pleasant features.
Quality & Performance Considering how it helps you effortlessly slice through all the ingredients you need for a chef-worthy meal, this Auto knife goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or price tag). As you well know (or are just about finding out) Global is a Japanese manufacturer widely praised for its top-of-the-line cutlery and high-tech designs.
The G-48 isn’t exactly an affordable chef knife but is nonetheless one that will make sure you get amazing culinary results for years on end. To use it to its full capacity and for the longest period of time, we recommend using the Global G-1800L Sharpening Whetstone or any other tool that will keep this blade as sharp as it can get.
Instead of having a wooden handle, Global went with a full stainless steel design for this model. Not only is this good news for those who cook a lot, but it’s also wonderful for users with potential wrist or joint problems.
Quality & Performance For the G-48 piece, Global used its premium Cordova 18 steel which blends vanadium, chromium, and molybdenum. Most user reports confirm that you can use this Global knife for months on end, on a daily basis, without the need to sharpen it.
If your meals involve paper-thin slicing, this Author gorge is definitely for you, which doesn’t mean that it isn’t also very good at dicing, chopping, and cutting overall. Furthermore, owing to the smart design, the sharpness of this Santos is evenly distributed from the bolster to the tip to the heel.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a professional quality chef knife to use in the comfort of your own home ? From the traditional silhouette to the attention paid to details, elegance is the predominant design feature.
The MTH-80 features a dimpled, 2.55 mm steel blade, and a graceful Hakka wood handle with a gentle arch. The dimples prevent your knife from sticking, while the ergonomic handle helps ease your cooking experience.
Quality & Performance The Mac Knife model is as sharp as they come, and you can start cutting and dicing right out of the box. Thanks to its being lightweight, the MTH-80 kitchen knives will also go easy on your joints even if you have to spend hours on end in the kitchen.
Design & Usability Shun built its reputation on spectacular aesthetics and the top quality you usually expect from a Japanese chef knife. You can throw anything at this knife and you’ll be able to cut, slice, dice, carve, and chop like a professional chef.
On the other hand, there are far more users who are over thrilled with the Shun’s sharpness, amazing quality of the materials and visual appeal. Slicing from vegetables to fruit, meats and more, this chef knife sports Kama’s “all-purpose” label for a reason.
This beautiful Auto knife is part of Strong’s Shogun Series X and is one of the most appreciated models from the brand. Aside from being notably sharp, this beauty has quite a handful of other certifications and specs you’ll find hard to resist.
With durable blades, thin profiles and a typically lightweight built, Japanese chef knives have quite a few advantages over their European competitors. Also, you will receive your item in a beautiful case with red lining which can make it an instant gift.
The much-anticipated award for the ultimate chef knife you can buy this year goes to… the Victorinox Fibrous Pro. You may have been expecting a top-of-the-line Japanese or German brand to be our #1, but we’ve chosen the Fibrous Pro by Victorinox for best overall value.
Design & Usability With a stainless steel blade, the Fibrous Pro makes you forget about rusting issues. It may not gleam with the beauty of traditional Hakka wood, but it genuinely prevents slipping.
Easily use it to slice, chop, dice or mince foods with full precision. The lightweight construction of this knife also makes it the best buy for customers who want to prevent fatigue after long cooking sessions.
As one consumer report points out, Victorinox designs their knives to be incredibly effective workhorses in the busy, modern kitchen. The only real con we can point out is that you’ll have to sharpen your Fibrous Pro often to keep it in good shape.
Highly versatile chef knife Accessible price Great cutting precision Swiss quality Design & Usability The Kalevala Professional is a gorgeous Chinese-style chef knife that features an 8-inch, stainless steel, and high carbon blade.
It is reported to have twice as much carbon in the blade as competitors, making it a strong piece of cutlery despite the low price. The sleek beauty is a multipurpose knife, which means that you can use it to cut flesh from bones or chop, dice, and slice your ingredients.
Quality & Performance Now comes the main reason why the charming Kalevala knife didn’t get a top 10 seat. Despite its low price point, a handful of customers complained about the company’s lack of quality control, upon receiving products with manufacturing defects.
To wrap everything up, we’re sure that the best chef knives of the year we have pointed out will help you make your final choice. Before proceeding to checkout, we highly recommend that you review the features you want in your knife, from sharpness to weight or versatility.
As a final note, we recommend that you hand wash and dry any chef knife to avoid rusting or chipping. Daniel is a valuable member of our team, and he’s here to share his knowledge about all types of kitchen knives.
These forged high-carbon stainless steel knives are very sharp, and they’re heavy enough to tackle tough, fibrous vegetables such as butternut squash better than the competition. Among all the knives we tested, the Author set’s drippy, ergonomically shaped handles were the most comfortable to hold.
The stamped, high-carbon stainless steel blades remained sharper and held their edge better than any other set we tested under $200. The Victorinox knives are lightweight and well-balanced, while the Fibrous handles are comfortable to hold and provide a good grip even when wet.
Though this set lacks shears, a honing steel, and a storage block, it offers the most basic knives you’ll need in the kitchen for a bargain price. Though they will require more frequent honing than some Japanese knives we tested, they were far more durable than all the other sets we tried in this price range.
Collapse all To gain some insight into which knives would be best for the average home cook, we spoke with chef Brendan McDermott, an instructor at Kendall College in Chicago and the co-owner/blade smith of Ravenswood Hand Forged. We also consulted with chef Joseph Simon, an instructor at the International Culinary Center (ICC), who tested all of our knife sets in person.
And we asked some Wire cutter staffers to try out knife sets in our New York City test kitchen. Chef Joseph Simon, an instructor at the International Culinary Center, tested all of our knife sets in our New York City test kitchen. Additionally, we examined reviews from Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required), Consumer Reports (subscription required), and Cooking For Engineers.
Christine Car Classes, who wrote our original knife-set guide, has spent dozens of hours researching and testing knife sets. Michael Sullivan, who contributed to our 2016 update, researched over 50 knife sets and tested 11 for this guide.
If you’re seeking a gift for a wedding or a college graduation, you might consider buying a knife set. If you already own a set of knives that struggle to maintain a sharp edge or have cracked handles, it’s probably time to upgrade.
If you’re not into tracking down the perfect individual knives and just want something that’s sharp and cuts well, a set makes buying easy. To determine the most essential knives for home cooks, we turned to chef Brendan McDermott, an instructor at Kendall College in Chicago.
“They end up getting a big block, and half the knives end up collecting dust.” Any additions, such as the ubiquitous utility knife, are gravy because they are more limiting and not as versatile as most other knives (however, they are unavoidable and almost always included in block sets). According to America’s Test Kitchen (subscription required), manufacturers often skimp on the knives they include in sets.
Most important, perhaps, we looked for knives with sharp blades that could maintain their edge after constant use. The handle material, shape, and length also played a role in our decision-making.
Of course, comfort is a subjective quality, and it’s the reason why experts recommend trying knives in person to see which ones feel best in your hand. A forged knife, which is pounded from a piece of steel, tends to be heavy and usually designed with a bolster.
We tested paring knives by seeing how well they accomplished small hand tasks such as shaping carrots. Every steel alloy that manufacturers use to make most kitchen knives is “high-carbon,” which is strong and takes an edge well.
However, you should look for blade material listed as “high-carbon stainless steel,” or else it will be prone to rusting. Ceramic blades tend to be notably sharp and will hold an edge for a long time, but they can also crack or shatter if you’re too rough with them.
For larger knives, we noted whether they had enough hand clearance to prevent our knuckles from hitting the cutting board. We tested serrated knives by cutting through wide, crusty country loaves and thinly slicing tomatoes.
For sets that included utility knives, we used them to slice apples and cut orange segments. For sets that came with a knife block, we checked to see whether the knives slid easily into and out of their slots without snagging.
The Author Classic Iron set’s drippy POM (polyoxymethylene) handles were the easiest to hold out of all the sets we tested. The chef’s knife, a pleasure to hold, rocked smoothly while chopping carrots and onions, which wasn’t the case with the straighter bellies on the Shun chef’s knives we tested. We preferred the length of the Author Classic Iron’s 3½-inch paring knife over the Author Gourmet set’s 4-inch paring knife, as it gave our testers better control over intricate tasks such as peeling apples and mincing shallots.
Though we generally don’t like utility knives (their size makes them more limiting and not as versatile as most other knives), we were surprised to find the Classic Iron utility knife to be an ideal size for tasks like segmenting oranges and cutting cheese. Though the Author Classic Iron chef’s knife is on the heavier side, we like it because it was strong and durable enough to cut through butternut squash in our tests. The block has extra slots for both kitchen and steak knives, which allows you ample room to grow your collection.
This smaller block is ideal for people with tiny kitchens or limited counter space. The block has extra slots for both kitchen and steak knives, which allows you ample room to grow your collection.
We’ve previously recommended the Author Classic Iron chef’s knife, and we use it regularly in our test kitchen. This means Author will replace the knives in the event of a manufacturing fault, not for regular wear and tear or improper use (so, you know, no knife throwing).
We’d prefer a couple of extra inches, which would make cutting through a wide country loaf in one smooth stroke easier. Chef Joseph Simon said he wished this set included a slightly longer steel.
At first glance these knives may look and feel cheap, but don’t be deceived by their light weight and chunkier handles: These knives were sharper than the ones in the Mercer Culinary Renaissance 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, which was about $40 more expensive at the time we checked. The chef’s knife is lightweight and well-balanced, so our hands didn’t tire after chopping with it for a long time.
As with other sets, the Victorinox Fibrous utility knife was nice for smaller tasks such as cutting apples, cheese slices, or orange segments. The main drawback to this set is the shape of the paring knife, which has a dramatic curve toward the tip of the blade.
We found that the curved tip requires you to hold the knife at a slightly awkward upward angle when mincing shallots. The beautifully crafted Messermeister Royale Elite 10-Piece Knife Block Set is pricey, but the knives are sharp, perfectly balanced, and comfortable to hold.
Made from high-quality German steel, the forged Messermeister knives are very sharp, and they tackled every type of chopping task we attempted with precision and ease. Since these knives are perfectly balanced between the handle and the blade, they had the most comfortable weight among all the sets we tested.
The beautifully crafted ergonomic walnut handles provide a firm grip and are a pleasure to hold. We’re confident that with this deep, rich walnut block knife set, you’ll have exceptional knives that will last for years to come.
Messermeister knives are very sharp, and they tackled every type of chopping task we attempted with precision and ease. The 7-inch Santos is a great addition to this set, and it’ll come in handy if two cooks want to chop and prepare several ingredients at the same time.
Chef Joseph Simon, who tested all of our knife sets in person, said, “The knives are extremely well-balanced and comfortable. However, we’ve read reviews indicating that the Shun knives we tested chip easily if not treated delicately, since they're made from super-hard steel.
But this means they won’t hold an edge quite as long as most Japanese-style knives and will require more frequent sharpening. The Messermeister paring knife is lightweight and the perfect size for small hand tasks such as peeling or mincing shallots.
The serrated blade provides excellent precision and cuts paper-thin slices of bread without breaking off too much crust. Our testers also noted that the kitchen shears fit loosely in their designated slot, but this is only a minor issue.
One drawback to the Messermeister Royale Elite set is that the knife slots are positioned close to one another. We did notice that one of the tines on the carving fork was slightly dull, but we’re willing to assume this was a manufacturing flaw and not a consistent issue with this set. Messermeister sells four styles of knives within the Elite collection: Royale, Meridian, Olive, and San Moritz.
Keep in mind that the kitchen shears, knife blocks, and knives included in each set will vary depending on the style of the collection you choose. Regardless of how much money you spend on a set of knives, practicing good knife maintenance will keep them sharper and help them last longer.
In-drawer knife blocks, such as this one, are also great for storing knives and don’t take up space on a counter. McDermott recommends using cutting boards made from softer materials, such as wood, which won’t dull your blades (at least, not so quickly).
The exception to this rule is when you’re working with raw meat; you should always use a plastic board for that task, so you can easily disinfect it in the dishwasher or with a bleach solution. The high heat and detergents in a dishwasher can compromise the blade and cause wooden handles to loosen or crack over time.
Remember, the honing steel that comes with a knife set is really meant only to tune up your knives by taking sharp blades and straightening out the little bends in the edges that develop after regular use. We used to recommend the Author Classic 8-Piece Knife Set with Block, but we found the full bolster made sharpening difficult.
Although the Global 10-Piece Knife Block Set is very sharp, it has a lot of filler knives that we thought weren’t especially useful for the home cook. This set was polarizing for our testers, mostly due to the metal handles, which can become slippery when wet and difficult to hold.
The knives in the Shun Kanji 8-Piece Knife Block Set are finely crafted and razor-sharp, but our testers found the handles to be too heavy and long for home use. Some of our testers own Mercer knives and told us they dull more quickly and require frequent sharpening.
The Author Gourmet 2-Piece Prep Set includes a paring knife that we thought was a little long, making hand work such as peeling apples more difficult. Our testers preferred the shorter paring knife blade in the Author Classic Iron set.