Best Kitchen Knife Set

We spent over 50 hours researching and testing 20 different knife sets and found that construction quality, tang style, and brand reputation were most important. The Chicago Cutlery Knife Set scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick, hands down. There are 18 pieces in this useful and attractive set which provided us with a knife for every kitchen task imaginable. We loved the professional grade, high carbon steel blades that each knife has and the taper grind edges that made cutting super easy, as well as making sharpening a breeze. They are rust-resistant and resistant to pitting and stains.

knife
11 mins to read
79 products considered
20 products reviewed
50 hours reviewing

Top 10 Kitchen Knife Sets

PictureSetItemsChef Knife
Length (in)

Chicago Cutlery
188.00

J.A. Henckels
188.00

Cuisinart
158.00

Utopia
138.00

Chicago Cutlery 9644
187.75

Belmont
167.75
AmazonBasics148.00

Fusion
187.75
KitchenAid128.00

Oceanstar
158.00

1. Chicago Cutlery

Best Overall Kitchen Knife Set

5/5 Product Rating
Have everything you need for every possible cutting and slicing job with the Chicago Cutlery 18-pc Insignia Steel Knife Set. Included on this sharp looking set is:

  • 3” paring knife
  • 3 ¼” paring knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 6” boning knife
  • 7” santoku knife
  • 8” serrated bread knife
  • 8” slicing knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8 steak knives
  • Cutting scissors
  • 18 slot block with built in sharpener

All your cutting needs are covered with this incredible set. The blades are made from professional high carbon stainless steel with stainless steel handles for long lasting durability. Each knife has the Exclusive Taper Grind edge technology giving the user superior sharpness and precision when cutting. They sharpen easily as well.

These harder blades resist problems such as rust, pitting and stains so they’ll keep their beautiful look for years to come. The full metal tang goes from the tip of the blade to the end of the knife, forming some of the handle which gives the user excellent control, balance and strength. You’ll love how these feel in your hand when you’re using them.

What are customers saying about the Chicago Cutlery 18 pc Insignia Knife Set?

This knife set is making waves with customers…waves of the best kind! “Every time we use the steak knives with guests they are amazed at the sharpness of the blade. They don’t need to be serrated. They sliced through everything.” “Amazing knifes. This was a birthday present and I could not have been happier. I never realized how bad my previous knives were until I started using these.”

Whether you are getting this set for yourself or as a gift for someone else, they will be pleased with the feel and performance the Chicago Cutlery Insignia Knife Set provides. One of the many happy customers sums it up perfectly… “I love the knives they look great. I would recommend them to everyone.”

2. J.A. Henckels

Best Overall Kitchen Knife Set – Runner Up

4.8/5 Product Rating
Another excellent knife set is the J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 18 pc Block set. Get added strength and balance with the full tang that extends the entire length of each knife.

The satin finish stainless steel blades are long lasting and resist rusting and pitting and provide the user with precision cutting and slicing that is hard to beat. Included in this great set are:

  • 3” paring knife
  • 5” serrated utility knife
  • 5” boning knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 7” santoku knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8” bread knife
  • 9” sharpening steel
  • 8 steak knives
  • Kitchen shears
  • Hardwood holding block

The metal end cap displays the J.A. Henckels International Logo. This set looks as great as it works and it makes a beautiful gift for a newly married couple. This will more than likely be the only knife set they will ever need.

3. Cuisinart

Best Budget Kitchen Knife Set

4.7/5 Product Rating
The Lifetime Warranty that Cuisinart offers on this Steel Hollow Handle Block Set should say it all about the high quality and durability of this set.

Made of high quality carbon stainless steel users will enjoy the accuracy and precision these knives provide. The ergonomically designed handles are comfortable to hold during use.

Clean up is easy with this knife set, keeping them looking great whether it’s the first use or the 100th.

Included in this excellent knife set are:

  • 5” paring knife
  • 5” bird’s beak paring knife (blade is curved like a bird’s beak)
  • 5” serrated utility knife
  • 7” santoku knife
  • 8” slicing knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8” sharpening steel
  • Kitchen shears
  • 6 steak knives
  • Attractive block to hold them all

You’ll have every kind of knife you need for any kitchen cutting or slicing job and you’ll enjoy the precision, stability and control they offer. This is an excellent set for a newly married couple and is more than likely the only set they will ever need or want.

Kitchen Knife Set Comparison


Chicago
Cutlery
View

J.A. Henckels
View

Cuisinart
View

Utopia
View

Chicago
Cutlery
9644
View

Belmont
View

AmazonBasics
View

Fusion
View

KitchenAid
View

Oceanstar
View
Items 18 18 15 13 18 16 14 18 12 15
Boning Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

6.00 5.50 5.50 5.00 5.00 6.00 5.50 5.00 5.00 6.00
Chef Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 7.75 7.75 8.00 7.75 8.00 8.00
Paring Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

3.25 3.00 3.50 3.50 3.25 3.25 3.50 3.25 3.50 3.00
Peeling Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 7.75 8.00 8.00
Steak Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

4.50 4.50 4.50 5.00 8.00 4.50 4.50 4.25 4.00 4.50
Santoku Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 5.00 7.00
Slicing Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

8.00 9.00 8.00 8.00 7.75 7.75 8.00 7.75 8.00 8.00
Utility Knife

Blade Length

(Inches)

5.00 5.00 5.50 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.50 5.00 5.50 5.00
Sharpening
Steel Length
(Inches)
8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00
Warranty
(Years)
Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime
1 Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime
Limited
Lifetime

 

Kitchen Knife Set Buying Guide

Kitchen Knife Set Reviews

What is a Kitchen Knife Set?

Purchasing the right kitchen knife set is more important than many consumers realize. You can get inexpensive knife sets anywhere, but what most find is that they don’t do a good job of cutting and slicing the food; they simply mash it or tear through it. A good knife set may cost a couple of hundred dollars but if you look at the fact that you will have this set for decades, the price is an excellent deal.

Anyone who cooks in the kitchen uses knives at some point, whether it’s to cut vegetables for a salad, cut up their steak, or any number of other kitchen tasks. Having the right set of knives will make those cutting jobs easy and even more enjoyable. Many people don’t know how different it feels to use a high quality knife until they use it and compare it with their current one. The differences can be shocking and more than likely you will never want to use a low quality knife again.

This buyer’s guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand what the different knives do as well as what makes one better than another. With this information, you can shop with pleasure and know that the set you purchase is an investment and you’ll have it a long time.

The Parts of a Knife

Kitchen Knife Set3Knowing knife anatomy can help you understand what the knife descriptions mean and how certain features affect the knife’s performance. Below we have outlined the parts of a knife for you so you will have a better understanding of how a knife is put together.

Edge

The edge is the part of the blade that does the cutting. It extends from the tip of the knife to the handle. There are several different types of knife edges.

  • Straight edge – A smooth edge that cuts cleanly through whatever you’re cutting. It doesn’t rip the fibers out of any met you’re cutting and slides through vegetables and fruit effortlessly.
  • Hollow Ground edge – This is a thinner and lighter blade that provides additional precision. It is ground midway down the blade instead of at the spine of the knife and provides a concave edge that is beveled.
  • Granton edge – This type of edge is recognizable by the semicircular scallops that are ground out on alternate sides of the blade. These scalloped edges extend from the edge to the middle of the blade. This type of edge is great for cutting meat and separating cheese, vegetables and meat.
  • Serrated – This type of blade is perfect for cutting breads and celery or other foods that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. The saw like blade stays sharper longer than a straight edge will but they have to be re-sharpened in a special way.

Spine

This is the top of the blade or “back” which is opposite of the edge. The spine adds weight and strength to the knife.

Tip

The tip of the knife is the first 1/3 of the blade and is used for precise cutting jobs and for making small cuts in foods.

Point

Used for piercing, this part of the knife is the very end of the tip and is very sharp.

Bolster

The bolster is not on every knife only those that are forged. The bolster can be located between the handle and the blade and is made out of the same material as the blade. The bolster adds weight, stability and balance during use and it is the thickest part of the blade.

Finger Guard

This goes along with the bolster and is part of it, keeping the user’s fingers from slipping onto the blade and helps them avoid getting cut.

Tang

You’ve more than likely heard this term often in the description of knives. The tang is the part that runs from the blade into the handle. Some knives have a full tang which means this part runs all the way to the end of the handle. The knives that have a full tang are much stronger than those that don’t and this can also prevent the blade from breaking.

Handle

The handles of knives can be made from wood, stainless steel, plastic and even fancier materials such as marble, and ivory. Many handles are designed to be ergonomic to give the user lots of comfort. In general the more comfortable a knife handle is to hold, the more control over the cutting the user will have.

Handle Guard

This is an indentation or catch on the end of the handle that gives users a more secure grip and keeps the hand from slipping even when they’re wet from working in the kitchen.

Scales

The scales are the two sides of the knife handle that are attached to the tang.

Rivet

Rivets are used to attach the tang to the scales which provides more stability. This prevents the tang from wiggling back and forth inside the scales. The rivets should always be level with the handle.

Heel

The heel of the knife is the best part to use to make thick cuts or for when you have to apply pressure to cut through something. It is located on the blade nearest to the handle and is used for the heaviest of cutting tasks.

Butt

The butt of the knife is the very end of the handle. Sometimes there may be a ring attached there to hang larger knives but most don’t have anything and are kept in knife bags or blocks.

Types of Knife Blades

How a knife blade is made will determine a lot of things from the ease of use to sharpness to longevity. The material a blade is made of also determines these things. We’ve outlined the common materials that knife blades are made of so you will know what to expect from them.

High Carbon Stainless Steel – This is the Ferrari of knife blade materials and is used on almost every high end knife. High carbon stainless steel is resistant to rust and stains and provides the user with a lot of strength and knife hardness making it a great choice for tougher jobs. It doesn’t dull quickly at all and can be re-sharpened easily without special equipment.

Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, rust, and stains. It is much less expensive than high carbon stainless steel.

Ceramic – This material requires little maintenance and is very lightweight and hard. Ceramic knife blades hold their edge for years. They should only be used with a cutting board since they are so sharp, they could easily cut through plates.

Carbon Steel – Carbon steel is prone to rusting and stains and is very inexpensive. The knife will hold a sharp edge and they can be re-sharpened easily.

Types of Knife Handles

The handle of your knife is almost as important as the blade. Having a comfortable handle that is easy to hold and feels good in your hand affects the way you cut and control the knife. There are many different materials that knives are made of. Since the handle of your knife plays such a large part in the performance you get from it, pay attention to the materials the handles are made of on the knives you are looking to purchase.

Plastic – Plastic handles are easy to clean and don’t absorb odors or stains. The drawback to plastic knives is that they can become extremely slippery when being used and can be too light for good balance.

Composite – Composite handles are made from a combination of laminated wood and plastic resin. It is considered the top choice among many chefs due to their attractive appearance, ease of care, and the weighted, easy grip they provide the user. They are very durable as well.

Stainless Steel- This is the most durable of the handle materials and is also known for its sanitary properties as well. The weight is much greater on a stainless steel handled knife which can affect balance but many cooks swear by them. Because stainless steel can become slippery when it’s wet, many knife manufacturers add indentations and ridges to increase grip during use.

Wood – Although wood is by far the best looking of all the handle materials and it provides a good grip, even when wet, there are some drawbacks to wood handled knives that don’t make them the best choices when they are used often. Wooden handles can crack and wrap when they are exposed to water repeatedly, even if they are not soaked in the sink. They require special cleaning and treatment that many cooks don’t have the time to provide.

Forged vs Stamped

Forged knives are the strongest and sharpest knives, much more so than stamped. There is a definite difference between the two.

Forged – Forged knives are produced mostly by hand. A steel bar is heated to a very high temperature and then it is set into a die and hammered by hand to form the blade. There are sometimes as many as 50 different steps involved in a forged knife which adds to its expense. Most of the steps involved are done by hand. There will always be a tang and bolster in a forged knife which adds weight and balance to it.

Stamped – Punched out from thin steel, you might compare the stamped knife to cutting out cookies as the process is very similar. Once the blades are cut out, they are tempered, sharpened and then finished. Most of the work done to stamped knives is done by a machine. Once the blade is done, it is fitted into the handle. Stamped knives are nowhere near as strong as forged. They are less expensive but require a firmer grip and more pressure due to the lack of strength and weight.

The Different Types of Knives

There are many different types of knives available. When you purchase a knife set, you will have many of these types of knives included in the set. We’ve outlined the many different knife types below for you to reference. Each knife has its strengths in terms of what it is good for.

Chef’s Knife – This is the most versatile and most often used knife in the bunch. It has a slightly curved blade that is perfect for most cooking tasks that include chopping and mincing. The average length of a chef’s knife tends to be around 8”.

Kitchen Knife Set1Paring Knife – The straight edge of a paring knife helps peel the skins from fruits and vegetables very easily. It’s most often used for peeling, shaping and decorative cuts. Most often the paring knife is about 3” long but can go up to 4”.

Santoku Knife – You may have seen this knife but not known the name. Santoku translates to mean “three uses”. It is perfect for mincing, dicing and slicing. The hollow end of the Santoku knife produces less friction which gives faster and more precise cutting results. It’s great for thin delicate slices.

Bread Knife – The serrated edge of the bread knife makes it perfect for cutting any food that is hard on the outside and soft on the outside. It cuts through the harder, outer edge without crushing or squishing the food. Bread knives are usually 8” or longer although some utility knives are also serrated.

Utility Knife – This knife is between the paring knife and the Chef’s knife in length and is great for mincing vegetables and fruits. It’s also great for cleaning vegetables too. Some designs are serrated but not all utility knives will be serrated.

Cleaver – This is a specialty knife that can handle some heavy duty tasks. The cleaver is designed to cut through joints, bones and other tough areas and is usually used more like an axe than a knife in the motion. The heavier the cleaver is the less force you will need when performing these heavy duty tasks.

Slicing and Carving Knife – Slicing and carving knives are made in both more flexible and more rigid designs. The blade is thinner than that of the Chef’s knife and is great for carving needs such as turkey, ham and roasts.

Boning Knife – Boning knives are for just what their name implies. They have a very narrow blade that can remove bones very easily. The boning knives with flexible blades are the best for boning fish and poultry and the more rigid boning knife blades are best for pork and beef. Most boning knives range from 5-6” long.

Shopping for the Right Knife

Knowing what to look for when it comes to a kitchen knife set will enable you to get the knives that will really make themselves useful in your kitchen. There are a few things that you can look at when comparison shopping.

Safety – If you can get your hands on the knife set you want before you order, this is great but not always possible. Pay attention to the grip of the knife and read what the description says about weight and balance. You want a knife that features a bolster and that is designed to prevent slipping. Ergonomically designed handles are also a plus as they are very comfortable for most people to hold.

Weight – you want a knife that doesn’t feel too light or too heavy. If you’re purchasing online, read the customer reviews to get ideas on the weight of the knives and read the description as well.

Balance – Top heavy or bottom heavy knives are not comfortable to use. Look for knives that mention balance as a priority. Having a well balanced knife can prevent accidental injuries as well.

Craftsmanship – How well made a knife set is determines how happy you will be with it. When the knives are well made without gaps and spaces for bacteria to grow, you will have a set that you love working with.

Edge Retention – How long the knives hold their sharpness is a very important thing to know about the knife set you want to purchase. Some have lifetime warranties that state they will never lose their sharpness, others have sharpening steels or other means of re-sharpening but initially they will hold their edge for a long time.

Resistance to Problems– You want to make sure that the knives set you buy is resistant to rust, corrosion, staining and pitting. These are all problems that can wreck a set of knives and make them more of a pain than a joy to use.

Care and Cleaning

Kitchen Knife Set2Taking care of your knives properly will ensure that they last a long time. Following the tips below will help keep your knives in excellent shape for decades to come.

  • Use the knife for its intended use – Using a paring knife to bone is an example of not using them properly. Each knife has specific tasks that they are designed for and using them for other uses can cause problems, injuries and can even mess up the knife.
  • Don’t leave the knives lying on the counter, in the dishwasher or in the sink. They have a block to store them in for a reason, which is to protect the blade and keep it from getting chipped or bent. Always put your knives back in the block when you’re not using them so they stay sharp.
  • Over washing or Improper Washing – many chefs know that even if a knife set says its dishwasher safe, washing by hand is better and gentler on the knife itself. Rinse off with warm soapy water and then with clear water and dry thoroughly. This preserves the life of the blade and the handle.
  • No Abrasive Cleaners – Don’t ever leave your knives soaking in water and don’t use abrasive cleansers that can scratch and mar them.
  • Use that Cutting Board – Cutting on proper surfaces also preserves the blade and prevents chipping or breaking. It also helps you maintain control of the knife and saves your counter tops from getting scratched and cut as well.
  • Don’t Use a Dull Knife –If you notice that your knives have gone dull, take the time to re-sharpen them. Using a dull knife will frustrate you, can lead to injuries and can also mess up the food you’re trying to prepare.
  • Inspect After Using – Each time you use your knives, check them for pitting, dings, or any other problems. If you notice that they are a bit dull, run them over your sharpening steel a few times after using and cleaning before you put them back into the block. This will keep them sharp and extend the time in between re-sharpening.

Conclusion

Knives are something that every kitchen needs and every cook wants to have. When you have a great knife set and take pains to ensure it stays that way, your food prep time will be more efficient, safer and more enjoyable. The information in this buyer’s guide will help you choose the right set of knives that will fit your needs and enable you to work like the pros do. There’s a reason chefs are so uptight about their knives. Once you find a set you love, take care of it and it could very well be something you can have to pass on to your kids.

Resources

  1. Chicago Cutlery – http://chicagocutlery.com//
  2. J.A Henckels – http://www.j-a-henckels.com/en-US
  3. Cuisinart – http://www.cuisinart.com/