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20 Best Kitchen Knife Sets of 2018-2019:Best Knife Sets of 2018-2020

Best Kitchen Knife Set 2018-2019:Best Knife Sets of 2018-2020

Best Kitchen Knife Set 2018-2019-Everyone knows that knives are very important in every kitchen, not just professional ones. You can’t do a good job without a high-quality set of knives and sub-par ones just won’t do what they’re supposed to. Inferior knives will ruin your perfect steak while you’re trying to cut it, they will never be precise and they will frustrate you endlessly. That is no way to keep a kitchen. Best Knife Set of 2018, Best Knife Set of 2018-2019, Best Kitchen Knife Set of 2018, Best Kitchen Knife Sets of 2019

You need the best kitchen knives set in order to do your job thoroughly. But do you know what to look for in a knife? What characteristics should you pay attention to in kitchen knives set reviews? Let’s find out.

Quality of the Knives

It seems obvious to prioritize the quality of the knives, but it’s easy to get distracted by the size of a knife set. Look for quality over quantity; don’t assume a 16-piece set is better than a 4-piece set, especially when looking for affordable options in the under $100 or $200-range.

You’d be surprised at the level of quality it is possible to find even at the lower end. Look for knives that have decent heft and balance; a good, grippy handle; and an edge that can last for a number of uses before sharpening.

The knives should be made of high-carbon stainless steel. Many people assume forged blades are better, but well-made stamped knives can be just as good or better.

Best Kitchen Knife Set of 2018-2019

Best Knife Set Under $100

1. Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Fusion Forged Knife Set

Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Fusion Forged Knife Set Review

Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Fusion Forged Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

Chicago Cutlery is frequently recommended on forums and discussions for very affordable knives.

This set includes:

  • 3” peeling knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 75” chef’s knife
  • 8” slicer
  • 75” bread knife
  • 5” Partoku knife
  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 25” paring knife
  • 8 4.25” steak knives
  • 8” sharpening steel
  • Stained pine wood knife block

Other Features:

  • Forged high-carbon stainless steel
  • Slip-resistant poly handles
  • Full lifetime warranty

Many people find that these knives are indeed very sharp, and are also easy to re-sharpen and hone with the provided steel. People also find these are attractive looking.

One interesting comment is that many people find the knives do not line up well in the knife block, so they look sloppy when all stored at once. I think this is the type of detail that can get overlooked in budget items. Other people had issues with knives breaking apart from the handle, revealing the very short tang running from the blade into the handle.

Another drawback of note is that the important knives—bread, chef’s, and paring—are too short.

2. Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Knife Set

Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Knife Set Review

Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

Here’s another Chicago set, this one with an all stainless, modern design.

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 6 3/4” bread knife
  • 2x 4 3/4” utility knives
  • 2x 3 1/4” paring knives
  • 8x 4.5” steak knives
  • shears
  • sharpening steel
  • wood storage block

Other features:

  • Stainless steel handles
  • Forged high-carbon stainless steel blades
  • Full lifetime warranty

Many people love this knife set. They find they look great and are very sharp. Many cooks find the curve of the handle is very comfortable when working.

Some people have issues with these showing rust spots, even after careful hand washing and drying. Others note that the blades need to be honed and sharpened frequently. But the biggest complaint is that the handles of these knives are hollow, so some people may find them a bit unbalanced.

3. Cuisinart 17-Piece Artiste Collection Knife Set

Cuisinart is a well-known brand for kitchenwares, although they are certainly not a specialized knife manufacturer.

Cuisinart 17-Piece Artiste Collection Knife Set Review

Cuisinart 17-Piece Artiste Collection Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8” slicing knife
  • 5” Santoku knife
  • 5” serrated utility knife
  • 5” paring knife
  • 75” bird’s beak paring knife
  • 8” sharpening steel
  • Shears
  • 8x 4.5” steak knives
  • knife block

Other features:

  • Stainless steel blades
  • Stainless handles with a brushed finish
  • Lifetime warranty

Many buyers have high praise for these knives. They love the sleek look of them and find them very sharp. People also like the block, noting that it has a small footprint and it is easy to clean.

The primary drawback seems to be that these knives are prone to rusting, even with careful washing. I also find some of the sizes odd. For example, having an 8” chef’s knife and an 8” “slicing” knife seems redundant, especially because an 8” bread knife would be much more useful.

Best Knife Sets Under $200

4. Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set

Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set Review

Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

These Victorinox knives regularly rank as some of the best knives you can buy, even if you’re not on a budget. Despite the light weight of these knives, they are excellent quality and comfortable to use.

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 10 1/4” bread knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 4” pairing knife

Other features:

  • Slip-resistant, Fibrox handle
  • high-carbon stainless steel stamped blades
  • Made in Germany, finished in Switzerland

I have a few Victorinox knives and I have to say they are amazing, and reviewers of this set agree with me! The bread knife functions as my “carving knife” and the little pairing knife is the one I reach for more than any other. The Fibrox handle has a nice, ergonomic fit and is truly non-slip. I also really like that the bread knife is nice and long, as many knife sets tend to skimp out on the length of this piece.

The primary drawback of this particular set is what it lacks, namely storage and a sharpening steel. But with the money you save on this set, you could pick up these pieces, too, and still be under budget.

5. Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set

Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set Review

Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

For a bit more money, you could upgrade to Victorinox 14-piece Knife Set which includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 25” bread knife
  • 25” pairing knife
  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 5” serrated utility knife
  • six 4.5” serrated steak knives
  • come-apart kitchen shears
  • 10” sharpening steel
  • walnut storage block

With this set, you get the quality and value of the Victorinox line, plus a bunch of other pieces. Do note, though, that both the bread knife and the pairing knife are shorter. Some reviewers also find the steak knives feel flimsy. I’d rather have a more attractive set of steak knives like these.

6.  Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block Review

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block – Available from Amazon.com

Mercer is another budget knife line that is regularly recommended on cooking forums and in magazines. In fact, many culinary schools use Mercer knives for their combination of quality and affordability. This set comes with a modern-looking knife block in either all glass or glass with wood.

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8” bread knife
  • 6” boning knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 5” pairing knife
  • tempered glass knife holder

Other specifications:

  • Ergonomic, non-slip Santoprene handle
  • high-carbon stainless steel forged blades
  • full-tang construction
  • Height of knives in block is 14.5”
  • Lifetime limited warranty

The glass storage is very cool—how often have you lifted multiple knives out of a wooden storage block before getting the one you want?

Most importantly, these knives are great quality—sharp and long-lasting. Many reviewers are really surprised by the quality for the price and note that these are the best knives they’ve ever used.

The main issues to me are the lack of a sharpening steel (pick one up here) and the shorter length of the bread knife. A few reviewers experienced the knives oxidizing over time. One reviewer suggested this was due to the glass storage heating up from under-counter lighting, so you may want to consider where you store these, and be sure to wash and dry them fully before putting them away.

Best Knife Sets over $300

7. Wusthof Classic Acacia 9-Piece Set

Wusthof Classic Acacia 9-Piece Set Review

Wusthof Classic Acacia 9-Piece Set – Available from Amazon.com

Wusthof is one of the most recognized and respected names in cutlery. They’ve been manufacturing knives in the same German town since 1814. This 9-piece set does not disappoint.

This set includes:

  • 5” paring knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 5” sandwich knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 8” bread knife
  • 8” Chef’s knife
  • 9” sharpening steel
  • come-apart shears
  • Knife block

Other features include:

  • choice of 6 different wooden knife blocks
  • slots for additional knives (such as Santoku and steak knives)
  • Full-tang, forged stainless steel blades with bolster
  • Polyoxymethylene handle
  • 15” angle on blade
  • Lifetime warrant

These knives are so frequently recommended for good reason. They are a true lifetime purchase. People praise the sharpness, heft, balance, and finish of these knives. People also like that the knife block has open spaces so you can customize your set with future additions depending on your needs, such as steak knives, a Santoku knife, or a carving knife.

One reviewer found that the knife block seems to be of inferior quality compared with the knives. It had discoloration and finishing imperfections. 

8. Global 10-Piece Knife Set

Global 10-Piece Knife Set Review

Global 10-Piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

The Japanese Global knives are a modern icon, with their signature dimpled handles and sleek, seamless design. But they’re not just a showpiece; these knives are workhorses, too.

This set includes:

  • 3” peeler
  • 4” pairing knife
  • 25” utility knife
  • 5” vegetable knife
  • 25” flexible boning knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 5” bread knife
  • kitchen shears
  • ceramic sharpener
  • bamboo knife block

Other features include:

  • Lightweight Cromova stainless steel forged blades
  • Ergonomic handle with dimples for grip
  • Sand-filled handles for balance
  • Lifetime Warranty

I have the 8” chef’s knife, and I can attest to the fact that it is sharp. These knives are lightweight but have such good balance when you get used to them. I like that this set includes a boning knife and a ceramic honing rod, which Global recommends over steel honing rods.

This set itself doesn’t have many reviews, but you can read reviews on the Global chef’s knife here. The main complaint people have is that for some people accustomed to heavier knives, these feel very light and the handle is smaller. I also think it’s too bad that this knife block doesn’t have space to add other knives, such as a Nakiri or Santoku knife.

9. Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Set

Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Set Review

Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

Shun is another big name in Japanese knives, and they really are beautiful with the undulating reflections of the Damascus steel.

This set includes:

  • 5” paring knife
  • 5” Honesuki knife
  • 5” hollow edge Nakiri knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 9” hollow edge carving knife
  • 9” combination honing steel
  • kitchen shears
  • bamboo knife block

Other features include:

  • 34-layer Damascus cladding steel
  • Ebony Pakka wood handles
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Shun knives get high marks from reviewers, who note that these are so sharp you can slice a tomato without having to hold it. This set features a really nice mix of knives, too, in my opinion, to cover most of your chopping and dicing needs.

You can read reviews on the chef’s knife here. Most of the reviews are glowing, but some people note that the knife blade develops chips. Japanese knives do tend to be more brittle, so it’s important to treat them carefully.

Which Knife Set Is Best For You?

We’d all love to spend hundreds of dollars on a beautiful and comprehensive knife set, but it’s nice to know there are great options at any price range.

For under $100, I recommend Chicago’s Elston 16-piece set. It has a better mix of useful knives than the Cuisinart set and seems to be better made than Chicago’s Fusion set.

Under $200, I’d go for the humble Victorinox 4-piece set—it’s one of those “quality over quantity” situations! Because I use my bread knife all the time, having a longer one is important. You can fill in some of the missing elements like a honing rod and storage, but with knives, you want to focus on the basics!

If you are ready to spend the bigger bucks for a knife set, there are many great options. If you like heavier, European-style knives, Wusthof is a quality brand, and I think this set offers a good mix of knives. I also really like the extra slots in the knife block so you can customize it further.

If you like a lighter Asian-style knife, I recommend the Shun Classic set. It offers a very useful mix of knives, and Shun is a great brand. I want to recommend the Global set, as I personally love Global knives, but I think you’d be better served buying individual pieces to build a customs set; I wasn’t able to find a set that had a great mix of knives.
What are your must-haves in a good knife set?

Best Affordable Knife Set:

Vremi 10 Piece Colorful Knife Set

4.9 stars, 1,159 reviews

“This set of knives is so fun and vibrant. It makes prepping food really fun and easy. So far, I have used the orange and yellow a lot, and they are staying sharp over repeated uses. The knives are lightweight with plastic handles and covers. This set will replace some really old ones at our cottage, where we do not have counter space — so a big, bulky butcher block is not really an option. The covers protect not only the blades but also hands from grabbing the wrong one out of the drawer. Nice, solid set for a really good price. Also, the box they come in can be saved to use as storage. Great packaging!”

Best Affordable Knife Set With Block

LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set

4.3 stars, 183 reviews

“I cannot say that I was expecting the very best when spending anything under $50 for a knife block set, but I recently bought the LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set Block 14 Piece for my boyfriend and am so pleased (and he is as well)! He has a one-bedroom apartment, and mostly just cooks for himself, sometimes for up to three or four people (including himself) at a time. He loves the set and is very thankful that I bought it for him, as he cooks VERY often (he is in grad school, so living on a tight budget means he can’t afford to eat out very often). I am giving this product five stars because neither he nor I have noticed any flaws with any of the knives, scissors, or the block itself. He has had them now for over a month, and uses them multiple times a day. They have all maintained their sharpness with daily use (multiple times a day).”

Best Professional-Grade Knife Set

4.9 star, 59 reviews

“I’m a professional chef, and already being a Dalstrong customer, I anticipated top quality. Upon close inspection, you can see and appreciate the attention to detail and quality finish you simply do not get in other knives based at this price point. It baffles me Wüsthof still uses synthetic material on knives that cost significantly more. We prepared a Christmas dinner for 25 guests together, using the set exclusively. I wholeheartedly recommend this block set to anyone looking for top-quality blades and block, excellent materials, authentic craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Comparatively speaking, Wüsthof and Henckels sets are priced higher, and you will not find nearly the value-to-price ratio.”

Buy

Dalstrong Knife Set Block $270, Amazon

Best Minimalist Knife Set

4.7 stars, 724 reviews

“I bought this knife set in 2012 for $129. It’s 2015 now and I still love them. I originally bought them because I was really drawn to the clean look of it. The idea of sticking knives that I use to cut food that I eat and that I feed to my family into a wood block that I could not adequately clean, bothered me. This set of knives looks nice, and takes up a minimal amount of space. I learned you can actually take it apart to clean each part individually. There are two circles on top of each silver bar on the sides that you just unscrew, and then you can lift the glass up (after removing the knives). Three years later, there is no rust, and the whole set is still incredibly easy to keep clean.”

Buy

Mercer Culinary Genesis $140, Amazon

Best Knife Set With Built-in Sharpener

4.7 stars, 284 reviews

“These arrived well packed, individually with tip protectors and cardboard sleeves in a plastic wrap. Every blade passed the slice-newspaper slice test. Every blade balances well when grasped with two fingers at the bolster (where handle and blade meet). Even the shears are SHARP (yes, they come apart for cleaning). Did I mention the blades are sharp? Not sure on edge life yet, but I sharpen or hone my blades with every use, and the built-in block sharpener makes it that much easier (I used it on other knives, it works well).”

Buy

Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 with in-block Knife Sharpener $149, Amazon

Best All-Stainless-Steel Knife Set

4.6 stars, 266 reviews

“Just received this set and am extremely impressed. All pieces are as advertised, and the knives are razor sharp. Will write another review of them in a year, but so far I am very happy — cut through a slab of baby backs like hot butter.

Well, have had these knives for a year now and use them often. They sharpen very easily, do not rust, and I am buying another set. Can’t beat for the price, we love them.”

Buy

Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-piece Set $62, Amazon

Best Knife Set With Comfortable Handles

4.6 stars, 413 reviews

“This is my second set of Miracle Blade knives; I purchased my first over ten years ago from an infomercial, and my daughter now has them in her apartment! These knives are reliable, and have a cutting quality well above their price point!! I am a foodie and love to cook, and have a nice income, such that I could have purchased any knives I wanted. So WHY did I buy another set of these? In ten years of ownership, I never sharpened the prior knives, and never needed to. They cut as well on day 3,649 as on day one. In ten years of use, not one knife from the set ever broke. They were reliable and well made.”

Buy

Miracle Blade III 16 Blade Set $50, Amazon

Best Small-Counter Knife Set

4.5 stars, 405 reviews

“Literally the sharpest knives I have ever used! They look great on my counter without hoarding lots of space. The bottom is removable if you need to clean out the bottom of the stand. I have been using this set for a few months now, and it hasn’t become worn, discolored, or dull. I’m really glad I gave these a shot!”

Buy

Chef Essential 7 Piece Knife Block Set $30, Amazon

Best Japanese-made Knife Set

4.1 stars, 1,366 reviews

“I am absolutely in love with this Chikara set. The first compliment I received came five minutes after it arrived and I set it on my kitchen countertop. The holder is a beautiful caramel color that the picture does not do justice. In addition, they are forged and not stamped. As a lifetime user of stamped knives, the fact that they are forged makes a huge difference. Each slice carries more weight than the old stamped knives. If you don’t know the difference, Google it. Overall, these knives were a bargain for the burden of work they accomplish, and look beautiful. They have sleek, beautiful handles and are just the right size for a standard kitchen. They look and feel a lot more expensive than they are.”

Buy

Ginsu Chikara Series Fully Forged 12-Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set $95, Amazon

Best German-made Knife Set

4.4 stars, 191 reviews

“This is a superb knife, which surprised me. For the price, I was not expecting it to be as good as it is. I have a lot of chef’s knives with which to compare it, and I can honestly say that it compares very favorably with the much more expensive knives I have that are made by Wüsthof, Henckels, and Schmidt Bros., as well as several from Japan that do not have a brand name. In fact, ever since I got it, it is the knife I most often reach for. At first, I thought the notch was rather gimmicky, but I find myself using it again and again, especially when mincing and finely chopping foods. It is situated in the perfect place for the kind of rocking or chopping action required for doing that. It’s actually an awesome feature. This is an incredibly sharp knife, which makes it a joy to use.”

Buy

Zyliss Control Kitchen Knife Set with Block $179, Amazon

Best Swiss-made Knife Set

4.5 stars, 462 reviews

“I have read many reviews on these knives individually, and was really interested in getting a set. If you search for each of these knives individually, you’ll find that some of the most popular knives on Amazon are in this set! I was a bit worried about the lack of reviews and a few low reviews, but with that little bit of research, you can put your worries aside. I went ahead and purchased these, and I am SO very happy that I did. These knives are amazing! They are super sharp and very reliable. Just please, please make sure that you hand-wash these! Dry them immediately, and you will not have any issues. I would recommend these to anyone, as the quality is unmatched.”

Buy

Victorinox Swiss Classic 15-Piece Cutlery Block Set $200, Amazon

 Top 10 best kitchen knives set reviews:

10. Victorinox 4-3/4-Inch Straight-Edge Pointed-Tip Steak Knife, Set of 6, Rosewood Handles

Victorinox is one of the highest quality brands out there, as the inventors of the original Swiss Army knife. This great set comes with 6 high-carbon stainless steel knives whose blades can be re-sharpened however many times you want. The comfortable handles are made of rosewood, which is not only a quality material, but also a beautiful one. You will notice that all kitchen knives set reviews will mention this set’s durability.

9. Calphalon Contemporary Cutlery, Set with Knife Block, 17-Piece – Calphalon Knives Review

This set features 17 pieces, each coming with a labelled handle, for easy identification. The handles are ergonomically shaped (the best kitchen knives sets always have these handles) for comfort and precision and the blades are made of high carbon, stainless German steel that bears re-sharpening. More details, including a description of the knives included is available on Amazon.

8. JA Henckels International 35309-000 Knife Block Set, 12-Pieces

The JA Henckels International set features 12 pieces and it is one of the best kitchen knives sets on the market, when it comes to small tasks, like peeling. This one should not be missing from anyone’s kitchen. This is also one of our best knife blocks.

7. Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set

Kitchen knives set reviews always rave about block sets and this is no exception, with 15 pieces made of stainless steel that will complete your kitchen. Dicing, slicing, paring, you can do whatever you want, including sharpen them with the sharpening steel that comes in the set.

6. AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set

Some call this the best kitchen knives set, and if we were to listen to kitchen knives set reviews, then that’s the case. This 18-piece set provides you with every knife your kitchen needs and it comes with stainless steel blades of all sizes and weighted handles, for comfort.

5. Chicago Cutlery 1119644 Fusion Forged 18-Piece Knife Block Set, Stainless Steel

With 18 pieces to pick and choose from, it’s easy to see why this Chicago Cutlery set is a favorite of kitchen knives set reviews. The quality is top-notch, featuring high carbon stainless steel forged blades that are good enough for professionals. The handles are created especially with comfort in mind, so that even amateur cooks can feel like professional chefs.

4. Mercer Culinary M20000 Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Tempered Glass Block

Kitchen knives set reviews recognize quality when they see it, which is obvious, when it comes to this product. Mercer have outdone themselves with this professional grade, elegant knife set that can not only get the cooking done, but can also be proudly displayed on your counter. The European quality of their components can be felt and enjoyed in any kitchen, professional or amateur. One of the best kitchen knives sets.

3. Victorinox Swiss Classic 15-Piece Cutlery Block Set

Only the best kitchen knives sets can make the top three, and this Victorinox set is one of them. Kitchen knives set reviews will indicate its outstanding quality, characteristic to the brand, as well as the great comfort of the handles. Sharp blades and Swiss quality describe this set perfectly.

2. Wusthof Gourmet 12-Piece Knife Set with Block

Wusthof Gourmet is known for making the best knives on the market, which is a fact confirmed by kitchen knives set reviews. No one can go wrong with this block set, as the 12 stainless steel pieces will cover all of your slicing, dicing and chopping needs and so much more. A sharpening steel is included, so that you can ensure your tools remain as sharp-bladed as the day you received them.

1. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 19-Piece Knife Set with Block

The best kitchen knives set has unanimously been chosen by kitchen knives set reviews to be this Zwilling J.A. Henckels one, and with good reason. It features not 12, not 15, but 19 pieces, all of exceptional quality and exquisite design. They are sharp, comfortable, durable and created from high carbon, not stain steel. They are light in your hand and come with a lifetime warranty. The quality cannot be beat with this one, so check out the price on Amazon.

The Benefits of Having the Best Kitchen Knives Set – My Experience

For a long time, I had no idea there was any difference between knives or knives sets. A knife is a knife, right? They’re all the same. Well, I was wrong. I hadn’t realized it, but my cheap, dull, uncomfortable and low quality knives were really slowing up the cooking process and made it more of a hassle for me than it should have been. Chopping onions was my most hated chore and peeling potatoes took way longer than it should have. The knife handle left marks in the palm of my hand, too. Then, I was introduced to one of the best kitchen knives set on the market and believe it or not, it changed the way I cook. Only now do I notice what a tremendous difference it makes, because the cooking process is faster, the cut is sharp, they don’t get dull as quickly and I don’t have to replace them as often. There is no comparison.

What to look for in best kitchen knives set reviews:

  • Lifetime Warranty – You should ideally be looking for knives that provide lifetime warranty because many things could go wrong including sharpness and breaking handles.
  • Sharpness – This is a knife’s most important aspect. If it’s not sharp enough, it is not a quality tool and it does not do its job how it should be. Sharper knives means they are more dangerous, but you know what they say, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
  • Material – Stainless steel is the way to go, when it comes to knives. Generally, all knives are made of stainless steel, but there are also non-metallic alternatives, such as ceramic. Some kitchen knives set reviews argue that ceramic knives are even better, but unlike steel ones, they chip, so be aware of that.
  • Durability – The best knives sets are not for one-time use; you should have them your entire life. Sure, they’re going to need re-sharpening, but good quality knives can be used again and again, with equally good results as the very first time.
  • Comfort – Many people don’t know this, but the handle is just as important as the blade. The knife handle should be made of quality wood or plastic, it should be non-slippery and it should feel comfortable in your hand.

The Essentials

Before making a decision, have a look at your cooking habits and practices, and consider the various pieces that come with the set you’re thinking of purchasing.

Do you really need 12 steak knives? Will you be filleting your own fish, or are you more apt to purchase them already prepped from the market? A fillet blade, or the steak knives, or maybe a cleaver will likely sit in the block and collect dust if you purchase a set that isn’t suited to your own cooking style and eating habits.

Go through all of the tools offered and determine if you’ll really use them, or if they’re just a bit of eye candy that will only be used on rare occasions – if at all.

For most home kitchens, three or four knives will be sufficient for the majority of the work performed. Look for a set that includes the basic pieces:

  • A paring model – for peeling, trimming and cutting smaller pieces of food.
  • A chef’s knifea multi-purpose blade for all general cutting duties, such as chopping, dicing, mincing and slicing.
  • A serrated blade – for cutting bread, tomatoes, delicate fruit and cakes.

Additional Knives

Again, depending on your cooking style, some additional pieces could be:

  • A utility blade – an all-purpose performer for handling smaller pieces.
  • A meat  cleaver – for cutting up chicken, ribs and larger pieces.
  • A vegetable cleaver – for chopping up and dicing veggies and herbs (or substituting as a general chef’s knife).
  • A fillet knife – for filleting fish.
  • A boning knife – for removing meat from chicken, ham, or roasts.
  • A carving blade – for slicing thin pieces from roasts, turkey, chicken, ham, etc.
  • A honing steel – for keeping the edges of your blades true and sharp.
  • Kitchen shears – handy for multiple uses in the kitchen, from breaking down a chicken to cutting herbs to opening plastic packaging.
  • A bread knife – not just for breads but handy for cutting through cake and squish fruits such as tomatoes.

The Makings of a Good Knife

When buying kitchen cutters, the following points all contribute to the overall efficiency and enjoyment of a good knife:

Handling

When buying any kitchen tool for cutting, the best test is to handle it. It should have a comfortable grip to prevent fatigue, and a good “hand.” That is, it should feel as though you’ll be able to use it with dexterity, and without it feeling cumbersome, awkward or dangerous.

Weight

As with handling, weight is another point that’s very personal. With today’s sophisticated alloys, a lighter model can have all of the qualities and performance characteristics of the heavier blades from previous generations. Choose what feels best to you.

Balance

A well-made example will have the balance pretty evenly distributed between the blade and the handle. This will ensure that the cutting motion is smooth without requiring a lot of effort, and will reduce strain on the hand, wrist and forearm.

Materials

Blades can come in a variety of materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, high-carbon stainless alloys, and ceramic. And all have their good and bad points.

  • Carbon steel blades – easy to sharpen and hold an edge longer than stainless, but prone to rusting.
  • Stainless steel – good for stain and corrosion resistance, but they may dull quickly and can be harder to sharpen.
  • Signature stainless steel alloys – often found in Japanese blades, these combine the best of carbon and stainless, but can be quite expensive.
  • Ceramic – comes with a razor-sharp edge, but they may break and chip easily.

If you’re unsure of what type of blade you want, or would like more detail on each type of material, check out our post on Materials and Alloys.

Construction

Whether you prefer your blades constructed with forging, stamping or stock removal techniques, how they’re assembled is also important.

Have a close look at the knife set you’re considering and check for any indication of piecemeal work.

Any joints or welds will be a natural weak spot, prone to bending or breaking. Single-piece construction with either a three-quarter or full tang will offer the greatest integrity and overall durability.

Bolsters are not a necessary component for quality, and will be found more often in Western style knives than those of Japanese design and origin.

And carefully check the hilt, the area where the blade and handle meet. This spot is essentially the fulcrum and takes the brunt of the stress exerted when cutting, so make sure the transition area is well-joined with no gaps. This is important not only for strength but also for hygiene as any nooks may trap food particles, encouraging the growth of bacteria.

Handles

Today, handles are usually made from composites of thermoplastics/resin/vulcanized rubber and stainless steel or wood. Occasionally bone or antler is still used but they aren’t nearly as durable or water resistant as the synthetics.

Composites and stainless steel offer the best qualities in terms of strength and longevity while wood can become soft and rot, and bone will dry out over time, becoming brittle.

Comfort and safety are also important in a good handle (and for preventing nasty accidents in your kitchen in general). Look for ones that have been ergonomically designed to reduce stress and fatigue, and that offer a non-slip or textured grip.

Cutting Edge

The cutting edge should run the full length of the blade, from the hilt or bolster right through to the tip. This gives a greater range of motion for different cutting techniques, and is essential for proper honing and sharpening.

And of course, the edge should be free of any nicks, dents or chips.

You can read more on Construction here.

Sharpening

Beware of any claims about blades that “never need sharpening.” They don’t exist. At some point, they’ll lose their edge and become dull. And if you can’t sharpen them, they’re basically a disposable item.

This claim usually comes from makers of ceramic models, which require specialized equipment to sharpen for massed produced models and the eyes of well trade Japanese knife maker for the better models (yes, they are hand sharpened at the factor).

All edges will become dull with use. They should be maintained with a honing steel or strop, and sharpened with a diamond steel, sharpening stones, or an electric sharpener.

Read more about sharpening now.

Storage

For safety purposes, and to maintain a sharp edge, knives should never be stored loose in a cutlery drawer.

That’s another bonus with buying a set, as most will come with a storage block made of wood, stainless steel or tempered glass. They’ll help to keep a keen edge on your blades, and make a handsome addition to a countertop.

Other storage options are a magnetic bar mounted on the wall, or a cloth knife roll – similar to those used to store artists’ brushes or mechanics’ wrenches. This is how the pros do it, an option definitely worth considering. Find out more about knife storage.

Price

Just as a brand name isn’t a guarantee of good quality, your decision also shouldn’t be based on price alone.

Prices for sets can range from under $100 to well over $1,000, with many very fine examples falling in the $300-$500 area.

And while there’s a market for the under $100 sets, construction and quality are likely to be questionable, and should be avoided when possible.

Look for a set that meets the standards outlined above, and that works with your budget.

Now, to help with your decision making, here are reviews of five different sets with varying price points that meet most, if not all, of the components needed for quality and value.

Kitchen Knife Set Reviews

Messermeister San Moritz Elite

From Messermeister, we have their superbly functional, efficient, and handsome 9-piece set in the San Moritz Elite line, complete with a wooden block.

Messermeister San Moritz Elite 9-Piece Knife Block Set available from Amazon

The set consists of an 8″ chefs’ knife (read more about this marquee beauty), a 7″ Kullenschliff santoku with granton edge, a 6″ utility knife, a 5″ scalloped utility cutter that’s perfect for tomatoes, a 3.5” paring knife, a 9″ bread knife, a 10″ steel, the take-apart kitchen scissors, and a 16 slot wood knife block, so you can add more pieces in the future.

This set will cover the full range of kitchen tasks on a day to day basis, but Messermeister also offers sets in the San Moritz Elite line that will suit any need.

Messermeister San Moritz Elite 3-Piece Starter Knife Set

You can find the basics in a two-piece set consisting of a chef and paring knife, a three-piece set that adds a utility blade, and a four-piece set that adds a scalloped-edge bread knife to the three-piece set.

Of course, if you’re looking for something more substantial than starter sets in this professional line, there’s the deluxe 23-piece set that includes boning and serrated-edge utility knives, a carving set as well as eight steak knives, all in a handsome 22-slot wooden block.

The San Moritz Elite blades are constructed from the traditional one-piece, hot-drop forging technique, and hammered from a single billet of high-carbon German steel.

Using the X50CRMOV15 stainless steel alloy, they provide top quality stain resistance as well outstanding sharpness, edge retention and ease of sharpening. And each one has been individually handcrafted by skilled cutlery artisans in Solingen, Germany.

The contemporary handles are completely molded around the tang for ergonomic comfort and a secure grip, and are made from POM (polyoxymethylene); a thermoplastic with outstanding industrial strength and stability that won’t crack or break, even after extended use.

Messermeister San Moritz Elite 23-Piece Knife Block Set available on Amazon

Every knife has a hand-polished “Elite” edge that will slice through anything on your cutting board, thick or thin. Ground to a tight 15° angle, they provide the impressive cutting abilities of Japanese blades, but with robust German steel construction – the best of two worlds.

The spine is also hand-polished, providing a smooth and comfortable gripping surface that professional chefs demand.

With a three-quarter tang extension, the blades are bolstered to the handles for maximum balance and power – but the bolsters only travel halfway down the heel of the blade, providing a clean edge for sharpening and full use of the entire length of the blade.

A unique feature of this line is the thicker and more substantial blades than many of their competitors, and greater blade depth for the chef and santoku blades. This provides outstanding weight, balance, and torque for cutting through challenging pieces such as large winter squash, or sticky starches and proteins.

And the San Moritz Elite line comes with the distinctive name plate at the butt end of each handle so you can personalize your set with etched initials.

All Messermeister knives come with a limited lifetime warranty, as well as free lifetime sharpening and refurbishing – you only have to pay for the return shipping.

The set and block measures 19.5 x 10 x 4.5 inches, and weighs just over 9 pounds. Hand wash and dry promptly. Made in Germany.

What Others Are Saying

As there aren’t a lot of reviews for this particular set, the following comments are a compilation from a variety of reviews that cover the blades in this set, all from verified purchasers at Amazon.

Messermeister cutlery seems to be a bit of a dark horse when compared to other German brands, as it doesn’t have the same high-profile reputation. But for those who purchase them, the Messermeister blades always come out on top – and they haven’t sold out their soul to the big conglomerates.

They always receive high praise for their excellent sharpness, edge retention and the ease of honing with which the edge is restored.

The quality of construction and craftsmanship is another highlight, with the beautiful balance, control, and stability consistently getting top marks, as does the hand-finishing. There’s no need to sand off burrs on any of the spines as they come completely finished and ready to use.

The chef’s knife is truly a work of art, ideal for rock-chopping due to the angle of the blade, the large sweet spot, and the ultra-sharp edge.

The santoku is another favorite. While not quite as versatile as the chefs’ blade, the tip will quickly chop through large mounds of vegetables with a minimum of effort.

All of these pieces are comfortable to use with a natural-feeling “hand”, and the POM handles provide excellent comfort and security.

While not really a complaint, several users have commented on the weight of the Elite blades as being heftier than many other brands, and may not be appropriate for those who appreciate lighter-weight tools.

Summary

The San Moritz Elite knives in this set are built to professional standards that will please the most discerning of cooks.

With outstanding fit and finish, the quality is top notch, but it’s the edges that really elevate their value, placing them head and shoulders above competitors’ pieces in the same price range.

Expensive? Not if they last 100 years, and these knives are definitely of heirloom quality. Sturdy and durable, and with Messermeister’s awesome sharpening and refurbishing program, these knives will truly last a lifetime.

Check prices and read customer reviews at Amazon now.

Mercer Genesis

From Mercer Cutlery we have this striking 6-piece kitchen set, in a contemporary tempered glass block.

It consists of the glass block, and five of the most popular cutters in the Genesis line – a 3.5” paring knife, a 5” utility knife, an 8” chef’s knife, an 8” serrated bread knife, and a 6” boning knife, with no redundancies in style or size.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Tempered Glass Block

Every blade is constructed of high-carbon stainless German steel for superb rust and corrosion protection, and stain-free performance.

Precision forged for strength and durability, each piece has a full tang running the length of the handle for outstanding balance and resilience, with brawny bolsters for extra balance and protection.

Each taper-ground edge is hand polished and offers long-lasting sharpness and easy honing, as well as increased efficiency for all slicing, cutting and chopping functions.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 8-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife

The black Santoprene handles combine the characteristics of vulcanized rubber and thermoplastics, and are ergonomically designed for superior comfort and a secure non-slip grip, even when hands are wet.

The Santoprene will not break down from continued exposure to kitchen oils, and can withstand fluctuations between hot and cold temperatures, year after year.

The sleek glass block presents a beautiful and functional display for the knives, adding a unique, stylish touch to your kitchen.

Want a little more “warmth” than the simple glass block? Mercer also provides an option to have a bit of wood inserted.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Wood Block with Tempered Glass

Mercer has been the main supplier to cooking academies in the US for 30 years, and the Genesis line provides the same professional quality and value for home cooks.

Measurements are 10 x 4 x 15”, and the set weighs nine pounds.

This set is NSF certified and should be hand washed to ensure longevity. Made in Taiwan, it comes with Mercer’s limited lifetime warranty.

What Others Are Saying

The following comments are compiled from the most often repeated remarks from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.

At the time of writing, this set is ranking very favorably with purchasers for construction, quality of materials, ease of use, and their swanky appearance.

They have a well-balanced feel that covers all the basic cutting tasks, and are encouraging some to cook more often, just for the sheer pleasure of handling them.

The knives have a good heft with nice sized handles for easy and comfortable gripping, and they arrive with a very sharp edge that is easily maintained with regular honing.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 3.5-Inch Forged Paring Knife

The tempered glass block is easy to assemble, and comes apart quickly for a thorough cleaning when needed – and it displays the knives beautifully, adding aesthetics to function.

However, be aware that they draw from the block perpendicular to the counter – not diagonally as with most traditional blocks.

That means you’ll need adequate clearance under cupboards, if that’s where you plan to keep them. Most users feel this isn’t a big deal and they quickly got used to the design difference, but a few couldn’t adjust to it.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Inch Forged Boning Knife

A professional and sturdy product, they offer very good value for the price – particularly when compared to other sets of similar materials and construction.

There are very few complaints to report on at this time. Some were disappointed that the edges didn’t stay sharp after a few months of use, but none of these mentioned honing their blades – and I suspect they were not aware that regular maintenance is required to keep a blade keen.

A few mentioned staining on the blades. But again, this seems to be more of a lack of understanding about how to care for the knives rather than a product flaw, as one person griped about discoloration after leaving one in a sink full of water overnight – a sure method for staining steel!

Summary

The Mercer Genesis 6-piece collection offers professional quality knives at a bargain price. And despite the Made in Taiwan tag, quality control seems to be top-notch, with users raving about how pleasurable these tools are to use.

Well made from quality materials by an established company, they offer at-home chefs a great alternative to higher priced tools.

Check prices and read all of the customer comments on Amazon now.

 

Victorinox

From Victorinox, the makers of the original Swiss Army Knife, we have this functional and attractive eight-piece set of the most commonly used kitchen cutters.

Included in the set are a 4” parer, a 6” boning knife, an 8” chef’s knife, an 8” bread knife, a 10” slicing knife, a 10” sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and a nine-slot slanted beechwood block.

Victorinox 8-Piece Knife Block Set

The star of this set is the 8” Fibrox chef’s knife, known as the “Swiss Classic” for its outstanding performance in consumer market testing.

Each blade is crafted from stamped high-carbon stainless steel and is hand finished by the skilled craftsmen at Victorinox in Switzerland. The formula for this alloy is x50CrMoV15, with 15% chromium (Cr) for high levels of stain resistance, plus molybdenum (Mo) and vanadium (V)for hardness.

Victorinox Fibrox Straight Edge Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch

The steel is also treated with a special multi-step tempering process, for durability and to ensure that he edge can be sharpened time after time.

Fitted with a full tang, these tools are lightweight yet tough and sturdy, with a fine balance.

The Fibrox handles are molded for ergonomic comfort and a positive grip to ease wrist tension, and they have a finger guard for safety where the blade and handle meet.

They also provide a low maintenance sanitary surface by minimizing crevices that may trap food particles and bacteria, and they are NSF certified.

The beechwood block has designated slots for all five knives plus the steel and shears, and an additional two slots for extra pieces.

The slots are angled for quick access and provide a safe environment to keep edges sharp.

Overall measurements are 14.5 x 9 x 6”, and it weighs six pounds.

Promoted as dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended. Made in Switzerland, this set comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

What Others Are Saying

The following notes are a compilation of the most frequently repeated comments by verified purchasers at Amazon.

To date, this set receives top marks for versatility, comfortable use and superb sharpness.

All cutters in this set are useful with no redundancy in styles, but the chef’s knife is the marquee piece.

Light in weight, it’s strong with a nice bit of flex to the blade, and gives fatigue-free performance over long periods of prepping. The paring knife is the runner up in terms of frequent use.

Sharp right out of the box, they retain their sharpness well. A keen edge is easily and quickly restored with a bit of honing.

Victorinox Cutlery 10-Inch Round Tip Slicing Knife, Black Fibrox Handle

Having two extra slots in the block is a nice feature and they’ll hold longer blades with ease – and it doesn’t take up a lot of room on the counter.

Well made with a nice balance, the blades have a professional feel and are easy to use, maintain and clean.

The handles are quite comfortable, with a good shape and texture for a secure non-slip grip.

While these knives may not look ultra-expensive because of the resin handles, their quality and functionality is outstanding and they give a very high value for the price.

Victorinox 8″ Serrated, Slant Tip, Bread Blade

The main complaint is in regard to the kitchen shears. Of lower quality than the other pieces, they seem to be on the cheap side and don’t come apart for cleaning.

Summary

While this set is not top of the line in terms of price or aesthetics, they offer well-crafted performance and very good quality for daily use.

If you don’t need a designer label (or price tag), then the Victorinox 8-piece knife block set will give years of reliable operation to beginners and advanced cooks alike.

Check prices and read customers reviews at Amazon now.

 

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star

From Zwilling J.A. Henckels we have this simple, efficient and handsome 3-piece essentials starter set, from their Four Star line.

With one of the oldest trademarks in the world (incorporated in 1793), Zwilling’s Four Star line celebrates its fortieth anniversary in 2016. And nothing has changed in terms of production values or construction since their inception in 1976.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 3-Piece Knife Set

This introductory set consists of an 8” chef’s knife, a 6” serrated utility knife and a 4” paring knife, packaged in a gift box. And while this set might be basic, the three pieces cover all of your necessary kitchen cutting tasks.

Precision forged in Germany using Zwilling’s Sigmaforge process, the blades are crafted from high-carbon stainless steel and ice-hardened, then tempered to 57 HRC on the Rockwell scale.

This produces a stain and corrosion resistant steel with exceptional hardness, flexibility and toughness, optimal sharpness, and blades that are virtually unbreakable.

The molded handle is constructed of polypropylene and permanently bonded to the three-quarter tang, and it has just the right amount of texture for a comfortable, non-slip grip.

And the finely balanced classic bolster/finger guard transitions seamlessly to the handle, easily accommodating all of your favorite cutting grips.

Precision lasering creates an edge with perfect geometry, ensuring each side is sharpened to the ideal cutting angle for maximum long-lasting sharpness, which also improves cutting edge retention.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 7-Piece Knife Set with Block

Should you want a more fully featured set, the Four Star line is also offered as a 7-piece group complete with wooden block and includes the 8″ Chef’s, a 6″ non-serrated utility, a 5″ serrated utility, and a 3″ parer along with a sharpening steel.

Dishwasher safe, though handwashing is recommended. Made in Germany with a limited lifetime warranty.

What Others Are Saying

The following notes are taken from the most frequent comments from verified purchasers at Amazon.

At the time of writing, the Henckles Four Star essentials set has very good reviews for quality of craftsmanship, sharpness and versatility.

This Four Star line is mid-range for Henckles in terms of price, and they have the sturdy, well-crafted construction Zwilling Henckles is known for, making this a good investment.

They are very sharp, hold an edge well, and sharpen up quickly and easily with a few strokes on a honing steel.

The composite handles are well-shaped, comfortable, and hold up admirably to normal wear and tear.

This set covers the basic kitchen knives, and all three may be used daily for a wide variety of tasks.

They have good balance and a good feel in the hand, making cutting easy and effortless.

Summary

A bare bones set with no storage block, these three knives cover the essentials for most kitchen work.

The Four Star line brings quality, value and comfort to the table, at a very good price.

Overall a good option for a starter set, or to replace the three elementary pieces most commonly used for prep work.

Check prices and read all of the customer reviews at Amazon now.

 

Wusthof Classic

From the iconic Wusthof manufacturers in Germany comes this 7-piece set from their Classic line, complete with a slim wooden storage block.

The set includes the slim design 6-slot block, a 3.5” paring knife, a 5” serrated utility knife, a 6” Kiritsuke utility knife, an 8” bread knife, an 8” chef’s knife, and come-apart kitchen shears, all of which offer good versatility without duplication of style.

Wusthof Classic 7-piece Slim Knife Block Set (Cherry)

With a slender footprint on the counter and measuring only 9.5 x 3.5”, the block is crafted from your choice of six different woods in a modern style which adds to the striking profile of the Wusthof blades.

Each knife is precision forged from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel (X50 Cr MoV 15) to a Rockwell hardness of 58 and tempered in production to ensure sharpness, enduring toughness, and ease of sharpening.

This steel formula contains 15% chromium for superb stain resistance, plus molybdenum and vanadium to ensure hardness, corrosion resistance and durability.

The bolsters are perfectly weighted for optimal balance and performance, and the full tang provides extra stability and safety.

The cutting edges are sharpened using precision laser-edge technology (PEtec) for blades that are 20% sharper than standard edges.

This provides exceptionally keen initial cutting performance, longer edge retention, and the full usage of the blade from the point of the tip to the finger guard.

With a 14° edge on each side, the tight angle reduces friction and drag for smooth, undemanding cutting. And every blade is hand buffed and polished in the final process.

The handles are triple riveted through the tang and constructed of tough and long-lasting polyoxymethylene (POM), a thermoplastic polymer known for its strength and hardness that has excellent resistance to fading and discoloration.

Hand wash only. Made in Germany, they come with Wusthof’s limited lifetime warranty.

What Others Are Saying

The following notes are compiled from the reviews of verified purchasers on Amazon.

At the time of writing, the knives have received rave reviews for quality construction, sharpness and a well-balanced feel.

The set covers all of the key pieces for daily use, without including duplicates or novelty blades that are rarely used.

The balance on each blade is finely tuned, and they have a nice weight for rhythmic dicing and chopping.

Out of the box, the edges are razor sharp and the finish is flawless – they look, and feel, like high-end professional tools.

The chef’s knife is the go-to workhorse, the utility knife has a lovely tapered blade that’s ideal for nimble work like deboning and filleting, and the bread knife works well on baguettes or large round loaves.

The kitchen shears also get some high-fives – strong enough to break down a chicken and fine enough to snip herbs. The pivot pin is sturdy and stays together under duress, but comes apart easily for thorough cleaning.

A relatively minor issue (not enough for demerit marks from purchasers) – the red and white trident logo on the knives is just a sticker and it comes off after some use.

The only other complaint is about the block. Some shoppers are very happy with it, complementing the compact size and attractive appearance. But others feel it lacks the quality of the knives, with an inferior finish.

Summary

The Wusthof Classic 7-piece set has all the individual elements that work well together to make up a useful, high-quality collection. And it easily handles all of your kitchen tasks – despite the somewhat chintzy logo sticker.

The compact size of the block works well for those concerned about a large footprint on the counter, and the entire set offers very good value for the mid-range price tag.

A nice set of well-made, durable knives that are good for daily use.

Check prices, view the available colors (of the block), and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

Global G Series

From Global, the well-known makers of fine Japanese knives, we have this exquisite 6-piece block set from their G Series featuring elegant design, excellent cutting performance and sleek one-piece construction.

Global G-835/WS – 6 Piece Knife Set with Block

The set is comprised of a 7” Oriental chef’s knife, an 8.25” carving knife, an 8.75” bread knife, a 5.25” utility (cook’s) knife and a 4” paring knife – plus a chic, contemporary stainless steel storage block for the countertop.

Like most Western-style knives, the edges are ground on both sides of the blade. But unlike Western knives, the edges are not gently beveled. Instead, the thin blades have been ground at a steep, acute angle for dramatic sharpnesss.

Global G-4 – 7 inch, 18cm Oriental Chef’s Knife

The large and prominent edge can be seen extending up the blade for a quarter of an inch or more, which allows for cleanly slicing through foods while maintaining the integrity of ingredients.

Manufactured with Global’s proprietary CROMOVA 18 stainless steel, every blade contains 18% chromium for superb stain resistance, as well as molybdenum and vanadium for outstanding edge retention and ease of sharpening.

Global G-3 – 8 1/4 inch, 21cm Carving Knife

During construction, the blades are rapidly quenched with a sub-zero treatment for excellent hardness, then tempered to add toughness – making them virtually unbreakable in daily use.

Unique in their construction, every knife is stamped from a single, seamless piece of steel without bolster or tang.

The textured stainless-steel handles with their distinctive dimples give a sure and comfortable grip, and they are actually hollow.

Global G-9 – 8-3/4 inch, 22cm Bread Knife

Filled with a precise amount of sand for exquisite balance, they still retain a light weight that provides comfort, and reduces hand fatigue during extended use.

And their smooth contours and seamless construction eliminate hiding spots for food and dirt, resulting in the highest levels of safety and hygiene.

Global GS-3 – 5 inch, 13cm Cook’s Knife

The stylish stainless steel block has been designed with a diagonal profile to help protect the blades, as well as for ease of removal and storage. And the rubber base provides a secure anchor on the countertop.

The block and knives measure 14 x 2 x 1”, and weigh four pounds.

Hand wash and dry promptly, and sharpen the blades between 10-15°. Made in Japan, they come with Global’s limited lifetime warranty.

What Others Are Saying

The following notes are summarized from the reviews of verified purchasers on Amazon.

There aren’t a lot of reviews in for this set as of yet, but those customers who have written are head over heels in love with the high-caliber construction and performance of these blades.

The knives arrive with an incredibly sharp edge, and retain their sharpness even after extended use.

Beautiful to look at, the skillful construction also makes them inspiring to use – lightweight, super sharp, and very well-balanced.

The textured handles are ergonomic and comfortable, making long sessions of food prep virtually effortless and fatigue-free for fingers, hands, wrists and forearms.

The set covers all cooking tasks, and it’s designed to meet demanding professional standards – high quality all the way, and at an awesome price.

Summary

There’s no doubt that that if you can find this high-end set of Japanese knives for under $500, it’s a steal of a deal.

Crafted for the exacting expectations of professional chefs, Global’s 6-piece knife set with stainless block is a joy to use, and these will become your go-to pieces for a lifetime.

Check prices and read more customer reviews on Amazon.

 

Shun Classic

Shun brings us this elegant and contemporary 7-piece essentials set of cutlery from their Classic line, all set in an attractive 11-slot bamboo block.

Shun Classic 7-Piece Block Set with Bamboo Block

This classic set is made up of an 8” chef’s knife, a 9” bread knife, a 6” utility knife, a 3.5” paring knife, a 9” combination honing steel, and multipurpose kitchen shears. The knives all feature gorgeous Damascus clad blades constructed of their proprietary, high-performance VG-Max steel.

The VG-Max is the core of each blade, providing superb sharpness and edge retention, then clad with Damascus stainless steel – which is ground and bead-blasted to reveal the flowing watermark pattern typical of this high-end layered alloy.

VG-Max is the latest in the line of “super steels” that have gained well-deserved recognition among the best cutlery steel available. Building on the highly successful VG10, VG-Max includes additional carbon for improved strength and durability, hardened to 60-61 on the Rockwell hardness scale.

The Damascus stainless steel not only protects and supports the extremely hard cutting core, it also improves stain resistance.

If you’re interested in larger set, a 10-Piece set is also available.

Lighter, thinner, and sharper than European blades, the 16° edge is exceptionally sharp and long lasting, making it more efficient at cutting and offering consistent, precision performance.

However, it should be pointed out that this thin and very sharp steel does not have the same impact resistance as thicker blades, or steel tempered to lower levels on the Rockwell scale. This makes chipping a very real possibility. So consider carefully how you plan to use these knives, as they’re not suited for cutting through dense materials.

The chef’s knife is the keystone piece to this set, and it is perfect for multi-tasking in the kitchen. It will slice, dice, and chop, plus much more. And the wide blade is perfect for scooping food off the cutting board when transferring it to a pan or dish.

Every handle (except the shears) is constructed of strong and durable pakkawood. Molded in a D-shape for optimal comfort, and a sure and steady grip, they’ve been fitted over a full composite tang for impressive balance and stability.

And with only a partial bolster, you can utilize the full length of each blade for slicing and chopping, as well as full-length honing.

The utility, paring, and bread knives fill out all the basic functions necessary for a well-equipped kitchen. And the set is rounded out by other key elements, the honing steel and multipurpose scissors.

The combination honing steel has two surfaces to smoothly realign the edges of your blades, prolonging the knife’s sharpness. Use the smooth surface for daily honing, and the micro-ribbed surface for a more coarse weekly honing.

The multipurpose shears are a versatile tool that’s ideal for kitchen use. Not only do they cut impressively with the superb Shun edge, they also have a built-in nutcracker, jar opener, and lid lifter, a bone notch, and two screwdriver tips.

And with one serrated edge, they’ll easily cut through tough, fibrous material. The blades separate easily for cleaning, but lock together securely when in use. Constructed of tough and durable stainless steel and a full tang, they’re fitted with molded handles that provide stability, comfort, and a secure, nonslip grip.

This essential set comes in its own laminated bamboo block, with a few extra slots so you can continue to expand your collection as desired. Bamboo provides easy-care performance that doesn’t shrink or swell like hardwoods, which makes it ideal for storing kitchen accessories.

The set measures 17x9x8” and weighs just over 11 pounds. With a limited lifetime warranty, all components are made in Japan. And Shun also has a free sharpening program for all their cutlery – the only cost to the customer is for shipping.

What Others Are Saying

The following notes are a compilation of the most frequent comments from verified purchasers at Amazon.

Once again, Shun gets top marks for the quality of their forged blades, creating tools that are a pleasure for home cooks to use.

And the outstanding sharpness of their knives, right out of the box, is a feature that really sets them apart from the competition.

A few reviewers have emphasized that learning how to use the included honing steel correctly will help to retain those super-sharp edges between actual sharpenings.

The D-shaped pakkawood handles are sturdy and comfortable, with a natural-feeling balance.

And the design aesthetics are another highlight, with the Damascus blades and composite wooden handles having a very attractive appearance that is retained even with repeated usage.

On the downside, a few customers have reported that the thin and hard steel does make them prone to chipping.

However, one customer pointed out that Shun replaced his knives that had been sent in for sharpening, without even asking for an inspection or replacements.

Summary

The Shun Classic 7-piece collection is a popular choice for high-end Japanese knives that have been crafted with quality and precision.

Beautifully designed, these knives also deliver precision cutting with exceptional performance.

Light and delicate, they do require a bit of getting used to if Western-style knives have been your standard issue. But when you do, they’ll be your go-to blades for a lifetime.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

 

Shun Premier

The Premier Gourmet Essential 7-Piece Block Set with block is another beautiful collection from Shun, makers of exquisite Japanese cutlery.

Shun Premier Essential 7-Piece Block Set

This lovely line features Damascus cladding, and each blade bears the signature hand-hammered “tsuchine” finish. These dimples help to release food from the blades, and they have the distinctive feel of traditional sword-making blended with contemporary technology. Attractive and efficient, from start to finish.

This particular set includes a 4” paring knife, a 6.5” utility knife, an 8” chef’s knife, a 9” bread knife, a honing steel, take-apart kitchen shears and the 11-slot bamboo block.

Shun Premier Paring Knife, 4-Inch

Each blade is constructed by layering different metal alloys together, then forging them into a single piece. The Premier line is made with a 69-layer process, and a core of high-carbon VG-Max steel to improve strength and durability.

The proprietary VG-Max alloy has more chromium for wear and corrosion resistance, enhanced levels of cobalt for greater strength, and increased tungsten for a very fine-grained steel capable of achieving an extremely fine and sharp edge. Molybdenum improves corrosion resistance and strength, while vanadium improves impact resistance.

Shun Premier Utility Knife, 6-1/2-Inch

The blades are then hardened to 60-61 on the Rockwell hardness scale for superb sharpening abilities, and the edges on all of the Premier blades are ground to a tight 16° for superior cutting performance.

It should be pointed out that because of their high-carbon content, hardness, and thin blade construction, Shun knives can take an exceptionally sharp edge – and retain that edge for a very long time. However, these qualities also mean they have a more brittle nature, making them more prone to chipping.

Shun Premier Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch

Designed primarily for slicing, care needs to be taken in how they’re used in the kitchen, to avoid damage and disappointment.

Each knife has a full composite tang, and contoured ambidextrous pakkawood handles that nestle nicely into the palm. They provide comfort and security regardless of the type of grip (link to article) you use, or whether you’re right- or left-handed.

The combination honing steel has an angle guide built into the pakkawood handle, so you can hone to the correct 16° angle. It combines a smooth surface for daily honing and a micro-ribbed surface for weekly honing, so you can actually go longer between proper sharpenings.

Shun Premier Bread Knife, 9-Inch

The kitchen shears are made of durable stainless steel with a notch on the blade for cutting through thin poultry bones, and they fully separate for easy cleaning. The interlocking screw can easily be adjusted, to change the tension to suit your personal cutting preference.

Shun Kitchen Shears

The entire set of four cutters, plus the steel and shears, fits in the 11-slot bamboo block for easy-care storage. Bamboo is very easy to look after, and the block comes with rubber feet to protect your surfaces – and there are a few open slots for when you want to expand your collection, too.

This set measures approximately 13.5x5x11.5”, and weighs just over 10 pounds.

Hand wash and dry only, and never leave high-carbon blades sitting in water. Made in Japan with Shun’s limited lifetime warranty.

What Others Are Saying

The following is a compilation of the most frequent remarks from verified purchasers on Amazon.

Without question, the sharpness of these blades is their marquee feature. Every reviewer comments on their “scary sharpness,” comparing the edge to that of a scalpel. Clearly, the sharp edge exceeds expectations time after time.

Balance and design also get top marks. The knives are lightweight for dexterity, well-balanced, and they perform admirably, with a comfortable grip that makes maneuvering easy.

And their aesthetics are another highlight feature. The distinctive hammered finish provides less drag while cutting and provides a surface where moisture laden vegetables are less likely to stick.

However, these blades do possess some of the qualities of a “delicate flower.” Thin and fragile, they have received a number of complaints about the tips bending and breaking, as well as chips and breaks in the blade edge. Some of these complaints seem warranted, while others seem to be more the result of a lack of experience with Japanese knives.

Summary

Incredibly thin and sharp blades with stylized detailing, the Premier line of knives from Shun provides exceptional cutting performance, making them a joy to handle.

This particular set includes all of the basic knives required for day to day tasks, as well as a few specialty items that help to make cooking more enjoyable, ensuring you’ll always have the right tool for the job.

But again, just to be clear, these knives are not for everyone. They’re definitely not built for cutting through tough, dense material. And they will, if mishandled even a little bit, betray their delicate nature with chips, breaks, and bent tips.

At the higher end of the price scale, these are professional-grade blades that require a certain level of expertise to get the most out of them. So if you can bring a little skill to your cutting habits, then you should be fully satisfied with these handsome blades for a lifetime.

Check prices and read all of the customer comments on Amazon now.

 

Conclusion

There you have it: some ideas for choosing a knife set that’s going to bring the best value for your cooking style and practices, plus our review of eight currently available sets that offer quality, reliability and value.

And if you already own a set, let us know of any recommendations you might have in the comments below – your insights are always appreciated!

Summary
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Best Kitchen Knife Sets of 2018-2019
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