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The 10 Best Kitchen Knife Sets For Home Cooks (2021)

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10 Best Kitchen Knife Sets

One of the most important parts of any well-stocked kitchen is a good knife set. They’re a basic utility in cooking; you could probably get by with just an excellent chef’s knife, but having a set of dedicated knives at your disposal is the best way to know you’re going to make clean, precise cuts with the least chance of injury.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of the best kitchen knife sets on the market today, ranging in price from cheap budget bulk sets to specialty knives that go for thousands of dollars each. Because of this, it might be hard for a chef to know where to turn for practical, high-quality, long-wearing equipment.

Wusthof and Henckels Zwilling knife sets are the best german knives you could ever own. Gordon Ramsay uses Henckels Zwilling brand on his TV series FOX Hell’s Kitchen and Wusthof knives on his online cooking crouse MasterClass.

I’ve used and recommend both knife block sets, Henckels Zwilling Pro 7-pc Knife Block Set or Wusthof Gourmet 18-pc Cherry Wood Block Set, both available on Amazon.

The 10 Best Kitchen Knife Sets by Price

Because everyone works from a different budget, this list incorporates the best kitchen knives set across the price spectrum, from the cheapest sets for those who want good knives on a budget to the truly dedicated chefs who can invest in expensive, professional-level pieces.

Here are the ten best knife sets arranged from most expensive to least.

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set

At the absolute top of the line is the Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Set. These Wusthof knives German-made set rated the Best Knife Set Overall for 2020 by Business Insider. High carbon stainless steel with a silver finish, complemented by black, synthetic polypropylene handles are strong and resistant to damage from heat or sunlight. 

The block itself is simple imprinted walnut, compact, and sleek to complement the knives.

The set comes with:

  • A 3.5″ paring knife, 
  • A 6″ utility knife, 
  • An 8″ bread knife, and
  • An 8″ cook’s knife

It finishes out with 9″ honing steel and a set of kitchen scissors. They’re all covered by a lifetime warranty. These are branded as Solingen knives (so named after the region they’re produced: Solingen, Germany). According to the brand, this designation is a mark of honor that’s only applied to knives that meet the strictest quality standards.

With this set, you’re not only paying for the highest quality knives (advertised as having a 20% sharper edge than their previous models), you’re paying for the Wusthof name, which boasts more than 200 years of German knifemaking knowledge passed down through the family-owned business for seven generations.

Wusthof Knife Set the best of the best

Buy: Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Set at Amazon

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional S Knife Block Set, 7 Piece

Manufactured in Germany, ZWILLING Professional S knives are precision-forged from a single piece of solid steel. For over 288 years, NO STAIN steel has been perfected using a unique proprietary formula that is honed and hand-finished by the most skilled artisans. They offer excellent edge retention thanks to their 57 Rockwell Hardness.

The set features:

  • 3-inch paper, 5-inch serrated utility
  • 5-inch hollow edge santoku
  • 8-inch chef’s
  • Kitchen shears,
  • 9-inch steel, hardwood block
  • Lifetime warranty against defects

Easy To Care For – Dishwasher Safe

Buy: Henckels Professional S Knife Block Set at Amazon

Shun Premier Knife Set 6-Piece Block

Our pick for a classic collection of restaurant-quality chef’s knives is the Shun Classic 6-Piece Slim Knife Block Set. Designed with ebony PakkaWood handles, the knives in this set are made from stainless Damascus with 34 layers are sharpened to a Japanese double-bevel with a 16-degree angle on each side.

The set comes with:

  • A 3.5” paring knife 
  • A 7” Santoku knife  
  • An 8” chef’s knife

The set also includes 9″ honing steel and a set of kitchen shears. All of the pieces are individually hand-crafted in Seki, Japan, and come with a lifetime warranty.

This set is an artisan piece, and as such, comes with a high price tag.

Buy: Shun Classic 6-Piece Slim Knife Block Set at Amazon

Calphalon Self-Sharpening Knife Set Stainless Steel 15-Piece

In a sharp, all-silver design, Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening Stainless Steel 15-Piece Knife Block Set is the first set on our list of forged knives and the only one whose block has built-in sharpeners for each knife.

The set includes:

  • A chef’s knife
  • A bread knife 
  • A utility knife 
  • A paring knife

It comes with eight steak knives. Interestingly, the blades are all labeled with an imprint on the handle that lists their purpose and length so that you know exactly what you’re grabbing every time.

Good quality of construction and the extra features included.

Buy: Calphalon Classic 15-Piece Knife Block Set at Amazon

Chicago Cutlery 17 Piece Knife Block Set

If you’re looking for a fuller utility set in this price range, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Block Set has you covered. Stainless-steel blades with a black comfort grip handle and a classic look without any extra bulk.

The set includes:

  • A 7.75″ chef’s knife, 
  • An 8″ slicing knife, 
  • A 7.75″ bread knife, 
  • A 7″ Santoku, 
  • A 3.25″ paring knife, 
  • A 3.0″ peeler
  • A 5.0″ utility knife

The set rounds out with eight 4.25 inch steak knives and sharpening steel. The knives are high carbon, meaning they’re more resistant to stains, rust, and pitting.

Buy: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Block Set at Amazon

Farberware 15-Piece Stamped Stainless Steel Knife Block Set

Another solid choice that a beginner cook should look at, the Farber 15-Piece Stamped Stainless Steel Knife Block Set, is also available in a variety of block colors, although there are fewer options when it comes to handle coloration than the Oster Lindbergh set. Its block is available in black or graphite metal finishes or acacia or bamboo wooden finishes.

This set comes with:

  • An 8” chef’s knife
  • A 6” bread knife 
  • A 6” slicing knife 
  • A 5” serrated utility knife 
  • A 4.5” Santoku knife, and 
  • A 3” paring knife

The set also features six 4.5” table steak knives and a set of kitchen shears. As a bonus, the block has a sharpener built-in, so you won’t have to buy that separately.

Buy: Farber 15-Piece Stamped Stainless Steel Knife Block Set at Amazon

Amazon Knife Block Set Premium 18-Piece Knives

If you’re looking for a functional, classic set of knives, why not go back to basics? The Amazon Basics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set comes with a simple hardwood block and black-handled stainless-steel knives.

 Again, the exact lengths and types of knives are not listed, but the image provided shows off:

  • A chef’s knife
  • A bread knife
  • A fish knife
  • A paring knife
  • A utility knife

It also includes eight steak knives, a set of shears, and a sharpener.

An Amazon Basics item, it’s frequently featured in sales, so you’re almost guaranteed to get a good deal on a set of solid, quality knives.

Buy: Amazon Basics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set at Amazon

Cuisinart Cutlery Block Set 15-Piece Stainless Steel Knives

Simple and sleek, the Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Handle Block Set only comes in one finish, stainless steel with a black block, but it’s such a classic design that it would fit in most modern kitchens without much of a problem. Its knives feature a one-piece hollow handle designed to be lightweight and ergonomic.

This set does not list the exact knives and knife lengths included, but does picture:

  • A chef’s knife, 
  • A serrated knife (whether this is a utility knife is unclear)
  • A paring knife

It also features six a pair of kitchen shears. This simple, basic set was rated the Best Budget-Friendly Knife Set by Food and Wine in January 2020.

You can expect solid quality from these knives in the lower mid-range for knife sets in general, but coming from a trusted brand like Cuisinart.

Buy: Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Handle Block Set at Amazon

Home Hero Stainless Steel Knife Block Set

The Home Hero Stainless Steel Knife Set with Block is aesthetically wildly different from most of the sets on this list. It features a clear acrylic knife block that shows off its pure black 17-piece set. 

This set includes:

  • A Chef’s knife
  • A paring knife
  • A serrated bread knife
  • A utility knife
  • A carving knife
  • A cheese knife
  • A pizza knife

It also comes with six steak knives, making this the most diverse set on the list with the most specific-use knives. The knives have a non-stick, non-scratch coating and are built thick to last. The set also includes a bonus sharpener, set of shears, and a peeler.

With all of the extras included and the sheer versatility of the knives

Buy: Home Hero Stainless Steel Knife Set with Block at Amazon

Oster Lindbergh Teal Knife set 14-Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Set

Available in a variety of colors and finishes, the Oster Lindbergh 14-Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Set is an excellent beginner’s knife block. It’s a compact black or wooden block of stamped knives available in teal, red, turquoise, or classic black.

The set comes complete with:

  • An 8” carving knife, 
  • A 7.5” bread knife, 
  • A 5” utility knife, 
  • A 6” boning knife, and 
  • A 3” paring knife

It also comes with a set of kitchen scissors and six 4.5” serrated steak knives. These knives are rust-resistant and well-balanced for easier handling and more precise cuts. 

The Strategist named the Oster Lindbergh 14-Piece set as the best kitchen knife set for beginners in their October 2020 lists of the best-reviewed knife sets. At $25 for the set, it’s a fantastic way to stock your kitchen without emptying your wallet.

Buy: Oster Lindbergh 14-Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Set at Amazon

Things to Think About Before Buying a Knife Set

Before diving into the best knife sets available, it would be wise to break down your individual needs regarding how the set will be used. Consider: 

  • How often you plan to use the set. If you cook all the time and need a set that can stand up to the wear, you might want to invest in a higher-end set.
  • How the set will actually be used. Most basic cooking really only requires a chef’s knife for most work and detailed work, and a serrated knife for bread and delicate fruits. If that’s all you’re looking for, you might go with a smaller set with fewer frills to pay for. Kitchen shears can also be handy for cutting herbs or breaking down poultry, so they are worth considering.
  • Who will sharpen the knives? If you’re planning to hone your knives at home, consider a set that comes with a sharpener built-in, or consider purchasing a quality sharpener on the side. If you plan to leave that to a professional, you can skip this step.

It’s always best to go into a decision as fundamental as this is with a solid grasp of exactly what you want and why to know what qualities to value over interesting but not strictly necessary special features.

The Care and Keeping of Your Knives

If you’re investing in a quality set of knives, you’re going to want to make sure you maintain that investment by keeping them in top condition. You don’t need to be a professional chef to do this; there are just a few basic rules-of-thumb to keep in mind.

Cleaning Your Knives

Remember to clean and store your knives immediately after using them. This is a matter of respecting your blades, as Bon Appetit puts it. Never leave knives piled at the bottom of a sink or in a dishwasher if you can avoid it, as this can cause serious damage to the blade and handles over time, including rusting them out. 

Hand-wash and dry your knives every time to ensure that they’re useful for a long time. This can be done with regular dish soap and warm water, making sure that you’re not using anything abrasive to clean the blade to avoid again pitting. 

Here’s a few more tips:

  • Use gentle swipes along the blade away from you to clean, without pulling back. 
  • Always hold the knives by the handle with the blade away from you while cleaning them. 
  • After they’ve been washed, your knives should either be allowed time to air dry completely before returning to the block or drawer or be carefully and thoroughly dried with a clean cloth towel or paper towels.

Sharpening Your Knives

You’ll also need to keep them sharp. This means honing and sharpening them regularly. These are two separate processes; honing a knife means that you are straightening and redefining the edge on an already sharp knife, while sharpening is literally filing away at layers of steel to get that sharp edge.

Honing is done with a few quick passes right before you cut, on a honer usually made of ceramic or similar material. Sharpening is done with a whetstone and takes a bit longer. You’ll want to make sure you’re using even, symmetrical strokes with the knife held at the blade angle for a consistent, smooth edge. 

Although Forbes recommends getting your knives professionally sharpened every one to two years, there’s no specific timeframe for shaping them up at home. It just needs to be done when you notice your knife dulling down and not cutting as smoothly. 

Dull knives are actually significantly more dangerous to handle than sharp knives, as they take more effort to cut with and are more prone to slipping.

Where to Use Your Knives

Finally, you’ll want to invest in a quality cutting board to go with your new knives. While synthetics and softer woods are fine if they are all you can afford, one material to avoid at all costs is glass. Though it might be aesthetically pleasing, it’s actually one of the worst materials to cut on and can lead to damaging your blade or seriously injuring yourself. The same goes for granite countertops.

The best cutting boards are end-grain hardwoods, which take slicing better than synthetics, meaning that they won’t dull your blade. Those slices will also naturally close up, which keeps your cutting surface clean and makes it easier to disinfect than softer woods like bamboo or, again, synthetics.

However, synthetic cutting boards can still be decent, provided you are using one made from a complete food-safe plastic. We also recommend having one cutting board for meat and another for produce and bread, which gives you some peace of mind.

Knives Are an Investment

As we said at the beginning of the article, a good set of kitchen knives is essential to a properly stocked kitchen. The quality of a set can be a huge factor not only in the quality and professionalism of your cooking but in your own safety; a weak or brittle knife can lead to a serious injury. It’s worth the peace of mind to take the time to get a set you know you’ll be safe using.

After that, you’re good to go! As long as your knives are high quality (like the ones on this list), well maintained, and used with the right supplemental materials, they should serve you well in the preparation of thousands of meals for many, many years to come.

Related:

Wusthof vs. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Comparison (Which is Best?)

Gordon Ramsay’s Top 15 Kitchen Essentials

What Knives Does Hell’s Kitchen Star “Gordon Ramsay” Use?

Bobby Flay’s Favorite Chefs Knife for Everyday Cooking

The 15 Best Kitchen Knives: A Guide To Creating Your Set

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