One of the most important things you’ll need to learn how to do once you start adulting is cooking. While you can live on takeout, it really isn’t a healthy option. Nor is it an option if you’re living on a tight budget. Now, we all know (or at least we should) that knives are the go-to gadget for prepping meals.
Unfortunately, not all kitchen knives are created equal. What that means is that there are knives that are specifically designed to perform a certain task such as the paring knife which is used for, you guessed it, paring fruit. But it’s also useful for mincing herbs or filleting really small fish. Then there’s the chef’s knife, the bread knife, the santoku knife, carving knife, boning knife, and so on.
Ok, since we now all know that there are different kinds of knife, which one should you buy? While experts state that you only really need 3 – a chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife, you will probably benefit more in buying a knife set. This is because you’ll also get other specialty knives that you might need and sets often come with a storage block as well as a sharpening tool or kitchen shears. So, which set should you buy? We tested and reviewed the most popular sets you’ll find in Amazon and found 10 that we love. Wanna know what they are? Let’s get started. Chop, chop!
Top 10 Knife Sets of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Knife Sets of 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set
- 2. Chicago Cutlery 1119644 18-Piece Knife Block Set
- 3. Cuisinart Advantage 12-Piece Knife Set
- 4. Victorinox 8-Piece Knife Block Set
- 5. Ginsu 7108 Chikara 8-Piece Stainless Steel Knife Block Set
- 6. Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel 6 Piece Knives Set
- 7. Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
- 8. AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set
- 9. Zwilling J.A. Henckels 30782-000 19-Piece Knife Block Set
- 10. Mercer Culinary Renaissance Forged Knife Block Set
- How to Choose the Best Knife Set
1. Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife SetKnife Set for Professional Chef
Now this is no ordinary knife set. This is the cream of the crop. It puts the chop on your block. Er, you get it. Anyway, Wustof knives are professional-grade, German-made knives that incorporates function and design seamlessly. The set includes a 3-1/2-Inch parer, 6-Inch utility, an 8-Inch bread knife, and 8-Inch chef’s knife; Honing steel, shears and walnut storage block. All of the knives are forged steel, full tang knives with ergonomic handles and a sharp edge that will last longer than most. Best of all, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- ergonomic handle
- very expensive
- some may prefer a longer bread knife
- doesn’t include steak knives (though the block has slots for them)
2. Chicago Cutlery 1119644 18-Piece Knife Block SetKnife Set Under $100
If you’re looking for something more affordable yet durable and offers more options than just the basic 3 knives, then this set from Chicago Cutlery is right up your alley. For less than $100, you get 17 high-carbon stainless steel forged knives that have black comfort-grip poly handle. These include the usual basics plus a Partoku knife, a Santoku knife, steak knives, and a slicing knife. The 18th piece is an 8-inch stainless sharpening steel. The knives stay sharp longer, look cool, and last a lifetime with a warranty to back it up.
- lifetime warranty
- constructed of high-carbon stainless steel
- superior grip that provides you with precision and control
- some users have reported rust and/or broken blades
- doesn’t come with scissors
- Manufactured in China
3. Cuisinart Advantage 12-Piece Knife SetKnife Set on a Budget
If you want some color in your kitchen, then this knife set from Cuisinart is just what you need. The bright colors are definitely eye-catching and can make cooking a fun experience. The set comes with 6 high-quality stainless steel knives – 8″ Chef Knife, 8″ Slicing Knife, 8″ Serrated Bread Knife, 7″ Santoku Knife, 6.5″ Utility Knife, and 3.5″ Paring Knife. It also comes with 6 knife covers (no wooden block here).
The ergonomic handles feel balanced and comfortable when you grip them. And despite it’s low, low price, these babies are sharp enough to do what you need them to do. We recommend this for beginners – individuals who want to start adulting but can’t help indulging the kid in them from time to time.
- very affordable
- fun colors
- travel-friendly because of the blade guards
- the coating wears off, especially when the knives are sharpened
- not going to last a lifetime
- not sharp enough for some users
4. Victorinox 8-Piece Knife Block SetKnife Set for the Home Cook
This knife block set from Victorinox caught our eye for several reasons. One, the manufacturer is the same company responsible for creating the original Swiss Army Knife – a high quality, much-loved product that has lasted for decades. Their knives must be manufactured using the same standards (and they are!). Plus, the company actually started out as a cutlery workshop back in 1884 so you know they mean business.
Two, this Forschner cutlery set features high-carbon stainless steel blades that are hand-finished in Switzerland. The knives are stamped (cut into their shapes) which creates thinner, lighter knives that’s less tiring when you’re cutting, slicing, and chopping all day.
- ridiculously sharp
- hand-finished in Switzerland
- some users feel that the fibrox handle is flimsy/cheaply made
- some users may not like stamped metal
- the knives don’t “fit” inside the block well
5. Ginsu 7108 Chikara 8-Piece Stainless Steel Knife Block SetKnife Set for the Money
The Ginsu Chikara kitchen knives have been are forged from premium Japanese Stainless Steel. These full tang knives have been named by Consumer Report as one of the Best Buy knives in 2013. Holding the knives in your hand, you can instantly feel the balance and weight of the knives.
The handles are made of heat- and water-resistant resin which look sleek and feel smooth in your hand. The edge retention of these blades are pretty surprising considering the price. They stay sharp far longer than expected despite daily use. If you want really good value for your money and you’re on a budget, then this would be the best option for you.
- sleek style
- good edge retention
- requires more frequent sharpening than some of our other picks
- the bamboo block is poorly made
- the kitchen shears don’t come apart for washing which could lead to rust in the future
6. Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel 6 Piece Knives SetKnife Set for Beginners
Utopia Kitchen’s 6-piece knife set is unique in many ways. Upon first look, you’ll notice that it’s stored not in a block but in an acrylic stand. A slim storage space that saves space in your tiny kitchen and provides you with a clear view of the knives in their slots.
The set comes with 6 knives – a chef’s knife, a carving knife, a bread knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife – that are all made of 420-grade stainless steel which has excellent corrosion resistance. The knives are one solid piece of steel which makes it more resistant to handles breaking off. And there’s absolutely no way to get gunk stuck between the handle and the knife which increases its longevity in your kitchen.
- balanced, comfortable feel in the hand
- very affordable
- not sharp out of the box
- getting the knives out of the stand isn’t as smooth as when you have a knife block that stores the knives at an angle
7. Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
Cuisinart doesn’t just make brightly colored kitchen knives. This high carbon stainless steel hollow handle knife set offers a variety of knives to help you perform every task in the kitchen (that requires a knife, of course). You get a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a slicing knife, a bird’s beak paring knife, a santoku knife, a serrated utility knife, and 6 steak knives. All the knives are a solid piece of steel, from tip to handle. Its solid construction definitely adds to its durability. And it comes with a lifetime warranty. The only thing we really didn’t like is that it isn’t razor sharp out of the box.
- lifetime warranty
- solid construction
- not sharp out of the box
- some of the bigger knives lack heft due to the hollow handles
- some of the knives don’t fit into the block well
8. AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set
For a little over $50, AmazonBasics offers an 18-piece knife set that includes 15 high-quality stainless steel knives with triple-riveted handles, one pair of kitchen shears, and one 8-inch sharpener. Unlike most of the other knife sets on our list, this one includes a boning knife.
The handle provides a very secure yet comfortable grip but what we really like is the presence of a bolster which help protect your fingers from getting sliced as well as adding weight and stability to the knife. As an added bonus, you can break down the shears to ensure you wash the nooks and crannies and prevent food from getting stuck inside.
- a nice variety of knives
- good edge retention
- slight flaws in the design of the steak knives
- not razor sharp out of the box
- the knives do not all fit well in the block
9. Zwilling J.A. Henckels 30782-000 19-Piece Knife Block Set
There’s no doubt that Zwilling J.A. Henckels knives are top quality. Made in Germany, these knives are constructed out of a special formula high carbon no-stain steel known only to the manufacturer which is Friodur ice-hardened to 57 Rockwell Hardness. This means that this hand-sharpened and polished knife can withstand lots of abuse and still retain its laser-controlled edge.
The handle features three rivets, ensuring the full tang blade will remain in place. The set has 19 pieces so you are sure to get just about all the knives you’ll ever need or want in your kitchen. And while the knives can withstand lots of abuse, Zwilling still backs up their produce with a lifetime warranty.
- very sharp
- good variety of knives
- well-balanced knives
- some users have reported that their blades are slightly “bendy”
- slots on the block do not fit the knives well
10. Mercer Culinary Renaissance Forged Knife Block Set
For its price (currently $145), the Mercer Culinary Renaissance knife set only offers a very small collection of knives, especially when you compare it to most of our other picks. But the superior quality of these knives more than make up for it. The 5 knives are forged out of high carbon, no-stain German X50 Cr Mo V15 cutlery steel. They feel just right in your hand – not too heavy, not too light. The block is actually made up of cool tempered glass.
- exceptionally well-made knives
- very sharp
- limited lifetime warranty
- only 5 knives for this price plus there’s no sharpening tool
- requires frequent sharpening
- the glass knife block requires you to pull out knives straight up, not at an angle
How to Choose the Best Knife Set
So, you’re in the market for some knives. While most experts will tell you that you only need 3 – a chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife, sometimes it does pay to have a collection to choose from. Most of the time, knife sets come with a sharpening tool, a pair of kitchen shears, and a knife block. If you want to buy a collection of knives for your kitchen that are high quality with a good variety of blades, then we’re just the people to help you. Below is a short but informative guide in choosing the right tools for your food prep.
What type of knives do you need in your kitchen?
Typically, the most often used knife in the kitchen is the chef’s knife. It’s used for most food prep tasks such as chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing. The usual length of a chef’s knife is 8 inches.
A paring knife is another type of knife that most experts feel should be present in any kitchen. This knife is utilized in performing smaller precision tasks such as slicing small fruits and veggies, peeling, and trimming. The length of this kind of knife can range from 3 to 4 inches.
The bread knife, as the name implies, is perfect for slicing bread or foods that have the same “design” – hard on the outside, soft on the inside. This serrated knife is usually 8 inches long but some prefer it to have a length of 10 inches.
You may have heard of the utility knife which is also an excellent blade for everyday tasks like slicing meat, dicing veggies, etc. It’s size is somewhere between a chef’s knife and a paring knife.
The santoku knife is also a multipurpose knife that excels at slicing, dicing, and mincing. Unlike the chef’s knife, the santoku does not utilize a rocking motion when chopping food. It’s flat cutting edge is perfect for chopping or mincing food quickly and easily. It is usually 6-7 inches in length.
Then there are the other knives such as the slicing/carving knife, the boning knife, the cleaver, and the steak knife.
If you need a visual on the types of knives, you can view an infographic on the topic here.
What features should your knives have?
It should be sharp. This may seem obvious to you but not all knives are sharp right out of the box. Also, a sharp knife means less work, less frustration, and much safer to use. Not only should your knives be sharp, it should also retain its edge longer. This means that it doesn’t get dull really fast despite daily use. The Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set is very sharp and has good edge retention. Also it comes with a honing steel so you can re-sharpen it easily whenever the need arises.
It should be solidly constructed. Another obvious feature that is sometimes overlooked. It doesn’t really matter if a knife is forged (heated and shaped from one piece of metal) or stamped (sort of like using a cookie cutter on steel) from one large piece of metal. Most experts agree that this is usually a matter of preference. Stamped steel is usually lighter while forged steel is usually heftier.
It should feel comfortable in your hand. This may not be an option if you buy online. Nevertheless, you can still rely on reviews from buyers on how the knives feel in their hands when in use. Basically, it should fit your hand well and not slip or twist even when the handle is greasy.
It should be balanced. A knife that has a heavier blade or heavier handle can put a strain on your wrist. This is because you will need to counter the effect of the heavier side of the knife in order to control it. A well-balanced knife can also help prevent accidental injuries.
Once you know which knives you want to have in your set as well as the features that you’ll be looking for in the knives you’ll buy, the last thing you need to consider is price. In most cases, you do get what you pay for. For example, the Cuisinart Advantage 12-Piece Knife Set is less than $30.
It does the job well enough, especially if you’re just starting out in the kitchen. And it certainly will brighten up the place. But don’t expect it to last a lifetime. Our top pick Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set, on the other hand, has a limited lifetime warranty because the manufacturer expects these knives to stay with you until you can’t chop, slice, cut, dice, and mince anymore. And the price of this particular knife set reflects all of that.
Before we end this really short guide on buying the right knife set, we’d like to give you one last tip. It doesn’t matter what brand you buy or how much you paid for your knives. If you don’t take care of them (hand wash only and dry them quickly), you’ll end up with rusty knives you’ll never use again. Remember, your tools are only as good as how much you care for them.