Kitchen knives are invaluable tools that we find in almost any kitchen throughout the developed world. Given how important they are in any household, it would perhaps be wise to find out what they’re all about and how to best determine what makes a kitchen knife good to begin with. Now, we should point out that many people prefer pre-made kitchen sets rather than building up the set themselves and understandably so given how versatile such a set can be. With proper care and maintenance, such a set can last you a lifetime, which is a good enough reason as any to regard one as a long-term investment. That said, let us find out what are the ten best kitchen knife sets the market has to offer right now.
Best Kitchen Knife Sets Of 2018
10JA Henckels International 35309-000 Knife Block Set
Made from high-carbon stainless steel, this 12-piece set includes a 3-inch paring knife, a 7-inch hollow edge santoku knife, an 8-inch bread knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, six 4.5-inch steak knives, a 9-inch sharpening steel, and a hardwood knife block. All the knives in this set come with a full-tang triple-rivet handle and are entirely dishwasher safe; even though you are advised to wash them by hand instead.
9Wusthof Gourmet 12 Piece Block Set
Equipped with synthetic polypropylene handles and riveted for an extended durability, these knives stand out as some of the most maneuverable out there. They also boast sharp, precisely tempered blades that should be hand-washed for best results. The set also comes with a sturdy wooden block to protect the blades from long-term damage. Other than that, we should perhaps point out that they come with a lifetime warranty that speaks volumes about the quality you can expect.
8Zwilling J.A. Henckels 30782-000 Twin Signature
This 19-piece knife set is perhaps one of the most diverse and versatile you can get. Each of these knives enjoys a precision-stamped steel blade of the highest quality, blades that can cut through virtually anything in no time. The reason behind this is the Friodur, ice-hardened 57 Rockwell Hardness blades which benefit from hand sharpened, polished, laser controlled edges with a 15-degree angle on each side.
7Chicago Cutlery Insignia Steel 19 Piece Knife Block
With this particular set, you get professional high-carbon stainless steel forged blades with stainless steel handles. Their construction not only ensures their long-lasting durability but also makes the knives very easy to care for. Due to an exclusive Taper Grind edge, these knives provide an optimum sharpness that allows you to cut through almost anything without taking any blunt damage themselves. This fact also makes them very easy to re-sharpen when needed, which is one of the attributes of a quality knife set.
6Victorinox 7-Piece Knife Set with Block
Compact and impressively sturdy, the knives in this high-end set from Victorinox are not only sharp but extremely durable as well. Made in Switzerland by the world’s most renowned multi-tool and pocket knives manufacturer, you can expect these high-quality knives to benefit from a decent edge retention that allows them to retain their sharpness for much longer than most kitchen knives out there. They also benefit from beautiful, classic rosewood handles that are ergonomically designed for maximum balance and comfort.
5Victorinox Swiss Classic 15-Piece Cutlery Block Set
Thanks to their cold-rolled tempered steel blades, these knives will surely handle any cutting tasks with no issues to speak of. They also benefit from bolsterless edges to ensure the use of the entire blade when cutting, which also makes them easier to sharpen. At the same time, they have contemporary handles that are textured for better handling, ergonomic, and 100% slip-resistant, a feature we wish more kitchen knives would have.
4AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set
This 18-piece knife set features precision-formed blades with finely sharpened edges to aid in the cutting of almost anything. For this reason, they are equipped with high-quality stainless steel blades and weighted for more balance and control. Furthermore, these knives have triple-riveted, ergonomic handles for a more secure and comfortable grip, a construction that warrants that you wash them by hand for best results.
3Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set
Equipped with ergonomic Santoprene handles, these knives benefit from a superior level of comfort, which when paired with a non-slip grip, make them some of the most maneuverable kitchen knives on the market. This is also exemplified by their high-carbon, no-stain German X50 V15 cutlery steel that resists rust, corrosion, and discoloration. Due to their precision forged construction, they offer more strength and durability than what other knife sets in this price range have to offer.
2Cuisinart C77SS-15PK Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
As a result of their superior high-carbon stainless steel blades, these strong knives can help you perform even the most challenging cutting tasks without having to worry about damaging the knives in any way. With strong, ergonomically designed stainless steel handles, they also stand out as being extremely maneuverable and easy to care for. Easy to clean and even easier to store, this knife set comes with a lifetime warranty that speaks volumes about the quality you can expect.
1Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set
Simplistic yet highly reliable and strong, this 18-piece kitchen knife set from Chicago Cutlery is seen as one of the best on the market today. It features stainless steel forged knives along with a stained pine wood block for easy storage. Designed to be not only reliable but quite attractive from an aesthetic point of view, these knives will provide excellent value in the long run, which is also why they come with a lifetime warranty. Overall, they are perhaps some of the most maneuverable and reliable kitchen knives money can buy.
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Choosing A Kitchen Knife Set
When choosing a kitchen knife set, you should first pay attention to the essentials; mainly how many pieces the set contains and whether you can really employ all of them over time. While three or four knives should normally be enough for a normal household, it still couldn’t hurt to have more knives on hand if need be. Perhaps the most important pieces in this regard are the paring knives used for peeling, trimming, and cutting food into small pieces, a chef’s knife that serves a more multi-purpose role, and a serrated knife for cutting bread, squishy vegetables, and delicate fruits.
Knife Set Contents
Even though you are advised to see the purchase of a kitchen knife set as a long-term investment, you might want to first make sure that whatever pieces the set contains fit your cooking habits and whether not it would be wise to get the set in the first place. We say this because most of these sets are quite pricey, a good enough reason as any to pay close attention to the types of knives each set contains. On average, these are the knives you can expect to find in a kitchen knife set:
Utility blade – A knife with a utility blade fits an all-purpose role and can be used for handling smaller pieces or cutting larger ingredients into smaller portions.
Meat cleaver – Although not all sets can be expected to contain a meat cleaver, those that do tend to stand out for all the right reasons. A cleaver enables you to slice up chicken, ribs, and larger meat pieces.
Vegetable cleaver – Similar to the meat cleaver, this piece is mostly used for chopping up and dicing vegetables or herbs. For this reason, it can also be used as a general chef’s knife, which is precisely what many people tend to do.
Fillet knife – This knife has a more simplistic role, that of filleting a fish, so its use is pretty much self-explanatory.
Boning knife – You use a boning knife to remove meat from a bird, ham, or roast, and to prepare meat-based recipes that require any amount of de-boning.
Carving blade – A carving blade is used for slicing thin pieces of meat from roasts, turkeys, chicken, or ham.
Honing steel – The purpose of a honing steel is to keep the edges of your knives sharp and ready at all times.
Kitchen shears – This piece enjoys a more versatile use in a kitchen, from cutting up food packaging to breaking down a chicken and cutting herbs.
Bread knife – Any respectable kitchen knife set should contain a bread knife, which is perhaps one of the most useful knifes in any modern kitchen.
Kitchen knives can be quite lightweight nowadays, many thanks to the sophisticated alloys used in their making. While older knives were characterized by their weight and handling, lighter modern knives can not only meet the same standards but even surpass them. For this reason, it usually comes down to personal preference more than anything, even though it would still be advised that you don’t buy knives that are too light in weight.
Closely related to the weight, the overall handling of a kitchen knife determines its utility and long-range reliability. This is precisely why high-quality kitchen knives have comfortable grips to prevent fatigue along with an anti-slip texture to ensure that they don’t slip out of your hand when performing difficult cuts. In other words, a good kitchen knife should allow you to handle it with maximum dexterity without the risks of damaging the knife in any way.
You determine the balance of a knife by checking if the cutting motion is smooth when doing it repeatedly. A good knife should also allow you to cut through particularly tough ingredients without any extra effort on your part, thus reducing the strain on your hands, wrists, and forearms. For a knife to do that, the balance has to be evenly distributed between the blade and the handle, in order to give you full control over the cutting process.
Even though knives are available in a variety of materials, you should always look for carbon steel blades, stainless steel, signature stainless steel alloys, or ceramic. In this regard, carbon steel blades are easy to sharpen and maintain their edge longer than regular knives. Stainless steel knives, on the other hand, stand out through their corrosion resistance, whereas signature stainless steel alloys tend to employ the best out of carbon steel and stainless steel knives. With ceramic knives, you get a razor-sharp edge that will cut through virtually anything, albeit at the risk of chipping easily.