Buyer's Guide Knife Sets

Best Knife Sets in 2021: Buyer’s Guide & the 6 Top Sets

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Magnetic holder

Are you familiar with the differences between a chef’s knife and a paring knife? Do you know what knife to use to cut up fruits and veggies? Many of the best knife sets include these commonly used knives and some specialty knives that can help you prepare your favorite meals in a fraction of the time. But before you run out and buy the first knife set that you come across that’s on sale, it’s important to do a little research and learn about the different types of knives that you’ll commonly come across in a set, how they work, what materials are the most durable, and how to choose knives that can hold an edge for longer. This buyer’s guide will include all of that information and more. I’ve also tested out many of the best-selling knife sets, narrowing it down to six that will be invaluable in the kitchen, whether you need to carve up a roast or prepare a stew. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each set that made it onto my list, how it rated, how many knives are included in each set, and other important information.

Knife Sets Comparison Chart

ProductSet SizeTangHandle
Material
Rating
Home Hero Knives Set
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17PartialPlastic
Master Maison Cutlery Set
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19FullWood
Emojoy Knife Set
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15FullPakkawood
HENCKELS Statement Knife Set
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15FullWood
McCook MC29 Knife Sets
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15FullStainless Steel
Elegant Life Kitchen Knife Set
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15FullHigh Carbon
Stainless Steel

Home Hero 17 Pieces Kitchen Knives Set


Our Rating: (5/5)

This all-in-one set comes with all the knives you need for a wide range of prepping tasks. This set comes with a total of 13 knives, in addition to a 2-stage knife sharpener, peeler, scissors, and a knife stand. This set will keep all of your knives easily accessible and neatly organized. The blades of the knives are made out of stainless steel and are coated with a nonstick paint. The handles are made out of polypropylene, a type of durable, thick plastic. The handles themselves feature an ergonomic design that makes them comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver.

The set includes some of the most commonly used kitchen knives, including a chef’s knife, steak knives, a paring knife, bread knife, pizza knife, cheese knife, utility knife, and a carving knife.

The included sharpener is easy to use and designed to sharpen a blade within a matter of seconds.

Pros

  • 2-stage sharpener
  • Includes scissors, peeler, and knife stand
  • Stainless steel blades with nonstick coating
  • Low price
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Set comes with 13 knives

Cons

  • Acrylic stand gets dirty easily
  • Partial tang

Conclusion

This set includes 13 of the most commonly used kitchen knives, including a set of steak knives. The set also comes with some great extras, including a modern knife stand, peeler, and kitchen scissors. While for some, plastic handles may sound like a drawback, PP is a durable, thick material that’s easy to clean and sanitize. This set is offered at a reasonable price and includes all the knives you’ll need for everyday use and special meal prep.

Master Maison German Stainless Steel Cutlery Set


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

According to the manufacturer, this is a pro-quality set of stainless steel knives. This set includes the following knives: 8 steak knives and santoku, bread, utility, serrated, slicing, carving, paring, and chef’s knives. You’ll also get a knife block for fast and simple storage, cooking scissors, and a knife sharpener. Each of the knives is made out of a single piece of high carbon stainless steel, which results in razor sharp blades that hold an edge longer. The ergonomic handles are made out of a thick wood that’s painted black and riveted in place for added durability. The knives are well-balanced, providing more control when slicing, dicing, mincing, and carving.

Pros

  • Well-balanced
  • Blades are made out of high carbon stainless steel
  • Includes knife block, scissors, and sharpener
  • Knives hold an edge longer
  • Comes with a set of 8 steak knives
  • Ergonomic handles

Cons

  • Must be washed by hand
  • Wood handles are susceptible to bacteria growth

Conclusion

This beautiful set of black handled knives comes with a large knife block where you can safely store your set and protect the blades from damage. The knives themselves hold a sharp edge for a long period of time, however, when they do need to be sharpened, you can use the included knife sharpener for a fine, razor sharp edge in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the manufacturer clearly stands behind its products, which is made evident with the unlimited 1-year warranty that allows you to exchange your cutlery in the event the blades become damaged, stained, or they begin to corrode. This set will work well for cooks of all skill levels and can be used for both commercial and home use.

Emojoy Knife Set


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This large 15-piece set includes knives that come equipped with ergonomic Pakkawood handles, with a beautiful cherry wood hue. The knife blades are made out of high carbon stainless steel and equipped with a durable bolster that promotes control and stability. The blades themselves will not change colors or become stained.

This set includes:

  • 8-inch slicing knife
  • 6 4.5-inch steak knives
  • 5-inch paring knife
  • 5-inch utility knife
  • 8-inch bread knife
  • Sharpener
  • Scissors

These knives must be washed by hand and dried promptly. All of the knives can be stored in the included matching knife block.

Pros

  • Handles are triple riveted
  • Includes full set of steak knives
  • Comes with knife block, sharpener, and kitchen scissors
  • Blades will not rust or change color over time
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Well-balanced

Cons

  • Knives must be washed by hand
  • Heavy chemical smell fresh out of the box

Conclusion

This set of knives is rust-resistant, easy to sharpen and maintain, and has a reputation for holding an edge longer than average. The knife handles are comfortable to hold and durable, giving the knives a well-balanced feel. The forged bolsters also add some nice heft and balance to the design, making this set a great choice for new cooks.

HENCKELS Statement Knife Block Set


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This knife set by Henckels includes:

  • 3-inch paring knife
  • 5-inch serrated utility
  • 7-inch santoku
  • 8-inch chef’s knife
  • 8-inch bread knife
  • 6 steak knives with a 4.5-inch blade
  • Knife sharpener
  • Hardwood block

These knives are made out of high-quality stainless steel, with handles that are made out of a thick plastic. The blades have a beautiful satin finish and have been finely honed for improved edge retention.

The knives feature a stamped blade construction, so they’re significantly lighter than knives that have been forged. They also have a full tang design, which improves a knife’s overall durability. The handles have an ergonomic design, complete with endcaps and triple rivets.

In many cases, a professional chef will prefer a forged knife over a stamped knife, since forged knives are made from a single piece of metal, and because of that, they’re more durable, and heavier. Despite the lightweight design, these knives are well-balanced, easy to control, and offer excellent cutting power.

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Knife sharpener
  • Triple riveted handles
  • Ergonomic design
  • Full tang
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Stamped construction
  • Handles are made out of plastic

Conclusion

This set of kitchen knives come with all the cutlery you need to prepare a wide range of dishes. The stamped construction may be a deal breaker for the serious cook, since forged knives have a better reputation for durability. However, for the price and considering the size of the set and its overall quality, these knives are a steal for the price.

McCook MC29 Knife Sets


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The latest knife set by McCook, the MC29 is rust-resistant and tarnish resistant, thanks to the high carbon stainless steel construction. According to the manufacturer, these knives are culinary school quality. The blades themselves are impressively sharp, due to the exclusive taper grind edge design that offers optimal sharpness for precise cuts. Because of the blade quality, sharpening these knives is also a cinch. The handles of the knives are made out of stainless steel, for ultimate durability. The knives are well-balanced for precision cutting and easier handling. The set includes a knife block for storage, which is equipped with a built-in sharpener.

  • This 15-piece set includes the following knives:
    2 pairs of kitchen scissors
  • 6 steak knives that are equipped with blades that measure in at 4.5-inches
  • 5-inch paring knife
  • 5-inch utility knife
  • 5-inch serrated utility knife
  • 5-inch santoku knife
  • 8-inch slicing knife
  • 8-inch chef’s knife

These knives must be washed by hand and dried immediately after to prevent spots.

Pros

  • Tarnish resistant
  • Rust resistant
  • Durable
  • Well-balanced
  • Designed for precision cuts
  • Includes knife sharpener

Cons

  • Must be washed by hand

Conclusion

This set comes with many of the everyday knives you need to prepare a wide range of dishes. The handles may not be the most comfortable to hold, since they lack an ergonomic design, so this set may not be the best choice for commercial use. However, for home use, most buyers will find the knives well-balanced, easy to use, and perfect for meal prep.

Elegant Life 15-Piece Kitchen Knife Set


Our Rating: (4/5)

This 15-piece set of knives by Elegant Life features a forged design, complete with precise tempering and hand polished edges. The blades have also been hand sharpened. The blades are made out of high carbon stainless steel for cutting accuracy and precision.

Inside this set, you’ll find:

  • 6 steak knives
  • Paring knife
  • Utility knife
  • Santoku knife
  • Bread knife
  • Slicing knife
  • Chef’s knife
  • Knife sharpener
  • Scissors

The handles are made out of wood and feature a beautiful Pakkawood grain design.

Pros

  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Rust resistant high carbon steel
  • Ergonomic design
  • Pakkawood handles
  • Knife block for easy storage
  • Well-balanced

Cons

  • Knives must be washed by hand
  • Blades require frequent sharpening

Conclusion

If you’re looking for knives that are display worthy, this set by Elegant Life is it.

This set comes with the most commonly used knives for home kitchens and features the type of durable design that allows them to easily withstand daily use. Because of the natural Pakkawood handles, this set must be washed and dried by hand, to prevent damage.

Knife Sets Buyer’s Guide

Kitchen knives are essential tools that make prepping meals easier. If you’re tired of your dull, worn out kitchen knives and need new knives that can handle all the prep work for your favorite pressure cooker recipes, then this guide can help you choose the perfect set.

I’ll go over what features to look for and which knives will be invaluable in the kitchen.

Because you’ll find yourself using these knives every time you cook, you need to focus on a set that’s durable, easy to maintain, and blades that can hold an edge longer.

Since there are dozens of different types of knives on the market, finding a set that includes all the knives you need may seem impossible. While it will definitely take a little research on your part, you’ll find that many of the best-selling sets include knives that you need on a daily basis, whether you’re slicing tomatoes, preparing a clean eating pressure cooker recipe, or carving a turkey.

Below, I’ll start this buyer’s guide off by first going over the different types of knives that you’ll commonly come across when you’re shopping for a new set.

Types of Kitchen Knives

various kitchen knives

Unless you’re a professional chef, you probably can’t think of too many different styles of knives.  However, there are many styles and types of knives that will be a true asset in any kitchen.

Chef’s Knife

This type of knife features a straight edge and a curved belly. The length of the blade can vary from as little as six-inches up to fourteen-inches. On average, you’ll come across a chef’s knife that’s approximately eight inches in length. This is a type of multipurpose knife that can be used for everything from chopping up fruits and veggies to cutting up large pieces of beef. This knife can also easily handle slicing, dicing, and mincing.

Paring

A paring knife is much smaller than a chef’s knife and has a blade length of three to four inches. This knife does the type of finer work that a chef’s knife can’t handle, such as slicing small veggies, peeling fruit, and deveining shrimp.

Utility

This knife has the same function and appearance as a chef’s knife, but it’s more versatile because of its smaller size. The blade length ranges from four to seven inches. This was the go-to multipurpose knife before the rise of the chef’s knife. These days, a utility knife is mostly used to prepare small dishes or cut fine pieces of meat.

Bread Knife

Bread knives have large serrations, which is what makes it one of the most recognizable knives in the kitchen. This type of blade has a length of around ten inches. Obviously, the main purpose of the bread knife is to slice through loaves of bread, which it does impressively well. Because of the knife’s serrations, its use is pretty limited, however, it also does a great job of finely slicing through tomatoes.

Steak Knife

Steak knives are often used at the dinner table to cut through tough pieces of meat such as steak or pork chops.

Cleaver

A cleaver is a large knife that features a rectangular blade. In order to be effective, the blade of the knife doesn’t even have to be sharp. The cleaver is commonly used to cut through meat and soft bones. It can also come in handy when you’re trying to slice through tough fruits and veggies.

Carving

The carving knife is what you’ll use to carve up a roast, ham, or turkey. These knives are very large, with some that have a blade length of fifteen inches. This knife can be used to thinly slice fish, poultry, and meat. However, this knife makes larger cuts that are not very precise.

Slicing

A slicing knife can make thinner, cleaner cuts, compared to the carving knife. This makes it a good choice if you need a knife that can thin sliced meat for sandwiches. You may also come across slicers that have a specific use, such as a turkey slicer.

Boning

A boning knife is flexible, narrow, thin, and has a blade that’s around five inches. This knife is commonly used to remove bones from fish, poultry, and meat.

Fillet Knife

This knife is very similar to a boning knife, however, it’s more flexible. It’s also longer than a boning knife, with a length that ranges from six inches up to eleven inches.

This knife can be used to prepare fish and comes in handy when separating fish flesh from the skin.

Tomato Knife

This very small knife is often serrated and has a fork tip that you can use to grab tomato slices. The main purpose of this knife is to slice tomatoes, but it can also be used to cut small pieces of cooked meat or pieces of bread.

Peeling Knives

Peeling knives are considered a specialized type of paring knife. It comes equipped with a smaller blade that’s very short and curves to a point. This knife can be used to make decorative garnishes or intricate cuts.

Sandwich Knife

This knife is similar to a bread knife and features a blade that’s serrated and long and is used to slice through sandwich bread. The biggest difference between a bread knife and a sandwich knife is that the sandwich knife usually features an upswept handle, which allows the blade to make direct contact with a cutting board, while leaving space for the user’s knuckles.

Other Important Features

A good set of kitchen knives

I’ve gone over the most common types of knives that you’ll find in a set, now, let’s take a look at the other features you’ll want to keep an eye out for, including:

  • Blade material
  • Handle material
  • Stamped or forged knives
  • Serrated or straight edge blades
  • Tang design
  • Knife blocks
  • Magnetic knife strips

Blade Material

One of the most important specs you’ll want to pay attention to is blade material. The type of material the blades are made out of can give you a good indication of how durable the knives are, how well they will cut, and how long they will last. Carbon steel and stainless steel are the most popular options.

Stainless Steel

The biggest advantage of this material is the fact that it’s less likely to rust compared to knives that have a higher carbon content. While this type of metal excels when it comes to stain resistance, it tends to suffer in performance. Of course, this will depend on the type of stainless steel, but typically, knives that have a stainless steel blade need to be sharpened often.

Carbon Steel

Non-stainless steel with a carbon content of 1% are categorized as carbon steels. This type of metal doesn’t possess a high amount of chromium and usually includes alloys such as vanadium and manganese. Carbon steel is valued for its lower price and its ability to hold an edge longer than stainless steel knives. These knives are also easier to sharpen. The biggest disadvantage is the material’s susceptibility to stains. Even with careful maintenance, blades that are made out of carbon steel go through the process of oxidation. This means a blade will develop a patina, which changes the color and texture of the steel.

High-Carbon Stainless Steel

This type of steel has a higher carbon content compared to traditional stainless steel. A high carbon steel is basically a type of high-grade stainless steel alloy. The metal’s higher carbon content will allow for improved edge retention, blade strength, and cutting ability. This type of steel offers the best of both worlds and will not change colors like regular carbon steel.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no industry standard concerning high carbon steel, so you may come across knives on the market that don’t have a carbon content of more than 1%. Additionally, if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be disappointed by the knife’s higher price tag.

Ceramic

Ceramic blades rarely need to be sharpened. They can also handle harsh environments and will not rust. Additionally, ceramic is lightweight and exceptionally hard. This means that once the blade has been sharpened, it will retain its razor-sharp edge for several weeks, depending on how often you use the knife.

But while advances in technology have made this type of blade more durable and stronger, the blades tend to remain more brittle than blades made out of steel. A ceramic blade may be able to keep an edge longer than steel, but once the blade becomes dull, you’ll need to have it sharpened by a professional.

Titanium

Titanium blades are found on a very small number of knife sets. This is a much softer material compared to the alternatives. The biggest asset of blades made out of titanium is the metal’s neutral composition. This means it will not have a chemical reaction with food. Additionally, it’s more flexible than steel.

But if price is an issue, you’ll be disappointed to learn this type of material is very expensive and considered more of a specialty material, one that’s not really optimized for cutlery because it doesn’t offer the same type of impressive cutting performance as harder metals.

Handle Materials

One of the best cooking tips an experienced cook will give you regarding choosing a new knife set is to find knives that are comfortable to use. Aside from the knife blade, the knife handle is the most important part of a knife. Why? Because regardless of how good a knife cuts through even the toughest foods, if it’s uncomfortable to use, you’re not going to use it.

The most common types of materials used for knife handles are as follows:
Wood

Wood is one of the most common handle materials used. Softer types of wood can feel very comfortable on the hands. Additionally, because there are so many types of wood to choose from, you can find handles that are made from a wide range of woods including oak, maple, and olive wood.

Unfortunately, there are also plenty of downsides to choosing a knife set with wooden handles. To start, wooden handles tend to be very susceptible to bacteria growth.

Wood also isn’t quite as durable as other handle materials and often requires more care and should be washed by hand.

Laminate

Laminated handles are made out of plastic resin and laminated wood composites. These handles are becoming more popular because they look very similar to traditional wooden handles, but they’re more sanitary and more durable.

Synthetics

Synthetic handles can include materials such as santoprene, plastic, and fibrox. A synthetic handle is one that’s made out of man-made materials. These knives are much easier to maintain compared to those equipped with wood handles, since synthetic materials do not absorb bacteria. However, when they’re exposed to extreme temperatures, the handles can become more brittle. Constant exposure to harmful UV rays can also cause a significant amount of wear. Because these materials are so light, it can also cause an imbalance in the knife.

Stamped & Forged Blades

Kitchen knife blades are usually manufactured two ways: stamped or forged.

Forged

When a blade is forged, it’s made out of one piece of metal that has been heated up, then pounded into the blade shape. The next step is heating the blade up an additional time, then cooling it down quickly and tempering it. The blade is polished, then sharpened.

Forged blades are often thicker, feature a heavier construction, and are usually more expensive than stamped blades.

Stamped

A stamped blade is made in a machine and cut from a piece of steel, with the use of a hydraulic press. The blade is then heat-treated, ground and sharpened. These blades are often thinner than forged blades, feature a lightweight construction and are more affordable.

Some professional cooks believe that a forged knife is the best option. However, manufacturing processes have changed. Advances in technology have made some types of stamped blades just as durable as forged blades. While most pros still opt for forged blades, due to their reputation for durability, a novice cook probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

Straight Edge & Serrated

Straight edge knives are more versatile and useful in the kitchen. Their plan edge is optimal when you have to make push cuts through tough food, instead of sawing through it.

Serrated blades are not as commonly used as a straight edge blade. Tomatoes and bread are the most common foods you’ll find yourself using a serrated blade on. If you try to use a push cut on both types of food, both will get crushed.

Tang

A knife tang is the metal portion of the knife that extends into its handle. Knives with a full tang feature metal from the blade that extends through the entire handle. Full tang knives are very durable, well-balanced, with a handle that’s slightly heavier than the blade. This provides more control over the knife.

Knifes with a partial tang are made with metal that only extends along the top of the handle.

Knife Block

When you purchase a set, most manufacturers will include a knife block to store your set. These blocks are great because they offer a beautiful presentation in kitchens and don’t take up too much space. These blocks are available in a wide range of styles, so you can easily find one that will work with the existing décor in your kitchen.

A block will come with dedicated slots for each type of knife in a set. While a block keeps your knives readily accessible, it also ensures you keep all of the knives in the set stored together, safely.

Magnetic Strips

Some sets will come with a magnetic knife strip instead of a knife block. These strips can be mounted on a wall, so they can also save some precious counterspace.

Knife Sharpeners

You will also come across sets that include a knife sharpener. These usually come in the form of a ceramic sharpener that’s built right into the knife block, or a honing rod. Both types of sharpeners come with their own pros and cons but sets that come with a sharpening tool are a great buy. If you’ve never sharpened a knife before, read the user’s manual to learn how to use the included sharpener.

Honing Rods

These rods are designed to hone a knife blade; however, some styles can also do some minor sharpening. The four most common types of honing rods include:

  • Ceramic
  • Combination
  • Diamond
  • Regular

Most honing rods in a knife set can both hone and sharpen, although they won’t offer the high-quality sharpened edges that a sharpening stone can.

Built-In Knife Block Sharpeners

Some sets will come with a knife block with a built-in ceramic or stone knife sharpener. This is by far the easiest type of sharpener to use and it can quickly sharpen a dull knife with just a few strokes.

Price

The price of a knife set will depend on the types of materials used for both the blades and the handles, whether the knife is forged or stamped, and how many pieces are in the set. In most cases, you can find a great knife set for around $100-$150. You’ll come across many sets in a wide variety of price points, ranging from $50 to $500. How much you spend on a new knife set will depend on your budget and how much you want to invest in a new set. If you cook often, then spending more on a high-quality set that’s designed to last several years can be totally worth it. If you’re on a tight budget, you can still find affordable sets that can offer the type of durability you need in a set you’ll use daily, just don’t expect them to last as long as the higher priced sets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Expensive Knives Worth it?

Whether you’re a pro chef or you want a new set of knives for home use, yes, an expensive set of knives will definitely be worth it, especially considering they can save you plenty of time in the kitchen.

What Steel Holds the Sharpest Edge?

According to experts, the answer is carbon steel. These blades are considered the sharpest blades on the market and they’re much easier to sharpen compared to other types of metal, such as stainless steel.

What Kind of Knife Never Needs Sharpening?

Serrated knives don’t need to be sharpened. Their jagged teeth can still cut, even when the blade is dull.

Final Thoughts

The best knife sets will include all of the most commonly used knives in the kitchen, such as a chef’s knife, paring knife, and a utility knife. It will also provide you with a safe way to store the knives, whether it’s a magnetic knife strip or knife block. Most importantly, the knife set you buy should be durable, designed for daily use, and easy to sharpen and maintain. The knife sets that made it onto my top six list each feature knives that are designed for commercial kitchen and home use. With this list of the best-selling sets and my buyer’s guide, you should have no trouble finding the perfect set of knives for your kitchen, based on your cooking needs, cooking style, and budget.