How to Choose the Best Kitchen Knife Set for You
The best kitchen knife sets:
- 18-piece Colossal Knife Set with Block White Handles | Gladiator Series
- 12 Piece Knife Block Set | Shadow Black Series
- 5-Piece Block Set | Shogun Series ELITE
- 3 Piece Paring Knife Set | Shogun Series
- 5-Piece Knife Block Set | Quantum 1 Series
1. What is a Kitchen Knife Set?
When it comes time to start building out your kitchen knife collection, you have a couple of different ways to go. You could start building it out individually, purchasing each knife one by one; this has the benefit of allowing you to slowly figure out what your preferences are, and exactly what types of knives you need.
However, this can also be pretty expensive, not to mention time-consuming. Some home cooks prefer to make a purchase of several kitchen knives at once, and the best way to do this is by purchasing a kitchen knife set.
A kitchen knife set is a collection of kitchen knives sold together (usually at a lower price than you would pay by purchasing each knife individually). This is a way to kind of “fast-track” a kitchen knife collection.
Kitchen knife sets typically include an assortment of different knife types to cover any need that arises in the kitchen. Depending on the size of the kitchen knife set you purchase, it might come with some extremely specific specialty knives, or it may come with just the essentials. Of course, what constitutes the essentials is also within contention. We’ll get to that a little later.
2. Why You Need a Kitchen Knife Set
There are a few advantages to purchasing a kitchen knife set rather than building your kitchen knife collection one by one. The main advantage is the cost. Purchasing knives individually tend to be more expensive, while purchasing knives that are bundled together usually results in savings.
Being able to quickly have an assortment of different knife types is also an advantage worth mentioning. You don’t know that you really need a paring knife until the moment you have a task that would be uniquely suited for a paring knife. If you went the one-by-one route, you’d then have to stop everything and purchase a paring knife or simply use a different, less-perfectly-suited knife for the occasion. Either option is imperfect.
This one might seem a little silly, but another advantage of purchasing a kitchen knife set is that the knives all tend to be from the same series, which means they share a clear aesthetic style. That means that your knives match each other, rather than just seeming like a quickly-assembled random collection of knives.
Finally, some kitchen knife sets come with decorative storage blocks that make them beautiful display pieces on your kitchen counter.
3. Essential Knives in a Kitchen Knife Set
It should be mentioned that there are kitchen knife sets dedicated to a single type of knife – for instance, you can purchase a 5-knife steak knife set, which will make every dinner guest at your place happy. Or you can get a kitchen knife set of just paring knives.
But for kitchen knife sets that purport to offer a selection of various types of knives, the most common types of knives included are the chef’s knife, the paring knife, the serrated bread knife, the utility knife, and in some cases the santoku knife.
Ask around, though, and you’ll find those that say that kitchen shears belong in any well-balanced kitchen knife set. There are all kinds of takes on this particular subject.
4. How to Choose the Best Kitchen Knife Set for You
There’s a lot to look for when it comes to picking out your kitchen knife set. Let’s take a look at some of the main criteria.
This has to do with what we just discussed. Are you buying a set of steak knives for the next time you have company over for a nice steak? Or are you looking for a well-balanced assortment of kitchen knives that’ll allow you to tackle any culinary task that comes up in your kitchen? Do you need a set that includes kitchen shears? Do you need BBQ equipment? Etc.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, of course. These are things you have to figure out for yourself, as it’s all about what your wants and needs are as a chef.
The question here is: do you want a set of knives you can show off in a nice knife block? Or is that not really a big deal at all? Knife blocks are great because they turn your kitchen knives into a decorative piece for your kitchen. They also make your knives very easy to quickly access; simply slide them out of the knife block instead of rummaging through drawers.
Counter space tends to be a concern when it comes to knife blocks, and it makes sense that it would. If you live in an apartment with a small kitchen, you need to make sure you’re making the most out of every inch of counter space. Thankfully, there are some knife blocks that you can fold up and stow away quite easily.
One thing I’ve learned in the time since I’ve become a kitchen knife connoisseur (of sorts) is that there is no single factor more important in the overall quality of a kitchen knife than what it’s made out of. I went from thinking all knives were made of “pretty much the same thing” to scouring the internet looking for information about how different types of steel interact together.
For instance: Carbon steel, a component made from a metal alloy consisting of carbon and steel. Carbon helps to make the steel much stronger and more durable, allowing it to hold its sharp edge for much longer. The only downside is that carbon steel knives are prone to rusting, making them somewhat high-maintenance.
Stainless steel knives are great, and some of the most common ones you’ll find in kitchen knife sets. They sharpen very easily and are a breeze to take care of. But every material has its drawbacks, and stainless steel tends to lose its edge a little easier than others (that’s why it’s important to know how to sharpen your knives).
Damascus steel knives feature a metal alloy that combines the hardness of carbon steel and the flexibility of stainless steel. It has a carbon core with a stainless exterior. Knives that feature Damascus steel tend to be pricier than other materials. So, as you can see, every material has benefits and drawbacks.
Every kitchen knife type will have a different ideal height. Paring knives, for instance, go anywhere from 3 to 4 inches long, since they’re meant to be used for small, precise cuts. It all depends on their intended tasks.
Chef’s knives, which are multipurpose kitchen powerhouses, tend to hover around the 8” range – they’re meant to work on just about everything. And then there are knives that are designed to break down large pieces of meat, such as a breaking knife, than can be upwards of 14” long. It all depends on the knife and what it’s meant for.
The takeaway here is that if you’re looking for variety, your kitchen knife set should reflect that with a variety of sizes.
Weight & balance
Kitchen knives that feel like flimsy little nothings are probably towards the lower end of the quality spectrum. A good quality kitchen knife feels substantial without being heavy, uncomfortable, or awkward. Some of the cheaper knives out there are way too light and you just know you’ll be throwing them out within days.
When we talk about balance, we are referring to the weight distribution of the knife. It’s important that there is equal weight distribution between the handle and the blade. If it’s too heavy on the blade, you’ll find it hard and cumbersome to use; if the grip itself is the heaviest part, you won’t be using it at its full potential and you’ll find it uncomfortable.
This is one of those “you’ll know it when you feel it” scenarios, but that’s something you’ll pick up pretty quickly when you start trying kitchen knives.
5. The Best Kitchen Knife Sets to Buy
Now that you know the main things you should be looking for in a kitchen knife set, let’s take a look at some of the best kitchen knife sets available.
We’ll start off with a gorgeous knife block set that includes pretty much anything you would ever need when it comes to kitchen knives. Not only is the variety of kitchen knives top-notch, but they’re also all absolutely stunningly designed, premium quality knives. This set includes 17 knives and a honing rod from Dalstrong’s Gladiator series, which are all precision-forged from a single piece of imported premium quality high-carbon German stainless steel. That not only ensures optimum performance but also durability. Truly one of the best kitchen knife sets you can buy.
This set includes a 9” carving/slicing knife, a 9” bread knife, an 8.5” kiritsuke chef knife, an 8” chef knife, a 7” santoku knife, a 7” nakiri knife, a 6” boning knife, a 6.5” utility knife, a 6” serrated utility knife, a set of 6 straight-edge steak knives, a 3.5” paring knife, a 2.75” bird’s beak paring knife, and a 10” honing steel. They’re housed in a handmade acacia wood block. A beautiful display piece for your kitchen.
- The variety is a huge selling point here, as this assortment of kitchen knives will cover just about every need you might have.
- Top-notch materials, made of high-carbon German stainless steel that has been hand sharpened to 16-18 degrees per side.
- Added chromium for stain resistance, making them quite easy to take care of.
- The handles are ergonomically designed for comfort. Made of premium food-grade ABS polymer.
- To put it bluntly, this set is a lot. While its expansiveness and variety are strong selling points, you should ask yourself if you really need these many knives for your home kitchen.
- While this wood block makes it a gorgeous display piece for your kitchen, it also takes up quite a bit of space. If you’re short on counter space, maybe check some of the other options in this list.
2. 12 Piece Knife Block Set | Shadow Black Series
There are a lot of reasons to love this kitchen knife set. I’ll start off with the fact that it includes an assortment of 12 culinary tools from Dalstrong’s Shadow Black series, which are probably the coolest-looking knives you will ever see. Check out their unique and futuristic look, like something out of a sci-fi film. These are knives that are guaranteed to be conversation pieces.
This kitchen knife set also features a pretty wide variety of top-quality kitchen tools, arming you with just about every single type of knife a home cook will need. The set includes a 9” honing rod, a 9” carving knife, a 9” bread knife, an 8” chef knife, a 7” santoku knife, a 6” filet knife, a 5.5” utility knife, a 3.75” paring knife, and a set of four 5” steak knives.
- One thing you can say about these kitchen knives is that they’re extremely eye-catching, with a midnight black titanium nitride coating and a unique handle geometry.
- Every knife in this set is made of precision forged, ultra sharp, wear resistant, single-piece high carbon 7CR17MOV-X vacuum treated stainless steel.
- These knives are super sharp and sturdy, at 16-18 degrees per side. Optimum balance between sharpness and resilience.
- These knives feature fiber-resin military grade G10 handles.
- Some people are attracted to the utterly unique look of the knives in the Shadow Black series. If you’re one of those, you’ll absolutely love these knives. If you’re not, you might want to look into some of the more traditional-looking knives on this list.
- This premium knife block set is definitely towards the upper end of the price range represented in this list. It’s worth it, but some home cooks might want to start smaller.
If you’re looking for a kitchen knife set that is an absolute showstopper, look no further than the Shogun series X 5-piece block set. Not only does it come with the five most essential knives you’ll need in the kitchen, but it also comes with an absolutely gorgeous handcrafted acacia wood block for storage and looks. Five of the best knives in Dalstrong’s entire arsenal and a storage block make this a fantastic deal.
This knife block set comes with an 8" bread knife, an 8" chef knife, a 7" santoku knife, a 6" utility knife, a 3.5" paring knife, and an absolutely beautiful, handcrafted acacia wood block with stainless steel finishes.
- Every one of these knives is made of 67-layered Damascus steel, sharpened under the ancient 3-step Honbazuke method for a gorgeous finish.
- Rust and corrosion-resistant cladding, very durable knives.
- These knives are super sharp and sturdy, at an incredible 8-12 degree angle per side.
- Ergonomic military-grade G10 handle.
- Though this set comes with five kitchen essentials, it is a little smaller than some of the other sets shared in this list. This makes it ideal for many home cooks, but perhaps you’re looking for a wider set of knives.
- As with any of these kitchen knife sets that include storage blocks, you’re giving up some shelf space in exchange for a nifty presentation, so keep that in mind.
Paring knives are often the unsung heroes of the kitchen. They help you make all manner of extremely precise cuts on fruits, vegetables, and meats. They may not be the all-terrain all-stars like chef’s knives or santoku knives, but they come in extremely handy and deserve their rightful place in your kitchen arsenal. That’s why this 3-piece set of paring knives is such a fantastic idea.
This 3-piece set comes with a serrated paring knife, a straight edge paring knife, and a turning paring knife.
- These 3 paring knives are made of AUS-10V Japanese super steel core with 67-layer Damascus, sharpened under the ancient 3-step Honbazuke method.
- Beautiful design, featuring the Shogun series X’s unique blade pattern.
- These knives are super sharp, at 8-12 degrees per side.
- Ergonomic fiber-resin military-grade G10 handle.
- Of course, this set is strictly for paring knives. If you’re looking for other types of knives, check out some of the other kitchen knife sets available on this list.
- If you’re not someone who does a lot of peeling, paring, slicing, coring, or scoring, perhaps you don’t need 3 paring knives in your collection.
5. 5-Piece Knife Block Set | Quantum 1 Series
We’ve established that we’re fans of the more unusual-looking knife designs here, so this knife set (and accompanying wood block) features some of our favorite designs. The knives in Dalstrong’s Quantum 1 series are all about momentum and forward movement, combining truly awe-inspiring kitchen performance as well as stylish looks.
This knife block set comes with an 8.5” chef knife, a 7” santoku knife, a 7” serrated utility knife, a 6.5” curved boning knife, and a 4” paring knife. The block itself also comes with some open slots for you to add more knives to the collection later (if you want).
- Made of precision forged, ultra sharp, wear-resistant, single-piece, high carbon American BD1N-VX steel with a Rockwell Hardness Score of 63+..
- Each knife is full tang, providing great robustness and quality.
- Ergonomic handle shape, which makes them easy to use for extended periods of time.
- Also features the awesome “Nova Prime” blade pattern, which not only looks extremely cool, it also reduces drag on food.
- This is a 5-piece knife set; if you’re looking for something with a bit more variety, check out some of the larger offerings in this list.
- The fact that the knife block comes with two extra spaces might be a bit annoying to some. However, I see it as an upshot; it gives you the opportunity to insert some of your own personality and choices into your knife collection without depending on what somebody else has pre-selected for you.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best kitchen knife set on the market?
There are many great kitchen knife sets available. As far as variety and bang for your buck, our pick for the best kitchen knife set out there is the 18-piece Colossal Knife Set with Block White Handles | Gladiator Series. It features a great selection of top-quality knives. If you want other options, check out our full list above.
What are the 3 main knives that you need in a kitchen?
There are differing opinions on which knives qualify as the most essential kitchen knives, but the general consensus seems to be that the three main knives you need are the chef’s knife, the paring knife, and the bread knife.
What is the best chef knife for beginners?
There are so many options available that would make great starting chef’s knives for beginners, but we’re going to pick the 7” chef’s knife from Dalstrong’s Gladiator series, which is a fantastic knife that handles beautifully.
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