What To Look For In A Good Knife Set

A photo of the 6 Piece Knife Set Dragon Spire | Phantom Series | Dalstrong6 Piece Knife Set Dragon Spire Phantom Series Dalstrong

A quality kitchen knife set, displayed in an elegant wooden block or a magnetic holder, isn't just a fancy kitchen accessory. It's a culinary essential and a vital investment for your culinary adventures.

1. Why Every Kitchen Deserves A Good Knife Set

A photo of the 5-Piece Block Set Shadow Black Series | Knives NSF Certified | Dalstrong on top of a kitchen table.5-Piece Block Set Shadow Black Series Knives NSF Certified Dalstrong

Whether you're a novice home cook or a seasoned chef, having the right tools at your disposal makes a world of difference. Lacking the right knives for your culinary adventures not only hampers your cooking efficiency but also compromises safety. A well-chosen knife set can help you execute a variety of tasks with ease and precision.

A good knife set aids in efficiency.

Picture this: instead of a random collection of dull and mismatched tools, you have an array of finely crafted knives, each honed to perfection and suited to a specific task. From slicing a warm, crusty bread loaf with a serrated bread knife to dicing juicy tomatoes with a sharp paring knife or carving into a large ham with a sturdy carving knife, having the right tool for the job can dramatically enhance your culinary experience. With a comprehensive set of knives, you're well-equipped to tackle any cooking challenge with ease and confidence.

A good knife set has aesthetic value.

Beyond functionality, a good knife set brings aesthetic value to your kitchen. Typically, knife sets are housed in a beautifully designed knife block or magnetic knife holder. Picture a sleek wood block, polished to a glossy finish and filled with a collection of high-carbon stainless steel blades glinting under your kitchen lights. It's not just a storage solution; it's a statement piece. This combination of design and utility elevates the humble knife set from a mere tool to a showcase of style and craftsmanship.

A good knife set makes your knives easier to find and reach.

In the rhythm and flow of cooking, accessibility matters. Instead of rummaging through crowded drawers to find the knife you need, it's better to have a neat, organized selection of knives at your fingertips, ready to be called upon into action. It's about creating a seamless culinary experience, where every tool is within easy reach. A well-placed kitchen knife block set ensures that you're armed and ready to perform your culinary magic at a moment's notice.

2. Different Types Of Knife Sets

A photo of the 5-Piece Knife Set with Modular Block Gladiator Series | Knives NSF Certified | Dalstrong5-Piece Knife Set with Modular Block Gladiator Series Knives NSF Certified Dalstrong

Okay, so you've decided maybe you should get a knife set after all. Good for you! But what type of knife set should you get? Let's talk about some of the more common types of knife sets.

Basic knife sets

These are the essentials. The most commonly used knives, including a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife. This type of set is perfect for those starting their culinary journey or needing to replace the essentials in their kitchen. 

Steak knife sets

If you're a meat lover, this set might be for you. Steak knife sets typically consist of four to eight steak knives. These knives are specifically designed to cut through steak effortlessly, providing a seamless dining experience. These aren't really sets for cooking, but for dining with friends and loved ones.

Comprehensive knife sets

These sets go beyond the essentials. They typically include a variety of specialty knives, such as a boning knife, a nakiri knife, and a carving knife, along with a honing steel for maintaining the sharpness of your blades. They may also come with extras like kitchen shears or a set of steak knives

Professional Knife Sets

For the serious home cook or professional chef, these sets offer a wide range of high-quality knives, designed for precise and specific tasks. In addition to the standard knives, they may include specialty knives like a fillet knife, a cleaver, or a cheese knife.

Japanese Knife Sets

These sets focus on Japanese-style knives, like the santoku knife or the nakiri, known for their sharpness and precision. Japanese knife sets are often highly valued by chefs for their superior cutting performance.

Each type of knife set offers something unique, so choose the one that best fits your cooking style and needs. No matter the choice, a quality knife set is a valuable addition to any kitchen.

3. Qualities of a Good Knife Set

A photo of the 18-piece Colossal Knife Set with Block Red Handles | Gladiator Series | Knives NSF Certified | Dalstrong18-piece Colossal Knife Set with Block Red Handles Gladiator Series Knives Dalstrong

So how do you know if you've found a good knife set? It's about more than just throwing money at the most expensive, fanciest-looking knife set on the market. To select a quality set that meets your needs and lasts for years, you need to consider the materials used, the variety of knives included, the comfort and balance of the knives, and the knife block (if it has one).


The blade material is one of the most important aspects. It plays a crucial role in the performance and longevity of a knife. High-quality kitchen knife sets are typically crafted from robust steel, either German or Japanese.

These materials are highly regarded in the culinary world, with German steel known for its toughness and edge retention, and Japanese steel praised for its sharpness and lightness. Among these, high-carbon stainless steel is a popular choice for top-tier brands such as Wüsthof classic and Shun Premier, due to its balance of sharpness, durability, and corrosion resistance.


A well-rounded knife set should offer a range of knives designed for specific tasks. At a minimum, your set should include a chef's knife (usually an 8-inch chefs knife), a bread knife, a paring knife, a serrated utility knife, and a santoku knife. Each knife has a distinct role in the kitchen, from slicing and dicing to chopping and mincing. Some sets might even include additional tools, such as a honing steel or kitchen shears, further expanding your culinary capabilities.


Comfort and balance are key considerations that can significantly affect your cooking experience. A well-balanced knife feels secure and comfortable in your hand, reducing the risk of strain or injury during prolonged use. Many high-quality knives feature a triple rivet handle for superior balance and control. Other design features, such as a hollow handle, can reduce the knife's weight and improve its maneuverability.

Knife block

A knife block or storage block is more than a stylish accessory for your countertop; it's a practical component that ensures safety and maintains the condition of your knives. Knife blocks can vary widely in design, from traditional wooden blocks to sleek magnetic knife holders. Some knife blocks may even include built-in sharpeners for added convenience. 

By keeping your knives neatly organized and protected from accidental damage, a knife block helps to preserve the sharpness and longevity of your blades. 

A good knife set is one that aligns with your cooking habits and kitchen setup, offering high-quality materials, a variety of knives, and a practical storage solution. Focus on that, and you're golden.

4. Must-Have Knives in a Good Knife Set

A photo of the Block Set 8-Piece Crusader Series | NSF Certified | DalstrongBlock Set 8-Piece Crusader Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

While the number and variety of knives in a set can vary, there are several essentials that you should look out for in a quality knife set. When you're browsing Amazon or any other shop and you're considering an essentials 5 piece set or a 7piece knife block set, here's what you should be on the lookout for:

Chef’s knife

The versatile kitchen hero that handles a broad range of tasks. The chef's knife is the backbone of any "essentials" knife set. This all-rounder is typically about 8 inches in length and is adept at a range of tasks, from chopping and slicing to dicing. It's a trusted companion for everyday meal preparation, which makes it an indispensable tool, whether you're a home cook or a pro chef.

Paring knife

Your go-to for precision tasks and delicate cuts. When precision is key, the paring knife takes center stage. This small, nimble knife is excellent for delicate tasks like peeling fruits, trimming vegetables, and even de-veining shrimp. Its small size allows for better control and precision, making it a must-have for any comprehensive knife set.

Bread knife

A good bread knife makes easy work of crusty loaves, soft buns, ripe tomatoes, and more. Its long, serrated edge allows for smooth, tear-free slices. If you're a bread enthusiast like I am, you need one of these. 

Utility knife

Somewhat of a middle-ground between a chef's knife and a paring knife, the utility knife is often underrated. Slightly smaller than a chef's knife, it's versatile and perfect for an array of tasks, from slicing sandwiches to chopping vegetables. A serrated utility knife can also be very useful, a valuable addition to your arsenal.

Santoku knife

This is the Japanese counterpart to the chef's knife. With its shorter, wider blade and distinctive 'sheep's foot' tip, the Santoku knife is excellent for precision tasks like fine slicing, dicing, and chopping. It's a great addition to diversify your cutting tools and introduce you to a different style of knife usage.

Steak knives

If you're a meat lover, you want some good steak knives. These knives are designed with a sharp, serrated edge to cut through grilled steaks and other meats effortlessly, making dining even more fun and enjoyable.

Some sets also include specialized knives to cater to more specific needs. For instance, a boning knife is designed for removing meat from bones, while a slicing knife is perfect for carving roast meat. Kitchen shears, often overlooked, can be a handy tool for tasks like snipping herbs or opening packages. A well-rounded knife set considers all aspects of kitchen work, ensuring you're well-equipped for any culinary challenge.

5. How to Care For Your Knife Set

A photo of the 6 Piece Knife Set Dragon Spire | Phantom Series | Dalstrong in the kitchen.6 Piece Knife Set Dragon Spire Phantom Series Dalstrong

So you've invested in the perfect knife set for your needs. Maintaining them is critical. Proper care ensures longevity and optimal performance, enabling your knives to serve you well for many years. Here's how you can take care of your prized kitchen tools:


While it might be tempting to toss your knives in the dishwasher after a long cooking session, don't! Always hand wash them. Dishwashers can be harsh on your knives, potentially causing chips or dulling the blade. Hand washing, on the other hand, is gentle and allows you to control the pressure and direction of cleaning. Use warm, soapy water, and always dry your knives immediately to prevent water spots or corrosion. 


Proper storage is not just about organization; it's an essential aspect of knife care. Storing knives correctly can prevent accidental chips, dulling, and potential injury. Your storage could be a wooden block, magnetic strip, or a dedicated knife drawer, depending on your preference and kitchen space. The key is to ensure each knife has its own slot or space, preventing the blades from knocking against each other. Some knife block sets even offer built-in sharpeners for added convenience and blade care.


Even the best quality knives will eventually need sharpening. Over time and with repeated use, knives lose their edge and require a touch-up to restore their cutting prowess. Depending on the type of knives in your set, like a forged knife, you'll need to sharpen them periodically. Some knife block sets come equipped with a built-in sharpener, making blade maintenance even easier. But it's a good idea to invest in sharpening stones, sharpening steel or a professional knife sharpening service for comprehensive blade care.

Remember, maintaining your knife set isn't just about making them look nice; it's about ensuring each knife performs at its best, providing clean, effortless cuts each time. Proper care can also extend the lifespan of your knives, giving you the best value from your investment.

6. Recommended Dalstrong Knife Sets

1. 18 Piece Colossal Knife Set with Block Gladiator Series Knives Dalstrong

18 Piece Colossal Knife Set with Block Gladiator Series | Knives NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Now here's a statement piece. Each knife in this set has been meticulously crafted with the same precision and dedication to quality that has made the Dalstrong Gladiator Series so acclaimed. Not only will this comprehensive set handle all of your culinary needs, but its handsome looks will add a touch of elegance to your kitchen.
This set includes: Carving/slicer (9"), bread knife (9"), kiritsuke chef knife (8.5"), chef knife (8"), santoku knife (7"), nakiri knife (7"), boning knife (6"), utility knife (6.5"), serrated utility knife (6"), six straight edge steak knives (5"), paring knife (3.5"), bird's beak paring knife (2.75"), Gladiator Series honing steel (10"), handmade Acacia wood block


  • The set features knives with high-carbon German steel blades, known for their exceptional sharpness and resistance to wear and stain.
  • Hand sharpened to 16-18 degrees per side, the knives in this set are designed for performance, ensuring ultra-thin slicing and dicing with minimal effort.
  • The set includes a variety of specialized knives, making it a versatile choice for both home cooks and professional chefs.
  • The handcrafted Acacia Wood Block offers a convenient and elegant storage solution, keeping the knives safe and easily accessible.


  • The comprehensive nature of the set may be overwhelming for beginners who are not yet familiar with the function of each knife.
  • It's pretty large, so not the ideal option for people who struggle with counter space.

2. 8-Piece Knife Block Set Gladiator Series Knives NSF Certified Dalstrong

8-Piece Knife Block Set Gladiator Series | Knives NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Is the 18-piece a little too big? Here's an 8-piece Gladiator Series knife block set from Dalstrong. With fewer pieces but the same commitment to excellence as the larger sets in the series, this compact set provides the essential tools needed for most culinary tasks, without overwhelming you with choices. This set is not only practical but also enhances the elegance of your kitchen with its aesthetic appeal.

This set includes: Slicing/carving knife (9"), bread knife (9"), chef’s knife (8"), Santoku (7"), utility knife (6"), serrated knife (5.5"), paring knife (3.75"), honing rod, and Gladiator Series 8-piece Dalstrong Acacia wood block.


  • These knives are precision-forged from a single piece of high-carbon German steel, providing ultra-sharp edges and exceptional stain and wear resistance.
  • The blades are also hand sharpened to 16-18 degrees per side, guaranteeing effortless slicing and dicing.
  • Despite its smaller size, this set includes a versatile selection of essential knives that cater to the needs of both amateur cooks and seasoned chefs.
  • The premium food-grade ABS polymer handle offers durability and resistance to heat, cold, and moisture, while the ergonomic design ensures comfort and easy maneuverability.


  • More experienced chefs or those needing a wider variety of blades may prefer a larger set such as the 18-Piece Colossal Knife Set from the same series listed above.
  • The knife block may take up significant counter space in smaller kitchens.

3. 5-Piece Knife Block Set Shogun Series ELITE Dalstrong

5-Piece Knife Block Set Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

Check out the stunning Shogun Series ELITE 5-piece knife block set. Meticulously crafted to marry traditional elements with industrial modernity, this set exudes unrivaled beauty and performance. The Acacia wood block, richly adorned with stainless steel detailing, becomes an aesthetic centerpiece in your kitchen, while keeping your essential knives at the ready.

This set includes: Bread knife (8"), chef knife (8"), santoku knife (7"), utility knife (6"), Shogun paring knife, and Handcrafted Acacia Wood Block with stainless steel finishes.


  • The blades of these knives are incredibly sharp, with an 8-12° degree angle per side and a 62+ Rockwell hardness, ensuring precision and durability.
  • Shogun Series X knives are absolutely gorgeous, beautifully adorned with the signature Dalstrong Tsunami Rose pattern and exquisite hammered finished blades.
  • The ergonomic military-grade G10 handle is designed for lifelong durability and resistance to heat, cold, and moisture, providing superior hand control, agility, and comfort.
  • The handcrafted Acacia wood block with stainless steel finishes offers a modern and elegant storage solution that beautifully displays your knives.


  • With only five pieces, this set might not meet the needs of chefs looking for a more extensive range of specialty knives.
  • The striking design of the Shogun Series X knives may not be to everyone's liking.

4. 5-Piece Block Set Shadow Black Series Knives NSF Certified Dalstrong

5-Piece Block Set Shadow Black Series | Knives NSF Certified | Dalstrong

The Shadow Black 5-piece block set is a formidable ensemble that ensures you'll always have the right tool at your side. The Shadow Black Series offers an exceptional grip, a remarkably sharp cutting edge, and is designed for optimal maneuverability. The sleek, aggressive design is inspired by the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter, resulting in a set that looks as menacing as it performs. The midnight black titanium coating enhances both aesthetics and functionality, ensuring a statement-making presence in any kitchen.

The set includes: chef knife (8"), santoku knife (7"), serrated utility knife (6.5"), utility knife (5.5"), paring knife (3.75"), and a storage block.


  • There's no getting around it: these knives look absolutely awesome. The combination of the pitch-black color and the knife's unique design makes them look like something out of a science fiction book.
  • Constructed from high carbon 7CR17MOV-X vacuum treated steel at 58 Rockwell, the blades in this set offer unrivaled sharpness, wear resistance, and resilience.
  • The unique handle geometry offers an exceptional grip, enabling maximum control and maneuverability during use.
  • The oak wood storage block is not only practical, but its matching black finish aligns perfectly with the set's overall aesthetic, creating an impressive display on your countertop.


  • With its unique and aggressive design, this set might not appeal to everyone, particularly those who prefer a more traditional aesthetic in their kitchen tools.
  • Given the precision and sharpness of these blades, they may require extra care to maintain their optimum condition.

5. 4-Piece Charcuterie & Cheese Knife Set Gladiator Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

4-Piece Charcuterie & Cheese Knife Set Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Here's a handy ensemble crafted specifically for cheese and wine parties, dinner parties, and similar events. Expertly handcrafted from a single piece of high-carbon German stainless steel, these knives are complemented by a premium G10 Garolite handle. This set caters to all your charcuterie needs with four different blade styles, each engineered for various types of cheeses, meats, spreads, and more.

This set includes: a mini cleaver knife (3.75") for hard or aged cheese and cured sausages, a forked cheese knife (3.75") for medium to hard cheeses, a soft cheese knife (3.75") designed specifically to prevent cheese from sticking, and a rounded-tip serrated cheese knife (3.75") perfect for spreadable cheeses, dips, and pates.


  • Each knife in the set is specifically designed for different types of cheese, making this a highly versatile set perfect for various dining occasions.
  • Crafted from high-carbon German stainless steel, these knives offer exceptional durability and longevity.
  • The set includes protective sheaths for each knife, adding to the longevity and safety of the product.
  • With its G10 Garolite handle, these knives provide superior strength and a refined aesthetic.


  • As this is a specialized set, it may not be as useful in day-to-day cooking for those who don't regularly serve cheese or charcuterie.
  • The unique design and specific functionality of these knives may require some learning curve for users unfamiliar with these types of cutlery.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

Can I buy individual knives instead of a set?

Absolutely! However, a knife set often offers better value for money and ensures you have a variety of knives for different tasks.

How much should I spend on a knife set?

The amount you should spend on a knife set largely depends on your budget and your cooking habits. If you're an occasional home cook, a lower-priced set with essential knives might suffice. However, if you're a professional chef, investing in a high-quality, comprehensive set would be a great investment. Generally, a decent knife set can range from $100 to over $500. 

Can I give a knife set as a gift?

Absolutely! Many retailers offer a gift subscription service.

What is a good knife to own?

While a good knife set will contain various knives for different tasks, if you had to choose one, a chef's knife is a great knife to own. It's incredibly versatile and can be used for chopping, slicing, and dicing a wide range of ingredients. Whether it's an 8-inch chef's knife or something larger or smaller, a chef's knife can handle most kitchen tasks efficiently.

What's the difference between stamped and forged knives?

Forged knives are made from a single piece of steel, making them more durable and balanced. Stamped knives, on the other hand, are machine-cut and are generally lighter and less expensive.

Which knife is used most in culinary?

The chef's knife is, without a doubt, the most frequently used knife in the culinary world. Its versatile nature makes it ideal for various tasks, from mincing herbs to slicing vegetables and meats. That said, other knives like the paring knife, bread knife, and utility knife also play significant roles in a kitchen, handling tasks that require specific cuts or techniques.


Written by Jorge Farah
Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.

What To Look For In A Good Knife Set

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