Whether you’re a hobbyist chef, or looking to start your own restaurant, here’s the best kitchen knife sets of 2021.
While many are waiting to see what the next big thing will be, certain things that have been around for decades are still popular. These include kitchen knife sets.
The “best knife sets 2021” is a list of the best kitchen knives in the market today. The knives are ranked by their performance and features.
Culinary operations are made simpler and safer with high-quality, razor-sharp kitchen knives. (Did you know that dull knives pose a greater risk?) While a basic chef’s, paring, and serrated knife would do for most home chefs, investing in a set, held neatly in a gorgeous knife block, adds variety — and, for true culinary geeks, even delight — to dinner preparation.
We spent many weeks evaluating 11 of the top-rated knife sets to help you find the finest knife set for you. We chopped, diced, and sliced fruit, vegetables, herbs, bread, meat, and cheese on our cutting board to find which blades performed the greatest job. After everything was said and done, we came up with three winners that any home cook would consider to be a cut above the rest:
Overall, the best knife set
Each element in this all-inclusive set pleased us with its solid build, ease of use, and dependable execution.
We strongly recommend this outstanding set if you want knives that are razor sharp, sturdy, ergonomic, and will last a lifetime.
The most luxurious set
This handcrafted set is classy, beautiful, ergonomic, and razor sharp. It comes with the four essential knives that every serious home chef need.
Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set from Chicago Cutlery
First and foremost, this was one of the cheapest of the 11 knife sets we examined. You’d think that for $129.99, they’d be of poorer quality than their more costly competitors. You’d be mistaken. The solid build, ease of use, and dependable execution that each element in this all-inclusive kit provided wowed us. True, some of the other sets we tested had sharper, higher-quality blades, but when it came to overall rankings, performance, and pricing, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set was the obvious winner.
The fact that there are a staggering 17 pieces included is a huge benefit. A 7 3/4-inch chef’s knife, 7 3/4-inch serrated bread knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 5-inch santoku knife, 5-inch utility knife, 3 1/4-inch paring knife, and eight — yes, eight! — 4 1/2-inch steak knives, plus a sharpening steel and chop assist are included, in addition to the classic — and heavy — chestnut-stained wood block. The only item missing are kitchen shears, which you can add to your utensil cabinet later with a set of these OXO Good Grips Multipurpose Kitchen Scissors ($17.98; amazon.com).
High-carbon, rust-resistant stainless steel is used to forge the blades. For individuals with large hands, the ergonomic handles may be a touch tiny, but we found them to be just ideal. We didn’t think we’d like the poly cushioned handles at first, but they were surprisingly comfy and stopped the knives from sliding, even after they’d been hand-washed. Yes, as tempting as it is to toss your blades in the dishwasher, this set, like almost all of the knives we examined, should be hand-washed to ensure lifespan.
The chef’s, paring, and utility knives received average marks for slicing through onions, carrots, tomatoes, apples, herbs, and everything else we threw at them out of the four main knives we tested. Among all the sets we looked at, the Chicago’s serrated knife stood out. Because of its length, it may be used for a variety of culinary applications. It’s also extraordinarily sharp, requiring almost no effort to rip through a few-days-old loaf of crusty bread, remove the peel from a melon, or slice incredibly thin slices off a fragile tomato or peach, giving it more points than the Zwilling or Wüsthof counterparts.
Another advantage is that these blades maintain their sharpness. We compared the knives we used throughout our rigorous tests against a second identical set right out of the box as part of our testing. The Chicago Cutlery knives stayed as sharp after a lot of cutting, slicing, and dicing as if they were brand new. We also performed a paper test, in which the knife’s ability to effortlessly slice through a piece of plain printing paper without snagging or catching indicates that it has been correctly sharpened. These knives were a complete success.
All of the extras contributed to Chicago’s success: Slicing through grilled filet mignon with the steak knives was a breeze, and the two santoku knives came in helpful for slicing cheese, mincing garlic, and scooping everything off the cutting board. (Santoku knives are similar to chef’s knives, except they’re thinner, don’t have a tip, and feature tiny divots on the edges to discourage food from clinging to them.) Because of its broad blade, they’re ideal for chopping soft or sticky foods like meat, vegetables, herbs, and cheese, as well as scooping food off your cutting board.)
In a nutshell, if pricing is as important to you as quality, you should add this knife set to your basket right now. Individually, there are better-performing knives on our list, but we were pleased by the completeness and general execution of this budget-friendly set as a whole.
7-Piece Knife Block Set by Zwilling
If you’re looking for knives that are razor sharp, sturdy, ergonomic, and will last a lifetime, we recommend you have a look at this exceptional set. It garnered high marks for performance and quality, featuring an 8-inch chef’s knife, 4-inch paring knife, 5 1/2-inch prep knife, and 8-inch bread knife, as well as shears, a sharpening steel, and a 16-slot wooden bamboo block.
This set, created in Germany by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, a company that was established in 1731, incorporates the advantages of both Western and Asian knife design. The chef’s knife blade, for example, has a wide curvature that allows for a Western-style rocking action but a straight back that corresponds to Asian chopping.
The ice-hardened, precision-honed blades are one feature that really distinguishes this set from our top pick. They’re made of a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel, which makes them tougher and sharper than many other versions. After that, lasers are used to angle the blades’ edges for exact sharpness, and the method seems to have worked. For one thing, the chef’s knife from the Zwilling set virtually fell through a head of lettuce and cut through carrots, onions, herbs, and more with ease. The chef’s knife is usually the most utilized knife in a home cook’s block, thus the fact that it was the set’s main component demonstrates that Zwilling understands what matters most.
The paring knife was larger than usual, at 4 inches long, and the blade’s height appeared enormous — around double that of typical paring knives. In reality, it looked more like a utility knife, and the big blade, although incredibly sharp, made coring a tomato and hulling a strawberry difficult. Meanwhile, the multipurpose knife sliced through apples and avocados with ease, although it wasn’t nearly as sharp as the paring knife. The serrated knife, which was our least favorite in the set, also struggled to cut through bread.
The knives have a unique ergonomic and curved bolster (where the knife meets the handle) to accommodate the “professional pinch grip” — where your thumb and index finger rest on the blade for safer cutting, according to the packaging. While we were cutting, this was read out to us, and we glanced down to make sure we were holding the knife correctly. That level of quality and user experience is well worth the extra money.
What were the things that hindered this set from becoming our top pick? For the price, it only comes with four knives, and the extras—a sharpening steel and a pair of shears—were awkward to use and felt curiously incongruous with the rest of the kit (read: different, lesser quality). Nonetheless, the high quality of the knives and handles ensures that this set will last a lifetime, making the purchase worthwhile.
Wüsthof Classic Ikon Walnut Block Knife Set, 7-Piece
Elegant, refined, ergonomic, and razor-sharp. There’s a lot to like about this German-made, handmade knife set, which includes an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a 6-inch utility knife, and an 8-inch bread knife, as well as come-apart kitchen shears, a 9-inch honing steel, and a 15-slot cherry block. This knife set has it all, and it does so with style. It has a rich history, a timeless design, and high-tech, high-quality craftsmanship backed by a lifetime guarantee (on workmanship and materials under normal conditions).
The full-tang (meaning the blade is a complete piece of metal from tip to handle) triple-riveted polypropylene handles are tough yet stylish, with a double bolster for exceptional balance. The handles are thinner than those of the other knives we tried, and they fit well in a woman’s hand, although our male tester wished they were a little thicker.
In the meanwhile, the blades set them apart from the other pairs. They are, after all, precision-forged from a single piece of tempered high-carbon stainless steel, which makes them stain and corrosion resistant. A couple additional sets in our testing pool are as well. Their proprietary PEtec edge, on the other hand, is made by robots honing the blades on a whetstone to a precise and constant sharpness, making them “20 percent sharper with double the edge retention,” which means you won’t have to sharpen them very often.
The chef’s knife, or “cook’s knife” as Wüsthof refers to it, has a substantial weight to it, making it ideal for cutting vegetables, meat, and other foods. It effortlessly cut through onions, potatoes, and tomatoes, effortlessly removing corn from the cob, and effortlessly slicing through the thick skin of a pineapple. The paring and multipurpose knives were easy to use and cut everything we tried them on: limes, oranges, strawberries, carrots, zucchini, radishes, you name it. The serrated bread knife sliced easily through our baguette loaves, inspiring us to choose a second career as a boulangerie apprentice in France.
What about when they were put to the test against the same blades that had never been used before? By touch, performance cutting onions, carrots, and tomatoes, and the paper test, both old and new Wüsthof knives formed mincemeat, we couldn’t discern any difference in sharpness.
Wüsthof proudly manufactures these blades in Solingen, Germany, the world’s steel production capital, where it has been established for more than 200 years. The fact that the set only has four knives and costs $450 precluded it from becoming our overall winner or runner-up. However, if you have the funds, we believe the traditional, exquisite set will not only appear like a crown gem on your kitchen counter, but will also dazzle for a lifetime. Don’t be shocked if you find yourself looking for new things to chop all the time.
We spent weeks comparing these knife sets, comparing overall performance, build quality, added accessories, and warranty, taking detailed notes on how specific knives performed based on everything from sharpness and materials to heft and hand-feel to how they looked and the usefulness of any included extras. We purchased two of each set so that we could compare the sharpness of the used knives to their brand-new twins after spending several days slicing and dicing our hearts out.
We already spend a lot of time in the kitchen as ardent home chefs, but as our dining room table grew encrusted with woodblocks stuffed with blades to try, we found ourselves constantly seeking for things to chop. Who wants a peeled, cored, and sliced apple? What can we do using garlic and onions that have been minced? Do you need another piece of crusty bread? But, in the end, a choice had to be made. Here’s how we divided our assessment:
Performance in general
- Chef’s knife: This all-purpose instrument is designed to handle most of the kitchen’s larger tasks. Its weight makes it simpler to chop a large number of items at once, such as for a large pot of soup or roasting a large number of potatoes and veggies. We put the knife to the test slicing meat, onions, carrots, herbs, and more, noting the design, grip, weight, and overall feel. We evaluated how easy it was to drag the blade through various foods, as well as whether the knife snagged or slid through paper.
- Paring knife: A paring knife should be agile, accurate, and comfortable to hold. To test this knife’s functionality and feel, we cored and peeled apples and tomatoes, as well as chopped shallots and garlic.
- Utility knives are designed to do a variety of tasks when no other knife seems appropriate – the chef’s knife is too large, the paring knife is too tiny. Tomatoes, hard cheese, oranges, carrots, and salami were among the numerous objects tried to see whether this knife could live up to its moniker.
- Serrated knives are designed to cut through items that are difficult to push down on, such as crusty bread, angel food cake, and melons. We looked at how easy it was to cut through tough items and how thin we could slice something softer, like a tomato.
- Quality: We considered the materials’ quality, as well as the blade and handle construction. Forged blades, for example, are more durable than stamped knives, which are made from a flat metal sheet. Laser technology is used in certain knives, resulting in razor-sharp blades. The full tang, which means the blade extends all the way through the handle, aids in balance and overall heaviness. And the handles came in a variety of materials, including plastic, rubber, wood, and metal.
- We paid specific attention to the heaviness of the blades and handles, maneuverability, weight distribution, and simplicity of sliding the knives in and out of their blocks since so much of using a kitchen knife is about how it feels in your hand.
- We measured whether our knuckles or fingers struck the cutting board during chopping since not all knife handles are made equal.
- Aesthetics are crucial, particularly for cutlery that will be on your countertop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We recorded our overall response to how great they looked, while acknowledging that taste is subjective.
- Some of the sets were quite basic, with just a few pieces, while others included a complete complement of steak knives, shears, honing steels, boning knives, slicers, and other tools. We considered what was available and how beneficial the things were.
- Because things go wrong, we made a note of the warranty information (tease: most had limited lifetime warranties).
Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set ($449.95; amazon.com) Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set ($449.95; amazon.com) Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Kni
These are without a doubt the sharpest knives we’ve ever used. The robust, gorgeous, and razor-sharp Damascus stainless steel blades, handcrafted in Seki, Japan, had us oohing and aahing at their ability to flawlessly slice through anything. For example, the paring knife was so sharp that even while we were using it to core a tomato, it was slicing the skin off our finger with the slightest contact. We were also taken aback by how well-balanced the knives felt in our hands, despite the fact that the pakkawood handles were weighty. So, why wasn’t this one of the winners? Only three blades are included in the costly set: an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3-1/2-inch paring knife, and a 7-inch santoku knife. We appreciated the thin dark wood knife block, but the bundled honing steel and shears seemed like afterthought extras. If you’re seeking for sheer sharpness, go no further. Shun is unquestionably the victor.
Calphalon Classic 15-piece Self-Sharpening Stainless Steel Knife Block Set ($239.99, was $269.99; amazon.com)
First and foremost, this is a fantastic set of knives. The quantity of tools included (8-inch chef’s knife, 8-inch bread knife, 6-inch utility knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 3 1/2-inch paring knife, eight steak knives, and kitchen shears) earned it great marks. The unusual self-sharpening block, which also has a trendy wood finish, pleased us as well. We first dismissed the idea that the block’s built-in ceramic sharpeners would sharpen the knives with each use as a gimmick, but we were immediately convinced that the blades did really sharpen as we chopped and sliced. Isn’t it cool? In terms of performance, the full-tang knives made of all-stainless steel handled well and seemed balanced in our hands, but they were a little weighty. We really liked how the handles are labeled so that you can readily find the right knife. So, why didn’t this set become a hit? The metal handles were far less comfortable than the rubber and wood handles. They were smooth in the hand and made for a shaky grip.
Cuisinart C77SS 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set ($79.95; amazon.com) Cuisinart C77SS 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
These knives performed poorly compared to other models: they were not as sharp, the hollow metal handles felt too light, generating an imbalance, and they were prone to becoming slippery when wet. However, if you’re on a tight budget and moving into your first apartment, this 15-piece knife set may be attractive. It has lightweight, dishwasher-safe stainless steel blades that will meet your cutting demands, in addition to the low price. You’ll receive an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicing knife, a 7-inch santoku knife, a 5 1/2-inch serrated utility knife, a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a 3 1/2-inch bird’s beak paring knife, an 8-inch sharpening steel, household shears, and a block to keep everything together. Which one is our personal favorite? No. But is it suitable for inexperienced cooks? Sure.
Premium 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set by AmazonBasics ($67.50; amazon.com)
When it comes to cooking, diversity is vital, but so is remaining on budget. This simple but practical 18-piece set is a good place to start. Apart from the fact that you get a lot of knives (8-inch chef’s, 7-inch santoku, 8-inch slicing, 8-inch bread, 5 1/2-inch utility, 6-inch boning, 3 1/2-inch paring, and eight steak knives), plus kitchen shears, a sharpening, and a rubber-wood storage block for $70, the quality is decent. The ergonomic handles are triple-riveted and complement the full-tang stainless steel blades. While we had to put in more effort with our chops than we did with higher-end versions, they functioned well — particularly the chef’s knife. Overall, this is a good beginner set for individuals who want to try their hand at knife sets, but more serious chefs would desire sharper instruments.
Amazon.com: Dalstrong 5-Piece Shadow Series Knife Block Set ($289.99).
We were expecting to be unimpressed when we unboxed this midnight black set, which the firm describes as having a “menacing look.” Our aesthetic inclinations led us to believe that they would be more flash than performance, while we recognize that others would like the highly stylized appearance. Our prejudices were completely incorrect. The military-grade G10 handles’ geometric shape actually fit extremely well in our hands, and their modest roughness made slipping a non-issue. The full-tang German steel blades with titanium nitride coating were razor sharp and excelled at cutting and slicing anything we threw at them. So, what didn’t we care for? The chef’s knife’s curved blade was useful for cutting, although its thinness made it seem a little light. In reality, the knives’ balance seemed to be affected by the hefty handles and narrow blades. It also comes with just five knives (chef’s, paring, utility, serrated, and santoku), as well as an honing steel, at a very pricey price. Put them on your wish list right now if your house design is Kylo Ren meets Jacques Pépin.
Vremi 10-Piece Colorful Knife Set ($9.99; amazon.com; originally $29.99)
This bright set of kitchen knives would make a great welcoming present for a college student who has moved from their dorm to their first apartment. And, as that kid could have learned in a leadership class, it’s preferable to start with some praise. These knives are quite attractive. They’re bright and cheerful, and they’ll brighten up any kitchen with a rainbow of colors. They’re BPA-free and come with matching sheaths, allowing you to store them in a drawer and save valuable counter space. A chef’s knife, paring knife, carving knife, serrated knife, and utility knife are among the stainless steel and nonstick knives included. When it comes to performance, though, it’s a different story. They are, after all, well worth their low price. They weren’t very sharp out of the box; our fingers banged against the cutting board as we sliced, and the blades seemed hefty in comparison to the plastic handles, which threw the knives’ balance off. We had to work hard to cut through crusty bread, tomatoes, and other foods. They score a passing grade overall, but just just.
Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set ($148.88; amazon.com) Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set
It’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder: what one person finds magnificent, another finds obnoxious. Take this Mercer knife set, for example. One family member wrinkled his nose in disgust, two adolescents dubbed it “sick” (a good thing), and one kept waffling between “so awesome” and “trying too hard” because of its unusual vertical tempered glass block. But, regardless of how you feel about the glass block, no one can deny that they are excellent knives. They’re crafted with high-carbon German steel, a bolster for stability, and full-tang santoprene handles that give pretty level weight distribution right out of the box. They’re a touch light, but they performed well on all of our tests. The set includes five knives: an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch bread knife, a 6-inch boning knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, as well as the divisive holder. While we think the glass block looks great, giving the impression that the knives are floating in mid-air, the fact that you have to lift the blades straight up vertically to remove them means you have to take the block out from beneath your cabinets every time you use it – not ideal. It also only came with five blades, one of which was a boning knife that was seldom used, and the tiny, rubber handles were uncomfortable.
The J.A. Henckels International 15-Piece Statement Knife Block Set ($127.77, originally $345; amazon.com) is a set of 15 knives from J.A. Henckels International.
In the center of the pack, this excellent, adaptable set landed. We gave it high marks for all of its useful add-ons and accessories, which included an 8-inch chef’s knife, 3-inch paring knife, 5-inch serrated utility knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 8-inch bread knife, and six 4 1/2-inch steak knives, as well as a sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and a hardwood block. The chef’s knife, which has sharpened stainless steel blades and plastic curved handles with full tang, was our favorite, despite feeling a little light in the hand. Overall, the knives were sharp right out of the box, looked great in their wood block, and were reasonably priced while they were on sale (which seems to be most of the time at most retailers). We weren’t blown away, but neither were we disappointed.
More from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing may be found here:
The “best knife set for the money” is a topic that many people are interested in. This article will give you some information about what to look for when buying a knife set.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best kitchen knife set on the market?
A: The best kitchen knife set on the market is undoubtedly Wusthof knives. These are high quality pieces, made of durable materials that will last for many years to come while being easy to clean and maintain. They also have extra blades at no cost in order to avoid having an empty space in your collection should you decide one day that you want a bigger or smaller blade then what comes with this particular set.
What is a good knife set to buy?
A: There are a lot of different options out there, but I would recommend buying one from either Victorinox or Spyderco as they make some good knives.
What are the top 10 knife sets?
A: The top 10 knife sets are as follows, 1. Spyderco Tenacious Plain Edge Folding Knife 2. Benchmade Griptilian 551-1 3. Kershaw Blur 4. Cold Steel Recon Tanto 5. SOG KAI-6 6 .Gerber LMF II 7 8 9 10 Schrade SCHT10
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