Do you want to buy a set of knives but cannot choose which one is good and which one is trash? Here are 5 best knife sets to buy!
Buying a Knife Set is of Vital Importance
Before we begin our list, we would like to provide you with a quick buying guide. What do you need to look for? What do you need to refrain from? What is a more important character in a knife and what is not?
So, here we want to help you with that even if you decide to buy some knife sets other than our recommendations. There are two questions you should be asking yourself before searching for a great knife set for your needs. These are:
1 – “How much money can I spend on a set of knives?”
2 – “For what purpose am I going to use these knives?”
Let’s begin with the first one. The first question is about your budget. There are lots of quality knives all around the world ranging from under 100 dollars and going more than 1000 dollars. It is not impossible to buy a knife that could suffice for a long time. Yet, we think that you should be stretching your budget as high as possible because knives are tools that you buy once and for all. Many people use the same set of knives for longer than 10 years.
If you have a smaller budget, you need to try to pick a small set that can work in different tasks. Similarly, if you have a larger budget, just try to spice up the range of the kitchen tasks while keeping the high quality.
The second one is, I believe, even more crucial than the budget. People with different diets and cooking styles have different expectations and needs from a knife. If you are a BBQ-person, you need knives that are suitable for cutting meat and crushing bones. So, a higher toughness level on the Rockwell Hardness Scale is a must for you.
On the other hand, if you have a vegan or vegetarian diet, you should buy knives that can slice vegetables in different ways. Toughness is not more of an issue for you.
Overall, your purpose is above all. Try to consider these simple questions before buying your set.
Obligatory Characteristics for a Quality Knife Set
So, you thought of these questions and narrowed your choices. Yet, you still do not know which one has better quality. This section is right for you.
The first feature nowadays exists in every type of knife. The primary material needs to be stainless steel. If you buy a knife nowadays, the companies will always claim that their knives are stainless steel and they are not even lying. However, there are better types of steel. When it comes to good quality steel, you can look for German or Japanese steel.
Secondly, the tang type. A good blade is a full tang blade. You can choose an extended blade, as well. In short, full tang means the blade extends down the handle rather than finishing where the handle starts. Thanks to this feature, blades continue to perform well for a longer time and it increases the overall stability and durability of the knife. The only advantage of half tang blades is its price; yet, it is not a risk worth taking.
Lastly, better safety measures are something you should be looking for. There are several of them but I would like to mention a few. The first one is the bolster. The bolster is the part where blade starts and handle finishes and that prevents you from cutting your finger in case of an accident. The second one is a handle that does not slip. The material can be rosewood, pakka wood or any other wood. Wooden handles perform better.
This is our quick guide to buying a knife set and we chose 5 great sets that meet these requirements and possess even more. So, check it out!
#1 Wüsthof Classic Nine Piece Knife Block Set, 9-piece
Wüsthof is a German company that brings precision and durability together for more than 200 years. The base city of Wüsthof is in Solingen, Germany and you might have heard this city as the world capital of steel and knives.
Let’s change things up a bit an introduce a set of knives that will be a good option for people that do not do much of the kitchen work, but instead want their family or guests to have a good experience with the cutlery on the table.
Knives and Testing
The set has a total of 9 pieces including 6 knives, a pair of kitchen shears and sharpening steel along with the wooden block that has 13 slots. We will get into the details.
An 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch bread knife, an 8-inch carving knife, a 6-inch utility knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, and a 3-inch flat-cut paring knife. Let’s see what these are for.
The chef’s knife is the most basic knife in a set and it is the first knife that every cook looks for. You can cut slices, dice and mince vegetables and meat. It is multifunctional. In our tests, we saw the Wüsthof Chef’s knife is sharp as a razor and had no issues regarding its weight.
Next, we have the utility knife which is 6 inches long. The utility knife is suitable for smaller tasks in the kitchen. This is a multifunctional knife just like the chef’s knife but it is better for thinner slices or smaller cubes.
A bread knife is a serrated knife type whose sharp end is like a saw. This particular knife is suitable for cutting slices of bread, pizza or even soft fruits and vegetables as it does not push down the food and squish it. In our tests, we specifically liked its precision and as it has a serrated end, it does not need sharpening at all.
Then, the carving knife’s primary area of usage is to cut cooked meat into slices. This is good for softer surfaces like meat or fresh vegetables. When we tested it, we noticed nicking on it and this is not very ideal. However, its performance is top-notch.
Lastly, we have two paring knives, one of them has a flatter blade. In general, paring knives are short blade knives that are suitable for intricate cutting and peeling. So, you can peel your fruits, vegetables or cut them into even thinner slices. Here, in this set, we noticed that the flat cut one is suitable for julienne cutting while the other one is good for peeling. They both work well.
To begin with, I would like to tell the negative side first. The material in the handles is polypropylene which is not wood but a form of plastic. So, an elegant look and tighter fit are not even discussable here. The grip is comfortable but for longer uses, it wears cooks down.
A good thing about the handle is that the handles have three rivets which are great for aesthetic but more importantly, it adds stability to the knife. The knife, in general, has great maneuverability and it is better to buy forged steel rather than stamped. This one is forged from a single block of high-carbon stainless steel.
- Great sharpness and stabilitye
- Three-riveted handles
- Lack of handle aesthetics
#2 Messermeister Oliva Elite 6-pieces
Messermeister is an American company with 35 years of experience under its belt and the founder family comes with a knife yielding background. The company is relatively newer; yet, it does not mean they are of lower levels of quality.
Knives and Testing
There is a total of 6 pieces in this set with 5 knives and a very chic acacia magnet block. Chiefly, we would not add Messermeister on our list as it is too small however, our tests showed incredible results. Let’s see what changed our minds.
The first one is an 8-inch stealth Chef’s knife. As before, the chef’s knife is the most basic one to cut, slice, mince and dice, and the Messermeister Chef’s Knife does it with no mistakes. Its balance is incredibly well and it does not tire you even after a marathon of preparing session.
Secondly, there is a 9-inch bread knife. This is a huge and serrated bread knife and it slices before you say “knife”. Sometimes, we see serrated knives become dull after a short time but this one performed well in the long run.
Then there is the 6-inch utility knife for smaller tasks in the kitchen. This exquisite knife is the star of this set. Even a newbie cook will find the difference. Thanks to its flat blade, the thinnest slices will be coming off your kitchen.
5-inch cheese and tomato knife has a great design and with this knife, it is now a piece of cake to cut even-sized Parmigiano or cheddar.
Lastly, a paring knife completes the set. In our tests, this is the least desirable one. It did not come pre-sharpened so we had to hone it before use.
One thing that is extremely superb in this set is its very good-looking Acacia Magnet block. Not only does it keep your kitchen orderly and clean but also it is very different from other knife sets.
The designers of the Messermeister Oliva Elite knife set have used unique Italian olive wood on its handles. I am telling they are unique as all are one-of-a-kind and boutique and different from one another. So, it is easy to recognize them.
As a negative thing, the knives have no bolsters.
- Exceptional design
- Tremendously sharp utility knife
- Bolsterless edges
#3 Cangshan V2 Series 23-Piece Knife Block Set
Cangshan is a Chinese company that manufactures top-of-the-edge knives for a long time. This specific type has a great range of knives and is a complete set of knives that one can need.
Knives and Testing
The whole set includes 23 pieces in which 20 of them are knives, honing steel and a pair of shears as well as a solid acacia block. In the set, there is an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch santoku, 7-inch nakiri a 5-inch serrated utility knife and a 5-inch straight-edge utility as the main knives. The specific type of knives is 9-inch slicing, 8-inch bread, 6-inch boning, 6-inch fork, 5-inch tomato, 3.5-inch paring, 2.75-inch peeling and 8 pieces of 5-inch steak knives.
So, just for the sake of keeping it short, we would like to talk about the overall testing with the knives. In case you do not know, we measure a knife’s sharpness durability with something called “Total Card Cut (TCC). If a knife cuts over 550, it means that the knife is extremely sharp while scores under 100 are bad for a knife.
The Cangshan V2 Series 1024128 Knife Set scores 601 in this test on average. The best performers are santoku, chef’s knife, and paring knife respectively.
Some knives that we did not mention before are santoku and nakiri knives. These are the Japanese equivalents of western-style chef’s knife and utility knife. Their main areas of usage are the same.
Other knives we would like to mention are the boning knife which is perfect for tasks like removing meat from its bone and 8 pieces of steak knives which you can use as table knives.
The full tang blades are forged from high alloy German steels to achieve exceptional sharpness and the ergonomic handles provide you with an easy and comfortable grip. The weight balance between the handle and blade is almost perfect and is good for long prepping.
As a general rule, we also take a look at their toughness on the Rockwell Hardness Scale and the blades here pass the test with a score of 58 and more. This is thanks to the 6-stage heat treatment process which makes the knife tougher and more durable.
In general, the knives have a magnificent cutting edge that is sharp and stays sharp.
The only bad thing I can mention is the wood block. I mean it is huge. HUGE. It could have been smaller but of course, that would bring us a smaller knife set along with that. If you have a smaller kitchen, I do not know where you put them.
- Great range of knives
- Exceptionally good santoku knife
- Huge wood block
#4 Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set
Shun is the top of the line company whose headquarters and all production is in Japan using Japanese steel and technology in its sets. The sets are usually more expensive than others but it is worth its price.
Knives and Testing
There is a total of 6 pieces in the whole set including 3 multipurpose knives and honing steel, a pair of multipurpose kitchen shears and a dark pakka wood knife block in it.
The three knives in the set are all very stable, durable and sharp. The first knife is an 8-inch chef’s knife. You can use this knife for cutting, slicing, mincing and dicing purposes and the blade is a full tang. Thanks to its nice bolster structure, it is also safe as houses.
Next, it is a 7-inch santoku knife. As we said before, this is the Japanese version of a classic chef’s knife in western cooking style. Santoku means “slicing, dicing, mincing” so these are the primary purposes. In our tests, we noticed that thanks to its layered steel, any possible nick or jag will not affect the overall performance.
Lastly, there is the 3.5-inch paring knife which is another precise knife. In our tests, we saw that it was so sharp and precise to circumcise a gnat. So, long story short, we loved the paring knife especially.
Let’s start with the handles then. The handles are perfect pakka wood that is durable and water, moisture and heat-resistant. Pakka wood coming from Africa is a great handle material as it is non-slippery and provides a comfortably tight grip.
The blades sit at 60 or 61 scores when it comes to the Rockwell Hardness Scale which is the tougher end of the scale. During our tests with every knife here, we saw it was the toughest one.
Another design feature is that the blades are Damascus steel. Damascus knives are not a specific type of steel but a distinct way of processing steel. There are many layers in this technique. Moreover, there is a pattern on the faces of the knife. Here in the Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set, there is a wavy pattern which looks very chic and noble. In addition to that, there are 34 layers on each side with a VG-MAX cutting core.
One last thing about Shun is good advice for others as well. We would like to give tips about how to care properly. These knives are not dishwasher-friendly. You should be washing them by hand, then rinse it and dry it immediately. Do not leave them dirty or soaking in water so that your steel will last long.
Another thing you should be thinking is that even though these are tough blades, it does not mean you can do any task with them such as crashing bones or removing meat from its bone.
- Durable, pakka wood handles
- Excellent razor-sharp knives with the highest quality of steel
- It could be more range in knives
#5 Dalstrong Crusader Series 8-Piece Knife Block Set
Dalstrong is one of the newest high-quality knife companies yet, they have been gaining popularity among various levels of culinary arts buffs ranging from top chefs to home chefs and everyone in between. The Crusader Series is an exceptionally well knife set thanks to its unprecedented design and minimalist aesthetic.
Knives and Testing
There is a total of 8 pieces in this set including 6 knives, a honing rod, and a Manchurian Ash-wood storage block. We got the chance to test every knife one by one.
There is an 8-inch chef’s knife in the set which is the most basic and most necessary knife in any knife set, as we said before. The knife is ultra-sharp and extremely strong and robust.
Secondly, there is the Santoku knife which is 7 inches long. I like the overall gripping of this knife. It is sharp and will always be sharp.
Then, there is the 8-inch bread knife who has a serrated edge to prevent pushing down the bread and squishing it. The possibility that we may not be able to hone it is not specifically bad in this case as the Total Card Cut is pretty high here (above 560).
Next, there is the 6-inch flat utility and 5.5-inch serrated utility knives. These are the smaller versions of a chef’s knife. During our tests, there were no mistakes regarding the quality of knives. Their flat and serrated edges have similar performances. The only thing I did not like was that the flat one has a bad angle which does not allow cutting thinner slices easily.
The last knife in the set is the 4.5-inch paring knife. This is quite an average paring knife that has no specific feature. It is merely a sharp and quite stable knife with a fancy handle.
The designers and engineers in Dalstrong have perfected the purity in design here in this set. This achievement is not just a happy accident but a consequence of planned work. The minimalist approach that they employed is visible in its “The less is more” style.
The blades are ThyssenKrupp German steel with a toughness level of 58+ on the Rockwell Hardness Scale giving a noteworthy performance, overall. The craftsmen working for Dalstrong brand hand-sharpened the blade to 16-18 degrees on each side which gives the perfect balance between thin slicing and maximum resilience.
Even though they have a simplistic and minimalistic design, it does not mean style can compromise function. The Crusader Series does both and does them well. It complements your kitchen well and it fits almost every type of kitchen.
- Highly resilient blades
- Affordable price
- Honing steel would be much better than the honing rod
Bottom line is that these are the best knife sets that money can buy. However, remember this! Even the best knife set can be a low performer if you do not care about them properly. So, if you invest them, take good care of them and have them razor-sharp for your whole life.
Gary Portman is the founder and main author of knivesadvice.com Using the knowledge he has gained through the years, he aims to help people choose the best knife based on their needs. You can find more info about Gary here.