As amazon associates, we earn commissions from qualifying purchases at no extra charge to you. For more information, check out our Disclaimer page

While you can afford to make some mistakes in the kitchen, buying a subpar knife set is the easiest way to set yourself up for failure. High quality knives are a critical tool in prep work, and prep work is a critical step in cooking something worth eating. 

To make your search far less daunting, we've outlined what we believe to be the 15 best kitchen knife sets available. We've also included a quick guide to the 8 must-have knife types, as well as a buying guide at the end of the article.

Leave a note at the bottom if you have any questions or comments...

Enjoy!

The Essentials


The essential knives are those that make up the baseline arsenal of any home cook. These knives will easily take care of 90% of your typical prep jobs. 

1) Chef's Knife

The chef's knife is a homecook's magical staff. It's your go-to for the vast majority of cutting, slicing and dicing jobs in the kitchen. If you hate the whole knife set, but you love the chef's knife, you'll find yourself surprisingly satisfied (after the initial bitterness of course). 

2) Bread Knife

The large jagged edge of a bread knife is critical for cutting through those tough exterior foods. Think artisanal breads, melons and pineapples to start. But while we think of the bread knife as a mindless juggernaut, it also dances through delicate cheese, biscotti, and pastries with ease.

3) Santoku

Breeding many similarities to that of the chef's knife, a santoku knife is a "general" slicing device (meaning it can do a host of your everyday cutting/slicing jobs). However, it has a thinner blade than the chef's knife which allows for more control over precision cuts.

4) Paring Knife

Can you image peeling a peach with a chef's knife? It would be like chopping a twig with a chainsaw. Peeling fruits and vegetables requires ultimate hand control and a sharp blade. You'll find the smaller 3.5" design, coupled with a plane, sharp edge to give you optimal control over your precise cuts. 

5) Boning or Filet Knife (not the same thing)

Your one flexible blade that'll allow you to maneuver freely around bones, cartilage and organs. It can also be used for any slicing job that requires a quick turns.  

6) Steak Knives

Ever tried to cut through tougher met with regular silverware? Then you know the inevitable result...sore forearms and raining scraps of food. If you ever plan on serving red meat to your guests, then steak knives are a must. You can obviously buy these separately, but many of the sets below include them for convenience reasons. 

7) Shears

Kitchen shears are really the only safe way of opening packaging, spatchcocking birds and cutting through raw meat. If you've spent anytime doing these jobs with a knife than you know how foreign and unsafe it feels. Replace the knife with kitchen shears and navigate these waters comfortably and with ease. 

8) Sharpener

If you want your knives to last, get in the routine of sharpening before and after each wash. One of the most common complaint from reviewers was the knives lost there edge over time. Sharpeners aren't included for them to stay in your block. Sharpen often and sharpen correctly. 

Extras


Here are some of the non-essential knives that can make your kitchen experience a little easier. While we call them non-essential, any experienced home cook could easily argue the opposite. There's nothing wrong with have extra knives around. 

1) Slicing Knife: Slicing knives are usually a similar length to a chef's knife but offer more flexibility for maneuvering larger pieces of meat. 

2) Nakiri Knife: The hybrid between a chef's knife and a meat cleaver, this knife is great for chopping up vegetables (very similar to a santoku knife)

3) Utility Knife (Plain or serrated): A chef's knife with a shorter height and length. Great for slicing fruits, vegetables, or cutting sandwiches. 

4) Peeling Knife: Similar to the paring knife but with a rounded blade to help with round fruits and vegetables. 

5) Tomato Knife: A small, serrated knife that handles the tomato's tough exterior and fragile interior with ease. 

6) Fruit Knife: Similar to a paring knife but usually with a slightly longer blade. 

Best Kitchen Knife Sets


1) Cangshan 23-Piece V2 Series 1024128 German Forged Steel

This set includes: 9" slicing knife, 8" chef's knife, 8" bread knife, 7" Santoku knife, 7" Nakiri knife, 6" boning knife, 6" fork knife, 5" serrated utility knife, 5" straight-edge utility knife, 5" tomato knife, 3.5" paring knife, 2.75" peeling knife,  8x5" steak knife, 8" honing steel knife, 9" shears, and solid Acacia block.

Forged from high-alloy German steel, these knives are polished and sharpened by hand expert bladesmiths. Each knife is also fitted with an ergonomic handle for an easy and comfortable grip. The blades are ice-hardened to promote long-lasting sharpness.

This product maintains a 4.8/5 star rating with over 75 Amazon reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers rave about how sharp the knives are and how top-notch the quality is. One reviewer mentioned the block being awkwardly shaped and sliding around on the counter, so make sure you get rubber feet to stick to the bottom of the block.

The product is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation and backed with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

Our rating:

5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Extremely sharp
  • Fantastic Customer service
  • High quality feel
  • "Great presentation in the wood block"

Cons

  • Block angle may not work with your cabinets
  • Higher price

2) J.A. Henckels International Statement 20-pc Knife Block Set

This set includes: 3" paring knife, 4" paring knife, 5" serrated utility knife, 5.5" prep knife, 6" utility knife, 5.5" boning knife, 7" Santoku knife, 8" bread knife, 8" carving knife, 8" chef's knife, 4.5" steak knives (8), kitchen shears, and a self-sharpening knife block.

This set is dishwasher-safe, lightweight, and comes with a full tang design. The blades are made from stainless steel, while the triple-riveted ergonomic handle is finished with satin.

This product maintains a 4.7/5 star rating with over 1,200 Amazon reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers love how lightweight and durable the knives are, as long as they’re properly cared for.

A few reviewers mentioned that although the set is labeled as dishwasher-safe, no knife set should ever be put through the dishwasher or it ruins the metal over time. Several reviewers also mentioned having to sharpen some of the knives before using them, but once sharpened they were great.

The company behind this knife set backs the product with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Knives are lightweight
  • Very sharp
  • Sleek look
  • Great price

Cons

  • Missing a hole for 1 pairing knife
  • Customer service not great
  • Need to consistently sharpen and DO NOT put in the dishwasher (regardless of the claims)

3) Cangshan 17-Piece Z Series 1024180 German Forged Steel Knife Block Set

This set includes: 8” Chef’s Knife, 7” Santoku, 6” Boning Knife, 5” Serrated Utility Knife, 7” Serrated Bread Knife, 5” Tomato Knife, 3.5” Paring Knife, 2.75” Peeling Knife, 5” Steak Knives, 8” Honing Steel, 9” Kitchen Shear, 1 Walnut Block

If you’re looking to upgrade your knife set, German steel is a no brainer, especially the Cangshan Z Series 17-piece set, one of the most complete in the market.

Beautifully balanced, these knives feel like an extension of your arm. Tang forged with high-quality, extra strong German steel; it comes as no surprise they come with a lifetime warranty.

These are all about an ergonomic design, they’re crafted to bring back the joy to cooking, and they do so very well.

A Chef’s Knife and a stylish Santoku are the key pieces here and are supported by a hand-selected collection of blades for every need. From a superb pair of shards to a peeling and a paring knife for the smaller tasks.

The six handsome steak knives alone are reason enough to get this set, but actually, there’s nothing you can’t do with this knife collection on your counter.

Cangshan Cutlery is serious quality. This is a pro set to satisfy even the most demanding Top Chef.

Our rating:

5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Weight and balance inspires "immediate sense of confidence"
  • "Sharp as scalpels"
  • Very responsive customer service
  • Great aesthetics and durability

Cons

  • German steel but not made in Germany

4) Home Hero 17-Piece Stainless Steel Knife Set with Clear Block 

This set includes: carving knife, utility knife, cheese knife, pizza knife, chef knife, bread knife, paring knife, steak knives (6), kitchen scissors, a vegetable peeler, 2-stage knife sharpener, and a knife stand.

As the #1 best seller in Block Knife Sets on Amazon (as of 10/31/2020), this knife set is a great budget option. The knives are equipped with stainless steel blades coated with nonstick paint and ergonomic handles.

This product maintains a 4.7/5 star rating with over 17,000 reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers love the aesthetically-pleasing design, sharp blades, and affordability of this set.

A few more critical reviewers noted that the knives are not easy to clean and felt somewhat cheap due to how lightweight they are.

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Stylish clear block
  • Great seller
  • Good weight and balance

Cons

  • Black will peel off as you sharpen
  • Won't last forever

5) Vestaware 16-Piece Chef Knife Set

This set includes: 8” Chef’s Knife, 6” Chef’s Knife, 8” Serrated Bread Knife, 8” Slicing Knife, 7” Santoku Knife, 4.5” Utility Knife, 3.5” Paring Knife, 6 Steak Knifes, 8” Walnut Sharpener, 10” Rosewood Knife Block

Behold the Vestaware Knife Set. A beautiful 16-piece set with rosewood handles, all neatly aligned in a solid rosewood block.

Vestaware is an all-American company focused on one thing, aligning versatility with durability, and this kitchen set is proof of it.

The blades are made from durable high-carbon steel, blessed by the prettiest light rosewood ergonomic handles tightly aligned by three rivets. These blades are corrosion resistant and ultra-sharp.

Dice, chop or slice with ease; whether you’re a professional cook or a home cook enthusiast, this set has you covered.

Two fantastic Chef’s Knives do the hard work, and a Japanese-inspired Santoku will take your cooking skills to new heights. A set of utility knives, from a serrated bread blade to smaller utility and paring knives, the stylish set has something for your every need.

The steak knives are worthy of the finest table, and the set itself is a fabulous conversation starter.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Very sharp
  • Great customer service
  • Heavy, sturdy feel
  • Solid weight and balance

Cons

  • Stain varies between the knives
  • One complaint of loose handles

6) Alltripal 16-Piece  Kitchen Knife Set Forged Premium German Stainless Steel

This set includes: Chef’s Knife, Bread Knife, Slicing Knife, Santoku Knife, Boning Knife, Paring Knife, Fruit Knife, 6 Steak Knives, Kitchen Shears, Knife Sharpener, Wooden Block

The Alltripal knife set is one of the better-sold kitchen sets on the market, and it’s easy to see why. Premium, high-quality German, stainless carbon steel. Heavy duty, but tools of precision, durable, but also high-end.

The handles are Japanese-inspired and ergonomic, and with three rivets, they’re as steady as knives get. They also minimize hand fatigue while providing extraordinary precision.

It comes without saying the Alltripal set is versatile. With an incredibly sharp Chef’s knife, a handsome Santoku, a full set of steak knives and even a fruit knife, this will probably be the last set you buy, and for its price, this one is a bargain.

Durability meets modern design in this set, as the best of both German and Japanese traditions come together with a single goal, to satisfy your every cooking need.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • "Price and value of is set are remarkable"
  • Very sharp
  • High quality block
  • Light weight

Cons

  • A cheaper set (lightweight)
  • Blades don't hold an edge for long

7) McCook 15-Piece MC29 Knife Set with Built-in Sharpener

This set includes: 8” Chef’s Knife, 8” Slicing Knife, 5” Santoku, 5.5” Serrated Utility Knife, 5” Utility Knife, 3.5” Paring Knife, Six 4.5” Steak Knives, 2 Kitchen Shears, 1 Hardwood block with sharpener

Just by the looks, this is a knife set to add to your bucket list, and it’s very well priced too. Beauty in simplicity, just tools of precision.

The high-carbon German steel set is tarnish and rust-resistant and will basically last a lifetime. The steel extends to the handles as well, so there’s no need to deal with wooden handles.

The hardwood block has a built-in sharpener, but with McCook’s taper grind edge technology, you’ll hardly need it. We’re talking a sharp edge and clean, precise cut every time, and that’s for all blades in the set.

A slick, ergonomic design makes these knives a bliss to handle. The Chef’s knife is awe-inspiring and wait until you slice your food with it. The utility knives are not far behind, and this 15-piece set comes with two pairs of shards. There’s no stopping you now.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Awesome built-in sharpener
  • Great value for the money
  • Extremely sharp
  • Customer service is "stellar"

Cons

  • Front heavy wood block
  • Not superior quality, but great for the price

8) DEIK 14-Piece High Carbon Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Set 

This set includes: 8" chef knife, 8" carving knife, 8" bread knife, 7.5" stainless sharpening steel, 7.5” shears, 5" utility knife, 4.5" steak knives (6), 3.5" paring knife, and an acrylic block.

The knives each feature forged high-carbon stainless steel for durability and an ergonomic design of curved and tapered handles. The accompanying acrylic block stand is a sleek design meant to brighten up the kitchen.

This product maintains a 4.7/5 star rating with over 2000 reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Because the knives are made with forged steel instead of stamped steel like most affordable knife sets, they are more durable than other sets. 

Customers rave about the durability, sharpness, and stylish block stand. Several reviewers noted that the acrylic block stand was more lightweight than they would have liked and that some of the knives began to rust after a year.

The company behind this knife set backs the product with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Great price
  • Easy to tell when the block slots get dirty
  • "Perfect number of knives"
  • Holds a decent edge

Cons

  • Block is light weight
  • Rusts in dishwasher

9) Farberware 13-Piece Self-Sharpening Knife Block Set with EdgeKeeper Technology

This set includes: 8” chef knife, 8” slicer, 5.5” serrated utility knife, 5” chef knife with kullens, 3.5” paring knife, 4.5” steak knives (6), all-purpose shears, and a natural wood block with a built-in sharpener.

The knives feature high-carbon, stainless steel blades and ergonomically-designed handles with a full tang and bolster. Each of the primary slots in the wood knife block features a ceramic sharpener that automatically hones the knife each time it is placed in or removed from the block.

This Faberware knife set maintains a 4.5/5 star rating with 53 Amazon reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers love the convenient knife block and the affordability and sharpness of the set.

Several reviewers said the scissors were not the best quality and were skeptical of whether the wood block was actually sharpening the knives. To be on the safe side, you may need to purchase a separate knife sharpener.

The company behind this knife set backs the product with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Large, sturdy wood block
  • Self-Sharpening works well (may need to sharpen every once in a while)
  • Great for the money
  • "Durable and sharp"

Cons

  • Sometime knives get stuck with self-sharpening design
  • Cheaper blades

10) WÜSTHOF Gourmet 12-Piece Precise Laser Cut High Carbon Stainless Steel Block Set 

This set includes: 2.5" paring knife, 3" spear point paring knife, 4.5" utility knife, 4.5" steak knives (4), 8" bread knife, 8" cook’s knife, 9" steel kitchen shears, and a 13-slot knife block.

These knives feature stamped high carbon stainless steel blades and triple-riveted synthetic polypropylene handles. Meant for both home cooks and professional chefs, this knife set is crafted to resist corrosion and dulling.

This product maintains a 4.6/5 star rating with just under 300 Amazon reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers love these knives for the sharpness and durability, but several reviewers noted that the knives seemed like a cheap imitation of the WÜSTHOF brand. It’s also important to know that these knives are hand-wash only and have the potential to rust if put through the dishwasher.

WÜSTHOF backs this product with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Great customer service
  • "Super sharp"
  • Great for an up and coming home-cook
  • "the price was right"

Cons

  • Some say imitation Wustof
  • Cheaper blades

11) Victorinox Swiss Army 10-Piece Cutlery Classic Knife Block Set

This set includes: 3.25" straight paring knife, 3.25” serrated paring knife, 4.5" serrated utility knife, 6" utility knife, 6" boning knife, 8" chef's knife, 8" bread knife, 9" honing steel, shears and hardwood block.

The knives are fitted with high carbon stainless steel blades and a Swiss Classic-textured handle with a non-slip grip. Each knife is ice-tempered to ensure long-lasting sharpness and weighted to allow for easy handling. Victorinox recommends that the knives be sharpened after every few uses for optimal results.

“I bought these knives for myself 3 years ago and love them still today,” raved one customer. This product maintains a 4.7/5 star rating with over 600 reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers love the sharpness and durability of the set, but many wrote that the knives didn’t fit into the hardwood block as well as they should.

Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • "Ridiculously sharp"
  • "Great for the price"
  • "3 years in and I'm still well pleased with these"
  • High carbon stainless steel

Cons

  • Customer service not great
  • Some complaints of bad packaging

12) Kitchen Damascus 9-Piece Knife Set with Block

This set includes: 8” Chef’s Knife, 8” Slicing Knife, 8” Bread Knife, 7” Santoku Knife, 5.5” Utility Knife, 3.5” Paring Knife, Kitchen Shear, 1 Knife Sharpener, 1 Beechwood Block

It doesn’t matter if you have restaurant experience or are just getting started in the wonderful world of cooking; this set is a stunner.

There’s a moment in life where you need to upgrade to Japanese steel, and this set is a fantastic way to do it. We’re talking Damascus steel blades with an exceptional sharpness and deadly precision, 67 layers of hand-forged steel, to be precise. Durable and easy to clean, these knives have a lifelong lasting performance.

This set doesn’t include a set of steak knives, but what you DO get is a gorgeous collection of masterfully crafted knives. From the Chef’s Knife and the Santoku to the most precise paring knife, this set is on another level.

A lifetime guarantee is a given, and a natural oak block is nothing less than what you’d expect for a knife set like this one.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • "Surgical sharp"
  • Great alternative to extremely expensive Japanese knives
  • "Great balance and heft"
  • Great base level knife set (Only has the necessities)

Cons

  • Damascus steel wave patterns may be lasered on
  • Complaints of rust (dry after washing)

13) OOU 8 Piece High Carbon Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set

This set includes: 8” chef’s knife, 8” bread knife, 8” slicing knife, 5” utility knife, 3.5” paring knife, kitchen scissors, solid wooden knife holder and knife sharpener to stay sharp.

These knives are forged with high carbon stainless steel and ebony wood handles. The full tang blades with triple rivets are meant to ensure flexibility and maximum edge retention without dulling or chipping.

Each knife is coated with a black oxide layer that is meant to prevent rusting and corrosion.

This knife set maintains a 4.5/5 star rating with over 200 Amazon reviews (as of 10/31/2020). Customers love the sharpness and affordability of the knives, but many had issues with longevity and noted that over time the knives became less effective.

OOU provides unlimited lifetime service to ensure customer satisfaction.

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • 4 Legs under block to keep it from getting water-logged
  • Very sharp
  • Light
  • Easy to handle

Cons

  • There are better knife sets for a similar price 
  • Loses edge over time
  • Weak handles

14) HomeGeek 7-Piece High Carbon 1.4116 Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Set 

This set includes: 8” chef’s knife, 8” serrated bread knife, 8” slicing knife, 6” boning knife, 5” utility knife, 3.5” paring knife, and an ebony oak block.

Each knife in this set is forged from German stainless steel and hand-polished. The full tang ergonomically-designed handle is triple-riveted to provide comfort and durability.

The elegant oak storage block is meant to prevent rusting and is fitted with rubberized feet that prevent sliding. This set does not come with a sharpener, so customers will need to purchase their own.

This Homgeek knife set maintains a 4.7/5 star rating with over 268 ratings (as of 11/1/2020). Top comments from reviewers mention how sturdy the oak block is, how sharp the knives are, and how comfortable the handles are. A few reviewers mentioned having issues with the base plate of the oak block detaching, but that they were able to fix it with a screwdriver.

The manufacturer offers replacements for any pieces customers find quality issues with.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Retain edge over time
  • Comfortable grip
  • Well-balanced
  • "Come sharp and ready to use"

Cons

  • Sometimes bottom plate come unattached (easily fixed with screwdriver)
  • Bread knife not the best

15) Cangshan 6-Piece S1 Series 59663 German Steel Forged Knife Block Set

This set includes: 8” chef's knife, 7” Santoku knife, 8” bread knife, 5” serrated utility knife, 3.5” paring knife, and a storage block.

These knives feature high-alloy German stainless steel blades and an ergonomic design. The blades are hand-polished and ice-hardened to provide long-lasting sharpness. Each knife undergoes a heat treatment to enhance their sharpness and durability.

This set maintains a 4.6/5 star rating with over 250 Amazon ratings (as of 11/1/2020). “Dangerously sharp, very nice aesthetic and you cannot beat this price!” This is just one of the many reviews from customers raving about the sharpness of the knives and the high quality of the storage block. 

There were several reviewers who wrote that over time the knives began chipping and breaking, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind.

This set is approved by the National Sanitation Foundation and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • "Dangerously sharp"
  • Sleek design and look
  • Slim block design
  • "Amazing value at less than $200"

Cons

  • Complaints on longevity
  • Come out of the block vertically (meaning they will not work well under a cabinet)

Consider Before You Buy


How Many Knives?

Based on 8 essential knives we outlined above, we recommend a total of 13-17 knives for those looking for a complete set of kitchen knives. This will include some variation of a chef knife, santoku knife, bread knife, paring knife, boning knife, filet knife, steak knives (usually 6), shears and a sharpener. 

We have options that go both above and below this range to account for those with particular needs. 

Block Type?

You can choose a wood or clear acrylic. Wood tends to look more stylish with rustic kitchens, while acrylic works well with more contemporary kitchens. Wood also tends to hide dirt, while being more difficult to clean. Clear acrylic exposes more dirt, but is usually easier to clean. 

Once you find the type of block, it's important to visualize where you plan to place the block. Is there a cabinet above? If so, you'll want to invest in an angled block. This will allow you to take out the knives without impedance from overhanging cabinets. Vertical blocks will only work in open areas.

Price?

What do I do? Go expensive and suffer now, or go cheap and suffer later? If we're being honest, this is usually the dilemma we face when making any purchasing decision.

After reading through hundreds of reviews, there are basically two paths you can take.

1) Go with a well-reviewed, cheaper set and have dependable knives for the next few years. Plan on continually buying new knives down the line. 

2) Go with a well-reviewed, expensive set and have dependable knives for 5-10 years (assuming your willing to sharpen continuously). 

These aren't universal laws but they are patterns that have a tendency to repeat themselves. There is no right or wrong answer here. Just know that at some point, that money is probably coming out of your pocket. It's whether you want to bite the bullet now or later. 

Concluding...


Whether you're a beginner home cook or the owner of a Michelin Star restaurant, the proper knife set is critical. We hope this review article is the first step on your way to finding a knife set you love.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Cheers!

Michael

Founder of Robust Kitchen

About the author

Michael spends his days eating, drinking and studying the fascinating world of food. He received his Bachelors Degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis and spent much of his time at the school brewery. While school proved to be an invaluable experience, his true passion lies in exposing the hidden crannies of food for the cooking laymen.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}