What to Look for in a Kitchen Knife Set

If you’re shopping for a kitchen knife set, there are many things you will need to look for to ensure you are getting the very best quality for your investment. In this article we will help you do just that.

Below we have reviewed several of the best, most popular and hottest selling knife sets on the market today, and included the pros and cons of each set.We have also included a buying guide after the reviews, in which we will explain in great detail the characteristics and features you should look for when purchasing a top-quality kitchen knife set.

Last update on 2020-07-06 at 18:50 / Affiliate disclaimer / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API

Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set

The blades of the Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set are made from the best carbon steel materials, giving you precision, accuracy and a sharp edge that tends to remain sharp longer than knives made from alternate materials.

The strong durable bolster of the knife offers you amazing stability and control when cutting, without fatigue in your hands or forearms. The ergonomically designed stainless steel handles on these knives not only last longer than handles made of wood or other materials, they also offer a great deal of comfort and balance.

The Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set are very easy to clean; and its precision-tapered ground blades run from the bolster to the tip, narrowing gradually to an extremely sharp, clean edge. In addition to coming with all the kitchen knives you will ever need to use, the set comes with six great looking steak knives you will be proud to set on your table.

Pros

  • Quantity. The Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set comes with 15 high quality pieces, including honing steel and six great steak knives.
  • Stay-sharp blades. Made of superior carbon steel, the blades in this set will stay sharp longer than any other type of blade.
  • Lifetime warranty. The Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set comes with a lifetime warranty, demonstrating the absolute confidence the Cuisinart Company has in this set.

Cons

  • Prone to rusting. The carbon steel blades in the Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set are prone to early rusting and corrosion.
  • Some problems with joints. Some users have complained that the blades separate from the handles over time.

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set

The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set is truly loaded. Among other items, the set comes with a paring knife, peeler, utility knife, six steak knives, a chef’s blade, slicing knife, bread knife and sharpening steel.

The professional high-carbon stainless steel forged blades are complimented by the black comfort-grip poly handles, giving the knives tremendous feel and balance. The exclusive taper grind edge technology on these knives offers easy sharpening and optimum sharpness which translates to precision cutting time after time.

The knives in the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set are both stain and rust resistant, and the company offers a lifetime warranty against any defects when the knives are used as instructed. Although the knives are not dishwasher safe due to potential nicks in the poly handles, they are very easy to clean and store, thanks to the wood block that will look great in any kitchen.

Pros

  • Lifetime Warranty. As with the last set, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set comes with a full lifetime warranty against defects.
  • Comfortable Grip. The poly handles on these knives make for an ergonomic and balanced grip.
  • Large Variety. With 18 pieces, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set is the largest set on our list.

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe. Due to potential nicks in the poly handles, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set is not dishwasher safe.
  • Premium priced. This set includes many pieces so it may not be suitable for the budget conscious or amateur cook.

LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set

The knives in the LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set have a perfectly tapered edge that provides the best in sharpness and re-sharpening.

The excellent quality control team of the company inspects every set before it is shipped you, which is why they are able to promise a long lasting product with precision cutting. The blades in this set are made from 420 Grade 3Cr14 Stainless Steel, and the Triple-rivet POM handles ensure a comfortable, secure grip every time.

The LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set includes 14 pieces, including an 8″ chef’s knife, 8″ slicing knife, 8″ bread knife, 5″ utility knife, and 3.5″ peeling knife. The set also includes 6 serrated steak knives, kitchen shears, sharpening steel and a wooden block that helps keep the knives safe and secure. Customers can try this set risk free for 30 days, after which the company offers a full money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with the sharpness, feel and precision of these blades.

Pros

  • Strong. The LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set includes blades that are made from 420 grade stainless steel and a combination of carbon and chromium for strength and shine.
  • Stay-sharp blades. The materials from which these blades are made are known to stay sharp longer than the competitors’ offerings.
  • Honing Steel Included. The LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set comes with a convenient honing steel.

Cons

  • Poor shears. According to some users, the kitchen shears in this set are prone to breaking.
  • Problems with breaking. The knives in the LivingKit Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set tend to break at the joints and welds.

Kitchen Knife Set Buying Guide

There are literally thousands of kitchen knife sets on the market today. Some of these are very spare, with just a few key knives you may use every day, while some are absolutely loaded, with more knives than you probably know what to do with.

When purchasing one of these kitchen knife sets, quality is, of course, very important, but also important is practicality—getting just the right knife set for your needs, nothing more, nothing less. To ensure your next knife set is just what you need, below we have outlined the things to look for in a kitchen knife set, which will hopefully assist you in making a more educated and informed purchasing decision.

What Knives Do I Need?

As we mentioned, some kitchen knife sets are loaded, but do you really need the largest set they sell? To answer that question you must think about your cooking habits and practices when you are shopping for your next knife set. Otherwise, there will be certain knives that never make it out of your block, and your wallet will be thinner for having purchased knives you don’t really use or need.

So what are the essential knives that any kitchen cook should have? First, let’s start with the following:

  • A paring knife. A paring knife is widely used. It is handy for trimming, peeling and cutting smaller pieces of food.
  • Chef’s knife. A chef’s knife is a multi-purpose knife that can be used for almost all cutting duties, such as slicing, chopping, mincing and dicing.
  • A serrated knife. A serrated knife is a must for any kitchen. It can be used to cut bread, tomatoes, delicate fruits, cakes and pies.

Once you ensure that the kitchen knife set has all three of the pieces outlined above, you can then consider additional knives that you may (or may not) use, and choose the ones you think would be beneficial based on your cooking style. Some of these additional knives include:

  • Utility knife. A small knife that has many purposes when it comes to handling smaller pieces of food.
  • Meat cleaver. If you regularly cut up chicken, ribs or other large pieces of food; this knife can come in very handy.
  • A vegetable cleaver. A knife for chopping up veggies and other things, perhaps a substitute for a chef’s knife.
  • Filet knife. For filleting fish.
  •  Bread Knife. Perfect for cutting bread, squishy vegetables and fruits, pies and cakes (like the serrated knife).
  • Boning knife. Used to remove meat from chicken, ham or roasts.
  • Carving blade. For slicing thin pieces from roasts, turkeys, hams, etc.
  • Honing steel. A must-have if you don’t already possess a way for keeping your knife set sharp.
  • Kitchen shears. Shaped like scissors, kitchen shears have many uses in the kitchen, from cutting up chicken to opening plastic bags.

Whether you need all of these pieces or just a few, the above list can help you pick and choose between the knives, ensuring you only purchase what you need—and what you will regularly use.

Things to Look for in a Good Knife Set

Here are just a few things to look for in the knives within your set.

Materials

What are the knives in the set made from? Knives can come in a variety of materials these days, including carbon steel blades, stainless steel knives, signature stainless steel alloys and even ceramic materials. All of these have some pros and cons, so the choice is really up to you, but the following may help you understand some of these benefits and drawbacks.

  • Carbon Steel Blades. Carbon steel blades are very easy to sharpen. They also tend to hold an edge longer than those blades made from stainless steel. On the downside, though, they are very prone to rusting.
  • Stainless Steel Knives. Stainless steel knives, as the name suggests, are resistant against stains and corrosion. However, these knives tend to dull faster than carbon steel knives and they can be extremely difficult to sharpen.
  • Signature Stainless Steel Alloys. Stainless steel alloy knives tend to be more lightweight than the above two blades, and they combine the best of both the carbon and stainless steel knives. Many Japanese knives, regarded as some of the best knives in the world, are made from these materials. The major disadvantage to purchasing a kitchen knife set made from stainless steel alloys is the cost, as these tend to be much more expensive than the other two metal knives.
  • Ceramic Materials. These knives come with an edge that is razor sharp and they tend to hold that edge well. However, they can chip and break very easily, and are thus not very durable.

Fit

The fit of a knife is how it feels in your hand. When you grip it does it feel comfortable? Do you think you could handle it without fatigue? A good knife should feel like an extension of your hand. You should be able to handle it with dexterity in the kitchen, and handle it safely without it feeling awkward, unbalanced, or too heavy in your hand.

Weight

Some people erroneously believe that a high quality knife must be heavy. This may have been true in the past, but the same does not hold true today. Nowadays there are many knife sets that are made from very lightweight alloys. These knives offer the same—and sometimes better—cutting power than the tremendously heavy knives, without the extra weight. Because weight is such an important and personal characteristic, it’s is very important that you pick up and handle the various knives in the kitchen knife set you are considering to check out their weight and the way they feel in your hand.

Balance

A well-made, high-quality knife set will include knives that are balanced. This means that the weight of the knife is evenly distributed between the blade and handle. This balance is important, because it will provide a more natural fit and feel, and allow choppers, dicers and mincers to perform their craft without running into fatigue in their hands, wrists and forearms.

Construction

Kitchen knives can be constructed using forging, stamping and stock removal techniques. All of these are effective ways to construct a knife, but you should always check the knives out to see if there are any defects from things like piecemeal construction. Anywhere the blade and handle comes together, the joints and welds, can be subject to defects, so look the knives over carefully to ensure they are of good quality construction-wise.

Handles

Most knife handles nowadays are made from some type of composite materials, whether thermoplastics, resin, vulcanized rubber, etc., while some are made from stainless steel and wood. Occasionally you will also find bone handles, but these are rare. Although stainless steel and composite handles offer the best longevity, you should shop around until you find a handle you like—one that feels comfortable and balanced in your hand.

Storage

A kitchen knife set should come with a handy place in which to store the knives and keep them together. Many of these sets come with a block that helps keep the knives secure and razor sharp, so shop around, read some reviews and act the salesperson about the storage system for their various knife sets.

Sharpening

Finally, there are many manufacturers who will claim that their “knives never need sharpening.” This is a fallacy and just not true. Over time, all knives will lose their edge and need to be sharpened, and if you have a knife that cannot be sharpened it is essentially a throwaway item. Ceramic knife makers tend to make that claim often, mostly because it requires a special machine to sharpen these knives.

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