The Best High-End Gourmet Knife Sets Ever Made: Why Spending More Pays Off

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Believe it or not, upgrading your knife set can elevate your cooking game at home.

You may not beat the likes of Gordon Ramsay in a one-on-one cook-off but a decent knife will be an asset even if you don’t spend years of training (and thousands of dollars in tuition) in a culinary school.

There are hundreds of companies marketing premium knife blocks at exorbitant prices.

But are these really worth your money?

You need not trouble yourself with too much research because we have narrowed down the list for you.

Listed below is the crème de la crème of kitchen cutlery.

Best High-End Gourmet Knife Sets (Updated List)

Buying Guide

What is the difference between a knife collection that costs $100 and $1000?

Read on to understand the price tag placed on well-esteemed brands.

The Steel Used

Because this is the heart and soul of a knife, you will always come across chefs and blade connoisseurs waxing poetic about the type of steel used in forums and comment sections of product listings.

Carbon makes steel hard.

Chromium, the metal alloy which makes steel ‘stainless’, is used to prevent corrosion.

Molybdenum adds strength.

Vanadium makes it last longer.

Tungsten allows the steel to get sharpened well.

Formulating a steel blend that contains a good balance of these metal alloys and then layering the steel flawlessly create a blade that will endure the test of time.

And that’s what you should be paying for.

The Making of the Knife

There are two main knife-making processes which you should know about: stamping and forging.

The former refers to cutting the blade’s shape from a thin sheet of steel.

The latter, heating a piece of steel and then hammering it to shape, takes more time and effort to accomplish.

Although many prefer the latter, each has its pros and cons.

Stamped blades are more lightweight while forged ones are more durable.

The Handle

The type of handle also adds to the quality and total cost of the knife.

Plastics tend to be cheaper. But there are synthetic materials that can drive the price up like Micarta and carbon fiber.

Natural materials like wood, leather, and mother of pearl tend to be expensive because these have been treated to resist bacteria, wear, and tear.

The Kinds of Knives in a Set

Talented master chefs will tell you that there are just four knives that you must have in your kitchen: a Chef’s knife, one for paring, another for boning, and a serrated one for bread. Having a honing rod is a plus too.

Then again, it would be nice if the set you’re eyeing has several other knives for really specific slicing jobs.

That can make your chopping board chores less complicated.

Product Reviews

Dalstrong Crusader Series 18-Piece Collection (Best Overall)

DALSTRONG - 18pc Knife Block Set - Crusader Series - Forged...
  • Design Purity. A collection of stunningly designed, all-steel knives,...
  • A Single Piece of Razor Sharp Steel. A seamless and sleek transition...
  • Ultimate Function & Performance. The stylized groove along the knife...

Knives included in the set: 8” Chef’s, 8” Serrated for Bread, 4.5” Paring, 9” Carving, 8.5” Kiritsuke, 7” Santoku, 7” Nakiri, 6.5” Boning, 6” Filet, 5.5.” Serrated Utility, 3” Tourne Peeler, six pieces 5” for Steak with straight edges, and a honing rod.

The blades are forged using Thyssenkrupp X50CRMOV15 stainless steel (HRC 58) then hand-finished with a razor-sharp edge of 16 to 18-degrees per side.

A straight groove parallel to the spine is added, for friction-less slicing.

The tang transitions seamlessly to the stainless steel loop handle, making the whole knife lightweight and incredibly balanced.

Besides the beautiful Acacia woodblock, all the knives come with a magnetic sheath.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9.5/10
  • Handling: 9.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9/10


  • Has at least three of the must-have western knives and two of the essential Japanese ones
  • Unique design, easily recognizable as Dalstrong
  • The minimalist all-steel composition makes this germ-free
  • Based on the set price, each piece is equivalent to $30 or less, which is not bad
  • 120-day money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty offered


  • The overall ‘futuristic’ look may not suit all
  • A relatively new company, established only in 2012

Wusthof Classic Ikon 8-Piece Ensemble (2nd Best)

WÜSTHOF CLASSIC IKON Eight Piece Knife Block Set | 8-Piece...
  • High carbon, stainless steel blades.
  • 3 riveted black synthetic handles
  • Made in Solingen, Germany

Knives included in the set: 8” Cook’s Knife, 8” Serrated for Bread, 6” Utility, 4.5” Utility, 3.5” Paring, 10” Honing Steel, Kitchen Shears (Come-Apart), and a Knife Block

The Classic Ikon line is precision forged from Wusthof’s very own steel blend similar to the German X50CRMOV15 (HRC 58).

The edges are sharpened to 14-degrees on each side using the PEtec (Precision Edge Technology).

This innovation ensures longer edge retention.

The knives have full tangs, slim full bolsters, and are triple-riveted to POM (Polyoxomethylene) handles.

For safety, this set comes with a light-colored walnut wood block.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Set includes all the necessary knives and tools
  • Quintessential German knife – substantially weighted but balanced
  • Made in Solingen, Germany
  • Walnut block has 15 slots, more than the number of knives offered in the set, which means you can get more in the future and not worry about storage


  • One of the priciest on the list
  • Based on the set price, each piece costs over a $100

Cangshan TC Series 17-Piece Collection (Best for Durability)

Cangshan TC Series 1021455 Swedish Sandvik 14C28N Steel...
  • Hand crafted full tang knives forged from fine grained, Swedish...
  • Each blade goes through an (ultra6) stage heat treatment ensuring...
  • Set Includes: 8" chef's knife, 8" bread knife, 7" santoku knife, 6"...

Knives included in the set: 8” Chef’s, 8” Serrated for Bread, 3.5” Paring, 6” Boning, 7” Santoku, 5” Serrated Utility, 5” Tomato Slicer, 2.75” Peeling blade, six pieces 5” Steak knives (serrated), 8” Honing rod, 8” Shears (Come Apart), and a Knife Block

TC Series’ knives are hand-crafted using Sandvik 14C28N steel (HRC 59) from Sweden.

This is said to be strong, resistant to stain and corrosion, and holds its edge 5 times longer than more prominent German steel blends.

With its full tang bolted thrice to a sleek and narrow black handle, these Cangshans are light and easy to maneuver.

The light-colored walnut block is a perfect match to the knives’ simplicity.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9.5/10


  • Won numerous accolades like the Red Dot and German Design Award
  • Endorsed by famous chefs like Thomas Keller
  • Offers hassle-free, limited lifetime warranty


  • A relatively new company, founded only in 2015
  • Price tags might differ from one shopping site to another

Dalstrong Shogun Series 5-Piece Set (Best for Design)

DALSTRONG Knife Set Block - 5pc - Shogun Series X Knife Set...
  • Culinary Perfection: Combining expert and handcrafted woodwork with...
  • Unrivalled Performance: Included Shogun Series X 8” Chef Knife,...
  • Dalstrong Power: Featuring ultra sharp AUS-10V Vacuum Heat Treated...

Knives included in the set: 8” Chef’s, 8” Serrated for Bread, 3.75” Paring, 6” Utility, 7” Santoku, and a Knife Block

Blades under this series are made from the high-carbon Japanese steel AUS-10V (HRC 62) and then laminated with 67 layers of SUS410.

The forging, cooling, and Honbazuke sharpening create interesting gradations from the spine’s metal beading, the bevel’s Damascus waves, and the edge’s smooth sharpness (up to 8-degrees per side!).

The black, G10 Garolite handle is triple-riveted around the full tang and matches the simple Acacia wood and metal components of the knife block.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Incredible out-of-factory sharpness
  • The spine and heel are smoothened out, allowing the pinch-grip cutting method
  • The block’s design shows off the knives’ Damascus waves
  • Based on the set price, one-piece costs $70 which is quite affordable for its quality
  • 100% limited lifetime warranty given


  • While the military-grade G-10 handle material is strong and durable, it doesn’t ‘melt’ comfortably in the hand
  • Some aren’t convinced about the function or longevity of China-made knives

Wusthof Classic 9-Piece Kit (Best for Eastern Style)

Wusthof Classic 9 Piece Knife Set with Acacia Block
  • Set includes: 3.5" Paring Knife, 4.5" Utility Knife, 5" Serrated...
  • Precision forged full tang, high-carbon stain resistant stainless...
  • PEtec edge enhances the sharpness 20% and lasts twice as long, 58...

Knives included in the set: 8” Chef’s, 8” Serrated for Bread, 5” Utility (with serrations), 4.5” Utility, 3.5” Paring, 6” Prep Knife, 9” Honing Rod, Kitchen Shears (Come Apart), and a Knife Block

Like all Wusthofs, the Classic knives are precision-forged from a single piece of X50CRMOV15 steel (HRC 58).

Thanks to the brand’s propriety PEtec, the edges are razor-sharp and do not require re-sharpening for a very long time.

It has full tangs and bolsters then triple-riveted to the durable black POM handles.

The light-colored Acacia wooden block that the set comes with has 17 slots.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • The set consists of the essential basics and more…
  • The addition of the versatile Prep knife is a huge advantage, especially for complicated chopping board jobs like de-veining shrimps and butterflying chicken breasts.
  • Favorite among famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay
  • Made in Solingen, Germany
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty


  • The knife is pretty heavy
  • Wusthof can be a bit pricey

Shun Classic 10-Piece Set (Best for Western Style)

Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set
  • Set includes: 3.5-inch Paring Knife, 4.5-inch Honesuki Knife, 5-inch...
  • Set also includes: 8-inch Chef's Knife, 9-inch Hollow Edge Carving...
  • VG-MAX cutting core with 34-layers (each side) and stainless Damascus...

Knives included in the set: 8” Chef’s, 3.5” Paring, 6” Utility, 4.5” Honesuki, 5” Nakiri, 7” Santoku, 9” Slicer with a hollow edge, 9” Honing Rod, Kitchen Shears, and a Knife Block

Shun’s Classic blades are made using the proprietary VG Max (HRC 61) as core and then clad with 34 layers of stainless steel on each side, creating the Damascus pattern.

The dark-colored edges are then hand-sharpened to a 16-degree angle on each side.

The full tangs beautifully wrapped around the D-shaped handles made from ebony Pakkawood.

The no-frills light-colored bamboo knife block with 13 slots is just as cleanly designed as the knives.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • Has two of the most invaluable knives, but with three basic Japanese blades
  • Damascus waves on these blades look perfectly attractive with the no-nonsense knife design
  • Hand-crafted in Seki, Japan
  • Offers a limited lifetime warranty
  • Offers free re-sharpening service


  • Thought to be overpriced by some people
  • Shun edges tend to blunt fast (hence, Shun’s free sharpening offer)

Nexus BD1N 25-Piece Collection (Best for Multipurpose)

Nexus BD1N 25-piece Knife Block Set - 63 Rockwell Hardness,...
  • Set includes: 3.5" Paring Knife, 4.5" Utility Knife, 5.5" Prep Knife,...
  • American BD1N Stainless Steel enhanced with Nitrogen allows for high...
  • 63 Rockwell Hardness for unmatched edge retention; 15° Blade Angle...

Knives included in the set: 8″ and 6″ Chef’s, 9″ Serrated for Bread, 6″ Curved Boning or Filleting, 3.5″ Paring, 4.5″, 5.5″ Prep Knife, Utility, 5.5″ Serrated Utility (perfect for sandwiches), 6″ Utility Slicer, and many more

Nexus blades are made from BD1N stainless steel (HRC 63. Purported to be as exceptional as VG10, this American-made steel creates knives that are hard, razor-sharp (15-degree on each side) but aren’t brittle.

The precision bolster allows for honing from tip to heel, while the full tang triple-riveted to the black G10 handles provide just the balance.

The set comes with a matching black ash knife block.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Consists of all the essential knives, Japanese blades, and so many more
  • Based on the set price, each piece costs a little over $30 – a good price for a gourmet set.
  • Lifetime warranty provided


  • Some doubt its performance since it is made in China
  • Only the distributor is named, the manufacturing company is not


Can the knives be put in the dishwasher?

No. Some brands say their G10 handles can manage the heat of dishwashers but the blade won’t.

Should the knives be honed daily?

Yes, especially before you use it. Honing re-aligns the knife’s edge so it can slice or dice accurately.

How do I clean the knife block?

Wiping it clean is best. Try not to get the block wet because the long, narrow slots are difficult to dry and could harbor microorganisms.

Why did the knife chip? Can this be replaced?

Even the toughest, most versatile knife can break if used improperly. Use your knives as suggested (example: don’t chop bony chicken with a filleting knife) because these aren’t part of warranty plans.

Why did the knife rust? Can this be fixed?

Many of the listed blades are high in Carbon so there is a possibility of rusting, especially when it is left soaked in soap and water or if it wasn’t dried before storage. There are numerous ways to clean a rusty knife but it’s best to prevent this from happening.

What are the return plans, warranty guarantees, and other related services?

All the brands mentioned above have limited lifetime warranties. Dalstrong and Cangshan can be returned for whatever reason within a certain period. Shun has a free re-sharpening service. Check their specific websites to learn more.

Are there more affordable options for each brand mentioned above?

Yes. The metal used for the blade and the material for the handle may be different but you can still be assured of quality with any of those high-end cutlery makers.


The price tag isn’t necessarily commensurate to the quality of a certain product.

And there is wisdom in not going for extremely pricey blades, especially if you’re a beginner.

But if you fancy yourself a gourmet and your current knife set is out of commission, you might want to consider a more high-end collection.

Any of the sets described will work well in a kitchen, even one owned by a newbie cook.

And because all those are worthy to be in your home, trust your instincts in choosing because it all boils down to which feels good in your hand.

Last Updated on June 23, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.