The Best Kitchen Knife Sets For The Money: Quality Brands For Your Cooking Needs

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If you’re ready to upgrade your kitchen tools to match your newly honed cooking skills, getting a good knife set is a great start.

Admittedly, it is hard to settle on a set that would fit your needs and, more importantly, your budget.

However, one thing you should always put in mind is that knives are an investment.

You don’t need to splurge on an expensive collection. Going for budget-friendly picks is absolutely fine. But you must make sure that the set can last you years.

So, if you’re still looking for suggestions about the best kitchen knife sets you can buy for your kitchen, take a look at this guide.

I’m sure after reading my guide, you will find what you’ve been looking for all the time.

The Best Kitchen Knife Sets – Quick Comparison

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What to Look For When Buying?

Materials Used

This is one of the first things you should check out when checking out sets for your kitchen.

Ideally, you’d want to have blades made of high-carbon stainless steel, as that material is known to have a very sharp edge that will last you a long time.

Most models out there will be using different steel recipes, and sometimes that can be hard to keep a track of, but just remember that you would want a high-carbon blade.

Aside from that, you would want a handle made out of wood or a synthetic material.

Wooden handles have a more rustic aesthetic, but they aren’t as durable as synthetic ones.

Luckily, there are handles out there that combine wood and resin to create handles that have a beautiful rustic look to them while also having the same durability as materials.

Construction

The next thing you’d want to look at is how the products are made.

Ideally, you’d want to get a set of knives that are forged, meaning they are made using a single piece of stainless steel.

These products will be more durable and have a better edge as compared to others, but they will be more expensive.

Another good option is knives that are made in the Damascus tradition, which involves layering multiple sheets of steel over a hardcore.

This makes the blade very durable while also giving off a beautiful swirly pattern.

The alternative to forged blades is stamped blades, which are made by laser cutting or “stamping” the blade out of a large sheet of stainless steel.

These aren’t as premium, but they will be much more affordable as compared to othher products.

It’s also ideal to get knives that are full-tang in construction, which means the blade runs throughout the entire knife.

These products are much more stable and durable compared to others on the market.

Number Of Pieces

The next thing to consider is how many pieces are included in the set.

There are some large 15-20 piece sets out there while there are also smaller 5-10 piece ones.

The right one for you will largely depend on your needs.

If you find yourself working with a wide variety of ingredients and make a lot of complicated dishes, then the larger sets might be more ideal for you.

However, if you only need a basic collection to handle common kitchen tasks at home, then you might be better off saving some money and getting a smaller one.

Price

This is one of the most important aspects of any kitchen set: the cost.

While expensive knife sets are definitely worth the investment for some, others might find them a bit too much.

To figure out the right price range for you, you first have to ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend.

This should be based on your means and needs in the kitchen.

If you really believe you need a complete set with everything included, then you might have to get ready to invest, however, if all you need is something small and simple then you can shop with cheaper brands and products in mind.

Knife collections by prices:

Reviews of the Best Products

1. iMarku 16-Piece Set (Best Overall)

Kicking things off, we have a 16-piece collection from iMarku.

It features an 8” chef, 8” slicing, 8” bread, 7” santoku, 3” paring, 6” chef, and 5” utility knife.

On top of that, it comes with kitchen shears, a knife sharpener, and six 5” steak knives.

This is a complete set that will not only allow you to prep and cook a bunch of different meals, but also serve them, since it comes with steak knives, too.

These blades are made out of high-carbon stainless steel, which is a very tough material that can hold its edge for a fairly long time.

They also have a beautiful rosewood handle that offers a beautiful aesthetic.

The set also comes with a knife block with the same wood tone as the handles, to make for safe storage of the blades.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • All the knives are full-tang
  • Beautiful aesthetic
  • Complete set for any kitchen
  • Relatively affordable
  • Comes with beautiful wooden handles

Cons:

  • The knives are stamped, not forged

2. Home Hero 17 Pieces (2nd Runner-up)

Next up, we have a slightly larger set coming from Home Hero.

It comes with all the essentials knives.

With this set, you’ll also be getting kitchen shears, a vegetable peeler, and a knife sharpener.

This is one of the most affordable sets you can get out there, so it doesn’t come with the premium features that you’ll expect from the more expensive brands.

That being said, it is one of the best in its price range, with beautifully made stainless steel blades that will be razor-sharp right out of the box.

Finding a set that comes with seven steak knives is pretty tough, but that’s exactly what you’re getting, which makes it a great option for large families or people who have guests over frequently.

They come with polypropylene handles, which are not the best out there, but are very affordable and durable, which is why you find this material on a lot of budget options.

The blades are coated with non-stick paint so that no ingredients will stick to them while cutting, which makes for a very cost-effective, convenient, and functional set!

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes with 7 steak knives
  • Comes with a sharpener and vegetable peeler
  • Relatively sharp knives
  • HomeHero has great customer service

Cons:

  • Not the most durable set out there

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3. Dalstrong Gladiator Series (Best for Sharpness)

Next up is one of the premier collections from one of the best cutlery brands out there: Dalstrong.

The Gladiator Series features blades forged from German Stainless Steel, which is one of the best knife steels out in the market today.

They are also heat-treated and sharpened by experts, so right out of the box, you’re going to have a razor-sharp and very durable set.

This is an 18-piece set, so it comes with a whole lot of stuff, which when paired with the fact that all the products are very high-quality, explains why this is one of the most expensive sets on the list.

Included in the set are a 9” carver, 9” bread knife, 8.5” kiritsuke, 8” chef knife, 7” santoku, 7” nakiri, 6” boning knife, 6.5” utility knife,  6” serrated utility knife, 3.5” paring knife, 2.75” bird’s beak paring knife, six 5” steak knives, honing steel, and a walnut block.

This is enough to complete an entire kitchen setup, so if you’re starting your collection from scratch and are willing to make the investment, this could be the pick for you.

All the blades are sharpened to a very fine angle of 16-18 degrees per side, which is one of the finest edges you’ll get out of the box.

The blades are also fairly tall, which makes for a very easy and convenient slicing experience, and since they’re all full-tang, they are also very balanced.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Premium collection
  • Enough knives to complete a kitchen setup
  • Ideal for home cooks and professionals
  • Forged and full-tang construction
  • Polished and premium food-grade Polymer ABS handle

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive

4. Emojoy 16-Piece Set (Best for Design)

Next up is another affordable collection that comes with a beautiful wooden block that would look great in the kitchen.

Along with the block, you’ll be getting an 8” chef, 8” paring, 8” santoku, 8” bread, 5” utility, 3.5” paring, and six 5” steak knives.

And if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with shears, a carving fork, and a sharpener.

This is a great basic set to have because it has everything one would need and comes at a fairly affordable price.

The blades are made of X50Cr15 steel, which is a high-carbon stainless steel with a great finish and quality edge-retention.

The knives come with beautiful rivets that make for a very stable blade while also keeping things very balanced and secure.

This is a great mid-range option for anyone shopping for a complete collection out there and would make a beautiful addition to any kitchen.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

Cons:

  • Not dishwasher friendly

5. McCook MC29 Set (Best for New Home Kitchens)

If you’ve been looking for a very sleekly designed set of blades that are made of German Stainless Steel, this could be the pick for you.

This McCook collection features an 8″ chef knife, 8″ slicing knife, 5″ santoku knife, 5.5″ serrated utility knife, 5″ utility knife, 3.5″ paring knife, six 4.5″ serrated steak knife, 2 pairs of kitchen shears, and hardwood knife block with a built-in sharpener.

This is about all you’ll need in the kitchen and more, making this a great option if you’re building your cabinet up from scratch.

It features an all stainless steel design, which gives it a very professional and modern look, which is one of the reasons this collection is loved by so many customers.

The McCook MC29 set is one of the most affordable ones on the market today, and as one happy customer has stated, “they’re top-quality knives for half the price!”.

That being said, while they are razor sharp and very well-designed, they are not the most durable collection out there, which is a small sacrifice to make for the sheer quality of the knives.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Sleek all stainless steel design
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes with a block
  • Arrives razor-sharp out of the box

Cons:

  • Not the most durable collection out there

6. HENCKELS Statement Block Set (Budget-friendly Choice)

Next up is a set from one of the most well-known brands in the culinary world.

Henckels has been around since the 1800s and for more than a century they have been supplying professionals all around the world with some of the best German knives on the market.

It comes from the Statement collection, which is one of their more affordable collections, making it a great pick for serious cooks on a budget.

The 15-piece set comes with a 3” paring, 5” utility, 8” chef, 8” bread, and six 4.5” steak knives.

On top of that, you’ll also get a 7” santoku, kitchen shears, honing steel, and a wooden storage block.

The handle is made from high-quality plastic so it’s tough and will last you a very long time.

The blades are precision stamped from high-carbon stainless steel and sharpened to a very fine angle that will slice through just about anything.

This is the cheapest collection from the brand, so it isn’t the most high-quality, but you will be getting sharp and durable Henckels knives at a fairly cheap price.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a storage block
  • Durable
  • Razor-sharp out of the box
  • Made by a very trusted brand

Cons:

  • Not the best collection from Henckels

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7. Zwilling J.A. Henckels TWIN Signature Block Set (Premium Choice)

If you’re really looking to invest in your set, then you might want to take a look at the premium brands such as Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

While technically under the same company, Zwilling J.A. Henckels is considered the more premium option compared to Zwilling, which is important to remember when making your way through the knife world.

This set comes with a 4” paring, 5” serrated utility, 6” utility, 8” chef, and an 8” bread knife.

On top of that, it also comes with a 7” hollow-edge santoku, shears, a block, and honing steel.

They also made sure to include six steak knives that are exactly the same as the utility knife.

The blades are all stamped from high-carbon stainless steel.

However, unlike most other stamped blades, these are one-piece stamped, which makes the blades lighter without sacrificing quality.

All of the blades are hand-sharpened to a 15-degree angle on each side except the santoku, which is sharpened to a 10-degree angle.

Right out of the box, these will be some of the sharpest knives you have ever used, and since they are made with such precision, the edge will stay sharp for a very long time.

This would be a great investment for any home cook or professional chef out there.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Very high-quality knives
  • Razor-sharp right out of the box
  • Professional design
  • Comes with a storage block
  • 57 Rockwell Hardness Rating

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive

8. Cuisinart C77SS-15PK (Best for Convenience)

The next collection on this list comes from the Cuisinart brand, which is one of the go-to choices for home cooks because of how the brand bridges the gap between high-quality professional knives and affordable options for home cooks.

One of the first things you’re going to notice about this set is its very sleek look.

All the knives come with an all-stainless-steel design that looks clean and modern, perfect for just about any kitchen.

The design also makes it very easy to clean the blades and handles, so you won’t have to worry too much about cleaning up while cooking.

The blades are stamped out of high-carbon stainless steel, which is a process that’s more affordable than forging, but you will end up sacrificing a bit of toughness.

All of these knives are lightweight, which will make working with them in the kitchen very easy.

This is a great option for those who need to do a lot of prep work and don’t want to strain their arms and hands too much.

Included in the set is just about everything you’ll need in the kitchen, from chef knives to steak knives, all the way to a storage block and honing steel.

One complaint that some customers have is that the knives had the tendency to rust.

However, that is usually a result of leaving them in the dishwasher for too long.

The brand clearly states not to put their blades in the dishwasher and to hand wash and dry them after every use, because if you don’t, they will naturally end up rusting.

But if you make sure to take care of them, you’ll surely have a razor-sharp collection of knives that can last you years to come!

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Very sleek and modern design
  • Razor-sharp out of the box
  • Great edge-retention
  • Comes as a complete set

Cons:

  • Stamped knives aren’t as durable as forged ones

9. Marco Almond KYA31 (Best for Professionals)

If you’ve been on the hunt for a very classy-looking option with a beautiful storage block, this could be the pick for you.

It comes with a beautifully made storage block, which gives a very unique aesthetic that you won’t see with a lot of the sets out there in the market today.

On top of that, the block also comes with a built-in sharpener for even more convenience.

That being said, using these types of blocks could result in your blades getting dull, so it’s very important to keep that in mind.

Along with the block, you’ll be getting an 8″ chef knife, 8″ slicing knife, 5″ santoku, 5.5″ serrated utility knife, 5″ utility knife, 3.5″ paring knife, six 4.5″ steak knives, and kitchen shears.

These blades are all made with KYA31 Japanese Stainless Steel.

This is a material that has a lot of carbon in the recipe, which makes it hold its edge for very long and last you years in the kitchen.

If treated properly, these knives will not rust, especially if you wash and dry them after use.

Never put your knives in the dishwasher as they can get rusted and ruin the blades if left too long without being dried.

Our scores:

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

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable
  • Sleek and classy design
  • Razor-sharp
  • Unique storage block
  • Made out of premium materials

Cons:

  • Not the most durable set out there

10. Farberware 22-Piece Set (Best for Multipurpose)

Next up is a huge set from Farberware that will complete just about all of the kitchen needs.

For starters, it has all the essential kitchen knives: an 8” chef knife, 8” bread knife, 5” Santoku, 5.5” serrated utility knife, 4”utility knife, 3.5” paring knife, six 4.5” steak knives, and kitchen shears.

On top of that, it also comes with five measuring spoons, three spatulas, and a wooden block for storage.

The blades in this set all have micro-serrations at the end which will ensure that you will never need to sharpen them, at least not for a very long time after buying them.

They are stamped out of high-carbon stainless steel, which makes them very durable and allows the edge to be very sharp and precise.

These full-tang knives have a triple-riveted handle which not only adds a lot of stability when cutting slicing but also gives off a very classy and professional aesthetic.

This would make a great gift for anyone starting out a new stage in their life and need to build a kitchen setup.

Whether they are fresh graduates, newlyweds, or people getting their first home or apartment, this would be a great starting point for their kitchen setup.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10

Pros:

  • Razor-sharp
  • Complete set
  • Classy design
  • Comes with measuring spoons and spatulas
  • Triple rivets make for a very balanced set of blades

Cons:

  • Not the most durable set out there

Important Parts Of A Knife

Blade

The blade is the entire cutting surface of the knife including the point, spine, and edge.

This is a blanket term for a lot of other more specific parts of the blade, which we’ll be discussing next.

Point

The point is simply the tip of the blade.

This part is usually small and sharp, which you can use to puncture ingredients when prepping in the kitchen.

Spine

The spine is the unsharpened end of the blade.

Scale

The scale is the area of the knife where the tang is connected to the handle.

Edge

This is the sharp end of the blade, it is sometimes serrated but it is typically plain.

This part is usually ground and sharpened to a very precise and fine angle to allow it to slide through ingredients without much resistance.

Handle

This is the second major part of the knife.

It is where you hold the tool when using it in the kitchen.

Bolster

The bolster is the part of the knife that connects the blade to the handle.

It also serves as a point of balance for the knife, giving you more weight for a better feel when cutting, slicing, and chopping.

Rivet

These are the pins that connect the tang to the handle.

Sometimes, you’ll have a model with three rivets, and other times you can find single or double-riveted options too.

Butt

This is the end of the handle.

Tang

The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle.

Some models will have this run throughout the entire handle, which is called full-tang.

However, there are also partial-tang and skeletonized tang options out there that have their own unique set of benefits.

Types Of Knives You’ll Find In A Set

Chef Knife

This is the most important tool you will have in your kitchen.

It typically is around 6”-12” long and is used as a multi-purpose tool in the kitchen.

It is used for slicing meat, chopping vegetables, and just about any kitchen task you can think of.

Sometimes, a set will come with a Japanese version of the chef knife, which is called a Santoku.

This variation is sharper and a bit smaller, which allows you to use it with more precision.

Utility Knife

The utility knife is the go-to blade to use when a chef knife is too big.

These are tiny blades that measure around 4”-7”, so you can have a lot more precision and control when slicing.

This is ideal for smaller ingredients that a chef knife won’t be able to cut properly.

Shears

Shears are a very important part of any kitchen, they are scissors with thick and strong blades that are designed to handle a lot of different ingredients.

They also offer a lot more control compared to knives, which can sometimes make prepping in the kitchen much simpler.

Boning Knife

As you can tell by the name, these tools are used to remove meat from the bone.

They are thin and flexible, so they can really get in between ingredients.

They can also be used for skinning and other precision tasks in the kitchen, which is what makes them essential in any knife set.

Bread Knife

Bread knives are serrated blades that can slice through bread without crushing or squishing it.

These tools can also be used to cut through poultry and seafood and are ideal for cutting large chunks for cooking.

Paring Knife

The paring knife is a small and compact tool designed to peel fruits and vegetables.

They typically have a small 3”-4” blade that’s easy to control and maneuver.

Steak Knives

These blades usually come in sets of 5, especially when buying a complete knife block.

They are used for cutting through cooked meat such as chicken, beef, pork, and even seafood.

Steak knives either have serrated or non-serrated edges, both of which slice through meat with a lot of ease.

Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning

The first tip to taking care of your blades is to clean them after every use.

This means washing off any residue that was left on the blade and handle with soap.

It’s also recommended to use a non-abrasive sponge when scrubbing the blades.

Once you finish washing, you have to properly dry the blades before storing them to prevent corrosion and other damages.

Annual Tune-Ups

This basically means taking your knives to be sharpened at least once a year, depending on how much they were used.

Ideally, this should be done by a professional, especially if you aren’t too familiar with the process.

However, if you know how to properly hone and sharpen knives and have the equipment for it, there’s nothing wrong with doing it yourself.

Proper Storage

Lastly, you have to make sure you store your blades properly.

This means keeping them on a magnetic strip or storing them in a knife roll or bag.

Knife blocks l0ok nice and work fairly well, but sometimes they can dull your blades which is why they aren’t recommended for regular storage, especially if you have a set of very sharp knives.

FAQ’s

1. What Brand Of Knives Do Professional Chefs Prefer?

This will largely depend on the chef since everyone has their own tastes and preferences.

However, some of the brands that you’ll find professionals using a lot are Zwilling, Shun, Dalstrong, and Wusthof.

2. What Are The Best Kitchen Knife Sets?

There is no objective and definite answer to this question, however, our pick for the best kitchen knife set is the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Set.

This is a premium collection that would serve any kitchen very well.

3. Are German Or Japanese Knives Better?

This will depend on your own cooking and slicing style.

German knives are heavier and are a bit more durable.

Japanese models, on the other hand, are sharper and more fit for precision-based tasks.

4. Are Cutco Knives Worth It?

If you really want a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, then Cutco is definitely worth the price.

However, you’ll be paying for a warranty more than a quality blade with this brand since their products are known to not be the best on the market today.

5. Are Japanese Knives Worth It?

While they may be expensive, the expert craftsmanship that comes with a lot of Japanese blades is well worth the price.

We recommend checking out brands like Shun, Global, and Mac for high-quality Japanese-style knives.

6. What Is The Best Japanese Chef Knife?

A lot of chefs point to the Shun Premier model as one of the best Japanese models on the market today.

It is razor-sharp, expertly crafted, and has a beautiful design, which is why it’s used in so many different kitchens all around the world.

7. What Is The Best German Chef Knife?

When it comes to German blades, you can’t go wrong with the Wusthof brand.

And from the brand, one of the best options they have is the Wusthof Classic, a straight-to-the-point and highly functional collection of knives.

8. How Much Should I Spend On A Chef Knife?

This depends on your means and needs.

If you’re a professional chef, it might be recommended to get an expensive option that may cost you more than $150.

However, home cooks who are on a budget would find that there a lot of quality options in the sub-$150 range.

9. Are Expensive Knives Worth It?

Yes, they are, especially if you do a lot of heavy prep in the kitchen.

They can speed up your workflow by a lot, and they are usually perfectly engineered so you have a pleasant experience when using the tool.

10. What Steel Stays Sharp The Longest?

This differs depending on who you ask, however, make sure to take a look at materials with a lot of carbon and vanadium in them.

These are elements that greatly improve the edge-retention of a steel blade.

11. Are Shun Knives Good?

Yes, these knives are considered some of the best Japanese-made models on the market.

This is especially true with the Shun Classic and Premier collections.

12. Should I Sharpen Cheap Knives?

It is highly recommended to sharpen cheap knives because it will greatly improve their quality and extend their lifespan.

This is a great way of having high-quality blades in your kitchen without busting the bank.

13. How Do Professionals Sharpen Knives?

A professional will use a series of tools such as whetstones to properly sharpen a knife.

This process requires a lot of training and practice, which is why it’s recommended to let professionals do the job if you aren’t too familiar with sharpening knives to avoid causing damage to your tools.

14. Can I Put My Knives In The Dishwasher?

It is not recommended to put your knives in the dishwasher, even if they are advertised to be dishwasher-friendly.

This is because the blades will stay wet in the washer, which could lead to rusting.

15. How Often Should You Sharpen Knives?

Sharpening should be done at least once a year, especially if you use the knife a lot.

However, there are some chefs who have their knives sharpened or sharpen them themselves at least twice a year.

Conclusion

And that concludes our list of the best knife sets available in the market today.

Some of the options here are designed for professionals and those looking to make an investment in high-quality kitchen gear.

However, there are also choices for people looking for a high-quality set on a budget.

Dalstrong, for instance, is one of the priciest options in the market today. Their Gladiator series 18-piece knife set with Acacia woodblock is almost $400. But with the high-quality raw materials used to make this and the process it underwent, you are assured that this will never let you down.

Imarku’s 16-piece set is just as exceptional as the Gladiator set above but is priced a bit more reasonably. Forged and triple-riveted, many like the simple elegance of the Pakkawood handles on the pieces and the matching wooden block.

As aforementioned, you need not spend hundreds of dollars on a set.

Home Hero’s set of 17 black stainless steel knives in a glass casing won’t be just cheap and functional, this will look great on modern-style kitchens.

Regardless of which set you choose, at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you are comfortable and happy with your collection.

So if you think you found the right one for you in this article, all that’s left to do is head out and get your hands on one yourself, and you’ll be slicing and dicing away in the kitchen in no time!

Last Updated on October 11, 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.