Finest kitchen knife units of 2021

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Excessive-quality, super-sharp kitchen knives make culinary duties simpler and safer. (Do you know that uninteresting knives are literally extra harmful?) Whereas many house cooks will fare simply wonderful with a primary chef’s, paring and serrated knife, investing in a set, housed neatly in a good-looking knife block, provides versatility — and, for actual cooking nerds, even pleasure — to meal-making.

However with so many choices and value factors in the marketplace, selecting a knife set could be complicated. That will help you determine, we did exhaustive analysis to find out that are the most effective units in the marketplace and spent the previous a number of weeks placing the 11 finalists to the check.

We chopped. We diced. We sliced. We minced. We trimmed. We peeled. We cored. We discovered ourselves repeatedly utilizing phrases like “full tang” (when a blade is constructed of 1 metallic piece that extends the size of the deal with, which is preferable), “solid metal” (pricier than its stamped counterpart, however sturdier) and “heavy bolster” (the junction between the blade and deal with that helps with steadiness). “Please by no means say ‘full tang’ once more,” our youngsters begged.

We loaded our chopping board with fruit, veggies, herbs, bread, meat, cheese and extra to see which blades did the most effective job, struggling — to our excessive shock — only one minor flesh wound within the course of. Ultimately, we got here up with three winners any house chef would discover to be — er — a lower above the remaining:

Typically, a lot of the knives we examined have been good and sharp out of the field and all have been chrome steel grade or higher, however from there they diverse when it got here to grip, construct and weight, which affected efficiency. The three winners earned factors for excellent maneuverability, aesthetics and included extras. And whereas every knife in our prime three units obtained excessive marks, there have been particular person knives in different units that carried out higher. Why didn’t these win? Factors for every set have been tallied throughout a wide range of elements, together with value. (See beneath for a full breakdown of how we evaluated every set.) In different phrases: One unbelievable knife doesn’t make an important set.

The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set units you as much as simply tackle virtually any chopping job and is a heck of a steal at simply $119.99. Not solely did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) carry out admirably, however the set included a bevy of extras, together with a full set of steak knives. We have been blown away by their stable building and dependable execution for such an unbelievable worth. The knives stayed sharp via our multitude of checks, and we have been massive followers of the cushion-grip handles that saved them from slipping, in addition to the basic look of the chestnut-stained wooden block. When you’re in search of a whole knife set you’ll be pleased with at a value that gained’t put a dent in your financial savings account, that is the clear winner.

When you’d wish to step issues up a number of notches, it’s onerous to go mistaken with the Zwilling Professional 7-Piece Knife Block Set. Full with 4 knives all solid from a single piece of high-carbon chrome steel, the precision-honed blades are extra-sharp, trendy and simply really feel very nice in your hand. At $330, they’re dear, sure. However in the event you’re trying to make an funding in your kitchen instruments, we are able to’t consider a greater place to start out.

Lastly, in the event you’ve been saving up for a knife set you realize will final for years — nay, a long time — to return, attain for the Wüsthof Basic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set. From sharpness to steadiness to heft, to the modern and complicated look of the 4 included knives — plus a sharpening metal and kitchen shears, of their basic wooden block — we rapidly found why this family-owned German firm has been lauded for turning out high-quality knives for greater than 200 years. You understand that saying “It lower like a sizzling knife via butter”? We predict the Wüsthof chef knife served as its inspiration.

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set

First issues first: Of the 11 knife units we examined, this was one of many least expensive. At simply over $100, you would possibly moderately anticipate they’d be decrease high quality than their dearer counterparts. You’d be mistaken. We have been blown away by the sturdy building, consolation of use and dependable execution that got here with each bit on this all-inclusive set. True, there have been sharper, higher-quality knives in a number of of the opposite units we examined, however when it got here to general rankings, efficiency and consideration of price, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set was the clear champion.

One massive plus: the whopping 17 included items. Apart from the basic — and heavy — chestnut-stained wooden block, you get a 7 3/4-inch chef’s knife, 7 3/4-inch serrated bread knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 5-inch santoku knife, 5-inch utility knife, 3 1/4-inch paring knife and eight — sure, eight! — 4 1/2-inch steak knives, plus a sharpening metal and chop help. The one factor lacking is kitchen shears, however you may add a pair like these OXO Good Grips Multipurpose Kitchen Scissors ($17.90; to your utensil drawer later.

The solid blades are made utilizing high-carbon, rust-resistant chrome steel. The ergonomic handles might be somewhat small for these with massive fingers, however we discovered them to be good. At first blush, we didn’t assume we’d just like the poly padded handles, however they have been really extraordinarily snug and saved the knives from slipping, even after that they had simply been hand-washed. And, sure, tempting as it could be to throw your knives into the dishwasher, this set, as with just about all of the knives we examined, must be fastidiously hand-washed to protect longevity.

Among the many 4 core knives we examined, the chef’s, paring and utility knives obtained common factors for slicing via onions, carrots, tomatoes, apples, herbs and the whole lot else we threw at them. However the Chicago’s serrated knife was a standout amongst all of the units we checked out. Its size makes it versatile and helpful for all types of kitchen initiatives. Plus, it’s exceptionally sharp and took virtually zero effort to tug via a few-days-old loaf of crusty bread, take the rind off a cantaloupe or slice uber-thin items from a young tomato or peach, incomes it extra factors than the Zwilling or Wüsthof variations.

One other bonus: These knives keep sharp. As a part of our testing, we in contrast the knives we used throughout our rigorous checks to a second an identical set straight out of the field. After loads of chopping, slicing and dicing, the Chicago Cutlery knives remained as sharp as their brand-new counterparts. We additionally did the paper check, the place the power of the knife to simply slice via a bit of primary printer paper with out snagging or catching reveals it’s correctly sharpened. These knives handed with flying colours.

Additionally placing Chicago excessive have been all of the extras: The steak knives carried out nice whereas slicing via grilled filet mignon and the 2 santoku knives have been helpful for slicing cheese, mincing garlic and scooping the whole lot off the chopping board. (Santoku knives, by the best way, are just like chef’s knives, however are thinner, with no tip and sometimes have small divots on the perimeters to maintain meals from sticking to them. They’re nice for chopping mushy or sticky issues like meat, veggies, herbs and cheese and for scooping meals off your chopping board, because of their huge blade.)

In a sentence: If value level is as essential to you as high quality, add this knife set to your buying cart, stat. Once more, there are higher-performing particular person knives on our record, however, as an entire, we have been impressed by the completeness and general execution of this wallet-friendly set.

Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Knife Block Set

Zwilling Professional 7-Piece Knife Block Set

Once you’re searching for out knives which are tremendous sharp, sturdy, ergonomic and can final a lifetime, we extremely recommend you cease and provides this standout set look.

Full with an 8-inch chef’s knife, 4-inch paring knife, 5 1/2-inch prep knife and 8-inch bread knife, plus shears, a sharpening metal and a 16-slot hardwood bamboo block, it acquired wonderful scores on efficiency and high quality.

This set, made in Germany by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, which was based again in 1731, additionally takes into consideration the advantages of each Western and Asian knife design. For instance, the chef’s knife blade has a broad curve to permit for a Western-style rocking movement, however a straight again that aligns with the Asian chopping model.

One factor that actually units this set other than our best choice is the ice-hardened, precision-honed blades. They’re solid from a single piece of high-carbon chrome steel, making them tougher and sharper than many different fashions. Lasers are then used to angle the perimeters of the blades for precision sharpness, and the method appears to have succeeded. The chef’s knife, which was our favourite from the Zwilling set, for one, virtually dropped via a head of lettuce, and simply sliced via carrots, onions, herbs and extra. The chef’s knife is often essentially the most used knife in a house prepare dinner’s block, so the truth that this was the standout piece within the set reveals that Zwilling is aware of what issues most.

The paring knife, at 4 inches, was larger than most variations, and the peak of the blade appeared gigantic — principally twice the dimensions of different paring knives. Actually, it appeared extra like a utility knife, and the outsized blade, whereas very sharp, made it tough to core a tomato or hull a strawberry. The utility knife, in the meantime, lower simply via apples and avocados, however wasn’t fairly as sharp because the paring knife. And the serrated knife, our least favourite within the set, didn’t lower simply via bread.

The field promotes the truth that the knives are designed with a novel ergonomic and curved bolster (the place the knife meets the deal with) to assist the “skilled pinch grip” — the place your thumb and index finger relaxation on the blade for safer chopping. This was learn aloud to us whereas we have been chopping, and we appeared right down to see we have been, certainly, holding the knife simply so. That focus to craftsmanship and person expertise is a element value paying extra for.

The elements that finally saved this set from being our profitable decide? It contains solely 4 knives for its hefty value, and the extras it comes with ー a sharpening metal and a pair of shears ーwere uncomfortable to make use of and appeared oddly mismatched with the remainder of the set (learn: completely different, lesser high quality). Nonetheless, the standard of the knives and handles means this set is prone to final a lifetime — making the funding value it.

Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set

Wüsthof Basic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set

Elegant, subtle, ergonomic, sharp as hell.

There’s simply a lot to understand about this German-made, handcrafted knife set that features the 4 primary knives {that a} severe house prepare dinner wants: an 8-inch chef’s knife, 3 1/2-inch paring knife, 6-inch utility knife, 8-inch bread knife, plus come-apart kitchen shears, a 9-inch honing metal and a 15-slot cherry block. This knife set has all of it and appears nice doing it. It’s obtained historical past, a basic design and high-tech, high-quality craftsmanship that comes with a lifetime guarantee (on workmanship and supplies underneath regular situations).

The complete-tang (which means the blade is a stable piece of metallic from the tip throughout the deal with), triple-riveted polypropylene handles are made for severe put on and tear but look modern, with a double bolster that offers them a formidable steadiness. Thinner than different knives we examined, the handles match completely in a lady’s hand, however our male tester wished they have been a smidge extra substantial.

The blades, in the meantime, are some extent of differentiation from the opposite units. Certain, they’re precision-forged from a single piece of tempered high-carbon chrome steel, making them stain- and corrosion-resistant. So are a number of different units in our testing pool. However their particular PEtec edge is created by robots sharpening the blades on a whetstone to a exact and constant sharpness, making them a self-proclaimed “20% sharper with twice the sting retention,” which implies you’ll rarely should sharpen them.

The chef’s knife, or “prepare dinner’s knife” as Wüsthof calls it, has lots of heft, making it a clever selection for chopping greens, meat and extra. It glided via onions, potatoes and tomatoes, took the corn off the cob with ease and sliced via the powerful rind of a pineapple prefer it was nothing. The paring and utility knives match comfortably into our fingers and simply sliced the whole lot we examined them on: limes, oranges, strawberries, carrots, zucchini, radishes, you title it. The serrated bread knife drew proper via our baguette loaves, making us dream of a second profession as an apprentice in a French boulangerie.

As for his or her efficiency when examined in opposition to the identical never-been-used blades? We couldn’t suss out any distinction in sharpness by contact, efficiency chopping up onions, carrots and tomatoes or from the paper check, of which each used and new Wüsthof knives made mincemeat.

Wüsthof proudly makes these blades in Solingen, Germany — the metal manufacturing capital of the world — the place it has been headquartered since its inception 200-plus years in the past. The truth that the set contains simply 4 knives and comes with a $450 price ticket saved it from being our general winner or runner up. If in case you have the cash to speculate, nevertheless, we expect the basic, elegant set won’t solely seem like a crown jewel in your kitchen counter, but additionally proceed to dazzle for a lifetime. Simply don’t be shocked if you end up frequently searching for out new issues to cut.

We spent weeks testing these knife units, evaluating every mannequin by the identical standards, together with general efficiency, construct high quality, added equipment and guarantee, taking detailed notes on how particular knives functioned primarily based on the whole lot from sharpness and supplies to heft and hand-feel to how they appeared and the usefulness of any included extras. We ordered two of every set in order that after spending a number of days slicing and dicing our hearts out, we have been capable of examine the used knives’s sharpness to their just-out-of-the-box twins.

As avid house cooks, we already spend a big period of time within the kitchen, however as our eating room desk turned overtaken with woodblocks stuffed with knives to check, we rapidly discovered ourselves frequently in search of issues to cut. Who desires an apple peeled, cored and diced? What can we make with minced garlic and minced onions? Want one other slice of crusty bread? However finally a choice needed to be made. Right here’s how we broke down our analysis:

Total efficiency

  • Chef’s knife: This normal instrument is made to tackle a lot of the larger jobs within the kitchen. Its weight makes it simpler to cut up a great deal of elements in a single go, say, for a giant pot of soup or to roast a bounty of potatoes and greens. We examined chopping via meat, onions, carrots, herbs and extra, noting the knife’s design, grip, weight and common really feel. We famous the benefit of drawing the blade via completely different meals objects, and likewise whether or not the knife glided via paper or snagged.
  • Paring knife: A paring knife must be nimble, exact and really feel good within the hand. So, for this knife, we cored and peeled apples and tomatoes, and minced shallots and garlic to judge its efficiency and really feel.
  • Utility knife: These knives are made to tackle all the random jobs the place no different knife feels proper — the chef’s knife is simply too massive, the paring knife is simply too small. Too many objects to record, together with tomatoes, onerous cheese, oranges, carrots and salami, have been used to check how simply this knife may reside as much as its title.
  • Serrated knife: Serrated knives are made to chop via issues you can’t press down on simply, like crusty bread, angel meals cake and cantaloupe. We checked out ease of chopping via tough meals, in addition to how skinny we may slice one thing softer, comparable to a tomato.


  • High quality: We took into consideration the standard of supplies, together with blade and deal with building. Cast knives, for instance, are sometimes stronger than stamped, that are lower from a flat metallic sheet. Some knives use laser expertise, leading to extra-sharp blades. Full tang, which means the blade extends via the deal with, helps create steadiness and general heft. And handles diverse from plastic to rubber to wooden to metallic.
  • Really feel: A lot of dealing with a kitchen knife rests on the way it feels in your hand, so we paid particular consideration to the heaviness of the blades and handles, maneuverability, weight distribution and ease of sliding the knives out and in of their blocks.
  • Knuckle clearance: Not all knife handles are created equal, so we measured whether or not or not our knuckles or fingers hit the chopping board whereas chopping.
  • Basic appears: Aesthetics are essential — particularly for utensils that may sit out in your countertop 24/7. Whereas we notice style is subjective, we famous our common response to how good they appeared.


  • Some units have been quite simple with just some objects, whereas others included a full array of steak knives, shears, honing steels, boning knives, slicers and extra. We checked out what was provided and the way helpful these objects have been.


  • Stuff occurs, so we famous guarantee data (tease: most had restricted lifetime warranties).

Utilizing the metrics described above, every knife set was assigned a rating in every subcategory, which have been mixed for a complete subcategory rating after which added collectively for an general complete. Right here’s how the scores have been damaged down:

  • Total efficiency had a most of 40 factors: chef’s knife (13); paring knife (9); utility knife (9); serrated knife (9).
  • Construct had a most of 35 factors: high quality (15); knife really feel (10); room for knuckle clearance (5); look (5).
  • Equipment had a most of 10 factors.
  • Guarantee had a most of 5 factors: lifetime (5 factors); two to 5 years (2 factors); lower than two years (0 factors).

With a deal with worth, we additionally thought-about the value of every knife set, which ranged fairly a bit, from $14 to $500.

Shun Basic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set ($429.99;

Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set


Shun Basic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set

There’s no denying it: These are the sharpest knives we’ve got ever used.

Handcrafted in Seki, Japan, the sturdy, stunning and razor-sharp Damascus chrome steel blades had us oohing and aahing at their potential to completely slice via the whole lot. The paring knife, for example, was so sharp that as we used it to core a tomato, we discovered it was shaving pores and skin off our finger from the slightest contact. We additionally swooned over how the knives felt in our fingers — the pakkawood handles have been heavy, however the knives remained well-balanced. So, why was this not amongst our winners? The dear set comes with simply three knives: an 8-inch chef’s knife, 3 1/2-inch paring knife and 7-inch santoku knife. It additionally features a slim darkish wooden knife block, which we appreciated, however the included honing metal and shears felt like afterthought additions. When you’re in search of pure sharpness? Arms down, Shun is the winner.


Calphalon Basic Self-Sharpening Stainless Metal 15-piece Knife Block Set ($219.99, initially $269.99; or

Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening Stainless Steel 15-piece Knife Block Set


Calphalon Basic Self-Sharpening Stainless Metal 15-piece Knife Block Set

First, that is only a actually stable set of knives. It scored excessive factors for the quantity of instruments you get (8-inch chef’s knife, 8-inch bread knife, 6-inch utility knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 3 1/2-inch paring knife, eight steak knives and kitchen shears). We have been additionally actually impressed by the distinctive self-sharpening block that additionally encompasses a fashionable wooden end. Admittedly, we thought the declare that the block’s built-in ceramic sharpeners would work with every use was a gimmick, however we have been rapidly impressed that the knives actually did appear to get sharper each time we chopped and sliced. Cool, huh? So far as efficiency, the all-stainless metal, full-tang knives dealt with effectively and felt balanced, though they did really feel overly heavy in our fingers. We additionally appreciated the truth that the handles are labeled so you may rapidly seize the right knife. So why wasn’t this set a winner? The metallic handles have been a lot much less snug than the rubber- and wood-handled units. They felt very slick in hand, making for an uncertain grip.


Cuisinart C77SS 15-Piece Stainless Metal Hole Deal with Block Set ($59.11;

Cuisinart C77SS 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set


Cuisinart C77SS 15-Piece Stainless Metal Hole Deal with Block Set

These knives scored decrease on efficiency than most fashions: They weren’t as sharp, the hole metallic handles felt too gentle, inflicting an imbalance, they usually tended to get slippery when moist. However in the event you’re on a funds and transferring into your first residence, we may see how this 15-piece knife set would nonetheless appear interesting. Apart from the worth value, it options light-weight, dishwasher-safe chrome steel blades that may cowl your chopping wants. You get an 8-inch chef’s knife, 8-inch slicing knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 5 1/2-inch serrated utility knife, 3 1/2-inch paring knife, 3 1/2-inch hen’s beak paring knife, 8-inch sharpening metal, family shears and a block to retailer all of them in. Our favourite? No. However respectable for amateur cooks? Certain.


AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set ($62.99;

AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set


AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set

When selection is vital to your cooking recreation however staying on funds is simply too, you’d be clever to think about choosing up this primary however helpful 18-piece set. Apart from the truth that you get an entire lot of knives (8-inch chef’s, 7-inch santoku, 8-inch slicing, 8-inch bread, 5 1/2-inch utility, 6-inch boning, 3 1/2-inch paring and eight steak knives), plus kitchen shears, a sharpener and the rubber-wood storage block, the standard right here for $70 is respectable. The complete-tang chrome steel blades are matched with triple-riveted, ergonomic handles. And whereas we needed to put extra elbow grease into our chops than we did with higher-end fashions, they typically carried out effectively — particularly the chef’s knife. Total, this can be a good starter set for these testing the knife set waters, however extra severe cooks will seemingly need sharper instruments.


Dalstrong 5-Piece Shadow Collection Knife Block Set ($289.99;

Dalstrong 5-Piece Shadow Series Knife Block Set


Dalstrong 5-Piece Shadow Collection Knife Block Set

We should admit, once we unboxed this midnight black set famous by the corporate for its “menacing design,” we have been ready to be underwhelmed. Our aesthetic biases had us considering these would show to be extra flash than efficiency, although we all know some will dub the extremely stylized look as superior. Our biases have been so mistaken. The geometric design of the military-grade G10 handles really match actually comfortably into our fingers and their slight texture made slippage a non-issue. The complete-tang titanium nitride-coated German metal blades have been razor sharp and wonderful at chopping and slicing the whole lot we threw at them. So what didn’t we like a lot? The curved blade of the chef’s knife was useful in chopping, however its thinness made it really feel a bit gentle. Actually, the heavy handles, paired with skinny blades, appeared to have an effect on the steadiness of the knives. And, at a slightly hefty value, it contains simply 5 knives (chef’s, paring, utility, serrated and santoku) plus a honing metal. Then once more, if your own home decor is Kylo Ren meets Jacques Pépin, put these in your want record instantly.


Vremi 10-Piece Colourful Knife Set ($13.99;

Vremi 10-Piece Colorful Knife Set


Vremi 10-Piece Colourful Knife Set

If you realize a school scholar who has made the transfer from their dorm to their first residence, this colourful set of kitchen knives would make a wonderful housewarming present. And, as that scholar might have discovered throughout a management course, it’s finest to supply some phrases of reward first. These knives are fairly. They’re shiny and enjoyable and can add a rainbow of hues to any kitchen. They’re BPA-free and include matching sheaths to allow them to be simply saved in a drawer, saving treasured counter area. They’re chrome steel and nonstick and embody a chef’s knife, paring knife, carving knife, serrated knife and utility knife. However in relation to efficiency? Effectively, they’re just about value their funds price ticket. They didn’t really feel particularly sharp out of the field, our fingers smashed in opposition to the chopping board as we chopped and the blades felt heavy in comparison with the plastic handles, which threw off the steadiness of the knives in our fingers. We additionally needed to push onerous to chop our approach via crusty bread, tomatoes and extra. Total, they get a passing grade, however simply barely.


Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Cast Knife Block Set ($149;

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set


Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Cast Knife Block Set

They are saying magnificence is within the eye of the beholder: What one individual might deem beautiful, one other will see as gauche. Take this knife set from Mercer. Its distinctive, vertical tempered glass block had one member of the family wrinkling his nostril with distaste, two youngsters dubbing it “sick” ( factor) and one who saved waffling between “so cool” and “making an attempt too onerous.” However whether or not or not you just like the appears of the glass block, nobody can argue that these are nice knives. Good and sharp out of the field, they’re made utilizing high-carbon German metal, a bolster for assist and santoprene handles with full tang, providing pretty even weight distribution. They really feel somewhat gentle, however labored effectively on the whole lot we examined them on. With the set, you get 5 knives: 8-inch chef’s, 8-inch bread, 6-inch boning, 5-inch utility and three 1/2-inch paring, plus that controversial holder. Our ultimate opinion: Whereas we determined the glass block does look fairly cool, giving the phantasm that the knives are floating in air, having to drag the knives straight up vertically to take away them means you at all times have to maneuver the block out from underneath your cupboards with every use — not very best. It additionally solely contained 5 knives, certainly one of which was a boning knife which doesn’t see lots of use, and the smaller, rubber handles weren’t particularly snug.


J.A. Henckels Worldwide 15-Piece Assertion Knife Block Set ($139.99, initially $345;

J.A. Henckels International 15-Piece Statement Knife Block Set


J.A. Henckels Worldwide 15-Piece Assertion Knife Block Set

This stable, versatile set landed in the course of the pack. With 15 items — 8-inch chef’s knife, 3-inch paring knife, 5-inch serrated utility knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 8-inch bread knife, six 4 1/2-inch steak knives along with a sharpening metal, kitchen shears and a hardwood block — we gave it excessive marks for all its helpful add-ons and equipment. Manufactured from honed, chrome steel blades and plastic curved handles with full tang, the chef’s knife was our favourite, though it felt a bit gentle within the hand. Total, the knives have been sharp out of the field, look good of their wooden block and include an inexpensive price ticket when on sale (which appears to be more often than not at most retailers). We weren’t crazy-wowed, however we weren’t disillusioned, both.

Learn extra from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing:

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