Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, it’s crucial to have a high-quality selection of kitchen knives to help you prep food properly. And since cooking requires you to prepare all kinds of ingredients, from meat and fish to vegetables and herbs, having a diverse range of knives is a must. To cover all the bases, a knife set for chefs and amateur cooks should include the most important and more commonly used knives. Apart from the classic chef’s knife, an all-rounder that should be on the table of any serious cook, the best kitchen knife sets also include a paring knife and a bread knife.
However, those are the bare essentials. If you’re cooking a lot, you’ll also love having a vegetable knife, carving blade, utility knife, or a boning knife around in the kitchen. The best part? You can easily find the right set for your needs. One that includes only the essentials or a wide range of styles. Either way, with a quality knife set you can do everything from chopping herbs and slicing meat to cutting freshly baked bread to perfection. And yes, quality matters, as a good knife set can easily last a lifetime with minimal maintenance and care.
Before we start talking about our favorite knife sets for chefs, let’s go through the key features that make a good knife.
What makes a good knife?
From the shape of the handles to the way a knife feels in the hand, getting knives that are a joy to use will make prepping food significantly more enjoyable. Not to mention that a comfortable handle that offers a great grip is a must if you want to prepare ingredients safely.
While steel is still the preferred material when it comes to modern kitchen utensils, contemporary knives come with a range of blades. Our list includes three of the most popular: stainless steel, proprietary steel alloys and Damascus steel, and carbon steel. And if we’re talking about blades, the cutting edge should run across the entire blade. Stainless steel blades are easy to sharpen, but if you want to buy a ceramic knife, keep in mind that they require specialized sharpening techniques. Some of the best kitchen knife sets also include a honing steel for easy maintenance.
Balance and weight
Kitchen knives should cut sharply and with precision, but they should also feel “just right” during use. Some chefs prefer a weightier knife while others love using a lightweight blade. Regardless of weight and materials, a good kitchen knife should have a perfectly balanced design. With the weight distributed evenly across the handle and blade, a well-designed knife should feel comfortable to hold and to use, even for prolonged periods of time, without fatigue.
Made from solid wood, composite materials, fiberglass, or stainless steel, the handle should be durable and resistant to corrosion and wear. Some materials also give the handles an antibacterial surface, but ideally they should be easy to clean with standard cleaning agents. A well-designed kitchen knife should have an ergonomic blade for comfort and safety. At the same time, the hilt should create a perfect, gap-less link between the blade and the handle to both ensure optimal strength and to minimize the growth of bacteria. Forged knives that have no joints are a great way to eliminate these issues, but high-quality kitchen knives can feature a wide range of designs and materials.
Types of kitchen knives – at a glance
The knife that you’ll always find in any kitchen knife set. An all-rounder that suits everything from heavy-duty cutting to mincing, filleting, and chopping, the chef’s knife has a longer blade of around 8 to 10 inches, but it can also reach lengths of up to 14 inches. It’s the knife you’ll probably use the most.
A smaller chef’s knife, it has a shorter blade that offers the kind of precision the hefty chef’s knife might lack. Perfect for peeling and dicing fruits and vegetables, it suits any softer food and works well on precision tasks like coring. However, it should be avoided when working with hard vegetables as the blade may slip on tough surfaces.
Another knife that is always included in the best knife sets, the utility knife is longer than a paring knife but narrower than a chef’s knife. The length and width of the blade make this knife ideal for slicing, trimming, deboning, and coring, as it offers more precision. An all-rounder you’ll always use while cooking.
Made with a long and serrated blade, it can cut through crusty bread without damaging the slice, even if it’s a freshly baked loaf of bread. While it’s called a bread knife, this knife also works well with soft cakes and meats or with fruit and vegetables that have a waxy outer layer. If you don’t have a tomato knife, a bread knife works well as a substitute when slicing tomatoes or soft fruit.
Featuring a long, narrow, and pointed blade, this knife is specially designed to cut thin and uniform slices of ham, turkey, pork, or other meat. Like the bread knife, it also suits other tasks, including slicing vegetables and fruits or cutting slices from softer cakes.
Designed with a long and narrow blade that curves at the hilt, this knife is perfect for removing bones from raw meat or butterflying chicken breasts or other meat. Boning knives can have either flexible or stiff blades; the former suit fish and poultry, while the latter work best with pork or beef and can easily cut through cartilage.
A multifunctional knife specially designed in Japan to do practically everything in the kitchen. Its name comes from santoku-(bōchō), which translates to “three-virtues”. Slightly smaller than a chef’s knife, a santoku knife has a thinner, flat blade traditionally sharpened on one side. The knife cuts in a forward and backward motion compared to the rocking motion of a chef’s knife. Perfect for dicing, mincing, and slicing, this knife also offers excellent precision.
Like its name suggests, this knife is specially designed to cut through tomatoes with ease. The distinctive blade is narrow and serrated and also features a pointy tip. All of these features enable the user to slice tomatoes without tearing the skin or losing the juice. These knives are also great for soft foods and citrus fruit.
Thin and flexible, this knife is perfect for fish. The slender, long, and flexible blade can easily cut along the backbone and under the skin without damaging the soft and delicate fish meat These knives are specially made to prepare fish, including removing the skin, removing bones, and producing perfect fillets.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s go through the best kitchen knife sets you can currently buy. Here you can find anything from a knife set for chefs who want every type of knife to collections specially designed for those who only want the essentials.
Sarah Wiener 10 Pc Wood Handle Set
An elegant design to refine your cutting techniques.
Created by chef Sarah Wiener for Pott Flatware, this 10-piece set blends elegance and performance in a versatile design. The knives cut a stylish figure with the bolster elegantly reaching with a curved shape onto the plum wood handle. Matching their good-looks with excellent craftsmanship, the knives come to life through a meticulous, 90-step manual process. And that includes a 9-step smithy technique that gives the Solingen steel blades rust resistance as well as extra sharpness and durability. Likewise, the handles are carefully crafted and finished with hand-sanding and oiling to protect the wood over many years of use.
The Pott – Sarah Wiener 10 Pc Wood Handle Set comes with all the knives you’ll need for everyday cooking or more specialized techniques. Apart from a chef’s knife and a paring knife, the set also includes a privatier and a fillet blade. Handmade in Germany, the knives come with individual leather pouches and a wood conditioning oil.
Mono SK59 Set of 3
A sculptural design with a futuristic aesthetic.
If you love angular shapes with futuristic design cues, then the Mono SK59 collection is one of the best kitchen knife sets you can find. Designer Gido Wahrmann created the series for German brand Mono. The knives feature eye-catching handles with angular yet ergonomic shapes created with a lightweight but strong polyamide-reinforced fiberglass. The blades are equally impressive, as they feature high-performance Sandvik 12C27™ steel blades hardened to 59 on the Rockwell scale. Tough and flexible at the same time, the blades are also ultra-sharp, non-porous and resistant to corrosion. The Mono SK59 Set of 3 comes with a chef’s knife, a utility knife, and a carving knife.
Eva Solo Nordic Kitchen Knife Set
The best kitchen knife set for fans of Scandinavian and Japanese design.
Danish brand Eva Solo makes beautiful products that are elegantly minimalist and practical. This set is no exception. Part of the Nordic Kitchen collection, this is the perfect knife set for chefs who love both Scandinavian and Japanese design.
Blending Nordic and Japanese minimalism, the knife set also celebrates traditional steel crafting methods. The blades are handmade from Damascus steel with 67 layers using age-old Japanese metalworking techniques. Tough and hard but flexible, the blades are exceptionally sharp and efficient. They are also beautiful, as they boast the distinctive Damascus ripple effect. Pakkawood handles complement the blades with a dark color palette and natural textures. Versatile and convenient, this set comes with a chef’s knife, bread knife, paring knife, vegetable knife, and santoku knife.
Porsche Type 301 Knife Set
An award-winning knife set inspired by sports cars.
Good design can make even a humble object like a bread knife look like a stunning decorative piece. The award-winning Chrome Knives Porsche Type 301 Knife Set is a perfect example. Created by the creator of the iconic Porsche 911, German designer F. A. Porsche, the set draws inspiration from the dynamic lines and sleek style of sports cars. Unsurprisingly, it has received a prestigious iF Design Award. However, the knives are also made with high-end performance in mind. They come with hand-sharpened Japanese 301 stainless steel blades that cut with precision, whether it’s a loaf of fresh, well-baked bread or a ripe tomato. While angular, the handles are ergonomic and offer a great grip while prepping food. This set is perfect for both pros and amateur cooks. It comes with seven knives: a chef’s knife, carving knife, paring knife, bread knife, utility knife, veggie knife, and santoku knife.
Kedma Knives Set
A knife set for chefs who love Japanese-style designs.
Designed and made by Florentine Kitchen Knives, Kedma is a beautiful knife set that draws inspiration from classic Japanese knives and handcrafted objects. Yes, these knives are handmade in Barcelona, Spain, and they look gorgeous, but they also perform beautifully in the kitchen. They feature stacked solid wood handles with brass pommels and sharp, high carbon stainless steel blades. The set comes with three knives: a paring knife with a larger heel, a serrated bread knife, and an all-purpose knife that boasts a large and tough but thin blade. Each set is made to order, and since the knives are crafted by hand with solid wood handles, every one of them is one of a kind.
Elite 5 Piece Next Level Block Set
A top quality knife set made in the historic capital of steel cutlery.
The best kitchen knife sets are those that provide the perfect blend of quality and simple elegance. Like this Messermeister Royale Elite 5 Piece Next Level Block Set. Handcrafted in Solingen, Germany, the historic capital of cutting-edge steel cutlery, this set is as durable and practical as it is stylish. The knives are all made by hand with German 1.4116 stainless carbon alloy blades that resist corrosion and are extra strong and durable. Each blade is hand stropped on a cloth wheel to ensure optimal sharpness, but the blades are also heat treated and cooled to achieve a Rockwell rating of 57-58. l. Other features include bolsterless heels for smoother cutting and sharpening, and wooden handles with dark colors and organic textures. This knife set for chefs comes with a chef’s knife, scalloped bread knife, utility knife, paring knife, and a wooden block.
Parallele 5 Piece Knife Set
A minimalist and contemporary design.
With the Parallele 5 Piece Knife Set, you can easily hone your cutting skills and give your kitchen a stylish accent. That’s because this knife set for chefs comes with a solid beech wood block where you can store the knives and keep them on display. Plus, the compact block occupies minimal space on a countertop. As for the knives, they feature sharp and long-lasting stainless steel blades, a half-tang design for more comfort, and varnished beech wood handles.
Created with convenience in mind, the set comes with 5 knives and in two versions: with a bread knife or a boning knife. The other knives included with both options are a chef knife, santoku knife, carving knife, and paring knife. The best kitchen knife sets are the ones that combine quality and function. This one is beautifully crafted in Europe, with the knives made in Portugal and the wooden block crafted in Italy.
Zwilling Now S 8-pc
A fresh design inspired by vibrantly colored fruit.
Made by ZWILLING, one of the world’s oldest cutlery manufacturer and kitchen specialist, meet the perfect knife set for chefs who love vibrant and fun designs. Inspired by freshly picked fruit, the ZWILLING Now S series features two-tone knives with colors that remind of blueberries, limes, and pomegranate. This set has a bright green palette that will add an eye-catching accent to any kitchen countertop. Each knife features a high-carbon steel blade made with a specially formulated composition to offer sharpness and durability. Polypropylene handles with an anti-slip treatment bring peace of mind. Their ergonomic design minimizes fatigue but maximize comfort while cutting and slicing.Made in Germany, the ZWILLING Now S 8-pc, Z Now S Knife Block Set comes with a paring knife, serrated utility knife, prep knife, chef’s knife, and bread knife. Kitchen shears, sharpening steel, and a knife block are also included.
Shun Classic Blonde 5 Pc Starter Set
A compact and classic kitchen knife set.
The Shun Classic Blonde 5 Pc Starter Block Set offers the essentials in a classic design that is elegant and versatile. The set comes with a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a utility knife as well as a honing steel and a slimline knife block. Crafted with efficiency in mind, the knives boast a proprietary VG-MAX cutting core that is both corrosion and wear resistant. The ultra-sharp blades also feature 34 layers of stainless Damascus steel cladding on each side. Comfortable to hold, the PakkaWood® handles suit both right- and left-hand users. Handcrafted in Japan, the knives have a beautifully balanced and they’re a joy to use. Apart from the three knives we mentioned at the start, this set also comes with a honing steel with two different surfaces, and a compact bamboo block that can hold 6 pieces of cutlery.
Lamson 10-Piece Premier Set
A kitchen knife set crafted to perfection in the USA.
Right from the start, a 10-piece set offers everything you might need to prep ingredients and cook like a pro. But the Lamson 10-Piece Premier Forged Knife Walnut Block Set is also crafted and hand finished in the USA. Perfect for both professional chefs and home cooks, the knives feature high-carbon stainless steel blades. Made with Solingen steel, the knives are completed with a traditional hot-drop method that ensures a hardness of 58 on the Rockwell scale. Plus, each knife is carefully finished with a series of cutting-edge techniques and artisan methods. Apart from proprietary sharpening processes, the company also uses hand finishing and polishing techniques to guarantee perfection. Triple riveted handles, full tang blades, and curved bolsters guarantee that these knives feel great to hold and comfortable to use. The set includes 8 types of knives, a honing steel, and a 9-slot wooden block.
Blenheim Forge Knife Set of 4
Hand-forged Japanese Blue Paper steel core blades with folded iron cladding.
Founded by Jon Warshawsky, James Ross-Harris and Richard Warner, Blenheim Forge is a London-based steel workshop that produces beautifully crafted, hand-forged quality kitchen knives. If you like heirlooms and artisan objects that stay in a family for generations, you’ll love this set. It comes with four versatile knives that feature hand-forged, Japanese Blue Paper steel core blades clad in folded iron. The effect is mesmerizing with Damascus steel-like ripples in a range of gray hues. The handles are just as beautiful. Made from locally sourced English walnut, they have slightly tapered shapes and a copper ferrule. The set also includes a hand-stitched leather roll made by local leatherworker Harry Owen. Crafted from a single piece of milled Italian leather, the roll boasts hand stitching, beeswax burnished edges, and copper hardware. The Blenheim Forge Knife Set comes with the workshop’s Classic Range Santoku, Nakiri, Petty, and Gyuto knives.
Wüsthof Classic Knife Set
A classic design crafted by a heritage company.
Established in 1814, Wüsthof is still a family-run company today. To say that they have a lot of experience in making knitchen knives would be a major understatement. The Classic collection is one of the first products launched after the modernization of the Wüsthof factory. Made in Solingen, Germany, it’s one of the brand’s most popular designs today thanks to its classic good-looks and excellent performance. Forged from a single piece of stainless steel, each knife features a full tang that gives more stability as well as perfect balance. A full bolster protects the fingers when cutting and slicing, while the handles boast hand guards for extra safety. Other features include extra sharp blades made with laser-controlled sharpening technology and handles with triple rivets and no joints. The Wüsthof Classic Knife Set comes with a chef’s knife, bread knife, carving knife, and paring knife as well as a knife sharpener.
Laguiole 6-Piece Knife Set
A set designed with five different wood handles.
A great knife set for chefs who appreciate traditional craftsmanship, the Laguiole En Aubrac 6-Piece Knife Set with Magnetic Block features handmade knives with different wood handles. And these are not just any kitchen knives. Renowned knife manufacturer Laguiole en Aubrac has received the coveted “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” mark awarded by the French state as a recognition of excellence in traditional craftsmanship and industrial expertise. Plus, the knives also come with a certificate of authenticity, along with a lifetime guarantee. Handcrafted with care in Aubrac, France, the knives feature full tang stainless steel blades. The set contains five essential knives: a chef’s knife, paring knife, kitchen knife, filleting knife, and boning knife. They come with beautiful, hand-carved wood handles in ebony, olivewood, walnut, boxwood, pistachio, and juniper. A magnetic oak wood block is also included.