Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18 Piece Block Set at Amazon
“The knife edge is super-sharp and designed to easily re-sharpen.”
Best Budget: Farberware 21 Piece Cutlery Set at Amazon
“First, it’s inexpensive to purchase, and second, you won’t need to buy a knife sharpener to maintain the knives."
Best for Chefs: Mercer Culinary Genesis 4-Piece Starter Set at Amazon
“The bolster adds to the balance, making these knives easy to work with for long periods of time. "
Best All Stainless Steel: Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Block Set at Amazon
“These knives are all metal for a sleek, modern appearance and easy care.”
Best Splurge: Wusthof Classic 7-Piece Slim Knife Block Set at Amazon
“The handle material is a dense synthetic that resists fading, so these knives will look good for years.”
Best Set Without Knife Block: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Starter Set at Amazon
“This 3-piece set is a perfect upgrade or starter set, with three essential kitchen knives in popular sizes."
Best Nonstick: Cuisinart 12 Piece Color Knife Set at Amazon
“Includes six knives and six matching sheaths, so you can tuck the knives into a drawer.”
Best Ceramic: Kyocera Bamboo Knife Block Set at Amazon
“They also tend to protect foods like apples or lettuce from browning after cutting.”
01 of 08
Best Overall: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18 Piece Block Set
It’s hard to find fault with this comprehensive set that includes every knife you’ll need, along with a sharpening steel. The blades are made from high-carbon stainless steel and have rubber and metal handles that are designed for style and for comfort. The knife edge is not only super-sharp, but it’s designed to be easy to re-sharpen when necessary, so you never need to worry about a dull blade.
This set includes a 3 1/4 inch paring knife, a 3-inch peeler, a 5-inch utility knife, a 7 3/4 inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicing knife, a 5-inch partoku, a 7-inch santoku, eight 4 1/4 inch steak knives. And sharpening steel. A knife block to hold all of the components are also included. These knives should be hand washed to retain their sharpness.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best knife sharpeners you can buy.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Farberware 21 Piece Classic Forged Triple Riveted Cutlery Set
This low-cost set saves you money in two ways. First, it’s inexpensive to purchase, and second, you won’t need to buy a knife sharpener to maintain the knives. The knife block has Edgekeeper sharpeners in each slot, so your knives will get a sharpening swipe every time you insert and remove them. The blades are forged from high carbon stainless steel and the triple-riveted handles are comfortable to hold.
This set includes an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch santoku knife, an 8-inch bread knife, an 8-inch slicing knife, a 6-inch boning knife, a 6-inch cleaver, a 5 1/2-inch serrated utility knife, a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a carving fork, eight steak knives, and a pair of kitchen shears. The included knife block keeps all of them secure and accessible on your counter. These knives should be hand washed and dried immediately.
03 of 08
Best for Chefs: Mercer Culinary Genesis 4-Piece Forged Starter Set
For chefs who have mastered their knife skills—this set is NSF certified for professional kitchen use and comes in a knife roll for safe and easy transportation and storage. The handles are Santoprene, which can stand up to rough kitchen use, extreme temperatures, and kitchen oils, while still offering a sure, comfortable grip, even with wet or greasy hands.
The bolster adds to the balance, making these knives easy to work with for long periods of time. The blades are made from high carbon German steel that resists stains and rust and the taper-ground edge stays sharp and is easy to re-sharpen, when necessary.
This set includes a 3 1/2 inch paring knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 7-inch santoku, so it’s a perfect starter set that can be added to, depending on the chef’s needs. These knives should be hand washed and dried.
Want to read more? Read the reviews on our best knives.
04 of 08
Best All Stainless Steel: Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
While most knives have handles made from wood, rubber, or plastic, these knives are all metal for a sleek, modern appearance and easy care. They’re made from high carbon stainless steel and have a taper-ground blade for a very sharp edge and easy sharpening.
The set includes a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a 3 1/2-inch bird’s beak paring knife, a 5 1/2-inch serrated utility knife, a 7-inch santoku knife, an 8-inch slicing knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, six steak knives, a pair of shears, and an 8-inch sharpening steel. The included black knife block holds all the components and adds to the modern look of the set. These should be hand washed and dried.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Splurge: Wusthof Classic 7-piece Slim Knife Block Set
A great upgrade set, or the first set for a serious cook, this doesn’t include a whole kitchen’s worth of knives but they are the knives you will use most. Even better, the slim knife block will be easy to find room for, even in a small kitchen. If you feel that you need a specialty knife, you’ll have no trouble finding one to match this set.
The blades are high carbon stainless steel with a forged full tang and a bolster. The handles are comfortable to hold and triple riveted for security. The handle material is a dense synthetic that resists fading, so these knives will look good for years. The set includes a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, an 8-inch bread knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, and kitchen shears that come apart for thorough cleaning. The included knife block is available in multiple colors to perfectly fit your kitchen décor. The knives should be hand washed.
06 of 08
Best Set Without Block: Zwilling J.A. Henckels TWIN Signature 3 Piece Starter Knife Set
If you already have a knife block or you prefer other storage, this knife set is the perfect option since it doesn’t include a block you won’t use. This 3-piece set is a perfect upgrade or starter set, with three essential kitchen knives in popular sizes. It includes a 4-inch paring knife, a 7-inch utility knife, and an 8-inch chef’s knife. The blades are precision stamped for lighter weight and ice-hardened for strength and edge retention. The synthetic handles are triple-riveted for security and designed for a comfortable grip. These should be hand washed.
Check out our roundup of the best steak knives to add to your cutlery drawer.
07 of 08
Best Nonstick: Cuisinart 12 Piece Color Knife Set with Blade Guards
Nonstick blades help keep food from sticking and are easy to clean as well. This colorful, affordable set from Cuisinart includes six knives and six matching sheaths, so you can tuck the knives into a drawer without worrying about damaging the blades or stabbing yourself when you reach in the drawer for a peeler.
Since these are so inexpensive, they’re also great for taking along to picnics or potlucks, for a college kid’s apartment, or for the vacation cabin or RV. The set includes a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a 6 1/2-inch utility knife, a 7-inch santoku, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, an 8-inch slicing knife, and an 8-inch chef’s knife. The manufacturer suggests hand washing, but several users said they’ve been washing them in the dishwasher with no apparent harm, but if you want to care for your knives hand wash.
08 of 08
Best Ceramic: Kyocera Bamboo Knife Block Set
Ceramic knives are extremely hard and can be wicked sharp while they resist staining and will never corrode. They also tend to protect foods like apples or lettuce from browning after cutting. This four-piece set included the knives you’ll use most often and comes with a knife block to keep them safe when not in use.
This set includes a 3-inch paring knife, a 4 1/2-inch utility knife, a 5 1/2-inch santoku knife, and a6-inch chef’s knife. The knives in set have black handles and white blades, but two other color options are also available. The block is made from sturdy, attractive bamboo.
Because ceramic blades are brittle, these should not be used for prying around bones, for cutting frozen or super-hard foods, or for aggressive chopping. They can also break if dropped on a hard surface. For sharpening, these can be sent back to Kyocera, or you’ll need a sharpener that is specifically made for sharpening ceramic blades. These should be hand washed.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best ceramic knives.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought a top-rated knife set that our reviewer tested for three hours. We asked our tester to consider the most important features when using this knife set, from number and types of knives to sharpening options. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Knife Set
Number and Types of Knives
Knife sets will vary in how many knives and what type of knives are are included. Know that more isn’t necessarily better if you won’t use all of the knives. If you already have a set of steak knives, you probably don’t need another half-dozen. However, if you don’t have any decent knives at all, it might be your best option to buy a complete set so you get everything you need at the best price.
Style of Storage
Some knife sets will come with storage included, which can be either a vertical or horizontal knife block or a roll-up sheath with individual slots. Consider where you are going to keep the knives and how much space you have; knife blocks are a convenient way to store your knives on your counter, but if you’re short of counter space, it’s a good idea to make sure that the knives and block will fit into a convenient cabinet for easy retrieval. If you’re really short on space, you might prefer the sheath storage so you can place the knives in a drawer.
No matter which knives you choose, they will need maintenance and eventually need to be sharpened. Some knife sets include steels, so you can hone the knives to maintain them regularly, and some knife sets have self-sharpening knife slots. Base your decision on whether you need these options or not.
Test Results: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18 Piece Block Set (Best Overall)
What We Like
Great selection of knives
Includes sharpening steel
What We Don't Like
Poorly made knife block
No serrated steak knives
Our tester found this set to be “ultra-sharp” and effective with a nice selection of different knives. “They worked great on a variety of food products, from vegetables and meat to crusty loaves of bread,” she explained. On the other hand, our review thought the design of the block leaves something to be desired. “I would apply some sort of finish to the interior of the knife slots (or sand them down better) to achieve a cleaner design,” she said. Still, our tester said the knives are comfortable to hold and an overall “excellent choice” for those looking for a complete set.