The 7 Best Knives and Knife Sets of 2020

Shop for the best knives and cutlery on the market today

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Knife Set: Calphalon SharpIN Cutlery Set at Amazon

"The knives get a little sharpening every time you put them in or remove them from the block."

Best Chef's Knife: Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch Straight Edge at Amazon

"It has a high-carbon stainless steel blade that is laser-tested to ensure the best cutting edge."

Best Paring Knife: OXO Good Grips Pro at Amazon

"It has a fully forged blade, bolster and tang made from high-carbon German stainless steel."

Best Bread Knife: Wusthof Gourmet Serrated Knife at Amazon

"The serrations grab and cut through tough crusts easily, all while treating the soft inside of the bread gently."

Best Steak Knives: Messermeister Avanta Fine Edge at Amazon

"Constructed of German high carbon stainless steel which gives it a sharp edge that lasts."

Best Ceramic Knives: Vremi 10 Piece Colorful Knife Set at Amazon

"While the price is low, that doesn't sacrifice performance."

Best Boning Knife: Mercer Culinary Millennia Boning Knife at Amazon

"Made from Japanese high-carbon steel, this has a razor sharp edge and is easy to resharpen."

  • 01 of 07

    Best Knife Set: Calphalon Contemporary SharpIN 20-Piece Cutlery Set

    Calphalon Contemporary Sharp In 20 Piece Cutlery Set, Black
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.
    Excellent
    What We Like
    • Knife block included

    • Self-sharpening

    • Knife names etched on handle end

    What We Don't Like
    • Steak knives felt lightweight

    • Shears don’t come apart

    • Serrated knives aren’t self-sharpening

    If you’re buying a knife set, look for one that has everything you could possibly need. This set, which our tester described as "sleek" and "elegant," includes a 4 1/2-inch paring knife, a 5-inch boning knife, a 5-inch santoku knife, a 5 1/2-inch tomato and bagel knife, a 6-inch utility knife, a 6-inch fork, a 7-inch santoku knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicing knife, an 8-inch bread knife, eight steak knives, kitchen shears, and a dark-colored wooden knife block.

    This set has one feature that makes it different from most others: The knife block has integrated sharpeners in selected slots, so the knives get a little sharpening every time you put them in or remove them from the block. The knives are also labeled, so you can see which knife you’re grabbing before you remove it from the block.

    The steak knives are made from stamped Asian steel, while the other knives are made from forged German steel. Our reviewer tested out all of the knives—cutting into everything from bread to tomatoes—and the results were great every time.

    This is one of the larger knife sets available, with every knife you might need. However, if you know you won’t use all of these, there are smaller sets available as well, and at a lower price point.

    "Right out of the box, these knives were wicked-sharp, as we expected."Donna Currie, Product Tester

  • 02 of 07

    Best Chef's Knife: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

    Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife 40520, 47520, 45520 Frustration Free Packaging
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.
    Excellent
    What We Like
    • Super sharp

    • Affordable

    • Nonslip handle

    What We Don't Like
    • Included sheath may be too thin for storage

    • Rough handle surface grabs debris

    • Blade is stamped rather than forged

    A chef’s knife is a multipurpose tool that’s a must-have in every kitchen. It’s used for chopping, mincing, and dicing. If you don’t have a slicing knife, you can use this to slice your roast, and the wide blade makes it perfect for smashing garlic before mincing. Our reviewer tested it out on tomatoes (which are particularly difficult to cut clean) and ended up with "perfect slices without snagging or tearing."

    This knife is made in Switzerland by the same company that makes Swiss army knives. They use a special tempering process that makes it easy to re-sharpen the blade when needed. It has a high-carbon stainless steel blade that is laser-tested to ensure the best cutting edge. The handle design is patented and has a textured, slip-resistant grip, and an ergonomic design.

    Unlike more expensive knives, this does not have a full tang (meaning that the handle is in two pieces around the knife blade, which extends into the handle), but it is still well-balanced and easy to hold, according to our tester.

    "There’s not much this knife can’t do, so if the budget is tight, it would be a great first knife until there’s room in the budget for a companion or two, like a paring knife or serrated blade." Donna Currie, Product Tester

  • 03 of 07

    Best Paring Knife: OXO Good Grips Pro 3.5" Paring Knife

    OXO Good Grips Professional 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.
    What We Like
    • Contoured handle offers great control

    • Comfortable, non-slip grip

    • Inexpensive

    What We Don't Like
    • Not as sharp as more expensive knives

    A paring knife is a kitchen essential, and this one from OXO offers great performance at an affordable price. It has a fully forged blade, bolster, and tang made from high-carbon German stainless steel for good edge retention, so you won’t need to sharpen as often.

    The knife has excellent balance and a contoured handle for great control while performing small tasks like peeling, slicing, or chopping small amounts of food. The curved bolster offers support for the thumb and forefinger for a proper grip that is both comfortable and efficient, and the handle has a non-slip grip so you’ll feel confident when using it. The knife should be washed by hand.

  • 04 of 07

    Best Bread Knife: Wusthof Gourmet 8-Inch Serrated Bread Knife

    Wusthof Gourmet 8-Inch Serrated Bread Knife
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.
    What We Like
    • Easily slices through tough crust

    • Won't ruin soft breads

    • High-quality materials

    What We Don't Like
    • Pricey

    While a bread knife isn’t essential for every kitchen, if you bake your own bread or buy unsliced bread from a local bakery you know the frustration of trying to slice through a fresh loaf that has a crisp or chewy crust and a soft interior. A bread knife is designed to do exactly that, leaving you with perfect slices and a loaf that isn’t smashed in the process.

    This 8-inch knife, made in Germany, is a good length for slicing through most any size of bread loaf, and the serrations grab and cut through tough crusts easily, all while treating the soft inside of the bread gently. The synthetic handle offers a good grip and balance. Besides using it for bread, this knife also works well for slicing cakes into layers, however, you might want a 10-inch serrated knife if you use it frequently for 8-inch round cakes.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best Steak Knives: Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Fine Edge Steak Knife Set

    What We Like
    • Super sharp

    • Great value

    • Lifetime warranty

    What We Don't Like
    • Handles aren't the smoothest

    • Doesn't include a case

    It’s great to have a set of steak knives that look good and perform well. These have 5-inch blades that have an upswept boning tip that helps separate in between the meat and bone while the cambered long blade helps cut through the meat.  

    They're constructed of German high carbon stainless steel that gives them a sharp edge that lasts a while, making them a mainstay at your home for years to come. They are made in China, which helps bring you a more affordable price that makes them a good option for everyday use. 

    What's more, the brand has a lifetime guarantee from manufacturing defects so if you have any issues they will offer you a refund. 

  • 06 of 07

    Best Ceramic Knives: Vremi 10 Piece Colorful Knife Set

    What We Like
    • Inexpensive

    • Blade covers come included

    • Colorful, attractive design

    What We Don't Like
    • Not the most durable

    • Dull easily

    Buying a set of knives can be a burden on your wallet—that's when ceramic knives might be a smart option for your college dorm room, second home, or your main abode. Ceramic knives get the job done efficiently and often in a brightly hued style. 

    This set comes with five knives and five sheaths so you could travel with these if you plan on cooking on vacation. While the price is low, that doesn't sacrifice performance. These knives do a stellar job at chopping, dicing, and slicing your way to meal time.

  • 07 of 07

    Best Boning Knife: Mercer Culinary Millennia 6-Inch Curved Boning Knife

    What We Like
    • Ergonomic handle is comfortable to hold

    • Protective finger guard and no-slip grip

    • Inexpensive

    What We Don't Like
    • Might have to sharpen often

    While a boning knife might not be the most-used type of knife, it’s exactly the tool you need when you’re deboning meats. Cut up your own chicken and save money over pre-cut pieces, and this knife will pay for itself. Made from Japanese high-carbon steel, this has a razor-sharp edge and is easy to resharpen while it also resists rust and corrosion.

    The ergonomically designed handle is made from Santoprene for comfort and polypropylene for durability and has a colorful inset in seven different colors. Textured finger points improve your grip and the finger guard keeps you safe while cutting.

Final Verdict

The Calphalon Contemporary SharpIN 20-Piece Set is our top pick for its high quality and high performance. However, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-Piece Block Set is a close second, as it also performed well in our testing and is a much more budget-friendly choice.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Donna Currie is a food and recipe writer and cookbook author so she spends a great deal of time in the kitchen chopping, slicing, and dicing. She writes roundups and reviews kitchen products for the Spruce Eats and personally tested two of the products on this list.


While she's somewhat partial to Wusthof knives, her knife block is currently a hodgepodge of brands from crazy-expensive to dirt cheap. She recommends finding knives that you're comfortable cooking with—no brand is going to be a fit for every person.

What to Look for in a Knife and Knife Set

Type: Knives come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Do you want razor-sharp steel or do you need a serrated edge to cut bread without squashing it flat? If you cook frequently, you’ll likely need a variety of knives, while if you rarely hit the kitchen other than to make coffee, one or two basic knives may be enough to meet your needs.  

Ease of use: How often you’ll be using your knives—as well as what you plan to cut frequently—should factor into how much care your knives require. For example, some knives must be sharpened regularly while others come with self-sharpeners. Also, consider how knives must be washed and how easily they stain.  

Size: Ideally, you’ll have knives in a variety of sizes so you can prepare all your favorite dishes. Some knives come in sets, too, so you can the best ones on hand for each dish you’re cooking. Also, consider where you’re going to store your knives—and if they're in a knife block, make sure you have enough counter space for it.