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A chef's most important tool in the kitchen is their trusty knife. When you're building up your kitchen at home, there are certain cornerstone items that you should invest some serious consideration into. A sturdy set of pans, a good cutting board, and a set of knives you can be proud of are the bare minimum you need to make any kitchen usable.
Most professional chefs will tell you that if you spend money on a decent set of knives, the last thing you want to do is put them into a drawer. Banging around with other utensils shortens the life span of a knife's edge meaning that you have to break out the sharpener more often. It's also dangerous to have uncovered blades loose in a drawer. A countertop knife block or holder of some kind is the best way to store your blades, so we have compiled a list of knife sets that aren't just durable, they're also eye-catching and will elevate your whole kitchen just by being on display.
Read more: 33 Essential Tools Every Kitchen Must Have
How We Selected Products
When choosing the contenders for the best knife sets, we looked at several different criteria. Because knives are the true workhorses of a kitchen, the knives we looked at needed to be resilient, hold an edge, and be comfortable to use. The sets had to contain at least a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a boning/utility knife (the bare minimum for a versatile knife kit). The inclusion of kitchen shears and a honing steel (a seriously under-appreciated tool that adds to the longevity of your knives) was also given extra consideration. If you're on the hunt for the perfect solo knife, check out our Tasting Table Awards round-up for the best chef's knife.
Positive reviews and user feedback were also taken into consideration when looking at the highly competitive knife market. Different knife brands have different strengths, so when you are selecting a knife set, be sure to make your choice based on your style and aptitude as a chef.
Best Overall Knife Set: WÜSTHOF Gourmet 10-Piece Knife Block Set
Wüsthof knives have appeared on many "best of" lists over the years. The German-forged steel company is a trusted brand by both professionals and home chefs alike. The triple riveted handles and full-tang blades mean that the knives are well-balanced and sturdy when you're slicing. This set includes a honing steel along with a set of utility scissors, a serrated utility knife, a chef's knife, and several different sizes of paring and shaping knives. It is a complete set and the block also has extra slots if you want to add steak knives as a later addition. The handsome block and immediately recognizable trident stamp on the handles of the knives will have you setting these knives up in a place of honor on your counter.
You can buy the WÜSTHOF Gourmet 10-Piece Knife Block Set on Amazon for $320.
Best Budget Knife Set: Cuisinart Block Knife Set, 17-Piece Cutlery Knife Set With Steel Blades
Cuisinart is a recognizable and trusted name in kitchen wares. This knife set contains not just your chef's knife, paring blades, and utility knife — it also comes equipped with a honing steel, kitchen shears, and eight steak knives. Ergonomic metal handles are surprisingly lightweight and easy to grip. This is the perfect kit if you're just starting to build your truly "on-purpose" kitchen on a budget. For under $100, you're truly getting serious bang for your buck, setting yourself up for success in tackling almost any kitchen task and having plenty of steak knives on hand so that your guests aren't hacking at their meat with butter knives.
You can purchase the Cuisinart Block Knife Set, 17-piece Cutlery Knife Set with Steel Blades on Amazon for $75.93.
Best Basic Knife Set: Essentials Knife Set - 3 Piece
Misen is a direct-to-consumer kitchenware brand that came to life via Kickstarter. Their goal is to provide high-quality culinary tools without breaking the bank. Forged with Japanese steel, these knives are sharp, full-tanged, and well-balanced. This bare-bones set includes a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread/utility knife. Easy to hang on a magnetic strip or replace inferior knives in your existing knife block, these blades are gorgeous and of superb quality. With over 2,000 five-star reviews on their website, this elegant knife kit provides you with exactly what you need without any extraneous bells or whistles.
You can purchase the Misen Essentials Knife Set - 3 Piece for $170.
Best Knife Set For Small Kitchens: HENCKELS Forged Premio 7-Piece Block Knife Set
If counter space is at a premium in your kitchen, you'll want to look for a knife set that has a slim profile and can easily nestle in between other appliances. That's where the J.A. Henckels Forged Premio 7-Piece Block Knife Set really shines. The handsome wooden block takes up very little space while protecting the edges of the industry-trusted Henckels blades.
Equipped with tripled riveted handles with a full-tang blade, these knives are much loved by professional and amateur chefs alike. Along with the chef's knife, paring knife, and serrated utility knife, the block also houses a Japanese-style santoku knife, a sturdy pair of shears, and a honing steel. Everything has its place and is kept nice and tidy while still being gorgeously utilitarian.
You can purchase the Henckels Forged Premio 7-Piece Block Knife Set on Amazon for $144.95.
Best Knife Set With Built-In Sharpener: Ninja K32012 Foodi NeverDull Premium Knife System, 12 Piece Knife Block Set With Built-In Sharpener
You might be most familiar with Ninja's blenders, but their scope has broadened in the last several years to include air-fryers, toaster ovens, and yes, knives. One of the trademarks of Ninja products is how user-friendly the tools are while still being some of the most hardcore pieces of equipment you'll have on your counter. This knife set comes with shears and six steak knives along with your chef's knife, santoku, paring knife, and utility knife.
The real home run with this set, though, is the easy-to-use built-in knife sharpener. A dull knife is a dangerous knife, and keeping your knives sharp is the most important habit you can get into when it comes to kitchen safety. If you're guilty of letting your knives get dull, or you don't feel very confident in using a knife sharpener, this set takes all the guesswork out of caring for your blades. Just pull the lever on the side towards you, then back down, and your knife will have a nice fresh edge.
You can purchase the Ninja K32012 Foodi NeverDull Premium Knife System on Amazon for $224.
Best Japanese-Style Knife Set: Shun Cutlery Classic 5-Piece Starter Block Set
Japanese-style knives are particularly popular for paper-thin and precise cuts. Some people like the shape of the handles of Japanese knives, which tend to be rounded as opposed to the squared or blocky handles of Western knives. Whatever reason you choose Japanese steel, you'll want to start your collection with the Shun Cutlery Classic 5-Piece Starter Block Set.
This set is slim and space-saving while looking extra sleek on your counter. Of course, the renowned edge of these knives is what makes them so popular across the globe. The set includes the Japanese chef's knife, a paring knife, a utility knife, and a honing steel for keeping those babies sharp.
You can buy the Shun Cutlery Classic 5-Piece Starter Block Set on Amazon for $319.95.
Best Professional Grade Knife Set: ZWILLING J.A. Henckels TWIN Signature 20-Pc Knife Block Set
Zwilling is the premier brand of J.A. Henckel, with their blades all being forged in either Germany or Japan (both countries with an immaculate history of knife-making), with full tangs, triple rivets, and hefty weight. This ZWILLING J.A. Henckels TWIN Signature 20-pc Knife Block Set is loaded with professional-level tools for the professional-at-home.
A cleaver, several different sizes of paring knives, a bread knife, and a full eight-piece set of steak knives are some of the extended family of instruments that come in this knife block set. Obviously, this is a bigger block that is going to take up some more space in your kitchen, but with the prestigious Zwilling badge on display, the quality will speak for itself.
You can buy the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels TWIN Signature 20-pc Knife Block Set on Amazon for $499.95.
Best Low Maintenance Knife Set: Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-Piece Magnetic Board Set
Mercer knives are often issued to students in culinary schools across the nation. It's no surprise why, these are heavy-duty knives that can stand up to the abuse heaped on them by chefs-to-be just learning the ropes. With their texture grips and German steel blades, these knives feel like serious culinary tools in your hand. The magnetic wooden board is a perfect space-saving storage solution while keeping these knives on display for your friends to envy. I still use my Mercer knives even almost twenty years after graduating from culinary school. They're not fancy, but they are sturdy and keep an edge much longer than some of my more expensive blades made with more fickle steel.
You can purchase the Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-Piece Magnetic Board Set on Amazon for $124.99.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.