Kitchen knives are used for literally everything when it comes to food preparation. Whether you’re mincing up garlic, slicing up tomatoes for a sandwich, carving up a hearty helping of meat, or cutting mushrooms for a soup, a good knife should always be within arm’s reach. Knives are essential tools for every cook from the single parent making a meal for the family to the professional working in a high-class restaurant.
Finding a great set of knives can be more difficult than it should be, though. With hundreds of different brands, various sets that come with multiple types of knives, varying quality, and prices ranging from $20 to $200 or more, the options are limitless and incredibly overwhelming. To get past all the noise and come to an educated decision can be more challenging than it seems. Don’t worry, though. Consumer Essentials is here to help you make an informed choice. Down below we’ve provided a list of the best kitchen knives on the market as well as a detailed guide that shows you exactly what to look for to ensure you get the best quality, versatility, and price possible.
Picking out a knife set on your own can be stressful. There are just so many different options available that you may find yourself overloaded. Let us help you out. Our team of kitchen experts has individually tested more than 30 different knife sets, compiled the data, and created a list of the five best sets available. Their reviews focused on overall knife quality, selection of knives in each set, durability, and, of course, price. Check out the list below to find the perfect knife set for your kitchen.
The Ultimate Chef’s Guide to Buying Great Kitchen Knives
Finding the perfect set of knives for your kitchen can be quite the daunting task. Nearly every kitchen-related company from Cuisinart to The Pampered Chef has at least one set available. Plus, each set contains a different assortment of knives, has a different price, provides different levels of quality, and more. That’s a lot of information to take in and process.
To make things a little simpler, let us school you on knives a bit. To get the best set of knives possible you really need to understand what each knife does and what to look for to make sure you get a quality set. Below we’ve provided a guide that reveals the top three things to look for whenever you’re shopping for a knife set. Use this information to learn more about the products and how to spot an excellent set.
If you’re looking for a full set of knives there’s a probably a good reason for that, right? Obviously if you just needed a single knife to take care of one job you’d be looking up individual knives, not a set. With a set you need to have multiple knives that are capable of performing a number of tasks. This is why sets often come with 6 to 10 or more knives – each knife is designed to do something different.
Some of the most common and most useful knives to keep an eye out for whenever you’re researching knife sets are the paring knife, a chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a utility knife. These are the core basics that every kitchen should be equipped with. A full set should come with at least one of each of these knife types.
Paring Knife – Paring knives are often a cook’s blade of choice for tasks such as finely chopping or peeling vegetables. These are great knives for taking care of most basic prep work, are generally lightweight, and provide the user with ultimate control and precision over cuts.
Chef Knife – The chef’s knife is the go-to blade for practically anything. It is commonly used for mincing garlic, slicing vegetables, chopping up fruits, and just about everything between. Larger versions are even capable of making quick and easy work out of cutting up bigger foods such as watermelons and pumpkins.
Bread Knife – This blade is also commonly referred to as a serrated knife. This is designed for, well, bread. The way the blade is formed allows the user to cut through soft breads without crushing the bread with excessive pressure. It’s made to be used more like a saw.
Utility Knife – The utility knife is essentially the bridge between a paring knife and the chef knife. It is typically 4 to 7 inches long. This blade is mostly best for completing simple tasks such as cutting sandwiches, peeling vegetables, and slicing smaller cuts of meat.
Larger sets often come with additional knives such as boning knives, steak knives, a cleaver, and more. These are generally more expensive and only found in sets that have 12 or more pieces.
Another biggie to look for is the actual quality of the knives that are included with the set. As with any product, not all knives are created equal. Some are made with cheaper blades that don’t hold sharpness well or are prone to rusting, chipping, and breaking. There are a few indicators of a good blade. Let’s talk about them.
First up is the blade material itself. Most knives these days are made of stainless steel. This is a sturdy, long-lasting substance that is resistant to rust. The way the blade is put together makes a huge difference, though. Generally speaking, knives that have multi-layered steel are better as they are stronger and able to keep an edge longer.
Second is the weight and overall feel of the knife. In order to get the best possible performance from a knife it needs to be balanced well. Weight distribution is extremely important. A knife that is top heavy will often feel awkward in your hand. The goal is to find a set where the knives have an even split of weight between the blade and the handle.
Finally, another good indication of a quality blade is the handle. Some cheaper, low-quality models feature a very weak, plastic handle. These are usually not great. There are some knives with high-quality plastics, but not many. The best typically have a rubberized, wooden, or textured steel handle. They’re easier to hold and usually provide more strength and durability for the blade itself.
Most people that are shopping for a kitchen knife set will factor price into their buying decision. A higher price doesn’t always indicate that you’re getting a quality set, but, in the case of knives, it usually holds true. The better quality sets are often fairly pricey ($120 or more) whereas the lower-quality sets are much cheaper (as low as $30 to $50). Obviously, you should always keep your personal budget in mind. But keep in mind that you get what you pay for.