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18 Best Kitchen Knife Sets for Slicing, Dicing, Peeling, and Paring
By Terri Williams
All products featured on Architectural Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The best kitchen knife set should provide smooth and precise cuts that can make your time in the kitchen easier, safer, and more efficient. Nothing will make you feel more like a professional chef than a set of high-quality knives that deliver neat dices and perfect slices. (Plus, they’ll feel great in your hands because of the comfortable handles.)
“Delicious cuisine comes from the knowledge and sensibilities of an excellent chef, and an excellent chef chooses excellent tools,” says Iverson Guo, head chef and owner of Karma Asian Fusion in Burlington, Massachusetts. “For culinary purposes, look for brands that are reputable for sharpness, long usable life, and ease of sharpening.”
As it relates to cooking Japanese cuisine and sushi, Iverson suggests avoiding any type of stainless blade sushi knife, and recommends carbon steel (blue steel) instead. He adds, “Other key elements to proper knife selections consumers should focus on are making sure the weight of the knife is ideal for the chef, it varies by person—not too light, but not too heavy—and must be right for cutting.” Iverson notes that the material of the handle—especially for sushi—is also important. important.
- * Best Overall : Shun Premiere 5-Piece Knife Block
- * Best German Construction : Messermeister Royale Elite 6-Piece Magnet Block Set
- * Best All-In-One Set : Ninja Foodi NeverDull Premium 14-Piece Knife Block Set
- * Most Stylish : Made In Knife Set
- * Best Self-Sharpening : Calphalon Precision Self-Sharpening 15-Piece Cutlery Set
- * Best Magnetic Board : Mercer Culinary 6-Piece Renaissance Board Magnetic Knife Set
- * Most User-Friendly : Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Knife Set
- * Best Steak Knife Set : Material the Table Knives
- * Best Titanium : GreenPan Premiere Titanium Cutlery 12-Piece Knife Block Set
- * Best Splurge : Berkel Elegance Sense Block Red
- * Best Damascus Steel : Cangshan HAKU Series 12-Piece Knife Block Set
- *Best Rotating Knife Block: Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Knife Set with Rotating Knife Block
- * Best Classic : All-Clad 12-Piece Knife Block Set
- Best 15-Piece Block Set : Viking Professional 15-Piece Cutlery Knife Block Set
- Best 3-Piece Set : Material the Trio of Knives
- Best for Picky Chefs : Victorinox Swiss Classic 11-Piece Cutlery Block
- Best Space-Saving : Brabantia Knife Block Set
- Best Wall-Mounted : Kilne Essential Knife Set
How to select the right knife set for you
Though some people purchase knives based on how they look, we don't recommend that. “The most important aspect of selecting a knife and/or knife set is the comfort for the user and would you love to use these knives,” explains Greg Frey Jr., chef at Golden Door in San Marcos, California. “The best, most wonderful knife in the world is worthless if it just sits in the drawer because it’s uncomfortable, clunky, heavy, or is just not an enjoyable tool.” Greg views his knives as extensions of his own limbs.
According to Mat Schuster, chef and owner of Canela in San Francisco, the decision should be based on what type of kitchen knives you’ll use the most, and which ones feel comfortable to you. But, if you’re a home cook—not a professional chef—how do you figure out the essential knives you should have on hand?
“First, I recommend a chef’s knife (pointed end) or a santoku (blunt end) as your primary knife,” he explains. They can be anywhere from 6 to 14 inches in length, and he advises holding them to gauge how they feel in your hands. A good chef’s knife can be used for everything from cutting and disjointing meat to chopping nuts to dicing vegetables. Next, Mat recommends a paring knife for more intricate tasks, like peeling fruits and mincing small veggies. “Your set should also include a serrated knife (it has scalloped edges), which is around eight inches in length, and is good for slicing a loaf of bread, whole citrus fruits and tomatoes, and even layer cakes,” he says.
Mat doesn’t think a boning knife is necessary, but insists that a utility knife—which has a thin blade and is approximately six inches long—could come in handy. It’s ideal for general culinary needs and is not as imposing as the large chef’s knife. He also recommends scissors, adding that a good pair of kitchen shears is a great kitchen tool, and they’re used routinely in his restaurant.
Knife sets can also include (or consist entirely of) steak knives. “Steak knives can be used for a multitude of things besides cutting steak,” Mat says. “And guests feel special when they get their own personal knife that is heartier than a standard table knife.”
How to care for your knives
You’ll also want your knife set to last for a long time. Greg recommends that you take on the responsibility to sharpen your own knife. “Get two whetstones—a medium and fine grit,” he says.
Greg echoes Mat’s sentiments that there are plenty of great videos online to show you what to do. “Make it a practice that each time you use your knife, it makes a set of passes over the fine stone,” he says. Regarding the medium stone, he says you will only need to use it occasionally to repair or reset the blade. “The joy of a sharp knife is the discipline to maintain the edge,” he concludes. (Fortunately, some of our selections even include self-sharpening options.)
Based on their advice and recommendations, we tested a variety of high-quality knives to bring you the best knife sets—and the best-looking knife sets—for all of your culinary needs.
Best Overall: Shun Premiere 5-Piece Knife Block
Shun Premiere 5-Piece Knife Block
The Shun Premiere 5-Piece Knife Block Set holds our top choice for the best knife set. Handcrafted in Japan, the razor-sharp 15-degree blade edges let me cut precisely, and I feel in control with each slice or chop. The fully tang blades have a VG-MAX super steel clad on each side, and the hammered finish feels good in my hands. The handles are made of pakkawood and have a walnut finish. They also have stainless steel end caps to provide stability. This set has one of the best chef’s knives. I loved that the six-slot bamboo block doesn’t take up much room on my countertop, but simultaneously provides enough space to add to my knife collection.
By Erika Owen
By Audrey Lee
By Leah Muncy
This knife set includes:
- 6-Inch Chef’s Knife
- 4-Inch Paring Knife
- 6.15-Inch Serrated Utility Knife
- Honing Steel
- Bamboo Block
Best for: If you’re tight on counter space
Probably not the best for: People who want more than the most basic knives
Best German: Messermeister Royale Elite 6 Piece Magnet Block Set
Royale Elite 6 Piece Magnet Block Set
Handcrafted in Solingen, Germany, the Messermeister Royale Elite Magnet Block Set has stainless carbon alloy blades that are the definition of durable: they’re hot-drop hammer-forged, with a 15-degree ergonomic edge, and they resist stains and corrosion. Combining the German stainless steel blade with the Royale Elite American walnut burl handle results in a vintage-looking set of the sharpest knives that are a joy to use. The thoroughly modern and uniquely shaped acacia magnetic block is beautiful, and it’s often a conversation starter in my kitchen.
The six-piece knife set includes the following:
- 8-Inch Stealth Chef’s Knife
- 9-Inch (scalloped) Bread Knife
- 5-Inch Cheese and Tomato Knife
- 6-Inch Utility Knife
- 3.5-Inch Paring Knife
- Acacia Magnetic Block
Best for: Home chefs looking for a high-quality knife set
Probably not the best for: People on a budget
Best All-In-One Set: Ninja Foodi NeverDull Premium 14 Piece Knife Block Set
Ninja K32014 Foodi NeverDull Premium Knife System
Ninja always finds its way onto one of our roundups, as a “best multifunction” choice on our list of Best Coffee Makers , Best Indoor Grills , and now, it’s also our best multifunction all-in-one choice for kitchen knife sets. That’s because this German stainless steel knife set also includes six steak knives and a built-in sharpener to maintain a sharp edge on your knives. It also includes an artillery of kitchen knives. I love the fact that everything is in one convenient block, and found it super easy to sharpen the knife blades by merely inserting them into the knife sharpening block and sliding the lever.
The 14-piece knife set includes:
- 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
- 8-Inch Bread Knife
- 5-Inch Santoku Knife
- 5-Inch Boning Knife
- 5-Inch Utility Knife
- Set of six 4.5-Inch Steak Knives
- Knife Block With NeverDull Technology
Best for: People who don’t like to manually sharpen knives
Probably not the best for: Those without a lot of cabinet space
Most Stylish: Made In Knife Set
The Knife Set
Made In Cookware
Most knives—although beautiful—tend to have a rather traditional look. However, this set by one of our favorite cookware brands is fabulously modern. The French-made knives are fully forged from a single piece of stainless steel, and they’re full tang (which means the blade extends all the way to the knife’s butt). The set also includes a nakiri knife (which is a double beveled-edge knife for cutting vegetables). I have the Pomme Red handles—which is my favorite color—but the four-piece knife set is also available in Truffle Black and Olive Wood.
The four-piece kitchen knife set includes the following:
- 13-Inch Chef’s Knife
- 8-Inch Paring Knife
- 14-Inch Bread Knife
- 11.5-Inch Nakiri Knife
Best for: Those who want the essentials in a stylish, modern design
Probably not the best for: People who want boning, utility, and other types of knives
Best Self-Sharpening: Calphalon Precision Self-Sharpening 15-Piece Cutlery Set
Classic Self-Sharpening Stainless Steel 15-Piece Knife Block Set
The Calphalon Precision Self-Sharpening 15-Piece Cutlery Set includes the best of both worlds. That’s because the eight steak knives are made from stamped Asian steel, and the rest of the full-forged, full-tang set is made of German steel (high-carbon stainless steel). All of the bar-riveted knife handles are labeled, which means I never have to guess which knife I’m pulling out of the block. But the best part is that the set uses SharpIN built-in ceramic sharpeners that automatically sharpen the knives when I insert or remove them, so I always have sharp blades.
Included in the 15-piece knife block set:
- 7-Inch Santoku Knife
- 3.5-Inch Parer
- 8 Steak Knives
- Kitchen Shears
- Sharpening Knife Block
Best for: Those who don’t like to sharpen knives on their own
Probably not the best for: People without a lot of countertop space
Best Magnetic Board: Mercer Culinary 6-Piece Renaissance Board Magnetic Knife Set
Mercer Culinary 6-Piece Renaissance Board Magnetic Knife Set
Is it one of the best knife sets or is it a work of art? The Mercer Culinary 6-Piece Renaissance Board Magnetic Knife Set is both. In fact, it was hard to choose between this magnetic board set and the tempered-glass wood block set that I’ve had for years. However, I also love this magnetic board set because it’s made of acacia wood and sits on top of a stainless steel base with a satin finish. The board is also angled, making it easier to access the knives for any kitchen task. This Mercer Culinary set of knives is precision-forged, full-tang, and made of high-carbon German steel.
The kitchen knife set includes the following:
- 8-Inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife
- 7-Inch Fillet Knife
- 6-Inch Stiff Boning Knife
- Magnetic Board on Stand
Best for: People who want to display their knives while keeping them easily accessible
Probably not the best for: Those who don’t have under cabinet clearance (knives pull up and out)
Best User-Friendly Knife Set: Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Knife Set
Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Knife Set
Even beginners will feel at home in the kitchen with the Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Knife Set. This user-friendly set feels marvelous thanks to a curved bolster that makes them safer to use and ergonomic, preventing fatigue while cutting. The full-tang knives are made of high-carbon stainless steel with precision-honed blades and laser-controlled edges, meaning it’s easier to cut ultra precisely with them. It’s also one of the few knife sets that can be put in the dishwasher—although hand washing is recommended.
Included in the seven-piece knife set:
- 5-Inch Serrated Utility Knife
- 5.5-Inch Prep Knife
- Twin Kitchen Shears
- Twin Honing Steel
- Hardwood Knife Block
Best for: People who want dishwasher-safe knives
Probably not the best for: Those who prefer self-sharpening knives
Best Steak Knife Set: Material’s The Table Knives
The Table Knives
The Table Knives by Material are one of the best steak sets for cutting whatever dish is on your plate. Plus, they add an elegant look to any table setting. They’re made of German stainless steel and have a straight blade and a matte finish. The four knives also come in a holder made of maple wood, which is compact enough to lay flat in a drawer or sit on the countertop. These beautiful knives are available in a variety of colors, including Persimmon, Morel, or Glazed. I have a mixed set of knives, which includes one knife in each of the three colors (along with an extra deep-blue pick). And the knives are also dishwasher-safe.
The set includes:
- 4 Dining Knives
- Knife Holder
Best for: If you’re looking for an elevated set of steak knives
Probably not the best for: People who want more of a variety of knives
Best Titanium: GreenPan Premiere Titanium Cutlery 12-Piece Knife Block Set
Premiere Titanium Cutlery 12-Piece Knife Block Set
If you’re known to ruin knife sets, consider the GreenPan Premiere Titanium Cutlery 12-Piece Knife Block Set. The blades are coated with titanium to reduce friction and remain sharper for longer. In addition to this, titanium is corrosion-resistant and won’t peel or chip. The knives are perfectly weighted and balanced, which made them easy for me to use. The beautiful and ergonomic walnut handles made the knives easy to grip and hold. The set contains everything I need, including four steak knives.
The 12-piece set includes:
- Set of Four 4.5-Inch Steak Knife
- Sharpening Steel
- Walnut Knife Block
Best for: Environmental conscious buyers
Probably not the best for: Small kitchens
Best Splurge: Berkel Elegance Sense Block Red
Elegance Sense Block Red
I have to admit that this is the most unusual-looking knife set that I’ve ever tested. At first glance, it almost looks like a football that contains knives. The knife “block” is made of red leather (there’s also a black option). However, it’s actually stunning in person. The German stainless-steel blades and polymer walnut handles are thoroughly modern and so distinct-looking that the first few weeks, I would stop and withdraw and then reinsert a knife every time I walked by. It was a joy to test the set, and the knives cut each food item perfectly. It’s an expensive and high-end set, but definitely worth it.
The 6-piece knife block includes the following:
- 8.7-Inch Bread Knife
- 8.7-Inch Carving/Slicing Knife
- 7.9-Inch Kitchen Knife
- 7.9-Inch Chef Knife
- 4.3-Inch Paring Knife
Best for: People looking for something especially luxe
Best Damascus Steel: Cangshan HAKU Series 12-Piece Knife Block Set
Cangshan HAKU Series 12-Piece Knife Block Set
The Cangshan KAKU Series 12-Piece Knife Block Set is made of 67 layers of Damascus steel and designed to stay durable and stain resistant. The high-alloy full-tang blades have sharp edges, and the rounded African blackwood handles are ultra-dense and balanced to provide a comfortable feel. The knives are housed in an American-walnut knife block. (Cangshun also makes knives that are available with a dark walnut magnetic sheath to protect the blades in lieu of putting them in the knife block.)
The 12-piece knife block set includes:
- 9-Inch Bread Knife
- 8-Inch Chef's Knife
- Set of Four 5-Inch Fine-Edge Steak Knives
- 9-Inch Come-Apart Shears
- 9-Inch Honing Steel
- American Walnut Knife Block
Best for: Those looking for a really good knife set make of Damascus Steel
Probably not the best for: People who prefer more traditional-looking knife blocks
Best Rotating Knife Block: Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Knife Set with Rotating Knife Block
Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Knife Set with Rotating Knife Block
The Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Knife Set is not only one of the best kitchen knife sets—it’s also the largest knife set on our list. The stainless steel blades are razor sharp and have quad tang handles, which means the steel on the handle is exposed on all four sides. (The handles also include pakkawood.) This provides a balanced and ergonomic weight when using the knives. The rotating bamboo block keeps all of the knives conveniently and safely stored—and two of the steak-knife blocks are removable.
The 21-piece set includes:
- 7-Inch Vegetable Cleaver
- 4.5-Inch Santoku Knife
- 7.5-Inch Santoku Knife
- 8-Inch Carving Knife
- 6-Inch Carving Fork
- 10-Inch Slicer
- 5-Inch Cheese Knife
- Eight Steak Knives
- Removable Knife Blocks (2)
- Bamboo Display Block
Best for: People who cook for large families
Probably not the best for: Those who want to keep their knife collection lean
Best Classic: All-Clad 12-Piece Knife Block Set
All-Clad Knife Block, Set of 12
All-Clad is known for cookware and kitchen electrics, but they also make some very good knives (like the All-Clad 12-Piece Knife Set). The fully forged, German stainless-steel blades resist rust and chipping. Plus, the fully tang, triple-riveted POM handles have an angled end bolster, which makes them easier to grip. I found them easy to use, especially when chopping and dicing on cutting boards.
The 12-Piece Set includes:
- 5-Inch Serrated Utility
- Set of Four 5-inch Steak Knives
- Pull-Apart Kitchen Shears
- Acacia Wood Knife Storage Block
Best for: If you’re looking for a simple and good quality knife set with steak knives and scissors
Probably not the best for: People who want a knife sharpener
Best 15-Piece Block Set: Viking Professional 15-Piece Cutlery Knife Block Set
Viking Professional 15-piece Cutlery Block Set
If you’re a home cook but want all of the tools of a professional chef, check out the Viking Professional 15-Piece Cutlery Block Set. Each knife is made of German steel and has a 15-degree cutting edge. An obvious choice for one of the best knife sets, the knives are designed to be durable and resist corrosion. Since there are no gaps between the blade and handle, the cutlery will remain hygienic, and the sharpening steel shears serve as a knife sharpener to maintain the most precise blades. The elegant block is also made of acacia wood. I liked the idea of having a fully stocked cutlery block, since it gives visitors the impression that I know my way around the kitchen.
The 15-piece cutlery block set includes the following:
- 7-Inch Santoku Knife
- 5.5-Inch Utility Knife
- 3-Inch Paring Knife
- 10-Inch Sharpening Steel Shears
- Set of Six 4.5-Inch Steak Knives
- 14-Slot Wood Block
Best for: If you want a lean but fully equipped professional set with a sleek storing block.
Probably not the best for: If you need cutting knives but not steak knives.
Best 3-Piece Knife Set: Material the Trio of Knives
Trio of Knives
As a home cook, are three knives all that you really need? Maybe, if it’s the Trio of Knives by Material, which is undoubtedly one of the best knife sets. (Oprah also listed it as one of her favorite items of 2021). The knives are made of three layers of Japanese steel, and are ice-tempered, which increases the degree of hardness, and also results in really sharp blades. My trio has Almost Black handles, and a black stand on a stainless-steel bottom; however, you can also get the handles in Cool Neutral or Blue Gray. The stand is also available in Walnut or White Ash.
The Trio includes the following:
- 8-Inch Knife
- Almost 4-Inch Knife (that’s the actual name)
- Serrated 6-Inch Knife
Best for: If you’re looking to keep your knife-set set simple.
Probably not the best for: You want a more classic paring knife, santoku knife, or kitchen shears.
Best for Picky Chefs: Victorinox Swiss Classic 11-Piece Cutlery Block
Victorinox Swiss Classic Cutlery, 11 Pieces Block Knife Set
If you’re the type of person who is never satisfied with your choice of knives, the Victorinox Swiss Classic Cutlery 11-Piece Cutlery Block set is for you because it has pretty much everything you could need. It contains a wavy-edge paring knife, and two different sizes of pointed-tip paring knives. There are also two sizes of carving knifes, and a wavy-edge tomato knife, in addition to the bread knife, Santoku knife, double-edged potato peeler, and sharpening steel. Each Victorinox knife is weighted and balanced, with a textured handle that provides a nonslip grip. The compact knife set comes in an elegant beechwood cutlery block.
The 11-piece cutlery block set includes:
- 4.3-Inch Wavy-Edge Steak Knife
- 3.1-Inch Wavy-Edge Paring Knife
- 3.1-Inch Pointed-Tip Paring Knife
- 3.9-Inch Pointed-Tip Paring Knife
- 4.3-Inch Wavy-Edge Tomato and Table Knife
- 5.9-Inch Carving Knife
- 8.7-Inch Carving Knife
- 6.7-Inch Fluted-Edge Santoku Knife
- 8.3-Inch Wavy-Edge Bread Knife
- Double-Edge Potato Peeler
- 7.8-Inch Round Domestic Sharpening Steel
- Beechwood Block
Best for: If you want a set that includes more than just knives.
Probably not the best for: You need more than just one steak knife, and don't need two paring knives or carving knives.
Best Space-Saving: Brabantia Knife Block Set
Brabantia Knife Block Set
Brabantia is known for its clever, space-saving kitchen accessories, and one of my favorites is the Brabantia Knife Block Set. At first glance, you might think this is just a steak knife set since the handles look so uniform, but it’s not: It’s a multipurpose kitchen knife set. The knives are made of high-quality steel with plastic handles, and are resistant to scratches and corrosion. If counter space is a problem, the knife block is only 7.5" W x 3.5" D x 13.2" H, and it can instantly update any kitchen.
The six-piece knife block set includes the following:
- 13.3-Inch Chef’s Knife
- 13.6-Inch Bread Knife
- 13.1-Inch Carving Knife
- 8.5-Inch Paring Knife
- 9.8-Inch Utility Knife
- Knife Block
Best for: You’re looking for a sleek set of knives in an even sleeker knife block that won't take up too much space.
Probably not the best for: If you want kitchen shears and a knife sharpener.
Best Wall-Mounted: Kilne Essential Knife Set
Essential Knife Set
Mounting your knife set on the wall? It’s possible with the Kilne Essential Knife Set. The fully forged knives are made of high-grade chromium German steel. They’re ergonomic and have strong, sharp blades and balanced handles to provide precise cuts. Instead of a wood block, they fit perfectly on a wall-mounted magnetic strip, which is made of acacia wood and doesn’t even take up much space on your wall (it’s just 14" x 3"). It’s ideal for freeing up countertop space, and, trust me, it looks like a design element on my wall. However, the set is also available in a slim magnetic knife block.
The knife set includes:
- 8-Inch Chef’s knife
- 8-Inch Bread knife
- 3.5-Inch Paring knife
- Acacia wall-mounted magnetic strip
Best for: If you lack counter space, but have wall space to spare.
Probably not the best for: If you want a knife-set that’s a bit more fully equipped.
By Kristi Kellogg
By Blake Bakkila
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A pen -style handle gives you a comfortable hold as you make precise cuts with the sharp blade on these knives.
Swivel-Blade Precision Knives
Cut curves and circles with a blade that rotates 360°.
Rubber-Grip Precision Knives
Reduce hand fatigue with the cushioned rubber grip on these knives.
Heavy Duty Precision Knives
These durable knives have a large, metal handle that withstands the force needed to cut through tough materials.
Retracting-Blade Precision Knives
A retracting blade prevents accidental cuts and allows you to store these knives in your pocket.
Easy-Grip Precision Knives
Make cuts confidently with these lightweight knives that have a knurled grip to prevent them from slipping out of your fingers.
Precision Knife and Blade Sets
Fast-Cutting Ultrasonic Precision Knives
With a blade that oscillates over 40, 000 times per second— faster than you can see or feel— these knives make fast, clean, and precise cuts in a variety of material. Use them to remove supports from 3D printed objects, shape printed circuit boards, and sculpt custom spacers, gaskets, and parts of all kinds.
Precision Knives with Breakaway Blades
Snap off dull blade segments to expose a sharp edge for precise cuts.
Cut, trim, and puncture thin materials such as paper, plastic, and fabric.
Make deep and repetitive cuts with the exposed blade and easy-to-hold handle on these knives.
Precision Knife Blades
Make precise cuts to paper, plastic, fabric, and other materials with these sharp blades.
Waste Containers for Sharp Objects
Waste containers for breakaway blades.
Slip worn blades into the side slot and safely break them off inside container.
Waste Containers for Scalpel Blades
Insert scalpel and then press the button to remove the blade.