Whether an avid cook or a complete novice in the kitchen, every home chef needs to own a knife set. A diverse knife set will quickly find a use in almost any kitchen, particularly for those whom like to do their own prep work. It’s the versatility of a set that makes them a great item to own or gift to receive; the problem is getting the right set for the budget. All to often folk will get a cheap kitchen knife set at a department store (Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Ross, etc.) and end up throwing them away in a year or two due to wear and tear or the blades becoming dull. Spending $20 to $30 seems like a great deal for a 8 piece set until it’s realized the quality that’s being received for the price.
While spending between $60 to $200 on a knife set may seem extravagant, many people don’t realize the value they’re truly getting. Most sets costing upwards of $100 will generally last a several years rather than months. Of course, price isn’t everything as there are just as many expensive knife sets that are terrible. The key is doing the research and finding the best kitchen knives for the money and that is where this site comes in. We evaluate knife sets for any budget and provide the information needed for an informed purchased. Please, begin researching below.
Sets for Less Than $100
Ginsu 8-Piece Chikara Stainless Steel Knife Set – Buy At Amazon
Easily affordable online for about $70, this Ginsu set has many of the hallmarks seen in the more expensive sets. The knives are made of high-carbon, stainless steel which allow them to keep sharp longer as well as have a great weight and balance to them. The set also has includes a sharpening blade for continued maintenance. It doesn’t come with steak knives unfortunately, but the chef’s knife alone is well worth it for most home cooks.
Sets for $100 to $200
Wüsthof Gourmet 7-Piece Knife Set – Buy At Amazon
Retailing around $125, the Wüsthof Gourmet product line is laser stamped from high-carbon stainless steel, making it an ideal mid-tier knife set. The blade sharpness will last longer than the Ginsu and with the same ease to use as well. Comes with a chef’s, paring, bread and utility knives along with kitchen shears and a sharpening rod for home maintenance.
Sets for $200+
Wüsthof Gourmet 14-Piece Knife Set – Buy At Amazon
Sticking with the Wüsthof Gourmet, this is the 14-piece version that retails around $220. Essentially it’s the same knife set as before only with a complete set of steak knives and an extra paring knife added to the mix. Ideal for those be feeding multiple people.
What to Look for in a Quality Kitchen Knife
While shopping for a knife set there are a hand full of things to look out for. Below are the primary attributes you’re looking for.
- Blade Material Quality: Anything that’s not made from high-carbon stainless steel isn’t worth owning. This will ensure a long lasting blade sharpness and minimize the amount of personal maintenance to keep the blades sharp.
- Production Style: There are two primary manufacturing methods to produce the blade portion of knives: forged and stamped/laser cut. A forged blade is the best kind of knife money can buy as it will maintain it’s sharpness the best. However, a barebones forged kitchen knife set will cost over $300 and really only needs to be considered by professional chefs or serious home cooks. A stamped and laser cut blade is slightly worst than a forged one but for the cost savings this method is more than enough for the casual home cook.
- Weight Distribution and Handling: A full tang, meaning that the steel runs the full length of the handle, is most desired when using a knife. It ensures a steady grip and even handling which provides the control needed to handle a sharp object.
- Versatility: Getting a set with multiple/non-duplicate kitchen knives is ideal. The more knives in the set the greater the cost, so be sure to pick a product that includes the most desired kitchen knives.
Other Notes and Advice
There are a handful of brands that need to be considered while shopping around. Easily the two highest rated manufacturers are Wüsthof and J.A. Henckels. They make the “best of the best” kitchen knives and I personally use a Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Set for the last couple years that works well for everyday use. For lower to mid-tier kitchen knives, look to Ginsu, Chicago Cutlery and Victorinox. They’ll provide decent quality at a lower price point for those on a budget.
Lastly, be sure to treat kitchen knives with care, especially if a good amount of money is going to be spent. They should always be hand washed to help maintain sharpness and reduce the effects of water stains or rust.