The 7 Best Knife Sets for 2023, According to Our Tests

Our testers agreed the Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Set is the finest knife set on the market.

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Best Knife Sets

Food & Wine / Will Dickey

If you're in the market for a new knife set, you're looking for an option that covers all the basics — and then some. From the chef's knife, which we like to call the superstar of every set, to supporting knives like the bread, paring, and utility blades, you expect your set to do it all. The blades should perform exceptionally well under pressure, and the handles should offer a comfortable, secure grip. Don't forget about a sleek, compact knife block or storage solution, whether a magnetized bar or an Acacia wood block with a self-sharpener.

That's why our team set out to find the best knife sets for your kitchen needs. From beginner cooks to seasoned pros, we tried, tested, and ranked 20 popular knife sets to find the best ones. First up is our favorite, the Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Block Set.

Best Overall

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7 Piece Block Set

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7 Piece Block Set

Amazon

Pros: This set is great for someone who is low on countertop space and wants sleek, reliable, high-quality knives for everyday cooking.

Cons: This set doesn't include steak knives or a sharpener.

For an all-around high-quality knife set, the Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7 Piece Block Set was ranked highest by our testers. Equipped with every basic knife needed for daily cooking (chef's, Santoku, bread, paring, and serrated utility) plus come-apart shears, this set is an excellent choice for apartment dwellers or anyone with a small kitchen.

Nestled in a compact Acacia block, which can seamlessly fit on the smallest of countertops, our testers say each knife can cleanly slice with great ease, providing smooth cuts of meat, cheese, produce, and bread. These German-made knives feature a Rockwell hardness of 58 with a 14-degree blade angle for superior sharpness, coupled with contoured triple-riveted handles for comfort and control. The only noted downside is this set doesn't include steak knives or a sharpener, so you're paying nearly $700 for a few really good knives.

Overall, our testers rave about Wüsthof's design and performance, which is why they not only would purchase this set for themselves but would also recommend it to friends and family.

Price at time of publish: $695

  • Number of knives included: 6 (including shears)
  • Wood/block type: Acacia
  • Knife materials: High-carbon stainless steel
Best Knife Sets
Food & Wine / Will Dickey

Best Value

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-Piece Block Set

4.2
Chicago Cutlery 1119644 Fusion Forged 18-Piece Knife Block Set, Stainless Steel
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Pros: This set features every knife you'll ever need, including sharpened chef's-style and steak knives, plus a sharpening steel.

Cons: The traditional-style block is so bulky that you may struggle to find a spot for it in your kitchen.

Perfect for someone new to cooking or in the market for a "starter" set, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-Piece Knife Block Set features every knife you will ever need in the kitchen, plus eight steak knives, a sharpening steel, and a chop assist. Given the price point, our testers said these knives performed incredibly well. And as a set, the value here cannot be overstated.

All of the knives were relatively easy to use, though the weight of the handles sometimes felt unsteady during testing. Because the block is among the largest and bulkiest, our testers said they would avoid displaying it on their countertops.

Price at time of publish: $129

  • Number of knives included: 17
  • Wood/block type: Wood
  • Knife materials: High-carbon stainless steel

Best Splurge

Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection 7-Piece Magnetic Knife Set

4.3
Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection 7-Piece Magnetic Knife Set

Amazon

Pros: This set is perfect for a professional chef or a seasoned home cook, featuring six powerful, durable knives.

Cons: The knife bar limits where one can reasonably place this set in a kitchen.

Resulting from a partnership between Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller and cutlery maker Cangshan, this 7-piece set is ideal for seasoned cooks ready to take their home chef game to the next level. One of our testers went so far as to describe it as their "dream set" of knives, noting the ease of use, blade-to-handle ratio, and overall size and feel were unmatched in their experience. These knives performed exceptionally well and scored high in all attribute ratings, given the price. In addition, our testers described their execution as "perfect across the board," with the knives requiring little to no effort to achieve smooth, fast cuts. In terms of specs, the knives hold a Rockwell hardness rating of 61, which allows the blades to have an extremely sharp point. Each one is hand-polished and hand-sharpened with a 16-degree, Asian-style cutting edge.

The biggest drawback is the magnetic strip knife bar. If you have a tile backsplash, you would have a problem. And though it looks stylish, it becomes heavy when all knives hang from the bar.

Price at time of publish: $796

  • Number of knives included: 6
  • Wood/block type: Wood
  • Knife materials: Swedish Damasteel RWL34 powdered steel
Best Knife Sets
Food & Wine / Will Dickey

Best Modern

Global Classic 7-Piece Takashi Knife Wood Block Set

4.2
Global Classic 7-Piece Takashi Knife Wood Block Set

Amazon

Pros: This set includes the sharpest chef's knife our testers tried.

Cons: The knives' handles in this set are better suited for small hands.

The Global Classic 7-Piece Takashi Knife Wood Block Set is a great choice for advanced chefs who want a modern, visually appealing knife set with a not-so-traditional look. Overall, the knives are light, well balanced, and have a low-profile heel, which extends the life of the knife when sharpened over time. The blades, ice tempered with a Rockwell hardness of 56-58 degrees, are super sharp and should stay that way after years of use. In fact, this set's chef's knife was noted as the sharpest among every knife we tested. Every knife performed exceptionally well, with clean, quick slices requiring hardly any effort.

The biggest drawback our testers noted was centered around the knife handles — their thin profile makes them somewhat difficult to grip compared to other knives, though they may be better suited for smaller hands. The block itself is ordinary, with no exceptional design features. The plus side is there is room for three more tools, including kitchen shears.

Price at time of publish: $394

  • Number of knives included: 7
  • Wood/block type: Wood
  • Knife materials: Stainless steel
Best Knife Sets
Food & Wine / Will Dickey

Best Compact

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Set

4.7
Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set

Amazon

Pros: This stylish knife block set offers strong value with top-quality performance.

Cons: The tempered glass block may get dirty and leaves no room for additional knives.

Not only is this set compact, but it's also one of the more unique blocks we tested. With a tempered glass exterior, the Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Set looks significantly more expensive than it actually is. The knives also performed better than some of the more expensive alternatives tested by our team. Overall, each one sliced easily with no resistance, with our testers noting that these knives are among "the smoothest there is," and they "work like a dream."

With a variety of essential knives (paring, utility, boning, chef's, and bread), this set should cover the majority of kitchen needs, especially for a beginner. The only problem is the lack of space to add additional knives later on. But if you're not looking to grow a knife collection, this pick is an all-around favorite for our entire team.

Price at time of publish: $159

  • Number of knives included: 5
  • Wood/block type: Tempered glass
  • Knife materials: Alloy steel

Related: The 6 Best Cutting Boards for Every Kitchen Task

Best Japanese-Style

Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 8 Piece Set

4.2
Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 8-Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set

Amazon

Pros: This set is super sharp right out of the box and outperforms other knives on slicing tasks.

Cons: We didn't love the plastic handles, and no bread knife is included in the set (only a small serrated knife).

The Ginsu set had sharp edges sharp right out of the box, which is impressive for the affordable price. Each knife is lightweight and sliced through paper, tomato, and diced onions easily. The paring knife we found to be well-balanced and sharp, and a small serrated knife is included for harder slicing tasks as well as a honing rod and kitchen shears. Though it doesn't include a bread knife, it's fairly priced for the performance, and we'd absolutely recommend it for a starter Japanese knife set. Advanced cooks and chefs might look for a higher-end option, but for most home cooks, this is a serviceable and smart buy.


Price at time of publish: $114

  • Number of knives included: 5
  • Wood/block type: Bamboo
  • Knife materials: Plastic and stainless steel

Best Self-Sharpening

Henckels Classic 15 Piece Self Sharpening Block Set

Henckels Classic 15 Piece Self Sharpening Block Set

Amazon

Pros: The included steak knives are handy for the kitchen, the sharpener will keep the blades in good shape, and it's a great price for a full knife set

Cons: Not as attractive as some higher-end options, and the paring knife didn't perform as strongly as the chef's knife in our tests.

This set from J.A. Henckels includes several key knives, shears, and eight serrated steak knives, all labeled on the block, so there's no guesswork while you're grabbing the handles during meal prep. The chef's knife performed excellently in our tests, and though there isn't an included bread knife, the serrated utility knife and paring knife both do the trick for most kitchen tasks. The fully-forged construction makes a seamless connection from bolster to tip, and most home cooks will appreciate the usefulness and appearance of this set. The smartest feature of this set is the self-sharpening block, as the slots cradle each blade between sharpening stone edges which hone the knife every time you pull it from the block. It's a great no-fuss set for any kitchen.

Price at time of publish: $300

  • Number of knives included: 13
  • Wood/block type: Ash wood
  • Knife materials: Stainless Steel
Best Knife Sets
Food & Wine / Will Dickey

Our Favorite

The German-made Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Block Set came out on top, impressing our testers with its design, performance, and variety. Of the 20 sets we tested, it's the only one our team unanimously agreed they would not only purchase for themselves but also recommend to friends and family.

The Tests

When our team set out to find the best knife sets, we were on the hunt for knives that are exceptionally designed, aesthetically pleasing, and practical for everyday cooking. We prioritized blades that were extraordinarily sharp with the capability to slice through all sorts of ingredients with ease.

For each knife block set, we tested three knives (chef's knives, serrated bread knives, and paring knives) to see how well they performed as well as evaluated all pieces in each set. Overall, our testers found that price was not necessarily indicative of quality as many less-expensive sets outperformed expensive sets. We assigned ratings for design, quantity of knives, performance, and value to determine which knives performed the best in a range of categories.

Factors to Consider

Storage

If you invest in a knife set, you want to be sure you can store your knives safely. Store your knives where their sharp edges will not accidentally cut you, damage your drawers, or dull by knocking into other cutlery. Some sets come with blocks, which can be useful, but only if you do not intend to expand your knife collection or if you don't have existing knives that would have to fit in the slots. It can often be easier to buy the knife set without a block and buy a universal block or in-drawer storage system. If both counter space and drawer space are at a premium, you may consider a magnetic strip system that mounts to the wall.

Number and Type of Knives

Any pro chef will tell you that you only really need a large chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife to do just about anything you want. When buying sets that can feel more cost-effective, be sure that the knives included are ones you actually need and will use. One of the biggest decisions will be whether the set comes with or without steak knives. Most sets that include them will have between six and eight, which is not helpful if most of your dinner parties are for ten or more people. It can sometimes be more budget-friendly to buy a smaller set of three to four knives and expand as needed.

Materials

Some knives are stainless steel, some are carbon steel, and others are even ceramic. Handles can be metal, plastic, or wood. Finding a material that makes sense for how you cook should be a part of your decision-making. You want a blade material that is resistant to dulling and easy to sharpen and a comfortable handle material that provides a non-slip gripping surface for safe use.

Care

Most manufacturers will tell you that you should not put knives in the dishwasher where the high heat can damage blades, and they can become dull from knocking into other cutlery. But many of us occasionally ignore that advice. The one knife you can never put in the dishwasher is one with a wooden handle, so if you know that you are likely to ignore the dishwashing recommendations, be sure to buy knives with a metal or plastic handle. Carbon steel blades can rust easily, so they need to be dried thoroughly after washing, whereas stainless blades can be left to air dry. Ceramic blades can chip and damage in ways that are not reparable, whereas stainless and carbon blades can be sharpened even if they chip.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How long do knife sets last?

    "A quality knife set that is properly maintained and used should last a lifetime," says Karen Schmidt, Head of Marketing at Schmidt Brothers Cutlery. "You should never have to buy the same exact type of knife twice unless you need or want to own multiples."

  • How much should a good knife set cost?

    Prices really can vary wildly, says Schmidt. "Depending on the number of pieces in the set, you can purchase a small quality set for $150-$300 or a large quality set for $250-$600. There are a number of considerations that go into the engineering and construction of a knife and, therefore, the price of the set."


    According to Schmidt, shoppers should look at what type of steel is being used, the construction of the knife (forged vs. stamped), and the material of the handles. Additionally, shoppers should consider the block that they're getting as part of the set, as well as whether the cost is going into offering a consumer all of the right knives they need.

  • What knife sets do chefs use?

    "Believe it or not, there are a lot of professional chefs out there!" admits Schmidt. "So, the most used knives are actually commercial grade knives supplied by restaurant supply outfitters. These knives tend to be on the less expensive side. However, when it has quality steel, and the chef knows how to maintain their tools, these knives perform very well since they're constantly being honed."

What Didn't Make the List

Strong Contenders

  • Coltellerie Berti 5 Piece Insieme Kitchen Knife Set ($2,128 at Amazon)
  • Kramer by Zwilling Stainless Damascus 7 Piece Magnetic Set ($1,800 at Cutlery & More)
  • Amazon Basics 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set ($74 at Amazon)
  • Farberware Edgekeeper 21-Piece Forged Triple Riveted Block Set($70 at Amazon)
  • Aiko Damascus Steel Knife Set ($368 at Santoku Knives)
  • Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Rotating Knife Set ($800 at Amazon)
  • Wolf 7 Piece Cutlery Set ($800 at Amazon)

Results Still Simmering

  • Material The Trio + Stand($225 at Material Kitchen)
  • Made In The Knife Set ($309 at Made In)
  • Our Place Knife Trio($145 at Our Place)
  • Calphalon Classic Self Sharpening 12-Piece Cutlery Set ($180 at Calphalon)

Low Performers

  • Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set ($60 at Amazon)
  • Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection 12-Piece Knife Set ($30 at Amazon)
  • Zwilling Professional "S" 7-Piece Knife Block Set ($350 at Amazon)

Our Expertise

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a food writer with nearly a decade of experience. She has written for Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, and more. For this piece, we tested 20 different knife sets to find the best ones. Using our culinary and product testing expertise, we assessed different sets in terms of performance, value, and design over several weeks.

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