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We cut through the clutter to find top-notch blades.

By Katie Macdonald
Updated February 18, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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best knife sets
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We all know how important the right knife can be. It's the tool we're constantly reaching for, from the very beginning of a recipe to its finishing garnish. And while we love researching and buying each blade separately, we're also big fans of the convenience of scooping up a set all at once.

But then comes the question of what set to get: Sharp Japanese steel that makes quick work of meal prep? Color-coded designs that ensure you won't contaminate your veggies and meat? A beautiful block set that will grace your countertop? You want the same quality and variety as a hand-picked blade, but it can be a challenge to cut through the clutter of collections stuffed with unnecessary tools or second-tier slicers. (And you definitely don't need a dozen steak knives when cooking for two.)

To help you find the best kitchen knife set for your needs, we've turned to reviews from actual customers who have purchased and used these knives for themselves. And what's more, they're all available to order on Amazon. Whether you need a budget-friendly collection or are looking for an upgrade, these best-selling sets have near-perfect ratings and rave reviews describing why they're so great.

Here are the 11 best kitchen knife sets, according to customer reviews:

Keep reading to learn more about what to look for when selecting a knife set and shop the 11 options customers love the most.

What to look for when buying a knife set

The first thing to consider when buying a knife set is your own cooking style. Do you grill steak every week? When was the last time you bought an unfilleted fish? Do you plan on honing your own blades or taking them to a professional? Only buy knives for techniques you actually use; otherwise, you'll just struggle with finding the right blade in a sea of slicers.

That being said, a knife set needs the essentials. We think the most important kitchen knives are the chef's knife, the serrated knife, and the paring knife. They're the three you'll use again and again, whether to carve a chicken, slice cheese, or prep produce. If you're looking for an entry-level set (maybe for a new home or recent grad), you really only need those three. Other types of blades we appreciate are kitchen shears for snipping herbs or spatchcocking birds, santoku knives for prepping meat and produce, and elongated carving knives for serving up perfectly portioned slices.

In addition to what kind of knives to have in your set, you should also keep in mind personal preferences for weight and balance. For weight, some cooks prefer traditional hefty knives, while others like the dexterity of lighter alloys. Balance is important because uncomfortably weighted blades (ones that feel top or bottom heavy) can teeter, making you work harder than necessary. Of course, weight and balance are subjective.

Blade materials each have strengths and weaknesses: Carbon steel will hold its edge for a long time, but can rust. Stainless steel is less likely to, um, stain, but doesn't stay as sharp. The proprietary stainless steel alloys you'll find from a lot of Japanese makers stays sharp and won't corrode, but can be pretty pricey.

When considering between forged versus stamped, it's also a matter of preference. Forged knives are crafted from one piece of steel and need a bolster to provide a smooth transition between blade and handle. The process makes the steel stronger, so forged knives often hold their edges for longer. Stamped knives are cut from a sheet of steel (like a cookie cutter) and tend to be lighter and less expensive.

Lastly, does a knife set need a block? Not necessarily. Many sets come with a beautiful storage block made of wood, stainless steel, or tempered glass, but you could also elect to store your set on a magnetic holder mounted on the wall, in a cloth knife roll, or sheathed in a special drawer. But no matter what, don't store them loose in a utensil drawer.

Now, here are our picks.

Best Overall: Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set

knife sets
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For reliable kitchen workhorses, turn to Mercer-made knives. Their taper-ground edges give extra stability for chopping and maintain their sharpness for longer. And because of their strong German-forged blades and easy-grip handles, they're the knives many culinary schools recommend to incoming students.

This set includes all the knives a home cook needs—8-inch chef's knife, bread knife, boning knife, utility knife, and 3 ½-inch utility knife—inside a sleek tempered glass knife block. Nearly 1,800 Amazon shoppers have given the Mercer set a perfect rating, saying it's ideal for both new cooks and pros alike.

"After owning several knife sets over the years that would never hold an edge, I decided it was time to spend a little more and get a really nice set," one reviewer said. "This set from Mercer did not disappoint. As other reviewers have mentioned, they are extremely sharp, well balanced, and very well made. After several uses, I can easily tell why they are one of the few brands that are accepted for use at culinary schools."

Another added, "Got these in culinary school as a kit. I have tried other knives and keep coming back to these. Rubber grip really makes a difference when butchering and the edge holds [well]."

To buy: $150 at amazon.com

Best Rated: Home Hero 17-Piece Kitchen Knife Set

knife sets
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With an incredible 4.7-star rating from more than 21,000 shoppers, the Home Hero Kitchen Knife Set is Amazon's best-rated option in its category. The 17-piece set includes 13 blades for a variety of slicing, dicing, carving, and cutting, as well as kitchen shears, a vegetable peeler, and a knife sharpener. Plus, the stainless steel blades are rust-resistant and have a nonstick coating for no-fuss cleaning.

Shoppers love how versatile the knife set is and say it's an incredible value. "I was mainly looking for a quality chef's knife, paring knife, and carving knife—everything else was a bonus," one user wrote. "I have a garden and had loads of cucumbers this year, and the peeler cuts like butter. I almost weeped when I used the carving knife, as well. I had an unthawed pack of bacon that needed to be cut into cubes and no time to stick it in the freezer to get a bit solid. I broke out the carving knife and never have I had an experience where the blade just went straight through unthawed meat like that! I was *amazed*."

To buy: $35 with coupon (originally $50) at amazon.com

Best Value: Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set

knife sets
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We already trust Cuisinart for its high-quality kitchen appliances, and its knives are no different. With high-carbon stainless steel blades and hollow handles, they're lightweight enough to slice, chop, and carve for hours without tiring out your wrists. The set comes with 15 pieces, including six steak knives, kitchen shears, and a 7-inch Santoku knife—not to mention, the set is a great bang for your buck.

Shoppers love how easy the knives are to use, with over 11,000 leaving perfect ratings. "Not just amazing for the price—actually amazing," a user writes. "I did NOT expect these to be as good as they were. I just moved into my first place that's my own and needed a basic knife set. They're so sharp right out of the box and the set includes a sharpener to keep them maintained. I honestly don't think I'll ever need to buy a new set of knives."  

To buy: $60 at amazon.com

Best Professional-Grade: Global 7-Piece Ikasu Knife Block Set

knife sets
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It's no surprise the makers of one of our best-rated chef's knives also craft an excellent block set. Made of Global's signature Japanese stainless steel, the set includes six knives, like the 5 ½-inch Nakiri knife for chopping vegetables and a 4 ½-inch utility knife for slicing cheeses and smaller fruits. Each knife is made from a single piece of metal, including the handle, which is dimpled for easy gripping. Also, the blades are sharpened with a 50/50 symmetrical bevel, creating an ideal edge for slicing tomatoes and dicing onions.

The handcrafted set is covered under Global's lifetime warranty, but not many customers seem to utilize it—the set has a 4.9-star rating on Amazon. Users report how easy the knives are to use, as well as how beautiful (and sharp!) they are. "Seriously, these are the best knives I've ever used as a set," wrote a shopper. "The knives are perfectly balanced and just the right weight for my hands. They are also super sharp and stay sharp for a long time."

To buy: $400 at amazon.com

Best for New Cooks: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 4-Piece Knife Set

knife sets
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Look, new cooks should learn with the basics—but you want those basics to be exemplary. That's where this 4-piece Victorinox set comes in. Beloved by professional chefs like David Chang and Ina Garten, the Swiss-made blades are designed with a bolsterless edge, which means you can use the entire blade for chopping, slicing, and dicing. Plus, the comfortable handles are textured for a non-slip grip, even when wet. This set comes with a chef's, bread, utility, and paring knife, which can handle virtually every kitchen task but still leaves the door open for cooks to add to their collections as their skills improve.

In addition to chef approval, the set has hundreds of five-star customer reviews. Users rave about how durable, versatile, and strong the knives are. "I cook quite a bit, so the chef's knife especially has really gotten a workout, and it's held up great," a reviewer said. "I haven't sharpened them at all, and they still hold an edge that is sharper than whatever junk set I had prior. I also love the bread knife. Nice and big, and slices through any bread (with crust on top or soft...does a great job either way) like butter."

To buy: $190 at amazon.com

Best for Gifting: J.A. Henckels International Statement Knife Block Set

knife sets
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Looking to give a knife set for a wedding, birthday, graduation, or holidays? Amazon shoppers say this selection from J.A. Henckels is a great gift. The set includes every blade a home cook could dream of: a 3-inch paring knife, 5-inch serrated utility knife, 7-inch hollow-edge santoku knife, 8-inch chef's knife, 8-inch bread knife, six 4.5-inch steak knives, one sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and a hardwood block. J.A. Henckels is famous for its classic designs and razor-sharp edges.

This collection of stamped knives is made from sturdy stainless steel but is still lightweight enough that your hand won't tire while chopping piles of produce. The blades are also full tang, so you have full control over your slicing. You'll find tons of happy customers who've left reviews on Amazon, including one who said, "I got these as a gift for my girlfriend after finding out my buddy has had the same set and hasn't had to sharpen his knives in five years. I now get jealous every time I cook with them."

To buy: $140 (originally $345) at amazon.com

Best German Steel: Wüsthof Classic 7-Piece Slim Knife Block Set

knife sets
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Because of the way it's forged, Western-style steel is typically softer than its Japanese counterpart—but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. German-made blades can hold an edge longer than Japanese blades (and consequently don't need to be sharpened as often). And when we're picking tough German steel, we love Wüsthof.

This 7-piece set is classic Wüsthof quality, with hand-honed high-carbon steel blades and perfectly balanced handles. The set also features Wüsthof's Precision Edge Technology (PEtec), which promises a 20% sharper blade and double the edge retention. And for anyone concerned about saving kitchen space, the ultra-slim knife block only has a 9.5-by-3.5-inch footprint.

This is one of Wüsthof's most popular sets, with a superb 4.8-star rating on Amazon. Home cooks praise the set's ergonomic design and durability, saying the blades remain sharp for hundreds of slices. "I've had these knives for a few years and they are still working wonderfully," a user says. "I have not had to sharpen them yet. They cut beautifully and trim nicely. The scissors are awesome, cut right up the back of a chicken with no issues, bones and all. I would highly recommend them."

To buy: $400 at amazon.com

Best Japanese Steel Set: Shun Classic 6-Piece Slim Knife Block Set

knife sets
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American cooks can't get enough of Japanese chef's knives. And why not? They're lightweight, super sharp, and ridiculously beautiful. And for the best of the best Japanese blades, we turn to Shun. Handcrafted in Seki, Japan, these Shun knives are made with a proprietary VG-MAX super steel core clad on both sides with 34 layers of stainless Damascus. That makes these slicers not just durable and corrosion-resistant, but also razor sharp. They also feature tough, moisture-resistant ebony pakkawood handles that fit comfortably in the hand. This 6-piece set includes Shun's famous chef's and santoku knives, as well as a honing steel to keep blades extra sharp.

Amazon shoppers love their Shun block sets for their looks and performance, calling them "investment pieces." It's no wonder they've earned a 4.8-star rating. "The craftsmanship is superb down to the details," a user said. "The block feels very solid and sturdy and all the knives have a perfect balance."

A second added, "You can get less expensive knives. I have some. But when these slide through a soft tomato with almost just the weight of the knife, you just feel good. I use them every day, multiple times. Well worth the cost."

To buy: $450 at amazon.com

Best Nonstick: Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection 12-Piece Knife Set

knife sets
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For anyone whose kitchen can get a little chaotic, this colorful collection from Cuisinart is a great solution. The stainless steel knives are each a different bright color, making it easy to codify and avoid cross-contamination. In addition, they have a nonstick ceramic coating that's a breeze to clean and come with sheaths to ensure they won't get dirty in the utensil drawer.

The Cuisinart collection is so popular that it's earned a noteworthy 4.8-star rating from thousands of reviewers who say it's super sharp and a great price. "Oh my word, these knives are the best knives I have ever owned and the price is unbelievable,"a shopper said. "I am glad that I ordered ceramic-coated stainless steel knives. I get the advantage of having extremely sharp knives that won't chip or break, but are ceramic-coated so they are easy to clean."

To buy: $30 (originally $65) at amazon.com

Best with Steak Knives: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Block Set

knife sets
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If you like to eat steak morning, noon, and night, consider this your perfect set. Chicago Cutlery's 18-piece set comes with eight (!) steak knives, plus other expertly crafted blades, like a 5-inch partoku for chopping and slicing vegetables, as well as a 3-inch peeler. 

The entire set is made from high-carbon, rust-resistant stainless steel and features forged blades with taper-grinded edges for optimum sharpness. They also have padded poly handles to make chopping more comfortable. 

Users confirm that the Chicago Cutlery set is well-made and able to tackle a wide range of recipes. "This block set has some wild quality," said a reviewer. "As someone who works in the food industry, this was a solid choice. They are insanely sharp, and when I say insanely, I mean they cut through paper by simply letting gravity do its thing. If you're someone who cooks non-stop, everyday, you're in luck. This set comes with a sharpener as well, so you can keep them good as new, 24/7."

To buy: $120 at amazon.com

Best with Built-In Sharpener: Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening Cutlery Knife Block Set

knife sets
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You can buy the very best quality knife on the market, but you'll eventually need to sharpen it or it will be useless. Luckily, you don't need to worry about sharpening this 11-piece set from Calphalon—its clever block does it for you. Built-in ceramic sharpeners automatically sharpen the set's straight-edge knives every time you remove and replace them in the block. And if that's not reason enough to love it, the handles have easy-to-read labels, so there's no grabbing the wrong blade.

Amazon reviewers say the knife set is a great for effortless cutting and compliment the collection's thoughtful design. "You can hear the sharpening happening after every pull of the knife," one customer wrote. "It keeps a decent edge. I keep a honing steel on hand but the sharpening does work!"

To buy: $170 (originally $200) at amazon.com