These top-rated knives deserve a spot on your kitchen counter.

By Katie Macdonald
September 11, 2019
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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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 which 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 blocks stuffed with unnecessary tools or a second-tier slicers. (And you definitely don’t need a dozen steak knives when cooking for two.) 

RELATED: The Best Chef’s Knives, According to Our Editors  

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 nine 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 nine kitchen knife sets 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.  

RELATED: How to Take Better Care of Your Knives, According to Chefs

That being said, a knife set needs the essentials. 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 knives to buy 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, well, 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.

RELATED: Essential Kitchen Tools and Appliances Worth Splurging On

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

Courtesy of Amazon

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 homecook needs — an 8-inch chef’s knife, bread knife, boning knife, utility knife, and 3 ½-inch utility knife — all inside a sleek tempered glass knife block. It’s one of Amazon’s most popular sets, with an impressive 4.7-star rating from more than 900 reviews. Customers rave about how easy to hold and durable they are.

“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,” writes one reviewer. “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.”

To buy: $164 (originally $182); amazon.com

Best Budget-Friendly Knife Set: Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set

Courtesy of Amazon

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 — and at just under $50, the set is a great bang for your buck.

Shoppers love how easy the knives are to use, with over 1,400 leaving perfect reviews. “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 in to my first place that's my own and needed a basic knife set. Bought the highest rated value I could find. There is a reason these knives are rated so highly. 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: $42 (originally $47); amazon.com

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

Courtesy of Amazon

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 1/2-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 be complaining — the set has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon. Users report how easy to hold the knives are, as well as beautiful (and sharp!) they are. “These are amazing knives,” writes a shopper. “Sharper than a razor. Scary at first. We sliced potatoes just to experience the ease of it. They are the lightest knives I’ve had thus far.”

To buy: $349; amazon.com

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

Courtesy of Amazon

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), 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 while also leaving cooks flexibility to add to their collections as skills improve. 

In addition to chef-approval, the set has hundreds of five-star reviews. Users rave about how durable, versatile, and strong they are. One reviewer who has had them for a year writes, “I cook quite a bit, so the chef's knife especially has really gotten a work out, and it’s held up great. 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: $130; amazon.com

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

Courtesy of Amazon

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 (and consequently don’t need to be sharpened as often as Japanese blades). 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 with double the edge retention. And for anyone concerned about saving kitchen space, the ultra-slim knife block only has a 9 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch footprint (and comes in four gorgeous colors).

This is one of Wüsthof’s most popular sets, with a superb 4.6-star rating on Amazon. Users praise the set’s ergonomic design and durability, saying the blades remain sharp for years. “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: $350; amazon.com

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

Courtesy of Amazon

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 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 4.6-star rating. “Man, are these things sharp,” writes a customer. “Do not underestimate just how sharp these are. I had just moved into my new apartment and didn't have a pocket knife on my like usual, so I used one of these to open a box from amazon...I cut through the box, through the box inside, through the foam, through the thick plastic, and straight through my new shower curtain like it was melty butter. Really, I didn't hack at it, or press down with all my weight, I just slid the tip across and overkilled my package. I'm not even sure a knife *needs* to be this sharp.”

To buy: $400; amazon.com

Best Nonstick Set: Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection 

Courtesy of Amazon

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 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.

Shoppers love how sharp and handy the set is, with nearly 3,000 leaving perfect five-star reviews. “I am a knife brat,” writes a user. “Nothing annoys me more that the wrong knife for a task, or even worse a dull knife! I ordered this to stock my apartment. Great buy! They cut quite similarly to $100+ knives I have used. The big chef knife cuts through the largest of sweet potatoes (notoriously difficult) with ease. They were inexpensive but well reviewed, and I do like the colors. Another perk is the blade protectors! I can put them into a utensil drawer without worrying about slicing my hand while going for a wooden spoon.”   

To buy: $18 (originally $20); amazon.com

Best Block Set with Steak Knives: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-Piece Block Set

Courtesy of Amazon

If 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. 

Over 1,200 Amazon customers have given the Chicago Cutlery Fusion set a five-star ratings, praising its high quality and design. “This block set has some wild quality,” says 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: $135; amazon.com

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

Courtesy of Amazon

You can buy the very best quality knife on the market, but eventually you 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 shoppers call the set a great value, leaving it over 400 five-star ratings. “As a college student, I got used to living the cheap life,” writes a shopper. “$25 Costco knife sets can be just as good as the real deal, right? I lived in my world of alternative facts, head buried in the sand like an ostrich avoiding eye contact with its crush. I kept believing my knives were just fine and that it was all the potato's fault my knife wasn't cutting anything. Darn organic potatoes are harder to cut than those normal potatoes because of the cage free lifestyle, obviously. Well, my head finally came out of the sand when I gifted myself this Calphalon knife set. This must have been the knife set Mickey Mouse used to cut his bread so thin. The self-sharpening block keeps the knives sharper than my grandfather's wit. I am absolutely thrilled with how well this knife set works!”

To buy: $83 (originally $170); amazon.com

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