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Best Kitchen Knife Set of 2022

We cut up food with kitchen knife sets from J.A. Henckels, Cuisinart, Marco Almond, and more to find the best options
Best Kitchen Knife Set of 2022
From this impressive line-up, we pulled and re-sheathed knives countless times during our repeated testing of each blade.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Our Top Picks

By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 25, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Looking for the best kitchen knife set? For our review, we purchased the top 9 sets for hands-on testing. After researching over 20 knife sets, we tested the top-rated, most popular sets side-by-side to give you details and help you decide which set is best for you. For a week straight, we spent hours each day cutting up food: three loaves of fresh sourdough bread, four onions, three butternut squash, three bunches of cilantro, two enormous sirloin steaks, and more fell victim to our thorough testing. After all of this, we bring you the most comprehensive review that will help you make a smart purchasing decision tailored to your unique needs and budget.

Whether you're looking for essential cooking utensils or more specific kitchen appliances, we cover all your culinary needs to help you find everything from the best spatulas, chef knives, and nonstick pans to the stand mixer you need to whip up some tasty eats.


Best Overall Kitchen Knife Set

J.A. Henckels International Statement 12 Piece

Construction: Full tang, stamped stainless steel | No. Pieces: 12
Top performance for sharpness and precision
Extremely well-balanced
Cleanest cutting bread knife
Long handles fit large and small hands
Handles' squared-off edges can be uncomfortable
No kitchen shears included

The J.A. Henckels International Statement 12 Piece kitchen knife set is an exceptionally crafted set with high performance in our tests. The balance in these knives is superior compared to the competition, and we found the knife weight worked for us rather than against us. When in the kitchen, we reach for these knives first. They offer excellent precision, with their sharp blades beautifully slicing translucent cuts of tuna and turning cilantro to dust. These knives are clearly a quality product, with no element ignored in design. The solid wood knife block is constructed beautifully, and the knives' handles are flawlessly joined to their steel blades.

One minor drawback to the Henckels collection is its smaller selection of knives relative to the competition. This kitchen knife set includes a chef's knife, a santoku knife, and a paring knife, but it lacks a utility knife and kitchen shears. Additionally, the knife block does not have extra space to accommodate these items if you purchase them separately. While we love the ergonomics of the handles and the stability of the squared-off edges, these edges can dig into your palm when slicing larger quantities of tougher ingredients, such as butternut squash. Still, if you are looking for a high-quality set of essential kitchen knives and don't plan on regularly chopping up a bounty of hard-to-cut ingredients, this set is an excellent choice.

best overall kitchen knife set
The look, feel, and performance of these quality knives from J.A. Henckels won our hearts time and again during this review.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Best Bang for the Buck

Marco Almond KYA32 14 Piece

Construction: Full tang, stamped stainless steel | No. pieces: 14
Comfortable handle
Good selection of knives
Excellent, large-handled kitchen shears
Only moderately sharp
Small santoku and serrated knives

The knives in the Marco Almond KYA32 14 Piece excel in ergonomics. The rounded oval-shaped handles are comfortable and don't spin in your hand. The relatively heavy weight of these knives can be helpful when cutting tough foods like potatoes or pineapple. While most shears in the sets we tested were small, the Marco Almond shears have spacious holes that can fit all fingers inside for maximum leverage when cutting through bone.

Based on our side-by-side tests, the Marco Almond blades rank above average in sharpness, but they're not top of the line. The santoku knife is reasonably sharp, but it's shorter than a standard santoku and isn't suitable for larger cuts of meat. The serrated knife is also on the small side and won't be slicing a loaf of fresh bread, but it excels at tomato dicing. We consider this a set that offers high value with decent performance, great shears, and multiple color options, all for a moderate price.

kitchen knife set - best bang for the buck
The rounded oval-shaped handles of the Marco Almond knife set feel smooth yet secure in the hand and the blades are sharp for such a moderately priced set.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Best Budget Set

Amazon Basics 14 Piece

Construction: Full tang, stamped stainless steel | No. pieces: 14
Includes a knife sharpener
Long handle fits a variety of hand sizes
Not very sharp
Appears cheaply constructed
Does not include santoku knife

We had our doubts about this set based on its price, but we're happy to report that if you are looking for a very inexpensive entry-level kitchen knife set, the Amazon Basics 14 Piece is a solid choice. The full tang, not usually seen in budget knives, adds strength and leverage to these blades. We appreciate that in addition to the standard chef's knife, serrated knife, and a paring knife, the Amazon Basics collection includes an 8-inch slicing knife and a 5.5-inch utility knife plus six steak knives, kitchen shears, and a knife sharpener, all of which store neatly in the slim pine block.

As you might expect from a bargain-basement-priced set, the quality is mediocre. The edges don't line up quite right where the handle material joins the knives, and the spine of the knife blades is narrower and more flexible than many pricier knives. Additionally, the lightweight materials put the knives somewhat off-balance, leaving the blades heavier than the handles. The sharpness and precision of these knives are not top-notch, but we found that they can execute basic kitchen tasks just fine. For beginner cooks, young adults moving to their first apartment, or for furnishing a vacation rental, this Amazon Basics set can do the trick for less.

kitchen knife set - best budget set
A budget-minded chef will find just what they need to get started in the kitchen with the AmazonBasics entry level knife set.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Best All Stainless Steel Set

Cuisinart 15 Piece Stainless Steel

Construction: One-piece, full tang, stamped stainless steel | No. pieces: 15
Excellent precision and sharpness
Wide variety of knives
Well-balanced with comfortable handles
Hot-forged steak knives
Serrated knife too short for cutting bread
Low-quality kitchen shears

Just shy of the top spot, the Cuisinart 15 Piece Stainless Steel performs all slicing, dicing, paring, and mincing tasks admirably. We love the comfort and balance offered by the hollow stainless steel rounded handles that transition seamlessly into the stamped blades. These blades lend precision for cutting paper-thin onion slices or mincing minuscule pieces of garlic. The bird's beak paring knife is a nice bonus included in this set and is perfect for peeling and slicing apples right in your hand. We were also impressed with this set's hot-forged steak knives. Though their performance didn't outshine any other steak knives in our test, we imagine their construction will keep them sharper in the long term.

On the downside, bread bakers will scoff at the serrated knife. With just a 5.5-inch blade, this model is clearly not cut out for slicing crusty sourdoughs. However, the sharp teeth effortlessly bite into a soft tomato for perfect slices. The kitchen shears were somewhat disappointing, especially considering the high-quality feel and performance of the rest of the Cuisinart set. Complaints aside, we feel the quality, durability, and the number of knives included mean you get more for your money.

kitchen knife set - best all stainless steel set
The keen edges and ergonomic handles of Cuisinart's knife set make taco night a breeze, from slicing beef and tomatoes to chopping onions and cilantro.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Fun Colorful Knife Set

Amazon Basics 12 Piece Color-Coded

Construction: Half tang, stamped stainless steel with non-stick coating | No. pieces: 6
Fun colors
Individual sheaths
Santoku knife included
Not very sharp

If bright white kitchens devoid of color aren't your thing, the Amazon Basics 12 Piece Color-Coded is an inexpensive way to add a pop of rainbow colors to your space. We appreciate that this collection comes with individual sheaths rather than a block, so you can choose to stash your knives away in a drawer, purchase a knife block of your choice, or prominently display them on a magnetic strip. These fun blades cut decently for the price, but overall, they're not very sharp for precision tasks like thin cuts of meats or slicing slippery onions paper-thin.

Rather than opting for a full tang construction where the blade material extends the length and width of the handle, the Amazon Basics Color-Coded Set encases the tail end of the blade in a rounded plastic handle. This compromises the balance and places almost all the weight in the blade itself, which makes it harder to control your slicing and dicing. This set doesn't include steak knives, so if you're hosting any carnivorous dinner parties, those will need to be purchased separately. But, for an almost absurdly low price, this fun collection can be a perfect addition to a new cook's first kitchen quiver.

kitchen knife set - fun colorful knife set
Bright and fun! Just don't be disappointed if the color of your food doesn't match the knife needed to cut it.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Great Choice for a Substantial Feel

Emojoy 15 Piece

Construction: Full tang, stamped stainless steel | No. pieces: 15
Sharp and precise blades
Comfortable grip
Beautiful and durable pakkawood handles
Dull kitchen shears
Knife block shows wear quickly

The Emojoy 15 Piece performs well across the board, and we thoroughly enjoyed using these knives. They are sharp and supply the precision needed for thin slices. While the serrated knife wasn't the top performer on crusty bread, it is long and gets the job done. When slicing tomatoes, the serrated blade cuts through like a laser beam with almost no resistance. The heavier weight of these knives is helpful for cutting into hearty fall vegetables such as butternut squash or beets. We love both the look and feel of the handles. They are generally rectangular in shape for control in hand, but the edges are nicely rounded for comfort. The wood grain adds a unique look to kitchen decor with natural textures.

Our only real complaint about this set is the kitchen shears. Our initial impression was that they appear more like a gardening tool than a kitchen tool. Unfortunately, they may be better suited to pruning work or cutting bones because when we tried to cut vacuum seal bags, the shears struggled to bite and ended up folding the plastic between their blades. The Emojoy knives run on the heavier side, which you may find to be either a pro or a con of this set. Knife weight is a personal preference, but if you like the substantial feel of a heavier knife in your hand, the Emojoy set is a great choice.


A Nice Option for One-Piece Stainless Steel

McCook Stainless Steel 14 Piece

Construction: Full tang, one-piece, stainless steel | No. pieces: 14
Sharp and precise blades
Comfortable handle
Fairly well-balanced
Small serrated knife
Short santoku knife

Another set we enjoyed using is the McCook Stainless Steel 14 Piece. We wouldn't hesitate to reach for these knives for many applications with above-average performance in all metrics and high marks for ergonomics. The rounded stainless steel grips are comfortable in hand, even during extended chopping sessions. While the blades aren't the sharpest we tested, they outperform many of the lower quality models in our test. In addition to the precision gained by the sharp blades, the knives also feel fairly well-balanced. We also like the sharp blade, smooth action, and rubberized handles on the kitchen shears.

Although we generally like this set, some of the blades are shorter than average, meaning they don't offer quite the desired leverage when cutting bread or tough vegetables. Due to its 5-inch length, the santoku blade doesn't work well on larger cuts of meat, and its curved blade compromises its usefulness for quickly chopping herbs or mincing garlic. The serrated knife is also short and has a small handle, so it's not quite up to the task of slicing rustic artisan bread. However, it slices tomatoes like a champ.


Good Pick for Modern Decor

Home Hero Stainless Steel 13 Piece

Construction: Half tang, stamped stainless steel with non-stick coating | No. pieces: 17
Many knife styles
Unique storage block
Bonus accessories
Not very sharp
Block takes up a lot of counter space
Shows dirt easily

The Home Hero Stainless Steel 13 Piece may not be our favorite collection we tested, but we think it fills a certain niche. The modern plexiglass storage block could be perfect for certain kitchen styles and offers a lighter look than a heavy wood block. Also, no other set we tested included so many pieces. Unique to this set are a pizza knife, cheese knife, and vegetable peeler, plus the knife sharpener includes both a coarse and a fine sharpening slot.

Overall though, the performance of the Home Hero knives is mediocre. For all that they offer in the selection, they lack sharpness and quality. We were disappointed with the precision offered by their less than sharp blades. In our side-by-side tests, the Home Hero knives consistently scored near the bottom for their poor performance biting into onions, penetrating bread crust, and slicing thin cuts of beef. The partial tang construction keeps the knife off balance, and the absence of a hook at the end of the rounded handles means that they're hard to control. Their performance is on par with some of the budget sets we tested, so if the modern look and sheer quantity of knives attract you, you can expect these knives to get your kitchen jobs done, just not as well as those of the highest quality.


A Disappointingly Dull Set

Farberware 12 Piece Multicolor

Construction: Half tang, stainless steel with resin coating | No. pieces: 6
Fun colors
Included individual sheaths
Chipping paint

If you need a pop of fun color, the Farberware 12 Piece Multicolor has that going for it. We also like the versatility of the individual sheaths, so if counter space is limited, these knives can be safely stored in a drawer or on a magnetic strip.

These blades, however, disappointed us time and again during our tests. First, the plastic handles are narrow and uncomfortable when cutting. The blades were consistently the dullest of any models we tried, and we noticed the colorful finish coming off after only a couple of uses. This occurred despite our efforts to immediately hand wash and dry all knives during our tests. The price is low, and the colors are fun, but we think there are better options on the market.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our lead tester, Elizabeth Paashaus, is a self-taught home chef who, over the past 15 years, has reveled in the joy of researching and mastering new cooking and baking techniques, as well as teaching others. She spends hours in her kitchen each day, not only cooking fresh meals for her family but also stretching and folding her sourdough bread, creating dried meals for forays into the backcountry, and meeting her cravings with made-from-scratch desserts. Elizabeth brings a wealth of real-world knowledge and expertise to help you find the best set of knives for your home kitchen.

Our process began with research into the top knife sets on the market, what others are saying about their performance, and which features are essential to a good knife. We selected nine sets and got to work chopping, slicing, dicing, and you better believe — eating! We measured the weight of each knife and the length of their blades and handles. Side-by-side sharpness tests were performed on paper, vegetables, meat, and herbs. We balanced knives on our fingers and shook them in our hands to find the center of gravity and the difference that makes for the feel of balance when cutting. We even put the chef's knives on a sharpener at the wrong angle to intentionally dull them to test for durability. Finally, we used the data gathered to select the top performers so we could tell you more about why some knives outshined others.

Comparing the spines of each blade, you can see why some may be more...
Comparing the spines of each blade, you can see why some may be more comfortable when applying pressure with your forefinger.
Peel, record sharpness, peel, record ergonomics, peel, record...
Peel, record sharpness, peel, record ergonomics, peel, record balance. Repeat. We were ready to put together an apple pie after the paring knife testing was complete!
We tested each chef's knife on a piece of thin magazine paper and...
We tested each chef's knife on a piece of thin magazine paper and observed how smooth or ragged the cut was to compare sharpness.

Analysis and Test Results

To determine which knife sets are best, we had to individually test each knife within the set against its intended function since the qualities that make a good paring knife aren't always the same as those that make a top santoku knife. We compared the sharp edges of each blade, found the balance point of each knife and felt how it aided or hindered our cutting ability, assessed the quality of construction and durability, judged the ergonomics based on shape, feel, and size of the handles, and appraised the size and usefulness of the included storage systems.

kitchen knife set - part of our kitchen knife testing.
Part of our kitchen knife testing.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


A knife isn't a knife without a sharp blade to cut with when it comes down to it. Sharpness is really the essence of a knife, so we put a lot of focus on this aspect of performance. Across the board, the unquestionably precise J.A. Henckels International Statement and the Cuisinart Set had a clear edge on the competition. Overall, when a set had one sharp knife, the rest of the set fell in line, but because there is some variation in performance, we will break this category down by type of knife.

Chef's Knife

It is hard to discern sharpness by just looking at a knife or even feeling its blade. We performed a paper test with each chef's knife to compare sharpness based on the ragged cut and learned that even this test would require precise scientific instruments to differentiate. The best test, in the end, was how they performed when cutting actual food.

When cutting tough foods like butternut squash, the top performers were the sharpest but also the heaviest knives. The J.A. Henckels and Cuisinart gave us the most control when pressing through this dense vegetable, while the Marco Almond chef's knife surprised us with its excellent cutting ability and control. As the heaviest chef's knife we tested at 8.3 ounces, we believe this extra weight aids in cutting when force is a key factor.

kitchen knife set - preparing a butternut squash isn't a one-handed job, even with the...
Preparing a butternut squash isn't a one-handed job, even with the sharpest of knives.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

When precision is required for mincing garlic or slicing thin pieces of meat to sear for taco night, the J.A, Henckels and Cuisinart again stand out above the rest. The Emojoy chef's knife came in as a close runner with an excellent bite, even into slippery onion skin. The lightweight and less sharp budget knives were noticeably less sharp, struggling to get and maintain bite on onions and squishing meat before finally slicing in. The top performers among the budget models were both sets from Amazon Basics.

kitchen knife set - a chef's knife is often used interchangeably with a santoku knife...
A chef's knife is often used interchangeably with a santoku knife, with the chef's knife being preferred for heartier tasks and santoku excelling at precision slicing and rapid mincing.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Santoku Knife

We tested Santoku knives on almost everything we tried our chef's knives out on, except for cutting beef away from the bone. The pointed chef's knife was clearly the better choice for that job. The J.A. Henckels and Cuisinart santokus stood out with the cleanest, smoothest cuts when slicing thin cuts of tuna or beef. McCook's santoku blade also performs admirably here though the 5-inch length is a bit short for larger cuts of meat. The same three knives make the cut for creating translucent-thin onion slices, and the Emojoy showed excellent bite here too.

kitchen knife set - who among us hasn't had a knife blade slip off the rounded, slimy...
Who among us hasn't had a knife blade slip off the rounded, slimy skin of an onion? These bulbs were a great proving ground that separated the truly honed blades from the rest.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Note that both the Amazon Basics 14-Piece Set and the Home Hero Set do not include a santoku knife.

Do you know that tap - tap kitchen sound that makes you think of Japanese restaurants and cooking shows? That's the santoku knife. The relatively flat blade edge makes it perfect for quick chopping motions rather than rocking, more commonly used with a chef's knife. After pulverizing bails of cilantro and a few dozen green onions, we can say that this task is a true differentiator between sharp and very sharp santoku blades. Unsurprisingly, the J.A. Henckels and Cuisinart blades gave us the cleanest cuts, while the McCook and Emojoy knives came in second. Even moderately less sharp blades like the Amazon Basics Color-Coded and the Marco Almond left the green onions connected by their bottom layer of skin unless we chopped very deliberately.

kitchen knife set - thin slices of green onions are smoothly separated with a good...
Thin slices of green onions are smoothly separated with a good santoku knife.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Serrated Knife

Some might call this a bread knife, while the more general term is a serrated knife. We tested their abilities on crusty sourdough bread and delicate, soft tomatoes to evaluate these blades' performance.

J.A. Henckels has the best knife for smoothly slicing through crusty bread without snagging or tearing the soft interior. Our second favorite knife for slicing bread — because everything seems to come second to the Henckels — is the long serrated knife from Emojoy that cut through the crust with just a slight struggle.

kitchen knife set - as a sourdough baker, our lead tester is picky when it comes to...
As a sourdough baker, our lead tester is picky when it comes to serrated knives. Only the J.A. Henckels performed well enough to stand out on freshly baked, crunchy-crusted loaves.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Some sets we tested offer serrated knives that don't perform well on bread due to their short blades and small handles, but you shouldn't discount these sets because many of them are handy for a multitude of other kitchen tasks. The smaller knives from Cuisinart, Emojoy, and Marco Almond might be your perfect tomato knives. These bite immediately into tomato skin with the bare minimum of pressure on the soft flesh, and they slice through with almost no resistance. The J.A. Henckels serrated knife, however, ranks highest in both bread and tomato tests and therefore is the best all-around serrated knife in the line-up.

kitchen knife set - though all are serrated, you can see that some are clearly not...
Though all are serrated, you can see that some are clearly not designed for bread, so we made sure to test each on other food items like tomatoes so as to fairly judge based on intended use.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Paring Knife

Beyond the chef's, santoku, and serrated knife, the paring might be the kitchen's most used blade. Its small size makes it handy for peeling or cutting up small quantities of food. We tested the paring knives' performance peeling apples and potatoes as well as slicing them up afterward. In addition to the consistently high-performing Cuisinart and J.A. Henckels knives, we loved the sharpness and control of the long, sharp blades from the Marco Almond and Emojoy sets. The Cuisinart knife set offers a bird's beak paring knife, which curves downward, making it ideal for peeling tasks. This may be one knife you didn't know you needed.

kitchen knife set - the bird's beak paring knife is perfectly suited to peeling foods in...
The bird's beak paring knife is perfectly suited to peeling foods in your hand.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Other Knives

After a few taco nights to eat up all the thinly sliced beef we created, it was time for steak night. It's a matter of opinion, but we believe we perfectly seared a sirloin steak for our steak knife test. Maybe the true test would have been an overcooked rubbery piece of steak, but who shops for knives specialized for cutting overdone steak?

Honestly, we noticed very little difference in the performance between most steak knives in these sets. It seems that many kitchen knife sets focus their quality on the rest of the cutlery and include less expensive steak knives as an afterthought. Of course, there were a couple of standouts. Cuisinart is the only set to include hot-forged steak knives. Although they're heavy and smaller than others, they seem to offer a leg up on cutting.

kitchen knife set - our friends and family had to deal with the fact that although we...
Our friends and family had to deal with the fact that although we were serving them delicious steak, we were only serving it to them in pre-cut bite-sized pieces as if they were young children.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Included with the largest collection in our test, the Home Hero Knife Set, is a unique knife: a cheese slicing knife. This cheese knife is thin and has voids cut out from it to reduce drag when cutting through thick blocks of cheddar. It tends to drift out when slicing, so holding it at the right angle is critical, but it glides through cheese noticeably easier than the paring knives we tested.

kitchen knife set - if you subscribe to the "right tool for the job" mentality rather...
If you subscribe to the "right tool for the job" mentality rather than "each item needs to have multiple uses" idea, this cheese knife does offer the least resistance when slicing.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


The balance of a knife is basically a function of how the weight of the blade compares to the weight of the handle. Depending on which knife you're using, the ideal balance might be found in different places. You want the balance point to be right where the blade connects to the handle with a longer knife like a chef's, santoku, or long slicing. When the blade is heavier than the handle, you have to work harder to control your cuts. With a short knife like a paring knife, the handle should be heavier than the blade to give you ultimate control for the intricate movements you usually make with a short knife.

kitchen knife set - the line on each piece of tape marks the balance point of the knife...
The line on each piece of tape marks the balance point of the knife when pinched between thumb and forefinger.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

We tested the balance of each chef's, santoku, and paring knife by finding the balance point when pinched between two fingers and also by feel as we chopped, sliced, and peeled. Every time we tested sharpness, we also made a note of how the knife felt in use. For the chef and santoku knives, the Cuisinart, J.A. Henckels, Emojoy, and McCook tested with balance points closest to the joint of the blade and the handle. In use, the J.A. Henckels and Cuisinart felt balanced in our hands. The McCook knives come in a close second for balance. The only knives that truly felt off-balance were both Amazon Basics sets, the Home Hero knives, and the Farberware 12 Piece Multicolor. These have very light handles, so their balance point rests an inch or more forward of where the blade joins the handle.

We didn't feel a huge difference in use even though the balance points varied from knife to knife in our balance tests with paring knives. The notable exception is the J.A. Henkels paring knife with its bulky grip and balance point over halfway toward the butt of the handle. Because of all the weight in the handle, this one felt awkward to use for peeling when you tend to choke up on the blade for control.

kitchen knife set - the metal cap on the butt of the handle helps move the balance point...
The metal cap on the butt of the handle helps move the balance point back to where the handle tapers down to the knife blade on the J.A. Henckels knife.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Quality & Durability

While we didn't test these kitchen knife sets long enough to wear them out naturally, we banged them around, intentionally dulled some of their blades, and went over each one with a fine-toothed comb to see what potential failures we could foresee.

One indication of quality and durability is the construction and handle material. Knife sets like the Cuisinart and McCook have stainless steel handles that are all one piece with the blade. There are no additional parts or points of weakness with this design where something can loosen or break. Sets like the J.A. Henckels, Marco Almond, and Amazon Basics 14 Piece Set sport a plastic or resin composite handle attached with triple rivets. These vary in quality, with the J.A. Henckels and Marco Almond being smoothly attached with no discernable joint. The Amazon Basics handles don't line up smoothly, so it's easier to imagine them prying loose in the future, though we saw no evidence of this in our testing. Emojoy uses an engineered wood resin composite called pakkawood for its handles, which they claim improves durability and longevity. Finally, the lowest quality construction comes from blades that use a plastic handle formed around as an extension of the blade. These feel low quality to us, and we know that knives whose blade material doesn't extend the full length of the blade tend to be less reliable and more prone to breaking over time.

kitchen knife set - shown here from left to right: triple-riveted resin handle...
Shown here from left to right: triple-riveted resin handle, triple-riveted pakkawood handle, molded plastic handle, one-piece hollow stainless steel handle
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

The knives we tested are on the lower end of the price range for kitchen knife sets, so they're primarily constructed by stamping a single piece of steel into shape, then honing the edge to sharpness. Some knives are formed by hot-forging, which makes the metal stronger to hold its edge longer. In our test, the only knives made this way are the steak knives in the Cuisinart set.

Even if a knife manufacturer lists its knives as dishwasher safe, all knives should be hand washed and dried immediately to prevent rust and keep the blades sharp. Whether high-end to cheap, one of the quickest ways to ruin any knife is to wash it in the dishwasher, where it bangs against other metals and is left wet for long periods of time.

In our commitment to bring you the most comprehensive kitchen knife set review out there, we performed various measurements and testing. Some experiments don't yield useful results, but we still want to report what we found. As mentioned earlier, we performed a sharpness test with the chef's knives on thin magazine paper when we first got the knives to use as a baseline after we dulled them. When the rest of the testing was complete, we intentionally dulled some of the knives by swiping them 200 times each on a honing rod at an angle between 75 and 80 degrees. This extreme angle does the opposite of what the honing rod is intended to do. Despite our assumption that the dulled knives would perform significantly worse against the paper, they did not. We could feel the dullness of the edge with our fingers, but the paper sliced almost as smoothly as before.

kitchen knife set - the hot-forged steak knives from cuisinart should keep their edge...
The hot-forged steak knives from Cuisinart should keep their edge for many years to come.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Some aspects of the ergonomics of a knife handle are going to depend on your hand size, while others supply consistent performance regardless of how big or small your paws are. We tested these knives in the large hands of tall men, medium hands of women, and small hands of children — supervised, of course! One design aspect of a kitchen knife that can detract from the comfort of the grip is the lack of a smooth transition between blade and handle. When cutting, most people will naturally extend their forefinger for additional control. Knives like those in the J.A. Henckels, Cuisinart, Emojoy, Amazon Basics 14 Piece Set, McCook, and Marco Almond sets ALL have no palpable seam where the blade joins the handle. Knives like those included in the sets from Home Hero, Farberware, and Amazon Basics Color-Coded Knives are constructed in a way that leaves a drop from the handle to the blade, which makes it uncomfortable to exert pressure with your finger.

kitchen knife set - the bump at the blade/handle joint creates a discomfort point for...
The bump at the blade/handle joint creates a discomfort point for your forefinger when applying pressure to give you more control during cutting.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Another aspect that affects the ergonomics is the width of the blade spine. This is the blunt backside of the knife blade where your fingers rest. Wider spines mean a bigger surface area for your finger and better comfort. Emojoy and J.A. Henckels offer the broadest spines in our test, while Home Hero, Farberware, and the Amazon Basics Color-Coded sets have the narrowest.

A rectangular-shaped handle adds stability by preventing it from turning in your hand during use. The curved hook on the butt of most handles also keeps the knife from sliding out of your hand

J.A. Henckels has the most prominent hook and also very squared-off corners. These corners add stability but can dig into your palms when cutting quantities of tougher foods like root vegetables. We like the balance of round and square that the Emojoy handles have struck, and their hooked end makes the handle that much more secure. The knives in the Amazon Basics 14 Piece Set are similarly sharp-cornered to the Henckels.

kitchen knife set - the differences in shape might look minimal but significantly change...
The differences in shape might look minimal but significantly change the feel and performance of each knife.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

You want your knives to feel like an extension of your hand in the kitchen, and size plays a part in this. For folks with larger hands, the Emojoy, J.A. Henckels, or Cuisinart are likely to feel the best. The Emojoy knives feature the largest diameter so that they won't fit smaller hands as well. The other two, whose diameters are smaller even though the grip is long, will fit various hand sizes. Unfortunately, the smallest handles are those that also have the poorest ergonomics. We recommend the mid-sized handles of the Marco Almond set for cooks with small hands. These are smaller diameter oval shapes, with a small hook on the butt to offer stability. The joint between the blade and the handle is also pleasantly smooth.


Generally, there are three ways to store your knives to protect the blades from damage: a knife block, sheaths, or a magnetic strip. Draw inserts are like a horizontal block. Most of the blocks that come with the kitchen knife sets we tested are similar in design. They are made of wood, set at an angle, and have slots for individual knives. The Cuisinart block stood out to us because of its material. It seems to be a resin-type material, and even when we sawed on it, the damage was hidden because there isn't a lighter color below to expose. We really liked the lower angle offered by the J.A. Henckels block. This low angle makes it easier to remove the knives if the block is stored on a counter underneath upper cabinets.

Knives can safely be stored in a drawer or even on a magnetic strip. Sheaths are handy when you opt for drawer storage due to limited counter space. We were pleased to discover that there was enough magnetic force to keep them on a strip even while using the plastic sheaths on the Amazon Basics Color-Coded and the Farberware 12 Piece Multicolor sets.

kitchen knife set - if using a magnetic strip, you can choose to hang your knives with...
If using a magnetic strip, you can choose to hang your knives with or without their sheath.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

The Home Hero set presents a modern take on the knife block with a plexiglass stand that arrays the knives out for you. While unique, the block takes up a lot of real estate because it's designed to be viewed from the broad side. The knives also have to be removed vertically, meaning you can't use them beneath low kitchen cabinets. It is also a magnet for dirt and crumbs, all of which will be on full display through the clear plexiglass.

kitchen knife set - the modern look might be a nice match to certain kitchens, but...
The modern look might be a nice match to certain kitchens, but you'll want to be sure you have the counter real estate to dedicate to this large block.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus


Picking the right kitchen knife set amid all the choices can be quite the task. We won't tell you that there is one right set for everyone, but we can make your job easier. We did all the research, tested each knife out, and provided you with all the information we could so you can make the best selection for your unique needs. After considering how your needs line up with each of these knife sets' performance and features, we hope you feel ready to select your perfect knife set.

kitchen knife set - mmmmm... fresh, local, free-ranging beef! it's time to get chopping...
Mmmmm... fresh, local, free-ranging beef! It's time to get chopping and create a delicious meal.
Credit: Elizabeth Paashaus

Elizabeth Paashaus

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