The Best Knife Sets of 2018

By Lindsay D. Mattison

Life is full of choices: Should you buy a pre-made knife set, or would you be better off spending the time and money to piece a set together yourself? The answer depends on your needs. Are you setting up your first kitchen? It might be easier and cheaper to buy a knife set. Many of these sets include what I like to call bonus items–like steak knives–that would come in handy to fill up those drawers. On the other hand, if you have a wedding or graduation in the near future, a set filled with ultra-sharp knives that stretches your budget might fit the bill (thank you, Mom and Dad!). Perhaps you don't cook that much, or you're looking to stock an Airbnb property–you probably don't want to spend any extra money or effort on the process.

No matter what kind of knives you're looking for, one thing is for sure: For most everyday cooking, you'll need a good chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. Many sets go above and beyond that, like our top pick Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet Classic 18-Piece Knife Block Set (available at Amazon). Others stick with the basics but offer super-sharp blades that are well-suited for upgrade sets or serious cooks.

To find the best of the best, we tasked a professional chef (that’s me!) with testing 12 knife sets in a variety of price ranges. After hours of chopping, slicing, and dicing, we feel confident that you’ll find a set of knives that fits your needs (including a set under $200 that rivals much more expensive sets).

Here are the best knife sets we tested, in order:

  1. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet Classic 18-Piece Knife Block Set
  2. Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set with Tempered Glass Block
  3. Global G-835/WS 6-Piece Knife Set with Block
  4. Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Set with Walnut Block
  5. Miyabi 34010-000 Knife Block Set
  6. Victorinox 7-Piece Knife Block Set
  7. Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set
  8. Shun Classic 6-Piece Slim Knife Block Set
  9. Vremi 10-piece Colorful Knife Set - 5 Kitchen Knives with 5 Knife Sheath Covers
  10. Utopia Kitchen Premium Class Stainless Steel 6-Piece Knives Set with Acrylic Stand
  11. AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set
  12. Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated July 18, 2018

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Best Overall Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed.com/Lindsay D. Mattison

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet Classic 18-pc Knife Block Set

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  • Editors' Choice

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet Classic 18-pc Knife Block Set

Best Overall

When it came to overall value, it's hard to beat the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Gourmet Classic 18-piece set. The chef’s knife is lightweight and easy to wield while also being one of the sharper knives in the test group. The paring knife fits perfectly in our hands for off-the-cutting-board activities like peeling apples, and the serrated bread knife makes quick work at slicing crusty baguettes. This set also earns bonus points for including additional items, including a boning knife, kitchen shears, and steak knives.

After all our testing, it was easy to choose the Zwilling J.A. Henckels as our Best Overall knife set. It’s a perfect set for a starter kitchen with all those bonus items, but the knives are also sharp enough to make it a great upgrade set, too.

This set includes seven knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 4-inch paring knife, a 2.75-inch tourne/peeling knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 6-inch utility knife, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, and a 5.5-inch boning knife) along with a honing steel, kitchen shears, eight steak knives, and a large, wooden block.

Best Value Best Value
Credit: Reviewed.com/Lindsay D. Mattison

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Tempered Glass Block

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  • Editors' Choice

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Tempered Glass Block

Best Value

It's easy to like the Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set with Tempered Glass Block. The set provides the essential knives plus a bonus boning knife, although it's one of the few that didn’t include a honing steel or shears. In the end, we found it hard to complain considering you’ll receive five impressively sharp knives that performed as well as sets three times its price. In addition to the sharp blades, each knife has a great balance and we love the grip of the handles. To top the cake, the serrated knife is one of our favorites in the group.

After testing the knives, we can see why the Mercer brand is the common supplier of culinary school knife kits. Because of its performance and low price, it's easy to choose the Mercer Culinary Genesis as our Best Value pick.

This set includes five knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 6-inch boning knife) which are stored upright in a thin, glass case.

Cuisinart Best Knife Set Under $100
Credit: Reviewed.com/Lindsay D. Mattison

Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set

086279075635
  • Editors' Choice

Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set

Best Knife Set Under $100

While the Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set can't rival some of the super expensive sets when it comes to sharpness, it makes up for it in value and design. The chef’s knife has great balance and a comfortable, nicely-shaped handle. It is well suited for chopping tasks and takes down onions with ease. In addition to the full-sized chef’s knife, the set also includes a 5-inch Santoku knife, which could come in handy for chopping vegetables or for those with smaller hands.

We’re impressed that this set bundles so many knives for such a low price. Because it meets our quality standards, we would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a knife set under $100.

This set includes six knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 5-inch Santoku knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 4.5-inch utility knife, and an 8-inch slicing knife) along with a honing steel, kitchen shears, six steak knives, and a large, wooden block.

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and a serious knife enthusiast. I worked doubles for months during college to scrape together enough money to buy my first knife set. Then, when I went to culinary school, I did the same thing to buy the recommended knife kit! I know what it feels like to spend your hard-earned cash on a purchase like this, and I want you to have all the facts before spending $100, $200, or more on a set of knives.

The Tests

We selected 12 top-rated knife sets of different price points from most of the major knife manufacturers. Then, we got to work testing the knives to learn how the set performed as a whole. Usually, we test knives on an individual basis, but the pre-made set had to prove overall usability and performance to really provide good value. It was important that each set included the essential knives (which we’ll talk about in a minute) and it got bonus points for adding in usable extras. We also were looking for a set that was easy to store.

The tests were designed with that in mind, evaluating value, performance, and ease of storage. We chopped onions and thinly sliced basil with the chef’s knife, peeled apples and segmented citrus with the paring knives, and sliced bread and sandwiches with the serrated knife. Most of the sets came with a smaller utility knife, so we sliced tomatoes and hard blocks of cheese. If the set included kitchen shears, we tested those as well, cutting cardboard and gliding the blades through parchment paper. Along the way, we assessed the sharpness of each blade, the comfort of the handle, and the weight and length of the knife itself to ultimately determine if the set was worth its price tag.

Things to Know When Buying a Knife Set

Before buying a knife set, ask yourself this question: What kind of knives do you like? You may not know yet, but it's worth exploring before you spend money on a set. For example, I know I have a proclivity towards Japanese-style knives (like Shun and Global) while I know a great number of chefs who prefer German steel (like Wüsthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckels). I even know a chef who only buys inexpensive ceramic knives and replaces them every three months when they get dull. So, it’s impossible for us to know what your personal preference is and we tried to keep that in mind as we ranked and rated. At the same time, there are a few steadfast rules to follow when looking for a knife set.

First of all, it needs to include the three core knives: a chef’s or Santoku knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. The Shun and Victorinox sets we tested got major points taken off for not including that all-important bread knife. The set should also include a honing steel for keeping your edges sharp and a pair of kitchen shears always come in handy (although, almost half of the sets we tested didn't include shears). If the set comes with a utility knife, that’s good–you may find this smaller knife handy for slicing cheese or small vegetables. I consider boning knives, carving or slicing knives, smaller serrated knives, tourne knives (often called peelers), or steak knives as bonus items.

Finally, you’ll need some way to store these knives. Most sets come with a block, but that may not be important if your kitchen is short on counter-space like mine. In which case, I can’t recommend a space-saving magnetic wall strip enough. Please, whatever you do, don't just throw your knives in a drawer unless they have a plastic cover. They could bang against each other and chip, or worse you might hurt yourself when reaching for one.

Other Knife Sets We Tested

Global G-835/WS 6-Piece Knife Set with Block

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Global G-835/WS 6-Piece Knife Set with Block

The Global G-835/WS 6-Piece Knife Set with Block is absolutely our pick if you're looking for an upgraded knife set. While it does include a carving knife in addition to the core four knives, it doesn’t come with a honing steel or a set of shears. That being said, it was absolutely the sharpest set of knives in the group. Using the chef’s knife feels like an effortless extension of my arm, and the serrated bread knife makes it surprisingly easy to slice through crusty baguette. If price isn’t an issue, these ultra-sharp, super-light knives are a perfect choice. They make a great upgrade set and would definitely be on my wedding registry if I had one in the near future.

This set includes five knives (a 7-inch Asian-style chef’s knife, a 4-inch paring knife, an 8.75-inch serrated bread knife, a 5.25-inch utility knife, and an 8.25-inch carving knife) along with a low-profile, metal block.

Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set

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Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set

The Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Set with Walnut Block almost rivals our top pick but it just doesn't provide the same value as the Zwilling J.A. Henckels. While we completely think it’s worth the high price tag, it only comes with four knives plus shears (as opposed to our winner's seven). We absolutely love the sharp, easy to use knives that are more than capable of acing our tests. The utility knife is our favorite in the group with its long, semi-flexible blade. If you don't need any of the extra knives, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

This set includes four knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, and a 6-inch utility knife) along with a honing steel, kitchen shears, and a large, wooden block.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels / Miyabi Evolution 7-Piece Knife Block Set

035886315368

Zwilling J.A. Henckels / Miyabi Evolution 7-Piece Knife Block Set

Japanese-style knives have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and for good reason. The Miyabi 34010-000 Knife Block Set combines elegance with razor-sharp edges, coming together to give you a beautiful showpiece set that’s incredibly functional. We have no complaints with any of the knives, although the kitchen shears were a bit heavy and didn’t test as well as the others in the group. We love that the set comes with a small Santoku knife, giving you a low-profile alternative to the large chef’s knife. Overall, the knives were light and well-constructed, albeit a little expensive for a smaller set of knives.

This set includes four knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 5.5-inch Santoku knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, and a 9-inch serrated bread knife) along with a honing steel, kitchen shears, and a large, wooden block.

Victorinox 7-Piece Knife Block Set

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Victorinox 7-Piece Knife Block Set

We really have no complaints about the performance of the Victorinox 7-Piece Knife Block Set. The Swiss Army owned company is well known for making great knives at a value price. What we don't love about this set, though, is the lack of a serrated bread knife. The chef’s knife performs incredibly well, and the super minimalistic paring knife is one of our favorites in the group. Unfortunately, the set includes a small serrated knife instead of a larger bread knife, which we find to be a grave oversight. That knocks the set down a few rungs in the scoring.

This set includes 4 knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, a 4.5-inch serrated tomato/bagel knife, and a 5-inch utility knife) along with a honing steel, kitchen shears, and a large, wooden block.

Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set

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Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set

You absolutely can’t go wrong with the ultra-sharp, super thin blades in the Shun Classic 6-Piece Slim Knife Block Set. They’re so sharp, you could almost think about cutting an onion and it would dice itself! Unfortunately, the price is simply too high for the set (especially considering that you don’t get a serrated bread knife out of the deal). We love Shun knives for their excellent edges and beautiful aesthetic, but you would be better off buying these knives individually for this price.

This set includes three knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch Santoku knife, and a 3.5-inch paring knife) along with a honing steel and a large, wooden block.

Vremi 5 Piece Colorful Knife Set

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Vremi 5 Piece Colorful Knife Set

The Vremi 10-piece Colorful Knife Set - 5 Kitchen Knives with 5 Knife Sheath Covers totally looks like a set of ceramic knives, but they’re actually made from stainless steel. They have a comfortable, soft-grip handle and they'll add a splash of color to your life! They’re not the sharpest knives on the block (or, rather, in the block), but they’re not exactly dull, either. Because each knife comes with an individual, hard plastic cover, this would be a great knife set for your camping box or to take on-the-go (any bartenders out there?).

This set includes five knives (a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a serrated bread knife, a utility knife, and a carving knife) with five hard plastic covers.

Utopia Kitchen Premium Class Stainless Steel Kitchen 6 Piece Knives Set

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Utopia Kitchen Premium Class Stainless Steel Kitchen 6 Piece Knives Set

Before testing, I was certain that the Utopia Kitchen Premium Class Stainless Steel 6-Piece Knives Set with Acrylic Stand wouldn’t stand a chance. After all, the set was only $25 at the time of testing–how good could it be? It didn’t win top performance marks, but we wouldn’t call this a set to avoid, either. The steel handles are a little slippery and they are a bit heavier than we prefer, but the utility knife is surprisingly sharp and we don't hate the rest of the knives, either. It's not my top pick, but we have no problem recommending it as a budget set.

This set includes five knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 4.5-inch utility knife, and an 8-inch slicing knife) which are stored upright in a thin-profiled, acrylic stand. It also comes with eight steak knives which do not fit in the stand.

AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set

Amazonbasics premium 18 piece knife block set

AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set

You get a startling number of knives for a great price with the AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set. That being said, it really isn't my favorite in the group. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of knives you find in the drawers at a vacation rental property. They aren't effortless to use like some of the other sets, but they certainly get the job done. As a chef, I would go a little crazy using these knives on the regular, but this set would work just fine for someone who doesn't cook very much.

This set includes seven knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch Santoku knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 5.5-inch utility knife, a 6-inch boning knife, and an 8-inch slicing knife) with a honing steel, kitchen shears, eight steak knives, and a large, wooden block.

Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener

027979004914

Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener

With the Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener, you'll get almost every knife you can think to ask for, including a set of steak knives. It’s really not a bad deal when you consider the price per item, but they aren't as sharp as we like. Most of the knives are on the heavy side and the handles get slippery after extended use, too.

This set includes eight knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch Santoku knife, a 3.25-inch paring knife, a 3-inch tourne/peeling knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 5-inch utility knife, a 6-inch boning knife, and an 8-inch slicer) along with kitchen shears, eight steak knives, and a large, wooden block with a built-in knife sharpener.

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