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.
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:
- Best Overall Knife Set: Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Forged Knife Block Set
- Best Budget-Friendly Knife Set: Cuisinart 15-piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
- Best Set for New Cooks: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 4-piece Knife Set
- Best German Steel Set: Wüsthof Classic 7-piece Slim Knife Block Set
- Best Japanese Steel Set: Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set
- Best Nonstick Set: Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection 12-Piece Knife Set
- Best Block Set with Steak Knives: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-piece Block Set
- Best Block Set with Built-In Sharpener: Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening Cutlery Knife Block Set
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.
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.
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.
Best Overall Knife Set: Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set
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.
Best Budget-Friendly Knife Set: Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
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.”
Best Set for New Cooks: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 4-Piece Knife Set
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.”
Zwilling J.A. Henckels 30768-000 TWIN Signature Knife Block Set, 11 Piece
This set, as one reviewer writes, is made up of “extremely sharp and professional grade knives.” Another discerning reviewer says, “I was looking for forged Zwilling blades, made in Germany. These feature ice-hardened, stamped blades. When blades are hardened in this manner they’re more durable and long-lasting than regular stamped blades. You’ll immediately notice that the blades stay sharper for longer and will hold their edge.” Another reviewer praised that “you can just feel how well they are put together.” Yet another satisfied customer raved that “the knives are lightweight, well balanced and the handles are ergonomically well designed for a very comfortable grip, helping to lessen fatigue if doing a lot of prep work. I was surprised by how light [but also] sturdy [they are] thanks to German steel and Henckels tempering process.”
Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening Cutlery Knife Block Set, 12 Piece
The most convenient and popular feature of this set is the built-in sharpener. As one reviewer explains, “the big knives have a self-sharpening stone when you place them back in their holding area that sharpens the knife as you slide it back in!” Another reviewer noted that this system “took some getting used to having sharp knives since I’ve had such dull ones all these years. Didn’t realize how bad mine were until we got these.” Others agreed this set was well worth the price. One says, “As a college student, I got used to living the cheap life.