The 3 Best Knife Sets in 2022

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A knife set is a quick and easy way to furnish your kitchen with cutlery, but know that you don't need very many blades, and you'll do more than fine with a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. Beyond those, you might consider a Santoku for finely slicing meat, or a boning or utility knife for similarly precise work. Pastry Bag

The 3 Best Knife Sets in 2022

While I've generally taken good care of my knives both at home and during stints in raw bars, aboard private yachts, and working on fishing boats, I wanted to make sure these knives would hold up and be relatively easy to maintain. (I'll add here that a good sharpener is paramount.)

To test kitchen knives, we put them through their paces out of their packaging, then thoroughly dulled, resharpened, and retested them. Read more about our methodology here, and if you're still unsure as to whether a pre-assembled knife kit will suit your needs, check out the pros and cons of buying your knives piecemeal. 

Learn about how Insider Reviews tests and researches kitchen products.

Best knife set overall: Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Wusthof's Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set includes four well-balanced, durable, easy-to-grip knives, as well as a honing steel, kitchen shears, and a solid walnut block. 

Best cheap knife set: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 4-piece The knives in Victorinox's 3-Piece Fibrox Pro set are lightweight, easy to sharpen, and resilient as can be.

Best knife set for small kitchens: F.N. Sharp F.N. Sharp knives feature 67-layer Japanese Damascus steel and riveted epoxy and fiberglass handles, which we find fit most hands best.

Wusthof's Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set comes with four well-balanced, durable, easy-to-grip knives, plus a honing steel, kitchen shears, and a solid woodblock.

Pros: Great weight and balance, impressive edge retention

If you're looking for a relatively affordable block set, Wusthof's Classic Ikon is the best you're going to do. Good knives are expensive, and so is a block of solid wood. Again, as we've stated above, you really, really don't need a big knife set like this (much less a knife block), but we can appreciate your wanting one, and we can't recommend this one enough.

The set includes our favorite eight-inch chef's knife for most people, plus a six-inch utility (or boning) knife, an eight-inch bread knife (perhaps a little short, but you'll make do), a nine-inch honing steel, and a 15-slot solid wood block.

These knives are head and shoulders above the ubiquitous X50CrMoV15 blades that make up most of what's available from budget-friendly DTC brands you'll come across. And while the X50CrMoV15 is perfectly serviceable, there's something that makes these blades much heavier (therein balanced) and more retentive of their edges. Sadly, Wusthof guards their proprietary alloy and we can't quite figure out what's in them.

Wusthof has been around for a long while, and is heavily endorsed by scores of renowned chefs with good reason. If you've got the funds and want a trusty knife set that does it all, this is it.

The knives in Victorinox's 3-Piece Fibrox Pro set are lightweight, easy to sharpen, and resilient as can be.

Pros: Resilient, good edge retention, easy to sharpen, comfortable handles

Victorinox's three-piece Fibrox Pro knife set comes with a 3.25-inch paring knife, an 8.25-inch chef's knife, and a 10-inch serrated (or bread) knife. These are, arguably, the only knives you will ever need, and Victorinox's versions are among the more resilient ones we've tested.

The knives in the Fibrox Pro set are made of the very same high-carbon steel as many affordable to mid-range knives (X50CrMoV15), but Victorinox cuts some corners with a stamped blade (rather than an individually constructed one), a molded plastic handle, and no real flair. However, those are precisely the correct corners to cut; fancy handles are great, but not when they're attached to insufficient blades.

If you're looking to keep costs to a minimum, if your kitchen is fairly minimalist, if you share a cooking space, or if you're looking to furnish a second home or rental, this is the kitchen knife set to purchase (and never worry about). Even with heavy use, you'll be able to bring them back up to snuff in short order, and butchers like Pat LaFrieda and commercial kitchens all over the world stock a smattering of Victorinox's chef's knives for that reason.

Could you stand to add a few knives to your quiver after buying this pared-down set? Maybe, but you can still prepare just about anything with these four basic tools.

F.N. Sharp knives feature 67-layer Japanese Damascus steel and riveted epoxy and fiberglass handles, which we find fit most hands best.

Pros: High-quality steel, great edge retention, exceptionally comfortable handles

Cons: A little difficult to sharpen yourself (but that's what the sharpening service is for)

A three-and-a-half-inch paring knife, a six-inch Santoku (or Santoku Bocho, which translates to "three uses": chopping, mincing, and dicing), and an eight-inch chef's knife make up this elegant, if pared-down, kitchen knife set. If your needs would be better suited by a six-piece set, which also includes a bread knife, a boning knife, and a utility knife, that's also available for $660.

Apart from looking unbelievably cool thanks to the VG-10 steel patterned into the blade, these knives are the most balanced and solidly built of any we've tried. We also like that three "sharpenings" are included with the purchase of every set, which should get you through a year to a year-and-a-half of constant use.

We put "sharpenings" in quotations because what the brand actually does — and this is pretty ingenious, we must say — is send you a replacement set of freshly sharpened knives in a box with a prepaid packaging slip into which you'll put your used, dulled knives for return. After the first three sharpenings, though, the cost is on you and it's admittedly steep: $60 for the three-knife set, $90 for the six-knife set, and $50 for a steak knife set. For comparison, most local services will charge you $2-$3 per inch of blade.

We've tested more than a dozen knife sets in total; here are a few of the others that we also recommend:

I've been using knives regularly — as most of us have — for the better part of my life, and on and off professionally. I relied on my own experience along with the unbiased and uninformed opinions of five others during testing.

Ahead of testing, I got in touch with butcher and New York City meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda as well as Mike Tarkanian, a research affiliate and a senior lecturer at MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), to find out what their requisites are for great knives.

While sharpness was a given (any knife not sharp out of the package would've been immediately disqualified), we chose to test edge retention by slicing tomatoes before running knives on a glass cutting board 200 times in order to dull them. After dulling, we tried slicing tomatoes again to determine which edges held up best. We also consulted a professor of metallurgy to provide insight into the pros and cons of different alloys, and to break down our contenders' hardness ratings. 

Here's what we settled on taking into consideration:

Edge retention: Our knife-testing process involved slicing a few fresh tomatoes, taking note of the ease with which the chef knife from each set handled the task. After we had sufficient data, we took each chef's knife to a glass cutting board and ran it over the surface 200 times. Some knives held their edge, others not so much. We looked at the edges after running the knives and noted if there were any visible changes. 

We then returned to the tomatoes, cutting a few more and seeing how much resistance we felt compared with the performance of the knives straight out of the packaging. Knives that held their edges passed on to further rounds of consideration.

Alloy, and the HRC (hardness rating): We consulted several experts in the field, but the most informative source we encountered was Michael J Tarkanian , a professor of metallurgy at MIT. With his help, we were able to cut through the marketing and the scientific terminology behind different alloys and what allows a knife to retain an edge.

We looked for a hardness rating of around 60 HRC, which offers great edge retention while still allowing for an edge of around 15 degrees (though up to 20 degrees, which is duller than 15, was still considered sufficient).

Ergonomics: For a knife to work well, you have to be able to hold it comfortably in your hand. We asked an array of people to pick up knives and decide which ones were the easiest to grip; across the board, they went for the ones with heavier, rounded, almost bulbous handles. 

Balance between the handle and the blade is also key. Pricier knives almost always offer better balance because that extra cost goes into using denser and often more desirable materials, like layered Damascus steel. 

A well-balanced knife with a good blade will cut through vegetables with minimal pressure, like our top pick from Wusthof. A not-so-well-balanced knife will take a little force to get started.

You can get away with as few as one, but three or four will easily enable you to do everything: a chef's knife, a paring knife, a bread knife, and maybe a utility or carving knife will get you through any and every task.

Hardness Risk Rating (HRC), or the Rockwell Scale, is a measurement of the hardness of steel based on how deep a diamond-tipped indenter penetrates it.

Note that it's not only the steel or the metallurgic compound itself so much as how it's hardened (tempered). A low hardness rating for a blade is anywhere in the 50s, while harder steel is usually upwards of 60.

The harder the steel, the longer the edge holds, but that also usually makes the knife more brittle, more likely to chip, and more difficult it is to sharpen when the time comes. The softer the steel, the easier it is to sharpen, but you'll have to do so often.

Decent steel starts most commonly with X50CrMoV15, and is standard for the entry-level to mid-level market. Beyond that, there tend to be a lot of proprietary alloys, but you can also look for 440B or C (A has great qualities, but not generally for a kitchen knife), and VG8 or VG10.

A chef's knife is far and away the most important knife. Period. Some will call for a butcher's knife or a Santoku, but there's a common thread with each of these, and that is that they're all large-bladed knives capable of handling most jobs.

A bread knife is another staple for obvious reasons (if you eat bread).

A paring knife might follow. It's great for smaller tasks like hulling fruits and chopping smaller things like garlic, chives, and other herbs.

A utility, carving, or boning knife, which is relatively long (six inches, give or take) and thin is handy for carving and finer slicing of meat and fish.

An alternative would be a meat cleaver, which can be great as an all-around knife too. But there are all sorts of other knives that might earn a spot in your kitchen depending on what you do most, but these are the basics.

Depending on your budget, you may want to consider other options besides a knife set. Any time you're buying a set of something, the brand and/or manufacturer often adds in fillers (i.e. less than useful pieces) and cuts corners, and the case is no different with knives.

A lot of chefs we spoke with recommend keeping only one, two, or maybe three knives in a kitchen: a chef's knife for most tasks, a paring knife for smaller jobs like peeling fruit or scoring dough, and a bread knife. You might also consider forgoing a knife block for a magnetic bar, which takes up far less space when stuck to the side of your fridge or mounted on a wall. Over time, you may want to add something like a utility or boning knife, but the truth is most kitchens will rarely find much use for one. If you do need one, you know who you are, and you probably carve a lot of poultry and/or meat.

Read our guide to the best individual kitchen knives here.

Buying a knife set is a fast and easy way to equip your kitchen with cutlery without much fuss. Knife sets go on sale sporadically, but the best times to find deals tend to be Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, particularly from larger retailers like Amazon, Williams-Sonoma, and Sur La Table.

Here are the best deals on our favorite knife sets.

There are currently no deals on our recommended knife sets. 

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

The 3 Best Knife Sets in 2022

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