Choosing the Best Kitchen Knife Set

Choosing a Knife Set

Every kitchen needs a good knife set, which is why they’re great wedding presents and house warming gifts. When choosing a knife set, you’ll want to consider the knives. Because knives come in a variety of styles used for a variety of cutting, you’ll want to opt for a knife set that will be able to provide you with as many knives as you may possibly need. Just remember a good knife is one that doesn’t need sharpening, and a good knife set includes these knives or a knife sharpener.

The knife block is also important to think about as they come in a variety of options and colors. You’ll find different types of wood finishes, steel, black, white, and other colors and styles. It’s best to make sure if you’re giving a knife set as a gift that you consider the home décor.

Ex 5 Piece Knife Set

  • 5 knives (8-inch chef's knife, 8-inch bread knife, 8-inch carver, 5-inch utility, and 3-1/2-inch parer)
  • ABS plastic block with an interesting design with protective knife sleeves
  • Stainless steel knives with razor-sharp, precision cutting blades
  • Hollow, ergonomically designed handles that ensure a secure grip
  • 25 year limited warranty

Ginsu International Traditions Knife Set

  • 14 knives (8-inch chef’s knife, 8-inch slicer, 8-inch bread knife, 5-inch boning knife, 4-1/2-inch utility knife, 3-1/2-inch paring knife, and six 4-1/2-inch steak knives, plus a pair of shears)
  • Natural colored hardwood block
  • Stainless steel blades that never need sharpening
  • Blades are symmetrically-cut, 2D serrated edges for precision slicing with full tangs
  • Lightweight bakelite handles that are triple-riveted for strength
  • Limited lifetime guarantee

J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Knife Set

  • 15 knifes (2-3/4" paring, 5" tomato, 5-1/2" boning, 6" utility, 8" chef's, bread knife, carving knife, and 6 steak knifes) and a 9" sharpening steel
  • Hardwood storage block in a glittery charcoal gray finish
  • Satin-finish, stainless steel, fine-edge blades
  • Brushed stainless steel and comfortable Santoprene handles for great gripping, steady balancing and an overall attractive look
  • Hand washing recommended

Choosing Kitchen Knives

When choosing a kitchen knife set, you'll want to compare the actual knives in the set, comparing the material of the blade, the blade edge, and the material of the handle. You'll find that some of the options are better than others, and you'll probably prefer one over another. You'll also want to look at the type of knives that are included in the set, so that you can ensure that you're getting the particular knives that you want.

Material of Blade:

  • Carbon steel: easier to resharpen but vulnerable to rust and stains. Blades must be cleaned, dried, and lubricated after each use.
  • Stainless steel: Needs to be sharpened frequently, but are sometimes difficult to sharpen. Highly resistant to corrosion. Generally cheaper in price.
  • High carbon stainless steel: Do not discolor or stain. Maintains a sharp edge.
  • Laminated:High quality knives. Usually made harder than ordinary stainless steel knifes, producing a more acute and accurate cutting ability.
  • Titanium: Lightweight and have less wear resistance. Typically expensive and not suited for kitchen cutlery.
  • Ceramic: Very hard, light, and do not corrode. Require special tools for sharpening. Very brittle and will chip.
  • Plastic: Not very sharp and mainly used for cutting vegetables.

Edge of the Blade:

  • Flat ground: Tapers from thick spine to sharp edge in a straight or convex line. Heavier and tougher than hollow ground knives.
  • Hollow ground: Concave, beveled edges that are ground starting halfway down the blade instead of at the spine. Thinner edge with a better cutting ability. Lighter and less durable.

  • Serrated: Wavy, scalloped, or saw-like blade. Ideal for cutting things that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside (bread and tomatoes)
  • Granton: Semi-circular scallops ground into the edge that alternate on either side of the knife, extending to the middle. Use for cutting and separating meats, cheese, and vegetables.

Material of Handle:

  • Wood: Provide good grip but must be cleaned more thoroughly and occasionally treated with mineral oil. Typically will crack and warp with prolonged water exposure.
  • Plastic: Easy to care for and don't absorb microorganisms. Less resistant to ultraviolet damage and become brittle over time, which results in cracking. Can be slippery.
  • Composite: Made of laminate wood composites that are mixed with plastic resin. Generally considered the best choice because they are easy to care for and just as sanitary as plastic. Very durable.
  • Stainless steel: Most durable option, as well as most sanitary, but they are very slippery.

Types of Kitchen Knives

  • Chef's Knife: All-purpose knife that is curved to allow the cook to rock the knife on the cutting board for a more precise cut. Generally is 6 to 12 inches, but most commonly 8 inches long.
  • Bread Knife: Type of serrated knife that is usually between 6 to 10 inches, 8 inches most commonly used, that is ideal for cutting bread and other foods with a hard outside and soft inside.
  • Paring Knife: Ideal for peeling and other intricate work (de-veining shrimp). Generally about 2-1/2 inches to 4 inches long.
  • Utility Knife: Too fragile for heavier cutting but not suited for intricate cutting. Usually about 7 to 6 inches long.

Meat Knives

  • Carving Knife: Used to carve thin and more precise slices of meat, such as poultry, roast, ham, and other large meat. Generally 8 to 15 inches long.
  • Slicing Knife: Used to slice thinner slices of ham, roasts, fish, or barbecued beef and pork and venison.
  • Cleaver Knife: Used for splitting meat from the bone. Very large, generally rectangular knife.
  • Boning Knife: Used to cut bone out of meat, usually poultry and fish. About 5 to 6 inches long.
  • Fillet Knife: Used to fillet and prepare fish. 6 to 11 inches long.

Other Knives

  • Peeling Knife
  • Decorating Knife
  • Trimming Knife
  • Fluting Knife
  • Cheese Knife
  • Tomato Knife
  • Oyster Knife
  • Deveiner Knife
  • Grapefruit Knife
  • Chestnut Knife
  • Mincing Knife
  • Tourner Knife

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Comments 10 comments

JennH 6 years ago

Cutco is the best! Forever guarantee baby can't go wrong with that!


truparad0x 6 years ago

Everyone has a preference for what knife they like to cook/prep with, but I recommend everyone go and try a decent quality forged knife (or a high quality stamped knife). Trust me, they outperform any of the "never needs sharpening" serrated knives. Serrated edges are only useful for bread and steak knives. I have a Calphalon 8" Chef's knife that can slice through a tomato just by dragging across it.

Also, a good quality chef's knife or Asian chef's knife (commonly mixed up with a cleaver) should be able to do 80 - 90% of cooking/prep work. Unless you do a lot of specialized cooking, a Chef's knive, a paring knife and another specialized knife is all you need. If you have the money and the need for them, then by all means collect as many as you want.

Another note, serrated knives need sharpening too. However, because of the serrations, it's hard to tell it needs sharpening. The "never needs sharpening" knives have very small serrations, and are near impossible to sharpen.


EdenvaleShoppes 7 years ago

Good ideas on knife set..

Thank you!!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I dare not have very sharp knives as I am prone to slicing into my fingers :) Good advice though


rb11 profile image

rb11 7 years ago from Las Vegas

Wow, I didn't know there were such a collection and history to knives. I would imagine by this time some sets are collector items and could even be very valuable too! Good Hub.

Regards


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 7 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

Another great hub Whitney! I have the J.A.Henckels set and though it needs frequent sharpening*, once every three uses, the "sharpening" steel does not wear the edge down and the knives have a great balance and ideal shape. The handles are also perfect. Non-slip and they look good.

 

* Well, edging since the sharpening steel just realigns the edges; not sharpen.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Gypsy, I've heard Cutco is a good brand of knives.

fritteritter, yes it's not really recommended to wash in the dishwasher, although for most knives it's possible. handwashing usually just ensures proper sanitation tohugh. The Ginsu knives are great knife sets.

dohn, its' cool you can do most of your cooking with three basic knives. Not many can do that, although there are only small differences between most of the knives. Just a few small changes and a knife goes from a carving knife to a slicing knife.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Due to the fact that I love to cook, I love to shop for things a la carte. I own a total of only three knives for cooking, as I don't include individual steak knives: A Japanese meat cleaver, a sandoku knife as fritteritter suggested, and a small paring knife I like to use when watching TV or on Hubpages to cut up an apple or a pear, etc. So far, the only knife I sharpen regularly is the cleaver, usually once per week, as I love its speed and versatility (I can bone a whole chicken in less than 2 minutes). I find these knives suit me just fine. I paid only about $10 for my Japanese cleaver and it has yet to let me down! Those J.A. Henkels however are great too, just a bit pricey for me.


fritteritter profile image

fritteritter 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

I recently bought a stainless steel Ginsu set with a bamboo block in the $80-100 range, something between the two models you show here. I definitely recommend Ginsu if that is your price range. The scalloped blades make the Ginsu knives seem slightly more exotic and the stainless steel handles are very sturdy.

Also, I recommend finding a set with a Santoku knife. They are built to be excellent for slicing and are made to avoid taking the slices along with the knife, although you will need to keep a kitchen knife sharpener on hand.

Thanks for the differentiation between the materials... I'm currently only hand washing the knives due to problems I've had with stainless steel in the dishwasher.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

I invested a lot of money in a Cutco set because a friend was selling them. I have never regretted it!

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