The best kitchen knife set of 2020
Whether you're an adventurous cook or someone who sticks to the basics, you need a quality kitchen knife set to help you with prep.
The right kitchen knives can make chopping and dicing ingredients a breeze. Choosing a kitchen knife set rather than individual knives means you have all the knives you might need to prep a wide range of ingredients.
We've done our research on the latest in kitchen knives to bring you the best kitchen knife sets of 2020. Our top three features an old favorite and a couple of new additions.
Best kitchen knife sets of 2020
1. J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 19-Piece Knife Block Set: These exceptional-quality knives are practically professional-grade and cut like a dream, hence their return to our top spot.
2. Chicago Cutlery Insignia 13-Piece Cutlery Block Set: An affordable yet highly usable set of kitchen knives with full tangs and high carbon stainless steel blades. This newcomer to our list has truly impressed us.
3. Calphalon Contemporary SharpIN Self-Sharpening 20-Piece Cutlery Set: Some great knives from a well-known kitchenware brand. The self-sharpening system is just one of the reasons this set has made it into our top three.
For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.
What you need to know before buying a kitchen knife set
Consider what types of knives are included in your chosen kitchen knife set. Basic sets may only contain the most commonly used types of kitchen knives, such as a utility knife, chef's knife, paring knife, and bread knife. Larger sets include less commonly used knives, such as a cleaver, Santoku knife, and peeling knife. Many sets also include steak knives, kitchen shears, and knife sharpeners.
Check whether the blade is forged or stamped. Forged knives tend to be harder and hold an edge better than stamped knives, but you can still find some excellent stamped options. A high-quality stamped knife beats a lower-end forged knife, so it's certainly not the only factor to consider.
Full tang knives have blades that extend all the way down the handle, whereas half tang knives have blades that stop halfway down the handle. Full tang knives tend to be a little stronger with better balance, though the casual user may not find a huge difference.
Heavy knives are great for cutting tough ingredients, whereas thinner, lighter knives are best for delicate jobs. Your comfort while chopping is important, however, and you may find yourself tiring after using a heavy knife for too long. The handle also makes a big difference to overall comfort. Those that are ergonomically designed are far more comfortable to use for long periods, which is great if you batch cook or at least do a few days' prep in advance.
Depending on the size of the set and its overall quality, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $500 for a kitchen knife set.
Q. What's the best material for a knife blade?
A. There's no single best material for knife blades, as all have their pros and cons and many can vary in quality. Stainless steel blades can be excellent or mediocre depending on the overall quality of manufacturing. High carbon steel is harder and more durable than standard stainless steel so is often considered a superior option. Ceramic blades are less popular than metal ones as they're fragile, but they can be extremely sharp and they don't dull over time.
Q. How do I keep my knives sharp?
A. Knives with metal blades need regular sharpening to keep them sharp. You can buy knife sharpeners quite inexpensively to get the job done. Some kitchen knife sets come with a self-sharpening system consisting of individual sharpeners set into the block that sharpen your knives as you remove and/or replace them.
In-depth reviews for best kitchen knife sets
Best of the best: J.A. Henckels' Twin Signature 19-Piece Knife Block Set
What we like: Huge set with 16 knives, kitchen shears, a sharpener, and a block. Ice-hardened blades are extremely durable. Comfortable ergonomic handles.
What we dislike: This price is too high for some, though the set is worth it if you can afford it.
Best bang for your buck: Chicago Cutlery's Insignia 13-Piece Cutlery Block Set
What we like: Each knife has a forged blade and full tang. Contains all the basic knives you need for home cooking. Attractive natural wood block. Affordable price.
What we dislike: You only get five kitchen knives; the rest are steak knives.
What we like: High carbon steel blades are strong and durable. The self-sharpening block keeps your knives in optimal condition. Full tang design.
What we dislike: The steak knives aren't self-sharpening.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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