The best kitchen knives, according to Mumsnet users
29 November 2019
We all know someone who's evangelical about top quality knives. Find out what they're on about with our Mumsnet-recommended selection of the very best kitchen and chef knives to buy for your culinary feats in 2020
What makes a good kitchen knife?
There are two main styles to choose from when buying a kitchen knife – German and Japanese, and there are some key differences between the two.
One of the first things to note is that German and Japanese knives are composed of different types of steel. Japanese blades are made of a harder type of steel, which does also make them brittle – meaning they can be prone to cracking. Harder steel does mean that Japanese blades hold an edge better, but they are often thinner, more delicate blades too.
Japanese knives are usually sharper than their German counterparts, with an angle of 15 or 16 degrees, compared to 20 on the German knives. If you like master craftsmanship, you'll be pleased to hear Japanese blades are almost always hand-honed, whereas German knives are refined with a machine.
This is probably the most important factor when choosing which type of kitchen knife to go for. Japanese knives excel at fine slicing and are essentially precision tools – perfect to cut delicate items like fish and tomatoes. They don't fare well chopping pineapples or pumpkins. In fact, this can actually damage them. German style knives are better for tough to chop items, as well as crushing.
Which type of kitchen knife should I buy?
Whilst many of the knives we've featured are sets, you might just be looking to buy one or two knives, and there are definitely some choices that are better than others.
The most important knife to have in your kit is a chef's knife. It's a great all-rounder for meat prep, vegetable slicing and dicing, and even crushing items like garlic and olives.
We'd also recommend having a serrated knife in your arsenal – we've all tried to slice tomatoes with the wrong knife, and it never ends well. Paring knives are great for chopping small items like strawberries or mushrooms – and if your children are showing an interest in cooking, it's a great starter knife for small hands.
If you like baked goods, a serrated bread knife is essential to get through a crusty loaf.
Best kitchen knives and kitchen knife sets
1. 5 Piece Professional Sabatier Knife Block Set, £54.97
Sabatier have been around for 200 years, so we're pretty sure they know a thing or two about knives. Made in Thiers, France, they come with a 25-year guarantee for your peace of mind.
“We've got a stellar block of Sabatiers.Buy now from Amazon
2. Global Knife Block, Set of 6, £349 (was £399)
These stunning and sleek Japanese knives are a great choice if you're looking to splash out. Made in Japan using techniques inspired by Samurai swords, they're carefully weighted to ensure ease of use. Plus, they'll look great if you like to show off fancy kitchen gadgets – we won't judge.
“My DH brought me a Global knife set. Oh they are stunning, as was the price”
“We have two Global knives and have had them for years – they are fab. DH keeps them Samurai sharp with a whetstone”Buy now from Amazon
3. Kitchen Devils Multi Purpose Knife, £6.49
If you want something a bit more purse-friendly for everyday use, Kitchen Devils are the way to go. This utilitarian knife is great for most things you'd be doing day-to-day in the kitchen.
“I have Kitchen Devil knives. Sharpest knives I have ever used.”Buy now from Amazon
4. Joseph Joseph 4-Piece Elevate Knife Set, £27.99
This stylish knife set comes at a very affordable price. We love that the storage case can be stuck to the back of the door – perfect for anyone who loves cooking but is confined to a small kitchen.
“I have a lovely Joseph Joseph set. I love it.”Buy now from Amazon
5. Wüsthof Starter Roll Bag, Set of 6, £92.19
Wüsthof makes some of the more expensive knives, but this mid-range set is more than perfect for the domestic cook. It has everything you need, and a sharpener to boot.
“DH is into his knives in this house. We've now got Wüsthof ones and a whetstone, and they're great.”Buy now from Amazon
6. Victorinox 9 Piece Knife Block, £128.83
Victorinox are best known for their Swiss army knives, but their kitchen knives are just as good. This set of nine even comes with kitchen scissors – much better for cutting pizza than a pizza cutter.
“I can recommend Victorinox – not expensive and not rubbish either.”Buy now from Amazon
7. IKEA Vardagen Cook's Knife, £12
This 16-inch offering from IKEA cuts through tough foods, like root vegetables and meat, with ease. The stainless steel blade runs all the way through the handle, reminiscent of more expensive knives. A great budget all-rounder.
“We bought a couple of knives from IKEA to use until we decided which to get. Have stuck with the IKEA ones ever since.”Buy now from IKEA
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