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Discover the best kitchen knives to help you improve your culinary skills
Your foodie friend is right, it does matter which kitchen knives you use. Find out why, and which knife set to buy with our pick of the best kitchen and chef’s knives.
By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Aug 23, 2022
When it comes to successful meal preparation and cooking, you’ve told us that there’s one item you simply can’t live without - a trusty kitchen knife set or chef’s knife.
Used for everything from slicing cheese for sandwiches to finely chopping herbs for sauces or tougher meats for barbecues or stews, there’s no doubt that a good quality kitchen knife is one of the most useful kitchen tools to have.
Benefits of a good kitchen knife set
- You’ll enjoy cooking more – as meal prep becomes easier
- It’ll save you time in the kitchen
- If you trust that your knife is sharp, you may experiment with more food types like herbs
- It’s less messy and requires less washing up, as one sharp chef’s knife can cut through just about anything
- It’s safer as sharp knives with sturdy, ergonomic handles offer more control and a better grip
However, with all the different blades, edges, shapes and sizes to choose from, it can be tricky to know which one to go for, especially as kitchen knives all do different jobs.
A knife set will come with a selection of knives that will each cater to all your kitchen needs. On the other hand, some cooks prefer to find one or two good knives that can tackle all preparation tasks.
The costs of different kitchen knife sets can vary widely but, essentially, a good knife needs to be sharp, comfortable (and safe) to hold and grip, and slice through food with ease. Avid foodies will happily spend hundreds of pounds on professional kitchen knives, but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, there are cheaper options that are just as effective.
How we chose our best kitchen knives and knife sets
When it comes to selecting the right kitchen knife or complete knife set for all your culinary needs, we know it’s important that you have access to real recommendations from foodies who are just as passionate about cooking as you are.
For that reason, we always start our in-depth research by asking our trusted Mumsnet users, of which there are more than 7 million each month on our Mumsnet forum, for honest objective advice you can trust. We took note of which knives Mumsnetters really loved, paying special attention to key features they highlighted such as sharpness, ease of use, durability, value for money and the overall functionality of the knife or knife set. In fact, some home cooks have had their kitchen knife sets from reputable brands such as Global or Wüsthof for more than a decade and they’re still going strong!
In a bid to bring you trusted, in-depth feedback, we also spend time scouring the internet to check out real reviews from customers who have bought and used the products over a period of time, offering both positive and negative views on the products in question.
To give a full, well-rounded review of the best kitchen knives and knife sets, we also turned to expert food and kitchen review sites to find out which knives performed well across the board, and which household names have stood the test of time in terms of precision, quality and longevity. We only considered the knives that stood out for being ultra-sharp, stable and good value for money.
To help you get the best out of your cooking and enjoy your time in the kitchen, we’ve rounded up the best chef and kitchen knives to buy in 2022.
Mumsnet HQ's Best Buys at a Glance
What is the best kitchen knife or knife set?
- Best overall kitchen knives: Wüsthof Classic 3-Piece Kitchen Knife Set
- Best budget kitchen knives: Joseph Joseph 4-Piece Elevate Knife Set
- Best multi-purpose kitchen knife: Kitchen Devils Control Multi-Purpose Knife
- Best Japanese kitchen knives: Global Knife Block, Set of 6
- Best kitchen knives block: Sabatier 5-Piece Kitchen Knife Set Block
1. Best overall kitchen knives: Wüsthof Classic 3-Piece Knife Set
Price: £160 | Buy now from Amazon
“DH is into his knives in this house. We've now got Wüsthof ones and a whetstone, and they're great.” Reviewed by Mumsnet user Weathergirl1.
“Wüsthof Classic here, love them, I keep buying more.” Used regularly by Minipie
Founded in Germany over 200 years ago and family-owned for seven generations, there’s no doubt that Wüsthof is passionate about cutlery and produces some of the best kitchen knives around. This classic three-piece set is more than ideal for domestic cooking and has everything you need to get started including a paring knife, utility knife and cook’s knife.
Unlike other knife sets that tend to get blunt quickly, this range by Wüsthof is made with Precision Edge Technology (PEtec) which yields a blade that is 20% sharper with twice the edge retention as previous models. And, if you’re looking for a robust set, you can’t go wrong with this range as the handles are designed to resist fading, discoloration, heat and impact, while the blades themselves are made from high carbon stainless steel that resists corrosion and dulling. However, it’s a good idea to avoid the dishwasher and handwash these instead.
- Best-selling series
- Continuous tang makes them stable
- These knives retain their sharpness
- Comfortable grip
- Set comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Quite pricey
- Packaging isn’t great with this set
- Weight: 0.5kg
- Blade sizes: 20cm, 15cm, 8cm
2. Best budget kitchen knives: Joseph Joseph 4-Piece Elevate Knife Set
Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have the knife block with the Joseph Joseph knives with a little lip so when you put them down it holds the blade up off the surface - genius!” Recommended by WoollyFoolly.
This stylish knife set from Joseph Joseph comes at a very affordable price. Made from stainless steel, the four sharp knives, which include a paring knife, serrated knife, Santoku knife and chef's knife have a black non-stick silicone coating (which aids cutting and slicing) and a nice touch of colour on each handle. They’re also made with Elevate Technology to keep the blades off the surface of the table, thus ensuring less wear and tear on the knives and a cleaner workspace overall.
Don’t be tempted to put them in the dishwasher though as the coating has been known to come off. But we love that the storage case can be stuck to the back of the door – perfect if you love cooking but are confined to a small kitchen.
- Good value for money
- Knives are sharp and lightweight
- Made with non-stick silicone coating
- Slimline in-cupboard storage
- Made with Elevate Technology
- Not dishwasher safe
- Coating may come off
- Some say the blades feel a bit wobbly
- Weight: 0.5kg
- Blade sizes: 15cm, 12cm, 11cm, 8cm
3. Best multi-purpose kitchen knife: Kitchen Devils Control Multi-Purpose Knife
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have a Kitchen Devil knife that I prefer to other ones. The right knife makes a big difference.” Tried and tested by MikeUniformMike.
If you want something a bit more purse-friendly for everyday use, Kitchen Devils knives are the way to go. This utilitarian knife is made from high-quality Japanese steel and is great for most things you'd be doing day-to-day in the kitchen such as chopping and slicing vegetables, fruits and various proteins like meat and chicken.
It’s lightweight and comes with an ergonomically designed handle so it fits nicely into your hand, with a finger stop to ensure you have a safe grip when chopping. It also comes with a 15-year guarantee.
- Good quality
- Ergonomic handle – easy grip
- Not dishwasher safe
- Rusts easily
- Weight: 0.06kg
- Blade size: 27.9cm
4. Best Japanese kitchen knives: Global Knife Block, Set of 6
Price: £350 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have a Global Knife block set which set me back an eye-watering sum, but it transformed things in the kitchen and has been worth every penny.” Recommended by Otherpeoplesteens.
“I swear by my Global Knives. I have a couple of Zwilling but not as good as Global I don't think.” Tried and tested by BeeyatchPlease.
These sleek, stunning Japanese knives from Global, which were made to commemorate the brand’s 35th anniversary, are a great choice if you're looking for a long-term kitchen knife set that’ll stand the test of time. Made in Japan using techniques inspired by Samurai swords, they're carefully weighted to ensure ease of use with slightly smaller, lightweight handles than their competitors. However, bear in mind that they don’t have a full tang which is the part that extends through into the handle. Plus, the blades are sharpened to an acute 15-degree cutting edge so that they stay sharper for longer and cut through anything including meat joints.
The modern knife block comes with five high-quality knives that will make light work of everyday tasks like chopping, slicing, cutting, peeling and finely dicing, including an 18cm chef’s knife and utility knives. We also like the handy bread knife in the set that’s ideal for thinly slicing fresh loaves such as sourdough. They'll look great on any worktop space if you have a thing for showing off fancy kitchen gadgets!
- Reliable, trustworthy brand
- Dimple handles for slip-free grip
- Versatile set
- Razor sharp
- Comes with a knife block for easy storage
- Shorter handles may be an issue for those with larger hands
- No tang which makes them more lightweight, but less sturdy
- Blade could separate from the handle
- Weight: 2.35kg
- Blade sizes: 20cm, 16cm, 14cm, 13cm, 11cm, 8cm
5. Best kitchen knives block: Sabatier 5-Piece Kitchen Knife Set Block
Price: £82 | Buy now from Amazon
“We really like Sabatier knives, but they are about £35 + per knife.” Vetted by Topbird29.
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.
The set includes more commonly used knives including a paring knife for peeling or cutting fruits, a serrated all-purpose knife, a chef’s knife for chopping and dicing and a bread knife that will cut the softest bread without crushing it. This set is made from high-quality stainless steel and each knife has a riveted handle for a good grip, plus a full tang to ensure the handle doesn’t separate from the blade. We like the solid Acacia wood block that comes with this set plus the fact that the knives are dishwasher safe.
- Good value for money
- Sturdy- less likely to bend
- Harder than your average knife steel
- Solid handles
- Very sharp
- They may rust even with a quick dry
- Rust may weaken the knives
- Some say knives break after time
- Weight: 2.21kg
- Blade size: 34cm, 34cm, 24cm, 24cm
6. Best classic kitchen knives: Victorinox 6-piece Swiss Classic Tomato/Table Knife Set
Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon
“Victorinox are dead sharp (DH is forever cutting his fingers). I bought one, then went back and bought the six pack.” Recommended by TodgerStrunk.
Victorinox are best known for their Swiss army knives, but their precision table knives are just as good and really sharp. In fact, this set of six deserves a spot on our recommendations because they can be used to prep meals and eat with afterwards. They’re even sharp enough to slice a pizza in minutes, no cutter needed.
The serrated stainless-steel knives are roughly the same size as steak knives which makes them ideal for cutting, chopping and dicing in the kitchen, plus they’re great for tougher cuts of meat like rump steak or pork chops.
If you’re looking for a complete knife set, you may want to consider the Victorinox 5-Piece Swiss Classic In-Drawer Knife Holder Set which comes in a beech wood cutlery block and includes a paring knife, tomato and table knife, carving knife, Santoku knife and bread knife.
- Great quality
- Never need sharpening
- Versatile – for prepping and eating
- Easy to hold
- They are so sharp, you need to take extra care whilst cutting
- Handles feel a bit small and flimsy
- May become rusty after repeated trips to the dishwasher
- Weight: 0.18kg
- Blade size: 11cm
7. Best chef’s knife: IKEA Vardagen Cook's Knife
Price: £12 | Buy now from IKEA
“I bought an IKEA Vardagen knife and it is every bit as good as my Wüsthof.” Tried and tested by Camperdine.
With five-star reviews for product quality, appearance and value for money, we have to agree that the IKEA Vardagen Cook’s knife deserves a place in your kitchen drawer. This 16cm blade cuts through the toughest root vegetables like carrots, butternut and sweet potatoes and a range of proteins like chicken, fish and meat, with ease. The stainless-steel blade runs all the way through the handle – reminiscent of more expensive knives.
Like with all knives, regular sharpening will ensure it keeps cutting for longer, making it a great tool for everyday use without breaking the bank. We also like that this knife feels sturdy and balanced whilst cutting thanks to the tang that runs through the length of the handle.
Please note, this knife isn’t sold online for safety purposes, but it got such rave reviews on the Mumsnet forum as well as other expert review sites, that it deserves a spot on our recommendations list.
- Good value for money
- Easy to use
- Sharp and robust
- Needs minimal sharpening
- Not sold online, only in-store
- Handwash only
- Weight: 0.25kg
- Blade size: 16cm
8. Best all-round kitchen knife: Zwilling Four Star Chef's Knife
Price: £63 | Buy now from Amazon
“My Zwilling knives are excellent. Just make sure you have a good sharpener.” Reviewed by Carrie74.
With a razor-sharp blade, this chef’s knife from Zwilling can be used for a multitude of kitchen tasks, slicing effortlessly through everything from fish and meat to hard vegetables with ease.
Made from a single piece of specially made steel, the blade is ice-hardened for extra sharpness. This 20cm knife is part of Zwilling's Four Star range and comes with an ergonomic plastic handle, with the weight evenly balanced across the whole knife for more efficient cutting.
Durable and corrosion-resistant, this is a good option if you’re looking for one or two good knives for your culinary adventures.
- Long, sturdy blade
- Good quality, solid handle
- Versatile – for meats, vegetables and herbs
- Full knife tang
- Corrosion resistant
- Quite pricey
- Handle feels a bit cheap
- Weight: 0.21kg
- Blade size: 20cm
9. Best sharp kitchen knives: Robert Welch Signature 6-Piece Block Set
Price: £350 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have Robert Welch knives and his drawer storage which I love as I also dislike counter knife blocks.” Tried and tested by Hopeful16.
“I bought a set of the Robert Welch ones in a knife block a few years ago. I banned DH & DS from ever putting them in the dishwasher - they are always washed by hand. The knife blocks have magnets in so they are never resting on the blades. It also incorporates a knife sharpener on the outside of the block so it's easy to give them a quick sharpen just before you use them…” Personally recommended by Bigbluebus.
This high-quality set from British designer, Robert Welch features six essential knives from their multi-award-winning Signature range including a signature bread knife, a carving knife, Cook's knife, kitchen knife, serrated utility knife and a vegetable/paring knife.
All are made from a single piece of German steel which runs the entire length of the blade, making them very sturdy and well balanced.
The blades are thought to be 21% sharper on the first cut with 135% greater edge retention than the nearest competitor, making it a cinch to perform tasks like mincing garlic and parsley together.
Another standout feature is that this set is stored safely in a block with magnetic locators in each slot which draw the spine of the knife to the block, thus protecting the blade edge – and your fingers! It also comes with an integrated sharpener, so you never have to worry about these knives becoming blunt or worn. They also come with a lifetime guarantee, so If you’re into your cooking, these could be well worth the investment.
- Award-winning knife set
- Solid and long-lasting
- The knife block has an integrated sharpener
- Knives have a full tang across the length of the knife
- Lightweight for ease of use
- Quite pricey
- If knives need to be replaced, other Robert Welch knives don’t fit in this block
- May damage wooden chopping boards
- Weight: 3.3kg
- Blade size: 23cm, 22cm, 14cm, 14cm, 12cm, 8cm
10. Best small chef’s knife: Kai Shun Classic Chef's Knife
Price: £110 | Buy now from Amazon
While some chef’s knives can be quite large (and let’s face it, a little overwhelming), the Kai Shun Classic Chef’s knife, which is inspired by the masterful art of Samurai swords, offers the same versatility but with a more compact 15cm blade and it’s made from stainless Damascus steel with 32 layers, which makes it exceptionally robust.
As the slimline blade is smaller than other chef’s knives, the handle is easy to control when slicing, chopping, mincing, and dicing all kinds of food. It’s not cheap, but it’s a great all-round knife, especially for those with smaller hands.
- Very sharp with precise cutting
- Corrosion resistant
- Aesthetically pleasing with natural Damascus grain
- Versatile and easy to use
- Hand wash only
- Some find it too lightweight
- Might not be suitable for people with large hands
- Weight: 0.15kg
- Blade size: 15cm
What makes a good kitchen knife?
When buying a kitchen knife, there are two main styles to choose from, German and Japanese. Here's what to look for in a good kitchen knife:
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.
Also, you may want to consider the bolster when choosing the right kitchen knife for your needs. This is the thick part of the blade right before the handle. It adds weight and balance and acts as a fingerguard.
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 such as the Wüsthof Classic 3-Piece Knife Set are better for tougher items, as well as crushing.
This may come down to personal preference as some prefer a heavier, sturdier knife. It’s worth thinking about how much chopping you’ll do as a heavy knife can be more tiring on your hand and forearm, especially when slicing harder foods like root vegetables or fruits like watermelon. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed throughout the knife to give you greater control – some knives have a full tang, which means the blade runs through the handle to help balance it.
Handles can be made from various materials, such as plastic, stainless steel and wood. Look for a handle that’s comfortable and easy to grip. It should be smooth and fit into your hand nicely – a larger, heavier knife may not be suitable if you have small hands.
Which type of kitchen knife should I buy?
While many of the kitchen knives we've featured here 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 preparation, 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’re a keen baker, a serrated bread knife is essential to get through a crusty loaf.
How much should I spend on kitchen knives?
Kitchen knives can vary widely in price from around £10 up to around £850, depending on what size you buy and whether you’re purchasing them individually or as a set.
There are plenty of cheaper knives that will get the job done like the Joseph Joseph 4-Piece Elevate Knife Set but spending more can mean you get better quality material that will stay sharper for longer.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds though as there are some great mid-range options out there too. Investing in a sharpener will help keep your knives sharp, unless of course you invest in something like the Robert Welch Signature 6-Piece Block Set which comes with a built-in sharpener on the block.
What are the best kitchen knives on the market?
If you’re looking for a high-quality, practical set of knives that won’t cost you a fortune, the Wüsthof Classic 3-Piece Knife Set (which has been the company’s best-selling set for years) has everything you need to get started in the kitchen including a paring knife, utility knife and cook’s knife.
We like that the knives in this set are solid, stable and durable with a full tang for extra stability. They have some weight behind them when you pick them up but aren’t too heavy for beginners. The handles are also made from robust Polypropylene which means they won’t crack or break easily.
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