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best kitchen knives

The Best Kitchen Knives in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

An indispensable kitchen utensil in every home is a kitchen knife. A good kitchen knife must be sharp and fit well in the hand. We have spent hours and conducted studies to create a list of the best kitchen knife sets for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Kitchen Knives

What is a Kitchen Knife?

A kitchen knife set consists of several knives that are needed in food preparation. Different kitchen knives are required for different ingredients, so it is worth buying a set right away. The test winners of the kitchen knife sets are suitable for professional star chefs as well as for demanding amateur cooks.

Generally, it is a set of at least two kitchen knives, but there are also kitchen knife sets with four to six different types of knives. In addition to the utility knife, there are knives for bread, for meat and for other cuttings. Blade shape, length and other features are tailored in each case to the appropriate food

How does a Kitchen Knife work?

The kitchen knife sets from the test consist of two to six chef’s knives. In a two-piece set, a garnishing knife is available in addition to the chef’s knife, and a meat knife is added to the three-piece set. With these kitchen knives, most of the work can already be done. The knives function as a cutting tool.

Already by their shape you can see for which purposes they are suitable. The individual components are the blade tip, the blade blade, the cutting edge, the burr as part of the cutting edge, the back of the knife, the bolster, the tang as well as the handle.

The function of kitchen knives can be well explained by the utility knife, which can be used for many jobs. With its smooth blade, it can not only cut, but also weigh and chop. However, for certain cut material such as bread, a serrated blade is better, so the kitchen knife sets from the test also include a bread knife.

The selection can be supplemented with small kitchen knives in the set. For example, there is the office knife, which is shorter and narrower compared to the classic chef’s knife.

Thus, it can be perfectly used for cutting and peeling small ingredients such as vegetables. Other special knives have been developed for filleting or garnishing. Thus, each knife from the set has its own function.

Advantages of Kitchen Knives

A reliable kitchen knife is required for the various tasks involved in food preparation. Professional chefs have their own equipment and swear by the test winners of chef’s knives. However, high-quality kitchen knife sets from the test are also in demand in private households.

A sharp and durable kitchen knife will cut even soft tomatoes perfectly so they don’t get squeezed and lose too much juice as a result. When chopping many ingredients, several knives are often in use. This is exactly what the kitchen knife sets were developed for. In their design and cutting power, they are perfectly suited for the respective foods.

With a complete kitchen knife set, you always have the desired knife at hand and are perfectly prepared for cutting vegetables, bread or meat. Those who like to eat fish should make sure that a good filleting knife is part of the set. For the meat gourmets, extra sharp steak knives are in demand.

The high-class kitchen knife sets are suitable not only for the kitchen work itself, but also for the grill master and sometimes even for a picnic. Here, however, it is necessary to pay attention to safe storage to exclude injuries.

Types of Kitchen Knives

There are sometimes great differences in kitchen knife sets and also in the chef’s knives themselves. These are related to the different requirements in the kitchen and special preparation methods. For example, the kitchen knife sets from the test can be divided into typically European and Asian models. The models that are used particularly often in the Western world have different functions than a Chinese cleaver or an Asian santoku kitchen knife.

The traditional, European utility knives are relatively long at about 20 cm and correspondingly heavy. In the direction of the handle, the knife blade becomes more solid and the handle itself has an ergonomic shape. The back of the knife is relatively straight and the cutting edge often curves upward toward the tip.

This is convenient for the cutting motion and also helps when stabbing into the food being cut. Especially when cutting vegetables, these all-purpose kitchen knives prove their worth.

The typical Asian knife has also won many friends as a Santoku knife. Its blade is slightly shorter at 18 cm, and the blade blade is also more flat in shape. The back of the knife lowers slightly in the direction of the sheath, so that you can also stab well. The cutting edge is only slightly curved, because here a good contact with the cutting surface should be ensured.

Chinese cleavers have made a name for themselves as Duo Dao. The resemblance to European cleavers is unmistakable with the almost rectangular shape of the blade, but the very sharp and thin blade of the Chinese knife is not used to chop bones.

Apart from the kitchen knives for different culinary areas, the knife sets can also be categorized based on their quality. Among the test winners of the kitchen knife sets are the professional knife sets. They often consist of several kitchen knives that have the right blade for each activity.

Carving knives, fish knives, boning knives and other special knives, professional chefs are pleased with this complete equipment. Often, the knife set for professional use also includes a whetstone or sharpening steel.

Often these are kitchen knife sets for everyday cooking, with sharp meat knife and practical vegetable knife. Sometimes there are also knife sets that contain several vegetable knives and are therefore perfect for vegetarian cooking.

For example, a vegetable knife set consists of a paring knife, a small cutting knife and a tomato knife.

The advantages of kitchen knife sets:

  • the right knife for all foods,
  • good cutting quality,
  • uniform design,
  • as a starter set often including sharpening stone.

The disadvantages of kitchen knife sets:

  • more space required,
  • relatively high overall price.

How are Kitchen Knives tested?

In the test of the kitchen knife sets, various features were tested. The focus was not only on the quality of the individual knives, but also on their respective suitability. The criteria tested here are particularly important for easy and reliable handling.

Sharpness

A kitchen knife should have the necessary sharpness, regardless of what you cut with it. The major manufacturers attach importance to the proverbial razor-sharp blades, so that the knives have a clean cut in practical use. Responsible for the blade sharpness is mainly the material, but also the processing should be right.

Blade Material

The material of the knife blade says something about the sharpness and also about the durability of the kitchen knife sets. The hardness of the blade steel is indicated in Rockwell, abbreviated HRC. For normal kitchen knife sets, the hardness level is usually between 52 and 56 HRC. From 55 HRC the knives belong to the high-quality test winners and Damascus knives even reach 62 HRC.

The decision for a certain blade material depends on what you mainly cut with it and how often you use the kitchen knife set from the comparison test. Chef’s knives with a ceramic blade are characterized by excellent sharpness, and furthermore, no rust can settle here.

However, they can not be sharpened yourself, so you have to give them to a professional. Knife blades made of European steel quality are less sharp but rust-free. The interesting pattern of the noble knives with Damascus blade is striking.

Here, in addition to the high degree of hardness, the special sharpness is convincing. The damask chef’s knives require careful care.

Grinding possible or not

If the kitchen knives from the set become dull over time, it is helpful if you can resharpen them yourself. However, you should do this only for the products with European steel blade. Ceramic and Damascus steel should not be sharpened by yourself, so the help of a professional grinder is necessary.

Knife handle

The handles of the kitchen knife sets are often made of sturdy plastic, wood or metal. Wood is considered to have a particularly good grip, but can be somewhat sensitive. If a stronger cutting force is required, the non-slip plastic handles show their quality.

Some of the extra-sharp knives have a finger guard to prevent slipping. Finding the right handle is not only about the choice of material, but also about the size, so that you can perfectly grip your kitchen knives.

What should I look for when buying a kitchen knife set?

The decision to buy a kitchen knife set from the test depends on whether you already have a few high-quality knives or if you are looking for basic equipment. In addition, you should consider which cooking knives are actually necessary. If you don’t cook that often and only use a few ingredients, two knives may be enough. Other kitchen knife sets contain many more knives and accessories.

With a six-piece set, you are well equipped to prepare a multi-course meal or a barbecue platter. However, the number of knives says nothing about the actual quality. In fact, minimalists prefer to reach for the test winners of kitchen knife sets, where fewer knives offer more options.

So, you should pay attention to the modern manufacturing technology and the high quality of materials, because these details are usually more important than a fourth or sixth knife, which you may not need.

To some extent, brands advertise kitchen knife sets in gastronomy quality. Here you can be sure that the blade sharpness is perfect and that the durability also leaves no questions unanswered.

If you are looking for a kitchen knife set to take with you, you should check whether it comes with a carrying bag or a case. For your own kitchen, the chef’s knives with knife block are particularly suitable. So you have immediately the ideal storage place for the new kitchen knife set.

Kitchen Knife Accessories

The kitchen knife sets are sometimes already supplied with accessories. Sometimes a knife block or a wall mount is included in the set. The knife block is simply placed on the kitchen shelf or counter. It is a practical and at the same time decorative solution. The wall mount can be screwed down or mounted with a magnet.

If you prefer to store your kitchen knife set in a drawer, you should use a cutlery insert. This ensures that the knives do not slide around and bump against each other. A suitable insert creates a safe storage system that not only eliminates injuries, but also minimizes wear and tear on the knife blades.

Some of the kitchen knife sets from the test come with a sharpening or grinding stone. Depending on the blade material used, you may need a sharpening steel or a sharpening aid to sharpen the knives. These abrasives can also be purchased separately and will help to occasionally bring the blades back up to snuff.

When looking for a suitable sharpening product, it is important to realize that there is a difference between sharpening and grinding. Grinding removes material so that the geometry of the knife edge changes somewhat.

In contrast, a sharpening steel mostly just straightens the burr. This straightening must be done regularly, especially with a soft blade material. Sharpening keeps the knife blade sharp for a longer period of time, while grinding provides new sharpness.

A knife block sometimes has an extra slot for a sharpening steel. If you buy the block separately, you should make sure that the inserts fit the existing kitchen knife set, so that no knife has to go in the drawer and the sharpening steel also finds a place.

In addition to the knives, the right cutting boards are also required for the many cutting tasks in the kitchen. There are cutting boards made of different materials and in numerous formats. Glass and ceramics are hard and easy to clean, but they put a lot of strain on knife blades. Wood is less hygienic, but the blades retain their sharpness on the soft material.

Often the handle goes to plastic boards, which are soft enough and still easy to maintain.

Kitchen Knife Alternatives

In the test of kitchen knife sets, various products were examined. Optionally, you can also put together your own assortment of knives. The decision for a complete set is also a decision for a certain brand. However, some amateur chefs do not attach importance to the fact that all kitchen knives bear the same logo. So you can use the chef’s knife from one manufacturer and the bread knife from the next brand.

However, if you like to store your kitchen knives in a knife block, you should stick with one brand for the sake of uniformity. The knife block is a special version of the kitchen knife set, so to speak.

Some consumers buy their knives little by little, because they do not want to spend so much money at once. Most of the time, you pay a little more this way, but the expenses are spread over a longer period of time.

Last product update on 2021-09-24 | Source: Amazon Affiliate