15 best knife sets for key kitchen tasks

February 8, 2024
15-best-knife-sets-for-key-kitchen-tasks
15 best knife sets for key kitchen tasks

Knives are a kitchen essential – you’ll need them for most meals that you prepare from scratch. While it’s possible to manage several tasks with a multi-purpose chef’s knife, there are advantages in buying a set of knives. Not only will you be able to cover a wider range of tasks with the right knife for the job, a set can look stylish in your kitchen, and be more cost-effective than buying them individually.

One of the first things to consider when buying a set is whether the selection will meet all your needs. Some smaller sets won’t contain a bread knife, for instance. This might be fine if you already have one, or only buy sliced bread, but it will be an issue for many.

Most knife sets have one or two smaller knives for everyday jobs, such as chopping vegetables, along with a carving knife and a chef’s knife. If you haven’t bought knives for a while, you might be surprised to find a Santoku knife in some sets. These versatile Japanese-style knives usually have indents on the blade to help prevent food sticking, and are designed for chopping and dicing. You can also use the flat surface to scoop up finely chopped ingredients, such as herbs and garlic.

The quality of the knives is key. Full tang knives – where the blade is a single piece of metal running the whole length and through the handle – is generally thought to be stronger, but can be expensive. Half tang knives, where the handle is simply attached to the end of the blade, may be more affordable.
Storage is another consideration. Some sets can be kept in the cutlery drawer while others come in a block, in a variety of colours, sizes and styles. Think about how much worktop space a set takes up and whether you prefer a compact design or one that makes more of a statement.

If you’re a parent, safety will also be a concern. In some of our blocks, the knives projected from the side, while others needed to be pulled from the top end, making them harder for young children to remove.

Read on to discover which knife sets to buy. For more, visit our reviews section to find more than 600 practical buyer’s guides offering unbiased advice on what equipment is worth investing in, from the best food processors to best dishwashers.

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Best knife sets at a glance

  • Best knife set for keen cooks: Opinel Parallèle five-piece knife block set, £160
  • Best knife set for everyday food prep: ProCook Professional X50 chef knife set, £229
  • Most comprehensive knife set: ProCook Professional X50 Micarta knife set eight-piece and glass block, £249
  • Best Damascus steel knife set: Lakeland Multi Knife Block Damascus five-piece knife bundle, £309.94
  • Best knife set with chopping boards: Viners Multi Store nine-piece knife block set + sharpener, £85
  • Best modern knife set: Circulon kitchen six-piece knife block set, £120
  • Best knife set with integrated knife sharpener:  Ninja Foodi StaySharp 5-Piece Knife Block, £169.99
  • Best celebrity chef knife set: Jamie Oliver Tefal 6 kitchen knives and block, £153
  • Best traditional knife set: Sabatier by Stellar Set of 5 kitchen knives in wooden knife block, £69.95
  • Best knife set for drawer storage: Joseph Joseph 10-piece Multicolour In-drawer Knife & Utensil Set, £120
  • Best knife set for parents of young kids: Joseph Joseph LockBlock, £179
  • Best investment knife set: Zwilling Pro 7 Piece Ash Self Sharpening Knife Block, £479
  • Best blow the budget knife set: DNA Savernake Quad Knife Set, from £547
  • Best knife block: Kuhn Rikon Colori knife and block 6 piece set, £86.95
  • Best for versatility: Our Place Knife Trio, £125

Best knife sets to buy in 2024

Opinel Parallèle five-piece knife block set

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Best knife set for keen cooks

Pros: 

  • Well-designed block
  • Excellent performance
  • Good selection of blades

Cons:

  • No utility knife
  • Not dishwasher safe

Star rating: 5/5

Set contains: Paring knife, chef’s knife (20cm), Santoku knife, carving knife, bread knife

Comprising five knives with beech handles from Opinel’s Parallèle range plus a matching beech wood block, this attractive set is one to have out on display. Yet it’s not just eye-catching, it’s well-designed too. The block has wide slots at the top, cut all the way through to protect the blades, while underneath are silicone pads to keep it sturdy on your worktop. Its choice of knives should also cover most tasks: we felt the only omission would be a utility knife as the paring knife in the set is on the small side. We used the Santoku for the larger prep jobs that a utility would usually handle, such as slicing tomatoes, which it did well, producing effortlessly thin slices.

All the knives performed excellently in our tests, with the stand-out star being the frighteningly sharp chef’s knife, which went through hard vegetables like they were butter. The only knife in the set that could be sharper was the bread knife. While it was capable of producing thin slices from a crusty loaf, some sawing was required at the base. Unsurprisingly, wooden handles mean hand washing is a must but otherwise, it’s a great set for keen cooks or those keen to upgrade to improve their repertoire.

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ProCook Professional X50 chef knife set

Available from ProCook (£229)

Best knife set for everyday food prep

Pros:

  • French styling
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Long, wide storage slots

Cons:

  • Smaller chef’s knife than average
  • Needs regular oiling

Star rating: 5/5

Set contains: 9cm paring, 12.5cm utility, 15.5cm chef’s knife, 18cm Santoku, 25cm bread knife and 25cm carving knife

Like much of ProCook’s collection, its Professional X50 chef knife set is a good mix of style and substance. This set includes almost every knife you could need in a busy kitchen, from an elegant Santoku to a slender carving knife, all of which are pleasant to hold and with just enough weight to be practical. Our only quibble would be the length of the chef’s knife – while lighter than usual and nimble for most food prep, we felt that its short blade would make it less useful for heavy duty and large tasks, such as butternut squash or watermelon.

In testing, most performed well, although we found that the carving knife could pull cooked chicken slightly on the backstroke, and the bread knife required a few more strokes at the base of the loaf. We especially liked how this set looked and felt: its ash wood handles with brass rivets give it a premium feel and coordinate with the ash block, which has wide slots to prevent wear on the blades. We also liked the 25-year guarantee. However, the wooden handles do mean the knives aren’t dishwasher-safe and need oiling, so if you’re looking for a low-maintenance set, this probably isn’t the one for you. It’s best suited to someone willing to invest in a set for decades of use to come.

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ProCook Professional X50 Micarta knife set eight-piece and glass block

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Most comprehensive knife set

Pros:

  • Great choice of knives
  • Eco-friendly packaging

Cons:

  • None

Star rating: 5/5

Set contains: 9cm paring knife, 13cm Santoku knife, 13cm utility knife. 15cm chef’s knife, 20cm chef’s knife, 18cm Santoku knife, 25cm bread knife, 25cm carving knife.

We were very impressed with the packaging on this one – the knives were packed in cardboard boxes. Five came in one well-designed box, with three others in individual ones. No plastic here, apart from the necessary bit to protect the tip. Once opened, the packaging revealed a very comprehensive knife set which is ideal for enthusiastic cooks. There are two Santoku knives in different sizes, for example, and also two chef’s knives. We couldn’t think of any tasks that you couldn’t accomplish with this set.

We also scored the block itself highly. Made of sturdy smoked glass and acacia, there are two long slots running across the width inside rather than individual ones for the knives. This makes putting them back easier – no fiddling around to find the right-sized space. The fact that the block is transparent also makes it easier to select the right knife each time. With eight knives, this is a good time-saver.

With so many knives, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting one for a particular task. The smallest knives all performed well on our standard celery/carrot/onion prep. All are well weighted, and every knife we tested cut efficiently and easily. The bread knife and rather scary looking carving knife had unusually long blades – especially in relation to the handle – which took a bit of getting used to. Although not the cheapest, this set is designed to provide value – it comes with a 25-year guarantee.

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Lakeland multi knife block Damascus five-piece bundle

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Best Damascus steel knife set

Pros: 

  • Hand-finished blades
  • Universal block for different knife sizes
  • Layered steel for strength and durability

Cons:

  • Hand wash only
  • Rounded handles can be tricky to grip

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: Paring knife 9cm, utility knife 11.5cm, Santoku knife 13cm, bread knife 20cm, chef’s knife 20cm.

Damascus steel has a reputation for being one of the sturdiest, most corrosion-resistant and more durable types of steel, thanks to its layered construction. In this set, there are five Japanese Damascus steel knives: each with the typical waved pattern along the blade, rounded black pakka wood handles (a wood resin composite that’s resistant to heat and moisture) and packaged in individual presentation boxes (although the block comes in plain cardboard).

Fortunately, the knives didn’t disappoint. The Santoku created clean, even slices of cooked chicken, while the bread knife went through our crusty loaf so effortlessly hardly any crumbs were left behind. Our favourites were the utility and paring blades: both were beautifully sharp, well balanced and easy to use with hardly any pressure required to glide through fruit and vegetables. The only knife we found difficult to get the hang of was the chef’s knife: while the blade was equally sharp, we found the handle too chunky to use for long comfortably, although its wide blade came in handy for crushing garlic. Surprisingly, even though the handles are robust and the steel strong, this is a set you’ll have to hand wash to keep it in good order, which for the busy cook is disappointing. It would make a great gift for a foodie though.

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Viners Multi Store nine-piece knife block set + sharpener

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Best knife set with chopping boards

Pros: 

  • Block works as a tablet or phone holder
  • Multifunctional set
  • Good value

Cons: 

  • Hand wash only
  • Not as attractive as some

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: 20cm chef’s knife, 20cm carving knife, 20cm bread knife, 12.5cm utility knife, 9cm paring knife, scissors, knife sharpener, 2x chopping boards

If you like practical added extras, Viners knife block set doesn’t disappoint. It has a built-in knife sharpener at the front, and a pair of scissors in a compartment that can also be used to hold utensils. There’s even a pair of small polypropylene chopping boards at the back, which, when removed, leave behind a holder that’s ideal for your phone or tablet as you cook. We also liked that there was no plastic in the packaging.

Five knives feel like they’ve been designed to suit general everyday use: most are light with good grippy handles, apart from the chef’s knife, which has enough weight in it to be useful when slicing and dicing. The carving knife sliced our chicken easily, and while the bread knife needed some sawing initially to get it going, it produced a good thin slice, with some crumbs from the crust. We especially liked the chef’s knife, which was excellent at slicing, as was the utility knife, which created thin tomato slices with minimal mess. The only knife that we found less useful was the paring knife: while it was good at slicing, more delicate prep, such as segmenting out orange slices, was awkward. A good all-rounder set for a busy family kitchen.

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Circulon kitchen six-piece knife block set

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Best modern knife set

Pros: 

  • Chef’s knife designed to release food
  • Textured handles for comfort and grip

Cons:

  • Hand wash only
  • Plastic/metal block

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: chef’s knife, slicer knife, bread knife, utility knife, paring knife

Circulon’s knife block set has a few features that set it apart from others that we’ve reviewed. For starters, the block is a contemporary departure from the traditional style, it being a linear design that’s perfect for stashing away at the back of the worktop. Another difference is that each of its five knives are labelled on their Japanese steel blades to prevent confusion between the utility and paring knife for example. Its chef’s knife is distinct in appearance: it features holes along the blade that are designed to prevent food adhering. In practice, we didn’t notice the benefit – if anything, we found that the holes could be a hindrance when chopping small pieces – but imagine that this could come in handy with large fruit and vegetables.

Most of the knives are relatively light, but comfortable to hold. The slicer knife acted as our carving knife and was easy to use when slicing cooked chicken, although the bread knife struggled through our crusty loaf. Our favourites were the serrated utility knife, which created thin, even tomato slices, and the paring knife, which required little effort. A good choice if you prefer specialised knives rather than relying on a chef’s knife.

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Ninja Foodi StaySharp knife block 5-piece set

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Best knife set with integrated knife sharpener

Pros:

  • Integrated knife sharpener
  • Recyclable packing
  • Ergonomic to hold
  • Incredibly sharp on unboxing
  • 10-year sharpness

Cons:

  • Large countertop footprint
  • No smaller chef’s knife

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: Chef’s knife, bread knife, carving knife, utility knife, paring knife

The thing that strikes you when unboxing this knife set is Ninja’s bold and instructional box decoration. The second is its size. This is not a knife set for a small kitchen – it requires as much room as a kettle would in both width and depth, primarily due to its unique selling point: the integrated knife sharpener.

It’s a bulky but undeniably useful addition, which sits to the right of the knives in the block and is intuitive to us, with a lever that runs the length of the knife blade in a controlled, smooth motion.

Each knife offers an ergonomic handle and has a heft that donates quality, without feeling heavy. It actually gives you confidence when using the larger carving and chef’s knives. It’s clear to see which knife slots in where as the grooves vary in width.

At 20cm long, the large chef’s knife and carving knife give you excellent leverage for chopping through tough ingredients such as a large butternut squash and tough pumpkin skin. The paring knife and utility knife both cut remarkable smoothly, easy to navigate around fiddly fruit stones and tomato skins safely.

It would be nice to have the option of a smaller chef’s knife, but the utility knife fulfils the requirements easily. We used the knives for two weeks to test the effectiveness of the sharpener (as the instructions suggest) and found three strokes created a blade that sliced effortlessly through paper.

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Jamie Oliver Tefal 6 kitchen knives and block

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Best celebrity chef knife set

Pros:

  • Block has small footprint
  • Good-quality knives
  • Good range

Cons:

  • Not always clear which knife goes where in block

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: 9cm paring knife, 12cm utility knife, 16.5cm santoku knife, 20cm slicing knife, 20cm bread knife, 20cm chef’s knife

We felt spoilt for choice with this knife block, which is a partnership between celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and leading kitchen brand Tefal.

When coring and slicing a pineapple – not the most pleasant of tasks – the santoku, slicing and chef’s knives all coped easily. The chef’s knife is notably weighty so good for heavier tasks. It’s the same length as the slicing knife though the latter somehow felt longer. The bread knife was also the heaviest of all those tested – yes we weighed it – and felt particularly solid.

We put the two smallest knives – the 9cm paring and the 12cm utility – through their paces by chopping onion, carrots and celery and both were highly effective, slicing through cleanly. One of these two would no doubt become your go-to knife for most tasks so it really is a matter of personal choice which you prefer.

The knives, which are made from German stainless steel, are ice hardened and feel strong. Handles are smooth and comfortable to hold. They are full tang and high quality.

The acacia block itself is compact and attractive, with six different-sized slots for the knives. These aren’t marked and there were occasions when, replacing all the knives in one go, we were left with the last one not fitting in the remaining slot, meaning we had to rearrange them.

But this would only be a problem if you were using several of them at once – plus you would soon get used to which knife goes where.

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Sabatier by Stellar set of 5 kitchen knives in wooden knife block

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Best traditional knife set

Pros:

  • Very effective knives
  • Knives can go in the dishwasher

Cons:

  • Not the most exciting looking

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: 9cm paring knife, 10m utility knife, 15cm cook’s knife, 20cm carving knife, 20cm bread knife.

Some knife sets are designed for style and to be a focal point of the kitchen. Others – like this one – just get quietly on with the job in hand. This is a straightforward, traditional-looking, unflashy knife set for those who enjoy home cooking and the set contains all the knives you need to accomplish every task.

The wooden block itself is fairly discreet looking. Knives have traditional black handles with rivets. We found them nicely sharp and pleasant to hold. Knives are full tang and made from stainless steel. They come with a lifetime guarantee for extra reassurance.

We particularly liked the smallest knife, which is slightly squarer than most paring knives and particularly easy to use. It looked a bit like a cross between a paring knife and a santoku knife. Light and easy to manipulate, we can see this one becoming a go-to knife for meal prep.

We tested the knives on everything from butternut squash and onions to cherries and pineapple. The bigger knives worked their way efficiently through the tougher fruits, while the smaller ones diced everything without much effort. They are comfortable to hold with a ridge between handle and blade to protect fingers from slipping.

The bread knife is short and easy to control, slicing effectively through our baguette. Made of stainless steel, these can go in the dishwasher though handwashing is recommended.

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Joseph Joseph 10-piece Multicolour In-drawer Knife & Utensil Set

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Best knife set for drawer storage

Pros: 

  • In-drawer trays
  • Weighted handles so blade doesn’t touch worktop
  • Utensil set included

Cons:

  • Hand wash only

Star rating: 4/5

Set contains: 3.5“ paring knife, 4.5” serrated knife, 5.5“ Santoku knife, 6.5” Chef’s knife and 8“ bread knife / solid spoon, slotted spoon, slotted turner, flexible turner, ladle

There’s a lot packed into Joseph Joseph’s 10-piece set: two in-drawer plastic trays, ideal for the person who dislikes clutter on the worktop, five kitchen knives, and a handy set of utensils. Each of the knives features the company’s signature Elevate design, meaning that the blade is raised up from the surface when not in use. The knives are colour-coded too, ensuring that you can keep one for raw meat and fish, for example.

However, while they’re brilliantly designed and thought out, there’s no getting away from the fact that the plastic handles feel cheap and lightweight compared to others that we tested. While the larger knives had more weight in the blades and handles of a good length, the smaller ones in this set had short handles and could be impractical for those with larger hands. Plus, while the Elevate design is clever, it can get in the way. For example, the chef’s knife sliced brilliantly, but the projection was an obstruction when crushing garlic with the blade. We also found the paring knife difficult to use around the curves of an orange as the projection made it hard to see progress. We were also disappointed to see that the set was hand wash only given that the handles are plastic.

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Joseph Joseph LockBlock

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Best knife set for parents of young kids

Pros:

  • Great-quality knives
  • Childproof

Cons:

  • Knives take a bit of effort to remove

Star rating: 4/5

Set contains: 3.5in paring knife, 5in utility knife, 7in santoku knife, 8in chef’s knife, 8in bread knife, 8in carving knife

This block is designed to prevent kids from getting hold of sharp knives: it’s the knife set equivalent of a childproof lock on a jar of pills. The black block has a green button at the side which you need to push up as you remove a knife. This unlocks the mechanism and releases the knife. The company says that in tests, 96% of under-fives couldn’t operate the mechanism.

It’s very effective though it does mean removing a knife requires both hands – you can’t just grab a knife easily. So if you don’t have children, it could be a little frustrating though you do quickly get used to it.

The knife block itself is well designed, with a coloured band on each knife matching the slot it fits into. Trying to find the right-sized slot for each knife can be an irritating feature of knife blocks, so this is a good idea. It also adds a splash of colour to the block.

The knives are made of forged Japanese stainless steel and there are bolster guards to protect fingers from the blade during use.

Knives are comfortable to hold, easy to grip and cut cleanly. We were particularly impressed with the bread knife which, though the lightest we tested, sliced effectively through our crusty baguette and home-made farmer’s loaf.

The large santoku knife is the real workhorse of this set – both this and the chef’s knife dealt easily with the top of a butternut squash and we also used it to dice the squash. The small paring knife cut through cherries smoothly and easily.

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Zwilling Pro 7 Piece Ash Self Sharpening Knife Block

Best investment knife set

Pros:

  • Excellent quality and innovative knife block design
  • Includes scissors

Cons:

  • Price may put some off

Set contains: Ash block, 4in paring knife, 5in utility knife, 8in slicing knife, 8in chef’s knife, 8in bread knife, kitchen scissors.

This is a knife set that oozes quality. The five knives should cover every kitchen task you’d need and the scissors are a welcome bonus, too. The ice-hardened stainless steel knives are full tang (as you would expect at this price point) and are pleasingly weighty in the hand. The slight curve at the bottom of the handle makes them particularly comfortable to hold.

The knives cut effortlessly, with the bread knife gliding through our crusty loaf. We particularly liked the serrated utility knife, which was perfect for cutting anything from tomatoes to grapefruit.

While the black-handled knives with flush rivets look traditional, the knife block itself is clever and innovative. Each knife has its own slot, with an image next to it to show you which one goes where. The slots for non-serrated knives have integrated ceramic sharpening stones so they are gently sharpened each time you pull one out or put it back.

The ash block is also attractive and sits quite low, meaning you can happily place it under a cupboard.

DNA Savernake Quad Knife Set

Best blow-the-budget knife set

Pros:

  • Star quality
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Made with recycled steel

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • No bread or paring knife.

Star rating: 4.5/5

Set contains: Utility knife, nakiri knife, two chef’s knives

Although the quality (and the price) are proof that these are designed for the serious cook, these knives also show that cooking doesn’t have to be a serious matter. With their cheerful handles, each one in a different colour or style, these will brighten up any kitchen. You can get them engraved for free when you buy them to complete the personalisation – there’s even a choice of font.

Savernake is a British brand, made from British materials including 95% recycled steel . Blades of each knife are finished and sharpened by hand.

These come with a lifetime guarantee and also an information card with a plea not to put them in the dishwasher. You can choose to buy them with or without a stylish magnetic wooden block.

We liked the packaging, with the knives coming in an open tube, with cork at the top to keep the knives firmly and safely.

These are four knives for cooking rather than all kitchen tasks – there is no bread knife, for example and this particular set doesn’t come with a paring knife. We tried all four knives on onion, carrot and celery and they were all clean and efficient. While we mainly used paring knives to cut cherries during this test, the utility knife here was more than up to the task.

Knives were light, sharp and comfortable to hold.

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Kuhn Rikon Colori knife and block 6 piece set

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Best knife block

Pros:

  • Good range, well thought-out block

Cons:

  • Knife handles feel lightweight

Set contains: Clear block, 18cm bread knife, 17cm chef’s knife, 9.5cm Santoku knife, 12.5cm utility knife, 9.5cm paring knife

Knife blocks can have two distinct disadvantages. You often end up pulling out several knives before finding the one you want, and there is rarely anywhere to store a favourite old knife that you still use frequently and which isn’t part of the set.

This aims to deal with both problems. Firstly, the knife block is transparent, allowing you to easily pick out the one you need. Secondly, the top of the block has plenty of space for other knives or kitchen scissors –the flexible insert at the top means you can press knives in anywhere and of all different sizes.

The block has a small footprint, making it ideal for modest-sized kitchens, and has safe rubber feet to stop it sliding on the worktop as you pull a knife out. Both the insert and the bottom can be removed for cleaning, and both can go in the dishwasheras can the knives, though hand washing is recommended.

The knives themselves felt light and comfortable to use (some may find them too lightweight) with finger guards for extra safety. They were pleasingly sharp, though we found the bread knife needed a little bit of effort to get through our very crusty home-baked loaf. The range of knives is good, covering all essential tasks – we particularly liked the inclusion of the versatile santoku knife.

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Other knife sets tested and rated

  • Viners Assure colour code knife block and board set, £64.50
  • Joseph Joseph Elevate knives carousel set, £99
  • Richardson Sheffield Scandi 5-piece knife set, £89.96
  • Robert Welch Signature Book Oak knife block set, £325
  • BergHOFF Leo 5-piece knife block, £55
  • Lakeland fully forged stainless steel 5-piece knife block, £109.99
  • Leiths Wusthof classic knife set, £465
  • Japanese knife trio, £115
  • Our Place Knife Trio, £125

What knife types typically come in knife sets?

  • Bread knife: long serrated knives for bread, rolls and other baked good
  • Paring knife: small knives for general tasks including cutting and peeling vegetables
  • Chef’s/cook’s knife: wide-bladed, multi-purpose knife
  • Carving knife: for meat
  • Slicing knife: long bladed knife
  • Santoku knife: a versatile Japanese-style knife with indents on the blade, designed for chopping and dicing. You can also use the flat surface to scoop up finely chopped ingredients like herbs and garlic.

How to dispose of kitchen knives

The best way to dispose of knives you no longer need is to pass them on to someone who needs them. If you’re a keen cook, you may want to upgrade your knives but they could be more than adequate for a student or someone setting up home for the first time.

If this isn’t possible, most councils will allow you to dispose of them with your general waste, though do check first. If doing this, wrap them really carefully – put the tips in corks, for instance, or wrap them thickly with newspaper or bubble wrap, secured with tape.

In other areas, you’ll be asked to take them to a recycling site and put them in the scrap metals bin.

How to sharpen a kitchen knife

Unless your knife is very dull, in which case you’d need a whetstone, the easiest methods are by using a sharpening steel or knife sharpener. Sharpening steels are also known as honing rods: this is because what you’re doing is honing, ie straightening, the blade, to make it more effective at slicing. Place the rod with its tip on your worktop or a chopping board and the handle pointing at the ceiling. Hold your knife so that the edge of the blade is at a 20-degree angle. Pull the knife toward you while moving down the length of the steel – do not use a sawing motion or apply force. Repeat a few times, then do the same on the other side.

Manual knife sharpeners are usually held in place on the worktop while you draw the knife through each of its slots: most will have options from coarse to fine. For blunt blades, start by drawing through the coarse slot before finishing off with the fine. The fine slot or setting by itself is more like honing the blade and ideal for regular maintenance.

How we tested knife sets

We tested a representative sample of knife sets, from those with a vast array of knives and an additional block to more simple, budget-friendly sets. Each knife within the set was tested by chopping and slicing a range of ingredients. Each set was scored against the following criteria.

Bread knives were put through their paces on crusty baguettes. Fruit knives tackled fiddly fruits like cherries, whilst we finely diced onions, carrots and celery for a sofrito to test chef’s knives and pairing knives, also crushing garlic cloves under the blades to help assess the knife’s strength. Slicing through fibrous pineapple skin and cores should be an easy task with an effective knife. We then tested carving knives on the notoriously tough butternut squash along with large watermelons to gauge the control they offer.

Effective cutting. This is key – there’s no point having a beautiful set of knives if they’re ineffective. We wanted knives that cut cleanly and easily.

Quality. We rated our knives for strength and balance. We also looked for knives that are comfortable to hold and use.

Range. Taking into account the number of knives in each set, we looked for a good variety.

Aesthetics. Many knife sets are designed to be on display. We awarded marks for stylish knives and, if applicable, for the appearance of the knife block, too.

Storage. We looked at whether the knife block was thoughtfully designed to store knives safely and securely

Value. Our sample ranged from £8.99 to £700+ and in each case, we looked at whether the knife set offered value for money.

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How to sharpen knives

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