Updated: November 2017
Kitchen Knives Review:Shopping for a set of kitchen knives is not the easiest thing in the world. There are countless assortments and brands at stores like Sears and online at Amazon.com. Do you get an 8 piece set? 12 piece? What knives are included in the cutlery set? Several knife experts we talked with at our local cooking stores like Sur La Table mentioned that 2 or 3 knives is all that most home chefs really need. The 8 inch chef's knife is the most important in a collection/set, all the others are just extras. When I got married we asked for a knife set from Sears and received a 12 piece set with steak knives included. The other knives were a paring knife, slicer, chef's knife, 8 inch bread knife, boning knife, and a utility knife. I must say we have used them all over the years, some more than others. Recently, as my wife has become more of a home chef expert, we decided to look into a new set of kitchen knives. She has always complained that the Henckel kitchen knives we have are not sharp enough for her liking.
Buying Guide - We started looking at reviews we found online at Goodhousekeeping.com where they tested many of the top brands on the market in their test kitchen. Consumer Reports has done articles over the years on kitchen knives and their most recent listing had a quick synopsis of the "best kitchen knives" based on cutting performance, handle comfort, handle balance, blade type, set size, and overall value. Cookingcache.com also featured some expert reviews of kitchen knives on their website and we also found excellent feedback on Amazon.com in their owner comments section (those that had bought the cutlery sets). Over and over again we read that the Wusthof Trident Classic 8 piece set was the best overall, but it is pricey at about $300. The chef's knife in this set does well in food preparation - minces, chops, slices with ease say most owners. What should the knives be made of? Hands down the top rated knives are all made with high-carbon stainless steel. Knife experts say this material makes them simple to clean and sharpen. The next thing to consider is - Are the knife blades forged steel or stamped steel? Forged knives will be a bit heavier than the stamped ones, and they are also more expensive. Ultimately, you want a knife that is easy to control in your hand and one that fits ergonomically enough to give you the best cutting action. Balance is a word that comes up often in reviews and weight is a key component in this. It's not always easy to test knives out in stores, so you'll have to go with the reviews or try out your neighbors new set sometime. The worst reviews we found were for kitchen knives that were hard to hold (handle issues) and for those that were too light limiting the ability to chop and cut with precision. You'll find that the cheaper stamped steel kitchen knive sets from Chicago Cutlery ($60) and Oxo ($100) still provide enough cutting performance to the average home chef that they are considered "great value" buys by many. The top brands are Wusthof, Oxo, Mercer, Henckels, Tramontina, Chicaco Cutlery, Cutco, Ginsu, Shun, Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and R.H. Forschner by Victorinox. You can view the best selling kitchen knives here.