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17 best kitchen knife sets for sharpening your culinary skills

From Japanese steel to carbon and stainless, carve out a space for these high-quality blades

Rachael Phillips
Friday 05 January 2024 12:24 GMT
<p>Some of our picks come complete with sharpening tools and cutting boards</p>

Some of our picks come complete with sharpening tools and cutting boards

Our Top Picks

A kitchen is never complete without a good set of kitchen knives. Whether the job calls for slicing, dicing, peeling or carving, a good knife is a must-have item.

But, with so many different knives on the market and each one possessing its own special purpose from the nimble paring knife to the versatile chef’s knife, what knife to opt for can be a tough choice.

But that’s where knife sets can help, they take the guesswork out of what knife you need by providing a range of basics as well as being more cost-effective than buying them individually.

Whether you’re a kitchen novice or a seasoned pro, there are a few things you need to look out for when choosing a knife set. The size and shape of the handle is one big thing to take into account as you need to make sure it’s comfortable to use and has a good grip.

Also what kind of storage it has is another, does it have a block or if loose, do the knives have sheaths to keep them protected in your drawer?  Some knife sets even include in-built sharpening tools which are needed to maintain a sharp edge over time.

How we tested

When looking for the perfect knife set we chose ones that had at least three of the most basic knives you need in your kitchen, that’s a chef’s knife, paring knife and bread knife. We tested each set over a three-week period putting it through its paces with a range of chopping and cutting tasks.

We chopped, sliced and peeled a range of items of varying toughness to really see how well these knives handled the job in hand. We also looked at how comfortable they were to use and how much space they took up in the kitchen.

The best kitchen knife sets for 2024 are:

  • Best kitchen knife set overall – Kuhn Rikon colori®+ 4PC set: £39.96, Kuhnrikon.co.uk
  • Best budget kitchen knife set – Viners assure 4 piece knife set: £13, Dunelm.com
  • Best stainless steel knife set – ProCook Japanese knife set: £20, Procook.co.uk
  • Best knife set with a sharpener – Ninja food staysharp knife block: £169.99, Ninjakitchen.co.uk

Kuhn Rikon colori+ 4PC set

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: Kitchen knife set overall
  • Material: Japanese stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Four
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Knife block included: No
  • In set: 9cm Paring knife, 15cm Santoku, 17cm Chef's knife, 20cm Bread knife

The Colori+ kitchen knife set includes four of the most used knives in the kitchen; a pairing knife, Santoku knife, a Chef’s knife and a bread knife. Whilst there’s no knife block, these knives do come with colour-matching sheaths to keep them safe and secure in your drawer. The blades are crafted from Japanese steel, which makes them super-sharp and long-lasting, plus, they have a non-stick coating to ensure that food does not get stuck to the blade and is easy to clean. They are also dishwasher-suitable, but hand washing is recommended if you want to extend the life of your knives.

The handles are what really makes these knives stand out though. They’ve been designed to be soft to touch and super comfortable to hold meaning you can cut and chop with precision. These knives come in various colours and you can buy them individually so it’s easy to add to your collection.

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Robert Welch signature book oak knife block set with knife sharpener

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: Kitchen knife set with block
  • Material: German stainless steel and solid oak handles
  • Number of knives: Six
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, but hand-wash is recommended
  • Knife block included: Yes
  • In set: 23cm signature carving knife, 22cm signature bread knife, 11cm signature santoku knife, 18cm signature cook’s knife, 14cm signature kitchen knife, 10cm signature paring knife, signature hand-held knife sharpener

The Robert Welch signature book oak knife block set combines great design with superb functionality. The set features six knives which are made using high-quality German stainless steel, making them extra durable and easy to clean. In fact, these knives are made to last, and with a lifetime guarantee, they are certainly worth the initial investment.

Each knife is lightweight and comfortable to handle, even when chopping through some of the toughest vegetables. The solid oak block is also another huge reason we chose this as our best overall knife set. The book block design is perfect for those who are precious about kitchen space as it sits flush against any wall. The knives are accessed from the front, making it ideal for storage under cupboards. Plus as an added extra you get a signature hand-held knife sharpener which is compact enough to sit inside your cutlery drawer and ensures it’s easy to keep your knives sharp.

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Viners assure 4 piece knife set

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: Budget buy
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Four
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 15cm chef knife, 15cm santoku knife, 9cm paring knife, 12.5cm utility knife

Viners have proven that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy a good quality knife set. This set of four has everything you could possibly need for everyday meal prep. It includes a chef’s knife, santoku knife, utility knife and pairing knife. Crafted from high-quality stainless steel, rust-resistant and covered in a black non-stick coating to reduce cutting friction, these knives have been tempered to keep the edges super sharp even after heavy use.

The handles make these knives a joy to use; they’re soft to touch and ergonomically designed for a better grip. These knives also have a squared tip which maximises safety without compromising on performance. The set comes with a 10-year guarantee and for the price, we don’t think you can beat it. Plus, if you’d like to add to your collection by including a bread or carving knife, then you can purchase them separately.

  1. £13 from Dunelm.com
Prices may vary
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Kuhn Rikon kinderkitchen set of 2

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: For children
  • Material: Japanese stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Two
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: Straight edge dog knife, serrated edge dog knife

It’s never too early to learn kitchen skills, and these knives are perfect for children aged three and over. These knives are crafted from quality Japanese stainless steel, and while they’re not as sharp as adult knives, they will cut most fruit and vegetables. We really love the fun dog design which also doubles up as a safety feature, with the ears acting as a hand guard to keep fingers away from the cutting surface and the tail steadying the hand with soft poke-free plastic. There are two knives in this set, a straight-edge blade and a serrated blade; they are lightweight and durable, so kids can get used to handling knives in the kitchen while remaining safe.

  1. £13 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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ProCook Nihon X50 knife set

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: For durability
  • Material: German X50 stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Five
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: Yes
  • In the set: 9cm paring knife, 13cm utility knife, 15.5cm chefs knife, 23cm bread knife, 25cm carving knife

If you want a knife set that looks good on display as well as performs exceptionally well then the Nihon X50 Knife Set from ProCook fits the bill. This set of five knives comes with a magnetic Walnut knife block that you’d be proud to have on display, not to mention it’s space-saving functions. The knives are crafted using German X50 stainless steel and infused with carbon for a strong, sharp blade that will last. The carbonised ash wood handles are really comfortable to handle, and even if you have damp hands, they retain a good grip.

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Joseph Joseph duo 5 piece knife block set - multicoloured

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  • Best: For space-saving
  • Material: Japanese stainless-steel
  • Number of knives: Five
  • Dishwasher-safe: Not specified
  • Knife block included: Yes
  • In the set: 9cm paring knife, 12cm santoku knife, 15cm” chef’s knife, 20cm carving knife and 20cm bread knife

This five-piece knife set has everything you need to be able to meal prep in style. The blades are made using high-quality Japanese stainless steel which makes them super sharp and durable. The non-slip pinch grip on the handle allows for better handling, and they just feel very safe and secure when in use. The knife block is slimline and ideal if you’re lacking space, with easy access slots for the knives to effortlessly slip into. Another thing we love about these knives is that they come colour coded, so you can quickly grab which knife is right for the job without having to pull each one out to check if it’s what you need.

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Designpro titanium knife set with clear flared acrylic block

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: For style
  • Material: Titanium-coated stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Six
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: Yes
  • In the set: 3.5in paring knife, 5in utility knife, 7in santoku knife, 7in chef's knife, 8in carving knife, 8in bread knife and a knife block

This stylish set has a great range of knives that will cover all your cutting jobs. It includes a 3.5in paring knife, 5in utility knife, 7in santoku knife, 7in chef’s knife, 8in carving knife and an 8in bread knife. The knives can be easily stored in the clear acrylic block, making selecting the one you need very easy.

The blades are made using stainless steel but have been coated with titanium, making them ultra-sharp and durable. The handles are made from soft-grip silicone, so they feel comfortable when used. These knives also look really nice, as they come in a stylish grey colour. The acrylic block is practical and can stand flush against walls, so it won’t take up much space.

When testing, we found all these knives cut really well, but the santoku was especially useful, as it could be used for every kitchen job.

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Joseph Joseph elevate store five-piece knife set with in-drawer storage tray

best knife sets
  • Best: For storage
  • Material: High-carbon stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Five
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 3.5in paring knife, 4.5in serrated knife, 5.5in santoku knife, 6.5in chef’s knife, 8in bread knife, and a storage drawer

If you don’t like your knives on display but you want to keep them tidy, this set is perfect. They ship in a special drawer tray, so you can keep all the knives in place and the blades protected without taking up countertop space. There are five knives in this set, including a 3.5in paring knife, 4.5in serrated knife, 5.5in santoku knife, 6.5in chef’s knife and an 8in bread knife. They’re made from durable high-carbon stainless steel, so won’t rust or discolour after prolonged use.

These knives handle really well – the handles are weighted, so they don’t feel flimsy when you’re chopping something tough. We also love how the shape of the handles means, when you place these knives down, the blades don’t touch the work surface. That’s because they use special elevate technology, which improves hygiene and reduces mess – and that’s always going to be a winner in our books.

The handles are also colour-coded, so you can easily grab whichever knife you need when they’re stored away.

  1. £70 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Kuhn Rikon colori kitchen knives

best knife sets
  • Best: Design
  • Material: Stainless steel with a silicone non-stick coating
  • Number of knives: Three
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 7in chef knife, 5in utility knife and a 3.5in paring knife

Want to add a pop of colour to your cooking prep? These knives come in a set of three stylish colours, so you’ll easily be able to find the right knife for the job. This set has three knives, including a 7in chef’s knife, 5in utility knife and a 3.5in paring knife, which are perfect for almost all cutting and chopping jobs you may need to undertake.

The ultra-sharp blades are made using Japanese stainless steel, with an additional non-stick silicone coating. They’re dishwasher-friendly, but it’s recommended you hand wash them, for long-lasting results.

One thing we really loved about these knives is that they come with protective sheaths – so, if you store them in your cutlery drawer, you won’t risk any accidental injury. These knives do feel very light but not flimsy, and they made easy work of chopping hard vegetables such as potatoes.

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ProCook Japanese knife set

best knife sets
  • Best: Stainless steel knife set
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Four
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 7in vegetable slicer, 6.5in chef’s knife, 6.5in santoku knife and an 8in carving knife

This set of four Japanese knives is great for any budding chef. It includes a 7in vegetable slicer, 6.5in chef’s knife, 6.5in santoku knife and an 8in carving knife. The blades are made using high-quality stainless steel, which stays super sharp and effortlessly cuts through different ingredients.

The carved wood handles are really nice to hold, although they can feel a bit loose after prolonged use. The knives can’t be used in the dishwasher, and it’s essential to keep the blades dry after washing, so they’ll last.

These are really good knives if you’re into making Japanese cuisine, as the range is perfect for meat, fish and vegetable dishes such as sushi. They’re also very light, so you don’t need to put much effort into chopping. The blades have integrated holes, meaning food doesn’t get stuck, which is a nice touch.

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Ninja food staysharp knife block

best knife sets
  • Best: Knife set with a sharpener
  • Materials: Forged stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Five
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: Yes
  • In the set: 8in chef's knife, 8in bread knife, 8in slicing knife, 5in utility knife, 3.5in paring knife and a knife block with built-in sharpener

Ninja products seem to be the staple of any kitchen at the moment, especially with the brand’s range of air fryers, but this knife block with built-in sharper definitely deserves high praise. Constructed from forged German stainless steel, these knives have been made to last. This set includes an 8in chef’s knife, 8in bread knife, 8in slicing knife, 5in utility knife and a 3.5in paring knife, so there really is something for every job.

The brilliant thing about this set is that the block comes with a built-in sharper on the side, which means you’ll always have super-sharp knives with little effort. Now, this is quite a hefty block, so you’ll need to have enough kitchen counter space, but if you can carve out the space, it’s well worth it.

During testing, we found these knives really easy to use. They had a good grip, felt light, and the super-sharp blades glided through everything we cut. The chef’s knife was particularly impressive, handling hard fruits and vegetables, such as melon and celeriac, with utter ease. Sharpening the knives was also a really easy task – the knife just needed to be inserted into the sharpening slot and a few pulls of the lever left them super sharp. Ninja states these knives will stay sharp for up to 10 years with regular sharpening.

While this set is out of stock at the moment, the brand has assured us it will be available soon – just sign up for the email notification.

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Global three-piece boxed knife set

best knife sets
  • Best: Japanese steel knife set
  • Material: Japanese stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Three
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 8in carving knife, 6in bread knife and a 3in peeling knife

Global is known as the king of knives for a very good reason. This three-piece set includes an 8in carving knife, 6in bread knife and a 3in peeling knife, which are ideal for a range of everyday cooking tasks. The blades are crafted using ultra-sharp Japanese steel that is ice-hardened, meaning they stay sharp for years to come.

There’s no denying these knives look as good as they cut. The sleek, all-steel design and long, textured handle made handling the knives comfortable regardless of what was being sliced and diced. The handles are also covered in circular dimples, which offer added grip.

Basically, these knives really are a joy to use. The blades sliced effortlessly, even with the toughest ingredients. The paring knife, in particular, was very good, as it was a bit easier to handle than the chef’s knife, and nothing was too tough for it.

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Joseph Joseph nest boards plus six-piece knife and chopping board set

best knife sets
  • Best: For small spaces
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Three
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 6.5in chef’s knife, 5.5in santoku knife, 4in paring knife and three chopping boards

This space-saving knife set is great for any kitchen. The set comes with three knives, including a 6.5in chef’s knife, 5.5in santoku knife and a 4in paring knife. The blades are constructed of sharp stainless steel, and come with a soft, easy-grip handle.

Of course, the ideal thing about this set is that it comes with a set of colour-coded chopping boards, which also double up as a knife block. This means that no matter what kind of space you have in your kitchen, you can keep your knives and chopping boards in one neat package.

When testing, we found the knives so sharp they actually scored the boards, so just be aware of that when using. Handling each knife was a comfortable experience, although the knife did flex a bit when cutting tougher items, such as hard vegetables. But, as a whole, this is such a great design and looks really good whilst keeping everything neat and tidy.

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Arthur Price hammered stainless steel knife and cutlery set

best knife sets
  • Best: Value knife set
  • Materials: Hammered stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Four
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 8in carving knife, 8in chef’s knife, 3in paring knife, 8in small cleaver, ceramic peeler and scissors

This six-piece set includes four knives – an 8in carving knife, 8in chef’s knife, 3in paring knife and an 8in small cleaver – plus a ceramic peeler and a pair of kitchen scissors. The blades are forged using hammered stainless steel, making them ultra-sharp.

When testing, we found these knives really nice to handle because they’re super lightweight, ultra-sharp and the textured handle meant you could get a good grip of the knife. They also have a mirrored bolster, so, when you place these knives down, the blade won’t touch your countertops.

The cleaver knife was probably our favourite out of the set, as it worked really well when cutting meat, naturally, but also for finely cutting garlic and chilli.

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Tog kyūkyoku set

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: Ultimate set
  • Material: Japanese steel with layers of copper
  • Number of knives: Four
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife-block included: Yes
  • In the set: 7.5cm ‘office’ (paring) knife, 12.5cm ‘petty’ (utility) knife, 14cm ‘mini bunka’ (vegetable chopper), 21cm ‘gyuto’ (chef’s) knife, 25cm ceramic honing rod, Tog X Billy Tannery knife block

If you’re looking to make an investment when it comes to knives, then look no further than the kyūkyoku set. Yes, they are expensive, but these knives take quality to another level. There are four knives in the set, including a pairing knife, utility knife, vegetable chopper and chef’s knife. Each knife is carefully crafted using layers of Japanese steel and antimicrobial copper to create strong knives with razor-sharp edges meaning that you’ll never need to buy another knife set again.

The knives are stored in a handmade knife block made from American black walnut, stainless steel and goat leather. We loved the contrast between the heavy knife block and the featherlike feel of the knives. The handles are also made using a Kebony maple wood with a textured finish, so they are comfortable when holding and handling. The knives also come with a lifetime guarantee, so once you’ve bought these, you’ll never look back.

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Presto by Tower three-piece set with sharpener

best knife sets
  • Best: For students
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Three
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: 8in chef’s knife, 5in utility knife, 3.5in paring knife, chopping board and a sharpening tool

If you want a cheap and basic set of knives that will still give you the tools for multiple jobs, this set is ideal. It’s a three-piece set that also comes with a chopping board and knife sharpener. The knives include an 8in chef’s knife, 5in utility knife and a 3.5in paring knife. The blades are made using stainless steel, which makes them dishwasher-safe – although make sure you dry them straightaway, to avoid rust.

Considering they’re so cheap, they feel solid and are easy to use. The handles have a comfortable grip, so they can tackle slicing and chopping with ease.

This is a great set for students or anyone on a budget, as it also comes with an all-purpose chopping board and a two-slot knife sharpener, so you can keep your knives super sharp.

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Ikea Förslag 3-piece knife set

best kitchen knife sets
  • Best: For students
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of knives: Three
  • Dishwasher-safe: No
  • Knife block included: No
  • In the set: Cook's knife 17 cm, cook’s knife 13 cm, paring knife 8 cm

For a great set on a budget, look no further than the Förslag three-piece knife set from Ikea. For just £10 you get a really good set of knives and, if you’re a student, they will easily see you through your three-year course and beyond. The knives are perfect for everyday cooking. The handles are made from a blend of polypropylene plastic and synthetic rubber (so they don’t get slippery, even if your hands are wet), and feel solid and durable, even when you’re cutting the toughest vegetable. They are very sharp right out of the packet but you may want to invest in a sharpener to keep them in tip-top condition.

This set is only available to buy in stores at the moment.

  1. £10 from Ikea.com
Prices may vary
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Kitchen knife sets FAQs

What are the three most common knives in the kitchen?

When it comes to kitchen knives, there is seemingly no end to the different types you can purchase. That said, if you simply want to make sure you’ve got the essentials covered, you really only need three: the serrated knife, the chef’s knife and the paring knife.

The serrated knife, commonly used for fruits and bread, has small, grooved edges that mean it can tear through food easily.

The chef’s knife, which usually has an 8in or 10in blade, is by far the most popular in all types of kitchen, as it can be used for everything from chopping melons to carving roast chicken.

Lastly, the paring knife is small, sturdy and nimble with a sharp, angled point, which makes it best suited for deveining shrimp or segmenting citrus fruits for your gin and tonic.

Are expensive knives worth it?

From novices to kitchen whizzes, a decent knife is always worth it. But, most importantly, you should take care of your knives and make sure they are sharpened, so they can perform at their best.

The verdict: Kitchen knife sets

A good set of knives go a long way to enjoyable food prep. The colori+ four piece set covers every base. They are super sharp and really nice to handle. They come with matching knife sheaths so they’re safe to store in the cutlery draw.

The signature book oak knife block set by Robert Welch also ticked all our boxes. The solid oak knife block sits flush against any wall making it ideal for those who have smaller kitchens or don’t want to lose valuable counter space. It also comes with a good selection of knives to cover a range of chopping jobs.

For those on a budget, the viners assure four piece knife set is perfect. These knives stay sharp even after a lot of use and they’re lightweight and comfortable to work with. But if you are going to splurge, then the kyūkyoku set from Tog Knives is definitely worth a look. These knives offer professional quality for home use.

For more kitchen accessories, read our review of the best salt and pepper mills and the best slow cookers

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