For anyone serious about cooking, investing in the best stainless steel kitchen knife sets, they can afford is practically a no-brainer. Taking much of the hard work out of preparing a whole range of foods, even something which seems as relatively simple as getting hold of a top set of knives, can make all the difference between a good meal and a truly great one. Not that finding that ideal set is always the easiest task in the world.
Much like your favorite dish, the perfect set of knives needs to combine all the right ingredients in all the right quantities: It is durable enough to last, has a big enough variety of blade sizes to do what you need to do with them, and, of course, affordable enough for your budget without ever being “cheap.”
If you’re struggling to find that combination, this guide is for you. Below, I’ve outlined everything you need to know to find the perfect stainless steel knife set, as well as offering my advice and honest reviews on the top five best sets currently available.
What is a Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Set?
Stainless steel knives are every home chef’s best friend. Offering a variety of blade sizes and handle designs, they can be used to deliver sharp and smooth cuts through just about any type of food, from meats to vegetables and everything in between.
Although they may not be quite on a par with the kind of carbon knives used in top restaurants, they are more affordable, more resistant against rust, and generally all-around tougher than their carbon counterparts.
That’s not to mention the fact that if you have other stainless steel kitchen essentials, such as quality bakeware or even your favorite stainless steel coffee filter, you get a nice, uniform approach to your kitchen aesthetic.
Who Needs a Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Set?
So far, I’ve only really talked about using stainless steel knives if you’re a die-hard foodie or amateur chef. While it’s certainly true that these knives can help make light work out of cooking up a three-course feast, you don’t have to take your meal prep as seriously to benefit from stainless steel knives.
With their combination of sharpness and durability, they can prove every bit as invaluable for preparing everyday meals and snacks and will make your day-to-day food-related tasks that much easier to manage.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Buyer’s Guide
The top five knife sets featured below come in a range of price points, designs, and knife selections. Though I’ve done that to give you the widest variety of options to choose from, I admit it can make it a little trickier to determine which one is worth spending your money on.
As such, I’ve put together the following buyer’s guide, outlining the most important factors to consider when choosing kitchen knives and how each one may influence your decision.
Though no two knife sets are ever the same, all of the best ones should contain, at a minimum, a good quality chef/cook’s knife, a carving knife, a utility knife, and a pair of kitchen shears. While those alone can be enough for most cooks, you’ll also want to consider what other knives are included in the set you’re looking at and whether these are suitable for what you need.
If you regularly cook and serve steak, for example, then a set that includes several steak knives will be a good choice. At the same time, anyone who finds themselves regularly chopping vegetables into the finest of slices will appreciate a set that includes a high-grade Santoku knife.
There’s a lot to think about when looking at the handles of your preferred knife set. While ergonomic design and a comfortable grip are important, knives with important features such as finger guards will offer extra protection to protect you against nasty cuts.
Closely related to handle design, the handle’s weight -and thus the overall knife- is an important factor that many novice chefs overlook.
While you may think that the lighter a knife is, the easier it is to use, the opposite can be sometimes true, as lightweight knives (especially those with hollow handles) don’t always offer the best level of balance, and that can make it tougher to really master control of your knife.
Before we go any further, I should make it clear that the five knife sets I’m about to show you were chosen by myself and myself alone.
No brand paid to have their knives featured in this guide. Instead, I personally chose each one because I truly believe it deserves to be considered among the best knife sets around. Doing so allows me to write about both the good and bad points of each knife set and to make my choices based on nothing more than the following criteria:
With one exceptional exception, I only went for sets that offered at least 10 stainless steel knives to ensure that each set included most essentials that a home chef would need.
The aforementioned exception only featured 7 knives but earned its place because it was built to such high quality that it would have been foolish not to include it. The grade of steel used, the construction process, and how resistant each knife set was to rust and damage were all important factors to consider.
I’ve included knife sets from right across the pricing scale, from those low-budget options all the way to premium sets that run into the hundreds of dollars. That way, no matter what your budget may be, you’ll find a set to suit.
To create the fairest and most accurate selections possible, I spent time pouring through genuine user reviews for each product, looking for both the good and bad points to help me determine if a set really was as good (or not as good) as I believe.
Top 5 Best Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Sets
I’ll be honest, the first thing that really drew me to the McCook MC29 Knife Set was their utterly gorgeous appearance.
The high-carbon, stainless steel blades are complemented by handles made from the same material, which not only means they’re built to last but ensures that they make a lovely addition to your cooking area, especially when combined with the dark hardwood knife block.
Still, when it comes to knives, it’s practicality rather than mere aesthetic beauty that really matters the most, and the MC29 set more than holds its own in that department too. All in all, this 15-set piece includes:
- 1 x 8″chef knife
- 1 x 8″slicing knife
- 1 x 5″ Santoku knife
- 1 x 5.5″serrated utility knife
- 1 x 5″utility knife + 1pc-3.5″ paring knife
- 2 x kitchen shears
- 6 x 4.5″ steak knife.
The Santoku knife is a particular favorite of mine thanks to its finely-sharpened 5″ blade and an ergonomic handle that makes it ideal for chopping small ingredients such as vegetables into even the tiniest of pieces.
That said, every knife in this set is incredibly well-made and perfect for the task it was designed for, meaning I have no qualms calling this the very best stainless steel knife set around right now.
- It comes with in-slot knife sharpeners, so knives are kept sharp after every use
- Affordable price compared to other top-end knife sets
- very easy to clean and care for.
- Not dishwasher safe
- Hollow handles may make them feel too light.
One of the things I really liked about the above MC29 set is that it’s modestly priced compared to many other high-grade knife sets. Still, even I have to admit that it isn’t exactly cheap and may be out of the price range of some would-be chefs.
With that in mind, if you’re in the market for a top-quality set of stainless steel kitchen knives, but you’re concerned about keeping one hand firmly on those purse strings, the FineDine 10-Piece Kitchen Knife Set may be the one for you.
Although it doesn’t contain as many knives as others in this guide, it does come at the lowest price you’re going to pay for a set of this quality, and it still features most of the essentials, including:
- 1 x 8” chef knife for chopping and mincing
- 1 x 8” carving knife for meats
- 1 x 5“ utility knife for smaller vegetables,
- 1 x 3.5” paring knife for food requiring attention to detail
- 1 x kitchen shears.
Each knife comes with a sharp 2mm blade designed to slice effortlessly through just about any food item, and each one can be conveniently stored in stainless steel storage holders, which will add an attractive look to any contemporary kitchen design.
- It comes complete with a knife sharpener
- Includes plastic chopping board
- Built from corrosion-proof 420-grade stainless steel.
- Features fewer knives than other sets
- The knife block is difficult to clean.
From one end of the pricing scale to the other, the WÜSTHOF Classic Seven Piece German Knife Block Set is undoubtedly one of the most pricey sets designed for home use that you’re going to find and certainly the most expensive in this guide.
Yet while the WÜSTHOF set may cost quite the pretty penny, it certainly delivers exceptional value-for-money, if not in terms of quantity, then at least in terms of sheer outstanding quality and lasting durability. This 7 piece set contains:
- 1 x 3.5″ paring knife
- 1 x 6″ utility knife
- 1 x 8″ bread knife
- 1 x 8″ cook’s knife
- 1 x 9″ honing sheers
- 1 x 13-slot storage block.
While that may not be a lot in and of itself, it’s how these knives are made that really appeals. Each one is precision-forged from a single sheet of high-carbon stainless steel, with full-tang, triple-riveted handles that provide comfortable ergonomic design, balance, and remarkable strength.
If your priority is to arm yourself with the largest variety of knives possible, this may not be the one for you, but if you care about quality above all else, then you’ll find it tough to find anything better.
- Handles feature full bolster and finger guards for added comfort and safety
- The knife block contains 5 extra slots for additional utensils
- Precision edge technology ensures knives that are 20% sharper than most others.
- Not dishwasher safe
- Very expensive.
The last two sets may have been great but, let’s be honest, didn’t provide a great deal in terms of variety and quantity. If those factors are important to you, then the Yabano 16-Piece Kitchen Knife Set is definitely worth your consideration. Priced just a smidgen higher than our top budget pick, this affordable set features:
- 1 x 8″ chef knife
- 1 x 8″ carving knife
- 1 x 5″ Santoku knife
- 1 x 5″ bread knife
- 1 x 5″ utility knife
- 2 x 3.5″ pairing knives
- 5 x 4.5″ steak knives
- 1 x 8″ sheers.
These knives are contained in a solid wooden knife block in a stylish black finish that gives the MC29 set I showed you earlier a serious run for its money in the looks department.
This combination of variety, affordability and aesthetic appeal all comes from Yabano, a brand well-known for delivering excellence in other kitchen products such as Moka pots and gooseneck kettles, meaning you’re guaranteed high-quality too.
- Includes 8″ knife sharpener
- Knives feature tapered handles making them comfortable to grip
- Made from X50Cr high-carbon stainless steel for lasting durability.
- Some users were not fans of the hollow handles
- It can be difficult to clean.
Last but not least, we return to the McCook brand with another one of their mid-priced, high-value stainless steel knife sets. The McCook MC65 Knife Set is an upgrade on my top-ranked pick, the MC29, containing extra knives and other useful kitchen utensils and a heavy-duty knife block that is functional and visually appealing. All told, this 20-piece set includes:
- 1 x 8″ Chef Knife
- 1 x 8″ Slicing Knife
- 1 x 8″ Bread Knife
- 1PC x 7″ Santoku Knife
- 1 x 5″ Santoku Knife
- 1 x 5.5″ Cheese Knife
- 1 x 4.5″ Pizza Knife
- 1 x 3″ Paring Knife
- 1 x-4.75″ Non-Serrated Utility Knife
- 8 x 4.5″ Serrated Steak Knives
- 2 x Kitchen Shears.
This all comes at a reasonable, value-for-money price with a lasting 5-year warranty, a sign of just how confident McCook is in the durability of their products.
- Features in-slot sharpener to keep blades precision sharp
- Includes pull-away steak block, which can detach from the main block when serving steak in your dining area
- Features tapered edges for extra sharpness.
- Not dishwasher safe
- Higher-than-average cost.
Which is the Best Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Set Option for You?
I started this guide by saying that finding the best stainless steel kitchen knife set is about getting the right ingredients. However, just as we all have different tastes that require different ingredients for our favorite meal, the ingredients that matter most to you when choosing the perfect knife set may be completely different from your fellow chefs.