Detailed Guide into Cutlery Sets 2023
- The Importance of a Good Cutlery Set
- What to Look For in a Cutlery Set
- The Best Cutlery Sets to Buy in 2023
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. The Importance of a Good Cutlery Set
Before I became a kitchen aficionado, I’d just go with the cheapest option anytime I purchased any sort of cutlery set – whether that was a tableware set or knives for my kitchen. Of course, with time I learned the error of my ways, and now I’m an advocate for quality cutlery sets with an almost militant zeal.
Whether you’re having guests over for a nice steak dinner, or simply trying to make things as easy as possible for yourself while you’re cooking food at home, a good cutlery set can make all the difference. If you pull out a show-stopping set of steak knives, it sends a certain message to your dinner guests. Not only does it paint you as a good host who values your guests’ dining experience, but it also says you know your stuff.
The problem, however, is that most people don’t know what to even look for when it comes to cutlery sets. This isn’t something they teach at schools. So we’re here to make things as easy as possible for you with this comprehensive guide.
2. What to Look For in a Cutlery Set
When you’re getting ready to buy a cutlery set, you might be asking yourself “wait a second, what should I be looking for?” A better question to ask yourself, though, is what exactly you need.
The biggest question you need to answer might be what need this cutlery set is filling in your life. Are you buying a set of steak knives for the next time you have people over for a juicy ribeye? Or are you looking for a well-balanced assortment of kitchen knives to fulfill any culinary task you need executed in the kitchen? Are you looking for dinnerware? Do you need a set that includes kitchen shears?
Once you’ve decided on what exactly you need, the next question is how you want it to look. Is this a showpiece you’re going to proudly display in the middle of your kitchen, in full view of anyone who happens to wander in? If so, you want a knife block, which is a fantastic and visually attractive way to lay out all your knives. They look nifty, and they are nifty.
And if counter space is a concern (as it always is in every kitchen I’ve ever had), there are some knife blocks that fold up and are easy to stow away.
Once you’ve determined what your cutlery set of premium knives should look like, now it’s time to go shopping for those knives. And if you’re a knife newbie, you might not know where to start (hint: it’s not the silverware section at your local big-box store).
It’s okay, there’s no need to be embarrassed; we were all there at one point. Below is a list of qualities you should look at when determining whether to buy a piece of cutlery, regardless of the type of knife:
Before I started my kitchen knife journey, if you had asked me what a good knife should be made of, my answer would’ve been something akin to “uh… steel, right? It’s steel?”
Turns out I knew more than I thought!
There is a multitude of materials that can be used to make a quality kitchen knife. For instance, there’s carbon steel, which is a component made from a metal alloy consisting of carbon and steel. The role of carbon is to make the steel much stronger and more durable, helping it hold its sharp edge for much longer. The only downside is that carbon steel knives are prone to rust, making them a little high-maintenance.
Stainless steel flatware sets are another popular option for knives and silverware, and probably the most common one you’ll find in knife and stainless steel silverware sets. It sharpens quite easily and is much lower-maintenance than carbon steel when it comes to rust.
Stainless steel flatware sets do lose their edge a little easier, though, so you might want to learn how to sharpen your knives (which is an important skill to have before you buy a full 20piece flatware set, and something you should be doing regardless of what type of knife you end up buying; a dull knife is something you don’t want.
Damascus steel is a metal alloy that combines the hardness of carbon steel and the flexibility of stainless steel. It has a carbon core with a stainless exterior. Not only that, but they look awesome. Damascus steel tends to be pricier than other types of steel, so you’ll see that reflected in the price of your cutlery set. Not super common in silverware sets, either.
Of course, there’s no single perfect size for a kitchen knife. You’ll find that the different types of knives are sized to suit their intended tasks. For instance, a paring knife – meant to be used for small, precise tasks such as cutting fruits and deveining shrimp – is usually about 3.25 to 4 inches long.
Meanwhile, bread knives have to cover more territory, so you’ll find the serrated bread knives in the 8 to 10 inch range. And a chef’s knife, the multipurpose kitchen powerhouse, is usually around 8 inches long. It works for just about everything.
The main thing to keep in mind here when it comes to sizes is that, if your goal is to have a well-stocked kitchen with a variety of knives, then the cutlery set you’re buying should reflect that with a variety of sizes.
Weight & balance
A quality kitchen knife should feel substantial. That doesn’t mean that it should be hard to carry, of course, simply that when you’re holding it you feel like you’re holding a powerful kitchen implement. When chopping and slicing and taking care of some of the more labor-intensive kitchen tasks, you want to feel like the tool you’re using is powerful. Some of the cheaper knives out there feel like props from a party-themed retailer.
As far as balance, there must be equal weight distribution between the handle and the blade. If you have a knife that feels too heavy on the blade, you’ll find it hard and cumbersome to use; same if the grip itself is the heaviest part, you won’t be using it at its full potential and you’ll find it uncomfortable.
3. The Best Cutlery Sets to Buy in 2023
Let’s take a look at some of the best cutlery sets available.
Best Block Set
This is a top-of-the-line set of quality kitchen knives, arming you with just about every single type of knife a home cook will need. The set includes a 9” honing rod, a 9” carving knife, a 9” bread knife, an 8” chef knife, a 7” Santoku knife, a 6” fillet knife, a 5.5” utility knife, a 3.75” paring knife, and a set of four 5” steak knives.
Not only that, but with the Shadow Black Series' unique and futuristic look, this knife set is a guaranteed conversational piece.
- Every one of these knives is made of precision forged, ultra sharp, wear-resistant, single-piece high carbon 7CR17MOV-X vacuum treated stainless steel.
- Extremely eye-catching design, with a black, non-reflective titanium-nitride coating.
- These knives are super sharp and sturdy, at 16-18 degrees per side.
- Ergonomic fiber-resin military-grade G10 handle.
- These knives look super cool, but, indeed, the look is not for everyone. If you’re looking for a cutlery set that’s a little more conventional-looking, there are many options on this list.
- With such an assortment of incredible knives, this block set is definitely in the upper end of the price range represented in this list.
This incredible knife block set has pretty much anything you would ever need, delivered at the absolute top quality. The knives in the Gladiator series are all precision-forged from a single piece of imported premium quality high-carbon German stainless steel – that means that they’re powerful, resilient, and super-sharp. And in this incredible block set, you’re getting eighteen of them!
This set includes a 9” carving/slicing knife, a 9” bread knife, an 8.5” Kiritsuke chef knife, an 8” chef knife, a 7” Santoku knife, a 7” Nakiri knife, a 6” boning knife, a 6.5” utility knife, a 6” serrated utility knife, a set of 6 straight-edge steak knives, a 3.5” paring knife, a 2.75” bird’s beak paring knife, a 10” honing steel, and a handmade acacia wood block for storage.
- Huge assortment of kitchen knives to cover just about every need you might have.
- Each edge is painstakingly hand sharpened to 16-18 degrees per side.
- Added chromium ensures stain resistance, making them easy to look after.
- Premium food-grade ABS polymer handles.
- To be honest, this knife set is more than most home cooks will ever need. Before jumping in, ask yourself if you need so many different knives.
- Unlike some of the other wood blocks in this list, this one does not fold out for storage. However, it looks pretty impressive on its own!
If you like the futuristic look of straight lines and forward-motion designs, then you’ll love the knives in Dalstrong’s Quantum 1 series. These knives combine top performance and stylish looks.
This knife block set includes 5 of these high-performance kitchen knives, including an 8.5” chef knife, a 7” Santoku knife, a 7” serrated utility knife, a 6.5” curved boning knife, and a 4” paring knife. Not only that, but the block comes with additional space, allowing you to expand your collection.
- Made of precision forged, ultra sharp, wear-resistant, single-piece, high carbon American BD1N-VX steel with a Rockwell Hardness Score of 63+.
- Features the awesome “Nova Prime” blade pattern, which not only looks extremely cool, it also reduces drag on food.
- Each knife is full tang, providing great robustness and quality.
- Ergonomic handle shape, making them easy to use for extended periods.
- This is a 5-piece knife set; if you’re looking for something with a bit more variety, check out some of the larger offerings in this list.
- The fact that the knife block comes with two extra spaces might be a bit annoying to some, though it’s an excellent opportunity to expand your collection.
This gorgeous 5-piece knife set not only features some of the finest knives from Dalstrong’s Gladiator series, but it also comes with the most beautiful modular block. The oak wood block features an innovative design that converts from an upright position to a space-saving flat position for easy storage. Easy and convenient.
The block set comes with a 9” slicer, a 9” bread knife, an 8” chef’s knife, a 6” utility knife, and a 3.75” paring knife.
- The blades are each precision-forged from a single piece of imported premium quality high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German stainless steel.
- Features beautiful, ergonomic, and ambidextrous polymer ABS handles that are comfortable to hold and allow for optimal maneuverability.
- The beautiful Dalstrong oak wood block, which features its own unique grain pattern.
- Tall blade height helps with knuckle clearance and easier chopping.
- Dalstrong’s Gladiator series features knives with timeless beauty, but if you’re looking for something more eye-catching, try out some of the other sets here.
- If you’d rather have a block set that remains as a permanent staple of your kitchen counter, check out the other options in this list.
The Crusader series is a stunning knife series featuring sleek, cleanly-designed all-stainless steel knives, and this incredible set puts them out on full display. This set comes with an 8” honing rod, an 8” bread knife, an 8” chef’s knife, a 7” Santoku knife, a 6” utility knife, and a 5.5” serrated utility knife.
- Beautiful, clean, minimalistic knife design.
- Made of ultra-sharp, wear-resistant, high-carbon German stainless steel.
- Ergonomic handle shape, makes these knives extremely easy to hold.
- Extremely hygienic – not only are the knives themselves very easy to clean (since they’re made up of single piece stainless steel with seamless transitions), but the knife block itself won’t accumulate dirt or debris as some knife blocks do.
- The knife holder does take up quite a bit of room, so keep that in mind before taking the plunge.
- The clean, minimalistic design of the knives may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Best Steak Knife Set
If what you’re looking for is a set of steak knives that will get your dinner guests talking – not to mention maximize your enjoyment of that succulent steak – this beautiful 4-piece set from Dalstrong’s Omega series is exactly what you need. It contains four 5.5” knives featuring the visually stunning “LiquidMetal” pattern on the blade and will make your next steak get-together one to remember.
- Extremely sharp blades, with an 8-12° degree angle per side.
- Made of BD1N American forged hyper steel with an added vacuum treatment.
- Four gorgeous, top-of-the-line steak knives set come with a price tag. This is one of the most expensive items on this list, but performance and looks-wise, it is absolutely worth it.
The Shadow Black series is all about that futuristic design, so this 4-piece set of steak knives set will make your dinner guests feel like they’re using props from the set of a sci-fi film. Not only because of how they look but because of their incredible performance and the ease with which they sail through the thickest piece of meat you can throw at them.
- Awesome look and feel, with a black, non-reflective titanium-nitride coating.
- The blade features a beautifully hand-polished satin finish.
- The unique geometry of its handle shape guarantees maximum comfort and maneuverability.
- Sharpened to 16-18 degrees per side.
- It’s a pretty eye-catching steak knife set, no doubt; perhaps you’re looking for something with a bit more of a traditional look?
- There is a seamless transition between the handle and the blade, which can make it a bit tricky not to slip upwards if you’re not careful.
Four incredible steak knives from Dalstrong’s famously elegant Crusader series, featuring a sleek and minimalistic knife design and stunning performance.
- A minimalist, “less-is-more” aesthetic that looks so incredibly cool.
- Razor-sharp German stainless steel at 58+ Rockwell.
- Seamless transition between handle and blade.
- Polished spine for a more comfortable grip.
- The gap in the handle might take a little getting used to at first.
The sleek elegance of the Frost Fire series works perfectly when applied to a steak knife set, featuring an icy-cold look and a comfortable, easy-to-handle feel. This gorgeous collection has a friendly, open disposition, certainly less confrontational than some of the other knives on this list.
- Made of 7-layer high-carbon high-chromium 10CR15MOV stainless steel with added cobalt and expert heat-treatment.
- Sandblast finish provides a “frosted” look and enhances the knife’s non-stick properties.
- Great edge retention, at 60-61 Rockwell.
- Beautiful honeycomb design on the handle and comfortable to hold.
- The frosted look and honeycomb pattern are not everyone’s cup of tea.
- These knives set tend to be a bit on the light side.
Best Paring Knife Set
This is an awesome set of three high-performance paring knives that will help you with those extremely precise cuts for fruit or vegetable prep. Features a straight-edge paring knife, a serrated paring knife, and a turning paring knife.
- Painstakingly crafted over 60 days from a single piece of ultra-premium Japanese high-carbon stainless steel with Damascus cladding.
- Meticulously constructed handle, made of military-grade G-10 Garolite.
- Gorgeous visual pattern featuring the Dalstrong “Tsunami Rose” design.
- Its tapered bolster provides a “zero-balance” feel and is comfortable to hold.
- Do keep in mind that this is a set of paring knives, so if you’re looking for more variety, you should look into some of the other cutlery sets in this list.
- Because these are three premium-level paring knives, the price trends higher than many collections here.
Dalstrong’s Gladiator series features timeless, elegant, no-nonsense knife designs which are perfectly suited for the role of the paring knife. This awesome three-piece paring knife set features the blades you need for peeling, slicing, dicing, coring, scoring, and chopping all manner of produce and small meats.
- Tapered design provides hardness and flexibility.
- The blades have added chromium, which helps with stain resistance.
- Very low maintenance; extremely easy to clean.
- Ergonomic handle shape makes it easy to hold for long periods.
- This is a positive point for some, but these paring knives are a little heavier than you would expect.
Best Carving Knife set
An incredible knife-and-fork set from Dalstrong’s acclaimed Shogun series for all your carving and slicing needs. Features a 9” carving knife and meat fork.
- Precision-forged blade with an ultra-premium Japanese AUS-10V “super steel” cutting core at 62+ Rockwell hardness.
- Features 66 layers of high-carbon stainless steel cladding.
- The carving fork features a G10 handle and mosaic rivet.
- A gorgeous looking set, featuring the Shogun Series Tsunami Rose blade pattern.
- Because of the premium materials and incredible engineering, this might be more than you’re expecting to pay for a carving knife and meat fork– but you get what you pay for and then some.
The clean, minimalistic look of the Crusader series fits this carving knife and meat fork set beautifully. An elegant, all-stainless steel 9” knife and carving fork.
- Hand polished to a satin finish.
- The fuller groove near its spine reduces friction as well as stuck-on food, making the knife lighter and more balanced in the process.
- Very hygienic and easy to clean; one single piece of stainless steel, with nowhere for debris to hide.
- Includes a hand-crafted Acacia wood magnetic sheath.
- Due to its handle, this knife is a little lighter than most on this list. Some would see this as a strength, but if you’re the kind of person who favors a hefty knife, look into some other options.
Best Budget-Friendly Knife Set
This excellent 4-piece cheese knife set delivers a great collection of top-of-the-line charcuterie knives at a price that won’t break the bank. And since they’re from the Shadow Black series, they have the added benefit of looking extremely cool; pull these out at your next wine-and-cheese gathering and you’ll get people talking.
- Ruthlessly sharp scalpel-like edge, hand-finished to 15 degrees per side.
- Nitrogen cooled for enhanced hardness and flexibility.
- Midnight black ergonomic fiber-resin G10 handle, nearly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.
- Featuring high-carbon 7CR17MOV-X super-steel with an added vacuum heat treatment.
- Incredible knives at a fantastic value.
- The “Shadow Black” color and design might clash with the rest of your cutlery; if you’re the kind of person who wants your kitchen implements to match, this might be a problem.
This is what we call a deal. Four excellent 5-inch straight-edge steak knives from Dalstrong’s Gladiator series at a price that seems like someone made a mistake at some point in the entry process.
- Handsome, classic design.
- Made of ultra-sharp wear-resistant high carbon German steel.
- Its tall blade height provides you knuckle clearance, assisting with food preparation and chopping activity.
- Full tang knives, for better robustness and quality.
- A fantastic gift for the steak enthusiast in your life.
- A little heftier than most people expect from these kinds of steak knives.
4. Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good cutlery set?
Well, one way to answer this is just to point you to the list of awesome options we listed above – each one of these brings something special to the table (pun intended). And another way is to simply say that a good cutlery set fulfills the specific need you have for your particular situation. This is why it’s important to consider what your needs are, look through several options, and pick the set that feels right for you.
What is a good steel for a cutlery set?
There are several options available, as we outlined above in the “What to Look For in a Cutlery Set” section. But overall, in terms of the right balance between performance and value, stainless steel is the way to go.
How much does a good cutlery set cost?
You’ll find many price points for a good cutlery set. Some of them will be the kind of extremely cheap stuff you know you’ll find yourself replacing in no time. Always value quality over price, since you want to make sure you buy a set that lasts you for a long time.
Written by Jorge Farah
Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.