Knife Sets With a Block, and Why We Love Them

5-Piece Knife Set with block sitting on counterGladiator Series 5-Piece Knife Set with Modular Block

Knife Sets With Block, and Why We Love Them

6 Piece Knife Set sitting on counter

1. The Benefits Of A Quality Knife Set With Block

I love to have people over. I know, I know… it’s a hassle, there’s a lot of work to be done, you need to make sure your place is in tip-top condition lest the judgmental eyes of your nearest and dearest detect even a speck of imperfection, I get it. There are certainly drawbacks. But gosh, I just love the feeling of hosting get-togethers.

Thinking of why that is, I think it comes down to the fact that it’s a bit like letting people inside my own headspace. Sure, you’re letting them in your own physical space in a very literal way, but it’s also an opportunity to communicate a bit about yourself. You are showing your aesthetic inclinations through your choice of décor, background music, and ambiance. It’s like a fun challenge to put together the nicest evening possible.

And whenever those get-togethers inevitably spill over into the kitchen, it’s kind of nice for people to see that there’s a personal touch even there. The kitchen is often thought of as a utilitarian room; it’s there just to facilitate the cooking of food. But if you can put your stamp on the space, that’s the mark of a dedicated host.

And that’s why I love a good knife set with a block. These are great, because not only do they allow you to carry a wide selection of knives (useful for different food & dining scenarios) but they’re also decorative themselves. A nice knife block will inevitably be the center of conversation whenever any one of your guests happens to lay eyes on it.

A good knife set with a block also allows you the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of knives at once. If you’re trying to put together a kitchen arsenal with a variety of top-shelf knives, you might find out that the cost quickly adds up; buying them together in a knife block set will allow you to purchase them at a reduced price, and it’ll also help you put together your collection a lot quicker.

Knife blocks are great. But the problem is that, much like with a lot of kitchen products, there’s a lot of junk out there – ugly, badly designed knife blocks carrying sub-par blades made by manufacturers who think they can get away with making an inferior product because a lot of customers don't know the difference.

So in this article, let’s talk about knife block sets. How to pick them, what you should look out for, and our thoughts on the very best knife sets with blocks available in the market.

2. What to Look For in a Knife Set With Block

You’ve decided you want to purchase a knife block set. Congratulations! Now what? What should you look for? It can be a little intimidating when there are so many options out there, and when the average quality for these types of products is so bad. 

Don’t worry – all you have to do is narrow down your criteria to three basic components: knife variety, comfort, and aesthetics. Sure, there are a few other factors to consider, such as overall kitchen décor and your counter space (which is more important than you realize!) but first, let’s focus on the basics. This is the stuff I wish someone else had told me about when I first started looking for a knife set with block.

Knife variety

While a lot of this article is going to be focusing on the block itself, we have to remember that the main purpose of a knife set with a block is to house our knives. And these shouldn’t be just any knives – you want to make sure that you’re getting some top-of-the-line kitchen tools here. Not only are you looking for quality, but you’re also looking for variety.

One of the great things about purchasing a knife set is that it allows you access to a large variety of knives -- some of them multi-purpose, some of them highly specialized -- at a fraction of what it would cost to buy them individually. Keep in mind that knife sets can range from 3 to 18 pieces or even more, so a question you should first ask yourself is how many knives do you want.

While there are many types of knife block sets with all kinds of knife varieties, you should at the very least be looking for the basics: a multipurpose chef’s knife is an essential tool, a paring knife for performing precise cuts on fruits and vegetables, and a serrated knife for cutting bread. There may be knife sets that include a steak knife, dedicated vegetable knives, boning knives, meat cleavers, some even come with kitchen shears – but as long as you have those three essentials, you’re golden.

Convenience

If you’re cooking for a large group of people, you can find yourself a little stressed out by all the moving parts you have to juggle as a home cook. This is why you need to make things as easy for yourself as possible by picking a knife block that is comfortable and easy to access.

Imagine coming up with a culinary challenge that requires a specific type of knife and having to scramble through your drawers to find a long-lost paring knife, or not being able to remember where you left your one good brisket slicer, or spending precious cooking time looking through your entire kitchen because your best boning knife is under your kitchen shears or your cutting board. It’s chaotic, and not only will the quality of your meals be affected, so will your mood.

Most people don’t think about knife storage, but it’s a tremendously important part of being a home cook. A knife set with a good knife block helps you out by making access to these ever-important kitchen tools much more open and available to you. So you need to pick a knife set that you think will work well within your kitchen. 

As we mentioned before, drawer space is an important concern. Not every kitchen is huge and flush with space. Many of us live in small apartments with cramped kitchens. When picking out a knife block, think about where you’ll be placing it, and whether it can get in the way of something important.

Some knife blocks can actually be folded and put away in a drawer, only really laid out for display when you have people over. This is tremendously useful for those of us big city dwellers who have to make the best of small spaces.

Aesthetics

Your kitchen is as much part of your home as any other room, and as such, it is as much an expression of your personality. Yes, we may put the bulk of our decorating efforts in the more “outward-facing” rooms, like the living room or dining room. But having people over means at some point things are going to move into the kitchen, at least temporarily. You want it to look its best.

Knife blocks provide you the opportunity to dress up your kitchen with a nice little display piece (particularly the ones we’re about to list further down this post). Not only do they look neat, but they give off the impression that you know what you’re doing. You’re in charge of things. If you walk into a friend’s kitchen as they’re working and you find them pulling their knife collection in and out of a block set, you tend to default to “whoa, they know their stuff.”

There are all kinds of knife blocks out there. From dull pieces of unremarkable wood to ornate and gorgeously designed ones. This, more than any other criteria for buying knife blocks, is fully subjective. Only you know the aesthetic that speaks to you, and only you are capable of selecting the knife block that is going to best serve as an expression of your personality and taste.

Okay. Those are the three basic elements to consider when searching out knife blocks. Now let’s talk about the very best knife blocks available for purchase, and each of their pros and cons.

3. The Best Knife Set With Block to Buy

1. Gladiator Series 18-piece Colossal Knife Set with Block

Gladiator Series 18-piece Colossal Knife Set with Block

This incredible knife block provides you with style, functionality, and an extremely useful assortment of high-end knives. These knives are all from Dalstrong’s Gladiator series; both the knives and the block itself provide the perfect blend of practicality and looks. It comes with a beautiful handmade walnut knife block for storage.

This set includes six straight edge 5” steak knives, one 9” slicer, one 9” bread knife, one 8” chef’s knife, one 8.5” Kiritsuke chef’s knife, one 7” Santoku knife, one 7” Nakiri knife, one 6” boning knife, one 6.5” utility knife, one 6” serrated utility knife, one 3.5” paring knife, one 2.75” bird’s beak paring knife, and one 10” Gladiator series honing steel. 

PROS:

  • This kitchen knife block set comes with 18 knives, including a pretty wide assortment of knife types to cover a multitude of uses.
  • All of the knives in the set feature Food-Grade polymer ABS handles, which are highly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.
  • The knife blade material is extremely high-quality stainless steel: precision forged, ultra sharp, wear-resistant, high carbon German ThyssenKrupp stainless steel at 56+ Rockwell. 
  • Each edge is painstakingly hand sharpened to 16-18° per side, resulting in an extremely sharp knife that’s also very durable and resilient.

CONS:

  • These types of knife sets are an investment. Some home cooks might be turned away by the price tag, but it’s more than worth it for the quality of products you’re getting in return.
  • Its large variety of knives cover several highly specific uses, which might extend beyond the needs of some home chefs. 

2. 12 Piece Knife Block Set | Shadow Black Series

12 Piece Knife Block Set | Shadow Black Series

Now, this is what we call a guaranteed conversation starter. This knife block set looks like it was pulled straight out of a sci-fi film, which is just perfect for a sci-fi nerd like myself. Not only that, but its knives all feature ruthlessly sharp blades and fantastic performance and comfort. This 12-piece block set from Dalstrong’s acclaimed Shadow Black Series is the one for you. Seriously, if you want to talk about a showoff piece, this is an incredible-looking set.


This knife block set includes a 9" honing rod, 9" carving knife, 9" bread knife, 8" chef knife, 7" Santoku knife, 6" filet knife, 5" utility knife, four 5” steak knives, and a 3.75” paring knife.

PROS:

  • Each knife features an all-black, non-reflective titanium-nitride coating that looks, quite literally, out of this world.
  • It’s not all about the looks, though. These knives are top performers, featuring a blade made of high-carbon steel at 58+ Rockwell with an expert heat treatment,
  • Fiber-resin military-grade G10 handle is nearly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.
  • Ergonomically designed to snug perfectly into your palm. These knives not only look awesome, but they also feel great to use.

CONS:

  • When it comes to looks, everyone has their taste. Not everyone is a fan of the Shadow Black Series’ distinctive all-black look. Thankfully, we have plenty of other options for you on this list, like the following one.
  • This premium kitchen knife block set is decidedly at the upper end of the price range represented in this list.

3. Crusader Series 18-Piece Knife Block Set - NSF Certified

Crusader Series 18-Piece Knife Block Set - NSF Certified

The Crusader Series is a collection of beautifully designed, stainless steel knives, aiming for a more minimalist aesthetic for those who prefer to keep things looking simple and clean. This makes it so that your knives will pair well with any décor. They’re beautifully uncomplicated, and they look stunning. 

Not only that, but the selection is great. Steak knife, chef’s knife, Santoku knife, filet knife… pretty much anything you’ll need in the kitchen.

This incredible collection includes six 5” steak knives in addition to one 8” chef’s knife, one 7” Santoku knife, one 8.5” Kiritsuke knife, one 8” bread knife with a serrated blade, one 9” carving knife, one 7” Nakiri vegetable knife, one 6.5” boning knife, one 6” fillet knife, one 5.5” serrated utility knife, one 3.5” paring knife, one 3” bird’s beak paring knife, and one 9” honing steel.

All of these knives feature the Crusader Series trademark less-is-more, minimalistic aesthetic, for those of you who prefer a cleaner, timeless look to your kitchen knives.

PROS:

  • The set comes with a beautiful acacia wood knife block to proudly show off these fantastic knives. 
  • Incredible selection of high-quality, NSF-certified stainless steel knives.
  • Simple, elegant, uncluttered visual design to these stainless steel knives.
  • A large number of high-quality knives make this block set an incredible value for the money. 

CONS:

  • Some folks may be more inclined towards knives that look a little more showy, and the Crusader aesthetic might be a little too clean and minimalistic for them.
  • Due to the construction of the knives in the Crusader series, these all stainless steel knives tend to be a tiny bit lighter than the knives from other series.  

4. Gladiator Series 5-Piece Knife Set with Modular Block

Gladiator Series 5-Piece Knife Set with Modular Block

Not only are these knives (from Dalstrong’s acclaimed Gladiator series) a great assortment of high-quality knives, the wood block itself is one of the main attractions here. One of the best features of this awesome 5-piece knife set is the fact that you can easily convert it from an upright position to a flat position for easy storage along with your cutting board and other tools. If counter space is an issue for you, this is the answer to your problems.

The gorgeous oak wood storage block features an innovative modular design that allows you to easily flip back and forth between “storage mode” and “showoff mode”. And the block features 5 fantastic kitchen essentials, making this a great go-to for anyone looking for the very best knives they can get in the simplest and most aesthetically pleasing presentation.

The set includes a 9” slicing/carving knife, a 9” bread knife, an 8” chef’s knife, a 6” utility knife, and a 3.75” paring knife. All with the gorgeous Dalstrong oak wood storage block for proud display.

PROS:

  • Each one of the knife blades is forged from a single piece of imported premium quality, high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German stainless steel.
  • The Dalstrong oak wood block looks great, and with its modular design, you can move it from an upright position to a space-saving flat position for easy and quick storage. Save that counter space! Each block also features its very own unique grain pattern; no two storage blocks are exactly alike.
  • Hand sharpened to a staggering 16 degrees per side, ensuring ultra-thin slicing and dicing with minimal effort.
  • Premium quality ABS polymer handles.

CONS:

  • As a 5-piece set, this comes with knives that are considered kitchen essentials; if you want a broader selection, look into the larger knife sets in this list. 
  • If you don’t see yourself needing a modular wood block that flips from upright to flat, look into some of the other knife sets described here. For instance…

5. Phantom Series 'Dragon Spire' 6pc Knife Set

Phantom Series 'Dragon Spire' 6pc Knife Set

The decorative element is an important factor in selecting these knife block sets. And this amazing 6-piece kitchen knife set, which comes with the Dragon Spire double-sided magnetic walnut wood block, puts that decorative element out on front street. The storage block itself looks amazing, and the knives are some of the nicest you can find.

As part of Dalstrong’s Phantom Series, these knives are elegant, agile, ruthlessly sharp culinary showpieces, made of Japanese AUS-8 high carbon stainless steel. They look fantastic and their performance is unparalleled. These knives are the perfect blend of looks and performance, and this magnetic storage block is the perfect way to show them off.

This set includes a 9” bread knife, a 9.5” Kiritsuke chef knife, an 8” chef knife, a 7” Santoku knife, a 5” utility knife, and a 4” paring knife.

PROS:

  • Premium quality laminated Spanish pakkawood handles, featuring a traditional Japanese D-shaped handle design.
  • Japanese blades made of AUS-8 Japanese high carbon stainless steel, ice tempered for added resilience and edge retention.
  • Full tang blade for robust performance.
  • Luxurious storage block: with its magnetic strip, the Dragon Spire double-sided magnetic knife holder is the cherry on top of this incredible kitchen knife set.

CONS:

  • This  6-piece set does not feature as much variety as some of the other block sets on this list.
  • If you’re not crazy about a magnetic storage block, this is not the set for you.

6. Shogun Series X 5 piece Block Set

Shogun Series X 5 piece Block Set

Here’s a dazzling five-piece kitchen knife set from my favorite Dalstrong series, the Shogun series. And they’re my favorite because the knives in the Shogun series are painstakingly crafted over 60 days, using the highest quality Japanese steel materials. They feature absolutely gorgeous stamped blades that will have everyone asking about them.

Not only does this awesome five-piece set look great as a stand-alone product, each one of the knives included in the cutlery set are absolute powerhouses when it comes to performance. This kitchen knife set includes an 8” serrated bread knife, one 8” chef’s knife, one 7” Santoku knife, one 6” utility knife, and one 3.5” paring knife. It comes in a handcrafted Acacia wood block with stainless steel finishes.

PROS:

  • A truly dazzling collection of high-performing knives, precision-forged from a single piece of ultra-premium Japanese stainless steel with 67-alternating layers of SUS410 Damascus steel. 
  • The kitchen knife set comes with a handcrafted Acacia wood block that looks and feels great.
  • Gorgeous looks: the Tsunami Rose pattern makes these knives as much an art piece as they are a feat of knife craftsmanship. Looks gorgeous.
  • Military grade G10 ergonomic handle, highly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.

CONS:

  • While the Tsunami Rose pattern is usually a selling point, some folks might prefer a cleaner and simpler look for their blades. If that’s the case for you, check out knives in the Gladiator series or the Crusader series.
  • This is a premium set made of extremely high-quality materials, so some folks might consider the price might be a little steep for a five-piece. But these are truly the best of the best, so it’s more than worth it.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Are blocks good for knives?

Any kind of improper storage in a knife block can damage your knife in the long run. Both the act of putting the knife in the block and removing it from the block, can cause friction and contribute to making the blade blunt if done inattentively. It’s just a matter of handling it with care. Remember that these knives are, above all, kitchen instruments that need to be taken care of; if you are careful when storing them, you should have no problems at all.

And remember: it’s always important to know how to sharpen a knife.

Do I need to clean my knife blocks?

Yes! Knife blocks do need to be cleaned. If you’re storing slightly wet knives in there (which, to be clear, you should not be; always dry off your knives before storing them) this can lead to bacterial growth. 

A good trick is to, once a month, shake your wooden knife block for any debris to fall out, and clean the inside with a small brush and bleach solution. Just make sure it dries completely before you use it again. 

What is a knife block used for?

A knife block is a great way to store your kitchen knives. It makes for a great decorative piece in your kitchen as well as a quick and easy way to find the tools you need when you need them.

Can I buy a storage block on its own?

You can, but remember that there are no standardized measurements for the different types of knives. Different sizes for different blades make it hard to find a storage block that will easily accommodate any blade, especially since the goal is to keep them well stored without much chance of movement. Some folks turn to magnetic knife holders as a solution to this issue.

Shop Dalstrong Knife Block Sets Today

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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. 


Knife Sets With a Block, and Why We Love Them

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