What Makes a Good Steak Knife Set?

Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set with Storage Block

It’s time for your monthly shop. You head into your local store, and before you there lies a collection of steak knives. They’re on special offer!

In a split second, you’ve lunged. With them in hand, you skip to the clerk, a smile on your face.

The clerk wipes away that smile with a raise of his eyebrow.

“Ho ho ho,” he chortles, “I wouldn’t recommend that block of knives! It tears the meat!”

His statement lingers in the air as you tilt your head to the side.

“Tears the meat?” you wonder. You stare down at the knives in your hand. The silver is shiny, the handle sleek. If that isn’t a good set of steak knives, then what on earth is?

Enter Dalstrong Knives.

But, before we begin on that, let’s look at the knives that we already have in hand.

The Jaw-Dropping Negatives of a Bad Steak Knife Set

To understand what makes good steak knives, one must first understand what makes bad ones.

So, without further ado, bad steak knives will:

  • Cut Poorly — You’ll clench your teeth in frustration as you shred and saw at your steak to no avail.
  • Form Rust Spots — You don’t want those on display at your family dinners.
  • Be Heavy & Bulky — Your hand will turn white from having to grip the poorly made set.
  • Blunt Quickly — Buy it once, buy it twice. After extended use, the steak knife will blunt and you’ll find yourself back in-store.

In short, bad steak knife sets aren’t classy cutlery. 

In fact, you can compare a bad set of knives to an invisible enemy. It looks the part while in the store, yet it stops your culinary and cutlery experience from being enjoyable.

Now, a good block of knives — that’s a whole different ballpark.

The Delightful Positives of a Good Steak Knife Set

Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife
Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set with Storage Block

The best way to understand a good block of knives is to break one down. For this, we’re going to look at the Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set.

Each knife in this block is:

  • Precision Forged — A thicker blade allows for more durability. Ideal for cutting tough red meat.
  • Hand Sharpened — Boasts 16–18° per side, which allows perfect balance and a smooth cut.
  • Tapered — With increased flexibility and hardness, this makes the knife a joy to handle.
  • Tempered — No brittleness here. A tempered blade will last much longer than its counterpart.
  • Full Tang — Allows for more leverage, which gives the knife incredible robustness.

To surmise, we at Dalstrong make all of our knives with care and quality. That’s because we understand the importance of having the best cutlery for any job.

With that in mind, when looking for a good set of knives, one must also consider whether they want a serrated or non-serrated set.

Let’s explore the differences further. 

Serrated vs Non-Serrated Knives — An Eye-Opening Comparison

Serrated
Non-Serrated
Amount of Maintenance Needed Little to None Little
Stays Sharp for a Long Time Yes (a little longer than Non-Serrated) Yes
Good for Doward Cutting Yes Yes
Able to Provide a Clean Cut Yes — but can tear the meat Yes
Effort Needed Sawing actions need more effort Less effort needed

Here’s the eye-opening takeaway:

The two types of steak knives aren’t that different

While they possess minor differences, there isn’t one big enough to define a clear-cut winner. You can safely choose either serrated or non-serrated, based on your personal preference.

That means you can effectively eliminate this argument entirely.

If you think Dalstrong Knives are the right choice for you, don’t let the choice between serrated and non-serrated knives hinder that. 

Getting a Grip on the Handle

Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set
Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set

Casting the blade aside, the handles on knives are something often overlooked. A lot of people simply pick up a sharp blade, and away they go.

We’ve briefly talked about tang already, but what else makes a handle important? You can’t forget balance.

So, let’s ask two questions:

  1. Is the handle proportional to the blade?
  2. Is the handle comfortable?

These questions might seem little more than aesthetic. Yet, they are of greater importance than you may realize. 

A disproportionate handle (i.e. unbalanced) will make work more difficult. It’ll be heavier to handle, and, in turn, moving around the cutting board will be harder work than it needs to be.

That being said, there is a preferential element in play here similar to serrated vs non-serrated blades. Generally speaking, a well-struck balance is welcome in a good block of knives 

To explore this, let’s talk about the Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set; we’ve already established it as being a good option. 

What does it do with the handles to further strengthen that?

Let’s talk about the bolster.

Quick fact: For those not as well versed in a knife’s anatomy, the “bolster” is the junction between the handle and blade. You can check out The Spruce Eats for a more in-depth guide. 

Some steak knives are without a bolster — which can make them more heavy — and while some users enjoy that, we recommend you pick a set that includes bolstered steak knives.

The bolster on the Gladiator Series set is finger protective. It’s perfectly engineered to strike a fine balance, all while keeping your hand away from the blade. 

That’s all well and good, but the Gladiator Series also takes it a step further — it goes as far as including a second bolster on the end to add a counterbalance. This gives knives a great and weighty feel to them, plus maintains some of the preferences non-bolster-users prefer. 

However, bolster aside, the Gladiator Series handle is also triple-riveted for durability, with a polished spine for the ultimate comfort when you grip.

Doesn’t that sound perfect? 

There’s more. Let’s look at the G10 handle next. 

The Gladiator Series Steak Knife uses a glass-based epoxy resin laminate handle, also known as G10.

A G10 knife handle:

  • Is lighter than alternatives
  • Has better traction
  • Won’t break easily 
  • Is low maintenance 

These are 4 key features that set the Gladiator Series apart from a bad block of knives. Just imagine bad steak knives slipping out of your hands with their clunky wooden handles, or having those same handles soak through and rot. 

As said before, it’s something easily overlooked, but an imperative step to be remembered. 

In regard to often overlooked traits of good steak knives, let’s move on to one final point. The knife material.

The Knife Material — The Power of High Carbon

Person holding glass flasks
Image source: unsplash.com

Put on your lab coat, because it’s time for science! 

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. It always contains both elements to a varying amount. However, a simple rule of thumb is that the more carbon within the steel, the stronger the steel is.

Good steak knives will be made of high carbon stainless steel. It’s strong, ultra-sharp, and wear-resistant. Thus, it will last for an incredibly long time. 

But how can you tell the difference in a store?

You could check the product description, sure. But that won’t help in a pinch.

If you were to compare a standard stainless steel knife with a high-carbon one, you might struggle to notice a physical difference. However, if you look closely, there is one.

High carbon has less chromium in it. In short, the knife will have less of a sheen. 

So, if you see a steak knife so shiny that your reflection is staring back at you — consider that it may not be the strongest knife on the block. 

Our recurring example, the Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set, is made up of high carbon stainless steel knives; all presented in our beautiful Oak Convertible Storage Block & Stand.

It’s our top recommendation. However, for curiosity's sake, what other materials are available for knives? 

Let’s take a look:

Knife Materials:
High Carbon Stainless Steel
Standard Stainless Steel
Damascus Steel
Ceramic Steel
Extremely Durable
Stain Resistant
Easy to Sharpen
Remains Sharp
Rust-Free

As you can see, high carbon stainless steel isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s up there with the best of the best. 

What Next?

At Dalstrong Knives, we use German ThyssenKrupp high-carbon steel. This has a Rockwell 56+ hardness rating.

That’s right — we offer a tough steak knife set that will be a welcome addition to your kitchen and be the go-to cutlery in your household.

Shop Dalstrong Knives today, and check out our jaw-dropping selection. When you’re ready to take the dive and grab your excellent knife set, be sure to grab the Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set with Storage Block.

Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set
Gladiator Series 8-Piece Steak Knife Set