Whether a newbie or a seasoned cook, a quality knife is crucial to everyone. For newbies, knives are often the first and most vital cooking gadget. On the other hand, seasoned cooks need the best culinary knife sets to prepare meals more efficiently.
Remember, as with every other art form, you can only improve at cooking by honing the basic skills. Because knife skills are one of the most basic and crucial skills in a cook's career, you should consider selecting the right knife.
Knives are equally as important to home cooks. If you're a home cook, you too can use this tool to whip up the most excellent delicacies. And once you're comfortable using a knife for a while, there's no going back!
With that said, how do you end up with the best knife set? What are some of the factors to consider before selecting a knife set? Let's find out!
What Kind of Knife Should You Get?
Before you understand the factors behind a quality knife set, it is essential first to understand the two major types of knives. For the uninitiated, knives can be categorized into the following groups:
Stamped Knives: These knives are usually crafted from high-quality machines and aren't as powerful as forged knives. However, you will still find quality models like Best Knife Block Set 12-Pcs Kitchen Knife Block Set below. This knife set is made from quality materials and features excellent blades with just the right edge.
You can also polish or hone the knives as needed. The quality and the riveted handle of these knife sets will offer you a solid grip. They will also be just as comfortable when you slice through rare meat or hard vegetables.
Forged Knives: Unlike stamped knives, forged knives are manually created by heating metal. Once the metal is hot enough, it is molded and redefined into a blade-like structure. To forge a knife, it is crucial to have the right craft skills.
Alternatively, you can also find forged knives created under special and semi-automated machines. In most cases, you need both manual and machine work to get the final knife. Compared to stamped knives, forged knives have better sharpness, thanks to their high-quality materials.
This knife is also extremely easy to operate, though it might be slightly heavier than its Stamped counterparts. However, thanks to their excellent balance, you won't feel heaviness while handling these knives. Also, because you shape the blades to better assist the blade's edge, you can hold on to the edge for a longer time.
Many also treat forged knives like their heirloom because, in most cases, the knives manage to outlive their owners!
Factors to Consider While Choosing the Best Knife Set
You cannot choose the best knife set overnight. To make a proper and informed decision, it is crucial to consider a couple of factors before you finally decide on your preferred type of knife.
Check the Material
This is one of the first things you must do while choosing the best kitchen knife set. Because knives are available in all shapes and sizes and are made from various materials. The top materials of quality knives would be:
Stainless Steel: This is perhaps the most common material for any knife. Not only are they swift and seamless to sharpen, but they also turn out to be rust-proof. The best part: almost anyone can use them.
When selecting a stainless-steel knife, consider checking the steel quality and handle quality. For instance, this 15 Pieces Hollow Handle Kitchen Knife Set has a sturdy handle and a quality stainless steel body. The blades are equally sharp, letting you slice through harsh edges in a jiffy!
That said, note that stainless steel knives may flex or bend if not used or maintained correctly. So, if you are planning to get this knife any time soon, consider checking up on the maintenance guidelines to ensure it is powerful and durable for the longest time!
Carbon Steel: When it comes to knives, this is one of the most conventional materials available. However, it is still widely popular because carbon steel knives can successfully retain their sharpness in the long run.
As with stainless steel knives, you need to maintain these quality carbon steel knives for their maximum performance. Since they are highly susceptible to rust, you should consider seasoning them with mineral oil from time to time.
Even though these knives are costly and high maintenance, they are still a great option for anyone looking to collect the best knife sets crafted from all kinds of materials.
Damascus Steel: These knives come with an exterior made of quality stainless steel, and they are perhaps best remembered for their stunning designs and excellent blades. Unlike many knives, the blades are sharp, and the sharpness can be retained for a long time.
Most knives made of Damascus steel are usually manually manufactured and are pretty expensive. However, given their exceptional sharpness and superior quality, we would certainly call this a worthwhile investment.
Ceramic: Once in a while, you might also stumble upon a Ceramic knife. The biggest and most distinguished quality of these knives is that they are highly affordable yet just as sharp.
Unlike many professional knives, they are also quite lightweight, making it easier for newbies to handle them. A ceramic knife is not susceptible to rust, and you don't need to sharpen it as much. However, because they can quickly chip, you cannot maintain these knives properly in your home.
For most ceramic knives, you would need an additional diamond sharpener to sharpen or adjust the blades. That is why we often need to send it to the knife's supplier to get the product properly sharpened.
Check the Quality of the Handle
As previously mentioned, the handles of your knives are yet another important factor you need to consider while exploring different knife sets. Typically, your knife set's handle may be made from the following materials:
You can probably guess that every material offers a different kind of grip and ergonomics. The best way to figure out if your knife indeed comes with a good grip is by holding the handles. This way, you will understand whether the grip is indeed comfortable and solid.
The handle of your knife is equally crucial from the perspective of maintenance. If you're looking to make sure that your knife lasts a long time, it's time you consider washing the handle after every use.
Washing guidelines may vary depending on the material of the knife. For instance, if you are using a dishwasher to wash a knife with wood handles, it may cause the handle to dry up or develop cracks. Over the next few years, you will find the quality of the knife deteriorating.
Similarly, dishwashers are equally unsafe for handles made of resin because they may compromise both the handle and the quality of the blade. For best results, follow the maintenance guidelines that come with your knife set. This way, you can maximize the knife's efficiency and lifespan.
While choosing the handle of your knife, make sure it is comfortable, gives a solid grip, and has complete control as you slide through the blades.
Check the Type of Kitchen Knife Set
If you're planning to invest in a quality kitchen knife set, you would probably want to check out the different types of kitchen knives first. So, here's a brief list to get you started:
Chef Knife: Your kitchen is incomplete without a good chef knife. Not only are they multi-functional, but these knives are also extremely easy to use and maintain. You can cut and slice through almost all kinds of meat and vegetables with a quality chef knife.
This 16-piece Japanese Knife Set might perfectly serve the function of a chef knife. It has a solid grip and is extremely easy to use. In case you're looking for something even more professional, you might want to check out the Best Chef Knife Set 10 Pieces Chef Knives. This is yet another quality knife with a good grip and super-sharp blades.
Finally, if you are looking for a smaller set with six or fewer knives, you might want to check out this 6 Pieces Chef knives Set. This knife is just as functional, and a tad bit affordable because it comes with fewer pieces.
Boning Knife: This is yet another type of kitchen knife that is best known for its elongated and paper-thin blades. Because the blades are extremely flexible, you can conveniently carve out the flesh from meat bones and other pieces. Note that this knife is unique and only suitable for home cooks or professional chefs who frequently deal with bony meat.
Steak Knife: Our list of best kitchen knife sets is incomplete without steak knives. As evident from the name, the primary role of a steak knife is to help you slice through steak meat. Because steak is often cooked rare or medium-rare, you would want a knife with a mighty blade so that it successfully slices through the many kinds of meat.
This best Steak Knife Set 6-Piece 9.25 Inch Serrated Steak Knives Set can be one of your top options while zeroing in on a quality steak knife. Thanks to its wide blades, slicing through any steak would be a breeze! If you're looking for something smaller, check out this 4.5-Inch Steak Knives Set of 6. Even though the blades aren't as wide, they still do a great job slicing through tough meat.
Finally, among more affordable versions, you can try the Best Budget-Friendly Knife Set 5 Inches Steak Knives Set of 4. This is yet another quality knife set, with fewer pieces of knives, but just the same power and efficiency as the previous knife sets.
Slicing Knife: This is another popular type of kitchen knife set that is used to slice meat roasts or big chunks of meat into even and thinner chunks or slices. The average size of these knives ranges from eight to 12 inches, and their tips may be pointed or round. Again, their blade types vary from smooth to edged variants.
Even though most of us use a slicing knife occasionally, it still does an exceptional job slicing through every type of meat. That is why many cooks consider it a vital asset. You can also double up a slicing knife as a cake knife to slice through perfect and even cake layers.
How to Care For your Knife?
If you're wondering what guidelines to follow while maintaining your knife, here are a couple of pointers:
The first rule of thumb is to always make sure that your knife is clean.
Avoid using any abrasive detergent or sponges while cleaning your knife.
Typically, you should only hand wash your kitchen knife set with a mix of soap and lukewarm water.
Do not leave your knife set under cold, running water for an extended period.
When drying your knife, use cotton or any other cloth made of absorbent material.
For maximum efficiency, store your knife in a perfect, dry space. You could also invest in a knife wrap or a magnetic strip to keep your knives safe.
Once you keep these simple pointers in mind caring for your knife will be easier. In addition to the suggested guidelines, follow the manufacturer's recommendations while cleaning and maintaining your knife set. This will maximize the set's lifespan and leave you with thin and efficient cuts.
How Often Should You Maintain Your Knife?
Even after purchasing the best knife set, we often try to figure out how frequently the knife needs to be maintained. We suggest professional maintenance at least once annually. In case you are sharpening the knives with a home-knife-sharpener, follow the same policy.
If you aren't confident about getting your knives sharpened, get them sharpened every time you feel their blades getting dull. Dull knives are potentially unsafe and shouldn't be left unchecked for long.
In addition to getting your knives sharpened, we suggest you invest in a honing rod and similar other sharpening tools to maintain the edge of your knife. Thanks to these handy gadgets, you can now relax, knowing that your knives can be sharpened anytime.
It is worth mentioning here that honing rods are not typically knife sharpening devices but are instead used to remove tiny traces of steel from your knife. How does it help? Well, it sharpens the blade and makes it more efficient.
Finally, regardless of the sharping method you employ, do not use a belt sharpener or any other machine-based technique to get your knives sharp. Because these methods can be highly abrasive, you won't enjoy the kind of fine edge you would otherwise expect. These devices are notorious for exhausting the steel content, heating up your knife's blade, and affecting your knife's overall structure.
How to Test The Best Knife Set?
Now that you have a clear idea about the factors determining the quality of a knife set, you might be wondering how to test these knives. Here, a simple rule of thumb is to use your knife on various food items. Typically, you should choose the ideal knife for the appropriate food item.
For instance, you might want to slice your bread with a bread knife, carve out meat roast with your carving knife, and chop down veggies with a large chef's knife. Most of these knives are already tested by an independent team, but it also makes sense to try them individually to gauge their efficiency.
If you want to be extra sure about the knife, follow all the manufacturer's guidelines while testing it. So, if your knife's brand claims to be dishwasher safe, try to run that knife in your dishwasher to check for any visible impact. You would want to run multiple dishwasher cycles to determine if the knife is worth a shot.
When it comes to the best culinary knife sets, you will find plenty of quality options. That is why considering our suggested factors is even more important before making your pick. Now that you have a basic understanding of picking a kitchen knife set, you are better suited to make an informed decision.
Simply explore your options to find a range of quality knife sets backed by some of the best features. Because these knives are crafted by leading manufacturers, they also last a long time and require minimal maintenance (depending on the material).
So, do not wait for any further and check out the many types of sturdy knife sets; you will soon end up with one that best meets your requirements.