If you take cooking seriously you know that a quality set of knives is a “must-have” in your kitchen. If you need to slice, dice, chop, mince, or julienne you will need a good quality knife. If you are content to just rip, tear, or saw through something then you may be able to get by with a cheap knife. We put together this knife set buyers guide to help people who realize the importance of a quality knife set find a good set of knives at a price they can afford.
How Many Knives Do You Need?
You can buy a set of knives that includes 10, 12, 14 or even 18 pieces or more. A set with more pieces may be nice but you really only need three knives to do most jobs in your kitchen. Therefore it’s better to go with quality over quantity. The three most important knives in your set will be your chef’s knife, a paring or utility knife, and a serrated knife.
A chef’s knife is an all-purpose cutting tool that can be used for slicing meat, chopping vegetables, or mincing herbs. They come in different sizes and you should choose one that you feel comfortable with but a good quality chef’s knife that is very sharp and holds its edge is an indispensable tool to have in your kitchen.
A paring knife is a small knife that will measure from 2 to 4 inches and can be used for things like trimming fat off of a piece of meat, slicing cheese or cutting small vegetables. Sometimes a smaller knife is more suitable for a task than a larger chef’s knife so having a good paring knife is very important. A serrated knife is also important to have because they are good for cutting bread or other soft items. Those are the three essential knives to have and of course you could have different sized chef’s knives and paring knives along with a set of steak knives etc. and that is what you will get in a knife set as opposed to buying knives individually.
Finding a Quality Set of Knives
To find a quality set of knives their are a number of things to look for. The most important thing is the steel that the blades are made of. If the carbon content of the steel is too high than the knife will be brittle and could break easily. It would also be more prone to rusting. If there is not enough carbon then the blades will be too flexible and they won’t hold an edge very well. It’s best to look for a high carbon, stainless steel blade. These blades may also be labeled as “no stain” or “stain resistant”.
Another thing that you should look for in a good quality knife is full tang construction. This means that the metal from the blade continues all the way through the handle of the knife. Full tang construction is stronger and the knives will last longer, it is a sign of quality.
When it comes to the way knives are made they are either forged or stamped. Forged blades are made by heating, hammering, folding and cooling the metal and then repeating that process multiple times. Stamped blades are simply cut from a sheet of metal. Stamped blades are often thinner and lighter in weight and some people feel that they are not as high quality as forged blades.
It is true that cheap knives will be stamped because it is faster and uses less material than producing forged blades. However, there are good quality stamped knives available so it’s important to look at the other factors mentioned above. If a stamped blade is made with full tang construction and is constructed of high carbon, stainless steel it can still be a very good quality knife that will be less expensive than forged blades would be.
A Few Last Things to Keep in Mind
Finding a quality set of knives is very important but higher quality knives are often very expensive. It’s a good idea to set a budget for yourself and then shop for a set of knives that falls within your budget. It’s also a good idea to research user reviews online before making a purchase. Find a set of knives that is in your budget and has some of the attributes we have discussed in this knife set buyers guide but also look to see what other customers think about the set of knives you are considering purchasing. If the set of knives is well made and constructed from quality materials, fits into your budget and is getting great reviews from customers online then you have found the best possible knife set for you.