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The 13 best kitchen knife sets of 2021

It's time to upgrade your kitchen knives.
Man cutting a pepper on a wooden chopping board, surrounded by a salad and some olive oil
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/ Source: TODAY

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A good kitchen knife can mean the difference between a joyful 10-minute prep time and a 30-minute prep time that’s a major chore — with a side of unwanted nicks and cuts. Now that we're all probably cooking much more than usual, saving time in the kitchen is becoming more valuable than ever.

Truth is, the typical home cook just needs a high-quality, sharp chef’s knife and a few other options like a serrated knife and a smaller paring knife.

If you’re holding on to old, dull knives because they feel safer, get rid of them immediately! Dull knives are dangerous because food can roll around awkwardly under the blade, making it difficult to do simple slicing and dicing.

The “best” knife is different for everyone — even celebrity chefs! It should feel comfortable in your hand and it should feel like an extension of you.

Here are some of our favorites. Some may be a little pricey, but they're well worth the investment. Always handwash knives (do NOT put them in the dishwasher), make sure to hone them every few uses and make sure to periodically sharpen them before they become too dull. Love them, and they can love you back — for decades!

Best chef’s knives

1. Paudin Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Whether you're dicing vegetables or cutting meat, this Amazon's Choice pick is a versatile must-have for your kitchen. Described as an "all-around cooking knife," this knife boasts an extra-sharp blade to guide you through the thinnest of slices.

2. Imarku Pro Kitchen 8-Inch Chef's Knife

This Amazon bestseller is loved by reviewers for its size (not too big, not too small) and durability. The handle is designed to minimize any fatigue or finger aches, while the blade is made of chrome, making it anti-corrosion and anti-tarnish.

3. Wusthof 8-Inch Pro Cook's Knife

Get great quality for less with this valuable knife. The shape of the blade allows for an easy rocking motion when mincing vegetables. The blade may dull a little sooner than more expensive options, but if it's sharpened regularly, that shouldn’t be an issue.

4. Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

The Victorinox chef’s knife slices and dices, handling tougher jobs as well as tasks that require a little finesse like chiffonading basil. All the while, it stays sharp and is comfortable to grip, thanks to the contoured handle. It works as well as a knife that costs three times as much.

5. J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Need to break down a chicken? Chop up large cuts of meat? Cut through tough squashes? This is the knife that will get you through harder cutting tasks without breaking a sweat.

6. Mac Knife Chef Series Hollow Edge 8-Inch Chef's Knife

This knife is great for novices and experts alike and is a cut above the more modestly priced models. In fact, it was recently rated No. 1 by Food & Wine. It stays sharp and the dimples prevent food from sticking to the blade. It has nice heft without feeling too heavy and the handle is comfortable for both big and small hands.

Best kitchen knife sets

1. BergHoff Concavo 8-Piece Stainless Steel Knife Set

Traditional knife blocks can appear bulky and oversized, but this sleek Berghoff set with a curved block is ideal for someone looking for modern style. It features a 4 3/4-inch utility knife, 6-inch utility knife, 6-inch boning knife, 9-inch chef's knife and 9-inch bread knife. You won't have to worry about these knives dulling over time because the set also comes with a 9-inch sharpening steel to keep your set as sharp as you need them.

2. J.A. Henckels 9-Piece Gourmet Knife Set with Magnetic Knife Bar

Upgrade your kitchen knives without sacrificing counter space. This 9-piece set comes with a 3-inch vegetable knife, 4-inch paring knife, 8-inch chef's knife, 8-inch bread knife and four 4 ½-inch steak knives — all of the basics every kitchen needs. Once you mount the metal bar in a place that works for you, your knives will be easily within reach and you'll never reach for the wrong one again.

3. Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection 12-Piece Knife Set

Yes, these knives are very, very bright. But they are also an Amazon's Choice pick for knife sets. Users love them because they are affordable and the color-coding makes it easy to find the exact knife you need — limiting cross-contamination during food preparation.

4. Sabatier Self-Sharpening Edgekeeper Pro 12-Piece Knife Block Set

Made from high-carbon stainless steel, these corrosion-resistant knives feel more expensive than they are. That's thanks, in part, to the self-sharpening knife block that houses them. Each slot features a sharpening mechanism that lightly sharpens each time a knife is pulled out, so they stay sharp for a long time.

5. Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening 12-Piece Knife Block Set

These knives are not only well-balanced and comfortable to use, but they stay sharp thanks to the fact that there’s a sharpener in the block itself. Every time you remove a knife for use, it gets sharpened. Boom! One less thing to worry about.

6. Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set

We like the transparent design of this knife block — say goodbye to the days of pulling out a knife you don’t need. It also comes apart for easy cleaning. The professional-quality set includes a 3 ½-inch paring, 5-inch utility, 8-inch chef's, 8-inch bread and 6-inch boning knife. The set basically has everything a home cook needs. The knives stay sharp for flawless cutting and they have no-slip grip handles.

7. Cangshan TS Series 17-Piece Knife Block Set

If you're looking to splurge on some great quality knives, this may be the best choice for you! This set has 22 pieces including two chef’s knives, a bread knife, a 5-inch utility knife, a paring knife, honing steel and shears. The knives come razor sharp and hold their edge for a long time.

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This article was originally published on Oct. 18, 2017.