Knives are the most important tools in your kitchen.
Choose them wisely.
We understand that buying knives can be bewildering—the market offers a staggering number of styles, materials, and specialties to choose from. Over the years, our test kitchen has evaluated thousands of products. We’ve gone through copious rounds of testing and have identified the most important attributes in every piece of equipment, so when you go shopping you’ll know what to look for. But what happens after you have graduated from the basics? Once you're ready to go beyond your essentials, use the knives featured in this kit to efficiently round out your kitchen collection with the best tools.
Included in your kit
KEY: GOOD ★★★ FAIR ★★ POOR ★
Zwilling Pro 7" Hollow Edge Rocking Santoku Knife
EASE OF USE ★★½
Published October 2018
With a deeply curved cutting edge, this “rocking” santoku permits the full Western rocking motion when chopping and slicing. Its tip is also much less curved than most, which helped it pass through food without resistance, as did its slim spine and very acute 10-degree cutting angle. Its handle was comfortable, if a bit too long for some testers.
HANDLE CIRCUMFERENCE 3 in
MAC Japanese Series 6½-Inch Japanese Vegetable Cleaver
WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Published November 2018
This small, lightweight cleaver was razor sharp and easy to control. Just about every tester who handled this knife wanted to take it home. It sailed through all of our tests, slicing through even butternut squash more effortlessly than heftier Chinese cleavers did.
Wüsthof Classic 3.5-Inch Fully Serrated Paring Knife
WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Published January 2019
Testers said that this knife cuts through food “like absolute butter.” It had slightly more heft than its competitors and razor-sharp serrations that glided through tomatoes, around orange peels, and between citrus segments with ease.
HAND WASH ONLY
How do I sharpen serrated blades?
Generally speaking, serrated edges don’t need to be honed and sharpened nearly as often as smooth blades; because their pointed teeth do most of the work and the finer scallop-shaped serrations follow the points through the food, the edges endure less friction and degrade more slowly. If you do need to sharpen, use a manual knife sharpener. Though serrated-specific sharpeners do exist, we’ve found them to be disappointing. And electric sharpeners don’t do enough: Their spinning wheels sharpen merely the edges and tips of the serrations, not the valleys between these tips. But that doesn’t mean you need to send out your serrated knives to a professional. A manual sharpener can ride up and down the different serrations (pointed, scalloped, and saw toothed), sharpening not only the edges and tips, but the deep valleys too.
Why do some knife blades have hollows?
Santoku and slicing knives often feature oval hollows carved into the sides of their blades. Many sources claim that this innovation, patented in 1928 by what’s now the Granton Knives Co. in Sheffield, England, and often referred to as a “Granton edge,” prevents food from clinging to the blade. However, the Granton edge has an additional purpose: The hollows make the blade thinner and lighter to help it slide through food while maintaining some rigidity at the spine for control.
How do I store my knives to keep them sharp?
We don’t recommend storing knives in a drawer; as knives are moved about they can nick each other—not to mention you, too. Keeping your knives in any knife block is a big step up from a kitchen drawer, but we’ve often found that our collected knives don’t always fit into the preformed slots. A universal knife block will hold any combination of knives in a very small space. Hang a magnetic knife strip on the wall and you’ve freed up both counter and drawer space. The long strip will hold any length of knife, and keep them handily in sight.