Which are the best kitchen knife sets UK? Chef knives from Lakeland, Joseph Joseph, Opinel & Kuhn Rikon

Best kitchen knife sets: high quality chef knives Best kitchen knife sets: high quality chef knives
Best kitchen knife sets: high quality chef knives | Best kitchen knife sets: high quality chef knives

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Be it a bargain set from Lakeland, brightly coloured blades from Kuhn Rikon, or high-end chef’s knives from Zwilling, there is a kitchen knife set for every household here

A good kitchen knife set is an essential home item, whether you’re an expert chef or someone who struggles not to burn toast. A set of great knives will make simply everything in the kitchen, from slicing to chopping, mincing to carving, a pleasure rather than a chore.

Best kitchen knife sets at a glance

What’s included in a chef’s kitchen knife set?

Most knife sets come with at least two or three knives, and can have as many as six or even more within their set.

These can include a bread knife to make slicing loaves easier, a carving knife to help you perfectly cut through roasts, a chef’s knife for a variety of kitchen tasks such as mincing, slicing and chopping, a paring knife, great for peeling and paring fruit and veg, and a santoku knife, which originates from Japan and is wondrous at a variety of multipurpose cooking preparation tasks.

How to chose the right knife set for your kitchen

We have rounded up some of the best knife sets on the market today. We’ve included a range of styles and budgets, each with their own unique selling point, so you can find the perfect knife set for you.

We tested out each knife on a variety of ingredients, taking into account not just how well it did its job, but how well it represented value for money too.

Before you buy a knife set, consider what you really need. If you already have a good collection of knives, you might not need to buy a set with six or seven knives, but may be able to save money and buy a smaller set to bolster your collection.

If you are serious about your chef-ing, it’s worth investing in a dedicated chef’s knife - one that you can treat reverentially and insist no one else in the household has access to. We have a list of our favourites here.

However, if you’re looking to really make your food preparation much easier and more efficient, it may be worth investing in a larger knife set. Considering how vital knives are in the kitchen, we’d say it’s a solid investment to get a brilliant set you can use for years to come.

Consider also the style of your kitchen accessories and where you will store the knife set. Many knife sets come with an included block, which is great for storage and easy knife selection, but they do take up space, so consider whether you’d like to display it on the counter or tuck it away in a cupboard.

You should also consider your particular needs. If you have children running around the kitchen, you might like a knife set with a locking mechanism so that little hands can’t get into it.

If you’re looking to make an investment that will last the test of time, we’ve also included some higher-end knife sets with amazing tricks up their sleeves, such as a self-sharpening mechanism.

How to care for your knives

Caring for your knives means regularly sharpening to keep a clean, sharp edge. We’re big fans of the Vogue Ceramic Knife Sharpening Steel 30.5cm for this task - it’s easy to grip, which makes the task of sharpening overall simpler. If your knife set has a self-sharpening mechanism, naturally you can skip this step.

Where possible, keep knives away from the dishwasher. Instead, wash by hand and dry immediately after use and put away either in a knife block or drawer immediately.

Whichever knife set you are looking for, you will find it here in our roundup.

Lakeland Fully Forged Stainless Steel 5-Piece Knife Block

Key Specs:

Knife block included: Yes Number of knives included: Five

A well-priced, efficient knife set that will look great in your kitchen, the Fully Forged Stainless Steel 5-Piece Knife Block from British brand Lakeland is a fantastic all-rounder.

The set comes with a paring knife, a cook’s knife, an all-purpose knife, a carving knife and a bread knife, giving you five stainless steel knives to choose from when it comes to kitchen tasks such as mincing, slicing or slicing.

The knife block is a solid piece of thick wood that feels high quality and sturdy, while the knives themselves are reliable, weighty and sharp to cut and chop with. The knives are also dishwasher-safe, making clean-up time a doddle.

A great all-rounder you can rely on.

ZWILLING 7 Piece Ash Self Sharpening Knife Block in Brown

Key Specs:

Knife block included: Yes Number of knives included: Six

If you’re a serious chef and you’re looking to make an investment in your cooking tools, buy the 7 Piece Ash Self Sharpening Knife Block from German kitchenware brand Zwilling and don’t look back.

It goes without saying that the included larding and garnishing knife, utility knife, slicing knife, chef’s knife, bread knife and multi-purpose shears glide, chop and mince through food perfectly, professionally and effortlessly.

Where this set really stands out is in its self-sharpening abilities. This is enabled thanks to its chic ash wood knife block, where, in each knife slot, there are two integrated ceramic sharpening stones positioned at the ideal grinding angle to sharpen your knives every time you pull them out and keep them at their sharp best forever.

To make sure you never put the wrong knife in the wrong slot, each slot helpfully has a small picture of which knife belongs there.

A dream choice for someone who not only never wants to sharpen their knives ever again but wants to work with a high-end knife set every day.

Joseph Joseph Lockblock™ Knife Block Set

Key Specs: Knife block included: Yes Number of knives included: Six

Looking to buy some steel for a man with kiddies? If you’re worried about leaving a knife set out on the counter with young children running around, the Lockblock™ Knife Block Set from British brand Joseph Joseph is the choice for you.

This ingenious set, which comes with six knives (two paring knives, a santoku knife, a chef’s knife, a bread knife and a carving knife), has a locking mechanism to ensure only adults can remove knives.

This is done easily by pressing a release button either on the left or right side.

We loved the safety this offered, especially with our own little one running around the kitchen, and how easy it was to operate. Needless to say, each of the blades cut effortlessly, smoothly and expertly, and were ergonomic and comfortable to hold.

We were also impressed by the smooth appearance of the included knife block, and the subtle colours on each of the knives to tell them apart even when they’re safely in their block.

An inner rubber surface protects the blades, so you can be sure they’ll cut smoothly and seamlessly for years to come.

Sous Chef Japanese Knife Duo - Santoku & Nakiri

Key Specs:

Knife block included: No Number of knives included: Two

A beautifully presented Japanese knife duo, this set from cookware brand Sous Chef instantly impresses before you even use it.

Two knives are included, a santoku knife, perfect for slicing, chopping and mincing vegetables, meat and fish, and a Nakiri knife ideal for chopping and slicing vegetables.

Made in Japan, in Seki City, which is renowned for its long history as the “city of knives”, it’s no surprise that this set cuts like a dream, with super-sharp edges and sturdy wooden handles.

The set makes a fabulous investment for cooks looking to add to their cooking repertoire - and its stunning presentation means it would make a wonderful gift too.

Kuhn Rikon Colori+ Knife & Block 7PC Set

Key Specs:

Knife block included: Yes Number of knives included: Six

You can always trust family-run Swiss business Kuhn Rikon to produce high-quality cookware, and its Colori+ Knife & Block 7PC Set is no different.

The set includes a bread knife, a chef’s knife, a large santoku knife, a utility knife, a paring knife and a serrated paring knife to cover everything you’ll ever need to chop in the kitchen.

The knife block is transparent and each of the knives stands out in its very own bright colour to make it easy to spot which one you’ll need.

We found each of the knives really ergonomic to hold, while their hand-sharpened, double-bevelled blades with silicone non-stick coatings made them a dream to chop with. An eye-catching option that’s affordable too.

Opinel Parallele 5pc Knife Block

Key Specs:

Knife block included: Yes Number of knives included: Five

We instantly loved the look of the Parallèle 5pc Knife Block Set from French heritage brand Opinel, and how loyal its traditional appearance is to its roots in France’s Savoie region.

Made from natural beechwood, this stainless steel knife set comes with a paring knife, a chef’s knife, a santoku knife, carving knife and a bread knife to allow you flexibility in the kitchen.

We loved the simplicity of the wooden design, and, of course, the flawless way each knife cut through a mixture of ingredients.

We thought this knife set represented great value for money for a high-quality set from a brand that’s been trusted for over a century.

Tower T80708S 7-Piece Knife Set

Key Specs: Knife block included: Yes Number of knives included: Seven

For a super-affordable knife set that makes a statement in your kitchen too, opt for this quirky 7 Piece Knife Set from British brand Tower.

Incredibly for under £40, you’ll bag seven pieces made of stainless steel: a meat cleaver, a chef knife, a bread knife, a utility knife, a paring knife, a sharpening rod, a pair of kitchen scissors and a rotating acrylic stand too.

Unlike most sets, the extras such as the sharpening rod and kitchen scissors are great add-ons for the price, while the unusual layered structure of the knife set make it easy to view and choose each knife.

For such an affordable set, the knives cut efficiently and smoothly, while the rotating stand is a nice touch that makes pulling out whatever knife you need as easy as pie.

A great option for those who want a full knife set on a tight budget.

ProCook Damascus 67 Knife Set

Key Specs:

Knife block included: No Number of knives included: Three

If you’re looking for really high-quality knives but don’t necessarily need a whole set with a knife block, or are perhaps adding to an existing collection, try this Damascus 67 Knife Set from British cookware brand ProCook.

It includes three pieces: a paring knife, a utility knife and a chef’s knife, and comes with a 25-year guarantee for peace of mind.

Made with VG10 Japanese Damascus stainless steel, the knives have a striking appearance, with sturdy black handles bearing a feature rivet with the Japanese symbol for strength: and the strength is certainly represented in the power in which these knives cut.

We found we were able to really use these knives with confidence, with their sharpness, quality and efficiency making chopping, mincing and cutting a pleasure rather than a chore.

Joseph Joseph Elevate™ Knives Steel Carousel 6-piece Set

Key Specs: Knife block included: Yes. Number of knives included: 6.

A superlative option from Joseph Joseph, who really do know how to make clever home wares.

Made from ice-hardened German stainless steel, this set has every knife you need - a 3½” Paring knife, 5” Utility knife, 7” Santoku knife, 8” Chef’s knife, 8” Carving knife, 8” Bread knife. They’re super sharp, and the ingenious handle means when you place the knife down the blade is elevated - keeping it clean and hygienic during use.

The handles a very comfortable, the steel carousel rotates for ease of access and keeps the knifes sharp and handily homed. If we have one tiny quibble its that the knives aren’t the most intuitive to place back into the block - but that’s a small issue.

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