If you’re shopping for your first quality kitchen knife set you likely have a number of questions you’re wondering about. Indeed, purchasing a high quality knife set is often a little different than walking into your local department store and getting a common brand name off the shelf. Since a quality kitchen knife set will likely be a fairly big purchase that will be with you for many years, you’ll want to ensure you get the right set for you.
How to Choose a Great Kitchen Knife Set
When shopping for kitchen knife sets there are a number of factors you’ll want to look at to ensure you’re getting a knife set that will last. The primary factors you’ll want to look at are the material they are constructed out of, the workmanship and quality of the knife, and other features such as safety, blade edge, etc.
Material: many poor quality knife sets are made of cheaply produced steel and constructed using less expensive means. A high quality kitchen knife set will likely be made of one of the three following materials:
- Carbon Steel: carbon steel is the oldest form of steel. Unfortunately carbon steel is susceptible to rusting and corrosion.
- Stainless Steel: many kitchen tools are now being made of stainless steel. While traditional steel is made using carbon, stainless steel is made with the addition of chromium. When looking at stainless steel knives it is good to take a look at the finish. Typically, the courses the finish the more susceptible to corrosion the knife will be. Thus, look for highly finished and polished knives to ensure they will be as likely to corrode.
- Special Formulas: the steel industry is constantly evolving with new formulas being created all the time. Different combinations of metal will have different properties including how susceptible to corrosion they will be, how well they hold an edge, and how sharp the edge can be. Due to the research and development that goes into creating new forms of steel and the addition of more expensive raw materials, special formula knives will often be more expensive than traditional steel or stainless steel; however, the quality is often well worth the price.
Workmanship: as with any crafted item, not all kitchen knife sets are created equal. Different brands put in different amounts of care in creating their knives. Quality workmanship will provide many benefits over a run of the mill kitchen knife set. When looking at the workmanship of a knife, look at features such as the joints and seems of the knife. One particularly important point is where the knife meets the handle. In addition to tight fitting joints, you should look for any irregularities in the steel.
Safety, Balance, and Ergonomics: a good quality blade will be styled in such a way to maximize safety and balance. You should look for a quality handle that will prevent slips. A good quality kitchen knife set will also have excellent balance and ergonomics. When purchasing kitchen knife sets, pick up the knives to have a good feel for them. They should feel comfortable and balanced in your hand and should be of a weight that does not feel heavy.
Sharp Edges: one of the primary benefits of quality kitchen knife sets is the edge they come with. A poor quality blade often has a duller edge and loses that edge quicker than a quality blade. This is due to the forging and material used in a quality blade. Sharp edges are also a safety feature provided by quality kitchen knife sets. A dull blade is prone to slipping off and often requires more pressure when cutting a food product. Both of these characteristics results in an increased chance of cuts to the hands and knives.
Where to Buy a Great Kitchen Knife Set
If you’re in the market for a great kitchen knife set, you’re likely wondering where to purchase one. Now that you know what to look for in good quality kitchen knife sets, we’ll go over some of the best places to purchase them including: specialty knife shops, online third party sites, and manufacturers websites.
Specialty Knife Shops
Although some of the better department stores may carry higher grade kitchen knife sets, many times they will only carry cheaper sets. There are a few advantages of going to a shop dealing specifically in knives and other blades. For one, they often have a wider range of quality brand knife sets to choose from. Secondly, knife shops dealing in the sale of blades often have employees who know a great deal more about knives than employees at a typical department store. This is particularly important if you aren’t sure exactly what you’re looking for, what brands are good, and what your needs are.
Many of the top brand knife manufacturers such as Henckels now have online shops that allow you to purchase items on the internet. This is great if you know the exact brand you are looking for. In addition, you’ll be able to select from all of the series they currently manufacture whereas a knife shop, even though they provide a wide variety of sets will not likely have ever series offered by each manufacturer.
Online Third Party Sites
If you know what knives you are looking for a great place to shop is third party sites. Even if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for these sites often provide great resources on the various brands, series, and what to look for when purchasing a knife. One of the best things about purchasing kitchen knife sets from these sites is the deals you’ll receive. Unlike specialty shops, online sites do not have the overhead cost of renting a physical location and paying utilities etc. Therefore, they are often able to pass these savings on to customers by providing a good deal of discounts on all forms of kitchen knife sets. Shipping has also come a long way and you’ll likely have to pay very little (if anything) for shipping and you’ll receive your kitchen knife set in as little as a couple of days.