The best steak knife set
There's nothing that makes slicing into a tender, juicy ribeye feel more luxurious than using a beautiful steak knife. When it comes to choosing the right steak knife set, the options are plentiful. Do you want serrated or non-serrated blades? Wood handles or steel? Forged or stamped?
To learn more about which steak knives are best suited to your needs, keep reading our buying guide. Our top pick, the elegant Wusthof Eight-Piece Steak Knife Set, comes with a warranty that lasts a lifetime. And that means a lot of steaks!
Considerations when choosing steak knife sets
Size of set
Steak knife sets usually come with four to eight knives. Consider purchasing a daily-use set for casual dinners as well as a formal set for holiday or dinner party use. Steak knives with hefty wooden handles tend to look more casual and rustic on the table. Steak knives used for formal holiday or dinner parties will often have a more elegant, streamlined appearance that closely matches your special occasion flatware.
Serrated vs. non-serrated blade
Steak knives with serrated blades have sharp teeth that act like a saw to cut through meat. Serrations may differ in size. Micro-serrated steak knives have smaller serrations than typical serrated steak knives, but they're still quite sharp. The advantage of choosing a serrated blade is that it requires little maintenance. Steak knives with a non-serrated blade usually deliver an easier, cleaner cut, but they may need more sharpening over time.
Forged vs. stamped
Forged: A forged knife is made from a single piece of steel that's pounded into the proper shape. They're usually thick and heavy. Forged knives are believed to be of a higher quality and more expensive.
Stamped: A stamped knife is cut from a larger steel sheet -- almost like using a cookie cutter on dough. Stamped knives are thinner, lightweight, flexible, and tend to be more affordable.
In short, if you find a high-end brand that makes stamped steak knives, you can't go wrong. If you find a budget brand that offers forged knives, you'll likely get a good value.
Some knives are constructed with a blade embedded into a handle made from wood or another material. Be advised that while knives with wood handles look great, if not properly cared for, they won't last as long as all-steel knives because they tend to either dry out or absorb water and warp. Knives that have a full tang, which means there is one continuous piece of metal from the blade's tip to the handle's end, are the most durable.
Stainless steel blades: Stainless steel is an alloy that contains chromium and a tiny bit of carbon. The advantage is that chromium helps stainless steel blades resist rust and corrosion. Stainless steel blades are also softer, which makes them easier to sharpen. However, they tend to lose their sharp edges quickly compared to carbon blades.
Carbon/high carbon: The advantage of carbon knives (also called high carbon because of the material's content) is that they're the hardest, sharpest blades available. That characteristic makes them best for precision cutting. They're also less pricey than stainless steel blades. However, because they don't have any chromium in the material, carbon blades tend to rust and corrode unless you're meticulous about cleaning and drying them right after use.
For under $25, you'll find economy sets of serrated or non-serrated steak knives for daily use. Better sets can also be found under $20, but you'll likely find smaller sets of four knives. Between $25 and $50, you'll find sleek stainless steel sets, either serrated or non-serrated, that come in storage boxes for gift-giving.
Q. What's the best way to store steak knives?
A. Protect your steak knives by storing them in a box, knife roll, or on a magnetic strip. Sets that come with a lined wood storage box make ideal gifts. A well-constructed box can lengthen the lifespan of your knives by keeping them clean and sharp, protecting them from any warping or other damage. Look for a padded steak knife roll if you want to keep your set in a drawer, but don't have room for a box. If you want to eliminate a knife block on your counter for your everyday steak knife set, consider a magnetic strip on your kitchen wall as a space-saving solution.
Q. Should I clean steak knives by hand or in the dishwasher?
A. Not every steak knife is dishwasher-safe. A dishwasher could damage wood handles, for example, and loosen them up, which can shorten your set's lifespan. If you prefer to handwash your steak knives, soak them in a bowl of soapy water, scrub with hot water, then dry completely with a towel to discourage water spots.
Steak knife sets we recommend
Best of the best: Wusthof's Eight-Piece Steak Knife Set
Our take: Sleek set of quality German-label steak knives made from a single piece of steel so the blade and handle are one solid unit.
What we like: Knives made from 18/10 stainless steel with serrated blades and handles have a good, hefty feel in your hand. The lifetime warranty is a plus.
What we dislike: Storage box could be of better quality.
Best bang for your buck: AmazonBasics' Eight-Piece Steak Knife Set
Our take: Affordable set that some say rival restaurant-quality steak knives in function and weight.
What we like: A hefty handle offers a good grip. Features a wide serrated area and pointy tips that handle large cuts well. Dishwasher-safe, but you may want to handwash and towel dry them anyway to keep them in good shape.
What we dislike: Serrated edge is "aggressive" and might tear rather than slice meat.
Choice 3: Culina's Eight-Piece Set in Wooden Box
Our take: Affordable and handsome solid steel forged steak knife set.
What we like: The mirror polish finish dazzles. Made for everyday use. It's a single piece of steel that is easy to clean.
What we dislike: May not be sharp enough for some users and recommended for handwashing only.
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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