Best Professional And High End Kitchen Knife Sets In 2022

These Professional Knife Sets Offer Premium Quality And High End Performance For Pro Chefs or Busy Home Cooks.

Advances in metallurgy and manufacturing in the last 50 years have led to an increase in quality and a decrease in price of the average kitchen cutlery set in 2022. That being said, the old adage “You get what you pay for” still rings true.

The Shun Premier 7-Piece Knife Set is one of our most recommended knife sets in 2022.
The Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential knife set is one of the best cutlery sets we have tested in 2022 from a straight performance and aesthetics standpoint.

There are a lot of elements that can separate a $50 chef’s knife from a $200 professional chef knife. Steel quality, handle material, balance and aesthetics are all factors that set the knives in these professional sets apart and justify their relatively expensive cost. If you are done with low to mid range kitchen cutlery sets, and are ready to shell out a bit more to have an elite level knife set that makes your kitchen counter look its best, here are some great options.

The price range of the cutlery sets in this article ranges from around $500 to $2400. Due to price fluctuation there are often a few sets in this article a little under $500. Obviously the term “high end” is subjective, but $500 seemed to be a good starting point for what most people would consider a premium level. If that range is a bit more than you want to throw down on a cutlery set, check out our post on the best kitchen knife sets under $300.

How We Test

We personally tested the knives in the professional sets we recommend in this article to ensure they are some of the best possible options in 2022.
We tested a lot of professional knife series and sets for this article. We also reached out to a variety of cooks, chefs and even food truck pros to get their opinion.

We spend a lot of time here at Nothing But Knives working with a large array of outdoor knives and kitchen cutlery. For this article we tested a variety of professional knife series and sets. We also reached out to chefs, cooks, butchers, and even a busy food truck owner to get their opinions on the best professional knife sets and high end chef knives. We continue to test new knife sets and series as they are released to ensure this article stays current.

Here are our top picks for the best Professional and high end kitchen knife sets in 2022.

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Set
Zwilling Professional S 16-Piece Set
Cangshan TC Series 17-Piece Knife Set
Cangshan Thomas Keller 17-Piece Block Set
Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set
Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential Knife Set
Buck Knives 13-Piece Cutlery Block Set
Kramer By Zwilling Euroline 7-Piece Knife Set
Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Knife Set
Zwilling Pro 10-Piece Knife Set
Lamson Premier Forged 10-Piece Block Set
Enso SG2 7-Piece Knife Set
Miyabi Mizu SG2 7-Piece Knife Set

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-piece Knife Set 

Wusthof Classic Ikon knives and sets are very popular with professional chefs. The Classic Ikon seven piece knife set is a high end set that offers excellent performance. Shown here with the Acacia wood storage block on the right and the knives on the left.
This Wusthof Classic Ikon set is a great professional kitchen knife set for chefs or busy home cooks.

Specifications

X50CrMoV15 High Carbon Steel Blades
Triple Riveted Polypropylene Handle
15 Slot Walnut Knife Block
Full Tang
Forged not Stamped
Wusthof’s Precision Edge Technology
Half Bolstered Blade Which Allows The Entire Blade To be Sharpened
Made in Germany

Set includes the following knives: 5 inch serrated utility/tomato, 3.5 inch paring,  8 inch bread, 5 inch santoku, 8 inch chef’s, one pair of come-apart shears and a 6 slot storage block.

Wusthof Classic Ikon chefs knife on a wood cutting board with a tomato.

It is pretty obvious that Wusthof plans on this being the last kitchen cutlery set you ever need to buy which is why the Classic Ikon series is popular with professional chefs. The knives look and feel tough enough to survive the apocalypse.

The stand out feature of the Ikon knives is that they are heavily weighted toward the butt of the handle, which makes rock chopping feel a lot more comfortable and natural (for most people). Wusthof went to great pains to make sure the Ikon series is well balanced and easy to maintain. You won’t find the same out-of-box slicing prowess as the most of the Japanese knife sets, but the classic Ikon series knives are more durable and less likely to chip.

This seven piece set is a great starter set for anyone wanting get started with professional kitchen knives, because it offers excellent value compared to buying these premium knives separately. I do wish the storage block has some empty slots, so the set could be added to over time. Fortunately Wusthof does sell a variety of storage blocks separately, so upgrading to a bigger block down the road is an option.

The Classic Ikon 8 inch chef knife slicing through a tomato on a wood cutting board in front of a dark background.
It didn’t take us long to understand why the Classic Ikon 8 inch chef knife is so popular with professional chefs. It offers a great combination of performance and durability.

While these knives are superior in every way to most other knife sets on the market, the craftsmanship is not quite on the same level as the premium Karamer By Zwilling Euroline set or Zwilling J.A. Hickels 1731 Series sets listed later in this article. This set is still durable enough to be the last set you ever buy even if you are in your twenties, and they still very much offer you professional level performance.

Cutting the peel off an apple with the Wusthof Classic Ikon 3.5 inch paring knife.
The Classic Ikon 3.5 inch paring knife included in this set is one of our all-time favorite paring knives thanks to its super comfy handle and great blade geometry.

The Classic Ikon handles are contoured for comfort and made of a sturdy polypropylene that is triple riveted to the tang, so it will not come loose after extensive use like cheaper knife handles have a tendency do. Wusthof also forges metal end caps at the butt of the handle to give the knives their impressive balance. While the Classic Ikon handles are not as visually appealing as some of the other high end knife sets, they are sturdy, secure and comfortable.

You can learn a bit more about the performance of the Wusthof Classic Ikon Series by reading our in-depth Review of the Wusthof Classic Ikon 8 Inch Chef Knife.

There is a creme version #AD of this set if you prefer lighter handles.

There is a 15-piece version of this set if you need a set with with more knives.

Zwilling Profesional S 16 Piece Knife Set

Zwilling Pro sixteen piece knife set showing the knives both in and out of the wood storage block.

 Specifications

Full Tang
High carbon no stain stainless steel blades
Forged not stamped
Ergonomic polypropylene handles
Full bolster
57 Rockwell Hardness
Made in Germany and Spain
Great Balance
Limited Lifetime Warranty

Set includes the following: one 4″ paring knife, one 3″ paring knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 5.5″ fine edge prep knife, one 7″ santoku knife HE, one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, six 4.5″ steak knives, one 9″ sharpening steel, one pair of kitchen shears, and a storage block

The 8 inch Zwilling Professional S profile showing the full bolster.
The Professional S 8 inch chef knife has a full bolster which makes it heavier, but it is well balanced.

The Professional S knives are one of the more traditionally styled designs on here. They are similar to the Zwilling Pro series knives, but they have a more drop-point blade profile compared to the Pro Series’ more curved edge with a straight-edge spine.

The Professional S series also has a full bolster (the section where the handle meets the blade) while the Pro Series has a half bolster. The full bolsters gives the Professional S series knives better balance and act as a hand guard to protect the hand from slipping onto the blade. However, it also makes it a little more difficult to sharpen the the full edge.

A close up of the Zwilling Processional chef knife chopping onions on a wood cutting board.
We found the curved blade of the Professional S chef knife to be great for chopping onions.

The Professional series knives are made in Solingen, Germany except for the steak knives which are made in Spain. Solingen is one of the two most famous knife making cities in the world. The other is Seki, Japan.

These knives are all made using Zwilling’s Sigmaforce one-piece precision-forged construction which is well respected, and it is impressive that they have managed to offer knives made with that technique at a relatively affordable price point. The remarkable durability of the steel used on this set is due in part to Zwilling’s Friodur ice hardening process which has proved to be more than marketing speak.

The versatile Professional S utility knife is great in the kitchen or on a road trip. It is shown here cutting meat.
The 5″ serrated utility knife included in this set is extremely versatile which makes it a good choice for the kitchen or outdoors on a camping trip or picnic.

This set contains all the knives most busy home cooks would need, but there are two empty slots in the storage block, so more knives can be added as needed. Zwilling also make a few different colors and sizes of knife blocks that can fit the Zwilling Pro knives.

The Zwilling Professional S 4 inch paring knife peeling an apple in front of a dark background.
We did not like the Zwilling paring knife pictured here quite as much as the paring knife included in the Wusthof Classic Ikon set above, but it is still an excellent paring knife.

Ultimately the Zwilling Professional S line of knives are poorly named but well designed. They offer a professional level of performance at a good price. The knives in this set were designed by Matteo Thun to be modern, performance-driven knives that don’t cost a fortune. Zwilling Professional S series knives are used by a lot of chefs around the world, but they are relatively affordable when compared to a lot of other premium knife sets.

You can learn more about Zwilling knives and the difference between the different knife series with the help of our handy Zwilling Knife Guide.

Cangshan TC Series 17 Piece Knife Set

This high end kitchen knife set from Canshan is an excellent set for a family.

Specifications

Full Tang
Swedish Sandvik 14C28N Steel
Great Edge Retention
Forged not Stamped
Made in Yangjiang, China
Extremely Sharp
Lifetime Warranty
Hand Crafted Walnut Block

Set includes the following: 8″ chef, 8″ bread, 7″ santoku, 6″ boning, 5″ serrated utility, 5″ tomato, 3.5″ paring, 2.75″ peeling, six 5″ steak knives, honing steel and kitchen shears

The 8 inch Cangshan TC chef knife leaning against a tomato in a wood cutting board. The high end steel, ergonomic handle and great design of the Cangshan TC knife set make it a good option for professionals or busy home cooks. who want great performance .
The Cangshan TC chef knife looks good and performs well.

Cangshan is a relatively new kitchenware company that has jumped into the cutlery game in a big way. Initially they made more budget-friendly knives that were well received and generally respected as a good value. Recently they released their high-end TC series of knives that are made with a great Swedish Sandvik steel that has decent edge retention and is incredibly durable.

A tip forward shot of the Cangshan TC chef knife slicing through a tomato.

While the high quality steel is a big plus for this knife set, it is really the design of the knives that make them worthy of this list. Cangshan utilized a design that is a hybrid of Western and Japanese style knives in a way that is a little reminiscent of Dalstrong’s Shogun series or the Misen chef knife. It’s thick bladed like a western knife, but thin behind the edge with a 16 degree angle that’s similar to Japanese knives.

Dicing garlic with the Cangshan TC paring knife. This knife is one of our favorites in this cutlery set.
The Cangshan TC paring knife pictured is ideal for precision oriented tasks like mincing garlic or or peeling fruit.

The TC knives perform very well, but it is hard to rank them from a durability standpoint since they are so new. What makes them interesting is the semi-octagonal handles that flare out toward the top. The shape creates a good spot for a secure pinch grip that seems to especially comfortable for people with smaller hands.

The Cangshan TC 14 piece set contains alot of knives.

One of the reasons this set made the list is because it maintains decent quality throughout the set which is rare for such a big set. Usually cutlery companies throw some low-quality steak knives or kitchen shears into a set this size to save money, but Cangshan maintained consistent quality on all the knives in this set.

We reviewed the Cangshan TC chef’s knife a while back if you interested in a little more detail.

Cangshan Thomas Keller 17 Piece Block Set

Cangshan Thomas Keller Collection Knife Set
RWL34 powder steel at 61 HRC
Good edge retention and stability
16° edge
Designed by Michelin star chef Thomas Keller
Made in Yangjiang, China

Set Includes: 8” chef’s knife, 8” bread knife, 8” honing steel, 7” santoku, 6” boning knife, 5” steak knife (6), 5” tomato/cheese knife, 5” serrated utility knife, 3.5” paring knife, 2.75”peeling knife, 16-slot walnut block.

Designed by the multi-Michelin Starred chef behind French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery, the Thomas Keller series of knives made by Cangshan is amazingly smooth cutting and comfortable.

It uses a premium powder steel made by the Swedish company Damasteel (which is responsible for making the steel used in some of the best Damascus knives in the world). While these knives are made of Damascus, RWL34 is a fantastic material that’s capable of high hardnesses and can take a super thin edge.

As for the actual feel of the knives, they are somewhere in between the Zwilling Pro series and the Kramer knives. The slanted bolster makes the larger knives very comfortable in a pinch grip, and the slightly rounded handle is easy to grip and doesn’t have any harsh corners to bite into the palm of the hand.

Cangshan Thomas Keller Collection Knife Set Options

This is an especially complete set, including a bunch of knives you probably won’t use, but who’s to say you won’t find some blocks of cheese to slice up with that tomato/cheese knife? And the santoku can be a nice change of pace if you want to push cut through a lot of vegetables when you get bored with the western style chef’s knife. The point is, there’s a lot of options in this set.

You can also find this series with black or blue handles, but you might not be able to find them in the same size of set. The blue handled version #ad of this set is a French Laundry special edition, and we’re not sure if it’s going to stick around. But if you prefer black handles there’s any number of other set options going as small as a 2-piece with just the chef’s knife and a paring knife. #ad

Shun Classic 6-piece Knife Block Set

High end six piece knife Set from Shun. The Classic series from Shun is popular with professional chefs around the world.

 Specifications

D Shaped Ebony Pakkawood Handles
Full Tang
VG-MAX Stainless Steel Core With 34 Layers (Each Side) of Stainless Damascus Cladding
4 Empty Knife Slots on the Block To Make Set Customization Easier
Hand Crafted
Forged not Stamped
Made in Seki, Japan

Set includes the following: 3.5 inch paring, 7 inch Santoku, 8 inch chef, wood storage block, kitchen shears and a honing steel

The Shun Classic 7 inch santoku knife next to a tomato on an end grain cutting board.
The Shun Classic 7 inch santoku knife is a standout performer in this set.

The Shun Classic 6 Piece is a basic set that makes it possible for consumers to jump into the premium knife world for just under $500. It ships with the most essential knives, leaving two empty slots in the block so more can be added later.

This set offers a lot of value from a cost vs. performance standpoint. The Shun Classics have a VG-MAX steel that’s folded several times with a high carbon steel to make the blade a little tougher and maintain a cutting edge longer.

They also sport the traditional D-shaped handle in Pakkawood, which you don’t get in a lot of Shun’s other knife series. If you have never used a knife with a Japanese style D-shaped handle you may want to try one out before buying a whole set. Most people find them to be comfortable, and many professional chefs and serious amateurs use them, but some people who are accustomed to western style contoured handles don’t like the feeling of that little bump on the side.

A close up of a man's hand chopping onions with the Shun Classic 8 inch santoku knife.
We liked the Classic seven inch santoku knife so much we did a full review of it.

The Shun Classic 10 Piece set is an excellent option if you are looking for a happy medium between quality and quantity in a Japanese knife set. But if you’re curious about what else Shun makes, you’ll want to take a look at our Shun Knife set guide. We also did an in depth review of the Shun Classic Santoku knife that is included in this set. Check it out to see how one of the Shun Classic knives performs in the kitchen.

Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential Set

The 7-Piece Shun Premier knife set pictured here includes the essential kitchen knives, but the storage block contains empty slots for future additions to the set.

 Specifications

Full Tang
VG-MAX steel
Oval Shaped Walnut Pakkawood handles
3 empty slots in roll for set customization
Hammered Finish
Made in Seki, Japan

Set includes the following: 8” Chef knife, 4” paring knife, 6.5” utility knife, 9” bread knife, herb shears, combination honing steel and an eleven slot bamboo knife storage block.

The dicing ability of the Shun Premier 8-inch chef knife is illustrated in this image of the knife dicing green onions.

The Shun Premier series of knives has a lot of similarities to the Shun Classic line such as: VG-MAX steel blades, Packwood handles and similar bade geometry. However, there are a few upgrades that set the Premier line apart. The handles are oval rather than D-shaped, the Pakkawood handles have a Walnut finish, and the top of the blades are hammered to help prevent blade stick.

The excellent Shun Premier utility knife is shown here on a cutting board with a red onion.
The Shun Premier 6.5″ utility knife is one of our most recommended utility knives of 2022.

Another upside to the Premier line is that it is one of Shun’s largest series of knives, so there are more options if you want to fill the empty slots in the storage block down the road. The utility knife pictured above is one of the standout knives in this 7-piece set. The blade shape is similar to the Shun Classic utility knife, but I found the oval handles made the Premier utility knife easier to grip over a larger variety of tasks the D shaped handle of the Shun Classic utility knife. Obviously D shaped handle fans would disagree, but they can write their own article.

Dicing a red onion is fun and easy with the Shun Premier 6'5 inch utility knife.

This set has been out of stock at most retailers for large parts of 2021 and 2022, but I personally think it is worth waiting for if you are in the market for a high performing Japanese knife set that looks like a piece of art on your kitchen counter. From a straight performance standpoint the Shun Premier series is tough to beat in the production knife world, but the thin edges, hard steel and hammered finish do make these knives a little more prone to chipping. You definitely want to avoid cutting through bones or frozen food when using Shun Premier knives. I like to keep a tough cleaver with soft steel on hand for those types of tasks.

You can learn more about how the Shun Premier set stacks up against other cutlery brands by reading our Shun Premier Chef Knife Review.

Buck 13 Piece Rosewood Kitchen Cutlery Set

Buck Knives 13 piece professional cutlery set inside the storage block on a white background.

 Specifications

Full Tang
420HC steel with Paul Bos heat treat
58 Rockwell Hardness
Made in the USA
Handles available in Rosewood Dymalux, Slate Paperstone, and elk bone.
Triple Rivet Handles
Covered By Buck’s Forever Warranty

Set includes the following: 8″ chef knife, 8″ slicer, 2.75″ paring knife, 4.0″ paring knife, 4.785″ spreader, BBQ fork, 6 steak knives.

Buck 8 inch chef knife next to a tomato on an end grain cutting board.

Buck Knives is an odd name to show up in kitchen cutlery, and they’ve entered this part of the knife industry in a very Buck Knives style.

These knives have the standard Buck 420HC steel with the Paul Bos heat treat, which is technically a lower grade material but I would be more than ready to put it up against 440C or any of the kitchen knives rolling out with the German 1.4116 steel. 420HC a little soft, but it grinds super easy and takes a very thin edge so when it’s handled right it can produce some incredible, long-lasting blades. Buck has been working with this steel for decades, and famously has this stuff dialed in.

A close-up of the 8 inch Buck chef knife with rosewood handle slicing through a cucumber on a wood cutting board.
We found that the deep hollow grind on the Buck kitchen knives helped to keep food from sticking to the blade.

Buck’s kitchen knives (especially their chef knife) are going to have a very different feel from most other knives because of the heavily curved handle shape and the grind. One big difference is that the shallow hollow grid on the blade significantly reduces food stick, but will make long smooth cuts through bigger foods feel kind of weird.

These knives are great to use on medium-sized vegetables and thinner cuts of meat, but could be a little tougher to cut clean through a large slab of something because that grind is going to drag a little more than the full flat on other kitchen knives.

Close-up of the Buck 932 slicer knife with rosewood handle scales slicing through tri-tip.
The Buck 932 slicer is a standout performer in this set. We liked it for both indoor food prep and outdoor barbecue tasks.

The other stand-out element is the handle. Where most kitchen knives keep a fairly straight-lined profile, Buck has molded their handles with some pretty dramatic curves that provide a lot in terms of traction by virtue of increased surface area. But while these are really easy to keep a grip on, they are not optimized for a traditional pinch grip. It’s doable, but the dramatic flare out at the top of the handle feels a little intrusive.

These are great knives for most home cooks. Professional cooks will probably find them a bit frustrating because the pinch grip and the grind are far outside standard chef knife shapes, but they’re otherwise incredibly comfortable and have a great edge with an aggressive bite. Buck doesn’t say what angle they grind their knives to, but it looks (and feels) like it’s at least 15 degrees. When you top off the performance of these with Buck’s forever warranty, these knives become a really good option for the home kitchen.

Zwilling By Kramer Euroline Essential Collection 7-Piece Set

Zwilling Kramer Euroline Essentials Colection Knife Set
The Kramer by Zwilling Euroline Damascus Steel set offers a great combination of looks and performance at a relatively affordable price point.

 Specifications

FC61 Steel
Full Tang
Very ergonomic contoured handles
Amazing edge retention
Forged not Stamped
61 Rockwell hardness
Made in Seki, Japan
Lifetime Warranty
Designed by Bob Kramer

Set includes the following: one 8″ chef knife, one 7″  santoku, one 10″ bread knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 4″ paring knife, one 12″ sharpening steel and a 14 slot storage block.

The Zwilling by Kramer Euroline 8 inch chef knife is the standout knife in this set. It is pictured hear on a cutting boars with a pear it sliced into pieces.
The 8 inch chef knife in this set is one of the best chef knives we have ever tested.

The Euroline Essential Collection is a result of a partnership between master bladesmith Bob Kramer and Zwilling Henckles. Bob Kramer’s knives have been long time favorites of famous chefs around the world. Unfortunately they are expensive and difficult to buy. Thankfully Zwilling Henkels made his work more accessible by licensing a few designs from Kramer.

The knives in the Zwilling Kramer Euroline Essential Collection are functional works of art made in Zwilling’s Japanese factory in Seki. They’re designed to be comfortable and well balanced with thick Micarta handles for hard working chefs who put in long hours, with big-bellied blades that allow for edge modification provide a good space for scooping food up. It’s easily one of the best performing production kitchen sets being manufactured today.

Zwilling Kramer Euroline Essential Collection Cherf Knife
The 8 inch Euroline Essential Collection chef knife slicing effortlessly through a tomato.

This Kramer Zwilling set ships with a rather ordinary looking wooden block which seems kinda weird considering the high quality and great looks of the knives in this set. Fortunately the wood block does have empty slots in case you want to add one of the other knives from this set like the 6 inch chef knife that I assume Zwilling left out to keep the set below $1,000. This set does not ship with steak knives, but there are 6 empty slots in the storage block, so steak knives can easily be added later.

From a quality, performance and aesthetics standpoint there are very few premium knife sets that can compete with the Kramer by Zwilling Euroline Collection except for maybe the Zwilling Kramer Meiji or Carbon 2.0 sets (but we haven’t had a chance to test those).

Check out our in-depth review of the Kramer By Zwilling Euroline Essential Collection 8 Inch Chef Knife Review to learn more about these knives.

Hammer Stahl 21-Piece Classic Knife Set

The Hammer Stahl 21 Piece Knife set in the rotating bamboo storage block on the left and the 8 inch chef knife on the right of the photo.

 Specifications

X50CrMoV15 High Carbon Steel Blades
Full Tang
Forged not Stamped
Quad tang Packwood handles
Lifetime warranty
Great storage block design
20 degree edge grind

Set includes the following knives: 3.5″ paring, 7″ vegetable cleaver, 4.5″ santoku, 7.5″ santoku, 8″ carving knife, 6″ carving fork, 8″ bread knife, 10″ slicer, 5″ cheese knife, eight 4.5″ steak knives, 10″ sharpening steel, one rotating bamboo block and two removable steak knife blocks.

The Hammer Stahl 8 inch chef knife on a wood cutting board with a red cabbage.
Hammer Stahl knives have a quad tang handle that should help increase their durability.

I am always a little skeptical of large knife sets. All too often quantity comes at the cost of quality. However, every knife in this 21 piece set from Hammer Stahl is well built. Even the steak knives provide good bang for the buck from both a performance and durability standpoint.

The rotating bamboo storage block is unique and practical. It is designed to sit in the corner of a counter, so only two sides of the storage block contain knives. The backside is empty and a little wide, so if this block is not in a corner it sits out a ways from the wall or edge of the counter.

If space is an issue and/or you don’t have a kitchen counter corner available this block may not be ideal, the size of the block can be decreased by removing the two steak knife sections, which is a feature I hope other companies adopt.

A close up of the 8 inch Hammer Stahl chef knife chopping a red cabbage.
We were initially pretty skeptical of the Hammer Stahl knives due to their unique design, but they performed well enough to win us over.

From a performance standpoint these knives all do well, especially the two santoku knives and the 8″ chef knife pictured above. But for the most part, Hammer Stahl knives perform well for the price, which is quite abit lower than most other knives on this list. However, Hammer Stahl does make a pretty incredible carving knife, but that should be no surprise because they have been active in the barbecue world for many years.

Hammer Stahl calls these knives quad tang because the steel is exposed on all four sides. This design feature definitely makes the knives look great, and it should also make them more durable, but it also makes them feel a little more slippery and harsh in a full grip. It also puts the balance heavily toward the handle.

Overall it is an impressive set for the money, and the storage block is really practical if you have the counter space. This set has been somewhat difficult to find for the last few months. I assume this has something to do with the supply chain problems a lot of companies have been experiencing over the course of the last year. Fortunately this set does seem to eventually show up on Amazon and the Hammer Stahl site every few weeks, so it looks like it is still in production.

Zwilling Pro 10 Piece Knife Set

Zwilling Pro 10 Piece Knife Set inside an Acacia wood storage block with the knives shown both in and out of the storage block on a white background.
Zwilling Pro Series knife sets are incredibly popular with professional chefs due to their overall performance, ease of sharpening and edge retention.

 Specifications

Made in Solingen, Germany
Sigmaforged German steel with Friodur cryo treatment
Curved Bolster
Full Tang Construction
Full tang
Polymer handles (available in black and white)
Lifetime warranty
55 – 58 HRC

Set Includes the following: 3” paring knife, 4″ paring knife, 5″ serrated utility knife, 5.5″prep knife, 7″ santoku knife, 8″ bread knife, 8” chef knife, Twin sharpening steel and and a 16-slot wood block.

The Zwilling Pro chef knife next to an apple on a cutting board next to an apple to give the reader perspective on the size and style of this professional chef knife.
The 8 inch chef knife is the standout performer of this set. It impressed us with its effortless slicing and overall toughness.

This is one of the more accessible standards in the kitchen cutlery world. It’s very basic in the sense that when some uses the term Western or German chef knife, you can just picture the Zwilling Pro chef knife.

I should emphasize that this is called the Zwilling Pro set. Zwilling also makes the Pro S, which is roughly the same design, but it has a full bolster and a blade shape that’s a little closer to a gyuto because of the way the spine drops down and leaves less of a curve to the edge.

Both versions are made with the same Sigmaforge process out of a single piece of steel, and put through Zwilling’s own particular set of cryo treatments, but I prefer the bolsterless version because it’s easier to sharpen the whole edge, and a whole lot more comfortable in a pinch grip.

Zwilling Pro Chef Knife Slicing An Apple
Slicing up an apple with the Zwilling Pro 8 inch chef knife.

These knives are more tough than hard. Zwilling only takes these to 58 HRC at the most, so these will have a typically Western edge retention in that they will need to be at least honed after a day or week of heavy use, and sharpened one to two times a year (again, depending on how heavily you’re using it). But that use will feel great. The Pro knives have a nice balance and the curved bolster make for one of the most comfortable grips you’ll find on this list.

As for the 16 piece set itself, it’s likely more than most people need, but at least it will be too much of a good thing. With two paring knives and a utility knife you’ll be well covered for detail work. Between the Santoku and the standard 8-inch western chef’s knife, this set can handle basically every kind of food from fine vegetables to hardy cuts of meat.

The Pro series has been around for a while, so you can find a lot of different variations of it in both size and color of handle. Just be sure you pay attention to the lack of an “S” in the name if you’re particular about full bolsters.

There is a 16-piece version of the Zwilling Professional S #AD set if you need steak knives.

LAMSON PREMIER FORGED 10-PIECE BLOCK SET

All three Premire Forged knife sets from Lamson Cutlery including, Fire, Silver and Rosewood. These high end sets offer professional level performance, and they look great on a kitchen counter

 Specifications

One-piece, hot-drop hammer forged
Full Tang
Three different handle options
American made
Triple rivet handles
Hand Crafted
Great balance
Lifetime warranty

Set includes the following: 3″ paring knife, 3.5″ paring knife, 6″ utility knife, 6″ fillet knife, 7″ Kullenschliff santoku knife, 8″ bread knife, 8″ chef knife, 10″ slicing knife,  10″ honing steel, sharpening steel and a 9 slot wood storage block

The Lamson Premiere Fire 8 inch chef knife profile shot showing the full bolster and text on the blade.
The Fire version of the Premier series knives from Lamson has a unique looking handle.

The Premiere Forged Chef knife pictured above and the Kullenschliff Santoku knife are two of the standouts in this ten piece set.

Lamson is an American Cutlery company that has been producing quality knives for over 180 years. In terms of quality, they’ve done a pretty good job keeping up with big name brands from Germany and Japan. The combination of old school craftsmanship and modern production methods is evident in their Premiere Forged knife series. They are incredibly durable and comfortable, and Lamson backs up their quality claims with a pretty decent lifetime warranty.

The blades of the Premiere Forged series of knives are made of 4116 German steel which is pretty common to see in Western kitchen knives and budget folders. It’s a tough steel, but it is a little softer than something like the X50 in most Wusthof knives. However, Lamson’s heat treatment process seems to produce a harder version of 4116 steel than is found in most other knives made of the same steel.

The American made Lamson 8 inch chef knife slicing through a white onion during our high end knife set test.
The Lamson Premier knives are little bit heavy due to their thick spine and full bolster, but they are extremely durable and perform well.

The upside is that the blades of these knives will be more likely to roll or bend a bit rather chip (although the edge geomtry seems stout enough to keep that from happening eaasily). These knives will need to be sharpened a little more regularly, but they are less likely to suffer permanent damage from hitting a hard bone or surface. Fortunately Lamson has a great sharpening program called Sharp for Life that will help make the sharpening process easier.

The Premiere Forged series of knives are available with three different handle options: Fire, Silver and Rosewood.  The handles of the Fire knives are made of a purpose-made acrylic that seems to be tough and easy to grip. The handles of the Silver knives are made of Pakawood which is an engineered wood/resin composite that is commonly found in premium knife handles. The Rosewood knife handles are, of course, made of rosewood.

The handles of the Premier Forged series knives are all really comfortable, The shape is similar to the Zwilling Pro S or the Wusthof Classic, but they’re quite a bit thicker and don’t have as much of a swell in the middle. It’s one of those things that tends to be more comfortable for some people and too much for others. Big hands seem to favor these knives, but it’s all about knowing your own preference.

Enso SG2 7 Piece Knife Set

Two part image showing the Enso SG2 7 Piece Knife Set with knives inside the dark Ash block on the left and outside the block on the right.

 Specifications

101 layers of stainless steel Damascus over an SG2 steel core
Canvas micarta handles with a Samurai Crest
Full Tang
Forged not Stamped
Lifetime warranty
63 Rockwell hardness
True Damascus pattern
Made in Seki, Japan

Set includes the following knives: 3.25 inch paring, 6 inch utility, 6.5 inch santoku, 8 inch chef’s, 9 inch bread knife stainless steel come-apart shears and a dark ash storage block.

The SG2 8 inch chef knife from Enso tilted at an angle on a white background.

The handles of the SG2 series knives are made of linen micarta which is by far my favorite handle material. It more commonly found on high end survival knives than kitchen knives. It is extremely durable and easy to grip. Even these knives are made in Japan they have a more western style handle which makes the knives a bit of a East/West hybrid.

The Damascus pattern on the blades is a result of steel actually being layered. It is not the fake etching found on so many of the budget knives on the market today.

Miyabi Mizu SG2 7-Piece Knife

The Miyabi Mizu seven piece knife set on a white background. Shown here with it's bamboo storage block.

 Specifications

SG2 Super Steel Core With Layered Damascus Steel
Precision forged
Friodur Ice-hardened
63 HRC
Full Tang
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Made in Seki, Japan
Micarta Handles
9-12 Degree Blade Angle

Set includes the following: one 3.5″paring knife, one 5.5″ utility knife, 9.5″ bread knife, 9″ tungsten sharpening steel, kitchen shears and a bamboo wood block.

The knives of the 7 piece Miyabi Mizu set checked so many boxes from and aesthetics and performance standpoint. These knives ship as sharp as any production knives we have ever tested. They require very little pressure to slice through tomatoes or even onions.

The 8 inch Miyabi Mizu SG2 chef knife slicing a mushroom to show it's ability to excel at precision food prep tasks.
The extremely sharp 9-12 degree blade of the Miyabi Mizu SG2 8 inch chef knife made it one of our all time favorite knives for precision work.

The SG2 steel blades of the Miyabi Mizu SG2 knives are hardened to 63 HRC. This combination of high end steel and relatively extreme heat treatment means these knives hold their edge for longer than almost any other production knife set. However, this also means they need to be treated with care. These premium knives always need to be hand washed and dried immediately. They should also never be used to cut through bone or frozen meat.

The D shaped Micarta handles of these knives are are comfortable and resilient. The sloped bolster makes these knives a good option for fans of the pinch grip. All the knives in this set are well balanced and fun to use.

Miyabi is a Japanese company that is owned by a German knife company called Zwilling which is known for their excellent Friodur ice-hardening heat treatment. The result of these two companies merging is that it has allowed Miyabi to combine their highly respected Japanese craftsmanship with Zwilling’s proprietary heat treatment. The Mizu SG2 performs at a high level thanks to the combined knowledge of German and Japanese knife makers.

Check out our in-depth review of the Miyabi Mizu 8 inch chef knife to get a detailed breakdown of the Miyabi Mizu series performance and durability.

If you want to learn more about our thoughts on the on performance of the Miyabi Mizu knife series, check out our in-depth review of the Miyabi Mizu 8 Inch Chef Knife.

Tips on Caring for Your Kitchen Knife

High end knives deserve high end care. Remember that just because something costs a lot of money, doesn’t mean it’s invincible. Here’s a quick guide on how to properly use and care for your knives.

Cutting

  • Don’t cut anything frozen
  • Cut with a smooth, straight motion (Don’t twist the knife)
  • Only use wooden or rubber cutting boards (Bamboo is fine too, but it will dull your knives quicker)

Cleaning

  • Always hand wash your knife
  • Wipe the blade right after you’re done cutting something (especially if you’re cutting acidic foods like citrus, and especially if you have a carbon blade)
  • Always dry a knife completely after you’re done using it (even stainless knives rust if left wet)
  • Never leave your knife in the sink
  • Put a light coat of food grade mineral oil on carbon steel knives for long term storage

Sharpening

  • Most knives will need to be honed after heavy use (a fine grooved steel or high grit ceramic rod are preferable)
  • Find a professional sharpener you trust and take your knife in at least once a year
  • Or sharpen them yourself when they no longer cut paper easily (it takes practice but anyone can do it)

Differences Between Japanese and Western Kitchen Knives

You might have noticed a lot of references to “Japanese” or “Western” knives. And you also probably noticed a distinct aesthetic difference when one of those words pops up. There’s an increasing mentality that Japanese knives are better by default, but the truth is that it’s largely a matter of personal style and what you’re cooking.

Here’s a quick run down of the differences.

Western KnivesJapanese Knives
Heavier, with thicker blade stocks and edge geometryThinner, lighter, and (usually) weighted toward the blade
Tend to be have either a neutral or handle-heavy balanceGreat for cutting finer foods like vegetables and fish
Blades have more pronounced bellies along the edgeSteel is usually harder (more frail but with better edge retention)
Good for rock choppingMost styles balanced for push cuts
Handles are usually squared with a belly and have a full tangHandle shapes range from oval to octagonal and often have a stick tang

Steel Guide to High End Kitchen Cutlery

Different kinds of knives call for different kinds of steels, and it’s worth knowing a bit about why as long as you’re planning on spending the equivalent of a tank of gas on the thing.

Stainless vs Carbon

The first and most important thing you should note about a knife steel is how stainless it is.

Here’s the egregiously oversimplified summary for the general consumer:

Stainless steel takes a lot more exposure to rust. It’s also typically harder, which can make the edge retention better but they’ll be harder to sharpen.

Carbon steel is a lot tougher and easier to sharpen (and can usually take a much thinner edge) but it will form rust spots very quickly if left damp for very long.

If we really wanted to get into the weeds, we would break this down to carbon, low alloy, high alloy, and stainless steels, but we really don’t want to get into the weeds. That’s a job for more competent people than us.

Carbon Steels Will Form a Patina

It’s a slight discoloration of the blade due to surface oxidation. For collectors and fans of carbon steel knives in general, this is a good thing. It means the knife has been used, and every knife tends to discolor differently so it makes it a little more unique to the owner.

Some people find it unsightly, though. If you want a blade to stay looking basically the same color as when you bought it, stainless steel is the way to go.

Steels From Around the World

It goes far beyond steels just being stainless or not. There are hundreds of types of steels in each category, and different styles of knives tend to do better with certain kinds of steel. Conveniently, different styles tend to correlate with different countries and the steels made in those countries.

So here it goes.

Japanese Steel

In production kitchen knives you’re most likely to see VG-10 or VG-MAX. But more traditional or specialized Japanese knives often have variations of high carbon white or blue steel.

The short version is that Japanese knives are generally made thinner and harder for doing much more precise cuts, so they’re usually made with steels that can take very thin edges and can be tempered to a high hardness (generally in the 60 – 64 HRc range).

German Steel

German or western-style knives are made thicker and tougher so they can handle things like breaking down whole chickens without chipping an edge on bone. They tend to use stainless steels tempered to a softer range, generally 56 – 58 HRc.

A lot of German companies use the same steel. They might use different words for it, but almost every western-style kitchen knife is going to be made of some variation of 1.4116 steel, which is close enough in composition to be basically the same thing as X50CrMoV15 (they’re made by different companies, though). In fact, any time you see a company pushing a knife with “high quality German stainless steel” or something equally vague, there’s a very good chance it’s some form of 1.4116.

On paper, it’s not very impressive compared to other things, but it’s a very tough steel that German companies have been working with for a long time. Wusthof has it dialed in very well and Zwilling has played with it so much they started making up names like “Friodur hardening” to describe their processes. Both of those companies have been making knives that last decades for a long time, so it’s really all about how the steel is handled.

Other European Steels

You aren’t likely to see anything out there called a “Swedish chef’s knife”, but more and more companies are starting to incorporate Swedish and Austrian steels into designs.

Most often I see it being used in Western style knives because companies like Bohler and Sandvik are very good at making tough, grindable steels. AEB-L is a favorite for a lot of custom makers, and a form of it is used in Zwilling’s stainless Kramer line.

14C28N and 13C26 are also pretty similar to AEB-L, although apparently tougher with better edge stability, and a manufacturing dream in terms of helping to churn out consistent, mass produced quality.

Hey, You Forgot American Steels

Almost. The thing is, most production kitchen cutlery makers don’t use American steels very often. Even companies like Lamson who are based in the US still prefer the tried and true durability of 1.4116.

Kitchen knives with American steel aren’t unheard of, though, especially in the custom knife world. Bob Kramer is a huge fan of 52100 for example. That’s what Zwilling puts in their Kramer Carbon 2.0 line. And a lot of the time when an EDC-centric company like Benchmade or Spyderco makes kitchen knives they use Crucible’s S45V, Carpenter’s CTS-BD1N, or even 440C, if they really want to cut costs.

Most of those steels are high priced and difficult to work with, though. Established kitchen knife makers usually don’t want to change up their manufacturing process to deal with them, so it’s highly unlikely to see Wusthof or Messermeister popping out a CPM 154 blade any time soon.


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Ben started a twenty year commercial photography career after a blurry stint in the navy. He spent a lot of time losing and breaking knives and other EDC gear on location shoots before starting Nothing But Knives. He has reviewed and tested hundreds of both outdoor and kitchen knives over the course of the last six years, and he was mostly sober while testing and reviewing.

39 thoughts on “Best Professional And High End Kitchen Knife Sets In 2022”

  1. This is a thorough list, but i feel it is missing one of the best companies out there. Meglio Knives from the US seems to outperform even the hardest of these heavy hitters. They simply use better materials and haven’t been able to find a knife that can compete with them. Just my experience.

    Reply
  2. You are right about Meglio Knives deserving a place on this list from a quality standpoint. However this list features knife sets, and unfortunately Meglio doesn’t offer sets yet.

    Reply
      • That is the subject of an ever evolving discussion here at Nothing But Knives. We test new knives almost every day, so our answers change somewhat. If money were no object the Kramer by Zwilling series of knives is high on the list, but the price on those knives is a bit of a stretch for many. For more affordable knives I am a big fan of the Tojiro DP chef knife and the Wusthof Classic Ikon chef knife. For a Santoku knife the Enso SG2 is absolutly worth it’s high price tag, but the Enso HD Santoku is more affordable and also really impressive. From there it gets kinda murky. The Cangshan 6.5″ Nakiri is great and the Messermeister Kullenschliff carving knife definitely is high on my list. We are planning a custom knife set article sometime in early 2021.

        Reply
    • It totally depends on needs and budget. The Wusthof Classic Ikon set probably offers the most value from a performance and durability standpoint. For just straight slicing prowess the Enso and Shun sets are tough to beat, but their edges are a little more prone to chipping and rolling than Western style knife sets. For overall best of the best from a looks and performance standpoint the Kramer By Zwilling set would be my top choice, but it is not cheap.

      Reply
      • You would put the Shun and Enso from your list ahead of the Miyabi Mizu? I find it hard to believe they would be more durable or sharper.

        Reply
        • I’d say the difference in sharpness between a Shun Classic and Miyabi Mizu are negligible, and they’re all about as durable as anyone should expect Japanese knives to be.

          Reply
  3. This is my first set I am buying and want to have something that is not a joke in my kitchen. I dated a man who was pure Henckel which you list above as the overall best.

    It is so hard to choose which knife set is the most appropriate especially when each set evaluated seems to be of good quality. I was considering the Nexus but after reading the response to Joseph am reconsidering. How do you view the Nexus with the ones you listed above or within the article.

    Secondly, do you prefer forged or stamped and why.

    Reply
    • Hi Victoria,
      The Nexus is an excellent set that holds a great edge thanks to it’s high end steel. From a straight performance standpoint I think the Wusthof Classic Ikon set has a bit of an edge. (pun intended). Nexus is a good choice for people who hate sharpening. I also prefer the more rounded handle of the Wusthof Classic Ikon over the slightly blockier Nexus handles.

      The Nexus knives are pretty pretty durable, but hey do not slice as well as the Shun or Enso knives in this article, but the blades are a little more resilient. Still if I had to choose just one knife set, I would choose the Wusthof Classic Ikon set over the Nexus set.

      As far as stamped vs forged goes, I almost always prefer forged knives. However modern stamping methods have allowed some companies to make quality stamped knives. Global is an example of one of those companies. Victorinox is another. In general, though, forged knives are more durable and hold a better edge.

      Reply
  4. Can someone explain why I am coming up against OUT OF STOCK and CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE when considering some of these kitchen sets? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Fred, it is a super frustrating result of the supply chain issues of this last year. Many factories were shut down, and wholesale orders to retailers are way behind. It is getting better, but it seems to be a slow process.

      Reply
  5. Hey Ben, I was curious as to whether you have a link to the Wusthof Classic Ikon 12- piece Knife Set from blade HQ or Amazon, I didn’t know if you got a commission. But you definitely deserve it if you do. I commented earlier on which larger set you preferred. Well I found that the Ikon comes in a 12 piece set that would be perfect. Pleas let me know or post a link to it on this article so I can give you some credit. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • Hi Justin. The Classic Ikon 12 piece is a great set. No worries about clicking on an affiliate link. It is nice when it happens, but ultimately it is traffic that helps the site, so I appreciate you taking the time to read the article.

      Reply
  6. Nexus set is not “made in germany, finished in switzerland.” Description states, “All Nexus products are handcrafted in our state of the art facility in YangJing, China.”

    Reply
  7. I know nothing about knives, so any feedback and opinions would be wonderful and greatly appreciated. I’m debating whether or not I should go with the Wusthof Classic Ikon Knives or Material Knife Set. Do you have any experience with Material Knives? Would you recommend them as a budget knife set? Which set would you recommend if I only want 3 basic knives – chef knife, pairing knife, & serrated knife? What about Misen Knives or Made-In Knives? Do you recommended any other knife brands which are superior to material or is Wusthof the best buy? Thank you for any help.

    Reply
    • Hi Ashleigh, I don’t have an experience with Material knives yet, and that is mostly due to the fact that I am skeptical of any knife company that does not give exact specifications on the steel they use. However, their knives seem to be pretty popular. I do have experience with Misen knives. They are tough, but the Wusthof Classic Ikon knives are better in every way from ergonomics to overall performance. If I was shopping for the 3 knives you mentioned, Classic Ikon would be a great way to go.

      Reply
    • Hi Bert. Dalstrong has historically been a good brand, but not great. They are the undisputed king of marketing in the Kitchen cutlery world, but until recently the performance fell a little short of many of the other high end brands. However, they have increased the overall quality and performance of their knives in the last couple years, but they don’t yet offer their best knife series in sets.

      Reply
  8. Ok so of all the knives you tested on here and maybe since this article. What would you recomend either set wise or piecing together? I would like to stay around $1,000 including steak knives.

    Reply
    • I would probably get the Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece set that is at the beginning of this article, and the Wusthof 1120360401 Classic IKON 4 Piece Steak Knife Set. Together they would be right around $1k.

      Another good option would be the Zwilling Pro 10 Piece Knife Set listed here combined with the Zwilling Pro 6 piece steak knife set. The storage block that ships with the 10-Piece set has six empty slots for steak knives.

      My personal favorite in the $1k price range are the Tojiro DP knives. However, their sets are small and almost always out of stock which is why they are not in this article. However, you could put together a Tojiro DP knife set that included steak knives for under $1k. The knives and storage block would have to be bought individually. If you do a search for Tojiro on this site it will bring up a few articles where we talk about them. Amazon usually has their knives in stock, but Cutlery And More is another good place to find them if Amazon is out.

      Reply
  9. Hey, I just stumbled across this site today and am so glad I did! I currently have a cheap $100 Cuisinart set, but my wife and I are getting into more “mature” dishes and we started eating a lot of steak dishes, I would love to just have a set that super sharp. Which set is simply the sharpest and best for meat dishes, but also has some of the sharpest knives for chopping veggies and such? Out of these listed I liked the Cangshan set, but quite frankly I don’t need a set that large. Is there a set similar to that which has enough steak knives for dinner parties, a variety of other knives, and still has the same sharpness and quality? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Benjamin. All the knives in this article are really sharp right out of the box. The Zwilling Pro Series 7 Piece Block Set combined with the Zwilling Pro 6 Piece Steak Knife Set would probably be a great fit for your needs. The storage block that ships with the 7 Piece Set has six empty slots for steak knives, but the steak knife set has to be purchased separately. This is a common problem in the high end cutlery world. Small sets often don’t ship with steak knives, so they have to be purchased separately.

      Reply
  10. Can’t say that I agree that the prices are decreasing. The same 3.5 inch Wusthof Classic Paring knife I purchased 14 months ago on Amazon for $40 is now $95. Perhaps in the long run, but certainly not recently.

    Reply
    • Hi JR. Yea we have seen significant price increases over the last two years, but prior to that companies had constantly been improving quality and decreasing prices. Obviously the recent supply chain issues and increased inflation have been tough on knife companies.

      Reply
  11. Why did you not mention Warther Cutlery? They are some of the best made American knives I have come across. Much better than the Buck you have listed. Also, Case makes knives here in the US and they have a no questions asked warranty. I mean, “no questions” as in no receipt, no problem. How can you beat that warranty. You say lifetime warranty on your list, but you don’t really elaborate. A warranty is only as good as the stability and access of the company. Are these companies a no receipt – no question warranty for lifetime? Are they easy to return too? Do they have outlets or dealers? Lots of questions come to my mind in the evaluation of the best option. Nexus for one, being Chinese, would be a STRIKE off my list.

    Reply
    • Hey Pike, thanks for reading.
      If you’re asking about the Buck warranty, I’d point you toward their neatly written FAQ page in which they make clear that questions are very much asked.
      But I appreciate your pointing out Warther Cutlery to us. Your comment possesses all the panting desperation of grabbing someone by the shirt collar, pointing them at a forest, and asking how they could possibly miss that nice tree in the back, then demanding to know how many branches are on the tree next to it.
      Generally we try not to recommend knife makers we haven’t tested ourselves. And while Warther looks like a fine company, it’s expensive for us to just snatch up every good looking knife we come across. We can only climb so many trees in a year, but we’ll probably get down there and climb that tree one of these days. When we do we’ll be sure to count the branches for you, and point out any Chinese trees we see along the way so you can keep your little list safely updated.

      Reply
  12. HI there! Which set would be the best for everyday cooking? (not looking to spend a $$$ but willing to splurge a little) Many Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Jamie,
      That is a tough question to answer, because everyone has different needs and preferences based on the type of cooking they do, and the knife technique they prefer. From a straight value and performance standpoint, I really like the Wusthof Classic Ikon series sets. I also really like the Zwilling Pro series knife sets. They offer really good bang for the buck. If you are looking for more lightweight Japanese style knives, Tojiro DP sets are a good way to go if you can find them.

      Reply
    • Hi Tanya. We haven’t has a chance to test out any of the Cangshan L series knives yet, but every Cangshan knife we have tested offered quality and performance above its price range.

      Reply

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