Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $300

Excellent kitchen cutlery sets from Calphalon,, Zwilling J.A. Henckels and Dalstrong

High Quality Steel, Good Design and Excellent Durability Are A Few Of The Reasons These Are The Best Kitchen Cutlery Sets Under $300.

There are a lot of decent kitchen cutlery sets at the sub $100 and $200 price point, but in most cases there is a notable increase in quality in the sets manufacturers offer that are just under $300. However, this is not the case for every knife set, so we created this list to help make sure you get the most bang for your buck when shopping for a mid tier knife set. This post is about quality and usability not quantity, so you will notice that several of these sets don’t include a lot of knives, but the knives they do include make them well worth their price tag from a quality, design and durability stand point.

Here are our top picks for the best knife sets under $300.

 

Shun Sora 6 Piece Knife Set

The Shun Sora six piece knife set with it's Bamboo storage block on a white background.

Specifications

  • Set Includes – one 3,5″ paring knife, one 6″ utility knife, one 8″ chef knife, one 6″ utility knife, one pair of herb shears, one 9″ honing steel and one eleven slot Bamboo wood block.
  • Weight – 10lbs
  • Size – 14″ x 4.88″ x 12.38“

Pros

  • Lifetime Replacement Warranty
  • Full Tang
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Forged not stamped
  • VG10 cutting core blade
  • Great edge retention
  • Rockwell hardness of 61
  • Empty slots in the wood block, so more knives can be added later
  • Made in Seki, Japan
  • Excellent performance for the price

Cons

  • No steak knives
  • Relatively small set

We were pretty excited here at Nothing But Knives when Shun announced the Sora series a few years back. We were also a little skeptical about the overall quality and performance considering the relatively low price point. Once we got our hands on on a few knives from this series our doubts were mostly alleviated. While the Sora series knives don’t quite match Shun Classic line from a performance or edge retention standpoint, they do outperform most other knives included in sets under $300.

The blades of the Sora series of knives are made of a VG10 Cutting edge with a 420J steel upper combined by a cool looking San Mai cutting edge. This manufacturing technique is part of what allows Shun to keep the price of these knives down without sacrificing much from a quality and quality and performance standpoint.

The tapered TPE handles of the Sora series are comfortable and easy to grip. We didn’t experience any discomfort or hot spots even when we used the 8 inch chef knife for an extended period of time on a variety of tasks.

If you want to learn more about Shun knives and knife sets, check out our Shun Knife Guide.

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Case Cutlery 9 Piece Kitchen Knife Set

Case 9 Piece Walnut Kitchen Cutlery Set

Pros

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Made in America
  • Full Tang
  • Made with Case’s Tru-Sharp™ stainless steel.
  • Set includes a well designed tomato knife
  • Includes a sharpening rod

Cons

  • No steak knives
  • Storage block does not include any empty slots
  • Hand wash only

This American made set from Case Cutlery has a classic Western aesthetic that sets it apart in the modern knife world. However, this set does not just rely on it’s classic good looks> It delivers in the performance department. Case Cutlery is famous for it’s pocket knives designed for outdoor use. but this company is no slouch in the kitchen either. These knives are all made with Case’s well respected Tru-Sharp™ stainless steel and they perform admirably.

If you like the look of walnut than this may be the set you want on your kitchen counter. The storage block and all the knife handles are made with great looking walnut wood. I think the handles look great, but they are slightly less ergonomic than some of the more modern handles of several other sets mentioned in this post.

One of the unique standouts in this set is the tomato slicer. This knife has a fine serration that helps it effortlessly slide through tomatoes. The western styled 9 inch chef knife is also popular and well priced on it’s own if you think you may want to buy it separately.

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Calphalon Precision 13-piece Kitchen Knife Set With Self-Sharpening Block 

The Calphalon 23 piece kitchen cutlery set shown both in it's wood storage block and out of it's storage block on a white background.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Set Includes – one 3.5″ paring knife, one 7″ slicer, one 7″ Santoku , one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, six steak knives, one pair of scissors and one sharpening knife storage block
  • Weight – 13 lbs
  • Size – 8.9″ x 8.5″ x 7.3″
  • PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Full Tang
  • Large set for this price point
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Knife sharpeners built into the block slots
  • High carbon, no stain German steel
  • End caps engraved with knife identification
  • Knives in this set are forged rather than stamped (Except for the steak knives)
  • Block includes an extra slot
  • CONS

  • Nonstick coating doesn’t seem to work well
  • Steak knives are made from a lower quality steel than the rest of the set

Calphalon is a well respected German cookware company that has been in business for over fifty years, but they have only been making cutlery since 2003. They have quickly mad a name for themselves over the course of the last thirteen years by producing quality knives and great looking blocks. They have recently started offering several of their sets with self sharpening slots built into the block, and this set is one of those. This is great option if you are the type of person that hates sharpening their kitchen knives and keeps putting it off. The knives in this set also have end cap engravings that identify the knife which is a nice amenity that seems like it should be more prevalent in the kitchen cutlery world.

SharpIn Tecnology is the name that Calphalon has given their new in block sharpeners, and it seems to be much more than a marketing gimmick. Knives in the self sharpening slots stay very sharp, but technically the built in sharpeners are actually honers, because they are not actually removing steel. They just realigning the edge each time the blade is replaced. If the SharpIn technology were actually sharpening the blades after each use they would diminish in size very quickly and need to be replaced. Not all the slots in this set have built in sharpeners. The steak knife slots do not have self sharpeners and the there is an empty slot without a knife in case you want to add to this set or include a knife from your old set.

Overall the Precision 13 piece set is a good quality product with some nice innovations, and the self sharpeners are a great amenity for those who hate sharpening, because a sharp knife is safer than a dull one due to the fact that less force is required to perform the same task. However if you prefer to to sharpen and hone knives the old fashioned way, and you don’t think you need knife identification labels on the end caps you will probably be better served from an overall quality standpoint by one of the other sets in this review.

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Cangshan TC 17 Piece Knife Set

The Cangshan S1 seventeen piece kitchen knife set with white handles.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 8″ bread knife one 7″ santoku knife, one 6″ boning knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 5″ tomato knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, one 2.75″ peeling knife, six 5″ serrated steak knives, one 8″ honing steel, one pair of  stainless steel shears and one walnut storage block.
  • Weight – 16.4 lbs
  • Size – 11.5″ x 9.5″ x 16.5″
  • PROS

  • Full Tang
  • German X50Cr15MoV Steel
  • Great Edge Retention
  • Forged not Stamped
  • Extremely Sharp
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Hand Crafted Walnut Block
  • CONS

  • Small set
  • Handles are a little darker than the product photos

The TC series knives from Cangshan look great and perform well. Cangshan is a relatively new company, but they their modern manufacturing techniques, great design and good customer service have made them very competitive in a relatively short period of time. The 17 piece S1 series set is a great option if you need a large set, but still want quality knives.  These knives almost match the performance of many well known premium knife sets, but this set costs considerably less. Unfortunately there no empty slots in the storage block, but this set is so large that it may not matter.

The Cangshan S1 series 8 inch chef knife with a white handle.

The blades of the S1 knives are made of German X50Cr15MoV steel which is a good steel. Unfortunately it is not quite as good from an edge retention standpoint as the  Sandvik 14c28N steel  Cangshan uses in their TC series knives. However this S1 set is quite a bit for affordable.

There are a lot of kitchen knives on the market that us X50Cr15MoV steel, but Cangshan’s ULTRA6 heat treatment process seems to be a good heat treatment technique based on the edge retention of these knives. The knives of this set are all fairly well balanced. This is especially true of the Chef and Santoku knives.

The handles of the S1 series knives have a full bolster which is nice from a safety standpoint, but I would prefer a more gradual taper similar to the TC series, because it is easier to sharpen.

Overall this is an excellent cutlery set from a quality and performance standpoint at the under $300 price point. The handles of this set seem to photograph a bit lighter as a bit brighter white than they actually are. The handles are actually closer to an ivory color.

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DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 8 Piece Knife Set

Great kitchen knife set from Dalstrong

  • Set Includes – one 4.5″ paring knife, one 6″ utility knife, one 7″ Santoku , one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, eight steak knives, one pair of scissors,
  • Weight – 12.8 lbs
  • Size – 16.4″ x 14.2″ x 4.8″
  • PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Full Tang
  • High carbon, no stain German steel
  • Excellent quality at this price point
  • Dalstrong has excellent customer service.
  • Great looking Acacia wood block
  • Comfortable Pakkawood handles
  • Forged, not stamped
  • Cryo-tempered 
  • CONS

  • Made in China (With materials imported from Germany and Spain)
  • No steak knives

Dalstrong is a relatively new company, but they have made a big impression in the kitchen cutlery world in a short period of time. Their knives are manufactured in China with steel imported from Germany and Pakkawood imported from Spain, and their cryo tempered manufacturing process has resulted in some of the best knives ever manufactured in China. The high quality and great performance of these knives combined with their excellent 120 day money back guarantee have helped a lot of people pull the trigger on this knife set in spite of the fact that is is manufactured in China.

The Dalstrong Gladitor Knife Set is a great looking set, but that doesn’t matter if the knives don’t perform. Fortunately the Dalstrong Gladiator series of knives perform very well. They are full tang, well balanced and really durable . From an ergonomic stand point the Pakkawaood handles are on par with the the handles on the very expensive Wustoff Ikon series, and the bolster on the back of the blade is really nice when utilizing the pinch grip.

Overall this is an  excellent kitchen cutlery set that offers specs and performance that you normally only see in high end knife sets. The Dalstrong Gladiator series may lack the name recognition of some of the other brands in this post, but if they continue to deliver this level of quality and performance they will be a household name in a short period of time.

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Wusthof Forged Legende 7 Piece Set

The updated Wusthof Forged Legende seven piece knife set with it's storage block.

  • Set Includes – one 4.5″ utility knife, one 6″  utility knife, one 8″ chef knife, one 9″ double serrated bread knife one set of kitchen shears and one 9 slot charry wood storage block.
  • Weight – 4.8 lbs
  • Size – 12.5″ x 6″ x 12.25″
  • PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Bigger knives are full tang
  • Made in Solingen, Germany
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Excellent combination of edge retention and corrosion resistance
  • High carbon steel
  • Laser cut
  • Lightweight
  • CONS

  • No steak knives
  • No steak knife slots in the storage block

The Legende series of knives is one of Wusthof’s newest knife lines. They are a modern take on the well respected Classic product line. The knives are lighter and more well balanced. The handles are also a little more comfortable which is impressive, because the Classic line knives have very comfortable handles. The Legende series knives also have a half bolster rather than a full bolster which makes them easier to sharpen. All the knives in this set are forged from a single piece of X50CrMoV15 German steel which is a good steel made even better by Wudthof’s excellent heat treatment.

The blades of this set feature an incredibly sharp and even 14 degree blade edge made possible by Wusthof’s laser guided PEtec sharpening method. These knives have excellent edge retention, so they will not need to be sharpened often .I do wish that this set included the excellent Legende 7″ santoku knife, but that would obviously drive the price up. My only other complaint about this set is the lack of empty slots in the storage block for steak knives. It is nice when small sets have empty steak knife slots, so steak knives can be added to the set later. However, from a straight performance for the money standpoint the 7 Piece Legende set is tough to beat.

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Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Stainless-Steel 11-Piece Knife Set

Great well priced kitchen cutlery set from J.A. Henckels

  • Set Includes – one 2.5″ peeling knife, one 4″ paring knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 6″ utility knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, one 7″ hollow edge Santoku knife and one pair of scissors,
  • Weight – 6.8 lbs
  • Size – 17″ x 6″ x 10″
  • PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Full Tang
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • High carbon, no stain German steel
  • Laser cut blades
  • Henckels’s Friodur ice-hardening process
  • CONS

  • Stamped, not forged
  • Aesthetically challenged block

One of the first things you probably noticed about this set is that all the steak knife slot are empty. This may be a deal breaker for some people, but it could also be an opportunity to purchase the steak knives you really want. Steak knives tend to be an afterthought on a lot of mid tier knife sets, and quite often they are inferior to the rest of the set. With the Twin Signature 11 piece set J.A. Henckles has given customers the opportunity to purchase their ideal steak knives and add them to the set at their convenience.

The knives that are included in this set come from J.A. Henckles Twin Signature series are similar to the Wustoff Gourmet series in that they are stamped rather than forged, but they have a cutting angle of 15 rather than 18  and all the knives are full tang. These knives were manufactured using J.A. Henckles FRIODUR ice-hardening technique which is one of the main reasons J.A. Henckles has become a household name. This is an excellent kitchen cutlery set that will last a lifetime if properly cared for, and definitely one of the best sets at the sub $300 price point.

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If the $200 – $300 price point is a bit more than you want to spend on a kitchen cutlery set check out our post on The Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $200.

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