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.

 

Calphalon Precision 15-piece Kitchen Knife Set With Self-Sharpening Block 

This great cutlery set from Calphalon has sharpeners built into the block

SPECIFICATIONS

  • 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 – 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

  • No honing rod
  • Made in China

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 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 15 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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Wusthof Gourmet 12-Piece Set

The 12 piece Gourmet knife set from Wusthoff on a white background.

  • Set Includes – one 2.5″ paring knife, one one 3″ spear point paring knife, one 4.5″ utility knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 8″” chef knife, four 4.5″ steak knives, one 9″ honing steel, one set of shears and one 13 slot wood storage block.
  • Weight – 3 lbs
  • Size – 10″ x 5″ x 15″
  • PROS

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

  • Stamped not forged
  • Smaller knives are not full tang

The Gourmet series is Wusthof’s budget line, so they made  some quality and performance compromises in order to have knife sets at a cheaper price point. That being said the Gourmet series still is made by Wusthof, and the knives in this series are still competitive with the other knives in this article.

The blades of this set are stamped rather than forged, but they are made of excellent steel and they undergo Wusthof’s thorough quality assurance process prior to shipping. Most of the knives in this set are full tang which is important from a durability standpoint especially if the knives get used a lot. The blades are fairly corrosion resistant, but they should never be washed in the dishwasher. Hand washing will help ensure years of use.

The handles of these knives are made of the same POM material Wusthof uses in their higher end knives. This means the handles will last for years and stand up to hard use. The ergonomic shape of the handles makes them comfortable and easy to grip even if they get a little wet.

Overall this is an excellent set for the money and a great way to get started with Wusthof knives.

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Cangshan S1 Series 17-Piece Set

This large set from Cangshan is a good option for anyone who needs a set with lots of knives but doesn't want to sacrifice quality.

  • Set Includes – one 8″ chef 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″ stek knives, one 8″ honing steel, one pair of shears and one storage block.
  • Weight – 16.4 lbs
  • Size – 11.5″ x 9.5″ x 16.5″
  • PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Large set for this price point
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Full tang
  • Blades are forged not stamped
  • CONS

  • Handles are more prone to cracking than the handles of other sets in this review
  • No empty slots in the storage block

The S1 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 set is a great option for anyone who needs a big set, but doesn’t want to compromise on quality. Obviously the knives in this set do not quite match the performance or quality of the premium knife sets, but this set costs considerably less, so some compromise is to be expected.

The blades of the S1 knives are made of German X50CrMoV15 Steel which holds it’s edge well and is easier to sharpen than some of the harder steels used in more expensive knife sets. 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 tapered handles of the S1 series knives are comfortable and the angled bolster make pinch grip more comfortable. The only downside of the the S1 series handles is that they have been known to occasionally develop small hairline cracks.

Overall this is an excellent cutlery set from a quality and performance standpoint at the under $300 price point. I wish it included the Nakiri Vegetable Cleaver, because that is my favorite S1 series knife,

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Case Cutlery 9 Piece Kitchen Knife Set

This 9 piece cutlery set from case is a high quality American made set that has a great Western look.

Specifications

  • Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 9″ slicing knife, one 8″serrated bread knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 6″ boning knife, one 5.5″tomato knife, one 3″ paring knife, one 10″ sharpening steel and on wood block.
  • Weight – 8.6lbs
  • Size – 13″ x 12.5″ x 4.5
  • Model # – 10249

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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DALSTRONG Knife Set Block – Gladiator Series 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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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.