Best Kitchen Knives

I love knives! I have searched for the best kitchen knives. I believe I have found them.

 Kai Shun Classic Knives
A few of my favorite Kai Shun Classic Knives.

What makes the best kitchen knives?

I know a really sharp knife is important in the kitchen. I also know there are a lot of knives to choose from when selecting the right knife for your kitchen. I was looking for a number of traits and attributes when selecting my kitchen knives. I wanted to find a beautiful kitchen knife set. I wanted a set of cutlery I could expand upon over time. I needed a great knife block. My kitchen knives had to be sharp. The knives needed to have a bit of a story, some legacy. I wanted to be sure I could get some specific knives in the same set including: a chef knife, steak knives, a boning knife, a bread knife, a carving knife, and what my grandma would call a butcher knife. Finally, I had to like the feel in my hand and enjoy using the knives everyday.

What is most important to you in a knife?

After doing a good amount of research for the best kitchen knives in the world, I narrowed my focus to Japanese chef knives and German knives, primarily Wusthof knives. When thinking about the beauty and legacy of knives, my research started to lead me down the path of Japanese kitchen knives. All of my required traits and attributes were accounted for, including the beauty and legacy. When looking at a blade, I love Damascus kitchen knives. Damascus steel is created by mixing two or more types of steel to take advantage of the key characteristics of each of them. Kai Corporation, the makers of Shun cutlery, is headquartered in Seki City Japan. Since the 13th century, Seki City has been at the heart of the Japanese cutlery industry. Kai utilizes a style of knife making called Kasumi for their Shun knives. This method is similar to how samurai swords are traditionally made. That speaks to me!

Shun Classic 10-Inch Chef's Knife
My Shun Classic 10-Inch Chef’s Knife

There is tradition in steel

So I thought I had found the best kitchen knives for me. I wanted to finish the search by getting some feedback and input from others. I met Chuck at Williams-Sonoma. When he saw me looking at the wall of knives, he seemingly rushed over to me! I thought I loved knives! Chuck had pins on his chef’s coat, Shun expert, Wusthof trained professional. He was no joke. Chuck spoke of knives like highly coveted, indispensable, rare implements. Which, upon thinking, they are. Knives have been and continue to be one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen. Their design continues to evolve yet some of the best knives have maintained their proven layout and construction for thousands of years. When speaking to Chuck, I couldn’t forget the past. My supposed choice of Japanese kitchen knives was being solidified. Chefs and laymen alike have sought after good steel for millennia. I was taking the same path others have taken countless times before me, going back thousands of years. It felt great to explore tradition. This tradition and legacy is why I have Japanese knives in my kitchen today.

Use the knife before you buy it

There was this missing piece in my hunt for knives, how do Kai Shun Classic Knives feel in my hand? I needed to try some on for size. Chuck helped me understand something: I never really thought about the weight of knives. A 10-inch chef knife can vary greatly in it’s weight. Traditionally, Japanese knives are lighter than German knives. As it turns out, I prefer a lighter knife. Chuck, he likes them heavy! Chuck has an entire set of Shun Classic knives, and he uses them. But, he said he has a set of German knives too. Those German knives hold a special place in his heart because of the weight. So, although I have chosen the Shun Classic knives as the best kitchen knives for me, you should try a few on for size, and more importantly, weight.

Which kitchen knives are truly the best?

I know the answer for me: Shun Classic.

Kai Shun Classic Knife Set
The best kitchen knives: A Kai Shun Classic Knife Set

But, what’s the answer for you? I would say, think about these things:

  • Is it sharp?
  • Will it maintain an edge?
  • How does it feel? Light or Heavy?
  • How does it look?
  • How extensive is the line of knives?
  • How will you store the knives?
  • Where are the knives made, by whom, and how?
  • Can you get excited about the knife?

The answers to those questions can lead you to many different knife manufacturers. It led me to Shun. Let me know what you have chosen or how your exploration for your best knife plays out.

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