Best Buy à La Carte Knife Set

Published November 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.

If our Test Kitchen à la carte Knife Set is too expensive for you, we've compiled a list of our favorite inexpensive options.

Overview:

We performed an exhaustive test of 8 different knife sets and in the end, our testing confirmed that you are much better off shopping for knives à la carte; that way, you get only what you really need. We went back through tesitngs we've performed over the years and compiled this list of our favorite inexpensive knives to round out a set of six essential knives that fit nicely inside our favorite universal knife block.

We performed an exhaustive test of 8 different knife sets and in the end, our testing confirmed that you are much better off shopping for knives à la carte; that way, you get only what you really need. We went back through tesitngs we've performed over the years and compiled this list of our favorite inexpensive knives to round out a set of six essential knives that fit nicely inside our favorite universal knife block.

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  • Product Tested

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended

    Bodum Bistro Universal Knife Block

    Unlike traditional knife blocks with slots for specific blades, universal models are “slotless” frames. This compact box is filled with a nest of spaghetti-like plastic rods that accommodate any arsenal of cutlery. The rods are attached at the base and come out for easy cleaning in the dishwasher.

    $44.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Highly Recommended

    Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch Chef's Knife

    This basic, inexpensive blade has consistently bested many competitors over the years—even those costing up to eight times as much. Its sharp, slim blade curves gently at the tip for good rocking motion during chopping, and its comfortable nonslip handle and excellent overall balance make it a kitchen workhorse.

     

    $29.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Highly Recommended

    Victorinox 10-1/4-inch Fibrox Serrated (Wavy/Curvy) Bread Knife

    Comfortable, sharp blade and pointed serrations performed almost as well as our top knife, struggling a tad more with crusty bread. Taller blade was easier on large-handed testers. Good for lefties.

    • Cake ★★★
    • Sticky Dough ★★★
    • Club Sandwich ★★★
    • Bread & Tomatoes ★★★

    $49.95

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  • Highly Recommended

    Victorinox Fibrox Paring Knife, 3 1/4-inch

    At a fraction of the price of the top two knives, this sharp, precise blade is a real bargain—and feels more secure in the hand than its 4-inch sibling. Our only gripe? It’s a featherweight compared with other models and feels a bit flimsy and plasticky.

    $4.95

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  • Highly Recommended

    Victorinox Fibrox 12-Inch Granton Edge Slicing Knife

    This “basic, but well-made” knife was our favorite for a number of reasons: Moderately heavy, it had enough heft and rigidity to make straight cuts, while a slight flexibility gave a feeling of control. The thin, tapered, razor-sharp blade was long and wide enough to draw through a large roast in one stroke.

    • Comfort ★★★
    • Slicing ★★★
    • Sharpness ★★★

    $49.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    J. A. Henckels International Kitchen Shears—Take Apart

    Cutting through branches of fresh rosemary or poultry bones felt effortless with these solid, sharp shears. Fine serrations on one side helped blades stay in place when breaking down a chicken. But the handles fit only three fingers, and the blade tension is not adjustable.

    • Comfort ★★½
    • Cutting ★★★

    $14.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
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