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Need-To-Own Knives

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2009

Our top chef's knife, paring knife, and bread knife are a cut above the competition.

1. Victorinox Forschner Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Price: $24.95 While it's easy to blow your budget on a fancy chef's knife, the inexpensive, lightweight Victorinox Fibrox remains the test kitchen favorite. We like its high-carbon stainless steel blade, which stays sharper longer, and its nonslip handle.

2. Victorinox Forschner Fibrox 3 1/4-Inch Paring Knife

Price: $4.95 This knife's sharp, agile blade and firm, comfortable grip can handle close work like paring fruit and slivering garlic.

3. Wusthof 10-Inch Classic Bread Knife

Price: $89.95 The long, slightly flexible blade and pointed serrations on this knife are good for cutting bread, tomatoes, and even cake. Best Buy Alternative: Victorinox Forschner Fibrox 10 1/4-Inch Curved Blade Bread Knife ($24.95)

4. Chef's Choice 130 Electric Knife Sharpener

Price: $149.95 A true sharpener serves a different function than a sharpening steel, which merely repositions a knife's cutting edge (from bent to straight) rather than actually sharpening it. Electric is a must for restoring nicked, damaged, or very dull blades.

5. Accusharp Manual Knife and Tool Sharpener

Price: $10.99

For knives that aren't severely dulled or damaged, our favorite manual sharpener is almost as good as the electric option and cheap enough to keep in your drawer as a handy alternative.