We spent 30 hours trying different steak knives to come up with Jen’s top pick for the best steak knife set: the Dalstrong Steak Knives Set – Gladiator Series – German Stee l. I have chosen this steak knife set over many other close competitors for reasons that will be explained below. Among the midrange priced steak knife sets, this is our favorite. I will also give reviews for some of the other steak knife sets that were almost chosen as the top pick, as well as naming the best budget steak knife set, and the step-up pick for higher budget steak knife sets.
Until I was recently married, I never put any thought into a steak knife set. As long as I had a sharp knife to cut the meat, I honestly did not care what the knife looked like, who made it, or anything else. The main reason for that is nearly everything else in my life had a much higher priority. A steak knife was a simple cutting tool for me. I would not have even noticed if my steak knife was different in appearance from the other steak knives at a table in a setting at a steak house restaurant.
As many of you may now know, that changed when I became married. Having a matching set of dishes moved way up on the list of our priorities. Before my marriage, if guests were coming over to my home to share a meal, the dishes would always be some form of disposable plates, drinking cups, and quite often plastic silverware. Often the meals were cooked on a backyard grill, and silverware was not needed at all for the burgers, hot dogs, sausages, etc. But now that I am married, the meals and even the guest lists for those meals had changed. I would now be entertaining my in laws, coworkers, and families from the local church. These meals were now an important way to impress our guests. That required complete matching sets of all types of plates, glasses, pots and pans, and silverware.
One of the first decisions you will need to make is to go with a straight edged blade, or to go with one of the variations of a serrated edged blade. The straight edged blades give a much cleaner cut than the serrated edged blades. The serrated edged blades rip through the meat. This difference comes down to individual preference since the meat will be ripped apart in your mouth as you are chewing on it to make it smaller for digestion anyways. The cleaner cut of the straight edged blade is only noticeable for a few seconds when moving the meat from your plate and into your mouth.
Another difference between the straight edged blade and the serrated edged blade would be the difficulty in sharpening the blade. Over time the blades will become dull, due to the force of striking the ceramic plates, washing, and general wear and tear. The straight edged blades are easier to sharpen. The serrated edged blades need to be sharpened less often. So once again, this decision comes down to personal preference instead of having a clear cut winner between the two.
The Gladiator Series of the Dalstrong Steak Knifes Set features an incredibly sharp, full tang (extends the full length of the grip handle), imported high-carbon German steel serrated blade. This blade has been perfectly engineered with serrations at exactly 18 degrees per side to give you a clean a straight cut. It has a resilient five inch edge that requires no sharpening. The luxury black pakkawood (an engineered wood and plastic composite material designed to see rough wear) handle is triple riveted to the grip so that it feels very comfortable without sacrificing any maneuverability. The blade has been engineered to perfection at 55 Rockwell hardness (a hardness scale based on the indentation hardness of a material by measuring the depth of penetration of the indenter under a large load compared to the penetration made by a pre-load).
The Dalstrong Gladiator Steak knives are designed to easily withstand repeated abuse that happens after clashing against ceramic plates. They are also hand polished to a satin finish. They are precisely balanced and triple-riveted for resilience. They are razor sharp and they stay sharp, so there is no sharpening required.
The Wüsthof Classic Steak Knife Set, 4 Piece is another knife set that comes from one of the most trusted names in cutlery, Wüsthof, which is a seventh generation family business that has been making steak knives since 1814. One of the reasons for choosing this set as an upgrade from the Dlastrong Gladiator knives is that the Wüsthof Classic comes with a straight-edge blade instead of a serrated blade, for those that prefer a clean cut instead of the tearing that a serrated blade will do. Serrated blades will stay sharper longer, especially against ceramic plates. The decision between straight-edge and serrated edges usually comes down to preference of style, and for that reason I chose to go with a straight-edge blade as our step up choice.
The Chicago Cutlery #B144/1104670 4-Piece Walnut Tradition Steak Knife Set is my choice as the best budget steak knife set. These blades stay sharper for longer periods of time and are easier to re-sharpen when compared to other budget steak knife sets. Another reason for choosing the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition knives is that they come with a full lifetime warranty.
Table of Contents
- What you should know before buying
- How I made my picks
- My pick
- Flaws but not deal-breakers
- Step Up Pick
- Budget Pick
- The Competition
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping it up
What you should know before buying
For some people, a steak knife is just a simple tool that is used to cut pieces of cooked meat into smaller portions they can fit into their mouth at one time for eating. But for those of us who care about the quality and style of the steak knife, there are a few important terms that you might want to understand better to help you choose the product that is best for you.
One of the most important decisions and terms you will come across is the type of blade. Earlier we briefly discussed straight-edge blades and serrated blades. These are the two most common types of blade choices. The main difference is how the two blades cut the meat. With a straight-edge blade, the cut is very clean. A serrated edged blade will tear through the meat, ripping it apart. This is a pure style choice, as there really is no “correct” method of cutting into the meat. Straight-edge blades are also easier to sharpen. The benefit of a serrated blade is that it stays sharper for longer periods of time. A serrated edge blade will also remain sharper when used against a ceramic plate longer than a straight-edged blade will.
How I made my picks
The first step was to conduct background research on steak knife sets in general. This would provide valuable information about what professional chefs and other customers look for when deciding between several choices of fine steak knife sets. The consensus was the choice of what one considers to be the best comes down to individual preferences for looks, types of cut, brand names, ease of cleaning, the box to store the knives in, how easy and often the blades must be sharpened, and the feel of the blade within your hand.
Careful consideration was given to all of the customer reviews, especially the lowest rated reviews. This helped to identify any possible flaws with the product. If multiple customer reviews mentioned the same flaw, the product was removed from consideration for the best.
The next step was to assign the remaining steak knife sets into price ranges. Each steak knife set in the budget and step-up groups were compared against the others in that grouping until one was chosen as the best for that price range. The same process was used in the best group, until there was a final two. The process for determining the best was to read the customer reviews again, and create a list of features that were mentioned positively. The most popular features were then used to decide which was the best of each price grouping.
The actual testing was done at a dinner held in our brand new home. We invited family, friends, coworkers, the new neighbors, and others that were willing to participate in our testing. My wife organized a group page and an event for the whole thing on Facebook. The information exchanged on that page was used to determine the actual date for our testing, which was scheduled for the tail end of summer at our brand new home. The participation level of the testers was amazing. Some had their own steak knife sets that they gladly “donated” to the event because they were curious as to what others thought of their personal favorites. The meal choices were also chosen to give a full test. Some meats were chosen because they were considered a much tougher cut than other types of meat. Some meats were chosen to show off old family recipes.
This little test had now turned into more of a community event. Some of the guests wanted to bring along different types of wine and other beverages. Some guests brought different types of main dishes and side dishes to exchange recipes. Some guests just wanted to come and share old stories. Everyone was eager to learn what the group was going to decide when it came time to choose the best steak knife set, the runner up, the best budget pick for steak knife set, and the best step up pick for steak knife set. The event was quite successful and is being planned as a yearly event in our community, with a different host for the event each year.
Top Pick: Dalstrong Gladiator Series
The Dalstrong Gladiator Series of steak knives was chosen because of all the positive customer reviews. We like how beautiful the knives look, how easy the knives cut through steak, how sturdy and good the knife feels within your hand. With such glowing reviews from so many different points of view and tastes, the Dalstrong Gladiator Series of steak knives was easy to name as being the best.
Flaws but not deal-breakers
The Dalstrong Gladiator Series of steak knives has a serrated edged blade, which is a turn off to some customers because it tears through the meat instead of creating a clean cut. Normally a serrated edged blade is also harder to sharpen, but this product has been engineered to require no sharpening thanks to the perfectly engineered serrations at exactly 18 degrees per side.
Step Up Pick: Wüsthof Classic 4 piece
The Wüsthof Classic 4 piece set has a straight-edged blade, which is a style choice important to some. The straight-edged blades offer a clean cut right through the meat, as opposed to the serrated edged blades that rip through the meat. These knives are also dishwasher safe, and the grip is matte black to hide any scratches. These knives are forged from one piece of steel to give it maximum strength. We like the Wüsthof name, as it is a seventh generation family business that has been making cutlery since 1814.
Budget Pick: Chicago Cutlery B144-1104670 4-Piece Walnut Tradition Steak Knife
The Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition Knife set features an exclusive Taper Grind edge technology for edge retention, optimum sharpness, and easier sharpening. This set also comes with a full lifetime warranty. These knives were reviewed on America’s Test Kitchen, and most of the customer reviews agree with those reviews. One of the best loved features is the wooden grip.
The runner-up for best steak knife set is the Wüsthof 8-Piece Stainless-Steel Steak Knife Set with Wooden Gift Box . This steak knife set carries the Wüsthof name, which is highly respected. This is the serrated edged steak knife set that comes at a lower price than the Classic set. It also comes in an eye pleasing wooden gift box with mahogany stain. These knives are precision forged and come with a lifetime warranty. The negative customer reviews were mostly due to the condition of the wooden gift box, which seemed damaged or poor quality according to those reviews. There were enough complaints about the condition of the box to knock this set down to runner-up and crown the Dalstrong Gladiator Series as the best steak knife set. It should be noted that the reviews for the knives with this set were always positive.
Other steak knife sets we tested
The Amazon Basics Premium 8 Piece Steak Knife Set comes with micro – serrated edges that never need sharpening. These high quality steak knives come with triple – riveted handles designed for style and comfort without sacrificing any strength needed to cut through the meat. These blades are forged from a single piece of stain resistant steel. These steak knives have full tang for pleasant weight and balance. These beautiful knives are hand wash only. The Amazon Basics Premium 8 Piece Steak Knife Set comes with a one year limited warranty. These steak knives were a contender to win the best budget steak knife set during our testing.
The J. A. Henckels International 8 – Piece Steak Knife Set comes with micro – serrated edges that never require sharpening. These steak knives are stamped from a single piece of high – carbon stainless steel. The J. A. Henckels International 8 Piece steak knife set has full tang to provide a nice weight and balance to the blade. The handles are triple – riveted to provide strength and longevity. These steak knives are designed to resist corrosion and are listed as being dishwasher safe. But hand washing is still recommended for the best care. The J. A. Henckels International 8 – Piece Steak Knife Set comes backed by the Henckels’ Lifetime Guarantee. This steak knife set did get plenty of votes during our testing, but did not get enough to make the top two in the best steak knife set category.
The Victorinox 48792 Cutlery 6 – Piece Steak Knife Set comes with wavy serrated edge and pointed tips. The Victorinox model number 48792 features blades that are stamped rather than forged to keep the prices reasonable. Although stamped, these high – carbon stainless steel blades are still extremely durable. This Victorinox model has ground tempered edges to maintain their razor – sharpness for a considerable length of time before it needs sharpened again. This steak knife features a molded polypropylene handle that provides a sure grip and has no grooves or rivets to hide bacteria. These steak knives are considered to be dishwasher safe. Interesting side note is that Victorinox is perhaps best known as the original manufacturer of the original Swiss Army Knife. These steak knives are recommended for both in home use and in a professional setting. In our testing this steak knife set was given favorable reviews but not enough to earn a spot in the top two rankings for our test.
The Ginsu Essential Series 04805 4 Piece Steak Knife Set comes with an innovative double edged blade that is perfect for precision cutting. This steak knife never needs sharpened because of the unique scalloped dual serrated edge. The Ginsu Essential Series steak knives have full tang, and come with a triple riveted handle that is constructed for strength, balance, and style. The blade is rust and stain resistant with commercial quality stainless steel designed to keep a longer lasting edge. The Ginsu Essential Series steak knives come with a limited lifetime warranty. These steak knives feature Ginsu’s exclusive Symmetric Edge Technology which integrates identical serrations on both sides of the blade for a straight even cut. The dual serrated edge prevents the tearing of food that the normal serrated edged blades do. This steak knife is perfect for right handed users and left handed users. Ginsu’s zero maintenance serrated blades perform just as accurately as fine edged professional cutlery with the added extra bonus of never needing to be sharpened again.
The Ginsu Essential Series steak knives were a popular topic of conversation at our steak knife testing dinner party. Many of our guests remembered the famous infomercials from the 1970s and 1980s. During the whole night, “But wait, there’s more!” could be heard shouted out in a small group just before a chorus of laughs. Several of our guests were wondering when we would start cutting open cans as part of the steak knife testing that night.
The Rada Cutlery 6 – Utility Steak Knife Gift Set come with a silver brushed aluminum handle that is hand wash and hand dry only. This is a straight edged blade that is not full tang. One feature that our guests at the steak knife testing dinner party valued the most is that these steak knives are made in the United States. These steak knives were given favorable reviews, but did not look stylish enough for many of our guests at the party.
The Chef Essential 7 Piece Knife Block Set, NEC Series, Black are made from superior high carbon stainless steel blades with a strong, durable bolster. The Chef Essential NEC Series features a food safe slip free marble finish coating. This is a straight edged blade. The special marble coating is tarnish and rust resistant. These heavy duty blades are extremely sharp and should be kept in the block when not being used. You can choose from two different colors, red or black. The marble pattern matches almost any kitchen. It is considered best to hand wash these steak knives. The 7 piece set includes a universal matching knife block, an 8 inch chef knife, an 8 inch bread knife, a 7 inch santoku knife, a 5 inch utility knife, and a 3 inch paring knife. The multiple blade styles can easily cut through a variety of food items, including meat. This steak knife set stood out at our testing dinner party for the marble design. It was given high praise for the variety of the knives.
The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Twin Signature 19 – Piece Knife Set with Block come with handles on Twin Signature cutlery that feature the three traditional rivets and full visible tang. These knives are stylishly curved to look good and to feel more contemporary. The red Zwilling logo is permanently embedded on one side. These blades are Friodur ice – hardened and made from high carbon, no stain steel. The steak knives come with a laser – sharpened edge that is non serrated for a durable edge. These blades are stamped instead of forged. The knives do not feature bolsters, which makes them lighter than most. The 19 piece set comes with a two and a half inch peeler, a 4 inch parer, a four and a half inch utility knife, a 5 inch serrated utility knife, a 6 inch utility knife, an 8 inch chef knife, a 7 inch Santoku hollow edge, an 8 inch bread knife, kitchen shears, a 9 inch sharpening tool, a bamboo storage block, and eight steak knives. The knives are covered by a lifetime warranty. This was this most expensive set tested at our dinner party. At our steak knife testing dinner party, this steak knife set was praised, but considered out of the price range for a few guests.
The J. A. Henckels International Everedge 13 – Piece Knife Set with Bonus Cheese Knife feature micro – serrated blades that are stamped, mirror polished, and stainless steel. These durable blades come with hygienic polypropylene handles. The J. A. Henckels International Everedge steak knife set comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. These knives never need sharpening because of the micro – serrated edges. This set includes six kitchen knives, six 5 inch steak knives, and a rubber – footed wood block that has slots for them all. The kitchen knives include an 8 inch chef’s knife with a curved blade for rocking through a chopping task, a 5 inch tomato knife with a narrow curved blade, an 8 inch bread knife, a 6 inch utility knife, a 6 inch boning knife, and a two and a half inch paring knife. As a bonus, a prong tipped knife designed to cut cheese and spear the slices is included.
Other frequently asked questions
The most common question seemed to be about the price, mostly “Is it worth it?” The best answer I can give to that question is simply it comes down to your preferences and tastes. Are you content with any old steak knife that cuts through meat, or do you prefer something that looks high class and eye pleasing? Do you prefer a clean cut, or are you fine with ripping through the meat? How much does the brand name influence your decision? Are you looking to impress your guests?
There is an old adage about getting what you pay for. Some of these steak knife sets can be expensive. But if you are into high quality products that last and impress, the price might be well worth the investment.
One thing that we all learned from our steak knife testing party is that there are many different opinions out there on what is most important when choosing the best steak knife set. For some of the guests at our party, it was all about the looks of the steak knife, both in your hand and while the steak knives are on display. Many of our guests at the party admitted to having a sense of pride when someone else acknowledged their fine taste in dinnerware, silverware and in steak knife sets. Owning a more expensive set of steak knives is an opportunity to silently impress your guests. The steak knife sets also provide an opportunity as a conversation piece at the dinner table. Many of our guests at the party were delighted to share and learn things about the names behind the steak knife sets. Especially the history behind some of these sets, such as the Wüsthof brand being a seventh generation family owned business, or how the Victorinox company was the manufacturers of the original Swiss Army Knife.
There are many questions that can be asked about the many different steak knife sets. It all depends on how much you want to know about a particular brand, term, or product. The most important answer I can give you after conducting extensive research on the subject of best steak knife sets, and hosting a party in which many different steak knife sets were tested is there is no single right or wrong answer for any question. Every choice you make can be the absolute best choice for you, as long as you know your tastes and preferences. Every steak knife set will cut through the meat. Very steak knife set that satisfies your needs is absolutely worth the price you paid for it. Steak knife sets are an investment, a conversation piece, a status symbol, and make an excellent gift.
Wrapping it up
In conclusion, I have decided the Dalstrong Gladiator Series to be the top pick for best steak knife sets, with the Wüsthof 8 Piece Stainless Steel Set that comes with a wooden gift box to be a close runner-up. Both of these steak knife sets used a serrated edged blade that rips through the meat, so I picked the Wüsthof Classic Set that has a straight-edged blade to be our step-up pick. And finally, for those with a more limited budget, I have chosen the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition steak knife set because most customers agreed positively with the reviews on America’s Test Kitchen.