Need good kitchen knives? Here’s what to buy for the home


People always ask: What’s a good brand of knives for the house? What kind of knives should I get?

Sharpen your knife knowledge. Let’s start with some of the basics.

Two types of metal:

Most quality kitchen knives are made out of either high carbon stainless steel or carbon steel.

Carbon steel: Nothing sharpens or gets as sharp as carbon steel, but it needs to be pampered.  Full carbon steel knives are more precise but are a bit high maintenance. The carbon steel is an “uninterrupted” and finer grain of steel, this allows it to be sharpened very fine, creating an extremely sharp and precise blade. But, this softer steel also oxidizes and rusts easily when working with acidic foods. To prevent the red rust and control the rate of the patina the carbon knife needs to be CONSTANTLY wiped dry and oiled.

High carbon stainless steel: The high carbon stainless steel is a carbon steel blend with chromium.  The chromium gives the stainless steel its “stainless” quality and also hardens the metal, making it a more of heavy blade.  With high carbon stainless steel, the chromium carbides blended into carbon steel are big, hard and chunky. This takes the smooth fine carbon steel and creates large, dense but brittle clumps in the steel grain. Because of this, the high carbon stainless cannot be sharpened as fine but it will hold a moderate edge much longer.

What to get:

I always suggest a German steel knife set for the house to start.  They are strong, user FRIENDLY, sturdy and hold an edge good eNough To get the job done, while having to do minimal up keep.

Here’s how much you need to spend:

Around $300 is a fair amount to spend on solid set of house knives. For anywhere between $260-$370 you can invest in a knife set with 4-10 pieces.  

By spending a little more, you are investing in your kitchen and buying something that will potentially outlive the family pet.  You really don’t need much to start, an 8″ chef knife, 4″ paring knife, and a bread/serrated knife.  You can do any job in the kitchen with these three knives.  Then move on with some other types to build a collection of tools.  Santoku, filet, 6″ utility, cleaver, etc

Some brand names to look for:

High carbon stainless steel: When going to the carbon stainless I have had good luck and many hours with German steel.  Although most of these are pressed, you can still find quality knives forged with quality metal.  Examples include Wusthof, Messermeister, JA Henckel and for a fair price Japanese made knife, Masahiro and MAC make some great high carbon stainless knives.

Carbon steel:  Most carbon blades you’ll want to look at are going to be Japanese. Here are just a few great brands that have had many pleased customers: Masahiro, Kanetsune, and Shun.

Good luck, have fun and feel free to email with any questions, comments or conerns!!


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Born and raised in the suburbs of Saint Paul, MN, Brandon has immersed himself into being a local and sustainable advocate for delicious living. Working for the best Chef’s in the Twin Cities before becoming the Residence Chef at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence and personal Chef for the Zimmern family. Foraging, eating, parenting, writing, cycling, consulting, catering and hosting pop up dinners are what his free time entails.