To make the best food you need to start with the right equipment. And good knives can make all the difference in the world. But will they cost you a fortune? They certainly could. Good knife sets can cost well over $1,000. But the good news is there are also a lot of knife sets available for less than $100.
The question is, can you get a decent set of knives that will do everything you need them to do without spending a fortune? And how do the cheaper blades stack up against the top of the line? You also have to ask yourself how many knives you need in a set. If you are an avid home chef, then you will want a more extensive set with specialty knives. If you’re just a casual cooker or a beginner, then all you need are the essentials.
Emeril Lagasse Makes Knives!
Chef Emeril Lagasse has become a household name thanks to his best selling books, restaurants, and his popular TV show on the Cooking Network. And now he is partnering with industry leaders to create inexpensive knife sets.
The essential knives
Do you need a 21-piece knife set? For most people, the answer is no. But there are three essential knives that every kitchen needs.
First, you need a chef’s knife. The chef’s knife is considered the workhorse of knives. It has a multi-purpose blade which is good for all general cutting jobs including dicing, chopping, slicing, and mincing.
In some sets, the santoku knife takes the place of the chef’s knife.
The next one that every kitchen needs is a paring knife. A paring knife is a smaller knife that takes care of things like peeling and cutting smaller food pieces.
Finally, you need a serrated knife. The serrated blade can do stuff like slicing bread and tomatoes.
Beyond the essential knives, there are several others that can assist your cooking skills. Most larger knife sets have a utility knife, which is an all-purpose blade suitable for smaller objects.
The meat cleaver is excellent for cutting meat and larger objects.
A fillet knife is for filleting fish. And the boning knife is for removing the meat from roasts, chicken, or ham.
The carving knife is for thinly slicing meat. A santoku knife is another multi-purpose knife that takes care of chopping, mincing, and dicing. And the bread knife can be used to cut bread, tomatoes, or soft fruit.
In addition to these knives, many larger sets also come with kitchen shears and honing steel for sharpening.
What Makes a Good Knife?
When you are looking for good knives, there are several things to think about beyond the price and brand.
First, you want the knife to feel balanced and comfortable in your hand. The weight is another thing to consider. Whether you like heavier or lighter knives is a matter of personal preference.
The construction of the blade is also significant. Knives that have a single-piece construction with full or three-quarter tang will give you the best durability.
You should also consider the handles. To avoid getting water caught in them, you should never leave your knives soaking. Sharpness and ease of sharpening are other things to consider.
And finally, you should think about how you will store the blades.
Another thing you should pay attention to is the material of the blade. Most of them are either carbon steel, stainless steel, stainless steel alloys, or ceramic.
Carbon steel is easy to sharpen and generally holds the sharp edge for longer than stainless steel. But it rusts easily.
Stainless steel is more resistant to stains and corrosion. But it is harder to sharpen and dulls quickly.
Stainless steel alloys combine the best of carbon and stainless steel. But they are more expensive than other knives.
Ceramic blades come with very sharp edges. But they are easy to break or chip.
How We Reviewed
This review was an independent analysis of five different Emeril knife sets. And for comparison, we reviewed the Cuisinart C77SS-15PK 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set, the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 3-Piece Knife Set, and the AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set.
We researched professional and consumer reviews for each of these products. And during the review process, we also looked at and compared the features of each knife set.
Let’s Cut to the Chase! Our Favorite Emeril Knife Set Picks
In no particular order here are five of our top picks.
2-Piece Emeril Cutlery Forged Chef Set with Sharpener
This two-piece Emeril knife set is perfect for beginner chefs or people who don’t need a lot of knives while cooking.
It comes with a 5-inch santoku knife and a 3.5-inch paring knife. It also comes with a pair of kitchen shears and a sharpener. In this little set, the santoku knife can take the place of a chef’s knife.
This Emeril knife set also features forged stainless steel blades. And both of the knives have a full tang design with ergonomic handles, making them fit comfortably in your hand.
This Emeril knife set is very affordable costing from $12 to $21. It also gets high customer ratings. Amazon rates it 3.7 out of 5 stars. Most people love these knives. But some complained that they rusted quickly. You can avoid that problem by hand washing the knives and towel drying them immediately.
- Very sharp
- Very affordable
- Knives feel good in your hand
- Scissors are not very durable and don’t come apart for cleaning
- Set only comes with two knives
- Steel is thin and can be bendy
Emeril 6-Piece Multi-Colored Knife Set
This 6-piece Emeril knife set comes with an 8-inch slicer, a 7-inch santoku, a 6.5-inch nakiri, a 5.5-inch prep knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 3.5-inch paring knife. It also comes with a sharpener and six protective sheaths so you can store the knives safely. And if you buy this set from Amazon, it also comes with four flexible cutting mats.
The unique thing about this set is that the non-stick knives all come in bright colors. They also feature carbon steel blades. And the handles are ergonomic to make them fit comfortably in your hand. The manufacturer says that these knives are also dishwasher-safe. But it’s always better to hand wash your knives.
This Emeril knife set is also very affordable, costing from $25 to $35. And it gets excellent customer reviews.
Amazon rates these knives 4.1 out of 5 stars. Most people were thrilled with these knives. But some complained that the blades feel cheaply made. They are not top of line knives, but they are sharp and get the job done. And you can’t complain about this price.
- Very sharp
- The little knife sharpener works very well
- Pretty colors
- Plastic handles
- Will rust if you put them in the dishwasher
- Doesn’t come with a storage block
Emeril Cutlery 19-Piece Block Knife Set
The 19-piece Emeril knife set is a good choice for any kitchen. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a beginner, you’d like these knives.
The knives have carbon steel blades. The set includes forged handle steak knives that everyone will love. Its storage block is made out of rubber wood. The set also comes with a pair of scissors.
Like the others, this Emeril knife set is quite affordable, costing from $70 to $85.
It also gets solid customer reviews. Amazon rates this set 5.0 out of 5-stars. So far, customers absolutely love them, but there really aren’t enough customer reviews to get a full picture.
- Reasonable cost
- The black and silver set looks great on the counter
- Very sharp
- Block has engraved labels where each knife fits
- Not enough customer reviews
Emeril 18-Piece Knife Block Set
The 18-piece Emeril knife set comes with an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicer, an 8-inch bread knife, a 5-inch santoku, a 5.5 utility knife, a 5-inch boning knife, a 3.5 paring knife, and a 3-inch bird’s beak.
It also comes with eight steak knives, a pair of kitchen shears, and a wooden storage block. The knives feature stamped stainless steel blades. And they are full tang. Also, the triple-riveted ergonomic handles make the knives fit comfortably in your hand.
This Emeril knife set costs from $45 to $70. And Amazon rates it 4 out of 5 stars. This is a decent inexpensive knife set with very sharp knives that get the job done. But if you’re looking for super high-end knives, you probably won’t be thrilled with this set. Customers complained that the blades are kind of flimsy.
- Great price
- A wide variety of knives
- Looks great on the counter
- Blades are flimsy
- Blades will rust if you don’t dry them immediately
- Scissors are not made well
Emeril 17-Piece Knife Block Set
The 17-piece Emeril knife set comes with an 8-inch slicer, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 7-inch santoku, a 6-inch chef’s knife, a 5.25-inch sandwich knife, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, and a 3.5-inch paring knife. It also comes with eight 4.5-inch steak knives, kitchen shears, and a natural bamboo storage block.
The knives feature stamped high-carbon stainless steel blades. And they are full tang with double-riveted handles for durability. This set also comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
This Emeril knife set is very affordable, costing from $80 to $95. And like the other Emeril sets, it gets solid customer reviews. Amazon rates this set 3.9 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaint about this set is that the knives rust quickly. Some also complained that the blades broke.
- Full set with a wide variety of knives
- Nice balance
- Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Blades rust easily
- Not the best quality steel
- Handles not as durable as other sets
Now Let’s Slice Up the Competition
Here’s how the Emeril knife set holds up against other top brands.
Cuisinart C77SS-15PK 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
The 15-piece Cuisinart knife set comes with an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicer, a 7-inch santoku, a 5.5-inch serrated utility knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, and a 3.5-inch bird’s beak.
It also comes with 6 serrated steak knives, an 8-inch sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and a black storage block. These knives feature stamped high-carbon stainless steel blades. And they have a sturdy bolster for better stability and control. This set also comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Cuisinart set is in the same price range as the Emeril sets, costing from $40 to $50. And it gets excellent reviews. Amazon rates this set 4.3 out of 5 stars. Out of 1,529 customer reviews, 69 percent of them gave these knives 5 out of 5 stars. Most people raved about these knives. But some complained that the blades rusted quickly. Others complained that the knives broke during use.
- Sleek design looks great on the counter
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Rusts easily
- Hollow handles hold water if you let them soak
- The metal coating is prone to chip off
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 3-Piece Knife Set
The Henckels set comes with just the essential three knives, an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, and a 4-inch paring knife. These knives feature superior quality forged chromium and carbon steel blades which are durable and less likely to rust. The knives are also ice-hardened to increase their quality. And the sturdy bolster gives the knives excellent balance.
This Henckels knife set is super high quality, but it will cost you a chunk of change. These three knives will cost you from $140 to $150. Amazon rates this set 3.8 out of 5 stars. The vast majority of people rave about these knives. But some complained that the blades weren’t sharp enough out of the box.
- High quality
- Well balanced
- Less likely to rust
- High cost
- The set only comes with three knives
AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set
The AmazonBasics knife set is another top-seller. It comes with an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicer, an 8-inch bread knife, a 7-inch santoku, a 6-inch boning knife, a 5.5-inch utility knife, and a 3.5-inch paring knife.
This set also comes with eight 4.5-inch steak knives, kitchen shears, a sharpener, and a wooden storage block. The blades on these knives feature a forged professional-quality stainless steel.
And the triple-riveted handles are ergonomically designed and weighted, so they balance very well in your hand. The knives also have a sturdy bolster and are full tang.
This AmazonBasics set is in the same excellent price range as the Emeril sets, costing from $50 to $65. And it gets outstanding ratings. Amazon rates this set 4.5 out of 5 stars. One professional chef said that these knives are comparable to the much more expensive Henckels knives. If you can’t afford to buy the top of the line but still want that expensive knife feel, these are a good option.
- Very affordable
- The knives have a nice weight
- High quality
- Can rust quickly if you don’t hand wash and dry them immediately
- You have to sharpen them often
- Handles are bulky
Cutting to the Point
Overall we found that the Emeril knife sets are good options if you’re looking for decent, sharp knives that don’t cost a pretty penny. Of the eight sets that we reviewed, our favorites were the Emeril 17-Piece Knife Block Set and the AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set.
The Emeril knives aren’t the best, but for the price, they are very good knives. But the best bang for your buck is the AmazonBasics set.