Home Reviews Kitchen
Written by Andrea Wawrzyn; edited by Lily Alig
- Best overall
- Best straight-edge
- Best Laguiole-style
- Best budget
- Best splurge
- What to look for in steak knives
- Testing methodology
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Steak knives are for more than just cutting steak. They serve as much of a key role in any kitchen arsenal as any of the best kitchen knives or best cookware sets. You may not eat steak everyday, but you can use the knives to cut through a chicken breast, pork chop, or even a slab of cauliflower.
Choosing the right set of steak knives for your household can be overwhelming and often comes down to personal preference. Consider how often you'll realistically sharpen your knives, if you want a serrated or straight edge, and what your ideal aesthetic is. We tested eleven sets of steak knives — from cutting meat to slicing a sheet of paper, we looked at every facet of every knife. Five knife sets excelled in our testing while also receiving top marks for style, durability, and function.
Our top picks for steak knives
Best overall: Material The Table Knives – See at Material
If you're in the market for a set of knives that are stylish and high-performing, but won't break the bank, you can't go wrong with this set of four from Material.
Best straight-edge: Messermeister Avanta Pakkawood – See at Amazon
These handsome knives are pleasingly weighty and received some of the highest scores in our testing, in addition to being affordable.
Best Laguiole-style: Flying Colors Laguiole Steak Knife Set – See at Amazon
Modeled after the French style, these rustic knives were a style favorite for testers and have a variety of handle materials and color options to choose from.
Best budget: Victorinox Swiss Classic 6-piece Steak Knife Set – See at Amazon
Surprisingly comfortable to use and remarkably sharp, this set of six knives is a great way to outfit your kitchen on a budget.
Best splurge: Shun Premier 4-Piece Steak Knife Set — See at Amazon
This is a show-stopping set of handmade knives with superior construction, razor-sharp blades, and durable pakkawood handles.
Best overall: Material The Table Knives
Shop at Material
Pros: Very sharp, straight-edged blades for easy sharpening at home, attractive, full tang construction, wooden storage box included
Cons: None really, we were very happy with the performance, price point, and aesthetic of these knives.
These straight-edged knives were the clear winners in our testing. They fit comfortably in the hands of all of our testers and felt secure to hold while cutting. Sold as a set of four, the knives ship with a smart-looking maple holder that keeps the blades separate and can be stored on the countertop or in a drawer. They come in four colors or a mixed set that includes one of each colorway.
During our tests, the Material knives cut through paper without any added pressure or tearing, proving their sharpness right out of the box. They similarly made short work of both flank steak and sausage with no tearing and required a minimal amount of pressure. After testing 11 sets of knives back to back, testers kept coming back to and remarking on how easy it was to cut with these knives.
Best straight-edge: Messermeister Avanta Fine Edge Steak Knife Set
Shop at Amazon
Pros: Full tang construction, straight-edged blades for easy sharpening at home, durable and attractive pakkawood handles
Cons: A little too large for testers with smaller hands, no included storage, packaging allowed blades to knock into one another
These large, handsome steak knives performed very well in testing. Their straight-edged, upswept blades cut effortlessly through paper, steak, and sausage without tearing or excessive pressure. The pakkawood handles (a composite made of wood and resin that is extremely durable) felt good in hand and secure to testers when cutting through meat.
These knives were noticeably heavier than most that we tested, but we liked that quality when cutting through meat. At $17.50 per knife, these are a great value for knives that perform as well as ones twice the price.
Another great choice, the Henckels Classic Forged Steak Knife Set scored just below the Avanta mostly owing to the handles being less comfortable to hold and the knives feeling a little light for some testers. However, if you're looking for a knife that cuts just as well as the Avanta but is a little smaller, this set is a good option.
Best Laguiole-style: Flying Colors Laguiole Steak Knife Set
Shop at Amazon
Pros: Full tang construction, stylish, inexpensive, wide variety of handle options
Cons: Did not get the highest marks for sharpness
Laguiole-style knives have a classic rustic look based on the knives traditionally used by shepherds as pocket knives. While authentic French-made versions can be quite expensive, there are imitations available at lower price points. This model from Flying Colors was a style standout for testers with the knives' curved wooden handles, full tang construction, and straight-edged blades.
While they were not the highest performing in our cutting tests, they did cut steak and sausage smoothly without tearing. Their satisfying weight and contoured handle felt good in hand to testers. This set of six knives has a few different options for wooden handles as well as a wide variety of colors for acrylic handles if you're looking to match your favorite dinnerware.
Best budget: Victorinox Swiss Classic 6-piece Steak Knife Set
Shop at Amazon
Shop at Victorinox
Pros: Very sharp blades, contoured handles
Cons: Partial tang construction, cheap-looking, very light
If you need a set of knives that cut well but are also inexpensive you can't do better than Victorinox knives. While testers were not wowed by the appearance of the steak knives, their performance was undeniable. They made short work of paper, flank steak, and sausage with no tearing to any of the above. They cut extremely smoothly and with minimal effort, despite having a serrated edge, which necessitates the use of a sawing motion when cutting through meat.
Testers noted that though the plastic handles felt flimsy, the deep divot along the length felt quite ergonomic and provided a place to naturally rest the thumb when pressing down, making for a secure experience when cutting through tough meat. It's worth mentioning that these were also the best-performing serrated knives that we tested by far.
If you want a straight-edge budget option, we like the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 4-Piece Steak Knife Set. The wooden handles felt a little short to testers and the dramatically upswept blade made for slightly awkward cutting. However, the full tang construction helped the knife feel balanced overall.
Best splurge: Shun Premier 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
Shop at Amazon
Pros: High-quality, hand-crafted, full tang construction, razor-sharp blades, stylish
Cons: Very expensive
This visually stunning set of knives are a dream to cut with. The blades are constructed with Damascus cladding: micro-thin layers of metal are stacked and welded together over a VG-MAX steel core resulting in a balanced blade that is strong, durable, and can be sharpened to a razor-sharp edge.
These knives excelled in every test, cutting through paper cleanly with almost no pressure and effortlessly getting through flank steak and sausage. The pakkawood handles are beautiful and durable as well as contoured for comfort. Testers noted that the knives felt great in hand and secure to hold while cutting. These knives are on the large side overall, but felt lighter than the second-largest model we tested from Messermeister, whose heft we liked.
Another pricier model that's worth considering is the Wusthof Gourmet 4-Piece Steak Knife Set. This straight-edged set cut through flank steak, sausage, and paper very smoothly with no tearing. The black composite three-rivet handle brings to mind a classic steak house but felt a little cheap to testers. The knife felt a little light overall, however, testers were impressed with how well these cut in comparison to other knives.
What to look for in steak knives
Full vs. partial tang: Both full and partial tang are terms that refer to the construction of knives. "Full tang" means the blade and handle of the knife are formed from one piece of steel. Full tang knives are inherently stronger than knives with "partial tang" in which the blade does not extend for the full length of the handle. Though full tang knives are typically on the heavier side, we found that to be a good thing in testing. Heftier knives were more secure when cutting.
Blade and handle materials: Durability is largely dependent on the material knives are made of. If you want your knives to last a long time, look for blades made of stainless steel, which is rust-resistant, and handles that are non-porous. If you like the look of wooden handles, make sure they're treated to be moisture-resistant. Pakkawood is a composite material often used for knife handles that is made of wood and resin and is especially durable. Lastly, despite the fact that some knives are labeled dishwasher safe, you can preserve the longevity of your knives by hand washing and drying.
How we tested
Before and after each of the following tests, we washed and dried the knives by hand. We then performed each test a second time to see if the knives had become noticeably duller after use and cleaning.
Paper test: We used each knife to cut through a sheet of printer paper to see if it made clean, smooth cuts or tore. We also noted whether we had to apply pressure to start the cuts or if the knives were able to cut through it easily. This revealed how sharp the knives were out of the box.
Steak test: We cooked 4 pounds of skirt steak (one of the toughest cuts) and 12 links of Italian sausage and used each knife to cut through both. We noted whether they made clean cuts through the meat, or tore it leaving jagged edges. All of the meat was cut on stoneware dinner plates, which can be rougher on knives than other cutting surfaces, like a cutting board.
Ease of use: During our cutting tests, we considered how the knives felt to hold and cut with, if they were comfortable in the hand, and whether they felt secure. We evaluated the size of the blade, handle, and full construction to determine how that effected the knife's performance and weight.
Can you sharpen steak knives?
Absolutely. How you sharpen them depends on whether your knives are serrated or straight-edged. Straight-edged knives can be sharpened using any of the methods you would use on a chef's knife; a handheld sharpener, a whetstone, or a honing steel (check out our picks for the best knife sharpeners). Serrated blades are more difficult to sharpen at home and may need to be handled by a professional. Check with the knife manufacturer for instructions and recommendations for sharpening your particular knives.
Are straight-edged knives better than serrated knives?
That is a matter of opinion, and good quality knives will cut meat well whether the blade is serrated or not. Straight-edged knives are designed to slice through meat smoothly with little resistance, while serrated blades can tear through meat and require you to use a back-and-forth sawing motion.
Can you put steak knives in the dishwasher?
Hand washing and drying steak knives will give them the longest life possible. While some of the knives we tested are dishwasher safe, we don't recommend it. Running sharp knives through the dishwasher cycle will dull the blades, meaning you'll have to sharpen them more often or replace them sooner.
How should you store steak knives?
We recommend storing steak knives in a knife block, on a magnetic strip, or with a sheath to keep the blades in good cutting condition. Some steak knives ship with their own storage boxes or blocks. You should avoid storing them loose in a utensil drawer.
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Steak knives have either serrated or straight-edge blades. Serrated knives are often used as steak knives because they can easily cut through the crispy outside of a grilled steak or tougher pieces of meat. Straight-edge (non-serrated) knives can often provide a cleaner cut through the meat.What knives do steakhouses use? ›
Steak knives have either serrated or straight-edge blades. Serrated knives are often used as steak knives because they can easily cut through the crispy outside of a grilled steak or tougher pieces of meat. Straight-edge (non-serrated) knives can often provide a cleaner cut through the meat.How much is a good set of steak knives? ›
Our Favorite. Out of all the affordable steak knife sets we tested under $100, the Material Tables Knives won the title of our favorite with their fresh look, impressive sharpness, and great feel in the hand. Our runner-up is Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Set due to their comfort and excellent performance.How do you pick a good steak knife? ›
The Best Steak Knife Set Will Be Balanced
Ultimately, you want a knife that feels balanced when you hold it. Full-tang knives tend to score higher on balance because the blade is sandwiched within the handle. It will feel more secure when you hold it.
- Set Type: Steak Knife Set.
- Blade Material: Stainless steel.
- Tang Style: Partial Tang.
- Product Care: Dishwasher Safe.
- Rust Resistant: Yes.
Guy Fieri Knuckle Sandwich 8" Chef's Knife - Ergo Chef Knives.What is Gordon Ramsay's Favourite knife? ›
According to MasterClass, Ramsay prefers Henckels knives, which are a German style brand. As Acit Group states, German style chef's knives are noted for their bulky blades that are tough enough to handle the likes of chicken bones owing to their extra heft.What steak knives does Bobby Flay use? ›
The Shun Classic Western Chef's Knife gives Flay a significant edge. The blade is made of high-quality Japanese VG-10 steel. It's often called the “Super Steel,” specializing in retaining a razor-sharp edge, even after heavy use.What is the best steel for a steak knife? ›
Foster and Patinkin both told us that stainless steel is durable and rust-resistant, making it a good, long-lasting choice for a steak knife.Do you hold a steak knife in your left or right hand? ›
Believe it or not, there is a correct way to cut steak, and it involves cutting one bite at a time. You should hold the knife in your right hand with your index finger extended down the back of the utensil. Then, holding the fork in your left hand, pin down the meat and cut a single bite in a zigzag motion.
Steak knives with a straight edge create a far cleaner cut that has much lower surface porosity, resulting in fluid loss that is extremely limited compared to cuts created with serrated edges. They can also slice meat into much thinner portions, giving you that melt-in-the-mouth experience.What steak knife does Gordon Ramsay use? ›
Gordon Ramsay uses Wüsthof and Henckels branded knives; the brands are known for quality products and are two of the best knife manufacturers worldwide. Wüstoff has been making knives since 1814, and Henckels has been around since 1895.Does putting steak knives in the dishwasher dull them? ›
Dishwashers are a convenient way to clean your dishes, but they can also damage your knives. The high temperatures, strong detergents, and turbulence can cause damage and dull your knives over time. It's best to handwash your knives to prolong their lifespan.What dulls a knife the fastest? ›
Avoid using your knife on surfaces made of glass, granite, marble, or ceramic. These materials are much harder than steel and will weaken your knife's edge. Even a quick slice on a ceramic dinner plate, a marble cheese board, or a granite countertop can dull your knife.What is the best handle material for steak knives? ›
The choice of handle material for steak knives plays a significant role in aesthetics and comfort. Wood handles offer natural beauty and a comfortable grip, while plastic handles provide durability and a variety of styles. On the other hand, metal handles offer a sleek, modern look and exceptional durability.What kind of knives do they use at Hibachi? ›
Hibachi knives come in all shapes and sizes. For example, some knives have a different heel (bottom of the blade). Others have different tips, blade curvatures, and handles, and will vary in sharpness. Some knives are chef's knives (gyuto), while others are paring or steak knives.What type of knives do hibachi chefs use? ›
Steak knife is a common tool used by Japanese Hibachi chefs in Hibachi restaurants, because its versatility is unparalleled. Generally, niuyu has a lot in common with Western cooks' knives, especially its characteristics.Why do steakhouses use serrated knives? ›
Serrated steak knives are knives that have teeth-like serrations on the blade. This knife is designed to cut through tougher meats, such as steak, with ease. The serrations help to grip the meat and cut through it without tearing or shredding it.