There are few items in your serving armada that scream “adult” more than a set of steak knives. Often they are an aspirational entertaining item you hold off buying until you buy your first house or get married. But special occasions might come around first, like a dinner party with grilled flank steak as the star, and you'll need a set of knives up to the task. Like chef knives, steak knives need to be sharp, comfortable to grip, balanced, and durable, but because they are part of the presentation, they also need to be attractive.
Selection is a very subjective affair. There are serrated knives or non-serrated knives, wooden handles or resin handles, rustic looks or more delicate aesthetics, budget or high-end price tags; the landscape is wide. When choosing steak knives, there is also the consideration of how much work you want to put into maintenance, like sharpening and polishing.
Our team put our top three choices to the test to see if these are the best of the best. We cooked up a 1-pound New York strip to not only see how well these would perform at your dining table but also how they would handle maneuvering around the bone. We also tested how sharp they are out of the box with an easy slice test through thick and thin paper. During all of this, we consider the weight in your hand and how these looked stacked up against our regular flatware. According to our tests, the Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Steak Knife Set is the best overall pick.
From everyday budget options to the knives that will become family heirlooms, here are the best steak knife sets.
Messermeister Avanta 5” Fine Edge 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
Premium performance at a shockingly affordable price point makes this set a clear winner. The upswept blades are crafted from German high carbon stainless steel, creating a long-lasting, rust-resistant, smooth, and uber-sharp edge that is evenly ground and honed.
The shape of the blade is the star with an upward curved tip designed to separate meat from the bone, while the gradually sloped blade efficiently cuts through boneless sections, making for even slicing of the thickest cuts. During our tests, these portion out our next bite easily and cleanly, without too much effort. Out of the box, they were sharp enough to slice paper like a great pair of scissors.
Pakkawood handles, forged bolsters, and fully exposed tangs ensure the 4-piece straight-edged set is durable, strong, balanced, and attractive. The triple-riveted, sandblasted stainless steel handles are comfortable but have the heft you want in a quality steak knife. If pakkawood won't fit with your modern flatware aesthetic, there are full stainless steel and black options available. With regular sharpening and honing, this set is a long-lasting investment.
"These knives are outstanding in performance and value. While testing, there were repeated comments on how high-end these knives felt. They have great weight and balance (the handle is slightly heavier than the blade) with a full tang, are extremely sharp, and easily maneuvered around the bone." — Siobhan Wallace, Commerce Editor
Price at time of publish: $70
Blade Type: 5-inch straight edge | Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Best Overall, Runner-Up
Dalstrong Steak Knives Set
There is a lot of debate over which is better, serrated or non-serrated. Straight-edge blades offer a more traditional look that requires a little extra care to ensure lifelong fine edges. This set is made from Thyssenkrupp German steel, known for its high-quality, razor-sharp blades. Dalstrong designed these with a full tang ensuring balance and longevity. And, each blade is hand-sharpened to 14–16 degrees per side and heat-treated for heft, as well as flexibility.
This 4-piece set features black Garolite handles with triple rivets that are ergonomically designed and laminated for maximum balance and robustness. The hand-polished bolster adds comfort, and finger protection while slicing. They come with individual protective shields to maintain the quality of the blade at an affordable price tag with a full money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
"During testing, a friend and I debated on whether these or the Avanta were better. These knives were heavier than the Avanta, but just as sharp and more modern-looking. The packaging on this is slightly better too, with a magnetic-closing velvet-lined box and full sheaths to protect the blades. These are definitely a great value, and a great gift for anyone who likes to eat steak." — Siobhan Wallace, Commerce Editor
Price at time of publish: $97
Blade Type: 5-inch straight edge | Blade Material: High-carbon steel
Amazon Basics Premium 8-Piece Kitchen Steak Knife Set
If you are looking for affordable, no-frills knives, this Amazon Basics 8-piece set is a great option. Not only is the price right, but they also feature full tangs for balance, ergonomic handles for comfort, and full bolsters for ease of use and maximum finger protection.
The edges of the alloy steel blades are micro-serrated with deep teeth. This resulted in more tearing of meat during testing, but the blades will never need sharpening. A serrated edge also helps with other foods like bread and tomatoes. But that serrated edge snagged when we tried to slice it through paper. That said, these are sturdy, workmanlike tools with a traditional design that will last and not break the bank.
"This is a very basic knife set, something you buy when you only need multipurpose serrated knives. They can handle your steak and stew meat, but also tomatoes, bread, and long enough to fit into a peanut butter jar. They're durable for a budget knife set, but not something I would give as a high-end gift necessarily." — Siobhan Wallace, Commerce Editor
Price at time of publish: $26
Blade Type: 4.75-inch serrated edge | Blade Material: Stain-resistant steel
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Shun Classic 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
Like their kitchen counterparts, Shun Classic steak knives are handmade in Seki, Japan, with VG-MAX steel that is proprietary to the company. Known as “super steel,” it contains higher levels of tungsten which creates a strong, finer grain with a razor-sharp edge. Slicing through a thick Cowboy steak could not be easier.
This 4-piece set boasts durable black pakkawood handles and blades coated with a 34 micro-layer Damascus wrap that not only renders the knives elegant but resistant to corrosion and staining. Unlike others on this list, the Shun knife set has traditional Japanese straight handles, which add to the modern aesthetic. Not only are they a stylish addition to the dinner table, but they come with a presentation box, making an excellent gift option.
Price at time of publish: $350
Blade Type: 4.75-inch straight edge | Blade Material: VG-MAX steel
Related: The Best Japanese Knives
Best Laguiole Style
Laguiole en Aubrac 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
Authentic Laguiole knives are pieces of art—they are handmade by craftsmen, made with French-sourced wood handles and high-performance Sandvik stainless steel blades. The word “Laguiole,” is not trademarked, and many knock-off versions of Laguiole-style knives exist. Some only have a presentation case made in France and claim to being “French-crafted,” while the blades are made elsewhere. Laguiole En Aubrac knives are made near the village of Laguiole, in the region of Aubrac, France—they are authentically crafted in France by French artisans.
Andrew Arndt, executive chef at Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa in Newport Beach, California, appreciates the feel and handle of Laguiole knives. "The quality of the product is superior to other knives. The set is aesthetically pleasing as well as its functionality for all types of applications," he says. "The knives keep their edge, and you don’t need to have multiple types of knives for your dinner. For the home cook with family or holiday dinners, this really is a classic set."
This 4-piece set features the traditional “shepherd’s cross” on the handle and a “bee” at the top. These are markers dating back to Napoleonic times when this symbol was bestowed on the village of Laguiole by Napoléon as a tribute to their courage. Each blade is balanced, sturdy, and beautifully shaped by French cutlers. They are an heirloom that can be passed from generation to generation, providing each with stylish precision cutting.
Price at time of publish: $320
Blade Type: 4.5-inch straight edge | Blade Material: Sandvik steel
Related: The Best Knife Sharpeners
Best Steakhouse Style
Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
Nostalgia is what these knives activate. Those evenings out with your family for a steak and baked potato served on a plate with a stocky wooden-handled knife jump to mind. Chicago Cutlery has recreated this look and feel with its 4-piece set. These are large, and unfinished which adds to their rustic appeal, including handles that are triple-riveted and wide-gripped.
But, they are not basic. The blades are made of high carbon stainless steel with full tang for a balanced hold and stability. Chicago Cutlery ensures maximum sharpness with their 25-degree taper grind edge finish. They are durable and come with a lifetime warranty—a great choice for your next backyard barbeque steak night.
Price at time of publish: $17
Blade Type: 5-inch serrated edge | Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Related: The Best Instant-Read Thermometers
Best with Storage Box
Wüsthof 8-Piece Stainless-Steel Steak Knife Set
Quality construction is what you can depend on when purchasing Wüsthof knives. Long known for durable, precise chef knives, this steak knife set offers the same dependable construction. This 8-piece set of 18/10 stainless steel knives features full tangs for balance when slicing. They have serrated edges that are precision-forged like their kitchen knife counterparts, and the high-carbon content ensures strength and sharp edge longevity.
The product is superior, but the presentation cannot be ignored. The rosewood-stained box makes a gorgeous display piece for the sleek set, and the stainless steel handles offer a modern, polished look to your tableware. The optional monogramming makes this a thoughtful wedding or anniversary gift as well.
Price at time of publish: $210
Blade Type: 4-inch serrated edge | Blade Material: 18/10 stainless steel
Related: The Best Cutting Boards
Pakkawood handles, full tang, and beautiful 5-inch stainless steel blades make the Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Steak Knife Set (view at Amazon) a worthwhile investment in classic knives. The Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 4-Piece Steak Knife Set (view at Amazon) is a nostalgic and durable choice.
What to Look for When Buying Steak Knives
Straight Edge vs. Serrated
There is some debate whether serrated or straight edge steak knives are better. Ultimately, this comes down to personal preference, and you’ll find several suitable options for both. Classic steak knives tend to be serrated. They slice through steak easily, but they’re difficult to sharpen. Straight edge steak knives are ideal for push cuts compared to slicing. Push cutting involves using the same spot of the blade to cut through food.
If you prefer to slice your food, you’ll have greater success with serrated steak knives. If you use push cuts more than slice cuts, you may gravitate towards steak knives with a straight edge.
Balance and Weight
A good steak knife should feel comfortable and perfectly balanced in your hand. This has a lot to do with the weight of the knife. Steak knives are heavier than your typical butter knife and for good reason—the handle is usually heavier than the blade to provide additional stability. The handle should be proportional to the blade, and the blade shouldn’t be at an angle to the handle. Overall, the knife should appear inviting to pick up and feel sturdy but balanced in your hand.
To care for your steak knives, hand wash them with warm water and a mild detergent. Avoid strong cleaners, especially those with citrus scents. Dry the knives immediately after handwashing them to prevent rusting.
Your steak knives may become dull over time, so you’ll need to sharpen them every so often. It’s easier to do this with straight edge steak knives than serrated ones, but it’s possible for both. Depending on how often you use them, you may only need to sharpen them once every few months.
How do you sharpen steak knives?
There are many ways to sharpen your steak knives. You can purchase manual or electric knife sharpeners compatible with either serrated or straight edge steak knives. A steel or ceramic sharpening rod is an easy and affordable way to sharpen your steak knives. Simply run the blade of your knives along the rod at an angle to create friction that will sharpen the blades. Use light pressure, take your time, and be sure to do both sides of the blade.
What are forged blades?
Forged blades are made from a single bar of steel, which is in contrast to stamped knives that are made from a continuous sheet of steel. They are treated with heat before being hammered or pounded into the desired shape.
What’s the difference between a steak knife and a dinner knife?
Steak knives are specifically made to cut through meat, so they require sharp blades. Dinner knives, however, are more versatile and have duller blades. A steak knife can replace a dinner knife if the meal contains meat. Dinner knives are also called table knives and butter knives. They have a rounded point and aren’t serrated.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has tested many steak knives over the years. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding the right knife for your grip and needs. She loves her Laguiole En Aubrac steak knives for their timeless beauty, functionality, and deep history. Her work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
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