A good steak knife makes it so much easier to cut through steaks, burgers, roasts, pizza, chicken, crunchy vegetables and so much more. Nowadays, a steak knife is the only truly sharp knife at the table, which is why most of us own a set.Steak knives are mainly available as serrated edge or straight edge and, in this article, we take a look at the difference between the two. We also consider what else to look for when choosing steak knives, such as if they are stamped or forged, what materials the blade and handle should be made from, and why full tang steak knives are more robust than part tang blades. We also review the top ten best steak knives available and look at what they offer to the dining experience.
Our Best Pick is the J.A. Henckels International eight piece steak knife set with its full tang stainless steel serrated edge blades and lifetime warranty.
Our Budget Pick is the AmazonBasics premium eight piece steak knife set made from stainless steel with triple riveted handles and one year warranty.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Steak Knives
- 1. J.A. Henckels International Eight Piece Steak Knife Set
- 2. AmazonBasics Premium Eight Piece Steak Knife Set
- 3. DALSTRONG Steak Knives Set
- 4. J.A. Henckels International 39323-100 Steak Knife Set
- 5. Chicago Cutlery Four Piece Walnut Steak Knife Set
- 6. Messermeister Avanta Fine Edge Four Piece Steak Knife Set
- 7. Wusthof Eight Piece Steak Knife Set
- 8. Ishetao Six Piece Serrated Edge Steak Knife Set
- 9. Cuisinart C77TR-6PSK Triple Rivet Collection 6-Piece Steak Knife Set
- 10. Chicago Cutlery C43898 Steakhouse Knife Set
- Things to Consider Before Buying Steak Knives
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Steak Knives
1. J.A. Henckels International Eight Piece Steak Knife Set
The J.A. Henckels International eight piece steak knife set is made from corrosion resistant and durable stainless steel. These knives are full tang and constructed as one piece. These serrated edge knives are also suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher and come with a lifetime warranty.Some buyers have found that the quality of steel on these knives is poorer than they expected, and the odd set of knives may begin to rust quite soon after purchase. Some owners also consider that these are more lightweight than they would have preferred and the handle on these could be on the small side for some users.
2. AmazonBasics Premium Eight Piece Steak Knife Set
The micro-serrated edge AmazonBasics premium eight piece steak knife set is made from stain resistant steel. These are full tang knives with triple riveted handles and they also have a full bolster. Hand wash only, this set comes with a one year limited warranty.Although micro-serrated some buyers consider that the serrations are too wide on these knives which can result in more tearing than cutting and some consider that the handles are too heavy. These knives are also prone to rusting even when hand washed.
3. DALSTRONG Steak Knives Set
Made from imported high carbon German steel, the Dalstrong four piece steak knife set is an award winning design with engineered serrations and expert heat treatment. These knifes have a 56+ Rockwell Hardness and have been hand polished to a satin finish. They are full tang and end bolstered knives with a triple riveted luxury black pakkawood handle. This handle is designed for comfort and maneuverability, although there can be some inconsistencies on the pakkawood finish.
These knives also come with a satisfaction guarantee and blade sheathes. The manufacturer recommends that these are not washed in the dishwasher and some owners have actually experienced damage to their knives after using the dishwasher.As high carbon blades these do need more care during cleaning as they are prone to staining and have less resistance to rusting than stainless steel. A small number of buyers have also found that these knives may not cut as well as expected, although they do come with a satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.
4. J.A. Henckels International 39323-100 Steak Knife Set
The J.A Henckels International 4½" steak knife set contains corrosion resistant stainless steel blades with micro-serrated edges. This four piece set also has full tang blades with triple riveted handles which, unfortunately, some owners have found to be on the small side.Although these are dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended, and this set also comes with a lifetime limited warranty from the manufacturer. Some buyers have been disappointed with the quality of these knives from this particular manufacturer and others have also commented that these knives can be more prone to shredding rather than cutting meat.
5. Chicago Cutlery Four Piece Walnut Steak Knife Set
Containing traditional styled solid walnut handles which are triple riveted to the full tang blades, the Chicago Cutlery four piece walnut steak knife set features exclusive taper grind edge technology to give edge retention, optimum sharpness and easier sharpening. These straight edged blades are high carbon steel and measure just over 4"long.As these knives have solid wood handles, they should be handwashed. They may also occasionally need oiling to keep the wood in good condition. There can be a risk of the handles coming apart or even sustaining damage from moisture. You may find that these steak knives are on the smaller side of steak knives and they are quite light in weight.
6. Messermeister Avanta Fine Edge Four Piece Steak Knife Set
With a longer 5" blade that has an upturned tip to help separate meat from bone, the Messermeister Avanta fine edge four piece steak knife set also has brown grained water resistant pakkawood handles. These straight edge knives have full tang blades made from German high carbon stainless steel (X50CrMoV15) to keep a sharper edge for longer. These knives also contain a forged end bolster for balance. Coming with a lifetime limited warranty against manufacturing defects they are suitable for hand washing only.A small number of buyers have found the pakkawood handles to be on the rough side, less than robust and prone to cracking over time, although the manufacturer does recommend that the handles should be oiled with food safe mineral oil when needed. The blades may also need sharpening more often than expected to ensure they hold their edge.
7. Wusthof Eight Piece Steak Knife Set
Made from high carbon 18/10 stainless steel, the Wusthof eight piece steak knife set is precision forged and comes in a mahogany stained and velvet lined presentation box. These serrated edge and full tang knives have 4½" blades and their handles have a polished finish. This set is not suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, instead they should be hand washed. It also comes with a lifetime limited warranty.An odd number of buyers have found these knives were less than sharp on arrival and the overall quality of the presentation box may differ somewhat from that which is advertised. Some buyers were also disappointed to find these are made in China rather than Europe or the US.
8. Ishetao Six Piece Serrated Edge Steak Knife Set
With blades made from 420J2 stainless steel, the Ishetao six piece micro-serrated edge steak knife set is corrosion resistant and suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher. These one piece construction knives have 4½" blades and an ergonomic and balanced 18/0 handle.Although made from stainless steel, there is a risk of these rusting quite early in their lifetime; especially after being cleaned in the dishwasher. Some owners have also commented that although these are advertised as micro-serrated, the serrations are larger and more like a standard serrated edge which can increase the risk of meat tearing.
9. Cuisinart C77TR-6PSK Triple Rivet Collection 6-Piece Steak Knife Set
The Cuisinart six piece steak knife set is constructed with 4½" high carbon stainless steel blades with black triple riveted handles. These knives also come with a lifetime limited warranty. A number of owners consider these are less than sharp and that the serrated edge blades themselves are too thick for using for cutting anything other than meat. As this set of knives are also prone to rusting, you may find it better to hand wash them instead of putting them through the dishwasher.
10. Chicago Cutlery C43898 Steakhouse Knife Set
Made with high carbon stainless steel blades, the Chicago Cutlery four piece steakhouse knife set also have triple riveted natural wood handles. These are full tang blades with a 25 degree taper grind edge for improved sharpness. This set comes with a full lifetime limited warranty and should be washed by hand rather than in the dishwasher. The handles may also need occasional oiling to keep them at their best. These knives come with a Prop 65 warning for residents of California.The quality control may be lacking on some of these knives and the odd buyer has experienced some splitting on the wooden handles. As these are also bigger knives (10" total length) they may not be as suitable for all users and/or cutting tasks.
Things to Consider Before Buying Steak Knives
Using a steak knife to easily slice through meat helps retain the flavors and juices of the meat which gives you a better tasting meal. As well as being ideal for finer meats and pizza, a steak knife is also useful for a range of other kitchen and table tasks such as cutting cheese, tomatoes and trimming the fat from meat. Most steak knives will come in a set of at least four and will be serrated or straight edged and many sets will come with some form of limited warranty to protect against manufacturing defects.
Steak knives tend to come in lengths of either five or seven inches. Generally, the smaller the blade, the better at cutting it will be. Shorter knives are not only easier to hold, but they also have more flexibility. Restaurants tend to use the longer steak knives as they can look better when placed on the table, however, these longer knives can be more difficult to use and will not always give as clean a cut.
Because steak knives are displayed on the dining table, they should also look good, unlike typical kitchen knives which have a focus on utility rather than form. When you look at the balance of a steak knife, consider if the handle looks in size proportion to the blade, whether it will be comfortable to hold and if the blade runs straight from the handle or at an angle. The handle and the blade should also appear seamless and there should be no visible gaps where the blade joins the handle. Knives which are poor fitting around the handle are not as sturdy and they can also allow contaminants and moisture to get into the handle which will shorten their lifespan.
Steak knives with full tangs are more secure and easier to hold. A full tang knife means that the blade and inner of the handle is formed from one continuous piece of metal. The handle is then attached to the tang by two or three rivets through the handle. The end of the full tang can also be seen at the very end or butt of the handle. Part tang blades, which may only project one or two inches into the handle, are not only less secure, but they are also more prone to breaking.
Steak knives are best washed by hand even if they are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, as the detergent, high temperatures and jiggling about in the dishwasher will all take their toll on the blades and occasionally the handles. Like any sharp knife, steak knives should also be stored in a knife tray, box, roll or on a magnetic strip.
Nowadays, a steak knife is the only sharp knife used at the table however, before World War II, all table knives were sharp. As these were usually stainless steel - which had become widely available after World War I - there was a need for frequent sharpening and polishing.
After World War II there was a decline in the number of people employed as domestic staff in homes which meant that knife upkeep was not as regular. This decline also coincided with the introduction of stainless steel serrated edge steak knives to the US. These steak knives proved very popular as they did not need to be sharpened as often or even polished like traditional table knives had to be. Heat treatments for stainless steel were also evolving post-war which meant that straight edge knives were able to keep a sharp edge for longer. During the 1950s, straight edge steak knives were then introduced.
Straight Edged and Serrated Edge Steak Knives
A straight edge (or fine edge) steak knife is not only more suitable for a range of meats as it gives a straight cut, but it is also preferred by some of us aesthetically. However, straight edged knives are best sharpened every couple of weeks to not only keep the edge sharp but to also prolong their lifespan. You should also run straight edged blades over a honing steel regularly as this will help maintain the sharp edge after sharpening.
As a serrated edge tears through meat rather than making a clean cut, the serrated edge is always best used for roasts and bread. Serrated edge knives are less likely to lose their sharpness and although they will not need sharpening as often, it is more difficult to sharpen a serrated blade. Some types of steak knives are also available as micro-serrated knives which have smaller serrations than traditional serrated edge steak knives.
It is also worth remembering that steak knives cut on plates which are more unforgiving to a blade edge than a wooden chopping board. This has a significant impact on how often steak knives will need sharpening.
Some steak knives may also be hollow edge which means they have indentations along the blade. When you cut food, an air pocket is created in the hollows which stops the food from sticking to the knife and also allows you to cut thinner slices.
When selecting steak knives, look for steel blades, such as stainless steel, carbon or high carbon. A stainless steel is steel which is alloyed with at least 12% or as much as 18% chromium. The chromium forms a layer on the exposed surfaces which rapidly oxidizes and prevents rusting (oxidation) of the steel which is underneath. There are different types of stainless steel available and some will be more resistant to corrosion than others. This is particularly useful when looking for knives which will last for longer. Stainless steel is also durable, easy to sharpen and helps add rigidity to the knife. There are a number of other types of alloys used by knife manufacturers, some of which will be proprietary or owned by the manufacturer.
A carbon blade is more rigid than stainless steel but will show signs of wear quickly. Carbon steel steak knives will also need washing by hand and oiling after use.
Although a high carbon blade is durable, stronger than carbon and stainless steel blades and will hold a sharp edge for longer, high carbon will also rust and show stains easier. This means that extra care is needed when washing and drying to try to minimize rusting.
Some steak knives may be Damascus, which is a type of steel that is layered and visually decorative. Thought to have originated in the Middle East, Damascus steel is thought by some to be sharper and hold an edge longer than other types of steel.
The Difference Between Forged and Stamped Blades
A forged blade is one which has been made by hammering a single piece of steel into shape and for many year’s this was the technique which produced knives that were more durable, stronger and easier to sharpen than a stamped blade. A stamped blade is one which is punched from a flat sheet of steel and then its edge is machine or hand sharpened. Stamped knives often cost less than forged knives and as stamping techniques have improved over time, there is no reason why a set of stamped steak knives should be passed over for a set of forged.
Different Types of Steak Knife Handles
Handles on steak knives are often stainless steel or wood. Many knives are still available with rosewood handles, but these are rarely real rosewood as not only is this expensive, but it is endangered and banned from international trade. Today’s rosewood is usually a sustainably sourced hardwood such as beech which is dyed red-brown.
Any type of wooden handle is susceptible to splintering, shrinkage or expansion, so wooden handled knives should never be placed in the dishwasher as the moisture and temperature fluctuations will damage the knife handles. Likewise, wooden handled knives should never be left to soak in dishwashing water, and they should always be stored away from any direct sources of heat to prevent them from drying out.
Wooden handles should also be occasionally oiled with olive oil, cannola oil or a food safe mineral oil. Oiling helps protect the wood from damage and will keep it looking its best.
Pakkawood is a resin-impregnated wood. The resins are food safe and biologically inert and make the wood more water resistant and stable. Pakkawood handles are often dyed black, stained or colored to show off the natural grain of the wood.
Polyoxymethylene or POM handles (also known as Delrin or acetal) is a plastic which is acid, salt, hear and solvent resistant. This hard plastic is also food safe and often used in commercial kitchens.
Whichever type of handle you choose, it should be comfortable to hold by different people and should be non-slip when held.
In this article we have taken an in-depth look at what you should consider when choosing steak knives. Perhaps the most important consideration is whether to choose serrated or straight edge knives, and as much as this can be down to your personal preference, both types suit specific cutting tasks. We have also looked at some of the main materials used for blades and if it really matters whether the blades are stamped or forged. We have also provided an overview of some of the common types of handles found on steak knives.We hope that you have enjoyed our article on what the best steak knife should bring to your dining experience. We also trust that our reviews of the top ten steak knives have been helpful, whether you are looking for your first set of steak knives or are needing to replace an old and worn out set.