Best Knife Sets Not Made in China - No to China 2022 (2022)

  • steve
  • Nov 07, 2021
  • 4 Comments

The value of a really good knife set

Growing up, our family had one set of knives that we used for 20 years. Mind you, it wasn’t a great set of knives, but we weren’t a rich family, so we just used the same knives over and over.

I didn’t really appreciate the importance of a good knife set until after college. I was sharing a house with a friend. We needed to open a can but we didn’t have a can opener. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen counter and I jammed it into a can and started removing the top. As I did this, I noticed her face turned white. She explained that I probably just destroyed a knife that cost a few hundred dollars.

I like to think she eventually forgave me, but it was from that moment that I realized that there was a whole world where people paid a lot of money for knifes. My only exposure to fancy knives were the Ginsu infomercials (and yes, that’s probably where I got the inspiration to cut the tin can, knowing that it could slice a tomato right afterwards).

Over the years, it became a dream and then an obsession of mine to own a fancy knife set. Then, one day Woot was selling some Shun Edo knives and I was hooked. Using a real piece of cutlery vs. the set I probably bought at K-mart in college was the difference of driving a Ferrari vs. driving a soap box derby car. I started to look forward to cooking so I could use the knives so slice meat, veggies, and fruit.

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How hard is it to find a made-in-China knife set

There’s bad news and good news here.

The bad news is that if you’re looking to buy a cheap knife set, chances are your options will be limited to China. The aforementioned Ginsu is one of the top offenders, having shipped all manufacturing to China years ago. Other brands that sold out with their production of cutlery (just as they sold out with their production of flatware), include Cuisinart, Rachael Ray, Calphalon, and Chicago Cutlery (Rachael Ray even has the audacity to sell a “Japanese knife” that’s made in China). And of course, on Amazon you see an unending parade of fake China brands such as BLOOMBY, MCCOOK, BUBBA and HOBO, all with their rave reviews. And of course there’s AmazonBasics, which is pretty much always made in China.

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But perhaps because people are still willing to pay a premium for good knives, many of the top-rated knife brands were still made in countries like Germany and Japan. Typically when I prepare lists like this, I’ll cross-reference the top consumer review sites like WireCutter, Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, and industry lists like Food And Wine and Cook’s Illustrated. If I’m lucky, then maybe one out of ten products I look at is not made in China. And yet I found the best of the best sets that showed up in multiple “best of” lists were not made in China.

And so I looked for the ones that consistently showed up in the most “best of” lists. Here’s what I came up with.

I’m mainly linking to Williams-Sonoma in these product listings, mainly because I appreciate how William-Sonoma is transparent with its manufacturing information (for example, in many of these cases the knifes are made in Japan or Germany but things like wooden blocks are made in China). But these sets can be found on Amazon, Walmart, and

1. Wüsthof Classic and Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set

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Between the Classic and Classic Ikon sets, these sets from Wüsthof were named to more “best of” lists than any other. Wirecutter named the Classic Ikon the best all-purpose knife set. CNN calls the Classic Ikon the “Best Luxury Set”. Food & Wine calls the Classic the set with “the best German steel”, and Consumer Reports named the 8″ Cook’s Knife that comes in that set the “Best Chef’s Knife for Lovers of Classic Design”.

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The Classic features a bit more of a traditional handle shape, while the Ikon is a bit more modern. But both received rave reviews about their comfort, weight, balance, and durability, as well as their high quality and sharpness. They are all made in Solingen, Germany, the same city where Wüsthof was founded over 200 years ago. The German engineering comes through–each knife blade is forged from a single blank of high carbon stainless steel (hardness of 58 on the Rockwell Scale) and their “precision edge technology” yields a blade that is sharp and which retains its edge. They all come with a limited lifetime warranty.

WIlliams-Sonoma has both the Classic and Classic Ikon sets, or you can search their site for other configurations. You can also buy these sets on Amazon.

2. Shun Classic 7-Piece Essential Knife Block Set

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Multiple site named this and the new Classic Blonde handle variation to their best of lists. Japanese knives in general tend to be lighter than German knives, but they are razor sharp, well-balanced, and easy to sharpen.

They are crafted in Seki, Japan using techniques that date back centuries to when the Japanese were making samurai swords. They feature Damascus-clad blades (created by folding 34 microthin layers of stainless steel that give it an attractive patterning as well as great durability and sharpness. It features a cutting core of Shun’s proprietary VG-MAX stainless steel.

This set contains all the basic knives you’ll ever need, including a paring knife, a utility knife, a chef’s knife, and a bread knife.

Like I wrote above, these are the knives I use every day. Even though they’re lighter, they’re super well balanced and as beautiful to look at as they are to use.

3. Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Knife Set

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Several sites, including Wirecutter and Good Housekeeping listed these Victorinox knives as an excellent choice for the budget conscious; my personal favorite is this set that contains four essential knives, a sharpening steel, and a Swiss Army knife. Like Swiss Army Knives, Victorinox cutlery is expertly crafted in Switzerland, and has been since 1884.

If I could go back to college, this is the set I’d want to cut fruit, slice bagels, chop vegetables, and cut meat. They’re made from high quality lightweight European steel and–in a rarity for knives–are dishwasher safe.

If you only need the knives and don’t need the wood block, the sharpening steel, etc, you can purchase the knives by themselves. But beware of third party sellers who jack up the price.

4. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional “S” 7-Piece Knife Block Set

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This set was named by Good Housekeeping, CNN, and others as one of the best. Zwilling J.A. Henckels was founded in 1731 and continues to make kitchen knives for domestic and professional use. Like Wüsthof, they’re based in Soligen, Germany (the “City of Blades”).

This is another reasonably affordable set of knives. It’s actually the high-end knife set from the Zwilling JA Henckels range. The knives are made from robust, ice-hardened steel and were both razor sharp and easy to control. Lasers are used to ensure that each blade’s edge is at the optimal cutting angle for maximum sharpness. The ABS resin handles are triple riveted to the blades.

There’s a limited edition set being sold now called the Four Star 8-Piece Knife Block Set which was released in honor of the 40th anniversary of their Four Star line of cutlery, which is Zwilling’s best selling line of knives.

The knives are all made in Germany, of course.

(Video) World's Sharpest Kitchen Knife! - (Razor Sharp!)

Again these were the sets that were most frequently cited as the best, but there were plenty of other highly rated options not made in China, including the Global Classic 7-Piece Takashi Knife Wood Block Set (made in Japan), the Kramer by Zwilling Knife Block Set (made in Japan), the Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set (made in Taiwan). You can’t go wrong with any of these.

Do you know of other great knife sets not made in China worthy of mention here? Let us know in the comments!

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FAQs

Which knives are not made in China? ›

Bottom Line. The best kitchen knives not made in China are Cutco, Kramer, Lamson, WÜSTHOF, Zwilling, Mesermiester, Güde, Shun, Miyabi, Global, MAC, Yoshimi Kato, Made In, Sabatier-K, Victorinox, and Henckels.

Who makes the highest quality knives in the world? ›

Our Top Picks
  • Best Overall: Mac Mighty Professional Hollow Edge Knife.
  • Best for Butchering: Wüsthof Classic IKON 8-inch Knife.
  • Best for a Precise Cuts: Kiritsuke Oxford Chef's Knife.
  • Best Lightweight: Global G-2 Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife.
  • Best High-End: Shun Classic Blonde Chef's Knife.
  • Best Value: Material Chef's Knife.
Jun 6, 2022

What knives are as good as global? ›

If the steel works for you, Global knives are the best on the market. If you prefer something more traditional, consider brands like Wüsthof, Zwilling, and Shun.

Where do the best knives in the world come from? ›

Germany and Japan have been known for their knife making skills for centuries. Both boast some of the most popular knife brands in the world.

Are Victorinox made in China? ›

Victorinox (/vɪkˈtɒriˌnɒks/) is a knife manufacturer and watchmaker based in the town of Ibach, in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. It is well known for its Swiss Army knives. The Swiss Army knives made by Victorinox are made of a proprietary blend steel from Germany and France.

Are Viking knives made in China? ›

Product Description. Designed in Germany, Viking Culinary Professional Chef's Knife delivers uncompromising performance due to the exceptional balance between the blade and handle. This fully forged knife is constructed with an integrated tang and riveted POM handle.

What is the number 1 knife brand? ›

Spyderco #1: Counting Down the Top Knife Brands
RankBrand Name% Able to Recall
4CRKT62.9%
3Kershaw94.9%
2Benchmade94.3%
1Spyderco98.3%
21 more rows
Aug 30, 2015

What brand knives are best? ›

15 Best Knife Brands, Ranked
  • Five Two. Five Two.
  • Global. Global. ...
  • JA Henckels. JA Henckels. ...
  • Calphalon. Calphalon. ...
  • Schmidt Brothers. Schmidt Brothers. ...
  • Cuisinart. Cuisinart. ...
  • Farberware. Amazon. ...
  • Cutco Cutlery. Cutco. ...
Jun 27, 2022

What is the sharpest knife in the world? ›

Obsidian knives are currently the sharpest possible knives known to man. Their staggeringly thin blades are the reason for this. The way that obsidian breaks are known as a conchoidal fracture. This kind of fracture looks very different from the edge of a traditional chef's knife.

What brand knives does Gordon Ramsay use? ›

Gordon Ramsay uses both Wüsthof and Henckels branded knives; the brands are known for quality products, and they are two of the best knife manufacturers in the world. Wüstoff has been making knives since 1814, and Henckels has been around since 1895.

What knives did Anthony Bourdain use? ›

That's why it's probably a good idea to listen to him when he reveals his favorite chef's knife. According to the Daily Meal, at the premiere of his new documentary Wasted, Bourdain said that his go-to chef's knife—an all-purpose knife that can be used when you're preparing dinner—is the Global G-2 eight-inch knife.

What knives do Michelin chefs use? ›

The Michelin two-star chef's favorites are the Maguro and Yanagiba knives made by Tatsuo Ikeda, a traditional, award-winning craftsman from Osaka, Japan.

Which is better Japanese or German knives? ›

Japanese knives utilize harder steel, which is excellent for precisely slicing and chopping fruit, vegetables, and fish, but makes the blades more brittle. What is this? While German knife blades have softer steel, they're more durable, corrosion-resistant, and better for tough root vegetables and tough meats.

What knives do chefs prefer? ›

The most popular type of knife among professional chefs is the chef's knife. A chef's knife is a versatile all-purpose knife that can be used for everything from chopping vegetables to slicing meat. The blade is usually between eight and ten inches long and is made of high-carbon stainless steel.

Why are Japanese knives so good? ›

Generally, Japanese knives are lighter, feel more balanced in the hand and feature steel that is harder, thinner and able to hold an edge for a longer time. These are exactly the reasons they're so popular among professional chefs, and why they're perfect for the precision tasks chefs do all day every day.

Where is Wusthof knives made? ›

Equally unusual is the fact that we have stayed loyal to the City of Blades, and still produce our forged knives only in Solingen, Germany. We believe that quality knives can only be made where high-precision production meets traditional artisanship, and for that there is no place like home.

Where are Cherokee knives made? ›

Frost Cutlery Cherokee Stoneworks Series by Frost Cutlery & Knives. Established in 1972, Frost Cutlery & Knives is the world's fastest growing cutlery company located in Tennessee, United States. The company was started by Jim Frost on a small scale with just a handful of employees.

Where are wolf knives made? ›

I know of the brand for their appliances, but never knew they made knives. The box says the knives are made in Germany. Some background: I have a small collection of shun premier knives and a few wusthof classic.

Are Ginsu knives made in China? ›

As of 2021, Ginsu knives are still manufactured and sold. The Quikut and Ginsu brands have both been manufactured in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, since the Douglas (vacuum cleaners) and Quikut (knives) operating units of Scott Fetzer merged after 1985.

Are Huusk knives made in China? ›

More research showed that the knife is actually made in a factory in central China, and when we eventually did get the knife the package said “Made In China.” It's an extremely good knife, and we're very happy to have it.

Are Viking knives good quality? ›

This is an exceptionally well made knife that is a pleasure to use. I compared it to other much more expensive knifes in my kitchen and it is better than all of them. It is very sharp, well balanced, and a great value.

What knives do the Navy SEALs use? ›

Navy SEALs (USA)

The Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife is standard issue for the United States Navy SEALs. With a 6-inch stainless steel blade, it's a perfectly compact piece of equipment for this elite and efficient group.

What metal makes the best knife blades? ›

Due to its high toughness levels, 1095 carbon steel is best suited for making fixed blade knives for hard use applications such as camping.

What is the best folding knife in the world? ›

Best Overall Folding Knives
  1. Benchmade Bugout 535. 5/5 Overall Rating. ...
  2. Zero Tolerance 0350TS. 4.5/5 Overall Rating. ...
  3. Buck Knives 110. 4/5 Overall Rating. ...
  4. Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Knife. 4.5/5 Overall Rating. ...
  5. Benchmade Bugout 535. ...
  6. Victorinox Swiss Army Evolution Pocket Knife. ...
  7. Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Folding Knife.

Where is Wusthof knives made? ›

Equally unusual is the fact that we have stayed loyal to the City of Blades, and still produce our forged knives only in Solingen, Germany. We believe that quality knives can only be made where high-precision production meets traditional artisanship, and for that there is no place like home.

Are Ginsu knives made in China? ›

As of 2021, Ginsu knives are still manufactured and sold. The Quikut and Ginsu brands have both been manufactured in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, since the Douglas (vacuum cleaners) and Quikut (knives) operating units of Scott Fetzer merged after 1985.

Where are Victorinox knives made? ›

The Victorinox factory in Ibach, Switzerland produces over 45,000 pocket knives each day and exports them to over 120 countries. We visited the flagship store in Geneva, Switzerland to look at some of the company's 400 different knife models.

Are Cuisinart knives made in China? ›

All of Cuisinart's knives are made in China since their primary focus is to keep prices low.

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