Good steak knives add pleasure and practicality to the dining experience. A sharp edge makes it easier to slice and enjoy roast meats and steaks while well-designed knives look good in the table-setting.
Price and looks apart, what are some of the things to consider when buying a new set of steak knives? Durability and longevity are important. Steak knives are distinct from kitchen knives in that the latter are designed for use on cutting boards with a forgiving surface; steak knives are used on unyielding plates that can dull their edges. Steak knives should be made from a harder stainless steel and preferably be able to be resharpened (this rules out ceramic blades). If you’re used to washing your cutlery in the dishwasher then you’ll need handles that can withstand the hot water and detergent; wood and most plastics are not suitable. The blade’s tang should also be fastened firmly within the handle, ideally with more than one rivet.
Blades come with different edges: plain; serrated, or micro-serrated. Plain blades make a nice, clean cut across a steak; serrated blades produce a cut with ripped edges. Plain blades tend to dull more quickly than serrated (since the latter’s cutting edges do not scratch on the plate) but are more easily sharpened. Micro-serrated blades tend to be found on cheaper knives but compound the disadvantages of serrated blades in producing a torn-edge cut and being difficult to sharpen.
Finally, look for knives with a comfortable grip, balance and a solid heft that you will enjoy using. Steak knives are not just tabletop furniture, they are a tool that should be practical and fit well in the hand.
Best Steak Knives
Judge Steak Knives, Set of 6
These Judge knives feature polished stainless steel, serrated blades and are manufactured from a single stamping, meaning there will be no problems with a handle coming loose. The shipper states that they are dishwasher-proof although one user advises they should be removed from the machine as soon as possible to avoid any staining. Reviewers report they are sharp and remain sharp during repeated use. They have an attractive, modern design and are delivered in a gift box with a 25-year guarantee from Judge. Weighing about 85g, they may lack the heft of more expensive knives but this is a great set of knives at a friendly price.
Richardson Sheffield Sabatier Trompette Steak Knives, Set of 6
These knives are not made in Sheffield or France but nevertheless are an excellent set of knives. The blades are manufactured from specialised stainless steel and the tang extends through the entire length of the handle, which is assembled with three rivets. The blade has a sharp point and a plain taper-cut edge. Users describe efficient cutting and a blade that remains razor-sharp. Overall, the design is practical with good balance. The shipper advertises that these knives are dishwasher safe and offers a 25-year guarantee.
ProCook Steak Knives, Set of 6
The ProCook steak knives are delivered in a presentation box and feature a stone-ground, serrated edge blade with a three-rivet handle and strong, full tang construction. The manufacturer highlights the hard, ‘X30’ stainless steel which includes 0.3% carbon and 13% chrome for durability and corrosion resistance respectively. Reviewers advise good cutting performance. The design is traditional but we like the comfortable contoured handle and the weightier feel (each knife weighs 130g). These knives are not dishwasher safe but represent good quality at a fair price. ProCook offers a 10-year guarantee.
Laguiole Wood-Handled Steak Knives, Set of 6
‘Laguiole’ is both a French brand and a long, slender style of knife, with a flicked ‘tail’ on the handle. These French-made knives are included for their handsome, good looks with polished wood handles and the engraved bee design on the forward bolster. The 11cm blade has a very sharp micro-serrated edge and a 12cm tang that extends through the full length of the hand-assembled handle. The handle is fixed with three rivets and a steel bolster at front and back. These knives are not dishwasher-safe and must be rinsed in lukewarm water and dried immediately. Nevertheless, they enjoy our recommendation as attractive pieces that can do the job.
Flying Colors Laguiole Knives, Set of 6
This Flying Colors set comprises curvy, Languiole-style knives. The knives are well-balanced and feature pointed, honed, plain-edged blades with full-length tangs extending through a black, wood handle with three rivets. The overall length of a knife is 23cm. The blade is manufactured from hard ‘3cr14’ stainless steel but Flying Colors recommends hand-washing. The design is enhanced with a bolster and bee ‘stud’ at the front of the handle. Combining practicality and pleasing shape, these knives will look good on any table.
Dalstrong ‘Gladiator’ Steak Knives, Set of 4
These Dalstrong ‘Gladiator’ knives are high-quality tools built of super-hard, German steel with a 13cm, large-serration blade. The black, pakkawood handle is triple riveted through the blade’s tang and finished with a steel bolster at each end. The blade is hand-polished with a satin finish and the entire knife is well-balanced and comfortable in the hand. To our eye, the design is traditional and manly, but these knives will look good on most tables and we believe that your guests will appreciate their heft and efficiency. This set is somewhat more expensive than our other picks but probably worth the money for dedicated carnivores.