5 Best Steak Knives, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We cooked and sliced steak and sausage to find the best steak knife sets for your next dinner.
Our Top Steak Knife Picks
- Best Overall: Zwilling 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
- Another Good Straight-Edge Option: Henkels Classic 5-Piece Steak Knife Set
- Best Serrated: Trudeau 4-Piece Steak Knife Set
- Best on a Budget: Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Fine Edge Steak Knife Set
- Best for Gifting: J.A. Henckels Zwilling 8-Piece Steak Knife Set in Presentation Case
Tested by Beth Lipton for Food Network Kitchen
A good steak is an experience — selecting the cut, marinating (or not), cooking it to your perfect temperature, resting, slicing. Once you’ve gone through all the steps and you have that steak on your plate, the last thing you want to do is wrestle with it using an inferior knife, tearing the meat and losing all of those luscious juices.
That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a set of steak knives on hand. With sharper and sometimes larger blades than standard table knives, they’re specially designed to slice through different cuts of meat easily, so you can focus on enjoying your steak (or any meat, really).
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top steak knife picks.
What to Know About Steak Knives
Steak knives are available serrated— with a scalloped edge with sharp teeth, kind of like a mini saw — and with straight blades, like little chef’s knives. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
One of the biggest considerations with steak knives that distinguishes them from kitchen knives is that you usually use them on surfaces that are tough on blades, such as ceramic plates. That can cause knives to lose their sharpness more easily than cooking knives, which you tend to use on more hospitable surfaces, like cutting boards.
Pros: As with larger serrated knives, these are designed to work well on items with a tougher exterior and more tender interior, such as a seared steak. Because of their design, they stay sharp longer than straight-bladed knives.
Cons: We found that the serrated knives tended to drag through meat and tear it more frequently than the straight blades (some more than others). Also, though you can sharpen them less frequently, they are more complicated to sharpen than straight blades. You’ll likely need to have them professionally sharpened.
Pros: In general, we found these knives to cut more cleanly than serrated, with little to no drag or tearing (again, some are better than others).
Cons: These knives will need to be sharpened more frequently than serrated knives.
How We Tested
We purchased 10 sets of popular, well-reviewed steak knives, 6 serrated and 4 straight bladed. The serrated knives had different levels of serration; some had pronounced, deeper teeth, while others had smaller, shallower teeth. We cooked two different types of steak, chuck steak and flank steak, both to medium rare, and sliced them. The chuck is a thicker, firmer type of steak, while the flank is thinner and ropier. We also cooked pork sausage in the casing. We used all of the knives to cut through each. We evaluated how easily (or not) each knife cut through the different types of meat, whether the blade went through smoothly or dragged. We inspected to see if each knife tore the meat, or cut through cleanly. Then we sliced the sausage to see if each knife cut easily through the casing and whether or not it tore the softer meat inside.
We also considered price, and the weight and shape of each knife to select our favorites.
In terms of cleaning, all of the companies suggest hand washing and immediately drying the knives, but some say their knives are dishwasher safe. We hand washed and dried each knife, and ran the safe ones through the dishwasher as well. The ones we dishwashed came out mostly fine; all had spots that wiped off and some had slight discoloration. But we think the damage to the knives would come from repeated dishwashing over time. We recommend following the manufacturers’ advice and hand-washing and immediately drying; we found all the knives easy to clean and dry this way (especially if you have good kitchen towels).
This straight-edged knife was our overall favorite. It’s not too heavy or too light; it fits comfortably in larger and smaller hands; it has a nice long, 4 1/2-inch super-sharp blade that sliced through all the meats on our plate with ease. With a full tang — meaning the metal from the blade extends all the way through the handle — these are solid, robust knives. They offer a simple, classic design that fits in on a regular weeknight dinner table but also looks elegant enough for company.
Essentially cousins to the Zwilling Gourmet, this set is similar in that the blades are also 4.5 inches, non-serrated and very sharp, with full tang. It cut through all the meats on our plate extremely well. The one issue we ran into was the handle: It’s slightly longer and narrower than the Zwilling set. Though it’s advertised as ergonomic, someone with larger hands might find the handle on these a bit on the small side.
True Laguiole knives, made in the town by the same name in France, are very expensive (usually more than $100 apiece), but this set gives you a similar look and is very serviceable. With a full tang and a pattern with one larger groove followed by several smaller ones repeated on the 4-inch blade, this is an attractive-looking and effective set. Though in general we found non-serrated blades cut more smoothly than serrated, this knife sliced with very little or no drag or tearing. It has enough heft to feel sturdy in your hand without being unnecessarily heavy.
Here’s a very good set of knives for a very reasonable price. With a super-sharp 5-inch blade and full tang, they’re sturdy, durable and cut really well (if not quite as smoothly as the Zwilling Gourmet). The handle is slightly wider than the Zwilling and the knife is somewhat heavier; you might find it more comfortable if you have larger hands. If you’re in the market for steak knives but want to keep the price tag on the lower side, you’ll be happy with these.
If you need a good housewarming gift for someone or you’re looking ahead to the holidays, here’s a set of knives your loved one will really enjoy (or gift them to yourself, why not?). This set of stainless steel knives is excellent, and comes with a case to make storage between uses easier and more attractive. The 4-inch blades are serrated, but the teeth are very small, so you essentially get the slicing ability of a non-serrated knife. One-piece construction makes them sturdy, and the handles are substantial but not overly heavy, so the knives have heft but don’t feel overwhelming.