When in doubt, give the gift of quality kitchen knives. Write it in your journal, even tattoo it on your forearm. Do whatever you have to do to remember that no matter how many blades a man (or woman) owns, they can always have more. If you’re struggling to think of a meaningful gift to give that special someone or even an acquaintance, a knife (or knife set) will be better than that customized blanket with your face on it you were considering.
However, there is a caveat. Gifting a bad knife or knife set can be very bad and even insulting to certain people. If you gift a $50 knife block set that you picked up at Big Lots, you might as well kiss that relationship goodbye. Because it doesn’t take a chef to know a decent knife when you see one.
If you’re beginning to stress now, don’t, that wasn’t our intention. If you pick out any of the knives below, rest assured you’ll be in their good graces.
If you’re familiar with any of our other knife content out there, you might be tired of us telling you to buy Wüsthof knives. And we’re a little tired of it, too, but if it’s the best out there, we’re not going to tell you otherwise just to mix things up. Wüsthof classics are incredibly durable knives that can take a lifetime of abuse and retain a great edge. They’re the knife of choice for pro chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Ina Garten, as well as experienced home chefs.
If you’re looking to add some unique flair and perhaps some sentimental value to a knife for that special someone, Benchmade knives are an excellent choice. You can customize things like the steel grade/color, the handle design/material, and add a special message/image engraved on the side of the blade. These hand-crafted knives are not only an excellent gift because of their superior craftsmanship but also because of the sentimental value they hold.
The direct-to-consumer knife company Kilne has a mission to make quality knives that everyone can afford. Although they don’t have the same legacy behind them as Wüsthof, in a blind test, the biggest Wüsthof fanboy would have a hard time telling the difference. These knives from Kilne are perfectly balanced, razor-sharp, and about half the price. Whether or not they withstand the test of time like Wüsthof is to be seen. But, they do have a lifetime guarantee, and their customer service is impeccable.
If you know someone who loves slicing up sashimi, a quality knife is crucial. This limited edition Japanese-style Yanagi knife from Made In can slice through fish in a single motion like butter. It’s hand-forged in Thiers, France, by a 5th-generation bladesmith. Each blade is individually numbered and features an Evergreen Wood Handle. The one drawback is that the single bevel on the right side of the blade makes this knife for right-handers only (sorry, lefties).
Perhaps you know someone with a bit of a Japanese knife fetish. If so, they won’t be disappointed with this set from Global. For the chef that prefers the lightweight feel and precision edge, Global is one of the top brands on the market. Their one-piece steel design and ergonomic handle give each knife extreme durability and balance.
If you know someone in need of a complete knife makeover (steak knives and all), this block set from Cangshan is an excellent option. Crafted from German and Swedish steel, Canshang knives have won dozens of design awards over the last few years—and it’s clear to see why. Not only are these knives a beautiful addition to any kitchen, but they are also very sharp and well-balanced. Also, any knife geek will appreciate the 60-layer Damascus steel layering.
For the modern art and design fan in your life, this set from Material is perfect. These Japanese steel knives are forged with a full tang for superior balance. The handle is composed of a stain-resistant composite finished in matte and is available in various colors. The magnetic wood slab allows them to be tucked away or be put out on display. Also, if it means anything, these knives were selected as one of Oprah’s favorite things in 2021.
We all know that bearded, tatted chef that would sooner clean his freshly-caught fish on a tree stump than a cutting board. For someone who personifies the word rugged, this knife set from Coolina is their perfect complement. Although it might look like these knives were forged in a back alley, that’s the aesthetic they’re going for. These incredibly durable knives can hack through bone, cartilage, wood, or whatever you might need.
Suppose that special someone special is a proper knife aficionado. In that case, you might want to show how much you care by spending thousands of dollars on a Bob Kramer or Dalman knife. But good luck getting one. Aura knives are hand-forged by California master bladesmiths and just as beautiful (if not more), in our opinion. These knives deserve to be displayed on the wall as much as they deserve a place in your kitchen. This Chakra with Onyx Gemstone and Stabilized Maple Burl is one of the dozens of artisan knives produced by Aura.
For the person at the other end of the knife spectrum who cares more about sports than they do what types of knives they use, these novelty NFL knife sets are great. For under thirty dollars, you can make them smile and also give them lifelong tailgating tools.
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