The goal of this article is for you to be able to purchase the highest quality kitchen knife set, for the best price possible.
I have a little different theory then most people when it comes to purchasing knives. Instead of getting a 17-piece set, I would rather own the minimum amount of knives that will complete 99% of my kitchen tasks. For the other 1% of tasks, I find it best just to improvise.
No matter how you cook, there are two basic knifes that you will need, a chef's knife and a serrated knife.
A chef's knife has a straight sharp edge and is about 8 to 10 inches in length. It really can be used for about 80% of kitchen tasks.
A serrated knife has a long jagged edge. This allows it to penetrate soft objects like a piece of bread of a tomato.
To two knifes above, take care of about 95% of my kitchen tasks. I could easily go without any other knife, but there are some knifes where the price is worth the specialized task they perform. An example of this is a pairing knife or kitchen scissors. Both knives are the best at performing very specialized tasks.
When purchasing a chef's knife and a serrated knife, make sure you're looking at forged blade knives instead of stamped blade. You will easily be able to tell the difference because a forged blade is hand molded to the handle. While a stamped blade is pressed with a machine.
A forged knife will always be superior to a stamped knife. The biggest advantage is durability. There is no easier way to get hurt while cutting then cutting with a stamped knife with a loose blade. A forged blade with proper maintenance, can easily last a lifetime and is a lot safer.
Now that you understand that you need to buy a forged knife, the next attribute to look for when buying a knife is size. Here is a rule of thumb for selecting the size of your knife. Take whatever cutting board you use the most and measure it diagonally. Preferably you want a knife that total is an inch or two less then your cutting board.
The last thing you need to think about while purchasing knives, is that it's an investment. A quality, forged blade knife, with the proper maintenance can last a lifetime. Your knife should come with some sort of maintenance package. Make sure you read and follow it.
There are plenty of sharpening utensils available on the market. My favorite are a steel sharpening rod and a two stage knife sharpener. I don't bother with the electric models. The regular models costs half as less, and do just as good job.
If you're looking to boost your productivity in the kitchen, a quality set of knives is a great way to do so. For to long, I fooled around with cheap stamped blade knives. I didn't realize, with good technique and a quality knife, I can cut my chopping, dicing, and slicing by about half the time.
Best of luck.