All knives can cut, but that doesn’t mean any old knife is up for the job when it comes to a sirloin. The best steak knives have a high carbon stainless steel blade with a full tang. And the good news is that they’re not as expensive as you might think.
The blades of steak knives are either serrated or have a straight edge, and which one is right for you will come down to personal preference. Serrated steak knives are designed to tear through tough materials, like steak or crusty bread, and don’t require frequent sharpening but are more difficult to sharpen when needed. Straight-edge steak knives offer a cleaner, smoother cut, particularly when it comes to steak, and require more frequent sharpening.
Now let's talk blade material.There are three common blade materials: high carbon steel, high carbon stainless steel, and regular stainless steel. High carbon steel can hold an incredibly sharp edge but since it's prone to rusting and discoloring, you won't find it here. High carbon stainless steel blades are extremely durable, hold their edge for a long time, and resist staining. This material is as close to indestructible as it gets and easy to sharpen, making it the best overall blade material choice for steak knives. The more affordable stainless steel resists corrosion as well, but it’s also slightly softer than a high-carbon version, making it easier to sharpen but you’ll need to do so more frequently.
The best steak knives have a full tang, meaning the blade extends through the length of the handle for superior strength and balance when using the knife. A partial tang knife has a blade that extends only partially into the handle, and while that makes it more lightweight, it may require you to exert more force when using the knife to cut. Rivets are usually a good indicator of a full tang underneath.
As for knife handle materials, you'll typically find stainless steel for a modern look; wood or stabilized wood, which have a more classic look but can be porous and require more careful cleaning; or synthetic options, which tend to be more affordable.
With all this in mind, below are the best steak knives, with highly-rated picks to fit any budget or style.
1. The Overall Best Non-Serrated Steak Knives
With a 4.6 star rating and a straight edge with a tip that curves upward to effortlessly separate meat from the bone, these non-serrated steak knives slice into tougher meats with ease — and look classically beautiful on any table. The full-tang 5-inch blade is made of high carbon stainless steel and is held by a handle made from pakkawood, which is a wood/resin composite. This set of four knives has good heft and a reviewer commented it "feels good and balanced in hand."
A helpful review: “These knives look beautiful, feel reasonably weighted (not SUPER chunky, but definitely not cheap feeling), and they slice through meat like butter. I go out of my way to cook things that require cutting just so we can get these knives out and use them in front of people!"
2. The Overall Best Serrated Steak Knives
If you'd prefer high-quality serrated steak knives, look no further than this set of eight from Wusthof. Each knife has a high carbon stainless steel blade that measures 4.5 inches with a full tang and stainless steel handles. These highly rated knives also come in a very giftable, velvet-lined wooden box that stores the knives to protect the blades and your fingers.
A helpful review: “Gorgeous knives. Love the box and they work so, so well. I love that they're a solid piece of metal instead of a handle/blade situation so there's no room for rusting. Just replaced some terrible old steak knives with these — we probably eat steak at home once a week — and I will never go back! They have an awesome weight to them as well.”
3. The Best On A Budget
These affordable steak knives are also made of high carbon stainless steel, but are held with a synthetic handle, which helps keep its price tag reasonable. The serrated blades measure slightly longer than 3 inches and are full tang, and this knife's extra-wide safety bolster where the handle meets the blade is comfortable to hold. This pick comes in a set of six.
A helpful review: “Before I purchased this knife set, my wife and I had visited a well known, national kitchen appliance and utensils store. We checked out their knife sets and we could not find any individual knife for less than a $100 (per knife). When I purchased this Cuisinart knife set and it arrived at my home, I was very, very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of these knives. Frankly, I cannot tell these knives apart from the national chain's $100 (a piece) knives. Very glad I made this purchased and I saved a lot of money.”
4. The Most Stylish
These classic steak knives with wooden handles come in this set of four with beautiful 100% rosewood handles. This is the only pick on the list featuring a stainless steel blade, but the highly rated knives are both so pretty and functional that they won over reviewers. The stainless steel blades are serrated and measure 4.5 inches, with a full tang. Several reviewers commented they slice through steak "like butter." This pick also comes with a box for storage.
A helpful review: "These steak knives are fantastic. They come in a nice box that would be perfect as a gift or storage box. You can tell the knives are great quality and will not break. The wooden handles are beautiful and nicely crafted and just all around feel great in your hand. They cut through steak smoothly and do not shred up the meat! We already want another set!"