Last Updated Feb 2020 – All of us have a bit of a lazy streak. There’s no getting around that. When it comes to cookware and kitchen tools, however, this can be a bad thing. Most high-quality pots, pans, and knives don’t go in the dishwasher. This means if you’re feeling lazy after making dinner and don’t want to clean things up immediately, you’re out of luck.
You can get around this hurdle with some careful product selection. Many of the world’s best knife manufacturers make one or more lines with steel that holds up pretty well. These dishwasher-safe knives are still extremely sharp and quite tough. In some cases, you’ll hardly notice that you chose a dishwasher-safe set.
No matter what knife block you choose, however, it’s a good idea to hand wash your knives as much as possible. I’ll go over why after these reviews of top products. For now, however, just plan to choose one of the cheaper sets if you know you’ll throw it in the dishwasher every day.
Best dishwasher-safe knife set: Top product reviews
First things first: this is a “sometimes” dishwasher-safe knife set. It’ll hold up fine if you throw some of the knives in the dishwasher occasionally. If you plan to use these knives in the dishwasher several times a month, you’ll probably be better off with a cheaper set.
So why is this set my top pick?
First, it’s trivial to clean these knives by hand. A single pass on each side with a sponge under some running water will easily do the trick. This means there’s very little reason to put them in the dishwasher very often. Second, this is one of the best knife sets on the market, period. The fact that it can go in the dishwasher occasionally and come out clean and pristine is just icing on the cake.
Zwilling is JA Henckels’ signature line of German-made German knives. They’re all made from high carbon ice-hardened German steel. This particular set is stamped, not forged, which is unusual for Zwilling, but it doesn’t diminish the quality of these knives. They’re still very easy to sharpen and hold an edge quite well.
This is a big knife set. The eight steak knives are non-serrated, meaning that you can sharpen them without any hassle. The 11 other set items include a 4-inch paring knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch santoku knife, and sharpening steel. You also get a tasteful bamboo storage block that keeps everything arranged neatly on top of your counter.
The knives in this set measure 57 on the Rockwell hardness scale and come with laser-controlled 15-degree angles. You should be able to get away with just using the included honing steel for edge maintenance for a pretty long time. Eventually, however, you’ll want to sharpen them yourself or get them professionally sharpened. This is a common trait among all high-quality knives. The thing that makes them high-quality is how well they hold an edge after being sharpened.
If I had to buy a dishwasher-safe knife set today, this would be the first product I looked at. It’s got a full set of high-quality German knives that can be tossed in the dishwasher occasionally. While it’s a bit expensive, the high-quality steel and sheer size of the set more than makes up for the price.
While I think the Zwilling knife block above is the best product on the market, this Victorinox Swiss Classic block is the one I’d actually buy. Why? While the Zwilling set is nicer looking, comes with more pieces, and is made from finer steel, the Victorinox Swiss Classic line is used in pretty much every professional kitchen in America.
What does this mean?
For starters, this set is dishwasher safe. Not “you really should handwash, but you can put it in the dishwasher occasionally” safe, like the Zwilling set. Instead, you can pretty much clean these knives however you like. Whatever abuse you put them through at home will be a pale shadow of what they endure in professional kitchens. I’d still try to hand wash them when possible, but that’s more because hand washing these knives is so simple and fast.
Another point: the handles on these knives are excellent. They’re not designed to look good. Instead, they’re designed to be comfortable, easy to use, and easy to clean. For me, these qualities far outweigh any aesthetic ones.
As far as steel goes, these knives are absolutely excellent. They’re stamped, not forged, but that shouldn’t scare you off of giving them a try. They come scary sharp out of the box and can be easily sharpened when you decide it’s time to return them to optimal cutting conditions.
If you want the same knives that the professionals use, this Victorinox Swiss Classic knife block is an excellent choice. It’s truly dishwasher safe and has been thoroughly tested in professional kitchens throughout the United States.
This Wusthof Gourmet set is quite comparable to the Zwilling set above. It’s made in Germany from stamped, high-carbon steel and has a big knife block with lots of empty slots. The knives come very sharp out of the box and do an excellent job of retaining an edge. Like other high-end knife sets, they can be sharpened quite easily with the right tools.
Truthfully, there isn’t that much unique to say about it. It’s simply a great alternative to the Zwilling set. It’s not really going to be a lot better or a lot worse. The biggest important difference is that this set has fewer knives in it. The block has lots of empty slots so you can add in more knives later. While this means you get fewer products in the box, this Wusthof set is also usually a bit cheaper.
One thing worth noting: like the Zwilling set above, the steak knives in this set are NOT serrated. This means they’re very easy to sharpen. The downside, of course, is that you will have to sharpen them eventually.
If you want a high-quality knife set that can go in the dishwasher occasionally, this Wusthof Gourmet knife set is a great choice. Be sure to check the price on both this product and the Zwilling set we recommend above.
You might be able to find one of them on sale, making your decision between the two sets much easier.
This is not a set of premium knives. Instead, it’s a cheap, mass-produced set of stamped blades, several of which have serrated edges. Despite this, it’s definitely got a home in some kitchens. If the maintenance, sharpening, and hand-washing aren’t your thing, this Ginsu set might be the best choice on this page.
Several reasons. First, it’s incredibly cheap. Replacing this whole set is cheaper than replacing the chef’s knife alone in any of the sets above. This means that you can be extra rough with it. It also makes it a great option for households where budget is the most important factor.
Second, it’s got serrated knives in many of the slots, not just in the bread knife/steak knife holes. Serration is usually a thing you want to avoid in fancy knives because it makes them harder to sharpen. If you know you’re not going to sharpen your knives, however, it becomes a positive quality. It enables a pretty dull knife to cut through foods in a pretty effective fashion.
Finally, the knives in this set are pretty good. They’re not going to hold an edge quite as well as the fancy European knives above, but you can still sharpen the heck out of any of the non-serrated knives in this set and they’ll perform very, very well.
Like the Victorinox set above, I wouldn’t have too many qualms about throwing these knives in the dishwasher. Try to hand wash them when you can, of course, but don’t feel too bad about being lazy on a somewhat frequent basis.
If budget is important to you, you know you won’t sharpen your knives, or you want a set you can afford to replace, this Ginsu set is a perfect choice. It’s not quite as nice as a quality professional knife set, but it’ll still perform quite well in your kitchen. Besides, with the money you save, you can always decide to buy yourself a quality chef’s knife later.
What’s Wrong With Knives in Dishwashers?
Dishwashers and knives don’t get along because of three things:
Water and metal don’t mix. Some alloys, like stainless steel, are resistant to this sort of corrosion. The key word here is “resistant.” Most of the alloys you see in modern knives will rust eventually if you leave them in water for too long. Washing knives in the dishwasher exposes them to water for longer than if you just hand wash them.
The temperature at which you wash dishes is limited by your hands. If you get the water too hot, you’ll burn yourself. Your dishwasher does not have this limitation. As a result, it uses water that gets really hot, often up to 170 F. This is hot enough to make green tea. This can weaken the knife, damage the handle, and exacerbate both of the other issues.
While the other two factors are serious problems for your knives, they’re nowhere near as bad as the jostle factor. A packed dishwasher is full of your other dishes. They’re all subject to flows of water in alternating directions. This is an effective solution for cleaning off anything that’s stuck on them, but it also can make things in your dishwasher bump into each other. Your fancy knives are NOT designed to be rammed into metal, glass, and ceramic at high speeds over and over again.
If you do put knives in the dishwasher, be especially mindful of this last problem. Make sure that they’re secure in a basket with plenty of space around them to prevent any collisions.
When you decide it’s time to put your knives in the dishwasher, try to run your dishwasher on a more delicate setting to help offset these issues. Your other dishes might not get quite as clean, but you’ll really extend the lifespan of your knives.
The Final Verdict
Overall, I think the 19-piece Zwilling JA Henkles set is the best dishwasher-safe knife set on the market. It’s a large, excellent set that’s made by a great brand with great customer support. The knives are sharp, durable, and stylish, and it’s rather affordable when you factor in the quality of the set and the sheer number of pieces.
Be sure to check out the Wusthof set on this page as well; it’s very comparable and might be on sale for a lower price. If you know you’ll use the dishwasher as the primary way to clean your knives, however, you should choose the Victorinox or Ginsu sets. Both of these options are a bit cheaper (especially the Ginsu) and more “truly” dishwasher safe.
No matter which set you choose, however, you should consider cleaning your knives by hand when possible. Unless you’ve gotten into something truly sticky, one or two passes with a sponge on each side will clean all of the knives on this page. Not only will this extend the lifespan of your knives, but it’s also a lot faster and easier than running the dishwasher. When you’re lazy, however, the dishwasher will clean all of the knife sets on this page just fine.