I have owned Cutco, Pampered Chef, Henckel, and numerous other brands of knives but about two years ago I found the ones I find to be the best for home use. I also use them commercially but that's a completely different arena knife wise so we will stick to home use.
The knives I use are made by Victorinox and have a lifetime guarantee. They are NSF rated so they are completely versatile in what you can use them for. NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation and they rate different kitchen products based on food safety regulations. This is a great thing to look for in kitchen supplies, it also pertains to how well things can be cleaned. Knives especially need to be able to be completely sanitized in between uses, especially after contact with raw meat.
Why don't I show you what I have...
Victorinox Santoku Knife
This knife is really nice for making thin slices, chopping (the design of the blade allows for fast chopping because of its ability to rock), I have broken down chickens with it, and slicing. This is also a great knife for fish filleting. It is a fabulous all-purpose knife.
Victorinox 8inch chefs knife
This knife is amazing. It can do anything mince, chop, dice,etc. I love it because it has a nice think sturdy blade which makes it nice for dealing with big hunks of meat, potatoes and the like.
Victorinox Bread Knife
Everyone should have a great bread knife. A sharp bread knife makes bread cutting a whiz, you can also use a bread knife for flaky pastries, or anything else with a crusty outside and soft inside.
All of these knives are on sale on Amazon right now. We purchased mine in Fairhaven at Pacific Chef.
Every kitchen should have a couple of paring knives as well, brand and quality doesn't really matter though because you can really use them and abuse them and get a new one. You can usually find a decent paring knife for under $10 so just pick one you like.
Remember a dull knife is a dangerous knife. So sharpening is very important. In a normal house you can probably get them sharpened every year to 18 months. In our kitchen we get them sharpened every 2-3 months and during wedding season we get them sharpened every month. It only costs $2-3 a knife to have them sharpened so it is really a small price to pay to keep your knives in good working order. I have a knife guy his name is Elmer....if you need help in that department let me know I can get you his info.
Last little tidbit on knives. Storage......knives should not be thrown in a jumbled drawn. As they rub up against each other the blade dull. I know knife storage can be tricky especially with little ones in the house so I have two recommendations. One is a magnetic strip that you can hang on the wall (not the kid friendly option), or in a knife roll that you can keep on a high shelf or in your pantry. At work we use a magnetic strip and at home I use my knife roll.
This cute little guy is mine. They make them in all sorts of colors and sizes. Most basic ones can be purchased for under $20.
So here's to having sharp knives. I promise a sharp knife in your kitchen will change your world.