Choose your knives carefully. You'll want to have a variety for different types of cutting.
Choose knives that feel balanced and comfortable in your hand. A good choice is those made of high-carbon stainless steel with blades that run through the handles and are riveted in place. High-carbon stainless steel resists corrosion similarly to regular stainless steel, but it isn't as hard, so it sharpens more easily.
These knives should meet the needs of most home cooks:
Bread knife (8-inch blade): The serrated blade of this knife allows you to easily cut through breads, bagels, tomatoes, cakes, or other foods with tough exteriors and soft interiors.
Chef's or cook's knife (8-inch blade): Chop, dice, and mince foods with the wedge-shape blade.
Paring knife (3- or 4-inch blade): This knife is comfortable to handle when peeling and cutting fruits and vegetables or other small items.
Utility knife (6-inch blade): The thin blade of this knife makes it easy to smoothly slice sandwiches and other soft foods, such as fruit and cheese.
Knives that are useful, but not essential, include:
Boning knife (5-inch blade): A narrow knife used to cut meat off bones.
Carving knife/slicer (10-inch blade): This long, thin knife makes it easy to slice cooked meats.
Fillet knife (7-inch blade): This knife's long, thin, flexible blade is useful for efficiently filleting fish.