Your chef knife is the workhorse of the kitchen. It is a tool that can handle most of your slicing, dicing and chopping tasks, so you’ll want to find one that’s efficient and comfortable to use. The good news is you don’t have to pay top dollar to find a decent one. The best budget chef knives can hold their own and in most cases will perform very well for your average hobbyist chef.
Unlike the higher end models, the information about budget chef knives is rather limited. However, there are a few great options that perform well without breaking the bank. This Top 5 guide will assist you in your decision by exploring some of the best budget chef knives available today.
1. Wusthof Classic 15cm – Best kitchen allrounder
The Wusthof Classic earns our top spot because it’s a solid all-around knife that can handle pretty much everything you throw at it. It’s got enough bulk for heavier duty work, like chopping thick vegetables or thick cuts of meat, but it’s sharp enough to cut with precision and grace as well. The handle is sturdy and properly weighted so that you can use this knife with confidence.
- High quality steel blade rivals the sharpness of high-end chef knives
- Ideal weight and balance make this knife easy to control
- Triple-riveted handle looks nice and offers a secure, comfortable grip
- Finger-guard for protection
- Hefty blade is sufficient for tougher cuts
- Doesn’t come with a sheath
- Needs regular sharpening
PriceWusthof Classic Cooks Knife – This is our top ranked budget chef knife in part because it’s a bargain, retailing for less on Amazon than some of the lower rated knives in our guide. While the cost difference isn’t extreme, it’s enough to widen the gap enough to make this our top budget chefs knife.
The DALSTRONG Chef Knife is technically a budget chefs knife, but you would never know it by its looks or feel. The high-carbon German stainless steel is sharpened to a nice balance of ultra thin slicing and heavy duty chopping. The Pakkawood handle features a full tang for a robust, comfortable grip. All told, this is a well-made knife suitable for a commercial kitchen or an at home chef.
- High quality German stainless steel
- Full tang for stability
- Pakkawood handle offers a sturdy, sanitary build
- Includes a BPA free, well fitting sheath
- Most expensive in our guide
- End cap bolster creates a heavy handle
PriceDALSTRONG Chef Knife – Gladiator Series – This budget chefs knife was the second most expensive in our guide, but for justifiable reasons. The blade is made from the same high-quality steel you see in more expensive models. The durable plastic sheath included is a nice touch that isn’t included for most knives of this price range.
Mercer’s Forged Chef’s Knife is a top pick for the cook looking for a budget chefs knife that can handle commercial use. The Santoprene handle is non-stick, and won’t break down from extreme temperatures or exposure to kitchen oils. The German steel is rust, stain, and discoloration resistant. The blade is NSF certified, meeting their standards for safety, performance, and quality.
- Sharp, durable blade
- Comfortable handle with a non-slip grip
- Large blade to take on any job
- Short bolster and finger-guard offers protection without taking away from blade length
- Full tang for support and durability
- Large blade and handle make this knife feel heavy
- Plain style
PriceMercer Culinary Genesis 10-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife – Of all the budget knives on our list, the Mercer retails for the least on Amazon. For this reason alone, this is one of the best buys for a budget chefs knife.
This is a short, but stout, Santoku style chefs knife by Victorinox. It’s an all purpose kitchen knife that excels at thin slicing and dicing. Due to its smaller stature, it’s a lightweight and balanced knife that is easy and comfortable to use, day after day. The fluted edge and high-quality handle are nice, and useful, accents for this budget chefs knife.
- Lightweight design
- High-quality Rosewood handle offers a good grip and looks nice
- Fluted blade to prevent food from sticking
- Santoku-style blade excels at making thin slices
- World famous Swiss craftsmanship
- Smaller size limit’s effectiveness in some areas
PriceVictorinox Rosewood Santoku Fluted Chefs Knife – Considering this is one of the least expensive knives available, it’s a great buy. While it’s not a big, classic European style chefs knife that will power its way through anything, it offers above average sharpness and precision and will do its job effectively.
5. ZELITE INFINITY – German Steel X50 – Best budget professional chefs knife
The ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife is a great example of how you can find a budget knife that looks and performs much better than the price would suggest. The high-carbon stainless steel is sharp right out of the box and stays sharp longer than most others in this price range. It also has a very rounded handle, with two bolsters for a comfortable grip and weight that works well with the blade.
- Top of the line steel for a sharp, durable blade
- Rounded handle for comfort and grip
- Impressive visual design
- Full tang offers extra strength and control
- Rust, stain, and discoloration resistant
- Gaudy logo on the handle
- For some chefs, this knife will be handle-heavy thanks to the two bolsters and large handle
PriceZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife – German Steel X50 – This is a solid buy considering the price compared to the other budget knives we tested. Zelite is a respected manufacturer of high-end cutlery, and they included many qualities of some of their higher end models in the creation of this blade. It has quite a few respectable features that earned this budget chefs knife a place on our top 5 list.
Budget Chefs Knife Buyers Guide
Chefs don’t cook mind you, they create works of art, not with paint or canvas, but with the given ingredients. If you mix lettuce with ground beef and add a few flavourings you are indeed not a chef, but if you do the trick with a few neatly cut slices of tomatoes with a pinch of parsley at the centre of the dish, then a chef is who you are.
To do this, you need the right ingredients and the right degree of drive. Just because you maybe able to cook or may have cooked all your life, it does not make you a chef. Then comes the tools you use for cooking. If you haven’t got the right pots and pans, yo will not be able to do exactly what you intent on doing.
A chef knife is one of the most important tools you will have to use. It is also called the French knife and evolved from the typical butchers knife. It is now a vital kitchen tool that can be used to cut a variety of items from vegetable and fruits to meat.
Since knives are so important, you must know how to choose the best chef knife if you wish to prepare all the best western recipes.
A typical chef knife is about 20 cm in length and 4 cm wide at its broadest point. Those who cook regularly know how important it is to have the best chef knife. In fact, owing one best chef knife can even change one’s attitude about cooking entirely. This article discusses the two most important components that the best chef knives must have, the blade and the handle.
The blade of a best chef knife must be made of a non-corroding, lasting material such as stainless steel, in other words, high carbon steel. It should not be too heavy nor to blunt, if you are to cook with ease. A best chef knife needn’t sharpening for over two weeks. Even if the blade does need to be sharpened, with a best chef knife, it will be faster and easier. The edge sharpness and the edge retention are other factors that must be considered when using a knife.
The handle, preferably made of wood, must be just the right weight. If the handle is light, the knife may tend to slip forward and fall off the cutting board. A best chef knife has the best handle too. A handle that is slanted and shaped for easy, tight grip will ensure safety while using it, no matter how quick you slide it across your ingredients.
Overall, a best chef knife should be strong, durable, safe, sharp and most importantly affordable.
The Wusthof Classic knife is simply a superb knife and rightly takes our top spot in this product test. Why? It is well made, has a great blade, really good balance and because of its weight it is great for pretty much any task you could throw at it in the kitchen. So, if you are looking for a good allrounder, a kitchen knife that you can use for most tasks, then this is the knife for you.
Honourable mention – The Wusthof takes our top spot and rightly so, but, if you are looking for a great knife to use at home, which is as close to a professional chefs knife but without the cost, take a look at the Zelite Infinity X50 chefs knife, yes, it costs twice as much but it is the best professional budget chefs knife you can buy.
A great kitchen knife does not have to be expensive, you can get some superb knives for an excellent price, if you know what to look for and where to buy it from. We hope that by taking the time to read this guide, you have found an option which is perfect for your home kitchen. Yes, the more expensive options will be better, sharper, have better balance etc, but for the majority of us amateur home chefs, they are overkill, and one of these knives will be perfect. Whatever you choose, enjoy!