Sharpen Up

10 of the Best Chef’s Knives for Every Budget

updated Jan 7, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

As we’ve said time and time again, a chef’s knife is a very personal thing. There is no one-size-fits-all; it’s about how that particular knife feels in your hand, and whether the size, weight, and comfort is specifically suited to you.

That said, when exploring your options, these knives are a terrific starting point. Ranging in price from $10 (budget) to $300 (total splurge), these knives are the most frequently recommended by both Kitchn editors and readers.

1. Trudeau 5-Inch Santoku Knife

“I pull this knife out when I need to chop peppers, onions, garlic, etc. Because I have small hands, I don’t feel nervous or uncomfortable using it — the size is perfect. It’s also dishwasher-safe, which is a big plus in my book. The low price point means I don’t have to be too precious about it either!” — Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor

2. Sabatier Triple Rivet Edgekeeper 8-Inch Chef Knife with Sleeve

“The first thing you’ll notice about this knife is that it actually looks like an expensive option. That’s because, just like its high-end cousins, it has a blade that’s forged out of hot steel, not cut out of a sheet of metal, and it’s attached with rivets onto the handle. Because of this construction, the blade and the knife work together, making the tool feel balanced in your hand and giving you good control as you cut. You’ll also notice that the blade is curved and that makes it an excellent tool for tasks like mincing parsley or garlic when you want to rock the blade back and forth.” — Sharon Franke, Contributor

3. Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

“These Victorinox knives are great deals — inexpensive, sharp, and long-lasting. We’ve mentioned these knives before; they are the choice of many chefs. This eight-inch knife is just the right size for my hands, but they also come in a larger 10-inch size.” — Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief

4. Zwilling Pro 7-Inch Chef’s Knife

“I know that more serious home cooks might be rolling their eyes at a 7-inch knife, but I like the fact that it’s shorter than a standard chef’s knife. I find it gives me more control and, in turn, I’m more confident with this in my hand. If you’re like me and can’t chop an onion in the blink of an eye, then you might also appreciate this shorter blade. I’ve been using this knife every day for years now and it’s still as pristine as the day I took it out of the box. To boot, it barely ever needs sharpening.” — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

5. Global G-2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

“Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen and I have two major things in common in the kitchen: We both love Ina (duh) and we use the same chef’s knife: the Global G-2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. After I learned that Deb has been using hers for 15+ years (!!!) , I scooped one up for myself. I like how the dimpled, safe-grip handle feels in my hand, but most of all, how lightweight and easy to control this knife is.” Lauren Masur, Lifestyle Editor

6. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

“I’ve had this knife for about five years now, and consider it to be my most prized kitchen possession. The knife is so light, fits my hand like a glove, and looks great hanging out on my knife rack. This is super corny, but I just get excited to cook when I have this knife in my hand.” — Ariel Knutson, Features Director

7. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro 2-Piece Chef’s Set

“This is the knife I reach for every single day. It’s comfortable in my hand, stays sharp for a long time, and easily slices through everything I throw at it (even tough veggies like winter squash). And, as a bonus, this set comes with a paring knife for smaller tasks.” Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director

8. Wüsthof Classic Ikon 8-Inch Cook’s Knife

“I have a trusty Wüsthof. I picked it because of the handle: it’s light, super-comfortable, and easy to hold.” — Kelli Foster, Food Editor

Related: Why You Should Pay a Pro to Sharpen Your Knives

9. Bob Kramer 8-Inch Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henkels

“This is the knife I pined for for years before finally (finally!) getting it for my birthday. It’s super-sharp and cuts with incredible ease. The handle also feels supremely comfortable in my hand. While carbon steel does require some extra care to prevent rusting, this knife is more than worth it. I’ll be cherishing it for years to come.” Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, Lifestyle Editor

10. Coltellerie Berti 9-Inch Chef’s Knife

“I have a Wusthof that does me well, but this is my dream chef’s knife. The knifemaker marks his initials in each knife he makes.” — Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor