From Budget to Big Spender: 10 Chef’s Knives for Every Budget

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

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 $330 (total splurge), these knives are the most frequently recommended by both Kitchn editors and readers.

  1. 5-Inch Santoku Knife, $9.95 at Crate & Barrel: I pull this knife out when I need to chop peppers, onions, garlic, etc. Since 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, Production Editor
  2. Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, $44.95 at Amazon: 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, Executive Editor
  3. Wusthof Classic 6-Inch Serrated Santoku Salad, $109.95 at Amazon: Basically, serrated knives are better than everything else for general prep and utility. I’m never doing anything so detailed that I need a nimble paring knife, and I like how effortlessly it cuts. Plus, it’s comfortable in my hand. – Hali, Food Editor
  4. Wusthof Classic Ikon 8-Inch Cook’s Knife, $120.99 at Amazon: I have a trusty Wusthof. I picked it because of the handle: it’s light, super-comfortable, and easy to hold. – Kelli, Assistant Editor
  5. Global 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, $124.95 from Sur La Table: I received a Global chef’s knife as a present a year or two ago, and I am still madly and desperately in love with it. If they weren’t almost prohibitively expensive, I’d probably own the whole set, including the steak knives. I use my Global all the time — it is so beautifully balanced, and very nice to look at too. Prior to the Global I had used miscellaneous Henckels, which are also quite nice, but I think I’ve become a Global user for life. – NDK
  6. Mac Knife Professional French Chef’s Knife, $159.95 at Amazon: This was a hand-me-down from an ex-boyfriend, who is a chef and had a surplus of knives. From the minute I picked it up, it just felt right — the right weight, the right size for me. It used to be eight-and-a-half inches, but now it’s closer to eight-and-a-quarter inches because I chipped it and had to give it a new tip, but it may be even better at this size. – Geraldine, Managing Editor
  7. Messermeister Meridian Elite 10-Inch Kullenschliff Chefs Knife, $168 at Amazon: My 10-inch Messermeister Chef’s knife [is my favorite tool]. It’s the perfect knife for my hand — the fit, weight, and balance are perfect and I just love it. So much so that I have two: one for the country and one for the city. – John and Jenny
  8. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, $175 at Shun: 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, News & Culture Editor
  9. Shun Ken Onion 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, $249.99 at Amazon: I prefer Japanese knives, and I like Shun in particular. The VG10 steel used in Japanese knives is harder and holds a sharper edge than German knives, and the 16-degree angle allows these knives to be sharper than the Germans, too. My favorite chef’s knife is the Shun Ken Onion eight-inch chef’s knife. The ergonomics and balance are top-notch. Never before has the pinch grip been so comfortable! – cass_i
  10. Chef’s Knife by Coltellerie Berti, from $330 from Didriks: I have a Wusthof that does me well, but this is my dream chef’s knife that we are registering for and hoping someone (or a few people) love us enough to buy. The knifemaker marks his initials in each knife he makes. – Sheela, Assistant Editor

Readers, what’s your go-to chef’s knife?

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