Good Question: Help Us Find a Really Good Cheap Knife

Good Question: Help Us Find a Really Good Cheap Knife

Faith Durand
Apr 23, 2009

This is a good question for today, given all our recent talk about knife storage. Reader Jesse writes:

My boyfriend and I are moving in together this month to our first darling little apartment. One of the things we are both most excited about is having a kitchen all to ourselves. While we get to take a lot of things from the our current kitchens, we will be missing one main ingredient for a fabulous kitchen: A really good knife.

We are both of very, eh-hem, humble means. In other words we're starving students, so a hundred bucks on a superb knife isn't feasible at the moment. We cook mostly vegetables with occasional chicken, not a lot of other meat, and grains, bread, and pasta. But we cook a whole lot, so a good knife is important to us. I was wondering if you had any advice on what kind of knife to buy and where I should be looking. We live in San Francisco.

Jesse, I have two specific suggestions for you. First, this Victorinox Forschner chef's knife has been my go-to knife for the last two years. It is light, which I like, and at 8 inches it's a good size for a chef's knife. It holds an edge well, and every year I have it professionally sharpened. It's a great knife, and I know that many other kitchen readers have it as well. If you're looking for a budget bargain, this is a good one to try. The best part is that it's only $13 at Amazon right now!

Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Chef's Knife, Black Fibrox Handle, $13.10 at

For that price you can (and should) buy two. If you and your boyfriend both enjoy cooking, it would be helpful to have two knives.

Also, since you are in San Francisco I can give you this piece of advice: Go to The Wok Shop, at 718 Grant Ave in Chinatown, and get yourself a big cleaver and a few paring knives. Ask the owner for the sharpest paring knives she has. Also talk to her about the cleaver; she'll ask you what you want to use it for and recommend a model based on that. Those cleavers are utterly sharp and great tools in the kitchen. I use mine for chopping roast chickens, cutting meat, and other big tasks where you want something a little heavier. I think it cost $10.

Also refer to these posts:

Good Question: What Is the Best Chef's Knife?
Good Question: What Are All These Knives For?
All About Santoku Knives
Knife Skills: Keeping Your Knife Sharp

Readers, any more tips on buying an inexpensive yet quality knife?

(Image: Reader Meg in New York City, from this post)

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