This $26 Amazon Chef’s Knife With More Than 7,800 Five-Star Reviews Is the Perfect Beginner Blade — and I Use It Every Day

updated Oct 26, 2022
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close up of hands dicing a white onion
Credit: Kitchn Video

We’d all love to whip out a knife roll full of expensive, hand-pounded damascus steel blades — so sharp you could literally shave with them — and proceed to put on a chopping clinic for our dinner guests (who definitely enjoy when you stop the music and demand that everyone at the party watch you dice an onion, by the way). Alas, the “knife” portion of our budget doesn’t account for the jaw-dropping prices that some higher-end blades command. However, your at-home culinary tour de force must go on — and while not everyone can afford a hand-forged Japanese santoku or gyuto, every home cook deserves a decent chef’s knife

That’s why I’m about to let you in on a little secret — one that Big Knife doesn’t want you to know about. A good chef’s knife doesn’t have to be expensive. Yep, you read that correctly — in fact, not only do they not have to be expensive, but they can actually be uber-affordable. Plus, if you’re just starting to get into knives or cooking in general, you don’t want to blow entire paychecks on knives that need a little more care or experience to get the most out of. Instead, you’re going to want to pick up an inexpensive, forgiving blade that’ll get the job done every time. Case in point: my favorite kitchen workhorse, the 8-inch Imarku chef knife.

Now, even if you think you’re happy with your current knife situation, it’s possible that you just haven’t experienced the euphoric rush that is prepping veggies with a wicked-sharp, comfortable chef’s knife. Before I snagged my first proper blade, I didn’t even realize my knives were as dull as they were. The two main problems with a blunt blade are a) they require more force to cut with — which can lead to the unwanted dicing of your digits — and b) more often than not, you end up crushing instead of cutting. Think of cutting a pepper or tomato: When your knife is dull, you get stopped by the tough skin and end up squishing what you want to slice. (A sharp knife can also help assuage the tear-inducing process of prepping alliums, as crushing the onion releases more of the substances that cause eye irritation.)  

That’s why you need to snag this model from Imarku: It comes with a razor edge, is perfectly balanced at the bolster, and has a fat handle for added control — perfect for beginners. I use it for everything from breaking down whole chickens to dicing shallots and gutting peppers, but all vegetables and cuts of meat will tremble before you when they see you wielding this bad boy — and not just because of the super-sharp edge, but because the not-too-heavy weight and ergonomic design lets you eviscerate endives and slice strip steak for hours on end. (Not that you’re going to do that for your weekday dinners, but it’s nice to have the option.) 

Credit: Ian Burke

And, I’m not the only one who sings the praises of the Imarku chef’s knife — the blade has more than 7,800 five-star ratings on Amazon, from beginners to seasoned kitchen vets alike. My personal favorite aspect of this knife is that it holds an edge for a long time, even after repeated use and less-than-ideal care. I can confidently say that I run this guy across a honing rod before every time I get choppin’, but I can also confidently say that my roommates most definitely do not — and despite them carelessly tossing it into the sink hundreds of times, it still holds a pretty gnarly edge. And, even once it dulls (though at this rate, I’m not sure it ever will), it’s affordable enough to just replace instead of taking it to a knife store or trying to sharpen it at home — especially if you act fast and apply the additional 30 percent off coupon code B01DDBJF12 right now! After six months of use, though, it’s so sharp that I still have to be careful when washing it in the sink. 

I have a ton of knives, and while I love my santokus, nakiris, and German-style blades, I find myself reaching for the Imarku time and time again because of its sharp edge, comfortable handle, and ability to tackle almost every kitchen cutting task I encounter. If you’re looking for a beginner blade — or just an inexpensive knife to add to your collection — smash that “add to cart” button and get ready for ingredient prep time to be your new favorite part of the day. 

Buy: Imarku 8-Inch Japanese Chef Knife, $25.49 (normally $61.99)