Your chef knife is the workhorse of the kitchen. Your chef knife is a tool 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 Cooks Knife
The Wusthof Classic earns our top spot because it’s a solid all-around knife that can handle most 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
Wusthof Classic Cooks Knife – This is our top ranked best 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.
2. DALSTRONG Chef Knife – Gladiator Series
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
DALSTRONG Chef Knife – Gladiator Series – This budget chefs knife was the 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.
3. Mercer Culinary Genesis 10-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife
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. This 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
Mercer Culinary Genesis 10-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife – Of all the best budget chef 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.
4. Victorinox Rosewood Santoku Fluted 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 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
Victorinox Rosewood Santoku Fluted Chefs Knife – Considering this is one of the least expensive budget chef 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 Chef Knife – German Steel X50
The ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife is a great example of how you can find a budget chefs 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
ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife – German Steel X50 – This is a solid buy considering the price compared to the other best budget chef knives. 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.