The chef knife is one of the most important and versatile knives in the kitchen and even though a top of the line knife can set your budget back a bit, that does not mean that there aren’t many high-quality chef knives at affordable prices. We have spent some time discussing with cutlery experts and examining different brands to come up with a list of the best chef knife under $100 options in 2019. In order to find the best ones, we’ve considered blade material, knife shape, user ratings, sharpness, and knife size. Keep reading to learn more about the most durable and affordable chef’s knives on the market.
Our List of the Best Chef Knife Under $100 in 2019
Following is our list of the best chef knife under $100. Each product in the list is accompanied by a small review and we have also listed the pros and cons of each one. Below this list, we have also answered some important questions which serve as a buying guide before you make your knife purchase.
10. LauKingdom Damascus Chef’s Knife
The rippled appearance of this knife comes from the folding process that increases blade durability during forging. Damascus steel is also popular for being very sharp and durable. This particular steel has 67 layers and a razor sharp edge angled at 12-15 degrees. If you want a Damascus steel knife that not only looks good, but also cuts perfectly, this is the best chef knife under $100 for you.
- Ergonomic textured handle for extra comfort
- Excellent balance
- Curved edge for easy cutting
- Tapered, curved bolster can cause some slipping in inexperienced chefs
- Requires careful washing and drying
9. Shun Sora Chef’s Knife
A sturdy VG10 cutting core coated with stainless steel helps to make this knife both durable and sharp. It is lightweight and thin, so you can cut for a while without fatigue. It has a 16-degree San Mai edge on either side and a textured TPE polymer handle.
- San mai cutting edge with stain resistance
- Textured handle for extra grip
- Lifetime warranty
- Hand wash only
- Unusual edge angle requires extra care when sharpening
8. Kyocera Advanced Chef’s Knife
- Ceramic blade is made from Kyocera's proprietary zirconia material produced in Japan for exceptional quality and beauty
- Ultra-sharp, pure advanced ceramic blades will maintain their edge up to 10x longer than steel blades
- Lightweight and easy to clean, the blades will not brown food, are rust-proof and resistant to acids
This 7” chef knife is extremely versatile, being suitable for chopping, dicing, and mincing. It is extremely lightweight and has an ergonomic handle, which manages to reduce tiredness during repetitive cutting.
- Diamond ground blade is extremely sharp
- Ergonomic handle
- Lighter than steel knives
- Easy to clean
- The manufacturer offers free sharpening
- Lack of tang may cause durability issues
- Requires special type of sharpener if you want to sharpen it yourself
7. J.A. Henckels International Chef’s Knife
- Large-sized 10-inch multipurpose chef's knife for chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing. Product assembled in Spain....
- Made of stain-resistant carbon steel that's hot drop forged for durability
- Triple riveted handle surrounds a full tang
This chef’s knife is made in Spain and fabricated from stain-resistant high-carbon German stainless steel. It is nicely weighted, so you do not have to apply a lot of pressure while cutting. Don’t be fooled by the basic design of this knife; it’s the best chef knife under $100 if you are looking for the best price/quality ratio.
- Thick bolster protects fingers
- Great budget choice
- Durable triple riveted handle
- Excellent balance
- Some may find the handle uncomfortable
6. Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu Chef Knife
- Lifetime manufacturer warranty
- Handmade in Germany since 1814, Wusthof cutlery is prized by the world's top chefs
- Do-it-all knife cuts paper-thin tomato slices, vegetables and deli-style meats
Wusthof precision forges each knife from a single piece of steel and polished with a laser for extreme sharpness and edge retention. With an extended tang and a triple riveted handle, this 8” knife is hefty enough to use on even sharp squashes. Furthermore, the knife is 30% lighter than the Classic Series model, making it much easier to handle.
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Ideal balance
- The grip may be a bit uncomfortable at first
5. Mac Knife Chef Series Chef’s Knife
The hollowed indentions along this blade keep wet produce or meat from sticking to it as you slice. Its Japanese blade makes it versatile for a lot of chopping styles. Be careful when cleaning it though, as it is not dishwasher-safe. With a perfect user rating of 5* at the moment of writing, this is, hands down, the best chef knife under $100 available for online purchase this year.
- Pakka wood handle
- High carbon steel retains edge sharpness
- Narrow tip for precision cutting
- May get rust spots if improperly dried
- Lack of bolster can cause accidental cuts
Note: If you’re looking to invest a bit more in a high-quality knife, be sure to check out our article on the best chef knives of 2019.
4. Enso HD 5.5″ Prep Knife
- Blade Construction: 37-layer stainless steel Damascus with VG-10 core; hammered finish
- Handle: Black canvas micarta with stainless steel bolster, rivets and end cap
- Hardness: 61° Rockwell | Edge: Double bevel (50/50), 12-14° angle
Okami combines premium Japanese VG-10 Damascus steel with a more western-style blade shape to get a highly resilient and ultra-sharp chef’s knife. A treated pakawood handle gives this knife a stylish experience while making it very comfortable to hold.
- Very lightweight
- Extremely sharp
- Holds edge through multiple uses
- Lack of full tang may cause breaks at handle
- Will rust if not dried
To become an expert on the topic of knives, the best product for specific tasks, how to maintain and sharpen knives, explore our Ultimate Buying Guide!
3. Mercer Culinary Renaissance Chef’s Knife
- Triple-riveted, ergonomically designed Delrin handle
- Shortened bolster exposes full blade edge, allowing for easier sharpening
- Full tang runs the entire length of the handle for superior balance
This Mercer blade is forged from German steel, so it is durable enough to slice most tough ingredients. Furthermore, its taper-ground edge helps increase stability and efficiency while chopping.
- Many size options
- Shape designed for easy sharpening
- Comfortable grip
- Short bolster may lead to accidents
- Some dislike the balance
2. Tojiro DP Gyutou Chef Knife
- Set includes 8.25-inch Chef's Knife (210mm, Item F-808) and 4-inch Paring Knife (100mm, Item F-848)
- 3-layer clad construction with a full Japanese VG-10 steel core, encased between two layers of highly rigid rust...
- Full tang triple riveted Micarta handle
This 8.2” Japanese chef’s knife is extremely well balanced, so you can slice through food easily. It is made from a specially composed steel that helps to retain edge through multiple uses.
- Even edged blade for both left and right-handed use
- Very affordable
- Handle size and shape may not work for those with larger hands
1. Global Chef’s Knife
The blade and handle of this knife are made out of a single piece of molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel. This unusual construction makes the knife particularly well balanced and durable, not to mention it can hold an edge for a long while. Another thing we like about this knife is the modern stainless steel handle with dimples that makes it easy to hold and maneuver. if you are looking for a high-quality chef’s knife with a top-of-the-line design, this is definitely the best chef knife under $100 you could buy.
- Razor sharp edge
- Textured handle for a firm grip
- Dimpled grip can be tough to clean
- Handle too small for those with big hands
Frequently Asked Questions About Chef Knives
Should I Get a Set of Chef Knives?
Some people can see knife sets as a waste of time and money. Not everyone wants all of the knives that come in a set and some knives are better bought separately anyway. Our advice would be to purchase knives individually so that you can ensure you get the absolute best of each different type of knife.
How Many Other Kitchen Knives Should I Own?
A chef knife is probably the most important knife you can own, however, many people own a number of knives for different purposes. A good expansion to your knife collection would include the following:
- A paring knife – This knife usually has a very short blade which makes it perfect for tasks such as paring potatoes or apples.
- A boning knife or filleting knife – These are very useful when dealing with cuts of meat or fish. The type of knife you will need for this will depend entirely on the type of meats that you usually eat.
- A bread knife – As simple as it sounds, this knife is great for cutting loaves of bread.
In general, knives usually serve the purpose in which they’re named after (eg. bread knife, filleting knife, etc…). Knives are usually named after a task that would be difficult to accomplish with a typical chef knife, and so those knives serve that specific purpose.
What is the Best Steel Type for a Chef Knife?
The best type of steel for a chef knife is usually between 55-60 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This makes the knife hard enough to retain a sharp edge but also soft enough not to be overly brittle. You want your chef knife to be able to deal with rough tasks without fracturing. The harder the steel is, the longer the knife will stay sharp, however, it will also make it harder for you to sharpen it when the time comes. If you get a super hard steel knife, then you will usually have to get it sharpened professionally, which could be costly.
What is the Best Way to Hold a Knife?
The best way to hold a chef knife is with a pinch grip. Hold it towards the front of the handle, with your thumb and curl your index finger to pinch the base of the blade. This is the optimum position for safe and effective cutting.
Our Conclusion on the Best Chef Knife Under $100
This list will make it easy to find the best chef knife under $100 for your kitchen without having to spend a small fortune. Depending on your preferences, you might want to choose one of the lighter or one of the sturdier options. Our favorite definitely is the Mac chef’s knife, but the Global model looks stunning and the one from Mercer seems like a great deal if we consider its overall quality. Which knife on our list do you like best?