Everyone in the mood for a kitchen upgrade is easily dazzled by nifty appliances like air fryers and coffee grinders — but there’s no escaping the truth. No matter who you are and what culinary adventures await, your kitchen knives inevitably become your trusty workhorses.
You can’t make do without, so you might as well make sure they’re good!
Here’s the thing. While professional chefs might turn their noses up at anything but the fanciest ($700+!) kitchen knives, the rest of us don’t have the budget for those razor-sharp toys. Still, terrible kitchen knives just don’t cut it — and unfortunately, that’s not just a clever metaphor.
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We went on a mission to find quality kitchen knives for a friendly price, picking a very reasonable upper price limit of $50 per knife. Ready to discover a great blade that doesn’t break the bank? Let’s dive in!
A Quick Look at the Knives Every Kitchen Needs
Whether you’re venturing into solo living, new to home cooking, or looking for a great gift, a crash course in kitchen essentials is always handy. You already know that no kitchen can function without knives, but which types should you snag up first?
- Chef’s knives are versatile tools that tackle everything from dicing delicate veggies to slicing meat. Because these kitchen knives are the life of the party, it’s crucial for yours to stand the test of time.
- Serrated bread knives are (of course) designed to cut bread, but they’re good for more than that. They’ll also come in handy if you don’t have a dedicated tomato knife!
- Paring knives never go to waste. They’re meant for peeling, but you can also put these little guys to work on any of your small kitchen tasks.
Once you’re armed with those three, consider expanding your collection by investing in a good carving knife, mincing knife, and trimming knife. While the list goes on, we’ll focus on quality basics in this review.
What to Look for When Shopping for Kitchen Knives
When you shop for budget kitchen knives you’ll be happy to use for years to come, consider:
- The material. Choose high-carbon stainless steel for a sharp knife that never rusts.
- Looking for full tang knives, where the blade extends through the handle, giving them added stability and durability.
- The brand. You don’t need to break the bank to buy a great kitchen knife! Trusted brands like Victorinox, Tojiro, and Mercer Culinary all prove that great knives are within reach without taking out a second mortgage.
- Looking for ergonomic handles crafted from materials that are easy to clean.
Beyond those basics, you’ll want to look for knives with excellent edge retention — because sharpening a knife before every meal is nobody’s idea of fun.
Our selection process focused on these essential criteria, resulting in a reliable set of knives that will definitely inspire you to get creative in the kitchen every day!
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1. Victorinox Swiss Army Straight Chef’s Knife: Best Budget Chef’s Knife
Any kitchen knife collection is off to a wonderful start with this Victorinox Swiss Army 5.2063.20-X4 Fibrox Straight Chef’s Knife. This straight chef’s knife — brought to you by the famous makers of the equally famous Swiss Army Knife — screams, “I’m a sensible person.”
We love the weighty feel of this knife, but the convenient non-slip handle is also great. Over time, it will help you keep that first-aid kit safely tucked away. If you only get one knife, this one is a great choice. You can just about scrape by without any other, or you could complement it with an actual Swiss Army Knife for dorm-room or minimalistic living.
- Stainless steel chef’s knife.
- An eight-inch blade length.
- A durable plastic, ergonomic, and non-slip handle.
Who Is It For?
Victorinox’s straight chef’s knife is a solid choice for anyone who isn’t an absolute knife snob. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this one!
2. Tojiro Japan Hand Made Bread Knife: Best Budget Bread Knife
Japan might not be famous for its love of bread, but the country is undoubtedly renowned for making some of the sharpest and most durable knives on the planet. Another thing Japan-made knives are known for? Crazy price points. This Tojiro Japan Hand Made Bread Knife is a surprising exception!
Although you can find it on Amazon for under $50, you’ll probably still be slicing bread with it in a couple of decades — even if your knife standards rise significantly! It’s one of those rare knives that slice through bread like butter, leaving a clean cut.
- Stainless steel serrated bread knife.
- 8 inches long in total.
- A beautiful wooden handle.
Who Is It For?
This Tojiro bread knife isn’t just another budget kitchen knife — it’s a work of art. Although this knife is just as practical as the chef’s knife we looked at earlier, its aesthetic also makes it a great gift. (For yourself or others, of course!)
3. Mercer Culinary Paring Knife: Best Budget Paring Knife
Forget about peeling vegetables. This Mercer Culinary M20003 Genesis 3.5-Inch Paring Knife will inevitably become your trusted go-to — whether you’re preparing a cheese platter for movie night, slicing an apple, or trying your hand at a fancy garnish.
No matter what horrors you subject this little blade to, it will happily comply — because this baby is razor sharp. It will stay that way for a long time, even if “whetstone” is an alien concept to you.
- High-carbon steel that keeps your knife sharp forever. (Well, close!)
- A handy 3.5-inch blade.
- The handle is made of a rubbery plastic with a great grip. It’s called Santoprene, but who cares? It’s great!
Who Is It For?
We really hate to be repetitive, so we’ll switch things up a little. This one’s for you. Yes, you! You know you want it! If you think you don’t need a paring knife, you’re wrong. We’d almost be willing to bet that you’ll fall in love with this knife within 10 seconds of putting it to the test.
4. Huusk Japan Viking Meat Cleaver Knife: Best (Budget?) Meat Cleaver
We spent some time pondering whether to add the Huusk Japan Viking Knife with Sheath Meat Cleaver Knife to the list because it’s priced just under our cut-off. Let’s be honest. It’s here because we wanted a chance to try it — but also because this meat cleaver makes for a beautiful gift.
Made from a steel alloy, it’s razor sharp straight out of the box, and it will stay that way for longer than you might imagine. Beyond that, this meat cleaver adds a touch of effortless decadence to any kitchen. Just don’t blame us if you think the knife is too pretty to use!
- This is a full tang knife crafted from alloy steel.
- With a beautiful wooden handle and a leopard-like blade pattern, this knife doesn’t choose between form and function!
- The insanely thick blade makes this Japanese knife stand out from the crowd. It’s perfect for all your heavy-duty meat-cutting tasks!
Who Is It For?
Anyone who loves cooking and isn’t a vegetarian will eventually need a quality meat cleaver. This one won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but we’d recommend it to anyone who values style just as much as functionality. Its beautiful design makes this meat cleaver a wonderful gift idea, especially for newlyweds.
5. Cangshan S Series German Steel Forged 23-Piece Knife Block Set: Best Budget Kitchen Knife Set
The Chinese brand Cangshan has emerged as a strong player in the knife market in recent years, striking an amazing balance between dependable quality and versatility. At just under $450, the Cangshan S Series 1026054 German Steel Forged 23-Piece Knife Block Set might not appear to be a budget pick at first sight — but with so many pieces, every individual knife still comes in at under $20.
The best part? With so many knives to choose from (as well as a handy pair of kitchen scissors), you’ll be ready for literally anything.
- An amazing variety of steel alloy knives with great edge retention. The knives included in this huge set include a chef’s knife, bread knife, slicing knife, paring knife, and fork knife — but the list goes on (and on).
- This set comes with a beautiful wood block. All knives have beautiful black handles with ergonomic designs.
Who Is It For?
This Cangshan knife set is perfect for anyone who’s left everything behind in a cross-country move. It would also make for a wonderful wedding present or a great gift for that niece or nephew who is just about to start culinary school. It’s on the list because we wanted to offer an all-in-one solution in case you need it — but if you’ve already started building your kitchen knife collection, it won’t be the best choice for you.
A Final Word
We hope this look at the best budget kitchen knives on Amazon proves that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy excellent kitchen knives. Whether you’re looking for one all-round kitchen knife or a whole set of durable companions, a little research goes a long way! Why waste money and time on subpar kitchen knives when you can slice and dice with these baddies?