According to scores of reviews by consumers, the bestcheapkitchenknives feel good in the hand and cut cleanly and easily. The impact on your wallet will be about the same whether you opt for one high-quality chef's knife or a good cheap set containing a variety of knives.
If you decide to spring for a cutlery set, choose one that includes knives you'll actually use. The smarter approach is to buy fewer knives that will perform better over a longer stretch of time.
A knife can be superbly crafted and receive rave reviews, but if it feels too small, too large, or in some way uncomfortable in your hand, it won't be very useful, regardless of other cooks' experience. Many reviewers insist that the best knives are made by German and Japanese companies such as Author, Willing J.
Knives that hold their edge over time are usually made from more solid metal and have been carefully honed to a precise bevel angle. As a rule, knives made with more expensive metal take an edge better and keep it longer.
Pricier knives tend to be heavier and better balanced, so that the knife feels like an extension of the user's hand. Feedback from owners on retail sites such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Wayfair, and Bed Bath & Beyond is also helpful to get a sense of how particular knives actually perform -- and hold up -- if you don't have the option of testing them out in your own kitchen.
Although there's consensus among home cooks about the value and usefulness of the best cheap cutlery sets, there's also some divergence in kitchen knife reviews. Overall, users are satisfied with the variety offered in the best cheap knife sets and the high quality-to-price ratio.
Stainless steel is a compound metal composed of elements including chromium, nickel, iron, and carbon. This means the steel contains 0.95 percent carbon, making it harder and reducing wear over time.
Ceramic kitchen knives do not replace steel knives, but they serve a purpose and certainly have their pros and cons. Because of their weight, not as much pressure needs to be applied when hacking through thicker foods like squashes with very tough skins. Stamped knives are made by machine from a template cutter.
Some knife handles are made of Bakelite, a hard, heat-resistant, and electrically non-conductive plastic used in a lot of kitchenware. You'll want a heavier knife for meats and thinner, lightweight knives for slicing and chopping vegetables.
Experts say metal handles make knives significantly heavier, so if you're eyeing a knife with such a handle, make sure it won't place unnecessary strain on your wrist or impair your control as you whisk the blade across the cutting board. Excessive weight is rarely a concern with cheap cutlery sets; you may have to step up a few notches in price if you're partial to knives with some heft.
If you cut up lots of fruits and vegetables, you'll appreciate a paring knife, which is particularly useful for peeling skins. Some cheap cutlery sets include a Santos knife, which is a bit like a small, thin-bladed cleaver and has recently gained favor among home cooks for its usefulness in chopping, dicing, and mincing.
Experts say all knives dull and need to be sharpened eventually (although serrated edges aren't cut out for this type of ongoing maintenance). They're handy for quickly cutting open packaging and completing other tasks that aren't easily or safely handled with a knife.
Most experts and many home cooks urge consumers to hand-wash knives and dry them right away rather than put them in the dishwasher. Almost every cheap cutlery set has at least one review complaining about rusting, often due to dishwasher cleaning, which can also leave unsightly splotching and dull the edges.
It's probably a good idea to avoid the dishwasher altogether, no matter which knives you choose. It's impossible to predict how long a cheap blade will hold its edge. Obviously the more you use it, the faster it will dull (although ceramic knives claim to fame is that they retain their edge for years).
Reviewers are particularly taken with the handle, which they describe as “comfortable” and “ergonomic,” as well as the incredibly sharp, 12-inch blade. Two years ago, celebrity chef Sean Brock shared a photo of a truly stunning chef’s knife on his Instagram “entirely handcrafted from reclaimed materials found in the mountains of East Tennessee.” Its stainless steel blade was forged from a “100+ year old 1095 high carbon sawmill blade” while the dark wood handle was carved from “some old growth cocoon.” The knife was custom-made by John Phillips, who sells the knives one by one to his newsletter subscribers.
It’s damn near impossible to cop one of these beauties, but if you manage to, it’ll become an instant family heirloom. Michelin-starred chefs Elise Knack and Anna Hieronymus recently told us Shun is “one of our favorite knife brands.” And with a lifetime guarantee and a blade that stays sharp longer than it has any right to, it’ll be one of yours, too.
Risen was one of the earliest entrants into the fast-growing contingent of direct-to-consumer cookware brands, starting out as a Kickstarter launched in 2014. In 2018, writer Parthia Rosin penned a convincing ode to the Honcho Kobe, or Long Chef’s Knife, a Japanese-made chef’s knife handcrafted in the seaside town of Banjo and available at L.A.-based Japanese home goods store The Good Liver.
Rosin writes that she was immediately taken with the wood handle, which is “meticulously worked through a char coaling process that ensures its water resistant and antibacterial” as well as the blade made with two types of steel for added structural integrity. “It’s so you learn the technique of holding the knife.” It also comes with a finger guard, which is perfect for amateur chefs in first, second, or third grade.
Lightweight Japanese-style knives may be the blades du jour, but if you want a knife with some serious heft, one that can take a beating, go for the 11.1 ounce Author. “I prefer the weight and thickness of the blade of this heavier knife,” says James Beard–nominated pastry chef Shannon Swindle.
A quality knife block set eliminates the effort and guesswork involved in researching and picking each blade one by one. All celebrated cutlery brands offer versions of a block set, from German-made Willing and Author to Japan’s Global and Shun.
What’s more, the wooden, glass, and metal stands are not only a safer place to store our slicers but also a gorgeous statement on the countertop. From blade materials to cost to personal cooking style, there are tons of factors to consider when selecting a block set.
So to help you find the best one for your needs, we’ve done the research and combed through thousands of reviews from real shoppers who have tested out these sets for themselves. No matter if you’re looking for a compact collection for small spaces or a professional-level block filled with beautiful blades, these best -selling options have near-perfect ratings and rave reviews describing why they’re so great.
Then get ready to revel in the ease of chopping, slicing, and dicing in the kitchen with your new collection of blades. The people have spoken: With more than 7,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, this Cuisinart collection is the best -rated block set we found.
Shoppers love and respect the brand, which made its name by introducing the world to food processors back in the ’70s, but the high carbon stainless steel set stands on its own merits. Designed with hollow handles and precision-tapered ground blades, the knives are lightweight and easy to hold.
The sturdy, streamlined block contains 15 pieces, including six steak knives, kitchen shears, and a 7-inch Santos knife. Cooks of all stripes rave about this Cuisinart block, with some saying it’s a great step up from entry-level sets.
They’re designed with a full tang and taper-ground edges for extra stability and feature easy-grip Hubbard handles that won’t slip when wet. But don’t let the low price fool you; the knives are made from professional-quality stainless steel and feature a full bolster to protect fingers while slicing and dicing.
The set boasts a wide variety of blades, like a 6-inch boning knife for breaking down poultry, a 7-inch Santos for mincing, and eight micro-serrated table knives for slicing steaks. The AmazonBasics Premium Block Set is so popular that it’s earned an excellent 4.6-star rating from more than 2,300 reviewers who say it’s durable and a great price.
Designed by the first Master Blade smith to specialize in kitchen cutlery, the collection is a true blend of Eastern and Western craftsmanship. Each of the ice-hardened blades is formed from a powerful core of FC61 steel that is then covered in 100 layers of nickel and stainless Damascus.
Additionally, they feature comfortable D-shaped Lakewood handles outfitted with a decorative pin handcrafted in Kramer’s Washington workshop. Reviewers on the manufacturer’s site gush over the set’s beauty and balance, saying it is an heirloom that will last generations.
“The one-of-a-kind Damascus detail on the incredibly sharp blades paired with the unique comfortable handles are like no other.” As one of the largest and oldest manufacturers of cutlery and cookware, Willing is famous for its classic designs and razor-sharp edges.
Part of the brand’s success comes from its proprietary Sigma forge process, in which each blade is precision-forged from a single piece of ice-hardened stainless steel. This block set is part of Willing's Four-Star line, which was designed in collaboration with professional chefs to bring expert-level tools into home kitchens.
The German-made knives also have virtually indestructible handles with just enough texture to guarantee a stable grip. One drawback of many block sets is that the beautiful blades are sheathed inside solid wood.
The sleek stand is pared down to the bare essentials, giving teasing looks at the gorgeous blades inside. Made from high-alloy Swedish steel, the full-tang blades go through a multi-stage heating treatment to ensure stability and durable, keen edges.
While slightly softer than its Japanese counterpart, it holds its edge longer and is easy to sharpen. That makes the Western-style knives ideal for heavy-duty tasks like splitting bone-in chicken breasts or hacking through a squash.
Outfitted with five hand-honed high-carbon steel blades and precisely balanced handles, the knives undergo the brand’s unique sharpening process for an even longer-lasting edge. This Author block set is popular with Amazon shoppers, earning a 4.8-star rating and reviews saying how sharp and well-balanced its knives are.
“We never knew how much difference a quality knife can make, but now I apologize to my wife constantly for not buying these sooner,” a customer wrote. Japanese knives are typically thin and delicate, perfect for precise cuts that preserve and enhance a dish’s flavor.
This handcrafted set includes five blades, notably a 5.5-inch Nair knife designed to chop and slice vegetables, nestled inside a bamboo and stainless steel block. Global’s knives are constructed from a single piece of stainless steel, and the edges are sharpened with a 50/50 symmetrical bevel for extra-thin cuts.
The hollow handles are dimpled for easy gripping and filled with sand to keep the knives balanced yet lightweight. You’ll find tons of happy customers who’ve left reviews on SUR La Table, including one who said, “I really appreciate the clean lines of the knife block and the great quality of the knives.
Whether you’re cutting into seared steak, roasted vegetables, or comforting baked pasta, a sharp table knife is essential. This stainless steel set comes in a beech wood box and features slightly curved blades with serrated edges to cut effortlessly through meat.
For the perfect gift for anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, and holidays, opt for Material’s Iconic set. Users love their Material Iconic set for its versatility and high-quality build, saying it’s a “game-changer.” It’s no wonder it’s earned a cult following in just over a year.
No matter if you’re tight on kitchen space or don’t want to clutter your countertop, this streamlined block set is a great get. Additionally, the stainless steel slicers have a nonstick silicone coating for easy cleaning and are designed with weighted handles to keep the blades from touching your work surface.
Some of these may be affiliate based, meaning we earn small commissions (at no additional cost to you) if items are purchased. They’re an invaluable tool for the daily preparation of your meals, and decent ones are an investment that should last for years, with proper care and maintenance.
Or, if you’re just not interested in taking the time to research and buy each blade separately, a set is an easy and convenient option. It’s not uncommon for companies is to sell their second or third line products in a high-priced set, hoping the brand name alone will be enough to make a sale.
Another trick is to load the set with slight variations in size of the same style, making it seem like you’re getting lots of blades when what you’re really getting is a bunch of repeats. In this guide we’ll cover the basics of how to choose a set that will provide good quality and value, and make your prep work easier and more enjoyable.
Bolsters are not a necessary component for quality, and will be found more often in Western style knives than those of Japanese design and origin. This spot is essentially the fulcrum and takes the brunt of the stress exerted when cutting, so make sure the transition area is well-joined with no gaps.
Composites and stainless steel offer the best qualities in terms of strength and longevity while wood can become soft and rot, and bone will dry out over time, becoming brittle. Comfort and safety are also important in a good handle (and for preventing nasty accidents in your kitchen in general).
This gives a greater range of motion for different cutting techniques, and is essential for proper honing and sharpening. For safety purposes, and to maintain a sharp edge, knives should never be stored loose in a cutlery drawer.
Now, to help with your decision-making, here are reviews of five different sets with varying price points that meet most, if not all, of the components needed for quality and value. From Messermeister, we have their superbly functional, efficient, and handsome 9-piece set in the San Moritz Elite line, complete with a wooden block.
The San Moritz Elite blades are constructed from the traditional one-piece, hot-drop forging technique, and hammered from a single billet of high-carbon German steel. Using the X50CRMOV15 stainless steel alloy, they provide top quality stain resistance as well outstanding sharpness, edge retention and ease of sharpening.
This provides outstanding weight, balance, and torque for cutting through challenging pieces such as large winter squash, or sticky starches and proteins. And the San Moritz Elite line comes with the distinctive name plate at the butt-end of each handle so you can personalize your set with etched initials.
The quality of construction and craftsmanship is another highlight, with the beautiful balance, control, and stability consistently getting top marks, as does the hand-finishing. The chef’s knife is truly a work of art, ideal for rock-chopping due to the angle of the blade, the large sweet spot, and the ultra-sharp edge.
While not quite as versatile as the chefs’ blade, the tip will quickly chop through large mounds of vegetables with a minimum of effort. While not really a complaint, several users have commented on the weight of the Elite blades as being heftier than many other brands, and may not be appropriate for those who appreciate lighter-weight tools.
Summary The San Moritz Elite knives in this set are built to professional standards that will please the most discerning of cooks. With outstanding fit and finish, the quality is top-notch, but it’s the edges that really elevate their value, placing them head and shoulders above competitors’ pieces in the same price range.
Sturdy and durable, and with Messermeister’s awesome sharpening and refurbishing program, these knives will truly last a lifetime. Every blade is constructed of high-carbon stainless German steel for superb rust and corrosion protection, and stain-free performance.
Each taper-ground edge is hand polished and offers long-lasting sharpness and easy honing, as well as increased efficiency for all slicing, cutting and chopping functions. The black Neoprene handles combine the characteristics of vulcanized rubber and thermoplastics, and are ergonomically designed for superior comfort and a secure non-slip grip, even when hands are wet.
The sleek glass block presents a beautiful and functional display for the knives, adding a unique, stylish touch to your kitchen. What Others Are Saying At the time of writing, this set is ranking very favorably with purchasers for construction, quality of materials, ease of use, and their swanky appearance.
They have a well-balanced feel that covers all the basic cutting tasks, and are encouraging some to cook more often, just for the sheer pleasure of handling them. The knives have a good heft with nice sized handles for easy and comfortable gripping, and they arrive with a very sharp edge that is easily maintained with regular honing.
Well-made from quality materials by an established company, they offer at-home chefs a great alternative to higher priced tools. From Victorinox, the makers of the original Swiss Army Knife, we have this functional and attractive eight-piece set of the most commonly used kitchen cutters.
The star of this set is the 8” Fibrous chef’s knife, known as the “Swiss Classic” for its outstanding performance in consumer market testing. Each blade is crafted from stamped high-carbon stainless steel and is hand finished by the skilled craftsmen at Victorinox in Switzerland.
The formula for this alloy is x50CrMoV15, with 15% chromium (Cr) for high levels of stain resistance, plus molybdenum (Mo) and vanadium (V)for hardness. They also provide a low maintenance sanitary surface by minimizing crevices that may trap food particles and bacteria, and they are NSF certified.
The slots are angled for quick access and provide a safe environment to keep edges sharp. Light in weight, it’s strong with a nice bit of flex to the blade, and gives fatigue-free performance over long periods of prepping.
Summary While this set is not top of the line in terms of price or aesthetics, they offer well-crafted performance and very good quality for daily use. If you don’t need a designer label (or price tag), then the Victorinox 8-piece knife block set will give years of reliable operation to beginners and advanced cooks alike.
Precision forged in Germany using Willing’s Sigma forge process, the blades are crafted from high-carbon stainless steel and ice-hardened, then tempered to 57 HRC on the Rockwell scale. This produces a stain and corrosion resistant steel with exceptional hardness, flexibility and toughness, optimal sharpness, and blades that are virtually unbreakable.
The molded handle is constructed of polypropylene and permanently bonded to the three-quarter tang, and it has just the right amount of texture for a comfortable, non-slip grip. And the finely balanced classic bolster/finger guard transitions seamlessly to the handle, easily accommodating all of your favorite cutting grips.
What Others Are Saying At the time of writing, the Heckles Four Star essentials set has very good reviews for quality of craftsmanship, sharpness and versatility. Summary A bare-bones set with no storage block, these three knives cover the essentials for most kitchen work.
Overall a good option for a starter set, or to replace the three elementary pieces most commonly used for prep work. With a slender footprint on the counter and measuring only 9.5 × 3.5”, the block is crafted from your choice of six different woods in a modern style which adds to the striking profile of the Author blades.
Each knife is precision forged from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel (X50 Cr Move 15) to a Rockwell hardness of 58 and tempered in production to ensure sharpness, enduring toughness, and ease of sharpening. The bolsters are perfectly weighted for optimal balance and performance, and the full tang provides extra stability and safety.
This provides exceptionally keen initial cutting performance, longer edge retention, and the full usage of the blade from the point of the tip to the finger guard. The handles are triple riveted through the tang and constructed of tough and long-lasting polyoxymethylene (POM), a thermoplastic polymer known for its strength and hardness that has excellent resistance to fading and discoloration.
From Global, the well-known makers of fine Japanese knives, we have this exquisite 6-piece block set from their G Series featuring elegant design, excellent cutting performance and sleek one-piece construction. The large and prominent edge can be seen extending up the blade for a quarter of an inch or more, which allows for cleanly slicing through foods while maintaining the integrity of ingredients.
Unique in their construction, every knife is stamped from a single, seamless piece of steel without bolster or tang. Filled with a precise amount of sand for exquisite balance, they still retain a light weight that provides comfort, and reduces hand fatigue during extended use.
And their smooth contours and seamless construction eliminate hiding spots for food and dirt, resulting in the highest levels of safety and hygiene. The stylish stainless steel block has been designed with a diagonal profile to help protect the blades, as well as for ease of removal and storage.
What Others Are Saying There aren’t a lot of reviews in for this set yet, but those customers who have written are head over heels in love with the high-caliber construction and performance of these blades. The textured handles are ergonomic and comfortable, making long sessions of food prep virtually effortless and fatigue-free for fingers, hands, wrists and forearms.
The Damascus stainless steel not only protects and supports the extremely hard cutting core, it also improves stain resistance. Lighter, thinner, and sharper than European blades, the 16° edge is exceptionally sharp and long-lasting, making it more efficient at cutting and offering consistent, precision performance.
And the wide blade is perfect for scooping food off the cutting board when transferring it to a pan or dish. Molded in a D-shape for optimal comfort, and a sure and steady grip, they’ve been fitted over a full composite tang for impressive balance and stability.
The combination honing steel has two surfaces to smoothly realign the edges of your blades, prolonging the knife’s sharpness. Not only do they cut impressively with the superb Shun edge, they also have a built-in nutcracker, jar opener, and lid lifter, a bone notch, and two screwdriver tips.
Constructed of tough and durable stainless steel and a full tang, they’re fitted with molded handles that provide stability, comfort, and a secure, nonslip grip. This essential set come to its own laminated bamboo block, with a few extra slots so you can continue to expand your collection as desired.
Bamboo provides easy-care performance that doesn’t shrink or swell like hardwoods, which makes it ideal for storing kitchen accessories. What Others Are Saying Once again, Shun gets top marks for the quality of their forged blades, creating tools that are a pleasure for home cooks to use.
A few reviewers have emphasized that learning how to use the included honing steel correctly will help to retain those super-sharp edges between actual sharpening. And the design aesthetics are another highlight, with the Damascus blades and composite wooden handles having a very attractive appearance that is retained even with repeated usage.
Summary The Shun Classic 7-piece collection is a popular choice for high-end Japanese knives that have been crafted with quality and precision. This lovely line features Damascus cladding, and each blade bears the signature hand-hammered “touching” finish.
The proprietary VG-Max alloy has more chromium for wear and corrosion resistance, enhanced levels of cobalt for greater strength, and increased tungsten for a very fine-grained steel capable of achieving an extremely fine and sharp edge. Each knife has a full composite tang, and contoured ambidextrous Lakewood handles that nestle nicely into the palm.
The kitchen shears are made of durable stainless steel with a notch on the blade for cutting through thin poultry bones, and they fully separate for easy cleaning. The interlocking screw can easily be adjusted, to change the tension to suit your personal cutting preference.
Incredibly thin and sharp blades with stylized detailing, the Premier line of knives from Shun provides exceptional cutting performance, making them a joy to handle. And they will, if mishandled even a little, betray their delicate nature with chips, breaks, and bent tips.
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.
The CRT Drifter shares the two basic characteristics of most of the knives we tested: The blade is about 3 inches long, and you can open and close it with one hand. On paper, the Drifter offers nothing unique, but it excels at all the small elements that make for a successful knife.
The most impressive of these is the smoothness of the blade’s pivoting action, which is among the nicest we tested and on a par with that of knives costing four times as much. The Drifter’s handle is contoured to fit both big and small hands, and it has a light texturing that improves the grip.
Compared with the Drifter, the Danced has a larger handle, a stronger blade lock, and a lot more metal in the body. Those features, as well as the unusual and comfortable teardrop-shaped handle, make this model a great knife for tougher work and more aggressive cutting.
But the all-metal handle is less comfortable and can become slippery in damp or sweaty hands; we noticed this problem when holding the knife and when flipping the blade out. The distinctive blade-locking system and movable pocket clip make this knife fully ambidextrous.
We believe that most people will be more than satisfied with the CRT Drifter, but if you take good care of your knives and want one with premium touches, the Mini Reptilian is a great investment. Its design has an unquestionably age-old feel, but that comes at the expense of more modern touches such as a pocket clip, a one-handed open and close, and a textured handle.
Still, the Buck Knives 55 has a very sturdy body and nice overall construction, which is evident in how the lock snaps open and closed. To us, the biggest drawback is that you need two hands to open and close this blade, but if you’re okay with that, this Buck model is a fine choice.
Collapse all To learn more about pocket knives, we turned to two prominent blade reviewers, conversing with both via email. I spent 10 of those years in the construction industry, in work that entailed heavy daily knife usage.
At its most basic, an everyday carry (EDC) knife is a practical tool that helps you tackle small, routine problems. It won’t bushwhack a trail, but it will spare you countless trips to the kitchen drawer to get something to break down the recycling or open a package.
Blade reviewer Tony Sculimbrene told us that a good EDC knife “should be able to do general utility tasks, like package and box opening, and, if you go outdoors, outdoor/camp tasks like food prep and light whittling/carving.” While these are the foundational reasons to carry a knife, their usefulness is far more universal. In a three-week span, I’ve used pocket knives to sharpen pencils, retrieve Legos from between floorboards, cut twine, remove an event wristband, open a bag of chicken feed, trim the odd thread hanging from a shirt, and remove ticks and splinters when no tweezers are available.
In a three-week span, I’ve used pocket knives to sharpen pencils, retrieve Legos from floorboards, open a bag of chicken feed, and remove splinters. But after speaking to experts and drawing from our own experience, we decided to focus on knives with the following common features and attributes.
Lightweight: A consideration somewhat similar to blade length, weight is an important factor for anything you carry with you all day. We focused on knives that wouldn’t significantly weigh down most pockets, but didn’t sacrifice build quality or utility.
The edge of the blade has a curve at the tip and then straightens out as it heads back to the handle, similar to what you can find on many chef’s knives. “A clip point blade is very practical for the same reasons, but it can look more aggressive, especially in a larger knife.” Drop-point shapes are easier to maintain, too.
Sculimbrene told us, “One issue that a lot of people don't think about is the more complex the blade shape is, such as with a recurve or a tango, the more difficult it is to sharpen and maintain.” Clip points, such as on the Buck Knives 55 (middle), can appear threatening on larger models, and other shapes, such as the Wharncliffe, found on the Gerber Razor fish (bottom), simply aren’t as useful.
A flipper is a small tab that sticks out the back end of the handle; when you give it a quick flick, the blade pops open and locks. Frame locks are essentially the same thing, except they’re a thicker piece of metal that engages with the blade.
In a review, Sculimbrene writes, “ the role of an EDC knife I think a liner lock is more than strong enough.” For instance, the majority of knives from reputable manufacturers in the $15 to $40 range, where we spent most of our time, are made of either 8Cr13MoV or AUS-8, both of which are considered decent, but not great, steels.
As Benjamin Schwartz writes in a review Jackson’s site, “For me, 8Cr13MoV is the baseline for modern steel, setting the bar for acceptability in every area, but impressing in none other than sharpen ability. A good value for the price: To find an entry-level knife with features that would satisfy an enthusiast, we centered our research on the $15 to $40 range.
Many knife manufacturers crank out loads of new designs on a seasonal basis, so their catalogs are constantly shifting around. Our list focused mostly on reputable manufacturers such as Bench made, CRT, Gerber, Hershey, and Spider.
We also included a few outliers: The Spider Delia 4 and Dragonfly 2 have the two-handed lock back system but are regarded in the knife world as two of the best models available. In addition, we looked at two traditional folders with lock backs; these models, from Buck Knives and from Case, also have a two-handed open, relying on the fingernail nick.
For this review, we did not look at any multi tools like the Swiss Army knife or the Weatherman New Wave (we have a separate guide for those). Photo: Doug MahoneyOnce we had the 28 knives in hand, it didn’t take long for us to narrow things down to about 10 models based on fit and finish alone.
This approach gave us the best feel for the overall combination of ergonomics, pivot design, and handling, something that no lab testing could truly zero in on. These two tasks, one aggressive, the other delicate, gave us a sense of how comfortable the handles were and how easy it was to maneuver each blade for different types of cutting.
During our testing, we kept the knives sharp with the Spider Triangle Sharp maker, a popular tool among knife aficionados. It’s a versatile no-nonsense sharpening system that almost anyone can learn how to use.” Touching up a blade on a whetstone takes skill and practice, but you can find easy-to-use systems like this (or the similar, cheaper Lanky 4 Rod Turn Box) that can bring dull blades back to razor sharpness in minutes.
It is well documented that the better steels found on more expensive knives hold an edge longer than their less-expensive counterparts. As Benjamin Schwartz writes in one review, “I think that, in our spec-obsessed modern age, we forget that poor edge retention in any modern steel is pretty decent: I cut through a lot of cardboard with the 710, more than I could reasonably expect to deal with in a month of standard use, before I noticed any real performance issues.
Through our testing, we found that the major differentiators between the knives were the handle ergonomics, the ease of unlocking, and the smoothness of the blade pivot. In fact, we were surprised at the quality differences between similarly priced models that looked identical on paper.
During testing, I attended a number of family gatherings, where we used the knives for cutting rope for a kid’s swing, shaving off an aggressive splinter on a dock, and opening a few boxes. Of all the knives in our test group, the Drifter offers the best overall proportions: It has a blade long enough for common tasks, a handle that can fit all sizes of hands, and a folded length that doesn’t take up too much space in a pocket.
The fit and finish on the knife is excellent, and the blade opens with a smoothness common to more expensive knives. The G10 fiberglass laminate handle offers a light grittiness, and all the edges are nicely machined and rounded over, which wasn’t the case with many of the other knives we tried.
It far surpasses many of the others in its price range, which commonly have cheap materials, too-tight pivots, or locks that are hard to disengage. In our tests, we also liked that the underside was long enough to accommodate a sawing action if necessary, such as when we were cutting twine from hay bales; it was harder to do the same with shorter blades.
The shape of the grip naturally placed our fingers for good control over the blade, such as when we sharpened pencils or skinned apples. The back of the blade, at the handle end, has some grooves (called jumping), which gives the thumb a little traction during tougher cuts.
Due to the smart shape of the handle, the Drifter fits easily in both large and small hands. We found that the smoothness of the Drifter’s thumb-stud deployment was better than that of any other knife in the under-$40 price range and on a par with that of knives costing three or four times as much.
With a little practice, you can easily pop the blade open by flicking your thumb like you’re flipping a coin. The Drifter is simple to open and close with one hand thanks to the smooth pivot and easy liner lock.
Video: Doug Mahoney found that it was those smaller touches, such as the feel of the handle and the ease of the blade deployment, that made the Drifter such a winner. For example, the Gerber Mini Swagger, on paper, is the same as the Drifter, but the thumb stud is difficult to use, the lock is way too stiff, and it’s not as comfortable in the hand.
In a review of the knife, Dan Jackson writes, “I like it because it’s easy to sharpen, holds an edge reasonably well and has decent corrosion resistance.” The Drifter’s steel is very similar to 8Cr13MoV, a standard mid grade blade steel found on the majority of brand-name knives priced under $40. All knives need maintenance, and while the Drifter may require a tune-up more often than an $80 knife, it still offers a solid amount of performance.
After we used it for small daily tasks over the course of two weeks, the Drifter’s blade was still able to make a clean slice through a sheet of newsprint. The Drifter (top) is a small knife, even though its blade is only inch shorter than that of our runner-up, the Danced (bottom).
Photo: Doug Marinate praise that the knife community has heaped on the Drifter is unanimous. Jackson and Sculimbrene include the Drifter on their respective best -of lists and have given the knife fantastic individual reviews.
For all the positives of the Drifter, we wish it were better in two areas: the single-position pocket clip and the slight recurve of the blade shape. Some other nice knives we found in this price range, such as the Danced (), the Hershey Chill, and the Ontario RAT II, all have multi-position pocket clips that either cater more easily to left-handed users or at least offer the right-handed tip-up position.
In his review Sculimbrene calls out the lack of positioning options but still refers to it as “a very good clip for the money.” If the Drifter is not available or if you tend to take on more aggressive tasks with your knife, we recommend the Blue Ridge Knives See Danced.
Jackson writes that AUS-8 “offers a good balance of toughness, edge sharpness and corrosion resistance.” Experts consider AUS-8 as being on a par with, if not a whisker better quality than, 8Cr13MoV steel. Jackson told us that he was especially fond of it and that it’s “one of his favorites” in the sub-$40 price range: “I still use and enjoy my Danced several years after purchasing it.” Sculimbrene, in his review, writes that he isn’t a fan of the sizable pocket clip or the aesthetics of the handle.
Simplicity in a Shaker sense--pure, unadulterated functionality.” He also writes, “It has a few drawbacks, but man is the blade shape awesome.” We believe that the Drifter, due to its smaller size and smoother operation, is the better pick for most people, but in our tests, when we knew we would be working a knife extra hard, like heading into a house project, we preferred having the Danced with us.
Sculimbrene also picks up on this general sense of durability in his review, writing, “Go buy this knife. In spite of the knife’s low cost, the pivot and thumb-stud flipping action have a smoothness similar to that of the Drifter.
The drawbacks: The all-metal body can get slippery, and we found the company to be very unresponsive to our queries, which raised some red flags about customer service and warranty support. In fact, if you’re unfamiliar with knife sharpening, 8Cr13MoV is a great steel to learn on, because restoring an edge is so easy.
The blade unlocks with Bench made’s proprietary Axis lock, which is fully ambidextrous and very easy to use. Anyone in the knife world likely won’t be surprised to see this recommendation, as the Mini Reptilian has a long-standing reputation as one of the premier folding EDC pocket knives.
Anyone who owned the Drifter would be unlikely to covet either of these subtle touches, and they’re by no means essential features, but they are nice, and they are the marks of a high-quality knife. The Axis lock makes no such distinction, and coupled with the Mini Reptilian’s multi-position pocket clip, it results in a knife that remains fully accessible regardless of your hand dominance.
With the locking bar pulled back, the blade sits loosely enough for you to snap it open or closed with a slight flick of the wrist. Most pocket knives, like our other recommendations, have flat sides, but the Mini Reptilian’s are slightly rounded to fit the hand.
In fact, if there is a downside, it’s that the handle is too drippy: During our aggressive cardboard-cutting session, the texture along the edges of the knife became uncomfortable. Photo: Doug Mahoney around $100 usually, the Mini Reptilian can be a little hard to justify, especially when you can get the perfectly good Drifter for as low as $20.
If you simply prefer a more traditional-looking knife, even if that comes at the expense of perks like a one-handed open and close, a textured handle, and a pocket clip, we recommend the Buck Knives 55. The brass portion of the frame is thick and sturdy, and the wood accents, made of American walnut, are attractive.
We tested ours for about a month as we were writing this review, and the brass bolsters (the protective metal ends of the handle) took on a nice used patina, further enhancing the age-old feel of the Buck 55’s overall design. But in this case, the size is a distinct advantage, because without a clip to secure it, the 55 is destined to roam free in a pocket, so it’s nice that this knife doesn’t take up a lot of room, especially when it works its way to the bottom of the pocket and ends up resting across the curve of your leg.
The blade size is about as small as we’d want to recommend, but there’s no question that it can cut string, open a package, or free a toy from a blister pack. Photo: Doug Marinate small handle has a simple arcing design that provides a nice grip and is easy to hold in a variety of ways.
The texturing is minimal and consists of a light amount of wood grain and three small brass studs per side, but in our tests the knife held firm in our hands. The Buck 55 didn’t have the grab of the Drifter’s G10 handle, but it wasn’t as slippery as the Sanrenmu 710’s polished metal.
It has a fine tip for detail cutting, a belly up front for slicing, and a flat edge for dicing and chopping. For the most part, we avoided clip-point blades in our research and testing, because as reviewer Dan Jackson told us, they can appear threatening in a larger knife.
The Buck 55 opens and closes with a pronounced (and satisfying) snapping noise as the back lock falls into place. The Case Mini Copper lock, the other traditional knife we tested, positions the lock at the middle of the handle, so this one-handed operation is easier but still awkward.
The Case Mini Copper lock (top) is very similar to the Buck 55, but it’s typically more expensive and the steel isn’t as good. Photo: Doug Mahoney tested the Buck 55 against the Case Mini Copper lock, another well-regarded traditional knife, and each has its high points.
The two knives are very similar, with nearly identical handle lengths (the blade of the Case is about ¼ inch longer). The Case is a very nice knife, but we preferred the Buck due to the more robust body design and the blade steel.
The handles are extremely comfortable, the knives have good blade steel, and they open easily with a thumb hole. The Spider liner-lock models we tested, the highly regarded Sage 1 and the more moderately priced Persistence, are also very nice.
The blade of the Ontario Knife Company's RAT II and RAT I knives are aligned slightly above the handle, and we thought the finger notches on them were too far away from the blade, so we preferred the ergonomics of the CRT Drifter and Blue Ridge See Danced. On the positive side, the RAT II is the best of the sub-$50 knives with a four-position pocket clip, so if that feature is important to you, this knife is a solid option.
CRT’s Pagoda and Squid are typically less expensive than the Drifter, and both models have robust all-metal bodies and frame locks. The downside is that it’s a flipper, and once we were done with testing, we decided that we preferred the thumb-stud opening for its fast and slow deployment.
We liked the carabiner clip on the Hershey Reverb, but in our tests that feature wasn’t enough to offset the difficult open or the awkward liner lock. The Sizer Gemini was the nicest flipper we looked at, which isn’t surprising, given the $85 price tag at the time of our research.
Although the Milwaukee Tool Hardliner is a smooth flipper, its robust metal body made it really heavy compared with the rest of our test group. It’s built by a tool company, so that heavy-abuse build quality is not surprising, but we don’t think the added weight is necessary for an EDC knife.
The carabiner/bottle opener of the Weatherman Crater C33 came in handy, but overall the handle wasn’t as comfortable as those of our picks, and the blade pivot was not as nice. The Coast FDX302 feels durable and has a secondary blade lock, but at over 7½ inches it’s a larger knife, and we much preferred the smaller CRT Drifter.
The Mini Swagger and Razor fish were marked by difficult and uncomfortable locks, while the Remix was tough to open. Reviewer Tony Sculimbrene is a big fan of the LA Police Gear BFK S35VN, as he named it his best budget blade of 2017.
First, as Tony Sculimbrene told us, “in general should be avoided” due to the natural swelling and shrinking of the material. Doug Mahoney is a senior staff writer at Wire cutter covering home improvement.
We’ve tested 23 chef’s knives, chopping over 70 pounds of produce since 2013, and recommend the Mac MTH-80 since it’s comfortable to use, reliable, and sharp. No matter how sharp the blade is, a straight knife will squish your bread and leave behind too many crumbs.
Don’t worry; you can read my review for the best serrated bread knife to identify which one is the best choice for you. With a serrated blade, you can easily slice through more robust food such as squash and melon as well.
Thanks to its sharp serrations, a bread knife is also ideal for cutting tender fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, citrus, or pineapples without squishing them. While not necessarily the case for all bread knives, some models have serrations sharp enough to be able to effortlessly slice and carve meat, such as brisket and ribs.
For instance, a straight edge is not very efficient at cutting squash because this tough vegetable can “trap in” your blade. However, this will not happen with a serrated blade, which makes bread knives are a more ideal option for squash or melon.
The Mercer Culinary Millennia features an ergonomic handle made from Neoprene and polypropylene for optimal comfort and durability. Thanks to its sharp edge, the blade is also suitable for cutting fruits as well as carving meats.
A high quality product at a bargain price, this serrated bread knife is made from premium-quality stainless steel. The full tang design and the triple-riveted handle also make this serrated bread knife considerably more durable.
Product Dimension 12.6 × 0.3 × 1.2 inches Item Weight 5.6 ounces Manufacturer Humble Chef Blade Length 8 inches Blade Material Stainless steel Pros Economical Solid, ergonomic handle Easy to use and clean Excellent durability Features an exceptional grip, Strong Shadow Black Series knife is especially customized for maneuverability.
The blade is made by expert craftsmen to 16-18 degree, which ensures a precise, clean cut and excellent edge-retention. When combined with Willing’s signature process of the ice-hardening technique, the blades are sharper and more difficult.
Are you trying to find a blade that possesses both the beauty and the strength to cut through your hard morning bread? With its special design and ideal medium-sized serrations, the blade is up for many challenges including cake layers of domes, and any kind of bread.
The scalpel-like edge of this knife was crafted by veteran artisans with the renowned Honbazuke method. After being handcrafted, the blade then underwent cryogenic treatment to improve its hardness, flexibility as well as damage resistance ability.
To make it easier for you to cut through the bread, the 8-inch blade is designed to be slightly curved. Combined with the ergonomic G10 handle, the knife guarantees minimal fatigue and hand strain.
Product Dimension 16.2 × 5.3 × 1.7 inches Item Weight 1.3 pounds Manufacturer You Blade Length 8 inches Blade Material Damascus steel Pros Excellent sharpness Easy to hold and use Comfortable handle Durable construction With its razor sharp edge, it can effortlessly carve meat and slice through even the crustiest bread.
Constructed from Japanese high carbon stainless steel, the blade is relatively durable and easy to clean. Furthermore, this white bread knife from Mercer Culinary also has a comfortable polypropylene handle for a secure and easy grip.
Soft fruits are tricky to cut because they can be easily squashed with even the slightest force. With its exceedingly sharp edge, this Japanese-style knife bread is an ideal choice for soft fruits.
Watch video: Hands on test of the As Seen On TV Deli Pro Knife The formula also includes cobalt, carbon, chromium, and tungsten to increase the blade’s strength, durability, corrosion resistance, and sharpness respectively.
Made of premium-quality high-carbon stainless steel, the knife is also highly resistant against corrosion, rust, stains, as well as pitting. That’s not all; the knife has a full tang design and a triple-riveted handle, which can give you optimal balance and control to maneuver the blade easily.
Another excellent product from the renowned brand Author, this double serrated bread knife is suitable for both left-handed and right-handed people. Therefore, you don’t have to sharpen the knife as regularly in comparison to average bread knives.
Don’t worry that the stainless steel handle will give you discomfort during use. Crafted from the highest quality German stainless steel, this full tang knife boasts an excellent cutting performance that is hard to rival with.
With its flawlessly balanced design that is made from premium material, this knife will certainly cut through your bread like butter. Made from German high carbon stainless steel, this knife comes razor sharp and ready to go out of the box.
Its blade is forged precisely from a single piece of steel, which ensures an ultra sharp edge with excellent wear and stain resistance. Also, the knife possesses an ergonomic design of Lakewood handles, which offers maximum comfort, perfect balance, and best manipulation.
This length will give you more versatility and flexibility to cut different types of bread and cakes. The most ideal material for bread knives is stainless steel, which can retain its edge for a long time and is less prone to rust.
You also need to keep in mind that if you don’t want to spend too much time sharpening the serrated edges, you should avoid carbon steel. The serrated edge is especially useful for cutting fluffy and delicate cakes without squishing them.
However, depending on the design and the sharpness of the edge, a bread knife can be used to carve cooked meat that has a hard exterior crust such as a brisket or rib. Yes, a bread knife is designed to cut cakes, especially one with a delicate and fluffy texture as well.
However, if you’re cutting cakes with a dense texture such as nut-bread, you should use a straight edge knife instead of a serrated one. Its blade is exceedingly sharp, its edge retention is superb, it’s highly durable, and the knife’s design is well-balanced.
The ceramic sharpeners within the blocks don’t actually remove steel to create a sharper edge. We’d recommend focusing on a knife set that has plenty of blades to spare if you want dedicated knives for all your cooking needs.
Some knives are made with ornate or beautiful wooden handles that are a delight to hold and an aesthetic boost to your kitchen. Others may be wood-like, with handles that are created from a synthetic material designed to look and feel like real wood.
Still, other knife handles might be made from a synthetic material that isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing but is cheaper overall. This is another great thing to look for because stainless steel prevents corrosion from affecting your knives and looks extremely polished and high-quality as well.
Whether you need to saw through meat, slice and dice vegetables, or cut up fruit into neat little pieces, this knife set will have enough blades for your objective. The set comes with a wooden storage block that features ceramic sharpeners in each knife slot.
The slots are individual for each blade, except the steak knives that are arrayed in a row near the bottom. Additionally, every blade is “full tang” designed for even better strength and balance over their life spans.
Speaking of lifespans, the set comes with a full lifetime warranty, so having a blade replaced is no trouble if there’s a manufacturer defect. The block is made of stained ash wood, which looks great and is likely to last for a long time.
Heckles quality; this company is centered in a German town renowned for its knife making history. If you have space and are willing to pay for high-quality, this self-sharpening knife set is one of the best picks you can make in terms of quality and aesthetics.
This contemporary knife set also features 20 blades, with types ranging from boning to slicing to bread cutting. Kitchen shears are also included, and the blades are forged from high carbon, no-stain German steel, except the steak knives.
Pretty expensive compared to other knife sets Some ceramic sharpeners can wear out quickly This is a great choice if you like the idea and look of the first set but want additional, specific blades for certain cooking or preparation tasks.
It comes with 15 pieces in total and the blades are forged with high carbon content and no-stain, stamped steel material. The handles are labeled (as we would expect), and they are specially contoured to provide you with a secure and comfortable grip.
The blades are designed with a tapered grind edge to provide them with optimum sharpness and make them even easier to re-sharpen. The knives store securely within the wooden block, which is both aesthetically pleasing and durable.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra time sharpening the knives yourself, this is a great budget-friendly choice. The knives are made from high carbon stainless steel, and the handles are created with a satin finish that makes them durable and sanitary.
This knife set does have a block ceramic sharpener within each slot, except for the steak knives. While the block is not made of wood, it is still aesthetically attractive and will fit on most kitchen counters without much trouble.
Most of the blades are good quality Block is aesthetically unique Knives are comfortable to hold Handles have a satin finish It’s another good budget-friendly choice that balances quality with price without compromising too much on features or durability.
Being able to rely on your knives being at least decently sharp without having to constantly sharpen them by hand is a huge deal. Almost every recipe starts with your ingredients and an invaluable tool: a chef's knife.
If you do plenty of chopping, mincing and dicing, you'll want a knife with an ergonomic handle that doesn't make your hand cramped and fatigued. And carbon knives stay sharper longer, which is convenient if you don't mind carefully cleaning them.
Made from high carbon stainless steel, the set comes with 13 knives, a pair of kitchen shears, and a sturdy block to help keep them organized. If you're looking for an even better deal, the Home Hero 7-Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Knives are typically found for less than $30, but when you use them, you'll assume they cost much more.
Whether preparing for a tailgate or using them to make dinner on game day, customers report that they're sharp and get the job done. You'll have a difficult time finding someone who has something bad to say about Belle main Premium Steak Knives.
They also report that they're easy to grip, are dishwasher safe, and they cut through any type of meat. Customers report that they have super sharp blades yet soft handles that make them easy to grip and use.
They claim it “glides” through any type of meat without much effort and with great precision. At 10 inches and made from German stainless steel, the knife is impressive-looking, but users report that it's as useful as it is beautiful.
Defining meat, poultry and fish isn't the most glamorous kitchen activity, but the Dexter-Russell S131F-6PCP Boning Knife helps make it a little easier. Not only is it sharp and easy to use, but the handle is sealed to keep out any bacteria from raw meat.
Customers report that it makes home-cooked food look like something served in a restaurant, and they love the low price.