The Best Kitchen Knife Sets You Can Buy on a Budget

Best Kitchen Knife Sets


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Best Kitchen Knife Sets


A set of good knives is a must-have in any kitchen. Professionals and serious home chefs accumulate individual knives for specific tasks and might spend over $100 on each one. For home cooks setting up a household or populating a wedding registry, there are inexpensive sets that encompass everything from a paring knife to a cleaver. Knife sets usually come in a wooden block and contain a pair of kitchen shears and a sharpening steel along with knives that can slice, dice, chop, and bone. While upscale cutlery collections made of German or Japanese steel can cost upward of $500, has picked the best knife sets for $100 or less that can meet the cooking needs of most households. This roundup also includes three high-quality choices under $300, a ceramic set, and a carbon steel option that should last a lifetime.

Prices and availability subject to change.

Sabatier Edgekeeper Pro 12-Piece
Courtesy of


Good Self-Sharpening Kitchen Knives Under $100
Est. Price: $60 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 8" chef's knife | 5" chef's knife with kullens | 8" slicer knife | 3.5" paring knife | 4.5" fine-edge utility knife | 6 steak knives | wood block (black finish)

- Forged knives with full-tang blades made from high-carbon stainless steel.
- Users say blades come very sharp out of the box, and the block has built-in (ceramic) sharpeners.
- Knives have good heft and balance, according to reviews.
- Lifetime limited warranty.

- No serrated knives.
- Steak knife slots don't have sharpeners (but they can be sharpened in other slots).
- A couple of reports of knives chipping; some mentions of rust (though relatively few).
- Some owners posting on Amazon say a plastic storage block came with their sets.

Takeaway: An affordable offering from a renowned French brand, the Sabatier Edgekeeper Pro 12-Piece set has a look and feel that belies its low cost. These knives cut through meats and vegetables with ease, and would be a solid purchase even without the self-sharpening block (which gets mixed reviews for effectiveness). The biggest disappointment users seem to have is that this set doesn't feel quite complete: There's no serrated knife or shears.

Pure Komachi 2 9-Piece
Courtesy of


Good Colorful Knife Set Under $100
Est. Price: $99.99 | Buy it from Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon

Included: 6.5" hollow ground santoku knife | 8" chef's knife | 3.5" paring knife | 4" tomato knife | 4" citrus knife | 6" multi-utility knife | 8" bread knife | 6" bagel/sandwich knife | acrylic block (clear)

- Stainless steel, high-carbon resin-coated blades stay sharp for a very long time.
- Bright colors set in a clear block add personality to the kitchen counter.
- Color coding helps prevent cross contamination.
- Coating makes the knives easier to clean and virtually rust-proof.
- Lightweight and comfortable to hold.

- Knife block is large and some say it looks cheap.
- No steak knives.
- Not dishwasher-safe; users warn that the color wears if the knives aren't hand washed.
- 5-year warranty is relatively short.

Takeaway: The colorful Pure Komachi 2 9-Piece set is made from stainless steel with a resin coating to help knives glide through foods while repelling stains, water, and rust. These knives may look fun, but they're no joke: Many satisfied users say they boast seriously sharp blades and hold up very well over time. The manufacturer claims that the open design of the storage block is meant to allow greater air circulation and prevent bacteria growth, although many users complain that it takes up way too much counter space. Some suggest putting the knives on a magnetic strip instead. (For consumers disappointed by the lack of steak knives, a set that includes them can sometimes be found on Amazon; the set can also be purchased without the block.)

Cuisinart Graphix Collection 15-Piece (C77SS-15P)
Courtesy of


Good Stainless Steel Kitchen Knives Under $100
Est. Price: $50 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 7" santoku knife | 8" chef's knife | 8" slicing knife | 3.5" paring knife | 2.75" bird's beak paring knife | 5.5" serrated utility knife | 6 steak knives | scissors | sharpening steel | wood block (black finish)

- High-carbon stainless steel blades start sharp and hold their edge well, according to reviews.
- Stainless steel handles are lightweight, reducing fatigue; users say the ergonomic design feels good in the hand.
- Textured handles to prevent slipping.
- Lifetime limited warranty.

- Some owners report rusting, particularly on the handles.
- Several reviewers say the steak knives feel chintzy and don't cut well; only part of the blade is serrated.

Takeaway: With lightweight, hollow stainless steel handles with a herringbone-textured grip surface, the Cuisinart Graphix Collection 15-Piece knife set is sleek and coordinates well with stainless appliances. The solid, one-piece construction is a boon to people who have had wooden or plastic handles crack or separate from the tang. While most of the knives are said to be quite good, users looking for premium steak knives might want to steer clear of this set. And be sure to follow the care instructions to help prevent rusting.

Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece
Courtesy of


Best Stainless Steel Kitchen Knives Under $100
Est. Price: $53 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 8" chef's knife | two 3.25" paring knives | 4.75" utility knife | 6.75" bread knife | 8 steak knives | scissors | sharpening steel | natural wood block

- Users say these knives are very sharp and hold their edge for a long time.
- High-carbon stainless steel blades are forged, not stamped -- difficult to find in this price range.
- "Elegant" look, with stainless handles that are curved to fit the hand well.
- Seamless handles keep water and dirt from collecting in nooks and crannies.
- Knives are fairly lightweight but have a sturdy, "quality" feel, according to reviews.
- Full lifetime warranty.

- Some mentions of occasional rust; hand wash only.
- Steak knives don't have a serrated edge and don't stay sharp as long as serrated knives do.
- A few owners wish there were more large knives included.

Takeaway: These knives have full-tang construction for stability and stainless handles that are ergonomically shaped to fit the hand and be well-balanced. The forged blades hold a sharp edge and take to sharpening well. Reviews from hundreds of happy owners say the Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece set is an excellent purchase: The knives look great in any kitchen, perform better than expected for the price, and stand up well over time.

Ginsu Chikara Series 8-Piece
Courtesy of


Best Japanese Knife Set Under $100
Est. Price: $90 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 7" santoku knife | 8" chef's knife | 3.5" paring knife | 5" utility knife | 5" serrated utility knife | scissors | sharpening steel | bamboo block

- Made from forged Japanese steel, the blades are extremely sharp and stay sharp for a long time; some people say they haven't had to sharpen them in over a year.
- Knives slice easily through everything from tomatoes to bones on chicken wings.
- Thin enough blade for precision cutting.
- Polymer-covered, full-tang, rounded handles are very nicely weighted; most users find them comfortable to hold.
- Nearly seamless, non-riveted design helps keep water and dirt out of crevices.
- Limited lifetime warranty.

- Some mentions of knife tips breaking when dropped.
- Users who've owned Ginsu knives before suggest these newer models are lower quality than previous versions.
- Shears may be slightly disappointing; a few reports of breakage.
- Reports of rusting; hand wash only.
- No steak knives.

Takeaway: With stainless steel blades that are forged rather than stamped, these durable knives of '70s fame stay sharp for a long time, as long as they are frequently honed. Potential purchasers should be aware that, although they are "Japanese style," this collection is actually made in China and quality control may not be what it used to be. Nonetheless, thousands of purchasers say the Ginsu Chikara Series 8-Piece set is a great value for the price.

J.A. Henckels International Definition 12-Piece
Courtesy of


Best Kitchen Knife Set Under $100 Overall
Est. Price: $99.95 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 5" santoku knife | 8" chef's knife | 3" paring knife | 5" serrated utility knife | 8" bread knife | 4 steak knives | scissors | sharpening steel | wood block

- Very good starter set from well-respected brand.
- Knives have a nice weight and balance that feels good in the hand, users say, and the blades can cut through hard vegetables without a huge amount of pressure.
- Stamped, high-carbon stainless steel blades have relatively thin edges.
- Even the kitchen shears in this set are high-quality; they're very sharp and capable of cutting through bones, according to reviews.
- Dishwasher-safe; owners don't complain of rusting.
- Limited lifetime warranty.

- Made in China; some reviewers suggest that the knives are not as strong and durable as their German counterparts.
- A handful of buyers say the blades were not sharp out of the box.

Takeaway: These are classic, full tang, triple-riveted knives (with black polymer handle) from a classic company. A majority of consumer reviews give this J.A. Henckels knife set high ratings, and most owners are more than pleased with the quality-to-price ratio. They get most of the basic pieces needed for everyday cooking tasks -- including a set of shears that some say are the star of the set -- in a brand-name block they feel proud to display on their countertops.

Calphalon Contemporary 17-Piece
Courtesy of


Bonus: Calphalon Knife Set
Est. Price: $122 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 7" santoku knife | 8" chef's knife | 8" slicing knife | 4.5" paring knife | 6" utility knife | 8" bread knife | 8 steak knives | scissors | sharpening steel | maple wood block

- Forged, high-carbon blades are sharp, durable, and made from "no-stain" German steel.
- Full-tang polyresin handles have good heft and balance, according to reviews.
- Each knife has an identifying label on the top so it's easy to quickly find what's needed.
- Relatively few reports of rusting.
- Full lifetime warranty; reviews affirm that Calphalon honors the guarantee if anything breaks.

- Some mentions of knives breaking off at the handle.
- Steak knives feel flimsy to some users; they're not made from the same German steel as the rest of the knives, and they're stamped as opposed to forged.

Takeaway: Although some reviews question whether this higher-end set stands up to the competition in terms of overall quality (the knives are forged from German steel but manufactured in China), many home chefs are more than impressed with the balance and weight of the attractive, easy-to-hold knives in the Calphalon Contemporary 17-Piece set (model 2023116). They can take and maintain a very sharp edge, too; using them is "like cutting through butter on sweet potatoes," says one reviewer on Amazon. The sticker price is over $200, but if you can pick them up for under $150, they may be worth the spend.

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic 15-Piece
Courtesy of


Bonus: Victorinox Kitchen Knives Under $200
Est. Price: $186 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 7" santoku knife | 8" chef's knife | 3.25" paring knife | 5" utility knife | 4.5" serrated utility | 8.25" serrated bread knife | 6 steak knives | scissors | sharpening steel | wood block

- Victorinox knives are very highly rated, good-quality knives with nice balance.
- Fibrox textured handles are easy to hold, even with wet or slippery hands.
- Wooden block is solid and sturdy.
- Stamped, high-carbon stainless steel blades hold their edges and are very thin.
- Consumers find most of the knives in the set useful.
- Dishwasher-safe (hand washing recommended).
- Lifetime warranty.

- Newer Fibrox handles are not as sturdy and hefty as old ones, according to some reviews.
- Some say the "come-apart" shears separate too easily and don't work as well as the other items in the set.
- A few users gripe that the steak knives are a bit flimsy, although they work well.

Takeaway: Made in Switzerland by the company that brought you your favorite pocketknife, the Victorinox brand is acclaimed by many experts, including America's Test Kitchen. These Swiss Army kitchen knives get consistently high ratings from consumers, as well, and many owners say they're hands down the best kitchen knives for the money. Even better, and unlike most kitchen knives, the Victorinox Classic 15-Piece set is dishwasher-safe, and users confirm that rust is not a problem (just be careful with the shears, which may not be as resilient as the knives).

Wüsthof Gourmet 12-Piece
Courtesy of


Bonus: German Kitchen Knives Under $300
Est. Price: $240 | Buy it from Crate&Barrel

Included: 8" chef's knife | 3" spear-point paring knife | 2.5" paring knife | 4.5" utility knife | 8" bread knife | scissors | sharpening steel | 4 steak knives | wood block

- Revered German manufacturer known for precision crafting and product longevity.
- Knives are comfortable to hold and feel particularly well-balanced in the hand.
- Very sharp, thin, high-carbon German steel blades hold an edge well.
- Users say the knives sharpen easily and stand up to frequent honing.
- Limited lifetime warranty.

- This is the low-end Wüsthof line; not the same quality as the forged Classic line.
- A few owners gripe that the logo stickers on the handles seem cheaply made and don't hold up.
- Some mentions of rust; hand wash only.

Takeaway: This Wüsthof Gourmet 12-Piece knife set is very popular on gift registries, and the recipients are very pleased with what they get, according to reviews. Although the lack of a santoku knife is a disappointment to some, this entry-level set provides most of the basics for everyday use, and many home cooks assert that these Wüsthof kitchen knives have improved their slicing, dicing, and mincing skills. Novice users are encouraged by some more experienced reviewers to sharpen this set with a stone, not a machine, for a better and longer-lasting edge.

Cook N Home 9-Piece Ceramic
Courtesy of


Bonus: Ceramic Knife Set
Est. Price: $20 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 6" santoku knife | 3" paring knife | 4" fruit knife | 5" utility knife | peeler | 4 sheaths

- Ceramic blades are extremely sharp and stay that way for a long time without sharpening.
- Adept at prepping vegetables, they can slice tomatoes easily and produce paper-thin onions, according to reviews.
- Very lightweight; most users find them they're comfortable to hold.
- Easy to clean; no reports of rusting.
- Attractive colors perk up the kitchen.
- Although there's no block, each knife comes with a matching sheath.

- Blades chip quite easily.
- Can't be used to cut anything hard or they will break.
- White blades become tinged after a while.
- Limited number of knives.

Takeaway: Ceramic knives are generally inexpensive, and buyers who understand that they're an adjunct to, not a replacement for, a steel knife set are very happy with the colorful Cook N Home 9-Piece collection. The downside of ceramic knives is they chip easily and require specific care, such as avoiding glass cutting boards, hard foods, and bones. For slicing vegetables, however, they are sublime.

Old Hickory 705 5-Piece
Courtesy of


Bonus: Carbon Steel Kitchen Knives Under $100
Est. Price: $52 | Buy it on Amazon

Included: 7" butcher's knife | 8" slicing knife | 3.25" and 4" paring knives | 6" boning knife

- Blades made of 1095 carbon steel, which is much harder than stainless.
- Blades sharpen easily with a stone and can be honed to a long-lasting razor-sharp edge.
- Hardwood, full-tang handles with brass rivets are comfortable and well-balanced, according to reviews.
- Extremely durable with proper care and made in the USA.
- Limited lifetime warranty.

- Prone to rusting; need to be treated with mineral oil frequently.
- Not sharp out of the box, and some may require a bevel, so they need to be sharpened immediately.
- "Rustic" look might not appeal to all tastes.
- Sharpener and block not included.

Takeaway: Cooks looking to tackle serious jobs in the kitchen (and even out hunting) will appreciate this low-cost, carbon steel, five-piece knife set from the Ontario Knife Company. First produced in 1924, Old Hickory knives are known for their craftsmanship and boast a super-sharp edge that lasts a long time -- the knives themselves are guaranteed for life. They're not for everyone, though, because they require a great deal of care. While there are some complaints of rusting, users can stave it off with meticulous upkeep, which is a point of pride among aficionados of carbon steel knives. These knives also stain, developing an individual patina and personality over time.