Personal preference ultimately dictates whether or not a particular chef knife is meant to become part of your kitchen. The best chefs knives complement your cooking style and cuisine. Universally appealing chef knives are your safest choice if you decide to order your knife online.
We went out of our way to locate a diverse set of chef knives that feature all-around functionality. You'll throw out your entire kitchen knife set once you realize they pale in comparison to our best chef knife recommendations.
Best Chef Knife Under 150
Winner: Zwilling Professional-S Chef's Knife 8-inch
Zwilling J. A. Henckels is a German brand that prides itself in the professional chef knives its manufactures. The brand has earned the reputation of producing trustworthy quality knives that combine old knife making tactics with innovative technology to result in a knife that can do it all!
Thanks to its laser-sharpened edge, maintaining and cleaning this Professional-S Chef's Knife is not a task you'll complete often.
All it takes is a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel that’s unique only to Zwilling to result in one of the best chefs knife in the market. The blade is forged adhering to the Sigmaforge standard, which simply put means enhanced quality, sharpness, and consistency. The geometry of the blade is the closest you’ll get to perfection.
The Sigmaforge standard also translates to a comfortable grip, so it’ll remain balanced in your hand. Precise cutting won’t be an issue thanks to the structural stability of this professional chef knife.
Since you can make precise movements with the Zwilling Professional-S Chef's Knife, it's guaranteed to stay sharp for a long time. Zwilling J.A. Henckels also muses Friodur ice hardening to improve corrosion resistance, which helps in regards to cutting edge retention.
Stylistically speaking, the Zwilling Professional-S Chef's Knife is categorized as a French chef knife. It has a broad blade along with a slightly curved cutting edge. Rocking this knife back and forth while chopping food can be easily done.
The eight-inch blade is perfect for most professional chefs, but if you have small hands, you may want to consider purchasing the six-inch model. Those with large hands will find the 10-inch knife to suit their hands.
What sets the Professional-S knife series apart from other Zwilling models are the three-rivet handles. The unique handle causes the knife to retain most of its weight in the blade, which means you’ll need arm strength to use this knife with ease.
The Zwilling Pro-S Chef Knife is made to withstand eight straight hours of daily use, so it’ll suffice for your kitchen. This particular knife will cost you less than $150, which isn’t a lot of money for a chef knife that’ll last your whole life.
Runner Up: Mac Knife MTH-80 Professional Chef's Knife
As far as Japanese chef knife brands go, Mac Knife manufactures the best chef knives. Mac Knife's founder approached innovatively designing chef knives by using razors as the foundation.
Since it’s meant to resemble a razor, you won’t find a blade as sharp and thin as the Mac Knife MTH-80 Professional Chef's Knife. Along with being extremely thin, it also features an acute angle which helps improve the blade’s sharpness level.
The simple wooden handle resembles the minimalist aesthetic specific to Japanese culture so that you would be using a truly authentic Japanese product with the MTH-80 Professional Chef's Knife.
Japanese people also value comfort which explains why most customers are content with how the knife rests in their hands. The razor-sharp blade combined with a comfortable handle equates to a knife that’s easy to utilize without having your hands cramp up. However, you have to be careful using this best chef’s knife because you can easily cut yourself if you’re not meticulous.
This high carbon stainless steel blade comes with a hint of molybdenum, to increase the flexibility of the blade. The small addition makes a significant impact since it'll lower the chances of the blade chipping off.
Knife Design Specifics
Everything from cutting through tomato skin to dicing an onion to slicing a fruit can be done within seconds with this chef knife. It weighs less than 7 ounces and is eight inches long. The knife from tip to the end of the handle measure less than 13 inches. The 2.5-millimeter blade comes with dimples that allow the knife to slice food like apples, potatoes, and more!
Since the Mac Knife MTH-80 Professional Chef's Knife comes with a Pakka wood handle, you’ll have to hand wash it. Forget about the dishwasher because it will damage the wood.
If you purchase your Mac Knife through an authorized dealer on Amazon, you're guaranteed a 25-year limited warranty. For less than $150, you can equip yourself with the Mac Knife MTH-80 Professional Chef's Knife- the best chef's knife money can buy you.
Alternative: Zelite Infinity Chef Knife Alpha-Royal Series
Zelite Infinity knives are one of a kind and are trusted by professional chefs to live up to their standard. Made from Japanese materials, the Zelite Infinity Chef Knife Alpha-Royal Series stands apart from the rest of its competition thanks to the effort the brand put into designing the knife.
The packaging and presentation for this chef knife are extraordinary and will make you feel as if Zelite Infinity custom sent it to you. Once you open the box, you’re hit with an incredible Damascus blade with a mirror polish that will catch you off guard.
If you're the type of person who likes to look for imperfections in a product, you won't find any with the Zelite Infinity Chef Knife Alpha-Royal Series. When you're entertaining guests, and you whip out this chef knife to cut up the charcuterie, we guarantee everyone will be complimenting your choice of knife.
The artistic blade comes made out of high-grade carbon stainless steel combined with VG-10 super steel. Simply put, this is high shelf Japanese steel that's unique to Zelite Infinity. The blade does slightly curve at the tip, ensuring your ability to perform a smooth chopping motion.
The blade material blend allows this knife to go a long time without requiring you to sharpen it. Don’t forget about the liquid nitrogen tempering process that makes the edge non-stick and sturdy. This means your food won’t stick to the knife, which avoids stains and corrosions from forming.
Even though this knife is dishwasher safe, Zelite Infinity recommends you hand wash and towel dry to avoid dulling the blade. Also, this is a much safer option than the other Japanese chef knife because it’s perfectly balanced. You don’t have to fret about cutting yourself while you allow your culinary side to flourish.
Out of the three chef knives reviewed above, the Zelite Infinity Chef Knife Alpha-Royal Series is the cheapest since it’ll cost less than $130 and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Best Chef Knife Under 50
Winner: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife
Whenever people hear the brand Victorinox, they immediately think of the Swiss Army Knife. A Swiss manufacturer of high-end knives, you'll be thrilled to find out that Victorinox doesn't only produce Swiss Army Knives but some of the best chefs knives as well.
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife is the brand's best-selling kitchen knife due to its ergonomic build. Both professional chefs and home cooks agree that this is a true all-round knife that promises efficiency while you prep food for the upcoming day.
High-Quality Performance & Construction
Similar to the other chef knives, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife also comes with an eight-inch blade. When it comes to its edge angle, Victorinox follows a Western design sharpening it to 15 degrees.
Since it comes with a thin edge, you can use this knife to break open extremely thick vegetables. Dicing onions will take mere seconds with this knife, so you can avoid tearing up in frustration. Professional chefs stand by this knife going as far to state that this knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife are all you’ll require in a kitchen.
The blade features an extra wide shape, making it easier to control and allows you to carve more with it. In fact, this is the only blade you can cut meat with. Keep in mind that sharpening it every two months will be necessary if you use it daily.
Rather than a wooden handle, Victronix opted on building the Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife with thermoplastic elastomers. This is lighter for your hand and disperses the weight evenly, so you have an excellent grip on the knife.
If there’s anything wrong regarding the craftsmanship or material of the Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife, you can take advantage of Victronix lifetime warranty. At the moment, Amazon is having a sale on this knife so you can buy it for less than $35.
Runner up: Dalstrong Chef Knife Gladiator Series
Dalstrong has acquired a huge professional chef following to the point that it sponsors chef competitions. Over 75,000 chefs have switched over to using Dalstrong knives because they are genuinely superior quality. The German brand produces a plethora of knife models, but the one ideal for in-home and professional kitchen use is hands down the Gladiator Series.
The Gladiator Series has won numerous awards and comes with matching pieces, allowing you to build the best kitchen knife set.
Let’s describe this beautiful knife from top to bottom starting first with the handle since that’s what dictates how comfortable you’ll be using it.
Imported from Spain, the black pakkawood handle makes the knife suitable for either right or left-handed users. Dalstrong laminates the handle to ensure additional cleanliness, water resistance, stain prevention, as well as durability.
Gladiators operated with precision and strength, and Dalstrong made sure that's what customers would say about their knife. Dalstrong took a single piece of high carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel to forge it into this stellar knife.
Rather than rely on machines to sharpen its blades, Dalstrong prides itself in hand sharpening each blade 14 to 16 degrees on each side to result in a satin finish. Slicing extremely thin food requires low effort on your part along with the clean up afterward. The blade features a wide build that encourages you to practice your knuckle clearance as well as scooping from the cutting board.
This is the only knife to come with a PerfectFit sheath. Those who don't have a kitchen knife set holder, the sheath will serve as a temporary protection until you do make that upgrade.
Dalstrong stands strong by its Gladiator Knife which explains its lifetime warranty. You can be an owner of a Dalstrong Chef Knife Gladiator Series for a price tag of under $70. This is the best chef knife for under 100, so if it fits your budget- what are you waiting for?
What features to look out for
A chef knife is a serious kitchen tool that will shape the quality of the dishes you create for your guests. If you're the type of person who takes great pride in their cooking skills, then you'll have to equip yourself with a chef knife that feels like it's an extension from your hand. All the knives mentioned above are your standard professional models since there is more than one type of knife style.
In general, you can judge a chef knife based on the material it’s made out of. The most durable chef knives contain a high-carbon stainless steel blade that won’t discolor or rust as the years go by. Those who want a knife that will last them should seriously consider a high carbon stainless steel one.
However, if the knife that caught your eye is made out of standard carbon steel, you shouldn’t set it aside just yet. Sometimes chefs prefer a soft metal because sharpening the knife becomes an effortless task. Keep in mind that you will have to regularly sharpen this knife since it becomes dull quicker than a high carbon one.
You can test the cutting capacity of a chef knife in a couple of seconds. All you have to do is answer this question- can your chef knife cut paper? Answering the question is easy enough since the test is taking a sheet of white printer paper and holding the chef knife perpendicular to it. Then you attempt to slice the paper with one clean stroke.
When you try slicing the paper, the knife should cleanly cut through it. Perhaps your knife requires force on your part to slice the paper, and if it does, then you need to sharpen it.
Ability to stay sharp
The best kitchen knives can stay sharp for a long time. This is due to the blades being treated with steel hardening techniques that lock in the sharpness even after hours of use.
In order to determine the steel hardness level, you have the Rockwell scale to refer to. The lowest hardness steel level in a standard kitchen knife is 56. This knife will lose its sharpness after a couple of uses and will prove to be challenging to sharpen.
For blades that stay sharp and are easy to sharpen, you'll want to look for high carbon blades. Modern-day blades come built with a combination of materials thanks to technological advances made in knife manufacturing.
One such modern blade is one that comes with a mixture of carbon and chromium. This mixture results in a blade that will remain sharp for a long time won't rust but will be a challenge to sharpen once again.
Your palm dictates whether or not you'll have a comfortable grip on a chef knife. Attaining a sense of balance while holding your knife will ensure you can use it with ease. Grip the knife to judge how balanced it is in your palm.
Most buyers make the mistake of purchasing a knife that comes highly recommended from a Michelin star chef. Just because a knife fits perfectly in a professional's hand doesn't necessarily mean that it will work in yours.
When you hold the knife, notice how the weight is displaced. If the handle is weighing your hand down, it’s not meant to be. The same applies if the blade is weighing your hand down. An unbalanced knife assures you’ll have to work twice as hard to get a mediocre result.
The knife should be perfectly balanced, which accentuates the importance of side to side balance. While you're chopping food, the knife has to feel stable, so you have total control of every movement. Precision is attainable with a comfortable and balanced chef knife.
Size and weight
Chef knives tend to come in lengths that vary from 8 inches to 12 inches. You'll find some six-inch chef knives, but those are meant for particular tasks or those with small hands.
A rule of thumb to adhere to would be that the longer the blade, the easier it will be to make long single stroke cuts. So if you want to improve your slicing skills, invest in a knife with a long blade.
German style knives feature blades with a curve in the front while French-style knives feature blades with a triangular yet straight shape. French style is ideal for slicing while German is better for chopping.
The edge angle of a kitchen knife determines what you can and cannot cut with it. When a knife has an edge angle measuring less than 10 degrees, you should know that it's reserved for cutting softer food items.
The best chef knife set will include knives that have blade edge angles ranging from 10 to 20 degrees. If you're looking for a single kitchen knife, the optimal angle to search for would be fifteen to twenty-degree blades.
An edge angle on the lower end comes in handy when you require smooth cutting action. If you wish to sharpen a blade to a specific angle, keep in mind the material its made out of because stronger metals will chip under a lot of pressure.
Ease of cleaning
Always handwash your chef knives to avoid damaging its structural body. Even though some chef knives claim to be dishwasher safe, you increase the risk of weakening the integrity of the knife by cleaning it in one.
You are now familiar with the five best chef's knives, so it's up to your personal preferences to make the final decision as to which knife you'll use for a lifetime. Marriage may not last forever, but your chef knife will. Remember that a chef knife is a one-time investment because most of these knives come with a lifetime warranty!
As long as you are realistic with what you expect out of your chef knife, you won’t be disappointed with its performance.