A quality chef knife is the most important tool in the kitchen.
That’s students, and those who are just beginning their culinary journey are encouraged to get one as their first investment.
But with all the options out there, figuring out the best chef knife for a beginner can be tough.
What qualities should it have?
How much should you spend?
How long should it be?
In this article, we talk about all of that and more as we have also compiled reviews of the best chef knives for beginners on the market today.
So if you’ve been looking to start your culinary journey and are looking for the right one to start it with, then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn more.
Best Chef Knives & Knife Sets for Beginners (Updated List)
Qualities To Look For When Buying A Beginner’s Chef Knife
One of the first things to consider when getting a chef knife is how much you’re willing to spend.
Higher-priced knives will generally be of higher quality, but spending a large amount of money as a beginner may be impractical for many people.
When looking for a chef knife, a good price range to look at is the $100-$150 range as the knives in this range tend to be of great quality and aren’t too expensive.
But there are also many great options out there for beginners below the $100 mark that will serve you well.
2. Quality Of Materials
Regardless of the price, you want to make sure the materials used in making the knife set are of high quality.
Firstly, you should look at the blade of it.
One of the best materials for a blade is high-carbon stainless steel.
It can retain its edge for a long time, is very durable, and resistant to shattering.
Another great material is Damascus steel, which is forged steel with many durabilities and can be incredibly sharp.
This kind of steel also leaves behind a “rose” pattern on the blade that can be very eye-catching.
Another thing to look at is the handle, which can also be very important in getting a good grip on it.
Handles can be made out of various materials, but the most common ones are G10, steel, or wood.
The type of handle for you will largely depend on personal tastes and preferences.
3. Length Of The Blade
Professional chefs can commonly be seen using large chef knives with 10”-12” blades.
This allows them to work faster and chop more ingredients, but this size might be a bit too large for a beginner.
For those starting, chef knives with smaller blades would be much easier to get used to.
When looking for a beginner’s chef knife, try looking at blades between 8”- 10” in length.
And if you want even more control when learning the ropes, you can even use a smaller 6”-7” knife as well.
The bevel refers to the way the blade slopes down at the sides.
There are two common bevel styles the double bevel which you can see in Germany-style chef knives, and a single bevel with Japanese-style chef knives.
German-style knives slope down on both sides and are typically sharpened to a 20-degree edge for beginners.
This makes it very durable while remaining sharp.
It’s a great beginner choice because it keeps its edge for a long time and remains durable.
Japanese-chef knives, on the other hand, aren’t as durable because of their single bevel.
However, this does make it much sharper and precise.
Japanese-style knives like the Gyotu or Santoku are typically used for more precise cutting and slicing jobs.
Depending on your needs as a chef, either one of these styles might suit you better.
That’s why it’s important to know and understand the difference before getting yourself a chef knife.
Another thing to look at is to see how the blade was constructed.
A modern chef knife will either have a stamped construction or forged construction.
Forging steel is the more old-school style, and it admittedly gives it a seemingly unparalleled edge and durability.
Blades that are forged however tend to be more expensive.
Stamped blades aren’t of the same quality as their forged counterparts, but they still retain a nice edge and are much more affordable.
And don’t worry, the difference isn’t too large.
The most important thing to look at when checking out beginner chef knives is the feel.
To get a good understanding of the feel, you have to try it out yourself.
Hold it in your hand and ask yourself how it feels and whether you think it’s the right one for you.
Only you will know which knife feels right, and it will come naturally once you hold the right one in your hand.
So make sure to try knives out first before buying them.
Reviews of the Best Chef Knives For Beginners
1. DALSTRONG Shogun Series
- A unique cutting experience: The Shogun Series 7.5” Serrated Chef...
- Unrivalled Performance: Engineered to perfection with perfectly spaced...
- Dalstrong Power: An ultra sharp AUS-10V Japanese super steel cutting...
This may seem like an odd pick for a beginner chef knife, but ask any professional out there, and they’ll tell you a serrated knife is just as important as your standard chef knife.
Serrated knives are great for those extra-tough ingredients and can cut through them with ease.
This particular one is 7” long, which is a great size for beginners as it gives you enough size to cut through large ingredients while still giving you a good amount of control.
It has 66 layers of high-carbon stainless steel and an AUS-10V core with a Rockwell Hardness rating of 62.
This makes for an extremely durable and sharp knife.
The handle is made of G10, which is a very durable and comfortable material in the hand.
It’s a full tang triple-riveted knife so it gives you a great amount of balance when cutting.
If you’re looking to cut larger ingredients, then this one is a great option for you.
- Can cut through tough ingredients
- Made of quality materials
- Full-tang gives it a great balance.
- Very sharp right out of the box
- A good size for beginners
- Not ideal for cutting the more delicate ingredients
2. Mercer Culinary Millennia
- Ergonomic handle- a combination of Santoprene for comfort and...
- Textured finger points provide slip resistance, grip, and safety....
- Hand wash knives for blade edge and surface care
The next one on our list is a great budget pick for beginners looking to buy their first chef knife.
It’s made of high-carbon Japanese steel that gives a sharp edge and great durability.
The handle is made of polypropylene and santropene.
This gives the handle a sturdy build and an ergonomic feel.
The handle has textured finger points that can serve as a guide while also reducing slips.
It also has a protective finger guard that is a huge plus for a beginner getting used to the chef knife.
It may not be the highest-quality model out there, but it does the job really well while saving you some money.
- The design is great for beginners.
- High-carbon stainless steel blade
- Ergonomic handle
- Very sharp right out of the box
- Not the highest quality on the market
3. Kai Wasabi
- Japanese style chef's knife, multi purpose knife used for slicing,...
- Made with Daido 1K6 high-carbon, stainless steel for superior edge...
- Embellished with the japanese character for' wasabi'
While the Kai brand may not be the most popular, they produce very great products at a practical price.
The steel is very sharp and very high-quality.
But that shouldn’t come as a surprise since Kai also produces Shun cutlery.
This blade has a very classy and sleek look to it.
It comes very sharp right out of the box, and honing it for a minute or two a day will keep it razor sharp.
You won’t have to worry about taking out the whetstone weekly for it.
It’s also made in the Japanese style, which makes it very sharp and durable.
This is a great choice for beginners, and it comes from a very trusted brand.
- Made of high-quality materials
- It doesn’t require too much sharpening.
- Great feel
- Sleek design
- Not dishwasher safe
- 【8 Inch Chef's Knife】: This MOSFiATA 8 Inch Chef Knife is made of...
- 【Sharp Edge & 14~16° Sharpening Angle】: Sharpness is key....
- 【Sturdy Ergonomic Design & Micarta Handle】: The solid Micarta...
This is a very well made, ultra-sharp knife that comes at a reasonable price.
It has an artificial Damascus pattern, which isn’t the most attractive feature, but the blade’s quality definitely makes up for that.
The blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel that can retain its edge even after heavy use.
It also comes with a sharpener, making it ideal for those starting in the kitchen.
It’s a full-tang knife, which means it will have a great balance to it that you will feel instantly.
The handle also has a very ergonomic design, making it very easy to use even if you aren’t used to the feel of a full-sized chef knife.
All in all, a great knife for beginners to start with that comes at a very affordable price.
- Very sharp
- The ergonomic design makes it easy to use
- It comes with a sharpener and finger guard
- Ideal for beginners
- The blade doesn’t have the nicest finish.
5. J.A. Henckels Classic
- Made in Spain
- Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel
- Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition...
It comes from a very well respected brand and is relatively affordable for a high-quality chef knife.
This is arguably the best beginner chef knife for the money out there and is well worth the investment.
It is made of German stainless steel, giving it a razor-sharp edge that will stay that way for a very long time.
It’s a Western-style chef knife, which could be a great pick for a beginner since they are fairly easier to use.
These knives also require less maintenance since they stay sharp longer.
It’s a forged blade, which also adds to its quality, and this can be hard to find among knives in this price range.
It is recommended for beginners because it is a knife that performs at par with more expensive models.
- Great value
- Made by a trusted brand in Spain
- It has a forged blade.
- A bit more expensive than other models on this list
6. Mercer Culinary Genesis
- Santoprene handle for comfort and safe grip, NSF certified
- High carbon forged steel from Soligen, Germany. Stain-resistant x50 Cr...
- Taper-ground edge allows for added stability, easy honing, long...
This is a full-tang knife made of German stainless steel.
This means it will have a great balance to it, a razor-sharp blade, and resistant to rust and corrosion.
This one is great as it can give you the feel of a professional chef knife while remaining very affordable.
It has a Santropene handle that gives you a very comfortable and safe grip, which can help those starting in the kitchen.
It’s an affordable model with a great blade, proper balance, and a comfortable grip.
Not much more you can ask for when looking at beginner’s chef knives.
- It has a sharp blade
- Ergonomic handle
- May need to be sharpened regularly
- FOR HOME CHEFS & PROFESSIONALS. This Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife has been...
- FIT FOR ALL TASKS. Designed to handle both small and large kitchen...
- EASY HANDLING. Each knife features an ergonomic handle made from...
Wrapping up our list is a small, 6-inch blade.
It comes from Victorinox, a very respected brand in the culinary community.
It is very sharp, easy to use, and the small size gives you a lot of control.
The size of it can make a huge difference when you’re learning the ropes of preparing ingredients.
That being said, since it is a smaller blade, your workflow may be slower, and you may have a limited range of ingredients you can cut.
But as a beginner, that’s a sacrifice that’s worth all the extra control you gain.
So if you’re looking to start slow and use a smaller one that gives you more control, this is our top pick.
- Easy to use
- It gives you a lot of control
- It comes with a razor-sharp blade
- Made of high-quality materials
- The size of it can be limiting
1. What Is The Best Chef Knife For The Money?
This will all depend on a number of criteria.
And most importantly, it will depend on your own needs and wants.
But if you want something decent to start with, I highly recommend trying the Dalstrong Shogun series chef knife.
2. What Brand Of Knives Do Professional Chefs Prefer?
Different chefs will have different opinions when it comes to which brands are good.
This is because everyone has different tastes and needs, especially with something as personal as a chef knife.
However, some brands tend to stick out more than others.
These brands are Shun, Mac, Global, Henckels, and Wusthof.
There isn’t one objective best brand out there for chef knives, but these ones are definitely in the top tier.
3. How Can I Tell If A Knife Is Good?
It should be durable, sharp, and feel good in the hand.
The best way to determine is to try it out.
Try to feel how it cuts through ingredients, how it fits in your hand, and how durable the construction seems.
At the end of the day, it’s how a knife feels in the hand of a chef that matters the most.
4. What Size Should I Buy?
Professionals tend to use larger knives that measure up to 12”.
That can be great, but if you’re starting out, it’s best to go for the models that are a bit smaller.
This will give you a better sense of control as you slowly figure out how to use and maneuver your knife.
5. How Sharp Should A Chef’s Knife Be?
Typically a chef knife should be sharpened to an edge anywhere between 15 and 20 degrees.
However, some brands release knives with even sharper edges of 12-13 degrees.
And while these knives are very sharp, they might not be ideal for beginners who are just starting to learn the ropes.
Depending on your skill level and the things you’ll be cutting, the right sharpness will be different.
But as long as you maintain your knife properly and can cut through ingredients with ease, then your knife is just as sharp as it needs to be.
And that’s our list of the best chef knives for beginners.
These knives are all designed for different kinds of chefs, which is why the choices can seem very varied.
But when it comes to buying chef knives, what’s most important is how comfortable the chef is with their knife.
Most people will know the right one when they hold it in their hands, that’s why trying out blades before buying is of the utmost importance.
And when you finally find that blade that fits just right in your hand and feels great when cutting, you’ll know that you have the best chef knife for you.
- Best Chef Knives & Knife Sets for Beginners (Updated List)
- Qualities To Look For When Buying A Beginner’s Chef Knife
- Reviews of the Best Chef Knives For Beginners