Whether you’re a professional chef, or an amateur cook beginning your exploration into the culinary world, a quality chef knife is a must.
These knives are workhorses in the kitchen, being able to handle just about any slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing jobs you can throw at it.
And while most people believe that a quality chef knife has to cost a lot of money, that is far from the truth.
There are countless budget chef knives out there that you can get for under $100, and a lot of them perform up to par with some of the best chef knives on the market today.
But with all the different options out there, figuring out which ones are actually worth buying can be tough.
To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled reviews of some of the best chef knives for $100 on the market today.
Read on to learn which blade is the right one for you.
Best Chef Knives Under $100 (Updated List)
Mac Knife Series Hollow Edge
- 2mm Blade, rust-resistant, exceptionally sharp, made out of high...
- Original Molybdenum steel has better edge-retention
- Pakka wood handle
Kicking off the list is one of the best-made chef knives under $100.
It comes from a Japanese company known for using very high-quality materials when constructing their knives.
Right out of the box, this is a very sharp knife that has air pockets along its sides to prevent food from sticking when you’re going through food.
It’s a knife that you can use instantly and will get you great results.
The material used in making it is called Molybdenum, which is an alloy that is resistant to rust and acids that you can find in food like citric acid.
This gives it an impeccable sharpness and durability which is one of the reasons it demands a higher price than some others on the list.
As this is a more premium model, it’s more recommended for those who already have experience with high-quality chef knives and want to get one for themselves.
- Very sharp
- Made out of Molybdenum
- The design makes it very easy to use
- Hollow edge ensures long-lasting sharpness and improves cutting performance
- Allows you to cut through food faster
- On the more expensive side compared to other models in this list
- Lightweight, precisely balanced 7-inch Oriental chef's knife
- Blade made of high-tech molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel
- Edge retains razor sharpness exceptionally well
This is a great knife that can bridge the gap between a knife for professionals and one for home cooks.
It is made out of a mix of Molybdenum, vanadium, and chromium, and is hollow-handled which gives it a razor-sharp edge that lasts and great balance.
It has a fairly unique design, one that almost resembles a Kiritsuke, but still retains that classic chef knife look.
The alloy that makes up it is also called CROMOVA 18 steel, which is known for being a great material for chef knives.
Using it is very fun, partly because the design is so ergonomic and doesn’t put that much stress on your muscles.
it is also on the more affordable side of things, which makes it a great pick for home cooks and professionals alike.
- Made of CROMOVA 18 Steel
- Unique ergonomic design
- The hollow-handled design gives it a great balance
- The shorter 7” blade has its limitations
Miyabi Morimoto Edition
- Authentic thin Japanese blade profile
- Hand-honed using the three-step Honbazuke process to 9. 5 to 12 degree...
- Special formula, high-carbon German stainless steel
In the world of chef knives, Miyabi is one of the most respected brands out there, and it’s great to see a top-tier brand like this come up with a more affordable choice.
This great blade is full-tang, triple-riveted, and is forged, not stamped.
Those qualities can be tough to come across when looking for chef knives under $100.
It’s a Japanese-style knife, so the bladed is incredibly thin and sharp, giving you great control while allowing you to cut through delicate ingredients with a lot of precision.
This is a great pick for those who prefer the thinner style of Japanese chef knives, and the precision that comes along with it.
That being said, the thin blade does have its limitations.
While it is sharp, it may not be ideal for cutting around the bone since its so thin and delicate.
it is handcrafted by excellent craftsmen to ensure that all the knives that get sold are of the highest quality.
Right out of the box, it is razor sharp, so you won’t have to worry about having to sharpen it before use.
- Made by the well-respected Miyabi brand
- Has a very thin and ultra-sharp blade
- Triple riveted
- Forged and not stamped
- One of the best affordable Japanese chef knives out there
- The thinner blade is not recommended for cutting around bones
- Outstanding craftsmanship, cutting-edge technology, stunning design...
- Incredibly razor sharp, full-tang, imported high-carbon German steel...
- Award winning design, with satisfying heft, premium materials and...
This is an 8′ chef knife, which opens up so many cutting, chopping, and slicing options in the kitchen.
It gives you enough size to cut through large ingredients, while still being small enough to control with a lot of precision.
It’s the ideal size, which is supposed to be used for anything in the kitchen.
It’s arguably one of the best budget 8” chef knives out there.
It’s German made, and is constructed of high carbon stainless steel that is resistant to chipping.
This is the one that can last you a while.
The triple-riveted design on the handle not only helps give a lot of balance, but it also adds a lot of durability to it.
This is another great choice for those looking to save on cost but don’t want to compromise quality and performance.
- Very affordable, price stays under the $70 mark
- Can be used for a variety of tasks
- Very sharp
- Made out of high carbon stainless steel
- May require sharpening from time to time
- The must-have kitchen knife - handcraft in Japan
- Steel: proprietary composite blade technology; VG10 san Mai cutting...
- VG10 is clad with one layer of stainless steel on each side to create...
The Shun brand is another knife making company from Japan that’s well-renowned for making great knives.
This one is no exception, and one of the best parts about it is that it’s affordable.
it doesn’t have the same quality as the premiere Shun models such as the Shun Classic, but that’s just to be expected since it’s one of the brand’s entry-level knives.
That being said, it still outperforms a lot of other models in its price range.
It has a razor-sharp blade with a VG10 Japanese steel core that gives it a very sharp edge.
This is another knife that’s handcrafted meticulously to ensure its quality.
It’s a full-sized model that is under $100 and comes from a great brand.
That is hard to come by nowadays, which is what makes the Shun Sora a top pick for anyone looking to buy their first chef knife!
- Has a VG10 Japanese Steel Core
- Multi-layered steel blade
- Very sharp right out of the box
- Comes with a lifetime warrant
- Made by a reputable brand
- It can be brittle
Zwilling J.A. Henckels
- Manufactured in Germany
- Special formula high carbon NO STAIN steel
- SIGMAFORGE knife is forged from a single piece of solid steel
Next up, we have a budget choice from Zwilling J.A. Henckels.
Just ask about any chef out there which are their top knife brands and chances are, you’ll hear this brand get brought up.
it is on the more expensive side of things, but that should come as no surprise because there’s hardly anything wrong with it.
It’s made out of German Steel, is full tang, and it’s also forged and ice-hardened.
Having it forged and ice-hardened gives the blade much more durability, long-lasting sharpness, and better quality overall.
It’s a full-sized German chef knife with a Western handle.
That means that it’s a bit thicker than Japanese knives (but still razor-sharp), this thickness allows you to chop through heavier ingredients while sacrificing a little bit of precision and control.
- Very sharp
- Top-notch construction
- Forged and not stamped
- Ice-hardened blade retains its edge longer
- More expensive than a lot of others on this list
- High-carbon stainless steel blade-It is manufactured from high-quality...
- Multi-functional knife-The gyutou knife is classified and designed to...
- Ergonomic pakka handle- To make it more professional and minimize any...
This is one of the best budget Japanese knives you can get on the market.
It has a Rockwell hardness rating of 58, which is hard to come by in this price range.
It also has a very sharp and thin Japanese blade, which gives you more precision.
The handle is made of Pakkawood which serves both an aesthetic and practical purpose.
it is really nice to hold, with a great feeling of balance, and since the handle is made of wood, it gives it a very unique and elegant look.
The blade on it is made of a combination of carbon and chrome, and this makes it resistant to corrosion.
It’s very affordable and does a whole load of kitchen tasks very well.
it is highly recommended for home cooks who want to begin their collection with a quality Japanese chef knife.
- Very affordable
- Has a great look to it
- Very sharp blade
- Has a hardness rating of 58
- Can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks
- Can’t be used for either frozen or very hot food
How To Spot A Good Chef Knife For Under $100
Now that we’ve gone over some of the best chef knives for under $100, it’s time to check out some of the qualities of a good chef knife.
Here are some things to look out for when buying a chef knife.
1. Partial Tang VS Full Tang
Tang refers to the part of the blade that’s connected to the handle.
A full-tang blade is one that runs throughout the entire handle and a partial tang blade doesn’t run throughout the entire handle.
A knife that is full-tang will have a bit more structural integrity than a partial one, and it will also allow for a more even distribution of weight.
That being said, whether or not a knife is a full tang one is not the only quality of a good knife.
There are some knives out there that are full tang and low quality, and there are also high-quality partial tang knives.
Next, you have to check out how a knife will feel in your hand.
Everyone has different tastes, which means that different designs will serve different cooks.
The best way to test this is to try out it yourself.
While you don’t have to go around chopping a bunch of vegetables, it would be ideal for you to at least hold it before deciding on buying it.
Feel if the weight is right for you, check if it feels balanced, and whether the handle feels right in your hand.
After all, a super sharp knife that doesn’t feel right in your hands is just useless.
3. The Blade
The blade is one of the most important parts of a knife, and if you plan on investing on a quality chef knife it’s best to make sure the blade is of the highest quality.
A couple of decades ago, it was commonly accepted that forged blades are superior to stamped blades.
But with the advancement of technology and easier access to high-quality materials, the difference isn’t as great.
Forged blades made of high-quality steel and are sharpened properly will always outweigh a stamped blade of the same quality, but there are also a lot of very high-quality stamped knives out there that are just as sharp as any forged one out there.
Another thing to check out is the material the blade is made of.
It’s best to get a knife made of very high-quality steel with a good Rockwell hardness rating so you can ensure that it retains its edge.
Aside from all of that, you have to figure out how large of a blade you want.
A full-size chef knife will measure around 9” – 12” in length, but blades like that are more reserved for professionals with a lot of experience.
For home cooks, amateurs, and those beginning their culinary journey, a chef knife that measures 7” – 9” would be ideal as it will still give you the feel and strength of a chef knife while giving you a lot more control.
What Is The Best Affordable Chef Knife?
The answer to this question will mostly depend on your tastes and needs in the kitchen, but our pick for the best affordable chef knife would have to be the Mac Knife Series Hollow Edge Chef Knife.
it topped our list, and for good reason too.
It is on the relatively affordable side, and the quality of it is seemingly unparalleled in its price range.it is arguably the best chef knife under $100 that you can get today.
What Is The Best Material For Chef Knives?
When looking for a good western-style chef knife, it’s recommended to look at knives that are made of high-carbon stainless steel.
While there are a lot of other very high-quality knives made of different materials, stainless steel is still the standard.
These knives will be very hard and durable, be very sharp right out of the box, and retain their edge for much longer.
Are German Or Japanese Knives Better?
In the world of kitchen knives, German-made and Japanese-made ones are considered some of the best quality knives out there.
None of these knives styles are objectively better than the other.
But depending on your chopping style and preferences, you could benefit from choosing one of these knives.
For those who do a lot of delicate kitchen tasks with small ingredients such as slicing fish, chopping vegetables and fruits, as well as doing other detailed chopping jobs, it might be better to get a Japanese knife.
This is because they are thinner and sharper than German ones.
However, German knives are built a bit heavier and thicker, giving them more durability.
These knives are ideal for those who do a lot of heavier chopping jobs in the kitchen like chopping meat.
What Knives Do Professional Chefs Use?
A professional in the culinary world will probably find themselves using a large variety of knives on the job.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have favorites.
A lot of chefs will usually resort to the traditional western-style chef knife or a Japanese chef knife called a Gyutou.
These knives are workhorses in the kitchen and they are also very flexible and can do a whole lot of different jobs.
What Knives Should I Own?
In a kitchen, you can have a very wide arsenal of tools, but there are three knives that are considered absolutely essential.
These are the chef knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife.
With these three blades, you’ll be able to accomplish just about any cutting, slicing, chopping, peeling, or dicing job in the kitchen.
Are Expensive Knives Worth It?
Yes, they are of very high-quality and will really speed up work in the kitchen.
That being said, unless you’re a professional, the small differences between the very expensive knives and the average chef knife can be negligible.
You can definitely get by with ease in a home kitchen using affordable chef knives, so getting an expensive chef knife might be considered overkill, even if there’s nothing wrong with getting one.
Is Damascus Steel Good For Knives?
Damascus steel is one of the best materials that can be used for knives.
It is durable, sharp, retains its edge longer, and has a good weight to it.
It isn’t a requirement for a knife, but it’s a good quality to have in a chef knife.
A chef knife would be a great investment for anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, this one of the most important tools to have.
And while the expensive chef knives are well-worth the investment, they can sometimes be too expensive.
The affordable chef knives listed in this article are some of the best in the market today, and they can definitely hold their own when compared to their more “premium” counterparts.
But everyone has different needs and tastes, so if you found the right knife for you in this article, all that’s left to do is get one for yourself and start chopping!
Last Updated on December 20, 2020 by Andy Wang