Best Chef Knives For Under $30: Which One Would You Choose?

* This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure here.*

Chef knives don’t have to be expensive.

While it may seem like you can’t be a professional chef without busting the bank on a model, you can easily find high-quality blades for a good price.

Especially if you know where to look.

But with the very wide selection of chef knives out there for under $30, figuring out which ones are worth your money can be a pretty tough task.

That’s why we’ve compiled reviews of the best chef knives for under $30 in the market today.

In this range, you won’t exactly find the highest quality of knives, but you will find a lot of reliable, functional, and practical models that can serve you very well in the kitchen.

Read on to learn more.

Related: Top 9 best chef knives you should know about

Best Chef Knives Under $30 (Updated List)

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A Buying Guide For Chef Knives Under $30

best chef knives under 30

When buying, there are a couple of things you have to check to make sure you’re getting a quality product.

And in this section, we take a look at some things you need to check out when buying a budget-friendly chef knife.

1. The Blade

First and foremost, regardless of how much you’re spending on a chef knife, you have to make sure it has a quality blade.

Stainless steel is one of the best materials for blades, but try to keep an eye out for blades made of high-carbon stainless steel.

This is a material that is sharp, holds its edge well, and is more resistant to corrosion.

Also, you’d want to have a model that is sharp right out of the box, so always check how the blade is sharpened and to what angle.

For a chef knife, it’s ideal to have an angle of 15-20 degrees out of the box.

Another thing to check is if the blade runs throughout the whole knife, or if it is full-tang.

A full tang model will be much more balanced and is easier to use.

2. Handle

The next thing you want to look at is the handle.

In this price range, you probably won’t find any handles made of G10.

However, you’ll probably encounter a lot of knives with either wooden on Santropene handles.

A wooden handle will only work well and feel comfortable if it is laminated and treated properly.

Santoprene handles are generally cheaper but are reliable, safe, sanitary, and feel comfortable in the hand.

3. Practicality

You would want a relatively low-maintenance knife.

Some knives in this price range will be dishwasher safe, but a lot of others won’t.

This can be a hassle for those who don’t have time to wash and dry their knives by hand.

You also want a model with good edge retention because unless you’re a professional, you don’t want to spend hours on end making sure your blade is razor-sharp all the time.

4. Feel

Lastly, you have to make sure a model feels right in your hand.

The only way to do this is by holding it yourself.

If you get the chance to, try gripping it how you normally would and go through a cutting motion.

And if you can, try cutting something with it.

This is how you can gauge if it is right for you and if it’s up to your standards.

Reviews Of The Best Chef Knives For Under $30

1. Mercer Culinary Millennia (Best Overall)

-14% Sale
Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef's Knife, 8 Inch, Blue
  • 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 first knife on this list comes from Mercer, a brand known for providing home cooks with high-quality chef knives at an affordable price.

The blade is made of Japanese stainless steel which gives it a very sharp edge for its price range.

But what makes this great is the ease of use.

It has a Santoprene handle with a finger guard that is also mixed with some polypropylene for added durability.

It also has great edge retention, so you won’t have to be sharpening it often.

And because of the steel, when you do need to sharpen it, the process is very easy.

The only downside to this is that it needs to be hand-washed, but that’s a small sacrifice for a blade of this quality.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Very sharp
  • Functional design
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Made of Japanese stainless steel


  • Not dishwasher friendly

Other great collections:

2. Imarku (2nd Runner-up)

-32% Sale
imarku Chef Knife - Pro Kitchen Knife 8 Inch Chef's Knives...
  • 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 Imarku knife perfectly combines functionality, aesthetics, and affordability.

It is right below the $30 mark, so it may be on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it.

It has a high-carbon stainless steel blade, which is great for this range, and not something that you’ll find often.

This gives it a very sharp edge that you can use to cut, slice, chop, and prep a whole bunch of different ingredients.

It also has a Pakkawood handle that gives it a very professional look while allowing you to grip the handle with a lot of comforts.

If you plan on doing the long haul in the kitchen and cut a lot of ingredients, this will allow you to do it while reducing fatigue.

This is one of the best Gyotu knives you can get for under $30.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Great for a lot of different tasks
  • Sharp edge
  • Professional-looking handle
  • Made of high-carbon stainless steel


  • It’s on the pricier side

3. Paudin Pro (Best for Design)

-48% Sale
Chef Knife - PAUDIN N1 8 inch Kitchen Knife, German High...
  • 【Professional Chef's Knife】: This kitchen knife is suitable for...
  • 【Multi-Functional Chef Knife】: This 8 inch chef knife can easily...
  • 【Ultra Sharp Knife】: Sharpness is the most important feature for a...

The Paudin Pro is another model that would be ideal for those looking for a professional-looking chef knife on a budget.

It has a wooden handle that comes in a nice dark brown shade.

Not only does it make it look more professional, but it also allows you to have a comfortable grip that doesn’t tire out your hand.

The blade is made of German stainless steel and is incredibly sharp with a 56+ Rockwell Hardness Rating, which is far from the best but is great for the price.

It’s full tang, so that gives you a good sense of control when you’re cutting, and it also comes with a nice gift box.

The look, functionality, and price of this make it a great choice for anyone looking to gift someone with a quality product.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • Comes with a gift box
  • Comfortable handle
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Well-balanced


  • Doesn’t hold its edge very well

4. Professional (Best for Beginners)

Professional Chef Knife, 8 Inch Pro Kitchen Knife, German...
  • For home chefs & professionals. This Pro chef's knife has been the top...
  • Stainless steel blade with high-carbon - The professional 8 inch...
  • Ultra-Sharp Edge: Sharpness is key. This chefs knife blade is made...

Next up is a model that is great for home cooks, and would also be a great first chef knife for beginners in the culinary world.

It has a blade that is 0.6%-0.7% carbon which makes it up to two times harder than most knives in its price range.

Aside from its durability, this is also a very sharp model perfect for slicing, mincing, and chopping ingredients.

It has a Damascus pattern on the blade which could be a huge plus for those who like the aesthetic, but it should be noted that this is not a Damascus steel knife.

It comes with a very classy gift box that makes it a great gift for a friend starting out their culinary career.

This is a very sharp, fairly durable, and well-designed one that sells at a relatively low price.

It would make a great pick for any aspiring chef looking to start their collection.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 8/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • Affordable
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Made out of high-carbon stainless steel
  • Well balanced
  • Has a nicely designed handle


  • The Damascus pattern might not be for everyone

5. Aroma House (Best for Gifting)

-18% Sale
Chef Knife Professional 8-Inch Kitchen Knife German...
  • Well Balanced Cooking Knife ➦The knife weight and the balance...
  • Multifunctional Sharp Knife ➦This professional 8 inch chefs knife is...
  • Double Edged Blade & Full Tang Design ➦ This chef knife is...

This Aroma House is another great one for beginners.

It comes with a gift box, making it a great present to give, and it also comes with a model sharpener to make things easier for the user.

It has a Pakka handle, which gives you a very solid, non-slip grip on it, which can work very well for those who are still trying to get used to the feel of a chef knife.

It’s full tang with a double edge.

That means it is well-balanced and is ideal for both left-handed and right-handed cooks.

The size of this allows it to be used for almost all the kitchen tasks from cutting meat, to slicing fish, all the way to chopping vegetables.

If you see yourself cooking a lot at home or doing a lot of cooking in general, this is a great one to have.

It will cut through almost any ingredient you throw at it with ease, and it’s also very affordable, making it a top-tier choice for home cooks and beginners.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Very sharp
  • Nicely design
  • Pakkawood handle
  • Comes with a model sharpener and gift box
  • Good edge retention


  • Not dishwasher safe

6. TUO (Best for Versatility)

TUO Chef Knife- Kitchen Chef’s Knife - High Carbon German...
  • VERSATILE CHEF KNIFE: This 6'' chef knife is perfect for cutting...
  • PREMIUM STEEL: In order to ensure the good performance, we specially...
  • RAZOR SHARP EDGE: The blade is hand-polished by skilled blacksmiths...

Next up, we have a 6” blade from TUO.

It’s full tang, has a sharp blade, and has a wooden handle.

The size of it makes it ideal for those with smaller hands and beginners trying to get used to the feel of a model.

This also makes a great one for cutting up vegetables, as the size is ideal for it.

If you already have a full-sized chef knife in your kitchen, or you’re looking for something smaller and easier to control, this might satisfy your needs just fine.

And on top of that, it will be a very classy addition to any kitchen.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Rustic and classic design
  • Full tang
  • Very sharp
  • Great for cutting vegetables
  • Well-balanced


  • May be too small for some cooks

7. Victorinox Fibrox Pro (Smaller Choice)

-32% Sale
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife, 5-Inch Chef's
  • 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...

Last on this list, we have the Victorinox Fibrox Pro.

This is a small knife, measuring in at only 5”.

But don’t let the size fool you.

It’s a very well-made, full tang blade constructed out of stainless steel that will cut through just about anything.

It also has a very ergonomic design that allows you to cut and slice very easily.

This is a great one for beginners and home cooks as it’s very affordable and easy to maintain.

Another cool feature is that this is dishwasher-friendly, which is perfect for those who don’t have the time to hand wash their knives after every use.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9/10


  • Affordable
  • Dishwasher friendly
  • Very sharp
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Easy to use


  • It may be too small for some tasks


1. What Is The Best Size For A Chef Knife?

While you might see professional chefs using large, 14” chef knives, that might not be the best idea for a beginner or a home cook.

These knives are harder to control and require a lot of practice.

For beginners and home cooks, a good size is around 6”-8”.

This size will allow you to cut through a lot of ingredients with ease.

Another good way to judge is to use your forearm.

It’s a general rule of thumb that the blade of a chef’s knife should be about as long as the forearm of the chef.

2. What Is The Best Chef Knife For The Money?

Our pick is the Victorinox Fibrox Pro.

It’s affordable, razor-sharp, made of quality materials, and it’s easy to maintain.

A perfect choice for a home cook looking for a cheap but high-quality chef knife.

3. What Are The Three Essential Knives In The Kitchen?

The three essential knives in the kitchen are the chef knife, paring knife, and serrated knife.

These three are considered the only true essentials in the kitchen while all the other knives are just great additions to the collection.

However, if you’re a professional, it’s best to have a wide set of knives that you can use for specific tasks.

4. Does the Length Include the Handle?

No, the length only refers to the blade.

So an 8” knife will have an 8”-long blade excluding the handle.

5. How Much Should You Spend?

Some chefs can be seen spending up to a thousand dollars on their chef knives.

And that’s completely fine, after all, it’s a tool that they can use to make their work more efficient.

However, home cooks and beginners might not be able to invest the same amount of money in their chef knives.

That’s why there are a lot of budget options out there, and you can find great chef knives on the market today for below $30.

But if you’re looking for a professional-grade knife, be ready to spend $100-$300 on it.


If you’re a home cook looking for chef knives on a tight budget, I hope that my list above was helpful.

Just to summarize, one of the top picks out there is the Mercer Culinary Genesis Millenia chef knife.

It features a very sharp edge, superior construction, and an ergonomic handle that will feel very comfortable for many chefs.

For those on the hunt for Japanese-style knives, we highly recommend the iMarku Pro Kitchen Chef Knife.

It features a design influenced by Japanese knife-making traditions with modern details that make it one of the most functional knives you’ll have in your kitchen.

And if you need a knife with a beautiful Damascus pattern, we recommend the Paudin Chef Knife.

It has a beautiful Damascus pattern on the blade and comes with a PakkaWood handle that is very easy to grip and control.

Further reading:

Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro | Food Network

12 Pro Techniques Every Serious Home Cook Should Know

Last Updated on September 22, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.