Long before fancy chef’s knives, humans have been using sharp blades and other primitive tools to hunt and prepare food. In fact, archaeologists recently discovered evidence of bow-and-arrow use in Sri Lanka — the first time this has been documented outside Africa. And while the basic concept of knives has remained somewhat steady, one thing has changed dramatically over the past 48,000 years: they’ve gotten expensive. Whether you’re shopping for a simple bread knife or an elaborate chef's set, knowing how to spot the best budget kitchen knives will help you find quality options that don't break the bank. Here are the things to look for:
- Sharp, stainless steel blade: You want your knife to have a sharp blade that doesn't dull easily. Stainless steel is more durable and less prone to rusting, tarnishing, and corrosion, so go with that whenever possible.
- Grippy handle: Cutting control is a big factor in knife use so make sure that the handle is smooth with a comfortable, ergonomic design that's conducive to easy gripping.
- Slender, lightweight design: Although there are times when a heavier knife is preferable, most of the time you want to be able to cut quickly and not hassle with overly thick, bulky blades. Pick something that's slender and not too heavy.
- Easy to clean: It is possible to find knives that are dishwasher safe, according to the brand. But truthfully, your knives will probably remain in the best shape over time if you hand-wash them.
To help you find the best budget kitchen knives out there, I spent some time researching various options on Amazon, according to the factors above. Scroll down to find the one that fits your kitchen the best.
The best knife sets
A basic set
The lowdown: This versatile six-piece knife set is a great option that's resistant to rust, scratches, and corrosion. The knives in this set are extremely durable too, according to fans, offering lots of strength to tackle various food prep. The blades are made of sharp, high-quality stainless steel and the handles are constructed from simple, lightweight plastic that doesn't feel too heavy in your hands. The set includes a chef's knife, Santoku knife, carving knife, bread knife, utility knife, and paring knife.
One reviewer says: "I just sliced through a butternut squash with almost no effort - wow. These knives are great and such a good price for how many you get. And all of the knives are useful. Some sets that you get come with really odd knives that you’ll never have a use for. This set comes with all useful ones. Recommend!"
A cutting board set
The lowdown: With sharp stainless steel blades and comfortable ergonomic handles, these are some of the best kitchen knives on Amazon. They come in an assorted set with five different knives, along with a sharpener and a bonus cutting board. Each knife is strong, durable, and resistant to both rust and corrosion. The handles are easy to grip and make cutting effortless. Plus, they're all dishwasher safe and come with handy blade guards for storage. The cutting board has nonslip handles and a convenient juice groove to catch liquids. Included in the set is a chef's knife, bread knife, slicing knife, paring knife, and utility knife.
One reviewer says: "I bought this knife set because I also needed a cutting board and it was a great deal. The knives are very sturdy and I love that it comes with a sharpener. The cutting board is a good size as well! It all seems like great quality for the price."
A wooden knife block set
The lowdown: If you're looking for a totally comprehensive option, this is one of the best knife sets for the money. In addition to a basic chef's knife, bread knife, slicing knife, Santoku knife, and utility knife, it comes with six small steak knives, a sharpener, kitchen shears, and a wooden block for storage. The sharp blades are made from high-carbon stainless steel that is incredibly rust-resistant. The smooth, ergonomic handles are durable, stable, and easy to grip. The one potential negative is that these knives are hand-wash only.
One reviewer says: "I love it! Knives are sturdy, blades are nice and sharp, The wood grain color matches perfectly with my kitchen! I love that it comes with kitchen shears because I use them a ton! I would recommend this set for sure!"
The best single knives
A chef's knife
The lowdown: Made with high-quality stainless steel, this Utopia chef's knife is one of the best cheap knives on Amazon, with hundreds of five-star reviews to back it up. It's razor-sharp with a smooth, durable handle that offers comfortable grip and excellent cutting control. The steel is rust-resistant and the knife itself has a lightweight, slender design. On top of that, it's dishwasher-safe and comes with a sheath for safe storage.
One reviewer says: "Fantastic knife for the price! I can't believe that it worked so well and I'm really glad that I bought 2! I was looking for everyday knives to replace my old dull and chipped danger-knives without dropping a bunch of cash. These are nice and hefty, solidly built and very sharp! I'm extremely pleased!"
A utility knife
The lowdown: This Home Hero utility knife is constructed with strong and elegant stainless steel. At 5 inches in length, the blade is just the right size for smaller tasks, and the soft, ergonomic handle is made of polypropylene plastic that provides excellent grip. On top of that, this knife is durable, rust-resistant, and dishwasher-safe.
One reviewer says: "I LOVE these knives and they are my go-to for gifts, housewarmings, wedding showers, etc.... I will never spend money on any other knives as long as these exist. For the price and quality you can’t beat them. I’m honestly surprised how inexpensive these are. Best thing I ever bought on Amazon."
A bread knife
The lowdown: For those tasks that are easier with perforated edges, it's hard to beat this top-notch culinary bread knife. It has an extra sharp stainless steel blade and a handle built from smooth Santoprene and polypropylene, with a finger guard for added safety. With more than 12,000 reviews, its one of the most popular standalone knives on Amazon, with fans calling it "AWESOME" and "wicked-razor-sharp." The only drawback is that it is hand-wash only.
One reviewer says: "The edge retention is just astounding. I just filleted a whole stringer of walleye, and a few trout (about 25 fish) and I swear I could still cut a hair in mid air with this katana-sharp knife. I simply love it."