The Best Chef Knives for Every Budget | BuzzFeed Reviews
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The Best Chef’s Knives

We hope you love the products we recommend! We do a lot of research and testing before making our picks for the best thing to buy in each price point. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change. For more info on how we choose products and make money, go here

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife

$39

  • High-carbon stainless steel blade
  • Partial tang
  • Dishwasher safe (but hand-washing is recommended)
Buying Options

Korin Suisin High Carbon Steel Gyutou

$87

  • Japanese high-carbon steel blade
  • Light but sturdy
  • Requires some maintenance to avoid rusting and discoloration
Buying Options

Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife

$145

  • Japanese steel blade
  • Smooth chop, easy grip
  • The ease of low-maintenance for a high-end knife
Buying Options

The chef’s knife is one of the most commonly used tools in any kitchen, used to prepare everything from hearty veggies to delicate herbs to fibrous meat. We’ve put top-rated chef’s knives through the ringer to see which were truly a cut above the rest.

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Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife

Starting from $39

The Details

high-carbon stainless steel

7.9-inch Blade length

Weighs 7.5 oz.

TPE handle material

What / Who It's Best For

  • Kitchen novices
  • People who don’t want to think too hard about knife care
  • People who like the grippability of a plastic handle

Why We Love It

When it comes to knives, a lot depends on personal preference — hand size, wrist strength, level of comfort wielding a sharpened piece of metal — but for this price tier, the consensus was overwhelming: All of our testers selected the Victorinox as their favorite. It was the sharpest right out of the box and sliced through our (slightly mushy) tomatoes, the food that reliably tripped up its competitors, with ease. It was also made short work of potatoes, onions, garlic, and basil.

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife handle

In addition to sharpness, the Victorinox’s handle was comfortable to hold, a must when you’re prepping in any kind of volume. The handle is made of textured plastic, which lived up to its non-slip promises. Looking at the knife’s handle, you might notice that, unlike our other top picks, the Victorinox has a “partial tang” as opposed to a “full tang.” A knife’s tang is the piece of metal inside the handle. Besides being a great drag name, “full tang” means that the metal extends the entire length of the handle (you’ll frequently see a stripe of metal down the handle of a full-tang knife). You may often hear that a full tang is a marker of a high-quality knife, and that buying one with a partial tang would be akin to buying suede rain boots. The truth of the matter, though, is that while a full tang can improve a knife’s balance, it’s far from the end-all, be-all of knife qualifications. Jesse Szewczyk, BuzzFeed food writer, culinary school grad, and one of our testers, describes a quick and easy way to test a knife’s balance: “If you ease up on your grip, it shouldn’t just tip forward and fall immediately.” Although it has a partial tang, the Victorinox passed the balance test for all of our testers. You might also hear that a knife with a full tang is more durable than one with a partial tang, though in reality, unless you’re using your chef’s knife to julienne petrified wood, a partial tang will do the job just as well (plus, the Victorinox has a lifetime warranty). A number of Amazon reviewers attest to the durability of this knife, raving that it has been their faithful sidekick (er, sidechop) for years. A few reviewers even noted that their Victorinoxes were still sharp after one to two years without a sharpening.

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife slicing zucchini

At 7.5 ounces, this was the second-lightest knife we tested in this category, and every one of our testers found it to be the easiest to maneuver across a variety of chopping tasks, both rough (I’m looking at you, potatoes) and delicate. If you’re a nervous or inexperienced knife user, the Victorinox makes you feel like you’re in control. And if you’re a bona fide expert? Don’t worry — Szewczyk told us that the Victorinox is a favorite in restaurant kitchens because it’s a high performer that doesn’t require the kid-glove care that more expensive knives often do. Whether you trust us or the knife’s more than 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with this little slicer.

User Reviews

"After six months, this is the finest kitchen knife I have ever had the pleasure of using. DO BE CAREFUL! Out of the box, this thing is nearly as sharp as a single-edged razor blade. Take your time getting accustomed to it. It will cut through some things so fast and with so little pressure you may have to relearn how to use a chef's knife."
— WayneM From Amazon
"If you cook at all, you know that using comfortable and sharp knife makes all the difference in the world. I find myself not having to sharpen this knife as often as I sharpen my far more expensive knives. Also the handle fits perfect in my hand, making it more comfortable when cutting, slicing, chopping, or whatever. It has quickly become my favorite knife to use in spite of my owning more expensive ones. I look forward to the many more meals I'll be using this knife to make!"
— Olga S. From Amazon
"This is a budget chef's knife, make no mistake about that. But it's a very good budget chef's knife, and for that, it gets five stars. For someone like me, a bachelor who cooks mainly for himself but enjoys it quite a bit, this is perfect. I only have experience with one other chef's knife, and it cost about three times as much. I bought that as a gift for someone else but had a chance to use it on a few occasions. The more expensive one weighs more, has a nicer handle, and has a much better balance in the hand. IMO that's the biggest difference between this and one that costs a lot more. If I were using a knife hours a day I'd spring for something better, mostly just for the feel of it. For a casual cook who wants a quality blade, this is hard to beat for the price."
— Matt Boswell From Amazon

Victorinox

Easy grip, easy favorite

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Korin Suisin High Carbon Steel Gyutou

Starting from $87

The Details

Japanese high-carbon steel

7.09-inch Blade length

Weighs 9.9 oz.

polyacetal resin Handle material

What / Who It's Best For

  • People looking to level up from a starter knife
  • Left-handed people
  • People undeterred by a high-maintenance knife

Why We Love It

Not only was the Korin Suisin Gyutou the clear winner in this price category, some of our testers even declared it their favorite of all the knives they tried. Right out of the box, this knife is sharp. Like, “Buy this knife, but be prepared to warn everyone who enters your kitchen how sharp your knife is” sharp, and certainly sharp enough to perfectly dice those mushy tomatoes. Dire warnings aside, though, a sharp knife is actually much safer than a dull one when it comes to kitchen tasks. If your knife is dull, you have to apply more force to get the results you want, and you’ll be more likely to lose control of the knife, allowing it to slip right into your hand (you get the idea).

Korin Suisin High Carbon Steel Gyutou Knife pointing at yellow wall

Of course, no matter how sharp a knife is when you buy it, you’ll still need to sharpen it every so often. Melissa Smith, general manager of The Brooklyn Kitchen, suggests getting your knives professionally sharpened (many kitchen stores offer this service) two to three times a year, depending on how much you’re using them. The Suisin is a Japanese-style knife, as opposed to German-style, which means (among other things) that it is made of a harder steel that needs to be sharpened less often, but that also makes it more susceptible to chipping.

Not only was the Suisin one of the sharpest knives we tried, but its balance was also excellent. Testers on both ends of the culinary experience spectrum agreed that the Suisin felt stable in their hands when they held it and as they chopped. Japanese-style knives also tend to be lighter than German-style ones. At 9.9 ounces, this knife felt light but still sturdy. It’s on the shorter side for a chef’s knife, but our testers found it easy to control and highly effective at every chopping task. It’s also available in a left-handed style, for the discerning lefties out there.

Korin Suisin High Carbon Steel Gyutou Knife slicing radishes

The Suisin knife isn’t what you’d call a low-maintenance blade: It is not stain-resistant, and is prone to rusting and discoloration if it is left wet. You should always wash and dry the knife thoroughly after use, and consider buying some Tsubaki knife oil ($13.49 on Amazon), which prevents rust and corrosion. You can apply a few drops to the knife with a clean, soft cloth. Depending on the humidity of the climate where you live, you can do this every few times you use the knife. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of knife-tea, but you’re still interested in a light, Japanese-style knife in this price category, we recommend the Mac Chef Series Chef’s Knife ($48.24 on Amazon), which was our testers’ second-place selection. But, if you’re prepared to put in a little extra effort for a superior knife, go for the Korin Suisin.

User Reviews

“This is like the Ferrari of knives — finicky, but worth the trouble for the ride it gives. Ultra-sharp from the factory, it took a couple months of heavy home use to need a re-sharpen. Despite the 30/70 bevel, it was simple to re-sharpen on a King 1000/6000 whetstone. Definitely buy the oil they recommend. Really fantastic knife for the price.”
— Bret Pearson From Amazon
"Great knife. I use it every day; it’s been a month and hasn't lost its edge. Very sharp.”
— Amazon Customer From Amazon

Korin

Lightweight, high performance

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Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife

Starting from $145

The Details

stain-resistant, high-carbon aluminum alloy

8-inch Blade length

Weighs 6.5 oz.

Pakkawood Handle material

What / Who It's Best For

  • People who cook a lot
  • Kitchen-equipment snobs
  • People whose priority is performance

Why We Love It

From tip to tail (or point to butt, in knife lingo), the Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife is an investment-worthy knife that will serve you well no matter what you’re cooking up. If you’re comfortable spending a little more for a really good knife, we think the Mac Professional is your best bet. (And think of it like this: With the proper care, a knife can last 15 to 20 years, according to Melissa Smith.)

Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife side view

Our testers all agreed that this was a solid knife. “Utility-driven” was the phrase Szewczyk used (with what I understood to be a tone of admiration, given that he gave the knife his vote). At 6.5 ounces, it’s the lightest one on this list, but it doesn’t feel insubstantial. The Mac is a Japanese-style knife, which accounts for its weight. It has the thin blade and hard steel characteristic of the Japanese style, but its blade has more of a curve than many Japanese-style blades, which tend to have a straighter blade. This makes it easier to cut with a rocking motion, in which you hold the top of your blade to the cutting board and rock the knife back and forth as you chop. Regardless of their hand size, our testers all reported that no matter what they were chopping, the Mac was comfortable to hold and simply felt good in their hands. Ideally, your chef’s knife should feel like an extension of your body, and the Mac fit the bill for all our testers.

The Mac was incredibly sharp out of the box, and cut through those tricky onions, in particular, more smoothly than any of the other knives we tested. The little dimples on the sides of the blade are commonly found on Santoku knives, Japanese-style knives that are similar to chef’s knives but which have straight blades as opposed to curved (the curved edge of a chef’s knife makes it possible to chop in the “rocking motion” many chefs prefer). The dimples are intended to reduce friction and help the blade slice through foods like potatoes, which tend to suck at the sides of the knife and slow your roll. To be honest, all of our testers were too dazzled by the sharpness of the knife to pay much attention to whether the dimples were doing anything, but they certainly weren’t detrimental to our efforts.

Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife slicing squash

Despite the Mac’s blade quality (read: sharper than a Chrissy Teigen Twitter clapback), it’s less finicky than the Korin Suisin when it comes to rusting. That doesn’t mean you can put it in the dishwasher (don’t do that, you monster!), but it does mean that you won’t have to worry quite so much about discoloration if you get a little lazy with the drying one night. Many of the Amazon reviews we read noted how long you can go between sharpenings with this knife. And in terms of overall durability, reviewers raved about the longevity of Mac products overall. The consensus was that a little caregiving effort (repeat after me: I will not use the blade of my knife to scrape vegetables up from my cutting board) goes a long way toward ensuring that your Mac will live a long, happy life.

Bottom line: If you’re prepared to drop some cash on a really good knife, you can’t do better than the Mac Professional. So what are you waiting for? Chop chop!

User Reviews

“I bought this to replace a worn-out Wustoff that I'd had for 20 years that couldn't be sharpened at home because of the full-width bolster. Wow! This is an amazing knife. Very comfortable in the hand despite being light. Great shape for all my cutting needs. It's a real pleasure to use."
— Mistermish From Amazon
“This is truly an excellent knife. I could feel the difference from the very first cut. I successfully cut tomatoes, peppers, and tough produce like butternut squash and turnips. This knife handles it all without a problem. And this thing keeps an edge for a good long time — I'm talking months after almost daily use. Once it does lose its edge, it's very easy to sharpen it right back up. I highly recommend this knife. Simply excellent.”
— Amazon Customer From Amazon
“My new favorite... I have many chef’s knives, including Global, Shun, many German knives, etc., but the Mac Pro is my new go-to. Wonderfully balanced, super sharp, easy to maintain, just a pleasure to use.”
— Paul from Boulder From Amazon

Mac Professional

High-end workhorse

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