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

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 10/08/20 •  12 min read

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)

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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:

Pros:

Cons:

Other great collections:

2. Imarku (2nd Runner-up)

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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:

Pros:

Cons:

3. Paudin Pro (Best for Design)

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:

Pros:

Cons:

4. Professional (Best for Beginners)

Professional Chef Knife, 8 Inch Pro Kitchen Knife, German High Carbon Stainless Steel Knife with Ergonomic Handle
$21.99
  • For home chefs & professionals. This Pro chef's knife has been the top choice of both home chefs and professionals. Designed to handle kitchen tasks both big and small, This durable knife's sharp and laser-tested blade effortlessly chops, minces, slices and dices.
  • Stainless steel blade with high-carbon - The professional 8 inch chef's knife is made from high-quality stainless steel. And to boost its sturdiness, the steel contains 0.6%-0.75% carbon, making it two times as hard as other knives in its class as they contain just 0.3% carbon.
  • Ultra-Sharp Edge: Sharpness is key. This chefs knife blade is made from forged high carbon steel,The blades are then hand-sharpened and lastly satin finished-which provides a superbly sharp and efficient edge that will retain its sharpness for long periods, even with heavy daily use.
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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:

Pros:

Cons:

5. Aroma House (Best for Gifting)

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:

Pros:

Cons:

6. TUO (Best for Versatility)

TUO Chef Knife- Kitchen Chef’s Knife - High Carbon German Stainless Steel Cutlery - Rust Resistant - Pakkawood Handle - Luxurious Gift Box Included - 6” - Fiery Phoenix Series
$27.95
  • ✅【SUPER STEEL】We use the high carbon German Stainless steel X50CrMov15 (Din. 1.4116) for the Fiery Phoenix Line. The premium steel is processed under high-tech vacuum heat treatment and nitrogen cooling treatment, bringing out the best characteristic of the steel, enhancing the hardness of the steel toHRC56±2, the resistance of corrosion, and superior edge retention.
  • ✅【RAZOR SHARP EDGE】The edge is hand sharpened by highly-skilled knife smiths using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method, each side of the blade is honed at 18 degrees. This extremely sharp blade provides for unmatched efficiency. Your work in the kitchen is done in no time!
  • ✅【EROGONOMIC PAKKAWOOD HANDLE】The full tang handle is made from our patent-pending high-density Pakkawood composite. Compare to other wood handles, it is way more stable and sanitary. No matter how bad the kitchen environment is, it will be no shrimp, no expansion, no crack, assuring you food safety. The handle is ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip in the hand.
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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:

Pros:

Cons:

7. Victorinox Fibrox Pro (Smaller Choice)

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife, 5-Inch Chef's
$18.45
  • FOR HOME CHEFS & PROFESSIONALS. This Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife has been the top choice of both home chefs and professionals alike. Expertly crafted with a tapered stainless steel edge that cuts with ease and efficiency.
  • FIT FOR ALL TASKS. Designed to handle both small and large kitchen tasks with durability. This knife's razor sharp and laser-tested blade can make precise cuts yet is wide enough to handle larger tasks, such as skinning a pineapple.
  • EASY HANDLING. Each knife features an ergonomic handle made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) for a non-slip grip -- even when wet. This exceptional knife is weighted and balanced for easy handling.
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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:

Pros:

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FAQ’s

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.

Conclusion

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

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Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.

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