A quality knife set is important to any kitchen, but finding a knife set for under $100, or what I consider to be a reasonable price, can be a challenge. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on a decent set of knives, or just as easily waste your money on poor quality imitations.
Whether you just need a few new knives or are looking for a complete set to stock your new kitchen, this list has something for you. Here are the seven best knife sets under $100.
All of the knives included in Cookit’s 15 piece knife set are of surprisingly high quality, forged from German stainless steel that is both rust and corrosion resistant, and easy to maintain. I also really like that these knives are made from a single piece of steel, with triple riveted, full tang handles. In short, these knives are solid.
The handles are very sleek, although they may be a little thin for big hands. But in terms of material quality and aesthetics, the handles are fantastic. I’m actually quite taken aback at the level of quality in such an affordable knife set.
Another detail that I love about this knife set is the knife block. It’s got a great finish, and most importantly, it stands completely vertical. This is not typical, but I find that the upright design keeps the countertop footprint pretty low.
The set itself comes with a lot of goodies, including a chef’s knife and similar length slicing knife, a bread knife and even a santoku. These are pretty standard inclusions in a knife set of this size, as are the utility and paring knives, scissors and honing rod. I don’t personally need six steak knives, but they’re still nice to have.
Although none of these knives will match up to the quality of single, professional grade knives, they come pretty close. The santoku knife even has hollow-ground indentations to reduce drag during use, which is pretty cool. My only complaint is the fact that the kitchen shears are a little short in length.
In the end though, the Cookit knife set is a fantastic option for the price. And Cookit is so committed to the quality of their product that they back it up with a full, lifetime warranty.
There are a few key details that make me really admire this Homever 7 Piece Knife Set, and first among those details is the fact that it’s only seven pieces, well actually six if we’re not going to count the knife block itself. The truth is, I rarely find myself using all of the pieces in a massive knife set, so deliberately limiting a set to the knives that I’ll use – and raising the quality of that limited set – sounds like a great idea.
These knives are made from high carbon stainless steel and sharpened to a 17 degree cutting edge. If you’ve read my reviews of Japanese santoku knives or professional chef’s knives, you’ll see that 17 is a pretty high blade angle. That said, 17 degrees is pretty good for a variety of reasons.
First, a 17 degree knife blade will retain its edge for longer – basically, the higher the degree, the less likely that edge is to wear down. And second, and significantly, a 17 degree edge is a lot easier to maintain – using the accompanying honing rod – and to sharpen, when necessary. So many automatic sharpeners are set to a high blade degree, such as 17, which makes sharpening super easy and convenient.
Now to the knives actually included in this set. There’s a chef’s knife, a slicing knife and a bread knife, all coming in at 8”, a 6” utility knife and a 3.5” paring knife. Besides steak knives, a whole different beast, and an item this set doesn’t include, this variety pack pretty much covers everything you’ll need.
The 8” honing rod is also a very nice item to have. Be forewarned though that a lot of companies describe this rod as a “sharpener,” when in fact it is meant to hone. There are some key differences between sharpening and honing, and I go into those in a separate article about knife sharpeners, here.
On the downside, I don’t love the handles, which are made from ABS thermoplastic. They look cool, but they feel a bit light in my hand. That said, they’re triple riveted, so I know that despite the lightness, these things are solid.
If you’re looking for a limited set of knives – or don’t want to spend money on a bunch of extras that you’ll rarely use – I would seriously consider this set from Homever. They’re all solid, well made knives that you’ll actually use.
Alright, this knife set is pretty cool. The all black knife coating? The transparent, fanned out knife block? Where do we begin?
I suppose the best place to start is with the knives themselves. These things are made from thick stainless steel – and I know, this doesn’t look like any stainless steel that I’ve ever seen – but that’s because it’s then covered in a layer of black, non-stick coating.
From a utility perspective, I’m still on the fence with the non-stick coating. In terms of knives being non-stick, that’s rarely an actual concern when I’m using my knives, though I suppose the coating makes cleaning up a bit easier.
But one feature that we haven’t actually considered with respect to the non-stick coating is corrosion and rust. This layer of non-stick will actually do wonders when it comes to preserving your knives, and so for that reason, I’m all for it.
Now in terms of what this set includes, it’s perhaps better to ask what is not included, and that’s pretty much nothing. That’s right, this set has it all, from chef and santoku knives to steak knives, to peelers, pizza knives, cheese knives, shears and an actual two-stage sharpener.
The sharpener is a really nice addition actually, and one that obviates the need for a honing rod. One side of the sharpener uses coarse, carbide blades to re-establish an edge on completely dull knives, while the other side, made from ceramic rods, does the work of honing and returning knives to “like new” levels of sharpness.
Everything fits really nicely in the transparent, fanned out knife block. It’s really one of the most unique knife displays I’ve seen, and one that actually seems to match aesthetic tastes with functionality. My only problem with this set is that the knife handles are made from propylene, though that isn’t uncommon for knives of this caliber.
All in all, this massive knife set is a total steal, considering how much you get for your money. The Home Hero is a wonderful option if you’re looking to stock a new kitchen on a budget.
The MC29 15 Piece Knife Set from McCook is a bit more toned down relative to the Home Hero knife set, and a good option for chefs that might prefer a more classic look. The stainless steel blades and handles are sleek, elegant and solid.
The blades and handles are made from a high grade of German stainless steel. The edges are ground with a taper edge to a perfect tip, while the handles are brushed clean. And each handle is perfectly shaped to fit comfortably in either hand, with a sizable bolster for control.
When it comes to the knives included, the McCook set includes all you might expect. This means everything from an awesome chef’s knife to a santoku with hollow-grounds, serrated and non-serrated utility knives, and some steak knives.
What sets the McCook knife set apart though is the knife block. Made from a walnut colored hardwood, the block includes a built in sharpener on the top right, conveniently placed for a little knife touch up whenever you need. This is good, because the blades do get dull relatively quickly.
In my opinion these knives could be a bit heavier, though that is not to say that they aren’t well balanced. I just like to feel a nice, significant weight in my hand, especially when I’m rocking a chef’s knife or using a santoku. This is really a matter of preference though, and some people in fact prefer a lighter knife. So if that sounds like you, check these knives out.
Made from high quality stainless steel, the textured handles are what set these knives from the Cuisinart Graphix Collection apart.
I don’t really understand how Cuisinart is able to sell their Graphix Collection knife set for under $100 and make a profit. Each knife is made from superior quality materials, and if I didn’t know better I would have guessed that this was easily a $300 or even $400 knife set.
Like the McCook knives, these knives are made entirely from stainless steel. The obvious difference is that the Cuisinart blades have a textured handle, while the McCook knife handles are smooth. While I do like the look of the McCook handles, the Cuisinart knives simply perform better, and I do think this has a lot to do with the handles.
The textured handle actually feels more comfortable than a smooth surface, and it’s obviously better for control, even when the knife is wet. My only complaint about the handles is with respect to the steak knives actually, which have thin handles, akin to a butter knife. This isn’t terrible, but certainly isn’t ideal either.
In addition to utility knives and larger chefs and santoku knives, this set also comes with a honing rod and all purpose shears. Unfortunately, there is no bread knife though, which is kind of a bummer. If you’re in a pinch though, you can definitely use the serrated utility knife to cut bread, though it might be a bit of a challenge.
These knives really are great quality, and they just feel good. And you can feel good buying them too, because Cuisinart also offers a full, lifetime warranty.
This 15 piece knife set from Emojoy just screams value. When you study cheap knives, you get a quick sense of where manufacturers typically go to cut down on costs. Things like plastic handles that are too light, and fragile, thin blades. Or, to be able to charge more, a company might add in a bunch of cheap stuff that you don’t need.
Well, Emojoy does none of this. Instead, they focus on just the products you actually need, and invest in quality without frills in order to keep their prices reasonable. This is something that I absolutely love.
First, each knife is precision forged from a single piece of German, X50CrMoV15 high carbon
stainless steel. The fact that these knives are precision forged is in and of itself a big deal – it makes them super hard and very, very sharp, not to mention resistant to corrosion. And it makes these knives tough; each knife is well balanced, with a triple riveted full tang.
I also really like the handles, which, by the way, are made from actual pakkawood. They’re ergonomic, feel good, and just have a very subdued, traditional look to them. I love the sheen and the textured wood grain.
There are two more small details that I absolutely love, and both have to do, coincidentally, with the multipurpose shears. First, the shears have a handle latch that keeps them closed and locked during storage, ensuring safety. Second – and this is particularly clever – the shears have a concavity at the hinge, which makes chopping through bones without slipping a sinch.
Somehow, Emojoy is able to pack absolutely everything you need – from chef’s to steak knives – into a compact space. And, my favorite part, they’ve also found room to throw in a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
There are a few final questions you should ask yourself before selecting a new knife set. First, what do you really need? Some knife sets throw in everything but the kitchen sink, and while that might be nice, you may not need even half of the toys they include.
But if so, why spend money on what you won’t use or already have? In fact, my suggestion would be to ask yourself what knives you use on a regular basis, and then work backwards from there, rather than asking yourself if you might use a serrated utility knife just because you have it.
If you’re looking for a focused set of knives, just the basics, then I’d suggest going with this set of just six knives by Homever. By focusing on just a few knives, the manufacturer has been able to greatly improve the quality of each.
Bolster – The bolster is what connects the blade to the handle of the knife. Usually made from material that transitions seamlessly into the blade, it also often extends down to the heel. The bolster is also used to adjust weight for appropriate knife balance.
Tang – The tang is like the “root” of the knife blade, and extends into the handle. Depending on handle design, you may see a strip of the tang on either the top or bottom of the handle, or it may be hidden entirely.
Heel – The heel is the section of the blade edge that comes closest to bolster and handle.
Handle – The handle is what wraps around the knife tang, and is used for grip.
Rivet – Rivets are often used to secure the handle on either side to the internal knife tang.
Butt – The butt of the knife is located at the extreme end of the handle, and may or may not be slightly larger than the rest of the grip.
(Cutting) edge – The edge is the sharpened part of the blade that does the actual cutting. Depending on your knife, the edge may be beveled on one or both sides, and at varying angles.
Tip – Despite being called the “tip,” the tip is not actually the end of the knife. Rather, the tip refers to the end portion of the cutting edge.
Point – The point is the true end of the knife.
Spine – The spine is the wider, back side of the blade, opposite the cutting edge.
HRC – HRC is shorthand for the Rockwell Hardness Scale C, and refers to the hardness of steel or alloyed materials. It is measured by pressing a specially shaped indenter against a surface with a specific force.
It is important to note that a high HRC value does not always translate to actual strength, since harder steels can also be stiffer and thus more brittle. This accounts for the relative ease with which harder steel blades often chip.
Edgedegree – Edge degree refers to the angle at which the blade is sharpened. Measured against the blade itself, the lower the degree often translates to sharpness. That said, lower degree blades may have difficulty holding an edge, so you’ll want to ensure that lower degree blades are composed of a very hard steel.
Fulltang – “Full tang” means that the knife tang extends all the way into the handle, essentially that your knife has been made from a single piece of steel. Full tang knives are far more durable than knives composed of multiple pieces.
Stamped vs. forged – This refers to the method of manufacture. Forged knives are made from a single piece of steel which is typically heated and then pounded into shape. Heating and cooling during the forging process also enhance blade strength.
Stamped knives, on the other hand, are usually cut out – think of a cookie cutter – from a larger sheet of style, before being sharpened and honed. You can usually tell a forged knife from the bolster, which will be wider and more substantial than is possible on stamped knives.