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The Best Chef’s Knives for the Novice Cook

When kept sharp and treated with care, an affordable knife can withstand years of regular use.

Henry Phillips

A chef’s knife is the most essential tool in any kitchen. But the prospect of shelling out $200 for something meant to last a lifetime can be daunting — especially for those wary of anything too precious, or those stocking their first kitchen. A well-balanced knife doesn’t have to cost a hefty sum, though. The secret lies in seeking out trusted brands and zeroing in on details like weight and edge angle. Budget knives are often made from softer steels and may require more frequent sharpening, but when properly cared for, they can stand up to years of regular use.

Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Chef’s Favorite: You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant kitchen that doesn’t rely on Victorinox knives. The Swiss-made knives are durable and hold a sharp edge, with the Fibrox line distinguished by non-slip, ergonomic handles.

Blade Material: high-carbon stainless steel
Blade Length: 8 inches
Handle Material: thermoplastic elastomer
Weight: 7.8 ounces

Buy Now: $45

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Sabatier Olivewood 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Best Looking: French-made Sabatier knives feature full-tang, carbon steel blades for a balanced grip and a Rockwell hardness between 52–54.

Blade Material: carbon steel
Blade Length: 8 inches
Handle Material: olivewood
Weight: 7.6 ounces

Learn More: $67

Wüsthof Le Cordon Bleu 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Sharpest: Created in consultation with professional chefs, Wüsthof’s Le Cordon Bleu line has a full-tang construction for balance and a half bolster to reduce weight. A 15-degree edge angle (compare with Wüsthof’s standard 20 degrees) ensures cleaner cuts.

Blade Material: high-carbon German stainless steel alloy
Blade Length: 8 inches
Handle Material: polyoxymethylene
Weight: 7 ounces

Buy Now: $80

Misen Chef’s Knife

Crowd Favorite: Crowdfunded direct-to-consumer brand Misen set out to create premium chef’s knives at a palatable price. Forged from steel with an above-average carbon content for longer-lasting sharpness, its blade is curved to allow for easier-rocking cuts, while a sloped bolster makes for a more comfortable grip.

Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Blade Length: 8 inches
Handle Material: Thermoplastic
Weight: 8.3 ounces

Buy Now: $65

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