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The Best Chef’s Knives for $75 or Less

Our longtime favorite chef's knife is sharp, capable, and comfortable to hold. But is it still the best?


Last Updated Nov. 2, 2023. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 23: Two Simple Pastas

Update, November 2023

We tested a few more knives. The Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 8” Chef's Knife remains our top choice, but we’ve added a Best Buy, the Mercer Culinary Millennia 8-Inch Chef's Knife.

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

Our favorite inexpensive chef’s knife is the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-inch Chef's Knife. We’ve routinely tested and recommended this knife for nearly three decades, and for good reason: It cuts foods of all kinds effortlessly, is comfortable for hands of all sizes to grip, and arrives and stays quite sharp. It’s also reliably durable, easy to sharpen, and well-made. We think it’s the best choice for most people. We also love the Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef's Knife. It’s just as sharp and adept in the kitchen as our top choice and is a great option for cooks who prefer heavier knives and don’t mind a slightly slicker handle. If you are on a particularly tight budget, we think that the Mercer Culinary Millennia 8-Inch Chef's Knife offers great value. It costs half as much as our top choices and performs just as well. Our only quibble is that its handle is made from a highly textured rubber that some users found less pleasant to hold.

What You Need to Know

A good chef’s knife is a cook’s best friend. It’s arguably the most important tool in the kitchen, an essential all-purpose blade that can do everything from small, precise tasks (mincing garlic) to minor butchery (breaking down a chicken, filleting a fish) and a whole lot in between. Many say that if you buy just one knife, let it be a chef’s knife.

We’ve recommended our favorite chef’s knife for almost three decades, retesting it repeatedly since new knives enter the market all the time. To see if our favorite held up to the competition, we tested it against a fresh crop of options. Since our favorite doesn’t cost much—usually less than $40—we set the price cap for our lineup at $75. We focused on knives with blades measuring about 8 inches, as we’ve found this length to be the most useful and versatile for most cooks. And we limited our lineup to knives with stainless-steel or stain-resistant steel blades because they are the easiest to care for (see our testing of carbon-steel knives).

What to Look For

  • A Sharp Blade: A sharp knife is a pleasure to use, making quick work of any task. We think a chef’s knife should be keen and ready to use right out of the box, since not all cooks have the equipment or skills to sharpen their knives at home. Two main factors determine sharpness. One is edge angle—the angle of the blade on either side of its cutting edge. The narrower the angle, the thinner the cutting edge and the sharper the knife can feel in action. Most of the knives we tested had narrow edge angles of 13 to 16 degrees, which would—in theory—be enough of an angle to make a knife feel sharp. In practice, the sharpness of many of the blades came down to a ...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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Reviews you can trust

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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Miye Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.