7 Best Chef’s Knives Under $100


A chef’s knife is a staple for every home cook and professional chef. It gets used for almost every meal you make.

Buying a high-quality chef’s knife on a budget can be difficult because there are so many you can select. They come in various sizes and weights, making it crucial to determine which knife style works best for you.

I’ve put together some of the top picks for chef’s knives to make your buying process quick and easy.

All the knives I have selected are top quality, durable, and under $100.

My personal favorite recommendation is easily the Wüsthof Gourmet 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. Wüsthof knives are praised by chefs across the world as being high quality and extremely durable. To get one for under $100 is a bargain that’s hard to beat.

My Top Pick
Take a look at the Wüsthof Gourmet 8-Inch Chef’s Knife on Amazon here (opens new tab).

If the Wüsthof doesn’t quite hit the mark for you then take a look at my detailed reviews below. I’m certain you’ll find a knife that fits your style and budget.

7 Best Chef’s Knives Under $100

Here’s my full list of recommended chef’s knives, put in order of price from highest to lowest.

For a detailed review of each one just scroll down the article.

NamePriceCheck current price (opens new tab)
J.A. Henckels Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife$90 – $110Link to Amazon
Shun Sora 8 Inch Chef’s Knife$80 – $100Link to Amazon
Wüsthof Gourmet 8 Inch Chef’s Knife$80 – $100Link to Amazon
Global 7.5 Inch Chef’s Knife$80 – $100Link to Amazon
Mac 8 Inch French Chef’s Knife$80 – $100Link to Amazon
Dalstrong Gladiator Series 8 Inch Chef’s Knife$50 – $70Link to Amazon
Mercer Renaissance 8 Inch Chef’s Knife$50 – $70Link to Amazon

J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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J.A. Henckels International 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureSpain
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (German steel that’s ideal for durability)
Rockwell hardness57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsDurable materials and traditional design

J.A. Henckels are a well-known manufacturer of western-style kitchen knives.

Not to be confused with the (higher quality) ZWILLING J.A. Henckels brands, knives using the J.A. Henckels name only are manufactured outside of Germany, such as this knife from their International range which is made in Spain.

That brings down the cost, which in turn is passed onto the customer. However, their long history of knife production is clear in the end products, which always offer fantastic value for money.

This classic 8-inch chef’s knife from their International range uses a German steel called X50CrMoV15. This is a steel commonly used in quality western-style knife production due to its high durability.

The Carbon content of X50CrMoV15 is around 0.55%. That’s not particularly high when comparing it with other quality knives; however, it’s high enough to provide sufficient strength in the blade for a 15 – 20 degree angle on each side, which is standard for western knives.

The big benefit of not having a very high Carbon content is that higher Carbon steels are usually more brittle, therefore the 0.55% content keeps the blade durable.

That’s the same with the strong Vanadium of 0.4%, Vanadium improves the resistance to wear of the steel also adding to its durability.

The Chromium content is 15% is what the 15 in X50CrMoV15 represents. Chromium is vital for the durability of steel as it’s what makes stainless steel resistant to rust.

Steel need only be 10.5% to be considered stainless, so a 15% content is high and makes this a quality stainless steel, very unlikely to rust unless extremely mistreated by the owner.

The knife has a full bolster and tang into a triple rivited handle.

The handle is made for thermoplastic, making it ultra durable and resistant to moisture and temperature changes.

It’s a durable knife, built for reliability and is a great choice for anyone search for a classic western-style chef’s knife under $100.

Shun Sora 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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Shun Sora 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeVG-10 (High quality Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardness60-61
Factory edge16 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPP/TPE (thermoplastic blend)
ProsGenuine Japanese knife with amazing edge retention

Shun are a fantastic Japanese producer of high-quality knives.

What makes Shun particularly special is that they combine their Japanese heritage with western influences to create knives that suit the western market but still use great Japanese materials, designed in a clearly Japanese style.

This 8-inch knife gets made with a VG-10 San Mai core with a 420J Japanese blade upper. The traditional style handle gets made from textured TPE for balance and grip.

The Carbon content is 1%, making this a truly high-carbon knife. That means the steel is stronger than most western knives and can be sharpened to a finer edge. The factory edge is 16 degrees but this steel could probably handle a 12 degree edge if you wanted to further sharpen it yourself.

Whilst the Carbon content is high, durability is not compromised and the Chromium content is a good 15%, qualifying this as a high-performing stainless steel. That means it’s very rust-resistant.

The design is slimmer than a classic western-style chef’s knife. One benefit is that it makes the knife very lightweight, but it may not suit those who prefer the bulky feel of a large chef’s knife.

Shun are one of my favorite knife brands, and whilst this isn’t a classic western style chef’s knife it simply had to go on this list.

To get a genuine Japanese knife using VG-10 steel for under $100 is a bargain. For anyone looking for a Japanese-style chef’s knife without breaking the bank, this is a brilliant choice.

Wüsthof Gourmet 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

My Top Pick
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Wüsthof Gourmet 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (German steel that’s ideal for durability)
Rockwell hardness56
Factory edge18 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPolypropylene (thermoplastic)
ProsLightweight and durable

Wüsthof’s knives are made in ‘The City of Blades’, also known as Solingen, Germany. They have been producing top-quality western-style knives for over two centuries and are arguably the most well-known and respected producer of chef’s knives.

The blade for their Gourmet range uses the same X50CrMoV15 steel as their more epensive Classic range. The difference is that instead of being a forged piece of steel like the Classic version is, the Gourmet chef’s knife is made from stamped steel.

That means it has effectively been stamped out of a larger sheet of steel. Historically stamped blades have been significantly less durable than forged blades, but as technology improves this difference has become less and less.

Given that the Gourmet knife is around half the price of the Classic knife and uses the same steel, the stamped blade is not a bad compromise to make.

Since the blade is stamped there is no bolster and it just goes straight into the handle.

The handle itself is made from synthetic polypropylene, a durable thermoplastic that will be able to withstand the temperature and moisture pressure of the kitchen.

It’s a lightweight knife and comfortable to use. For the home cook, I think this is a brilliant choice. You get a quality Wüsthof knife, using the same quality base materials but for half the cost of the Classic chef’s knife.

Wüsthof knives are known for their extreme durability and are one of the most popular brands amongst professional chefs. This knife from their Gourmet range is available for well under $100 and it won’t let you down.

Global 7.5 Inch Chef’s Knife

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Global 7.5 Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeCromova18 (Japanese steel with incredible rust resistance)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 56-58
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialCromova18 (steel)
ProsLightweight, durable and extremely resistant to rust

Gloabl is a Japanese company but it’s knives don’t follow the traditional Japanese trend.

Instead of focusing on hardness, Global knives focus on durability, that’s ideal for the multipurpose Chef’s knife.

Global knives are made from their own specially formulated steel, Chromova18.

You’ll only find Chromova18 in Global knives and it’s a very unique steel. To understand why let’s look at its Chromium content.

The 18 in Chromova18, represents the steel’s Chromium content, which is 18%. That is a huge level of Chromium by any standard and it’s an amount you’ll rarely see in another knife.

That means that Global knives are especially resistant to rust, making them particularly durable. That’s really the theme of Global knives, they are Japanese knives but they have a focus on durability.

The Carbon content is quite high at 0.75 – 1.05%. Usually, that would lead to a very hard knife, which could hold a super-sharp Japanese style edge, but that’s not the case with Global.

The rather unique composition of Chromova18 actually results in a rather soft steel, with a Rockwell hardness between 56-58 HRC.

I don’t regard this as a bad thing though, it plays directly to the strengths that the brand wants from their knives; durability over sharpness.

A softer steel is less likely to chip and snap, and it’s easier to sharpen (although you would need to sharpen it more often).

Global knives still have a good level of sharpness due to their straighter edge bevel, where the bevel of the knife travels far further up the blade than an ordinary knife.

The handle is hollowed and filled with sand, that acts as a counterbalance, perfectly balancing the knife and it also makes Global knives extremely lightweight.

I’m a big fan of Global, if you want a knife that you won’t have to worry about looking after too much then this super-durable Japanese knife is a great choice.

Dalstrong Gladiator Series 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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Dalstrong Gladiator Series 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureChina
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (German steel that’s ideal for durability)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 56-58
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialG10 (fiberglass laminate)
ProsDurable and low price

Dalstrong are quite new to the knife scene. They use quality materials, but because they are a Chinese company the manufacturing costs are kept low these savings are passed onto the customer.

What results is a brilliant range of both German and Japanese influenced knives, using genuine German and Japanese materials, but for a very low price.

For their Western-style Gladiator range, Dalstrong use to same X50CrMoV15 steel as many of the high-quality western-style knife producers, known for its durability you can easily pay more than $150 for a forged steel knife using X50CrMoV15 from one of the larger German brands.

It has a full bolster and is full tang into the triple riveted handle. The handle is made from G10, a fiberglass laminate.

It has the perfect combination of being extremely lightweight and very tough. It will be able to withstand any of the standard pressure of a kitchen.

If you’re ever looking for a really good value knife, Dalstrong is a great brand to look at.

They’re not the genuine article in regard to having truly German or Japanese heritage within the company, but the materials they use are just as good as those most historical brands, and their knives are often around half the cost.

Mercer Renaissance 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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Mercer Renaissance 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureTaiwan
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (German steel that’s ideal for durability)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 56-58
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsDurable and low price

As a brand, Mercer has lots of similarities with Dalstrong.

They aren’t a company steeped in history, but the benefit they do have is they produce their knives at a low cost in Taiwan using good quality materials, mixed with good design, to create knives that are up to half the cost of knives using the same materials but produced in Europe.

I’m a fan of Mercer knives and I’ve seen them become slowly more popular because people are genuinely surprised by the quality they offer at such a low price.

The blade used forged X50CrMoV15 steel with a half bolster, going full tang into the triple riveted handle. It’s a material and design more commonly seen in knife two to three times the price.

The handle is POM, a trusty thermoplastic often used for kitchen knife handles because it’s extremely durable and resistant to most temperature and moisture fluctuations.

It’s a super knife and the fact that it’s the lowest priced item on this list certainly doesn’t make it any less worthy.

Mercer use great materials and classic design for their Renaissance range and I don’t think you could be disappointed with this knife.

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