High-quality knives are a must-have in the kitchen. In fact, there are a number of essential blades every home cook should have in their knife block, such as a chef's knife, paring knife and serrated knife. More advanced cooks might want products like a utility knife and santoku knife, as well. Oh, and don't forget a sharpener to keep all your cooking utensils in tip-top shape.
All of these tools make prepwork easier and safer while elevating the quality of homemade dishes. On that note, why not give the gift of a great knife to the ones you love this holiday season? While you could easily spend hundreds on a kitchen knife, there are also a number of impressive budget-friendly tools out there that will make wonderful gifts.
These are some of our favorite affordable knives you can buy today, all of which earn top marks in both professional tests and customer reviews:
- Overall pick: Misen chef's knife
- Budget pick: Victorinox Fibrox Pro chef's knife
- Chef's knife pick: Mercer Culinary Genesis forged chef's Granton edge knife
- Paring knife pick: Mac Knife professional paring knife
- Serrated knife pick: J.A. Henckels International classic serrated utility knife
- Santoku pick: Brigade Kitchen santoku knife
- Knife set pick: Victorinox Swiss Army chef's bundle knife set
- Sharpener pick: Work Sharp Culinary Kitchen knife sharpener
This knife raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter a few years ago, and it's every bit as good as when it first launched. Misen is a direct-to-consumer kitchen brand, which means it delivers top-quality products at lower prices, and its bestselling chef's knife would make a solid gift for any home cook.
This 8-inch versatile blade is made from premium steel with twice the carbon content, meaning it will stay sharp for longer. It has a 15-degree blade angle for a sharper cut, and the sloped bolster encourages a proper "pinch grip." Misen knives are backed by a no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee, and this particular knife boasts more than 5,000 reviews and a near-perfect average rating from people who say things like, "I own a lot of knives, but this is the most comfortable and provides the cleanest and easiest cut of any knife I have ever used."
High-end knives from speciality brands can cost several hundred dollars, but buyers are more than happy with this $30 chef's knife from Victorinox, which delivers quality at an unbeatable value. The 8-inch blade is made from lightweight European steel, and its long, sloping shape is ideal for chopping and mincing in a rocking motion. This knife has a non-slip ergonomic handle for an improved grip, and it would be a great first chef's knife for new cooks.
This best-selling model from Mercer Culinary is another top-rated chef's knife that will excel in the kitchen. It's an 8-inch blade forged from high-carbon German steel, and it features a taper-ground edge for increased stability and long-lasting sharpness.
This knife has a full tang that runs the length of the handle for improved balance, and the ergonomic handle provides a comfortable, non-slip grip, even if your hands are wet. Reviewers refer to this product as the "best, sharpest knife" they've ever owned, so we think it's safe to say your recipient will enjoy it, too.
Paring knives are ideal for detail-oriented kitchen tasks, such as deveining shrimp or coring strawberries. Everyone needs a good paring knife, and luckily, this professional-quality option from Mac Knife is both beautiful and surprisingly affordable.
This paring knife is made in Japan, and it measures 3.25 inches with a 2-millimeter high-carbon blade that's rust-resistant and exceptionally sharp. It has a lightweight wood handle, and reviewers rave about the performance of this small knife, writing that the "size is near perfect and it is sharp as hell." Consider us sold.
If you've ever struggled to slice through the skin of a tomato, you'll understand the appeal of a serrated utility knife like this one from J.A. Henckels. The sharp teeth of these knives can cut through tough fruit and vegetable skin with ease, allowing you to create thin, neat slices with minimal effort. Bread lovers will also appreciate that the serrated blade will make quick work out of crunchy crusts.
This particular serrated knife is made in Spain using German stainless steel. It boasts a fully forged construction for superior balance, as well as a satin-finished blade for long-lasting sharpness. The ergonomic handle is attached with three rivets, and many happy buyers say it gets constant use in their kitchen.
While it may look similar to a chef's knife, the Brigade Kitchen Santoku Knife is in a league of its own. Japanese-style santoku knives have a flat edge and a "sheepsfoot" blade that curves down into a point, and these knives are great for experienced chefs who spend a lot of time chopping, dicing and mincing.
This santoku knife is made from an impressive 67 layers of steel that deliver a razor-sharp hardened edge. It has dimpled sides that keep ingredients from sticking to the knife, as well as a composite handle that won't break down, even if you put it in the dishwasher. Many reviewers say they received this knife as a gift, and they sing its praises, writing things like, "This knife has quickly become my 'go-to' knife for absolutely everything! I use it for slicing, dicing, mincing, chopping and legitimately everything."
Why buy one knife as a gift when you can just give someone a whole set? This three-piece knife set is from Victorinox, the maker of Swiss Army Knives, and it includes the essentials new chefs need to get started in the kitchen. The set includes two of the brand's best-selling knives: the 8-inch chef's knife and the 3.25-inch paring knife as well as a 10-inch honing steel to keep the blades sharp.
The knives are made from high-carbon, no-stain steel, and they're designed to stay sharper for longer. Plus, the knives feature a 15-degree blade angle. This set earns top marks from reviewers, who praise the low cost, high-quality and incredible sharpness.
What do you get the person who already has a comprehensive collection of knives? A knife sharpener! This electric sharpener can be used on all sorts of blades, from chef's knives to serrated blades, and even kitchen scissors. The process is fully guided to eliminate guesswork and ensure an even angle and perfect blade every time.
The Work Sharp Knife Sharpener features flexible abrasive disks for a sharper edge, and there's even a ceramic honing slot for quick touch-ups. The sharpener has an automatic timer that signals when your knife is done, and the unit is compact enough to fit in a drawer when not in use. You can sharpen 100 knives before the inner disks need to be replaced. Reviewers call it intuitive and effective with a well thought-out design.
This story was written by Camryn Rabideau.