What are the best kitchen knives on a budget?
That moment when you decide that you need to cut back on eating out, you realize that there is a lot that goes into cooking at home. But being your own personal chef isn’t just personally rewarding. It is a way to eat healthier, save money, and impress family and friends alike. When you begin your journey as a from-home culinary explorer, one of the first things you’re going to need is a sharp and reliable knife.
The best kitchen knives on a budget are:
- Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife
- Kiwi Stainless Steel 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
- Rada Cutlery Chef’s Dicer Knife
- Imarku 7in Forged Santoku Knife
These four chefs’ knives are all perfect for those of us that look at the price tag first. These are all respectable, reliable, and capable tools to begin your collection of kitchen cutlery. If you’re looking to leap into chopping, dicing, and julienning from home, read on. We’ll show you what knife might be the right one for you and some tips for keeping said knife sharp as can be.
An Expensive Knife Won’t Make You A Better Cook
They’re not magic. No matter how much you spend on a knife, knives only do one thing. For the most part, they all do that thing reasonably well. If you need a knife on a budget, the best thing you can do is buy yourself a 7 to 10-inch Chef’s knife.
They can handle nearly any task from cutting into a toasted baguette to breaking down an uncooked goose. Keep it clean and sharp, and even one of these dirt cheap blades will last you a long time. Later in the article, we will show you just how to do that. For now, here’s our first budget pick.
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife
This is the most expensive knife on our list, but it’s still incredibly budget-friendly. As a beginner chef, you’ll probably be breaking down onions, chopping peppers, and trimming chicken breasts.
This 8-inch blade can do all that and more. The Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife is a common sight to line cooks and executive chefs. Despite the price tag, the Fibrox Pro holds an edge well, and the non-slip ergo handle great for sustained chopping.
For this price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a workhorse knife of this caliber. Even if you do get some higher-end knives down the line, you’ll probably find yourself falling back to this trusty piece of kit.
Kiwi Stainless Steel 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
Kiwi Knives have been around for a while and have been a fan favorite for both professional chefs and weekend warriors. These knives are thin and have been described as a “razor blade with a handle.”
Despite their thin blade and plain wooden handle, these knives can hold an edge well and remain in working order for many years, given that they are cared for properly of course. For an incredibly inexpensive, brand new knife, you’ll have a difficult time finding something comparable.
And, for what you’ve saved on the purchase of one of these bad boys, you can purchase the tools need to keep it sharp as the dickens for years to come—more on those tools in a bit.
Rada Cutlery Chef’s Dicer Knife
Tim Ferris, in his hit book cookbook, “The 4 Hour Chef,” recommends this knife as one of the first purchases a budding chef should make. It might seem a bit odd to see a cleaver-style knife on this list, but we promise it can take you a long way. At 9 ½ inches, this blade can handle veggie prep like a breeze.
For the true beginner, the Dicer Knife is an excellent tool for teaching yourself the basics of knife handling. The long flat blade is heavier than a traditional chef’s knife, so it’s easier to slice cleanly through thick vegetables or a slab of meat. Thanks to a long, straight blade, this chopper can keep an edge for a long time before needing some maintenance.
If you aren’t accustomed to using a chef’s style knife, this might be the tool for you. Control is the name of the game with this knife, so it’s a great way to start building up strength and speed for all your slicing and dicing needs.
Imarku 7-inch Forged Santoku Knife
The Japanese Santoku style knife is the eastern counterpart to the chef’s knives that many are familiar with. If the Victorinox Fibrox seems like it might be a bit large for your hands, a Santoku might be what you’re after.
A lighter overall knife with a thinner blade and a more straightforward grip make delicate work easier on the beginner chef. The blade is also shorter and lacks a sharp tip, making this style of knife a bit less intimidating for those that are still learning. So, for the same price as the Fibrox, you can get a vegetable chopper extraordinaire that is a bit easier on the hands.
How To Make the Most of a Budget-Friendly Kitchen Knife
There are a few simple rules to keeping your knife in tip-top shape. Whether it is the $11 Kiwi knife or a $150 Japanese carbon steel Santoku, if you follow these rules for knife care, your investment will go a long way.
Wash Your Knife By Hand and Dry Immediately
Never put your knife in the dishwasher. This can be an easy mistake to make, but it can take years, and the edge, from your knife. High pressure combined with high temperatures and chemicals can eat away at the thin steel edge of a knife, effectively dulling it. Wash with soap and water by hand and dry immediately.
Wash Your Knife Right After You Use It
We have all been guilty of using a utensil and then leaving it on the counter for our future self to clean later. If you want to keep your knife sparkling and, most importantly, sharp, you need to wash it immediately after use. Oils, acids, standard kitchen gunk, can not only stain the blade, but they can dull the edge when you need to chip off the crusted on food later.
Hone Your Knife
You don’t need to sharpen every time you use your knife. And, if you hone your blade regularly, you will only need to sharpen it a handful of times a year. For around $10, you can get a honing steel, which is a tool used to align the sharp edge of your blades. To learn how to use this indispensable tool, check out this article.
Sharpen Your Knife
Even if you keep your knife clean and hone it when it needs it, you’re still going to have to put a new edge on the blade via sharpening. When you hone your knife, you are just aligning the thing metal edge of the blade.
When you sharpen, you are removing minute layers of steel to create a new edge. For the investment of a few minutes of your time, you can get your knife’s edge to a better than new condition, over and over again.
Learn To Use Your Knife
Learning proper knife skills is paramount to keeping your knife in proper condition and keeping your fingers attached to your hands. Do yourself a favor and practice knife skills with a video like this.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to find a knife that works for you for the right price. As long as you put in the time to care for your knife and keep it sharp, it should last you a long time, regardless of the price point.
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