Knife Shopping Made Easy: The Best Knife Set under $100, $200 and up

Many people like to take the hassle out of choosing knives by going with a set. Good knives are one of the most important cooking tools, and knives can cost up into the thousands of dollars. But, you can find excellent sets at any price point.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the essential factors to consider when shopping for a knife set and take a look at some of the best knife sets in all price ranges, from under $100, $200 and up. The links in the table below go right to Amazon listings if you want to quickly see the current price and reviews of the sets I cover.

Picture
BEST KNIFE SETS UNDER $100
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set
Chicago Cutlery Elston 16pc Block Set
Cuisinart C77SS-17P 17-Piece Artiste Collection Cutlery Knife Block Set, Stainless Steel
Rating
B+
B+
B+
Included Knives
3” peeling
5” utility
7.75” chef’s
8” slicer
7.75” bread
5” partoku
7” Santoku
3.25” paring
8 4.25” steak knives
8” chef’s knife
6 3/4” bread knife
2x 4 3/4” utility knives
2x 3 1/4” paring knives
8x 4.5” steak knives
8” chef’s 8” slicing 5.5” Santoku 5.5” serrated Utility 3.5” paring 2.75” bird’s beak paring 8x 4.5” steak knives
Included Shears
NO
YES
YES
Includes Storage
YES
YES
YES
Flame Control
YES
YES
YES
BEST KNIFE SETS UNDER $100
Picture
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18pc Block Set
Rating
B+
Included Knives
3” peeling
5” utility
7.75” chef’s
8” slicer
7.75” bread
5” partoku
7” Santoku
3.25” paring
8 4.25” steak knives
Included Shears
NO
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES
Picture
Chicago Cutlery Elston 16pc Block Set
Rating
B+
Included Knives
8” chef’s knife
6 3/4” bread knife
2x 4 3/4” utility knives
2x 3 1/4” paring knives
8x 4.5” steak knives
Included Shears
YES
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES
Picture
Cuisinart C77SS-17P 17-Piece Artiste Collection Cutlery Knife Block Set, Stainless Steel
Rating
B+
Included Knives
8” chef’s 8” slicing 5.5” Santoku 5.5” serrated Utility 3.5” paring 2.75” bird’s beak paring 8x 4.5” steak knives
Included Shears
YES
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES
Picture
BEST KNIFE SETS UNDER $200
Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Tempered Glass Block
Victorinox Forschner Swiss Classic 14-piece Walnut Swivel Knife Block Set
Victorinox 4-Piece Knife Set with Fibrox Handles
Rating
A
A-
B+
Included Knives
8” chef
8” bread
6” boning
5” utility
3.5” pairing
8” chef’s
8.25” bread
3.25” pairing
7” Santoku
4.5” serrated utility
six 4.5” serrated steak knives
8” chef’s
10 1/4” bread
6” utility
4” pairing
Included Shears
NO
come-apart shears
NO
Includes Storage
YES
YES
NO
Flame Control
NO
YES
NO
BEST KNIFE SETS UNDER $200
Picture
Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set, Tempered Glass Block
Rating
A
Included Knives
8” chef
8” bread
6” boning
5” utility
3.5” pairing
Included Shears
NO
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
NO
Picture
Victorinox Forschner Swiss Classic 14-piece Walnut Swivel Knife Block Set
Rating
A-
Included Knives
8” chef’s
8.25” bread
3.25” pairing
7” Santoku
4.5” serrated utility
six 4.5” serrated steak knives
Included Shears
come-apart shears
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES
Picture
Victorinox 4-Piece Knife Set with Fibrox Handles
Rating
B+
Included Knives
8” chef’s
10 1/4” bread
6” utility
4” pairing
Included Shears
NO
Includes Storage
NO
Flame Control
NO
Picture
Best Pick - Over $300
Wusthof Classic 9-piece Acacia Knife Block Set
Global G-79589AU Block-Knife-Sets
Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set
Rating
A+
A+
A+
Included Knives
3.5” paring
4.5” utility
5.5” sandwich
6” utility
8” bread
8” Chef’s
3” peeler
4” pairing
4.25” utility
5.5” vegetable
6.25” flexible boning
8” chef’s 8.5” bread
3.5” paring
4.5” Honesuki
5” hollow edge Nakiri
6” utility
7” Santoku
8” chef’s
9” hollow edge carving
Included Shears
come-apart shears
kitchen shears
kitchen shears
Includes Storage
YES
YES
YES
Flame Control
YES
YES
YES
Best Pick - Over $300
Picture
Wusthof Classic 9-piece Acacia Knife Block Set
Rating
A+
Included Knives
3.5” paring
4.5” utility
5.5” sandwich
6” utility
8” bread
8” Chef’s
Included Shears
come-apart shears
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES
Picture
Global G-79589AU Block-Knife-Sets
Rating
A+
Included Knives
3” peeler
4” pairing
4.25” utility
5.5” vegetable
6.25” flexible boning
8” chef’s 8.5” bread
Included Shears
kitchen shears
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES
Picture
Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set
Rating
A+
Included Knives
3.5” paring
4.5” Honesuki
5” hollow edge Nakiri
6” utility
7” Santoku
8” chef’s
9” hollow edge carving
Included Shears
kitchen shears
Includes Storage
YES
Flame Control
YES

Buying a Knife Set

Kitchen Knives

A decent knife set can save you money over buying individual knives. But, if you don’t look carefully, you can easily waste your money. Consider these factors:

Quality of the Knives

It seems obvious to prioritize the quality of the knives, but it’s easy to get distracted by the size of a knife set. Look for quality over quantity; don’t assume a 16-piece set is better than a 4-piece set, especially when looking for affordable options in the under $100 or $200-range.

You’d be surprised at the level of quality it is possible to find even at the lower end. Look for knives that have decent heft and balance; a good, grippy handle; and an edge that can last for a number of uses before sharpening.

The knives should be made of high-carbon stainless steel. Many people assume forged blades are better, but well-made stamped knives can be just as good or better.

Mix of Knives

Mix of Knives
Knife sets can come with tons of knives and accessories, but there are three main knives you need:

  • a good chef’s knife (8-10 inches) or Santoku knife (7-8”)
  • a pairing knife (3-4”)
  • a serrated bread knife (8-10”)

If a knife set doesn’t have at least these three knives, look elsewhere because you’ll find yourself with a bunch of knives you rarely use, while still lacking these essentials.

Many sets have other pieces. Of particular use are a honing rod, break-apart kitchen scissors, and storage. (The honing rod is especially important—even a top-of-the-line knife is a bad knife if it’s not sharp.) You may also see utility knives, steak knives, and even Santoku knives or Nakiri knives.

If you’re prepared to spend more money, don’t be surprised to find fewer knives in the mix than in the lower-end options.

The Options

I’ve scoured reviews to pick out the best knife sets at different price points: under $100, under $200, and $300+. I’m so excited to show you that you can find excellent knives at all price levels! Here are my picks

Best Knife Sets Under $100

1. Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Fusion Forged Knife Set

Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Fusion Forged Knife Set Review

Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Fusion Forged Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

Chicago Cutlery is frequently recommended on forums and discussions for very affordable knives.

This set includes:

  • 3” peeling knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 75” chef’s knife
  • 8” slicer
  • 75” bread knife
  • 5” Partoku knife
  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 25” paring knife
  • 8 4.25” steak knives
  • 8” sharpening steel
  • Stained pine wood knife block

Other Features:

  • Forged high-carbon stainless steel
  • Slip-resistant poly handles
  • Full lifetime warranty

Many people find that these knives are indeed very sharp, and are also easy to re-sharpen and hone with the provided steel. People also find these are attractive looking.

One interesting comment is that many people find the knives do not line up well in the knife block, so they look sloppy when all stored at once. I think this is the type of detail that can get overlooked in budget items. Other people had issues with knives breaking apart from the handle, revealing the very short tang running from the blade into the handle.

Another drawback of note is that the important knives—bread, chef’s, and paring—are too short.

2. Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Knife Set

Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Knife Set Review

Chicago Cutlery Elston 16-Piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

Here’s another Chicago set, this one with an all stainless, modern design.

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 6 3/4” bread knife
  • 2x 4 3/4” utility knives
  • 2x 3 1/4” paring knives
  • 8x 4.5” steak knives
  • shears
  • sharpening steel
  • wood storage block

Other features:

  • Stainless steel handles
  • Forged high-carbon stainless steel blades
  • Full lifetime warranty

Many people love this knife set. They find they look great and are very sharp. Many cooks find the curve of the handle is very comfortable when working.

Some people have issues with these showing rust spots, even after careful hand washing and drying. Others note that the blades need to be honed and sharpened frequently. But the biggest complaint is that the handles of these knives are hollow, so some people may find them a bit unbalanced.

3. Cuisinart 17-Piece Artiste Collection Knife Set

Cuisinart is a well-known brand for kitchenwares, although they are certainly not a specialized knife manufacturer.

Cuisinart 17-Piece Artiste Collection Knife Set Review

Cuisinart 17-Piece Artiste Collection Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8” slicing knife
  • 5” Santoku knife
  • 5” serrated utility knife
  • 5” paring knife
  • 75” bird’s beak paring knife
  • 8” sharpening steel
  • Shears
  • 8x 4.5” steak knives
  • knife block

Other features:

  • Stainless steel blades
  • Stainless handles with a brushed finish
  • Lifetime warranty

Many buyers have high praise for these knives. They love the sleek look of them and find them very sharp. People also like the block, noting that it has a small footprint and it is easy to clean.

The primary drawback seems to be that these knives are prone to rusting, even with careful washing. I also find some of the sizes odd. For example, having an 8” chef’s knife and an 8” “slicing” knife seems redundant, especially because an 8” bread knife would be much more useful.

Best Knife Sets Under $200

4. Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set

Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set Review

Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

These Victorinox knives regularly rank as some of the best knives you can buy, even if you’re not on a budget. Despite the light weight of these knives, they are excellent quality and comfortable to use.

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 10 1/4” bread knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 4” pairing knife

Other features:

  • Slip-resistant, Fibrox handle
  • high-carbon stainless steel stamped blades
  • Made in Germany, finished in Switzerland

I have a few Victorinox knives and I have to say they are amazing, and reviewers of this set agree with me! The bread knife functions as my “carving knife” and the little pairing knife is the one I reach for more than any other. The Fibrox handle has a nice, ergonomic fit and is truly non-slip. I also really like that the bread knife is nice and long, as many knife sets tend to skimp out on the length of this piece.

The primary drawback of this particular set is what it lacks, namely storage and a sharpening steel. But with the money you save on this set, you could pick up these pieces, too, and still be under budget.

5. Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set

Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set Review

Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

For a bit more money, you could upgrade to Victorinox 14-piece Knife Set which includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 25” bread knife
  • 25” pairing knife
  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 5” serrated utility knife
  • six 4.5” serrated steak knives
  • come-apart kitchen shears
  • 10” sharpening steel
  • walnut storage block

With this set, you get the quality and value of the Victorinox line, plus a bunch of other pieces. Do note, though, that both the bread knife and the pairing knife are shorter. Some reviewers also find the steak knives feel flimsy. I’d rather have a more attractive set of steak knives like these.

6.  Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block Review

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block – Available from Amazon.com

Mercer is another budget knife line that is regularly recommended on cooking forums and in magazines. In fact, many culinary schools use Mercer knives for their combination of quality and affordability. This set comes with a modern-looking knife block in either all glass or glass with wood.

This set includes:

  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 8” bread knife
  • 6” boning knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 5” pairing knife
  • tempered glass knife holder

Other specifications:

  • Ergonomic, non-slip Santoprene handle
  • high-carbon stainless steel forged blades
  • full-tang construction
  • Height of knives in block is 14.5”
  • Lifetime limited warranty

The glass storage is very cool—how often have you lifted multiple knives out of a wooden storage block before getting the one you want?

Most importantly, these knives are great quality—sharp and long-lasting. Many reviewers are really surprised by the quality for the price and note that these are the best knives they’ve ever used.

The main issues to me are the lack of a sharpening steel (pick one up here) and the shorter length of the bread knife. A few reviewers experienced the knives oxidizing over time. One reviewer suggested this was due to the glass storage heating up from under-counter lighting, so you may want to consider where you store these, and be sure to wash and dry them fully before putting them away.

Best Knife Sets over $300

7. Wusthof Classic Acacia 9-Piece Set

Wusthof Classic Acacia 9-Piece Set Review

Wusthof Classic Acacia 9-Piece Set – Available from Amazon.com

Wusthof is one of the most recognized and respected names in cutlery. They’ve been manufacturing knives in the same German town since 1814. This 9-piece set does not disappoint.

This set includes:

  • 5” paring knife
  • 5” utility knife
  • 5” sandwich knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 8” bread knife
  • 8” Chef’s knife
  • 9” sharpening steel
  • come-apart shears
  • Knife block

Other features include:

  • choice of 6 different wooden knife blocks
  • slots for additional knives (such as Santoku and steak knives)
  • Full-tang, forged stainless steel blades with bolster
  • Polyoxymethylene handle
  • 15” angle on blade
  • Lifetime warrant

These knives are so frequently recommended for good reason. They are a true lifetime purchase. People praise the sharpness, heft, balance, and finish of these knives. People also like that the knife block has open spaces so you can customize your set with future additions depending on your needs, such as steak knives, a Santoku knife, or a carving knife.

One reviewer found that the knife block seems to be of inferior quality compared with the knives. It had discoloration and finishing imperfections. 

8. Global 10-Piece Knife Set

Global 10-Piece Knife Set Review

Global 10-Piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

The Japanese Global knives are a modern icon, with their signature dimpled handles and sleek, seamless design. But they’re not just a showpiece; these knives are workhorses, too.

This set includes:

  • 3” peeler
  • 4” pairing knife
  • 25” utility knife
  • 5” vegetable knife
  • 25” flexible boning knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 5” bread knife
  • kitchen shears
  • ceramic sharpener
  • bamboo knife block

Other features include:

  • Lightweight Cromova stainless steel forged blades
  • Ergonomic handle with dimples for grip
  • Sand-filled handles for balance
  • Lifetime Warranty

I have the 8” chef’s knife, and I can attest to the fact that it is sharp. These knives are lightweight but have such good balance when you get used to them. I like that this set includes a boning knife and a ceramic honing rod, which Global recommends over steel honing rods.

This set itself doesn’t have many reviews, but you can read reviews on the Global chef’s knife here. The main complaint people have is that for some people accustomed to heavier knives, these feel very light and the handle is smaller. I also think it’s too bad that this knife block doesn’t have space to add other knives, such as a Nakiri or Santoku knife.

9. Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Set

Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Set Review

Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Set – Available from Amazon.com

Shun is another big name in Japanese knives, and they really are beautiful with the undulating reflections of the Damascus steel.

This set includes:

  • 5” paring knife
  • 5” Honesuki knife
  • 5” hollow edge Nakiri knife
  • 6” utility knife
  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • 9” hollow edge carving knife
  • 9” combination honing steel
  • kitchen shears
  • bamboo knife block

Other features include:

  • 34-layer Damascus cladding steel
  • Ebony Pakka wood handles
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Shun knives get high marks from reviewers, who note that these are so sharp you can slice a tomato without having to hold it. This set features a really nice mix of knives, too, in my opinion, to cover most of your chopping and dicing needs.

You can read reviews on the chef’s knife here. Most of the reviews are glowing, but some people note that the knife blade develops chips. Japanese knives do tend to be more brittle, so it’s important to treat them carefully.

Which Knife Set?

We’d all love to spend hundreds of dollars on a beautiful and comprehensive knife set, but it’s nice to know there are great options at any price range.

For under $100, I recommend Chicago’s Elston 16-piece set. It has a better mix of useful knives than the Cuisinart set and seems to be better made than Chicago’s Fusion set.

Under $200, I’d go for the humble Victorinox 4-piece set—it’s one of those “quality over quantity” situations! Because I use my bread knife all the time, having a longer one is important. You can fill in some of the missing elements like a honing rod and storage, but with knives, you want to focus on the basics!

If you are ready to spend the bigger bucks for a knife set, there are many great options. If you like heavier, European-style knives, Wusthof is a quality brand, and I think this set offers a good mix of knives. I also really like the extra slots in the knife block so you can customize it further.

If you like a lighter Asian-style knife, I recommend the Shun Classic set. It offers a very useful mix of knives, and Shun is a great brand. I want to recommend the Global set, as I personally love Global knives, but I think you’d be better served buying individual pieces to build a customs set; I wasn’t able to find a set that had a great mix of knives.
What are your must-haves in a good knife set?

Leave a Reply