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. Surprisingly, though, you can find excellent sets for under $200.
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 under $200. 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.
Table of Contents
|Image||Product Name||Rating||Included Knives||Includes Storage||Flame Control|
|Victorinox Fibrox 4-piece Knife Set||A+||8” chef’s,|
10 1/4” bread,
|Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set||A-||8” chef’s,|
4.5” serrated utility,
six 4.5” serrated steak knives,
come-apart kitchen shears
|Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece Set with Glass Knife Block||A-||8” chef,|
Buying a Knife Set
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:
1. 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 under $200.
You’d be surprised at the level of quality it is possible to find at this price point. 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.
2. Included Pieces
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 sharpening steel, break-apart kitchen scissors, and storage. (The sharpening steel 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.
I’ve scoured reviews to pick out the best knife sets under $200, and I’m so excited to show you that you can find excellent knives at a reasonable price! Here are my picks:
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
- 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.
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.
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
- 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.
Which Knife Set?
With these three sets, there’s something for everyone. If you want a big, impressive-looking set that has everything you’d need, go for the Victorinox Forscher 14-piece Knife Set. If you like a heavier knife, and want a sleeker set, pick up the Mercer set in its modern glass storage block.
If I had to buy new knives today, 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 always fill in some of the missing elements later, but with knives, you want to focus on the basics!
What are your must-haves in a good knife set?