The Best Knife Sets Under $200
Can you get a quality knife set for under $200?
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Whether you’re stocking your first kitchen or you’re looking to upgrade your knives without breaking the bank, finding a quality knife set under $200 might prove difficult. Some of the knife sets we tested in our overall roundup cost upwards of $500. One set costs $400 and only includes three knives! Not all of us have the money (or desire) for such high-end sets, and that's where we turn to our best value pick, the Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set with Tempered Glass Block (available at Amazon).
High-priced knife sets are often made from high-quality steel that will likely last over a decade. They tend to stay sharper for longer and usually look pretty sleek, too. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that less expensive sets are made from poorer-quality materials. We've proven in individual knife roundups that inexpensive knives often rival much more expensive knives when it comes to performance. So, we were determined to find a few knife sets under two hundred dollars that could stand up the more expensive sets, both in quality and in value.
Here are the best knife sets under two hundred dollars, in order:
- Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set with Tempered Glass Block
- Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set
- Vremi 10-piece Colorful Knife Set - 5 Kitchen Knives with 5 Knife Sheath Covers
- Utopia Kitchen Premium Class Stainless Steel 6-Piece Knives Set with Acrylic Stand
- AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Knife Block Set
- Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener
It's easy to like the Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set with Tempered Glass Block. The set provides the essential knives plus a bonus boning knife, although it's one of the few that didn’t include a honing steel or shears. In the end, we found it hard to complain considering you’ll receive five impressively sharp knives that performed as well as sets three times its price. In addition to the sharp blades, each knife has a great balance and we love the grip of the handles. To top the cake, the serrated knife is one of our favorites in the group.
After testing the knives, we can see why the Mercer brand is the common supplier of culinary school knife kits. Because of its performance and low price, it's easy to choose the Mercer Culinary Genesis as our Best Value pick.
This set includes five knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 6-inch boning knife) which are stored upright in a thin, glass case.
Performs as well as more expensive sets
Doesn't include honing steel or shears
How We Tested
Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and a serious knife enthusiast. I worked doubles for months during college to scrape together enough money to buy my first knife set. Then, when I went to culinary school, I did the same thing to buy the recommended knife kit! I know what it feels like to spend your hard-earned cash on a purchase like this, and I want you to have all the facts before spending a lot of money on a knife set.
We selected 12 top-rated knife sets of different price points from most of the major knife manufacturers. Then, we got to work testing the knives to learn how the set performed as a whole. Usually, we test knives on an individual basis, but the pre-made set had to prove overall usability and performance to really provide good value. It was important that each set included the essential knives (which we’ll talk about in a minute) and it got bonus points for adding in usable extras. We also were looking for a set that was easy to store.
The tests were designed with that in mind, evaluating value, performance, and ease of storage. We chopped onions and thinly sliced basil with the chef’s knife, peeled apples and segmented citrus with the paring knives, and sliced bread and sandwiches with the serrated knife. Most of the sets came with a smaller utility knife, so we sliced tomatoes and hard blocks of cheese. If the set included kitchen shears, we tested those as well, cutting cardboard and gliding the blades through parchment paper. Along the way, we assessed the sharpness of each blade, the comfort of the handle, and the weight and length of the knife itself to ultimately determine if the set was worth its price tag.
Things to Know When Buying a Knife Set
Before buying a knife set, ask yourself this question: What kind of knives do you like? You may not know yet, but it's worth exploring before you spend money on a set. For example, I know I have a proclivity towards Japanese-style knives (like Shun and Global) while I know a great number of chefs who prefer German steel (like Wüsthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckels). I even know a chef who only buys inexpensive ceramic knives and replaces them every three months when they get dull. So, it’s impossible for us to know what your personal preference is and we tried to keep that in mind as we ranked and rated. At the same time, there are a few steadfast rules to follow when looking for a knife set.
First of all, it needs to include the three core knives: a chef’s or Santoku knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. The set should also include a honing steel for keeping your edges sharp and a pair of kitchen shears always come in handy. If the set comes with a utility knife, that’s good—you may find this smaller knife handy for slicing cheese or small vegetables. I consider boning knives, carving or slicing knives, smaller serrated knives, tourne knives (often called peelers), or steak knives as bonus items.
Finally, you’ll need some way to store these knives. Most sets come with a block, but that may not be important if your kitchen is short on counter-space like mine. In which case, I can’t recommend a space-saving magnetic wall strip enough. Please, whatever you do, don't just throw your knives in a drawer unless they have a plastic cover. They could bang against each other and chip, or worse you might hurt yourself when reaching for one.
Other Knife Sets We Tested
While the Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set can't rival some of the super expensive sets when it comes to sharpness, it makes up for it in value and design. The chef’s knife has great balance and a comfortable, nicely-shaped handle. It is well suited for chopping tasks and takes down onions with ease. In addition to the full-sized chef’s knife, the set also includes a 5-inch Santoku knife, which could come in handy for chopping vegetables or for those with smaller hands.
We’re impressed that this set bundles so many knives for such a low price. Because it meets our quality standards, we would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a knife set under our target price.
This set includes six knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 5-inch Santoku knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 4.5-inch utility knife, and an 8-inch slicing knife) along with a honing steel, kitchen shears, six steak knives, and a large, wooden block.
Includes a 5-inch Santoku knife
Knives not as sharp as other sets
The Vremi 10-piece Colorful Knife Set—5Kitchen Knives with 5 Knife Sheath Covers totally looks like a set of ceramic knives, but they’re actually made from stainless steel. They have a comfortable, soft-grip handle and they'll add a splash of color to your life! They’re not the sharpest knives on the block (or, rather, in the block), but they’re not exactly dull, either. Because each knife comes with an individual, hard plastic cover, this would be a great knife set for your camping box or to take on-the-go (any bartenders out there?).
This set includes five knives (a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a serrated bread knife, a utility knife, and a carving knife) with five hard plastic covers.
Comfortable, soft-grip handle
Great set for a camping box
Not very sharp
With the Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Insignia Steel Knife Set with Block and In-Block Sharpener, you'll get almost every knife you can think to ask for, including a set of steak knives. It’s really not a bad deal when you consider the price per item, but they aren't as sharp as we like. Most of the knives are on the heavy side and the handles get slippery after extended use, too.
This set includes eight knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 7-inch Santoku knife, a 3.25-inch paring knife, a 3-inch tourne/peeling knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 5-inch utility knife, a 6-inch boning knife, and an 8-inch slicer) along with kitchen shears, eight steak knives, and a large, wooden block with a built-in knife sharpener.
Includes steak knives
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