The Best Knife Sets Under $100 in 2020

The Best Knife Set Under $100
Image by Nadia Borovenko / Canva

Knife blocks are a classic part of the American kitchen. It’s easy to see why, as all the knives you could possibly need are in a convenient, centralized location. Making a small investment in a good set of knives is cheaper than buying a bunch of knives individually, and many sets come with appealing extras like steak knives, shears, and more.

A knife set is great for beginners just starting out in the kitchen or experienced cooks who would like various cutting tools within arm’s reach.

Given that these handy sets are also very popular gifts for graduations, weddings, housewarming parties, and other occasions, we set out to answer a specific question: what is the best knife set under $100?

Our Top Picks: Best Knife Sets Under $100

Here’s the lowdown on our favorite budget cutlery:

1. Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17 Piece Knife Block Set

The best knife set under $100 overall

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17 Piece The best knife set under $100 overall

Manufacturer: Chicago Cutlery | Pieces: 17 | Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel | Special Features: Sharpening Steel, Cushioned Non-Slip Handles | Price: 💰💰💰

At first glance, this knife set might look pretty run-of-the-mill, but it turns out it’s a powerhouse. The Chicago Cutlery set includes all of the essential knives — chefs, utility, serrated/bread, and paring — plus two different-sized Santoku knives, a utility knife, and eight steak knives. But wait, there’s more! (Okay, that’s our last infomercial knife joke, we promise.)

Extensively tested and well-reviewed, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17 Piece Knife Set stands out due to the incredible quality for its price. Chicago Cutlery constructs each knife from a “fusion” of high carbon stainless steel, which results in less rust, chipping, and stains. They also stay sharper for longer, which is a massive advantage if you cook regularly.

Sometimes you sacrifice a little handle quality in knife sets at this price point, but both testers and reviewers remark on the comfort and non-slip safety of these handles.

Okay, now the little bit of bad news: this knife set is just barely above 100 dollars, but we think it’s worth the extra 20 bucks — and sometimes you can find it on sale for more like $106. But if that’s a dealbreaker, proceed to our (also excellent) runner-up.

  • Heavyweight, solid woodblock
  • Knives feel balanced in the hand
  • High-quality, super sharp blades that hold their edge

  • No kitchen shears in this set
  • Some reported handle breakage
  • Steak knives do not have serrated edges

2. Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set

The best knife set under $100 runner-up

Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block The best knife set under $100 runner-up

Manufacturer: Cuisinart | Pieces: 15 | Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel | Special Features: Sharpening Steel | Price: 💰💰

This sleek 15-piece knife set includes the solid essentials — plus any other variation you might need. Like the Chicago Cutlery set, Cuisinart built these knives from high carbon stainless steel, with precision tapered blades.

Ergonomically designed steel handles with a durable bolster help keep the knife in balance and protect fingers. This handy set also includes six steak knives, kitchen shears, and sharpening steel.

One thing to note: even though descriptions of the set say that the knives are dishwasher safe, reviews strongly suggest otherwise. If you decide on the Cuisinart Hollow Handle Block Set, make sure to hand wash your blades to avoid rust or stains.

  • Reasonable price
  • Sleek, sharp, and light
  • Good starter knife set

  • Many dislike the kitchen shears
  • Steak knives of lesser quality than the rest of the set
  • Those who washed knives in a dishwasher experienced rust stains

3. AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set

The best budget knife set under $100

AmazonBasics Premium 18-Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set

Manufacturer: AmazonBasics | Pieces: 18 | Material: Stainless Steel | Special Features: Sharpening Steel | Price: 💰💰

If you don’t need anything fancy, just an extended suite of dependable kitchen knives, this AmazonBasics block set will serve you very well.

You get knives with ergonomically designed handles and full bolsters that help keep your fingers safe for a very reasonable price. AmazonBasics crafts all blades from professional-grade stainless steel and the eight(!) steak knives feature micro-serrated edges.

The set includes a large and well-balanced chef’s knife and a Santoku knife; both have wide blades that are handy for scooping and transferring cut ingredients.

At this price, the set also includes a pretty impressive array of knives and tools.

  • Sharp, sturdy, and well-made
  • Really impressed by the value
  • As good as significantly more expensive knives

  • Need to sharpen frequently
  • Kitchen shears aren’t very nice
  • Some handle breakage down the line

4. Home Hero Stainless Steel Knife Set with Acrylic Block 17 Piece Set

The best clear block knife set under $100

Home Hero Stainless Steel Knife Set with Acrylic Block 17 Piece Set

Manufacturer: Home Hero | Pieces: 17 Pieces | Material: Stainless Steel | Special Features: Sharpener, Peeler, Non-Slip Handles | Price: 💰💰

If a woodblock isn’t your style, consider this acrylic knife set organizer. Strikingly different and modern, this stainless steel knife set is a well-reviewed alternative to a traditional block.

In addition to the usual suspects, like a chef’s knife, utility knife, six steak knives, and more — the Home Hero includes a peeler, a two-stage sharpener, and even a special pizza knife.

  • Sharp, lightweight, comfortable grip
  • Beautiful way to display your knives
  • Slim profile – doesn’t take up as much space

  • Not made to last
  • A few sets arrived missing a knife
  • Finish eventually starts to chip off

5. Victorinox 5-Piece Chef’s Knife Set With Molded Handles

The best compact knife set under $100

Victorinox 5-Piece Chef’s Knife Set With Molded Handles

Manufacturer: Victorinox | Pieces: 5 | Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel | Special Features: Sharpening Steel, Non-Slip Handles | Price: 💰💰💰

Let’s say you’re looking for a knife set, but you aren’t so interested in a block. Or maybe you don’t want steak knives, kitchen shears, or any extraneous tools — you want the basics. If that’s the case, we have some good news: you can up the quality of your knife set substantially while still staying under $100.

In the world of knives, Victorinox is a respected Swiss brand. Their knives feature slip-resistant, comfortable “fibrox” handles, but this company is best known for their blades, which Victorinox stamped from cold-rolled, high carbon stainless steel. This process makes for a lighter, bolster-less blade edge that lends itself to easier sharpening.

The Victorinox Chef’s Knife Set offers a small collection of the essential knives you most need: a five-inch chef’s knife, five-inch utility knife, and a one-quarter-inch paring knife.

This set also offers more flexibility — you can keep your knives in a drawer, on a magnetic strip, or even in a knife roll.

  • Ultra-sharp; stay sharp
  • Excellent quality, brand name
  • Made in Switzerland (not China)

  • Blade covers not included
  • Harder to keep the small knives sharp
  • Less aesthetically pleasing than other knives

6. Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection Knife Set with Blade Guards

The best multi-color ceramic knife set under $100

Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection Knife Set with Blade Guards

Manufacturer: Cuisinart | Pieces: 6 | Material: Ceramic-Coated Stainless Steel | Special Features: Lots of Colors | Price: 💰

These knives are certainly a pretty addition to your kitchen, but they’re also endlessly practical! Since each knife in this collection comes with its own blade guard, you can safely store this set in a drawer without worrying about scuffing or dulling. Or, if you prefer to display them, they look amazing stored on a magnetic strip, always at the ready for slicing and dicing.

Each knife (chef’s, paring, bread, Santoku, utility, and carving) features a non-stick ceramic coating that helps speed up prep and cleaning. And while the bright colors are a nice aesthetic touch, they also serve an essential function, helping avoid cross-contamination and mixing your knives together while working with raw ingredients.

They’re also a covert budget pick, coming in at under 30 dollars. Yes, you read that right.

  • Beautiful bright colors, stylish
  • “Sharpest knives I’ve ever owned”
  • Impressed with quality for the price

  • Color coating wears off over time
  • Need ongoing sharpening if used frequently
  • Not made entirely of ceramic, just the coating

What to Look for in the Best Knife Sets Under $100

Best Knife Set Under $100 Hanging in Kitchen
Image by Eddy Galeotti / Canva

1. First, Make Sure You Need a Full Set.

When it comes to choosing one of the best knife sets under $100, consider your specific needs.

How do you cook? Do you prepare a lot of fish? Slice a lot of bread? Tomatoes? Steak? If you want a full suite of knives for every food and occasion, a knife set makes a lot of sense. As we just learned, there are plenty of options under 100 bucks that include every knife you need.

If, on the other hand, you’re more of a minimalist, you may want to consider throwing your whole budget at one or two nice knives that will last you the rest of your days.

2. Only Consider Sets That Include the “Top Three.”

Something experienced cooks often say is that for nearly every instance of slicing, cutting, or dicing, all you truly need is a well-made chef’s knife. We’d add to that list one serrated bread knife and at least one good paring knife for quick jobs.

Once you’ve established that your knife set includes all three of these workhorses, you can look for the add-ons that make sense for your cooking style. Many sets include a Santoku knife (a thinner, less rounded blade, useful for precision/uniform slicing) or a utility knife (a medium-sized, slimmer blade, suitable for slicing meats or sandwiches). Some include steak knives or a sharpener, and some even include peelers, specialty knives, or cleavers. Avoid knife sets with way more pieces than you need, especially as those extra tools tend to be of lesser quality than the knives.

3. Always Hand Wash Your Knives.

Never put cooking knives into the dishwasher, full stop. Even if a manufacturer says it’s dishwasher safe, don’t do it! That is, unless you want prematurely dull blades and put permanent stains on them or risk knife handles that rust and fall apart.

This is as true for thousand-dollar knives as it is for the best knife sets under $100.

4. Be Realistic.

We’re not here to sell you the idea that you can get a set of professional-level knives for under 100 dollars. Most of these sets likely won’t last for decades. That’s just the reality. For a life-long set, or even for a single fancier chef’s knife, you’re going to have to bust through a $100 budget.

That said, you can get a really decent set of knives for under 100. And if you take care of them properly, you can get many years’ use out of them.

5. Expect to Sharpen Your Knives.

Even the sharpest blade will eventually grow dull. If you don’t know how to use a sharpening steel, it’s easy to learn. You can also have your knives professionally sharpened, but sharpening them yourself is a great skill to learn if you plan on cooking regularly.

6. Beware of Gimmicks.

You can find knife sets that promise they’re “non-stick” or “self-sharpening,” but take these claims with a grain of salt. Especially in the case of sharpening, you don’t want a built-in carbon strip that “automatically sharpens” your blades for you. First of all, they’re more likely to damage your blades than sharpen them properly. Second of all, they almost always fall apart.

The best knife sets under $100 on our list feature everything you need to get started, without the gimmicks.

Our Process

For this guide on knife sets under $100, our team spent 6 hours researching the most popular options from over 40 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each set. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 knife sets under $100 on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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