A friend asked me to find her “a decent santoku knife that will not cost me an arm and a leg? A knife that will do the job but not a knife that will impress knife lovers.”
A good, sharp chef’s knife is a kitchen essential, but it amazes me how many people don’t invest in their tools! If you are serious about cooking, you will save yourself so much time, energy, and frustration if you invest in a good knife. You don’t need an entire block of high-end knives. Ideally, you should have three: A 8-10” chef’s or santoku knife, a 5-10” serrated bread (or “utility”) knife, and a 3” paring knife. You can get away with just the chef’s or santoku knife, though.
So here are my inexpensive-but-not-cheapo chef’s and santoku knife recommendations from Amazon. If you purchase through these links, you’ll be sending me a tiny affiliate commission. Hurray!
The two name brands that kind of dominate the consumer-level knife world are Wustof and Henckels. I’ve got a set of Wustof Classics myself, and love them. I highly recommend the higher-grade Wustof knives. Both these companies make knives for many price points, so quality will vary.
However, this Wustof “Wave” looks quite good and is currently 65% off from $85. Made in China, from German components.
Here’s another Wustof that looks good. It doesn’t seem to be as well balanced as some of Wustof’s more expensive knives, but at this price point, you’re not going to get much better. Made in Germany.
This Victorinox Swiss Army chef’s knife gets a lot of rave reviews. Furthermore, the customer service and warranty coverage on this knife is reportedly fantastic. Made in Switzerland.
J.A. Henckels is another big name in kitchen knives. This is a mid-grade forged knife with a full tang (meaning the base of the knife blade extends into the handle, for better balance and heft). Even at 40% off, it is a bit pricier than the others listed here, but it is definitely worth the extra cash. Made in various non-China countries, of German components.
Here’s a two-knife Henckels set that is a step or so down in quality of the above knife, but still gets solid reviews.For twenty bucks, you could do a lot worse! Made in China, of German components.
The surprise of my research was a brand I’d never heard of before. Rada Cutlery, of Iowa, doesn’t make the best looking knives, but they are getting very solid reviews, are made in the USA, and are ridiculously inexpensive! For $12, you can pick up a chef’s knife, but for a mere $35 you can buy a 6-piece set of all the knives your kitchen will ever need, and a vegetable peeler to boot!
The first two reviews on the chef’s knife page are what made me take this brand seriously. This knife is getting five-star reviews from professional chefs. That’s got to mean something! I’m happy with my Wustof Classics, but I have to admit that I’m really curious about the Rada knives.
Ready to buy a knife now? Chop chop…or, should I say…shop shop! :D