Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $100 – 2023 Update

A Few of The Best Budget Kitchen Cutlery Block Sets under 100 Dollars in 2023

Budget knife sets under $100 may not be as exciting as premium knife sets that are flashy and expensive, but they have their place. Whether you are looking for a cheap starter set or a 2nd knife set for a vacation home or RV, this article will help you find what you need.

We tested many knife sets, and chose the ones we felt offered the best value as our top picks for 2023.
The Cuisinart C77WTR 15-Piece and the Henckels Definition 12-Piece are two of the best kitchen knife sets under $100 we have tested.

Knife sets are an important investment even if you spend less than $100.  I have included a cutlery care and handling guide at the end of this article to help you get the most of your knife set. Even a budget cutlery set should last for many years if the knives are properly cared for.

Cutlery companies released fewer knife sets than normal over the course of the last few years. I assume this has something to do with the supply chain issues they faced. However, it looks like production is ramping up. 2023 promises to be a great year for new knife sets, and we will update this article regularly as we test new releases.

Cuisinart C77WTR-15P Classic White 15 Piece Knife Set (Best Large Set)

The 15 Piece Classic White knife set from Cuisinart shown inside the wooden storage blode and outside the storage block on a white background.


Size:5.38″ x 14.5″ x 9.88″


Lifetime warranty
Full tang
Forged not stamped
Very sharp right out of the box
Includes a honing rod
The blades hold their edge fairly well
Good looking block
Stainless steel handle endcaps
ergonomic triple rivet handles


Not dishwasher safe

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 8″ slicing knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 5.5″ utility knife, six 3.5″ paring knives, one 2.75″ birds beak paring knife, six 4.5″ steak knives, one 8″ sharpening steel, one pair of kitchen shears, and one wood knife storage block.

The Cuisinart-C77WTR chef knife slicing through a tomato in the foreground with the rest of the kitchen knife set in the background.
The Cuisinart-C77WTR 15P Classic White knife set impressed us with it’s performance, size and overall good looks.

This set offers a lot of bang for the buck. For less than $100 you get full tang knives with forged blades and triple riveted handles. Usually those specs come at the cost of quantity, but this set is actually pretty big. It also looks great. The knives have a decent fit and finish for budget knives and the storage block is one of the better looking ones in this article. Obviously the overall quality is less than higher priced sets, but Cuisinart has done a good job from a performance and looks vs value standpoint.

Chopping green onions with the Cuisinart-C77WTR santoku knife.

The smaller knives of this set do feel a little flimsy compared to the larger hero knives, but that is pretty typical of budget sets. These knives should always be hand washed and dried right away to ensure years of use and spot free blades. If the included honing rod is used regularly these knives will not to be sharpened often.

All in all this is a good kitchen cutlery set, and you will be hard pressed to find a better designed, more durable set at this price point. If you can get by with a smaller set I would recommend the Cangshan set we listed earlier in this article, but if you need a big set that looks great on almost any kitchen counter this Cuisinart set is an excellent choice at it’s current sub 100-dollar price point.

Mercer Culinary Millenia 5-Piece Knife Set (Best Compact Pick)

Mercer Culinary Millennia five piece knife set shown on a bamboo magnetic board and separately on a white background.


Size:15″ x 5″ x 15.5″


Unique look
Extremely comfortable handles
Good rust resistance
Easy to sharpen blades
Sharp right out of the box
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Practical design
The whole set and storage board fit easily into a drawer


Blades are stamped rather than forged
No steak knives included
A bit awkward to hold in a pinch grip.

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 8″ serrated bread knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 3.5″ paring knife,  and one magnetic wood storage board.

The Mercer Culinary Millenia chef knife with a chocolate handle easily slicing through a tomato. This image shows the ability of the chef knife included in this set.
We were impressed with the slicing ability of the Mercer Culinary Millenia chef knife.

The Mercer Culinary Millenia 5-Piece Knife set offers great quality and extremely comfortable handles at an excellent price. This set does not have the classic look of the typical wooden handle knife set in a hard wood block, but if you like the unique aesthetic of this set it is a great option for anyone trying to spend less than $100 on a kitchen knife set. It is also a great option if you are looking for a knife set for an RV, because the whole set can be easily stored in a drawer, and the magnetic storage board does a great job of holding the knives in place.

Mercer Culinary Millenia Knife Set
The santoku knife included in this set was really capable for a budget knife.

The blades of the Culinary Millennia knives are made of X30Cr13 Japanese steel. This steel is fairly rust resistant, but it generally does not hold its edge for a long time. Fortunately Mercer’s heat treatment seems to have made the blades of these knives hold an edge better than the average X30Cr13 steel blade.

This set uses a magnetic board for storage rather than a wooden block. The magnets on the back of the board are really powerful, and they hold the knives firmly in place. The following wood types are available for this set’s storage boards: Acacia, Bamboo and Rubberwood.

The Millennia series knife sets are available in a variety of handle colors.

As you can see in the picture above the Millennia series knife sets are available with a variety of handle colors, so you can choose the one that works best for your kitchen. However, the best feature of these knife handles is not the color options of the handles. It is the comfortable shape and feel of the handles in a full hammer grip (they’re fine in a pinch grip too, but it feels a little bulky). These handles are made of a Santoprene/polypropylene combo material that is extremely grippy even when wet. Basically they have the feeling of smooth rubber on the front and back of the handle.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 4-Piece Knife Set With Roll

This small set from Mercer is budget friendly and the knives are all well made, but it is a small set that may not work for everyone's needs.


Size:13.78″ x 3.94″x1.97″


Lifetime Warranty
Extremely comfortable handles
Good rust resistance
Full Tang
Sharp right out of the box
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Practical design


Small set
No empty slots in the knife storage roll

Set Includes – one 7″ granton edge santoku knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 5″ and one storage roll.

This set is a great option for santoku knife fans who are on the go. The Mercer Genesis knife series is one of our most recommended budget knife lines here at Nothing But Knives. This is due to the overall quality for the money these knives offer. They have excellent fit and finish, ergonomic handles and tough German steel blades.

The hero knife in this set is a santoku knife rather than a chef knife, but there are a growing number of home cooks who prefer the santoku over the chef knife for the type of cooking they do. Props to Mercer for offering a set that caters to them.

The 3.5 inch Mercer Culinary Genesis paring knife is great for peeling or coring.
The 3.5″ Mercer Genesis paring knife is one of the best budget paring knives we have tested.

Both the 5-inch utility knife and 3.5-inch paring knife included in this set are top performers at this price point. The paring knife is especially impressive, and we found it to be an ideal candidate for detail work like coring or peeling.

The rubber material on these handles is very grippy, but the feel of the rough texturing can take a little getting used to. These are not smooth handles by any stretch, but they are very comfortable, and have a way of sticking to the hand better than just about anything else on this list. There’s no getting around the fact that it feels kind of cheap, but it’s a highly effective material.

J.A. Henckels International Definition 12 Piece Block Set

Henckels Definition 12 Piece knife set with cherry wood storage block. The contents of this set are all shown here on a white background.


Size:13.25″ x 4″ x 11″


Lifetime Warranty
Full tang
55-58 HRC
Large set for this price point
Very sharp right out of the box
Great looking Cherry wood block
Nice fit and finish for this price point


Paring knife was not as sharp as the rest of the set.
Steak knives are a weird combination of serrated and straight edge.

Set Includes – one 3″ paring knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 5″  hollow edge santoku, one 8″ Chef’s knife, four 4.5″ steak knives, one 9″ sharpening steel, one pair of kitchen shears, and one Cherry wood storage block.

The 8 inch chef knife that comes with this set offers great performance in this price range. It is pictured here slicing through a tomato.
The J.A. Henckels Definition knives impressed us with their comfortable handles and great slicing ability.

J.A. Henckles, does a great job of making quality budget knives, and this set is absolutely one of the best under $100 on the market. The biggest downside of the set is that the steak knives are a weird combination of serrated and straight edge. Others opinions of this may vary, but we are not a fan. Fortunately the hero knives of this set, like the 8 inch chef’s knife pictured above, offered such great performance for the money that I was willing to overlook the weird steak knives and include this set in this article: It feels really natural in a pinch grip, and the edge is easy to maintain with the honing that comes with the set.

All the knives in this set are full tang, the blades hold their edge well for a budget set, and the storage block looks great in almost any kitchen. I did find that people with small to medium sized hands like the handles of this set better than those with large hands. That is not to say that those with large hands disliked the Henckels Definition handles. They just didn’t like them as much as those with small hands.

The well designed paring knife in this knife set was a little duller than the other knives, but is was still more than capable. It is shown here peeling an apple.
The paring knife in this set wasn’t quite as sharp as the rest of the knives, but it still got the job done.

Even though the paring knife in this set was a little bit duller than the rest of the knives, it was still more than capable thanks to its good blade geometry and comfortable handle, and like any well made German steel, the blade is pretty easy to spruce up with a steel and strop.

Kenckels Definition 9 Inch Bread Knife
The bread knife proved to be more than capable, and much better than most other bread knives at this price point.

The bread knives in budget sets are often the most disappointing knife in the set. Fortunately the 8-inch bread knife included in this set was more than capable. It cut cleanly and evenly, but we did find ourselves wishing it was either longer or that the serrations went a little farther down the blade..

Overall the Henckels 12-Piece Definition knife set offered better performance than most other large sets at this price point. The knives also had better overall fit and finish than most budget knives. We have no problem recommending this set in spite of its weird looking steak knives.

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Cangshan S1 3-Piece Knife Set (Best Quality Pick)

Cangshan 2-Pice S1 knife set with Walnut storage block.


Size:15″ x7.75″ x 3.75″


Very sharp right out of the box
Lifetime Warranty
Comfortable, Contoured Handles
Great edge retention
Great balance


Small set
No empty slots in the storage block

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, and one Walnut knife storage block

Testing the slicing ability of the Cangshan S1 chef knife to see if its performance justifies its inclusion in this article.
Cangshan S1 knives offer excellent performance at a relatively low price.

This 2-knife set from Cangshan is obviously much smaller than any of the of the other sets in this article, but the two knives in this set are by far the best knives in this post from a quality and performance standpoint (other than the Vosteed Morgan Set). The knives are both full tang and the blades are made of X50Cr15MoV German Steel.

Cangshan’s great heat treatment ensures that the knives have excellent edge retention, and the angle of the handles make rock chopping motions much easier and create a lot of room for knuckle clearance. The full bolster does make pinch grips feel a little awkward, but the balance helps make up for that by putting a lot of knife’s weight near the top of the handle.

The Cangshan S1 paring knife impressed us with its comfortable handle and great blade geometry. It is shown here skinning an apple.

The tapered handles are comfortable and easy and lend themselves well to multiple grip types. They also look great. This set is perfect for anyone who prefers quality over quantity. It is also a good set for a small kitchen in a boat or RV, because it takes up very little counter space. Overall this set feels like a much more expensive set when you are using the knives. This is especially true of the 8-inch Chefs knife which handles like a knife from a higher end knife set.

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Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 5 Piece Cutlery Set

The Ginsu Chikara 5 piece knife set is a great budget option for small spaces with limited surface space.


Size:5.88″ x 5.5x 14.8″


Lifetime Replacement Warranty
Full Tang
Forged not stamped
Includes a honing rod
The blades hold their edge extremely well for knives at this price point
Great looking block
Comfortable handles
Takes up very little counter space


No steak knives
Relatively soft steel
Chef’s knife is only 6 inches

Set Includes – one 6″ chef knife, one 5″ Santoku knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, and a bamboo storage block block.

The Ginsu Gourmet Chikara santoku knife chopping a mushroom on a wooden cutting board in front of a dark background.
The 5-inch santoku knife shown here is a well-designed kitchen knife that handles a variety of tasks well. This set is one we often recommend to anyone looking for a budget set for a small kitchen.

This is a small knife set with small knives. Initially I didn’t add it to this article, because the chef’s knife is only six inches, but it really is a good super-affordable set for tiny kitchens. I have been recommending this set to anyone looking for a budget knife set for a small space like an RV or cabin kitchen. The vertical orientation of the block makes it a really tidy solution for short counters, and it would even be easy to store in something like a boat drawer.

The 5-inch santoku knife is a standout performer in this set, and the utility knife is surprisingly capable of handling a variety of tasks. It is not quite on par with the much more expensive Wusthof Classic 4183 santoku knife, but it is closer from a performance standpoint than I expected it to be. It is an excellent knife to take for meal prep on camping trips, picnics, or road trips, because it is capable of handling a large variety of tasks, and it is relatively small and lightweight. 

The knives are also pretty tough for kitchen cutlery. The steel is soft, which is isn’t great for edge retention, but there is a much smaller risk of these edges chipping than normal. Overall the Ginsu Chikara Series is a great value buy, and it should provide years of use especially, if it is used as a travel set in an RV, houseboat, or vacation cabin.

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Vosteed Morgan 3-Piece Knife Set (Best Performing Pick)

The Vosteed Morgan 3-ppiece knife set offers the best performance of any set we have tested in the sub $100 range.


Size:13.1″ x 1.75″ x 7.5“


Excellent performance
Full Tang
Very sharp right out of the box
The blades hold their edge well for knives at this price point
Good steel for budget knives
Excellent heat treatment
Easy to clean and maintain


No storage block included
Small set
The Vosteed mMorgan 8 inch chef knife impressed us with its chopping and dicing ability.
The Vosteed Morgan is the best overall chef knife included in any of the sets we tested for this article.

The Vosteed Morgan 3-Piece set does not feel like a budget knife set. The balance is excellent, the fit and finish is way above average and the performance is second to none in the budget cutlery world. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I was very impressed with this knife set. I am not sure how Vosteed can afford to offer it at this price point.

The Vosteed Morgan set ships in a practical gift box that helps to make up for the fact that it does not ship with a storage block.
Unfortunately the Vosteed set does not include a storage block, but it does ship in a nice cardboard case with blade sheaths.

The Vosteed Morgan knives are all made of 9Cr18MoV steel. This certainly would not be considered a high end steel, but it is a better steel from an edge retention standpoint than just about any other steel used on the knives in this article. Vosteed’s heat treatment is excellent, so these 58-60 HRC blades hold their edge for quite a while. These knives are also thinner than most others in this price category, which goes a much longer way in edge retention than the steel itself.

If cutting and slicing performance is your main priority when choosing knives this set is the way to go in the sub $100 price range. However, that performance is partially due to fact that these knives are made of harder steel, and they are thinner behind the edge than most budget knives. This means you should take extra care to avoid bones or anything frozen. The Vosteed Morgan knives are more like a sports car than an SUV, and they should be treated accordingly.

You can learn more about the Vosteed Morgan series by checking out our in-depth review of the Vosteed Morgan 8″ Chef Knife.

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 12-Piece Knife Set (Best Value Pick)

The Fusion series from Chicago Cutlery offers ecellent value at the under $100 price point.


Size:13.75″ x 6.75″ x 5″


Forged not stamped
Good corrosion resistance
Great value
Good quality block for this price point
Sharp right out of the box
Comfortable, easy to grip handles
Lifetime Warranty


A little on the heavy side
Blades need regular sharpening (this is pretty normal at this price point)

Set Includes – one 3.5″ paring knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 7.75″ bread knife, one 7.75″ chef knife, one 8″ slicer, six 4.5″ steak knives, and one wooden storage block.

The Chicago Cutlery Fusion chef knife performed well in our tests.

From a value standpoint, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion series of knives offers good durability and performance at a low price. The 12-piece Fusion set is one of the most impressive cutlery sets we have tested at this price point, especially considering how much they packed into the set.

The knives are well balanced, offer great corrosion resistance, and the handles are comfortable and easy to grip. The blades also have an excellent bite that makes cutting into softer foods pretty easy for western-style budget knives. The knives are a little on the heavy side, so if you are looking for lightweight cutlery, you may want to look elsewhere.

Chicago Cutlery keeps the steel they use in all their knife sets a secret. Their product description only states the steel is high carbon. That term is certainly a relative one, but I would guess that the steel used is not high carbon by modern standards. The blades of these knives will need to be sharpened on a semi regular basis, so you may want to buy Chicago Cutlery’s Dual Stage Knife Sharpener #AD if you buy this set.

The steak knives included in this set are quite a bit better quality than most of the other steak knives included in sets at this price point. The have the same balanced feel and easy grip as the hero knives in this set. The bread knife is probably the worst included knife from a performance standpoint, but it still got the job done. The chef’s knife was above average from both a performance and quality standpoint when compared to other budget chef knives.

MSY Big Sunny 5-Piece Knife Set

The 5-piece Big Sunny set has the aesthetic of a premium knife line, but costs considerably less.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly knife set without a storage block, the Big Sunny 5-piece set is a great option. The knives in this set look great, and their performance matches their looks.




Forged not stamped
Great looking wood block
Sharp right out of the box
Excellent knife combination
Very comfortable handles
Lifetime Warranty


The steak knives do not feel as durable as the rest of the set
8″ utility knife is a little on the big size for some tasks.

Set Includes – one 3.5″ paring knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 8.5″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife and one 8.5″ slicer.

The BigSunny 8 inch chef knife effortlessly sliced tomatoes and other vegetables. It is an excellent budget chef knife.
The 8-inch chef’s knife was the standout performer in this set.

MSY BigSunny knives have been on our radar for a while. We have received a fair amount of questions about them, but we never tested them out until January of 2023. We immediately liked the sleek bolster-free look of these knives, and we were impressed with their excellent balance and performance one we started using them. Every knife in this set other than the bread knife performed well above its price range. The bread knife is capable, but not on the same level as the other knives.

peeling an apple was fun and easy with the 3.5 inch Big Sunny paring knife.
Big Sunny has a relatively tall blade, but it is still capable of peeling, and it rocked as cocktail prep knife. It handles citrus really well.

If you decide this is the knife set that best fits your needs, I highly recommend that these knives never be washed in a dishwasher. The Pakkawood handles have a great classic look, but they will not handle regular trips through the dishwasher well.

The blades of these knives are made of German 1.4116 steel which is a tough, capable steel that is easy to sharpen. However, it doesn’t have amazing edge retention, so if you use these knives regularly, you will have to sharpen them regularly. But that’s not unusual in this budget category, and the tall blades also mean they have a more gradual taper from edge to spine that makes cuts feel a lot smoother.

If you are looking for a great, budget friendly set, and you don’t need a storage block the MSY BigSunny 5-piece knife set may be the way to go. MSY BigSunny does make a set of these knives that ships with a storage block #AD, but it costs a bit more than $100.

More Knife Set Options At Different Price Points

Great kitchen cutlery sets under 100 dollars. This image features four of the knife series sets we tested from Ginsu, Chicago Cutlery, Kitchenaid and Cuisenart.

If you are on an extremely tight budget, and you need a knife set cheaper than anything listed here, check out the Top 5 Critic article on the top knife sets under $50.

If you think you may want to spend a little more in order to get a better quality cutlery set, check out our article on the best kitchen knife sets under $200.

If you want to take a significant step up in quality check out  The Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $300

If you think you want to spend a lot more for a better quality knife set, check out our article, The Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $300.

If you’re ready for some top-tier stuff, check out our recommendations for the Best Professional and High End Kitchen Knife Sets.

Proper Care and Handling of Budget Kitchen Knives

Proper care and maintenance of any knife from a cutlery set under $100 is really important for mainaining maximum performance.

While it is true that modern manufacturing in modern technology has greatly improved the quality of budget kitchen knives, it is also true that cheap cutlery generally will not last as long as higher priced kitchen knives. However, with a minimal amount of care and maintenance the kitchen knife sets under $100 listed in this post should last for years. Here are our recommendations for getting years of use from budget cutlery sets.

  1. Avoid trying to cut or chop anything frozen. This often results in a rolled or chipped blade, and it will dull the blade very quickly. Frozen items should be cut or chopped with a cleaver. If you are looking for a good budget cleaver, check out our the Utopia 7 Inch Cleaver Review.
  2. Never wash your knives in the dishwasher. This can result in rust spots and the vibrations of the dishwasher will dull the knives, especially if they are in a silverware basket with other utensils. If you do end up washing some cutlery in the dishwasher dry them immediately and use a honing rod to get the blade edge back to its optimal sharpness.
  3. Avoid storing knives in a drawer unless they have individual knife sheaths or guards #AD. The wood block that ships with the set is the ideal way to store knives. If you end up needing to store knives in drawer make sure to get some sheaths for them to avoid accidental cuts and blade dulling. If you ordered a knife block set separately from your steak knives check out our post on great steak knife wooden blocks.
  4. Use a honing rod on a regular basis to ensure your knives retain their edge and perform well for years. Honing is different than sharpening, and should be done more often.
  5. Sharpen your knives at least twice a year if you use them on a daily basis and at least once a year if you use them less regularly.

Best Sharpening Methods for Budget Knives

We get a lot of questions here at Nothing But Knives about knife sharpeners. Most budget knives are made of cheaper stainless steel that requires regular sharpening. With that in mind I figured it would be a good idea to include a few good budget sharpening options. I have personally used every sharpener I recommend the following list.

  1. Whetstones
    Whetstones are still the best method for sharpening, but they do have a steep learning curve and good ones can be expensive. If you are new to whetstone sharpening I recommend the Work Sharp Benchtop Whetstone #AD, because it has guide angles which makes it much easier to learn whetstone sharpening. The Sharp Pebble Kit #AD is also a good option for beginners.
  2. Manual Knife Sharpeners
    This is the simplest and most budget friendly method of knife sharpening. If you use this method of sharpening, it is important to buy a manual sharpener that matches the grind angle of your kitchen knives. With that in mind, I usually recommend the Smith’s 50264 Adjustable Manual Sharpener #AD, because the grind angle can be adjusted to match your knives. Grind angles can usually be found on the manufacturers website.
  3. Guided Knife Sharpening Systems
    This method of sharpening is easier to learn than whetsone sharpening, but it is not as easy as using a manual sharpener. Guided sharpening systems can be really expensive, but the Work Sharp Precision Adjust System #AD is affordable, and it does a great job.

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Ben started a twenty year commercial photography career after a blurry stint in the navy. He spent a lot of time losing and breaking knives and other EDC gear on location shoots before starting Nothing But Knives. He has reviewed and tested hundreds of both outdoor and kitchen knives over the course of the last six years, and he was mostly sober while testing and reviewing.

6 thoughts on “Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $100 – 2023 Update”

    • Hi Michael. We actually don’t sell any knives or knife sets. We just test them out and write reviews. There are several empty storage blocks available on Amazon though.

    • Hi Andrea. The price fluctuations of the last year have been dramatic. Often a set will be just over $100 for a few months and then drop again. We do monitor the prices of the sets in this article, and switch them out with options under $100, but we generally give it a little time do the the roller coaster of price changes recently. Unlike most other review sites we actually test the products we recommend, so it does take a little longer to to find products we feel comfortable adding to our site. This may result in us occasionally being “a little off the mark”, but we feel the overall quality of our articles is better for it.


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