Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $100 – 2021 Update

A Few of The Best Kitchen Cutlery Block Sets under 100 Dollars in 2021

Cutlery is one of the most important food prep tools in the kitchen, and it is possible to get good knives on a budget in 2021 thanks to modern manufacturing techniques. When it comes to kitchen knives you have a lot of choices ranging from really cheap ones to premium kitchen knives that cost more than a house payment. While it is quite clear that you can save money when purchasing a knife set compared to buying individual knives, it’s still hard to know where to begin. With this in mind we tested many different budget friendly knife sets, so we could showcase the best kitchen knife block sets under $100 in 2021 from top brands.

Knife sets are an important investment even if you spend less than $100.  We 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.

Here are our top picks for the best knife set under 100 dollars in 2021. 

  • Cuisinart C77WTR Classic White 15 Piece SetFull Review
  • J.A. Henckels International Definition 7 Piece Block SetFull Review
  • Mercer Culinary Millennia 5-Piece Set –  Full Review
  • Cangshan S1 3-Piece Knife Set Full Review
  • Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 8 Piece Cutlery SetFull Review 
  • J.A. Henckels International 12 Piece Definition Block SetFull Review
  • Cangshan V2 Series 5 Piece Knife SetFull Review
  • Chicago Cutlery Insignia Steel 13 Piece Set Kitchen Cutlery Set – Full Review

Cuisinart C77WTR-15P Classic White 15 Piece Knife 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.

Specifications

Weight:8.3lbs
Size:5.38″ x 14.5″ x 9.88″

Pros

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

Cons

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 knife, 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.

J.A. Henckels International Definition 7 Piece Block Set

J.A. Henckels International Definition knife set with thw the self sharpening storage block shown on the left side and the knives shown on the right side of the image.

Specifications

Weight:7lbs
Size:15″ x 5.1″ x 11.5″

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Full tang
55-58 HRC
Large set for this price point
Very sharp right out of the box
Labeled sharpeners built into the block

Cons

Kitchen shears are are lower quality than the knives.
No steak knives

Set Includes – one 3″ paring knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 6″ utility knife, one 7″  santoku, one 8″inch Chef’s knife, one pair of kitchen shears, and one self sharpening wood block.

The J.A. Henckels International Definition santoku knife slicing up a potato.
The J.A. Henckels International Definition knives impressed us with their comfortable handles and great slicing ability.

This a great set for anyone who hates sharpening knives, because the storage block has built in sharpeners in each slot. J.A. Henckles, does a great job of making quality budget knives, and this set is one of the best under $100 on the market. The biggest downside of the set is that it does not include steak knives, but there has to be some trade off from a cost standpoint for Henckels to offer good knives at this price point.

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 also really like the fact that the self sharpening storage block is labeled, so there is no confusion about getting the knives back in the right slots to ensure they are properly sharpened.

Mercer Culinary Millenia 5-Piece Knife Set

Mercer Culinary Millennia five piece knife set shown on a bamboo magnetic board and separately on a white background.
Weight:8.2lbs
Size:15″ x 5″ x 15.5″

Pros

Unique look
Extremely comfortable handles
Good rust resistance
Easy to sharpen blades
Sharp right out of the box
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Practical design

Cons

Blades are stamped rather than forged
No steak knives included

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 3.5″ paring knife,  one pair of shears and one acacia wood block.

The Mercer Culinary Millenia chef knife with a black handle slicing a zucchini.
The Mercer Culinary Millenia knives are tough and easy to grip even when wet.

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.

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, but the comfort level of the handles. These handles feature a great ergonomic design and are made of an extremely grippy Santoprene/polypropylene combo material.

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 it’s 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 available for this set’s storage boards: Acacia, Bamboo and Rubberwood.

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Cangshan S1 3-Piece Knife Set

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

Specifications

Weight:5.8lbs
Size:15″ x7.75″ x 3.75″

Pros

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

Cons

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

The Cangshan S1 chef knife chopping a carrot on a wooden cutting board.
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. 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.

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 8 Piece Cutlery Set

The Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 8 Piece Kitchen Knife Set is an excellent choice under 100 dollars if you don't need steak knives.

Specifications

Weight:7.65lbs
Size:5.88″ x 5.5x 14.8″

Pros

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

Cons

No steak knives
Relatively soft steel

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 7″ Santoku knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 3.5 paring knife”, one  honing rod,  kitchen shears 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.

If you don’t need steak knives the Ginsu Chikara Series 8 Piece Set may be the best bet under $100. The 420J stainless steel which is a budget steel that will not hold it’s edge really well. As a result these knives will need to be sharpened regularly if the knives are used a lot. This is definitely not a knife set you would want to wash in the dishwasher. They should be hand washed and immediately dried. If these knives are cared for they should last for many years..

The seven 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. 

Overall the Ginsu Chikara Series is an great value buy, and it should provide years of use.

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J.A. Henckels International Statement 12 Piece Knife Set

The 12 piece JA Henckels International Statement knife set shown with it's wood storage block on a white background.

Specifications

Weight:8.3lbs
Size:12.5″ x 4.25″ x 11.5“

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Full Tang
Very sharp right out of the box
Includes a sharpening rod
The blades hold their edge well for knives at this price point
Stainless steel handle endcaps
The santoku knife in this set is a great budget knife
ergonomic triple rivet handles

Cons

Stamped not forged
Not a great looking block
Slicing a red bell pepper with the J.A. Henckels International Statement chef knife.
The J.A. Henckels International Statement knives offer good performance for the price, but the handles are not quite as comfortable as the J.A. Henckels International Definition set handles.

The triple rivet handles of this set are really durable for a sub $100 set. They can take a beating and are designed well enough from an ergonomic standpoint to not cause discomfort when used for an extensive period of time. However, they are not quite as comfortable as the handles of the  J.A. Henckels International Statement set I wrote about earlier in this article. The blades are stamped rather than forged which is not ideal, but it is the standard on knife sets in this price range, and J.A. Henckles precision stamping process turns out some impressive blades.

The J.A. Henckels International Statement paring knife coring a red bell pepper.
The durable feel and nimble performance of the J.A. Henckels International Statement paring knife made it one of our favorite paring knives at the budget price point.

J.A. Henckels states that this set is dishwasher safe, but hand washing is ideal. We highly recommend that you hand wash these knives if you get them, because like all carbon steel knives, they are prone to getting rust spots if they are wet for an extended period of time. This is the downside of high carbon steel blades. The upside is that they hold an edge well.

All in all this is an excellent kitchen cutlery set at this price point, and you will be hard pressed to find a better designed, more durable set at this price point.

Cangshan V2 Series 5 Piece Starter Kitchen Knife Set

This 5 Piece V2 set from Cangshan is small but high quality

Specifications

Weight:8.2lbs
Size:15″ x 5″ x 15.5″

Pros

Forged not stamped
High quality steel
Amazing value
Great quality block for this price point
Sharp right out of the box
Good kitchen shears for a budget set
Very comfortable handles
Lifetime Warranty

Cons

Small set
No steak knives

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 3.5″ paring knife,  one pair of shears and one acacia wood block.

If you are a minimalist who prefers quality over quantity this set is one of the best options at the sub $100 price point. The blades are made of X50Cr15Mov German steel which is usually only found on premium kitchen knife sets. This steel holds it’s edge fairly well, and it is very rust resistant. These knives ship extremely sharp and they are surprisingly comfortable to handle. Obviously the downside to getting knives of this quality for less than 100 bucks is that there are only three of them and one pair of scissors in the set.

There is no doubt that the knives in this set are better quality than almost any other budget knife set. The combination of great balance, high quality steel and durable handles make this set a must for any budget “best of ” list. Even the kitchen shears are good quality and easy to clean. It would have been great if Cangshan had included some empty slots in the block so the set could be added to over time, but that is my only complaint with this great looking and durable cutlery set.

Chicago Cutlery Insignia Steel 13 Piece Set Kitchen Cutlery Set

The Chicago Cutlery Insignia Knife. Left side of the photo shows the set in the block, and the right side shows the knives out of the block.

Specifications

Weight:8.2lbs
Size:7.4″ x 6.8″ x 14.6″

Pros

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

Cons

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.

This one of  the newest knife sets from Chicago Cutlery. The first thing that differentiates this set from the other sets in this article is it’s 8″ utility knife. Most utility knives are 4 to 5 inches, but the utility knife in this set is almost twice the average size. This makes the utility knife a little less versatile, but it may be nice for a person that finds themselves using big knives more than midsized knives. A smaller utility knife could always be added to the set, but there are no empty slots in the storage block, so it would have to be stored elsewhere.While this set certainly delivers in the aesthetics department it also delivers in the performance department especially at this price point. Obviously the steel is not on par with the crazy expensive sets, but the blades all hold their edge well, and they are forged rather than stamped. However these knives do need to be hand washed and dried to avoid rust spots. This is true of all kitchen knives to some degree, but it is especially important with this set.The scissors are probably the least impressive item in this set, so if you use kitchen scissors a lot this may not be the set for you. Ideally Chicago Cutlery would have included a pair of scissors with stainless steel handles rather than plastic. In spite of that drawback this set is definitely one of the best values in the kitchen knife world especially at it’s current price point. The Santoku knife is probably the most impressive knife in this set. It cuts and slices fairly effortlessly considering the low cost of these knives.

Knife SetPicture
Cuisinart C77WTR Classic White 15 Piece Set
Full Review
This 5 Piece set from Cangshan is small but high quality
J.A. Henckels International 12 Piece Definition Block Set
Full Review
The 15 Piece Classic White knife set from Cuisinart shown inside the wooden storage blode and outside the storage block on a white background.
Mercer Culinary Millennia 5-Piece Set
Full Review
The 12 piece JA Henckels International Statement knife set shown with it's wood storage block on a white background.
Cangshan S1 3-Piece Knife Set
Full Review
Mercer Culinary Millennia five piece knife set shown on a bamboo magnetic board and separately on a white background.
Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 8 Piece Cutlery Set
Full Review 
Cangshan S1 Three Piece Knife Set
J.A. Henckels International Definition 7 Piece Block Set
Full Review
The Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 8 Piece Kitchen Knife Set is an excellent choice under 100 dollars if you don't need steak knives.
Cangshan V2 Series 5 Piece Knife Set
Full Review
J.A. Henckels International Definition knife set with thw the self sharpening storage block shown on the left side and the knives shown on the right side of the image.
Chicago Cutlery Insignia Steel 13 Piece Set Kitchen Cutlery Set
Full Review
The Chicago Cutlery Insignia Knife. Left side of the photo shows the set in the block, and the right side shows the knives out of the block.

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.

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 2021 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. Froze 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 it’s optimal sharpness.
  3. Avoid storing knives in a drawer unless they have individual knife sheaths or guards. 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 desperately 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.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $100 – 2021 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.

      Reply

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