Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $300

High Quality Steel, Good Design and Excellent Durability Are A Few Of The Reasons These Are The Best Kitchen Cutlery Sets Under $300.

There are a lot of decent kitchen cutlery sets at the sub $100 and $200 price point, but in most cases there is a notable increase in quality in the sets manufacturers offer that are just under $300. However, this is not the case for every knife set, so we created this list to help make sure you get the most bang for your buck when shopping for a mid tier knife set. This post is about quality and usability not quantity, so you will notice that several of these sets don’t include a lot of knives, but the knives they do include make them well worth their price tag from a quality, design and durability stand point.

Here are our top picks for the best knife sets under $300.

Shun Sora 5-Piece Knife Set
Cutluxe Artisan 8-Piece Set
Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection 3-Piece Knife Set
Case Cutlery 9-Piece Set
Imarku Premium 16-Piece Set
Calphalon Precision 13-Piece Set
Cangshan L Series 10-Piece Set  
Dalstrong Gladiator 8-Piece Set
Mercer Culinary Genesis 8-Piece Set
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 11-Piece Set

Shun Sora 5 Piece Knife Set

Shun Sora 5 Piece Knife Set

Specifications

Weight: 10lbs
Size: 14″x4.88″12.38″

Pros

Lifetime Replacement Warranty
Full Tang
Very sharp right out of the box
Forged not stamped
VG10 cutting core blade
Great edge retention
Rockwell hardness of 61
Empty slots in the wood block, so more knives can be added later
Made in Seki, Japan
Excellent performance for the price

Cons

No steak knives
Relatively small set

Set Includes: one 6″ utility knife, one 8″ chef knife, one 6″ utility knife , one 9″ honing steel and one eleven slot Bamboo wood block.

We were pretty excited here at Nothing But Knives when Shun announced the Sora series a few years back. We were also a little skeptical about the overall quality and performance considering the relatively low price point. Once we got our hands on on a few knives from this series our doubts were mostly alleviated. While the Sora series knives don’t quite match Shun Classic line from a performance or edge retention standpoint, they do outperform most other knives included in sets under $300.

The Shun Sora 8 invh chef knife on a cutting board next to a tomato.
The Shun Sora 8 Inch Chef Knife surprised us with it’s impressive slicing ability.

The blades of the Sora series of knives are made of a VG10 Cutting edge with a 420J steel upper combined by a cool looking San Mai cutting edge. This manufacturing technique is part of what allows Shun to keep the price of these knives down without sacrificing much from a quality and quality and performance standpoint.

The tapered TPE handles of the Sora series are comfortable and easy to grip. We didn’t experience any discomfort or hot spots even when we used the 8 inch chef knife for an extended period of time on a variety of tasks.

If you want to learn more about Shun knives and knife sets, check out our Shun Knife Guide.

Cutluxe Artisan 8-Piece Knife Set

The Cutluxe Artisan 8-piece knife set is one of our favorite kitchen cutlery sets under $300

Specifications

Weight: 12.5lbs
Size: 13.2″”x3.5″”x16.1″

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Well balanced
Full Tang
Made with Case’s Tru-Sharp™ stainless steel
Great fit and finish
Includes a honing rod

Cons

No steak knives
Storage block does not include any empty slots

Set Includes: 10″ bread knife, 8″ carving knife, 8″ chef knife, 7″ santoku, 5″ serrated utility, 3.5″” paring knife, 8″ honing rod and an Acacia wood block.

The Santoku knife is one of the standout performers in the Cutluxe Artisan series knife set.
The Cutluxe Artisan 8 piece knife set is one of our favorite knife sets under $300, and the included santoku knife one one of the standout performers in the set.

The Cutluxe Artisan series of knives has been our radar for quite a while, and we finally got around to testing out the 8piece set. We have been getting an increasing amount of questions about Cutluxe as a brand, and the Artisan series of knives specifically, so we finally pulled the trigger and bought the set. After a few hours of testing we understood what all the fuss was about. This set offers a lot of value at the under $300 price point.

The fit and finish of all the knives is excellent. The tang of the knives is flush with the handles, the blade grinds are even and the edges of the rivets are smooth. Cutluxe’s quality assurance department seems to be doing a great job.

Obviously the fit and finish of the knives in this set doesn’t matter if the performance is lacking. Fortunately these knives outperformed most mid range knives. The first thing I noticed when I picked up the chef knife was the excellent balance, and this is true of all the knives in the set. The gradual slope of the bolsters makes pinch grip comfortable, and the handles themselves are really ergonomic. all the blades edges were sharp right out of the box which is nice, because there is no sharpener included with this set.

It would be knife if Cutluxe would include a version of this set with steak knives rather than offering them separately, but that would probably increase the price considerably, because Cutluxe does not make any budget steak knives at this time. .

Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection 3-Piece Kitchen Knife Set

The Cangshan Thomas Keller Collection knife set is a small high quality, high performance knife set.

Specifications

Weight: 2.9lbs
Size: 14.5″x3″x7.25″

Pros

https://www.nothingbutknives.com/zwilling-kitchen-knife-guide/
Lifetime Warranty
Made with Damasteel RWL34 at HRC 61 +/-2
Full Tang
16° double bevel grind
Angled bolsters
Includes a sharpening rod
Polymer handles (available in multiple colors)
Fantastically sharp blade with excellent powder steel
Comfy, easy-to-grip handles
Edges have very aggressive bite
Good edge retention

Cons

No steak knives
The spines are a little harsh.
Paring knife doesn’t handle quite like other paring knives

Set Includes: 8” chef’s knife, 3.5” paring knife, 2-slot walnut block

The Thomas Keller chef knife from Cangshan is a great option for dicing vegetables. for
The Cangshan 8 inch chef knife is a truly impressive Western style chef knife. It outperformed every other chef knife in this article.

This set might be minimal but it’s a wonder of comfort and blade geometry. Designed in collaboration with the chef and restaurateur behind French Laundry, the Thomas Keller series is a big-handled set with snappy cutting action. The bolster is angled for a comfortable pinch grip while the handles have a modest belly that fills the hand and provides good purchase for keeping control and getting leverage for your cuts.

The edge has a much more aggressive bite than your typical Wusthof or Zwilling. It’s ground to 16 degrees at the edge, but that secondary bevel goes up fairly high and transitions very smooth into the primary grind of the blade, so that bite has a follow-through cutting motion that feels satisfyingly quick (almost too quick, if you’re used to stockier blades).

The Cangshan Thomas Keller paring knife peels fruit weel.

The main downside with the chef’s knife is that the spine isn’t crowned, so it will bite into your index finger after a while if you usually cut in a pinch grip. The ergonomics on the paring knife are a little different, too. Something about the angle of the bolster and height of the blade puts the bottom of the edge into the hand when you hold it in the typical reverse grip. It’s comfortable enough to just grip it by the handle, but it will take a little getting used to.

Overall, this set is one of the more unique looking options in this blog. The block was designed to present these knives, and they’re definitely worth presenting. Currently they make the Thomas Keller with a few different handle colors and patterns.

Case Cutlery 9 Piece Kitchen Knife Set

Case 9 Piece Walnut Kitchen Cutlery Set

Specifications

Weight: 8.9lbs
Size: 17.95″x9.09″x5.16″

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Made in the USA
Full Tang
Made with Case’s Tru-Sharp™ stainless steel
Set includes a well designed tomato knife
Includes a sharpening rod

Cons

No steak knives
Storage block does not include any empty slots
Hand wash only

Set Includes: 8″ chef knife, 9″ slicing knife, 3″ paring knife, 5.5″ tomato slicer, 6″ boning knife, 8″ bread knife, and a 7″ santoku knife.

This American made set from Case Cutlery has a classic Western aesthetic that sets it apart in the modern knife world. However, this set does not just rely on it’s classic good looks> It delivers in the performance department. Case Cutlery is famous for it’s pocket knives designed for outdoor use. but this company is no slouch in the kitchen either. These knives are all made with Case’s well respected Tru-Sharp™ stainless steel and they perform admirably.

If you like the look of walnut than this may be the set you want on your kitchen counter. The storage block and all the knife handles are made with great looking walnut wood. I think the handles look great, but they are slightly less ergonomic than some of the more modern handles of several other sets mentioned in this post.

One of the unique standouts in this set is the tomato slicer. This knife has a fine serration that helps it effortlessly slide through tomatoes. The western styled 9 inch chef knife is also popular and well priced on it’s own if you think you may want to buy it separately.

Imarku 16 Piece Premium Kitchen Knife Set

Imarku 16 Piece Knife Set
Weight: 8.9lbs
Size: 17.95″x9.09″x5.16″

Pros

Great performance for the cost
Super tough kitchen shears
Break away steak knife block
Comfortable Pakkawood handles
Sharpening rod included

Cons

Steak knives are a lower quality steel than the rest of the set
Storage block does not include empty slots

Set Includes: 8″ chef knife, 8″ bread knife, 7″ slicing knife, 7″ santoku, 6″ chef, 7″ santoku knife, 4.7″ utility knife, 3.2″ paring knife, 5.5″ kitchen shears, six 4.7″ steak knives, 8″ sharpening rod and a wooden storage block..

This 16 piece set from Imarku has been on our radar for a while. We get a lot of questions about the company here at Nothing But Knives, but we were skeptical due to some outdated reviews online and the company’s flashy marketing. Once we were actually able to test this set out we discovered why it has become so popular. The knives feature a very functional and versatile design that make the set a welcome addition to the kitchen. The majority of the knives in this set are made with steel from ThyssunKrup steel which is a German steel company. The knives held a decent edge, and were easy to sharpen. The steel definitely held up well enough to be competitive with most other knife sets at this price point.

Imarku Chef Knife
The 8 inch chef knife included with this set sliced well, and the Pakawood handle was comfortable.

Once we began testing out these knives we were immediately struck by their impressive slicing ability. Often budget knife sets feature knives that are fairly thick behind the edge which makes them a bit more resilient at the cost of cutting prowess. Imarku seemed to find the sweet spot between toughness and cutting ability. This is surprisingly rare in knife sets under $500. I do want to mention that the knives in this set seem to have been improved in the last few years. The steel has been upgraded and the knives perform better than what is shown in some older YouTube reviews.

Imarku Kitchen Shears
The included kitchen shears are some of the toughest we have tested.

Another thing that stood out to us about this set is that super beefy kitchen shears that are included. They are some of the most impressive kitchen shears we have ever tested from a toughness and durability standpoint. They are capable of heavy duty tasks that would break most other kitchen shears.

The break away steak knife block is a nice design feature that may help those that need to free up counter space or just want to store the steak knives separately. Speaking of steak knives, I did want to mention that they are made of 3Cr13MOV  steel which is a lower grade steel than the rest of the knives in the set. However, this is pretty common in knife sets under $500.

Calphalon Precision 13-piece Kitchen Knife Set With Self-Sharpening Block 

The Calphalon 23 piece kitchen cutlery set shown both in it's wood storage block and out of it's storage block on a white background.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight:13 lbs
Size:8.9″ x 8.5″ x 7.3″

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Full Tang
Large set for this price point
Very sharp right out of the box
Knife sharpeners built into the block slots
High carbon, no stain German steel
End caps engraved with knife identification
Knives in this set are forged rather than stamped (Except for the steak knives)
Block includes an extra slot

Cons

Nonstick coating doesn’t seem to work well
Steak knives are made from a lower quality steel than the rest of the set

Set Includes – one 3.5″ paring knife, one 7″ slicer, one 7″ santoku , one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, six steak knives, one pair of scissors and one sharpening knife storage block

Calphalon is a well respected German cookware company that has been in business for over fifty years, but they have only been making cutlery since 2003. They have quickly mad a name for themselves over the course of the last thirteen years by producing quality knives and great looking blocks. They have recently started offering several of their sets with self sharpening slots built into the block, and this set is one of those. This is great option if you are the type of person that hates sharpening their kitchen knives and keeps putting it off. The knives in this set also have end cap engravings that identify the knife which is a nice amenity that seems like it should be more prevalent in the kitchen cutlery world.

SharpIn Tecnology is the name that Calphalon has given their new in block sharpeners, and it seems to be much more than a marketing gimmick. Knives in the self sharpening slots stay very sharp, but technically the built in sharpeners are actually honers, because they are not actually removing steel. They just realigning the edge each time the blade is replaced. If the SharpIn technology were actually sharpening the blades after each use they would diminish in size very quickly and need to be replaced. Not all the slots in this set have built in sharpeners. The steak knife slots do not have self sharpeners and the there is an empty slot without a knife in case you want to add to this set or include a knife from your old set.

Overall the Precision 13 piece set is a good quality product with some nice innovations, and the self sharpeners are a great amenity for those who hate sharpening, because a sharp knife is safer than a dull one due to the fact that less force is required to perform the same task. However if you prefer to to sharpen and hone knives the old fashioned way, and you don’t think you need knife identification labels on the end caps you will probably be better served from an overall quality standpoint by one of the other sets in this review.

Cangshan L Series 10-Piece Knife Set

Cangshan L1 Series 10 piece Knife Set

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight: 16.4 lbs
Size: 9,5″ x 9.4″ x 5.5″

Pros

Great Edge Retention
Excellent fit and finish
Forged not Stamped
Extremely Sharp
Lifetime Warranty
Well balanced

cons

No honing rod included
No steak knives included

Set Includes – one 9″ carving knife, one 8″ chef knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, one 2.75″ peeling knife, one pair of  come-apart shears, one Acacia wood storage block and one adjustable angle knife sharpener.

The L series knives from Cangshan look great and perform well. Cangshan is a relatively new company, but their modern manufacturing techniques, great design and good customer service have made them very competitive in a relatively short period of time. The 10 piece L series set is a great option if you need a mid size knife set that looks and performs like a much more expensive set.  These knives almost match the performance of many well known premium knife sets, but this set costs considerably less. Unfortunately there no empty slots in the storage block, and there are no steak knives.

The Cangshan L series chef knife is a well balanced full bolster Western style chef knife.
The L Series chef knife is the hero of this set. It looks and feels like a much more expensive knife.

The blades of the L series knives are made of German X50Cr15MoV steel which is a good steel. Unfortunately it is not quite as good from an edge retention standpoint as the  Sandvik 14c28N steel  Cangshan uses in their TC series knives. However, the L series ships with a good sharpener, so keeping a sharp edge on the knives is pretty easy.

There are a lot of kitchen knives on the market that us X50Cr15MoV steel, but Cangshan’s ULTRA6 heat treatment process seems to be a good heat treatment technique based on the edge retention of these knives. The knives of this set are all fairly well balanced. This is especially true of the Chef and Santoku knives.

The handles of the L series knives have a full bolster which is nice from a safety standpoint, but I would prefer a more gradual taper similar to the TC series, because it is easier to sharpen.

Overall this is an excellent cutlery set from a quality and performance standpoint at the under $300 price point.

DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 8 Piece Knife Set

Great kitchen knife set from Dalstrong

Specifications

Weight: 12.8 lbs
Size: 16.4″ x 14.2″ x 4.8″

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Full Tang
High carbon, no stain German steel
Excellent quality at this price point
Dalstrong has excellent customer service.
Great looking Acacia wood block
Comfortable Pakkawood handles
Forged not stamped
Cryo-tempered 

cons

Too much branding on the blade. (Obviously this is subjective).
No steak knives

Set Includes: one 4.5″ paring knife, one 6″ utility knife, one 7″ Santoku , one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, eight steak knives, one pair of scissors

Dalstrong is a relatively new company, but they have made a big impression in the kitchen cutlery world in a short period of time. Their knives are manufactured in China with steel imported from Germany and Pakkawood imported from Spain, and their cryo tempered manufacturing process has resulted in some of the best knives ever manufactured in China. The high quality and great performance of these knives combined with their excellent 120 day money back guarantee have helped a lot of people pull the trigger on this knife set in spite of the fact that is manufactured in China.

The Dalstrong Gladitor Knife Set is a great looking set, but that doesn’t matter if the knives don’t perform. Fortunately the Dalstrong Gladiator series of knives perform very well. They are full tang, well balanced and really durable . From an ergonomic stand point the Pakkawaood handles are on par with the the handles on the very expensive Wustoff Ikon series, and the tapered bolster is really nice when utilizing the pinch grip.

Overall this is an  excellent kitchen cutlery set that offers specs and performance that you normally only see in high end knife sets. The Dalstrong Gladiator series may lack the name recognition of some of the other brands in this post, but if they continue to deliver this level of quality and performance they will be a household name in a short period of time.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 8-Piece Knife Set

Thr Mercer Culinary 8-Piece knife set with its magnetic block.

Specifications

Weight: 14.12″ x 10.25″
Size: 14.63 lbs

Pros

Limited Lifetime Warranty
Forged
Very sharp right out of the box
Easy grip handle
Great performance for the price
Tough and durable
Great looking Acacia wood magnetic block

Cons

Full bolster makes sharpening a little more difficult
No steak knives included

Set Includes – one 3.5″ paring knife, one 6″  flexible boning knife, one 7″ flexible fillet knife, one 7″ granton edge santoku knife, one wavy edge bread knife, one 8″ chef knife, one 8″ carving knife and one Acacia wood magnetic block.

The Mercer Culinary Genesis series in one of our most recommended knife series here at Nothing But Knives. The easy grip santoprene handles, tough X50CrMoV15 German steel blades and quality construction are the main reasons we like this set. The Genesis series also has a well balanced feel that has helped to make it a popular option with professional chefs and busy home cooks.

The Mercer Culinary Genesis 8 inch chef knife is one of our most recommended knives.
The Mercer Culinary Genesis 8 inch chef knife is tough, sharp and capable.

Mercer chose toughness over edge retention when heat treating the blades of the Genesis series. This means that these knives are less likely to chip if they are used to cut something hard or dropped. However, this toughness does come at the cost of edge retention, so you may want to pick up a honing rod #AD and an adjustable knife sharpener #AD if you choose this set.

If you cut a lot of meat the Mercer Genesis series is a good way to go at the under $300 price point. The flexible boning knife, flexible fillet knife and the carving knife are all excellent performers for cutting and slicing a variety of meat.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Stainless-Steel 11-Piece Knife Set

Great well priced kitchen cutlery set from J.A. Henckels

Specifications

Weight:  6.8 lbs
Size: 17″ x 6″ x 10″

Pros

Lifetime Warranty
Full Tang
Very sharp right out of the box
High carbon, no stain German steel
Laser cut blades
Henckels’s Friodur ice-hardening process

Cons

Blades are stamped rather than forged
Aesthetically challenged block

One of the first things you probably noticed about this set is that all the steak knife slot are empty. This may be a deal breaker for some people, but it could also be an opportunity to purchase the steak knives you really want. Steak knives tend to be an afterthought on a lot of mid tier knife sets, and quite often they are inferior to the rest of the set. With the Twin Signature 11 piece set J.A. Henckles has given customers the opportunity to purchase their ideal steak knives and add them to the set at their convenience.

The knives that are included in this set come from J.A. Henckles Twin Signature series are similar to the Wustoff Gourmet series in that they are stamped rather than forged, but they have a cutting angle of 15 rather than 18  and all the knives are full tang. These knives were manufactured using J.A. Henckles FRIODUR ice-hardening technique which is one of the main reasons J.A. Henckles has become a household name. This is an excellent kitchen cutlery set that will last a lifetime if properly cared for, and definitely one of the best sets at the sub $300 price point.

If the $200 – $300 price point is a bit more than you want to spend on a kitchen cutlery set check out our post on The Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $200.


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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.

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