Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $200 – 2023 Update

The Are A Lot Of Great Kitchen Knife Sets Under $200 In 2023. This Article Will Help You Find The Top Set For Your Needs

Kitchen cutlery manufacturers are producing new knife sets at an incredible rate in 2023. There are also new cutlery companies popping up on a regular basis. This can make it tough for the consumer to know what set is best for their needs.

Fortunately Nothing But Knives can help. We test dozens of new sets every year to help keep consumers informed.

All of the sets in this article are well designed and durable, but they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you have a specific question about any of the knife sets listed here, leave a comment below, and we will get back to you.

A two image collage showing Buck and Ninja Foodi 32009 knife sets in action. These were two of our favorite knife sets under $200 in 2022
The Buck Knives 4-Piece Set (top image) and The Ninja Foodi K32009 (bottom image) knife sets are very different, but they were two of the best knife sets we tested under $200.

Modern manufacturing technology has made it possible for the kitchen cutlery companies to offer impressive quality and functionality at a budget price point in 2023. While it is true that kitchen knife sets at the sub $200 price point are not on the same level at high end knife sets, the quality gap is not as big as it used to be, and it really is possible to get a great kitchen knife set that will last for many years for less than 200 bucks especially if it is properly cared for.

At the end of this article we highlight the types of knives available in most of these sets and describe their purpose. This may help you pick the best product for the type of cooking and food prep that you do. If you think you may want to pay a little more for a quality bump check out our article on the best kitchen knife sets under $300. Or if you just want pure budget options you can read our post on the best knife sets under $100.

Tuo 1810 Legacy Series 6-Piece Knife Set

The Tuo Cutlery Legacy Six Piece Knife Set features an artistic storage block, comfortable handles and sharp blades.

Blade Steel:X50CrMoV15
Handle Material:G-10
Rockwell Hardness:HRC56±2
Comfortable handles
Full tang
Very sharp right out of the box
Forged not stamped
Quality steel at this price point
No steak knives
Relatively small set
No honing rod

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife. one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ slicer, one 4″ paring knife, one 5″ utility knife and a wooden storage block.

The 1810 Series tuo Legacy chef knife easily cut thin slices of tomato.
The 8 inch chef knife included in the Tuo 1810 Legacy series set impressed us with its easy slicing ability.

The Tuo Legacy series of knives are a great option for anyone who likes full bolster knives with large handles. Every knife in this set was extremely sharp right out of the box which is not always the case with kitchen knives these days.

The knives in this set are all made from German X50CrMoV15 steel (also known as 1.4116 steel) which is a fairly common steel in kitchen knives due to it’s toughness and edge retention. Tuo heat treated the steel of these knives a little on the soft side at HRC56±2. This will help prevent chipping, but it will require sharpening on a semi regular basis.

The bread knife included in the Tuo Legacy 6-piece knife set did well, but not great.
The bread knife was the least impressive knife in this set from a performance standpoint, but it still outperformed most other bread knives found in sets at this price point.

The Tuo 1810 Legacy series knives all have large G10 handles that are triple riveted for improved durability. The large forward finger groove isn’t deep enough to lock the index finger in place, but I do wish it were a bit more shallow.

The full bolster has a fairly abrupt taper, but it is not at all uncomfortable when using a pinch grip. Overall I was impressed with the ergonomics of these knives, but the full bolster and large handles do make these knives a little heavier than average.

These knives all performed well for this price point. The grinds were even, and the blades were thin enough behind the edge to not easily wedge.

It would have been nice if Tuo had included a honing rod with this set, but it is still a great set from a quality and performance standpoint at the under $200 price point.

Cangshan Helena 8-Piece Knife Set(Best Overall Value)

The Cangshan Helena 8-Piece kitchen knife set offers excellent value at the under $200 price point.
Blade Steel:
Handle Material:Rosewood Dymalux
Rockwell Hardness:HRC58
Excellent performance for this price point.
Full tang
Very sharp right out of the box
Good edge retention
Forged not stamped
Comfortable handles
Available with black or white handles
Lifetime Warranty
No steak knives
No empty slots in the storage block

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife. one 7″ santoku knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ honing steel, one pair of kitchen shears, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 3.5″ paring knife and one Acacia wood storage block and one rubberwood storage block.

Cangshan continues to be our most recommended brand for budget to mid-range priced knives and knife sets. Almost everything they make offers excellent quality and performance for the money. The Helena series is no exception. The only other set in this article that matches this one from a performance standpoint is the Cangshan H1 set listed further down.

Dicing an onion with the impressive Cangshan Helena 8-inch chef knife. Its performance is one of the main reasons we chose this set as one of the best under $200.
The impressive performance of the 8 inch Cangshan Helena chef knife is one of the main reasons we recommend this set on a regular basis.

The tall blade of the Helena series chef knife was designed for performance. It is thin behind the edge and tapers gradually to the spine. This is a big part of why it is such an incredible slicer. Cangshan used German X50CrMoV15 steel for these knives which is a fairly common steel these days, but Cangshan’s impressive heat treatment separates them from most of their competitors. These knives hold their edge well, but they do not chip as easy as other knives made with this steel that have a Rockwell hardness around 58.

The serrated utility knife included with this set is more than capable of handling bread or other baked good.

This set includes a bread knife, so I personally would have preferred that it came with a plain edged utility knife rather than a serrated edge utility knife. However, I know serration fans will disagree with me. That being said, I did appreciate the overall performance of the utility knife. It performed on the level of much more expensive utility knives from more famous brands.

Peeling an apple with the Cangshan Helena paring knife was a lot of fun.
The 3.5 inch paring knife included in this set made short worked great for peeling an apple and other detail oriented tasks.

The handles of this set have an ergonomic shape that is comfortable even when used for long periods of time. They are not quite as grippy as some of the more rubber handles used by other knife sets in this article, but they are durable and comfortable for all hand sizes.

The neutral shape of the handle was nice for detail work like peeling and apple with the 3.5 inch paring knife that is included in this set.

Overall, this set is tough to beat in the under $200 price range. I wish there were empty slots in the storage block, and I wish it included a sharpener, but those issues are a little nitpicky considering the impressive quality and performance of the knives in this set.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Set (Top Pick)

This set from Mercer is small, but it knives are all well made, and the blades are constructed of quality steel.
Blade Steel:X50CrMoV15
Blade Material:Santoprene®
Rockwell Hardness:HRC56+/-1
Lifetime Warranty
Full Tang
Holds an edge extremely well
Very sharp right out of the box
Great steel for this price point
Very comfortable handles
Blades are forged not stamped
Not dishwasher safe. (Really no kitchen cutlery is dishwasher safe, but that is especially true with this set.)
Set does not include steak knives

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 4″ boning knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 3″ paring knife, and a storage block.

The Mercer Genesis 8 inch chef knife on a cutting board with a tomato to show scale and blade profile.
The Mercer Genesis 8 inch chef knife is one of the best budget chef knives I have ever used.

Mercer Culinary is a 30 year old company that has been turning out some great cutlery sets lately. The Genesis series of knives featured in this set are full tang, well balanced and the blades are made of German X50CrMoV15 stainless steel which is usually found on more expensive knife sets. Mercer kept the price of this set down by not including steak knives, but that is common with with the higher quality sets at this price point.

A close-up of a Mercer Genesis series chef knife slicing a tomato to show the high performance of the knives in this set.
The excellent blade geometry and ergonomic handle of the Genesis series knives make them an excellent option for busy home cooks who need affordable kitchen knives.

The ergonomic handles of this knife set are incredibly comfortable, so if you are looking for knives that won’t cause discomfort during long food prep sessions this set is a good option. The handles are made of Santoprene which is a pretty durable rubber-like material that is easy to grip even when the knife is wet.

The Mercer Genesis paring knife peeling an apple to show it's great cutting and peeling ability.
The Mercer Genesis series paring knife has a super comfortable handle that helps to make difficult cuts easy. It outperformed several paring knives that cost considerably more in our tests.

The Genesis set ships in a glass case that offers a more modern look than the wood blocks that are usually included with knife sets. However, the storage block is not angled, so the knives may be difficult to remove if they are stored under a low cabinet.

Overall this is an excellent set at the under $200 price point that should offer exceptional performance  for many years.

Ninja K32009 Foodi 9-Piece Knife Set With NeverDull Block (Best Self Sharpening Pick)

The Nija 32009 Foodi 9-piece knife set with the NeverDull sharpening system on a white reflective background.
Blade Steel:X50CrMoV15
Handle Material:POM
Better storage block sharpening system than competitors
Full tang
Very sharp right out of the box
Quality German steel
Made in China
Forged not stamped
Comfortable handles
Relatively small set
No empty storage block slots

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, four steak knives, one storage block with the NeverDull sharpening system.

Testing the sharpness of the Ninja Foodi K32009 knife set with self sharpening block.
The Ninja Foodi K32009 Knife Set has one of the best built-in sharpening systems we have tested.

Their are a lot of kitchen knife sets under $200 with self sharpening storage blocks. The downside of these systems is that they reduce the lifespan of the knives, because they sharpen the blades even when they don’t need it. The Ninja Foodi system circumvents this problem by not building the sharpening mechanisms into the separate knife block slots. The NeverDull sharpening system is still built into the block, but it only needs to be used when the knives begin to dull.

The Ninja K32009 Foodi knives are made of German X50CrMoV15 steel, which is a pretty typical higher quality steel for kitchen knives (it is mostly what Wusthof uses). These knives hold an edge well compared to most other budget friendly knife sets, but they fall short of the more premium sets. However the edge retention is not a huge issue since the Ninja NeverDull system is quick and easy to use. The downside of this built-in convenience is that no built-in sharpening system (not even the Ninja NeverDull) can match the sharpness achieved by a whetstone or guided sharpening systems.

This knife set is relatively small, but it is still a surprisingly good deal considering the overall quality and performance of the knives and the effectiveness of the built-in sharpening system. The storage block included in this set is plastic, and it feels a little cheap, but it has a nice modern look. If you are in the market for a self sharpening knife set, the Ninja K32009 Foodi is tough to beat.

Imarku Dishwasher Safe 14-Piece Knife Set

The Imarku 14 piece Dishwasher Safe Set is one of the few knife sets that can handle a dishwasher.
Blade Material:Undisclosed German Steel
Handle MaterialStainless Steel
Rockwell HardnessHRC56 ± 2
Great corrosion resistance
Relatively large set
Knife sharpener included
Softer steel will need regular sharpening
The Included sharpener is not great quality

Set includes – 8″ chef knife, 7″ santoku knife, 8″ bread knife, 8″ slicing knife, 3.5″paring knife, 5″ utility knife, six 4.5″ steak knives, one pair of kitchen shears and a wooden knife block.

Effortlessly slicing a tomato with the Imarku chef knife for meal prep .
The chef knife included in this set is a lot of fun to use. It is well balanced, lightweight and sharp.

I am personally against washing any knives in a dishwasher, but if that is something you feel you need to do, this 14 piece set from Imarku seems to handle it well. The stainless steel Imarku used for these knives seems to do an excellent job with corrosion resistance. This of course means the steel has a relatively low amount of carbon ( no matter what the marketing copy says). These knives will need to be sharpened more than high carbon steel knives.

The Imarku paring knife does a great job with citrus and other fruit.

The knives in this set are lightweight an very well balanced. They have the look and feel of the much more expensive Global knives. They just don’t have the edge retention of knives made by Global. However the knives in this Imarku set are much easier to sharpen. Speaking of sharpening, the sharpener that ships with this set will get the job done, but I would recommend buying a better quality knife sharpener if you plan to use this set a lot.

Overall this is a great set for the money. The design is functional, the handles are comfortable and the balance really does make these knives fun to use. You can even wash them in the dishwasher, but they will ultimately last longer if you don’t.

Misen 3-Piece Set

Misen Kitchen Knife Set 1
Blade Material:AUS-10A
Handle MaterialTPE
Rockwell HardnessHRC58
Tough steel
Free lifetime factory sharpening
Comfortable handles
Great fit and finish
Excellent customer service
Small set
Storage Block Sold Separately

Set includes – 3.5″ paring knife, 9.5″ bread knife an an 8″ chef knife. Wood storage block sold separately.

If you are looking for a knife set with great steel that will last for many years, this set from Misen is almost certainly the best option under $200 for looks and durability. The blades of this set are made of  AUS-10 steel which is a tough Japanese steel that is used in a lot of hard use pocket knives and fixed blade survival knives.  Misen makes some bold claims in their marketing that didn’t totally ring true from a performance standpoint when we tested these knives, but they absolutely proved to be true from a toughness and durability standpoint.

The contoured TPE handles of the Misen knives are comfortable, durable and remain grippy even when wet.

Pinch Grip On The Misen Chef Knife

Obviously the the high end raw materials used in the manufacturing of the knives in this set wouldn’t matter if the overall design were bad. Fortunately the design is quite functional and the knives look great. Misen went with a Gyuto design that is reminiscent of the Tojiro DP series of cutlery which is considered by many to be the the best of the relatively affordable Japanese knife designs on the market.

The biggest downside to the Misen 3-Piece set is that the wood storage block has to be ordered separately, but Misen makes that really easy to do on their user friendly site, and the total price is still just under $200.

Misen offers free lifetime sharpening for all their knives through their Stay Sharp program. This is a super rare service for knives at this price point, so if you hate sharpening Misen is a good way to go.

If you want to learn more about the overall performance and durability of Misen knives, check out our in-depth review of the Misen 8 inch knife.

Cangshan H1 Series 10 Piece Kitchen Knife Set

The Cangshan S1 10 piece knife sets is one of the best cutlery sets under $200. It is shown here with the knives both inside and outside the storage block.
Blade Material:X50CrMoV15
Handle Material:Polymer
Rockwell HardnessHRC58±2
Lifetime warranty
Full Tang
Forged not stamped
High quality steel
Very sharp right out of the box
Great looking block
Set includes a 3 stage knife sharpener
No steak knives
No Honing rod

Set Includes –  one 2.75 peeling knife, one 3.5″ paring knife, one 5″  serrated utility knife, one 5″ utility knife, one 7″ hollow edge santoku knife, one 8″ chef’ knife, 8″ bread knife, one 9″ slicing knife, one pair of scissors, one 3 stage knife sharpener and an acacia wood block.

Cangshan is a relatively new cutlery company, but they have developed a reputation for value in a short period of time. I am personally a big fan of the X50Cr15MoV German steel they use to make their blades, because I think it offers decent rust prevention an good edge retention.

Visually this 8-piece S1 series knives set themselves a part from the completion. However, that would be meaningless if they did not perform well. The practical design and great balance of these knives combined with the excellent cutting edge of the blades check the necessary performance boxes.

The tapered handles are a comfortable hybrid of Eastern and Western styles that make them easy to grip. The blades hold an edge well and are fairly rust resistant.

The downside to this set is that it does not ship with steak knives, but Cangshan does make an 18 piece version that includes steaks knives, but costs a little more.

Cold Steel Kitchen Classics 12 Piece Block Set

The updated CLassic Kitchen Knife Set from Cold Steel are an excellent option at the sub $150 price point.
Blade Steel:1.4116
Handle Material:Zy-Ex
Comfortable, easy grip handles
Sharp blades right out of the box
Ice tempered, cryo-quenched stainless steel blades
Great Rust Resistance
Blades don’t hold their edge quite as long as other similarly priced cutlery sets
Not as aesthetically pleasing as similarly priced cutlery sets. (subjective)
Doesn’t ship with a sharpening rod or kitchen shears

Set Includes – one 4.5″ paring knife, one 6″ serrated utility knife, one 9″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, one 9″ carving knife, one 6″ boning knife, six steak knives and one maple wood storage block.

This image shows the versatility of the carving knife included in the Cold Steel Kitchen Classics knife set.
The carving (slicer) knife included in this set does a great job with meat, but we found it to be a good option for skinning and slicing up a pineapple.

It may seem strange to include a cutlery set manufactured by a company that primarily makes tactical knives, but the Kitchen Classics set from Cold Steel has the most comfortable and easy-to-grip handles of any knife set in this price range or just about any price range. This set is growing in popularity with people who suffer from hand discomfort when using standard kitchen knives, and it is also growing in popularity with people who just love the way the handles feel.

This set may not look as good as most of the other sets on this list, but looks wont matter much when you are actually using the knives for their intended purpose, because this set really is fun to use for food prep.

The Cold Steel Kitchen Classics Chef Knife slicing easily through a tomato to show the readers it's ability to cut through a tomato without smooshing it. .
The Cold Steel Kitchen Classics chef knife slices well, and has a very comfortable handle.

Obviously we would not have included the Cold Steel set on this list if the Zy-Ex core handles were its only impressive feature. The Kitchen Classics set is well designed, durable and offers impressive corrosion resistance. The main drawback of this set is that the knives do not hold their edge quite as well as the other knives on this list, but if handle comfort and grip are a top priority this set is a great buy.

For a more information check out our review of the Cold Steel Kitchen Classics Knife Set.

Calphalon Classic Self Sharpening 15-Piece Knife Set (Best Value Pick)

The Calphalon Classic 15 piece knife set with self sharpening block. Shown here with the chef knife outside the storage block on a white background.
Blade Steel:Undisclosed German Steel
Handle Material:6″ x 12″ x 15″
Knives are labeled
Sharp blades right out of the box
Lifetime warranty
Self sharpening block
Full tang
No built in sharpening for steak knives
Chef knife is heavier than most competitors (not necessarily a bad thing)

Set Includes – one 8″ chef knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 6″ serrated utility knife, one 4.5″ paring knife, eight steak knives, one pair of kitchen shears, and a blonde rubberwood knife storage block.

Calphalon has not been making knives as long as some of the more established brands in this article like Wusthof and Zwilling, but they have developed a good reputation in a relatively short period of time. The SharpIN™ technology they developed and patented has really made an impact. Especially with people who do not like to sharpen knives.

Every time you pull a knife out of the block it automatically sharpens the blade. Each slot has a custom sharpener for the exact knife that fits in that slot. Fortunately the designers at Calphalon had the bright idea to label the handles of each knife to help ensure they go back in the correct slots.

Calphalon definitely helped make knife maintenance easier, but that really wouldn’t matter if the quality and performance of the knives was lacking. Fortunately that is not the case. The high carbon stainless steel blades hold their edge well and are fairly stain resistant. However, they should be hand washed and never put in the dishwasher.

The knives are full tang and forged rather than stamped which means they should last for many years. This knife set is fairly impressive at the sub 200 dollar price point, but it is not perfect. The steak knives are stamped rather than forged, and they are made from a lower quality steel than the rest of the set.

The polyresin handles of the 15 piece Classic set are really comfortable and fairly easy to grip. However, they are not as grippy as the Cold Steel knives mentioned above. The handles of this set are triple riveted and they feel sturdy. The Classic series has been available for several years, and it has established a good reputation for long term reliability.

The knives included in this set are not dishwasher safe, and they should always be hand dried immediately after washing to avoid rust spots.

J.A. Henckels International Modernist 13-piece Knife Set

The Henckels Modernist 13-piece M
Blade Steel:Undisclosed German Steel
Handle Material:Stainless steel
Rockwell HardnessHRC55-58
Lifetime Warranty
55-58 HRC
Large set for this price point
Very sharp right out of the box
Great modern look
Not full tang
Reports of rust spots (These knives should always be hand dried)

Set Includes – one 3″ paring knife, one 4″ paring knife, one 5″ serrated utility knife, one 7″ santoku knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 8″ chef’s knife, four 4.5″ steak knives, one 9″ sharpening steel and one storage block.

Effortlessly slicing through a tomato with the 8 inch chef knife from the 13-pice Henckels Modernist set.
The full bolstered 8 inch Henckels Modernist chef knife is tough and capable.

The Modernist line of knives is one of J.A. Henckels newest products. They have become extremely popular in the relatively short time they have been on the market. I have avoided adding them to this list, because they are not full tang. However JA Henckles seems to have found a way to create a durable knife with a 3/4 tang. JA Henckles is not the first company to pull this off. The Swedish cutlery company Morakniv has been making excellent 3/4 tang knives for years.

The design of the Modernist line is really nice for this price point. The aggressive styling is a welcome change from the classic look of most of JA Henckels other products. The knives are well balanced, and the 7″ Santoku knife is especially pleasant to use. The contoured stainless steel handles are not as comfortable as the Pakkawood or Micarta handles found on high end knife sets, but they are far more comfortable to use than most other knife product lines with stainless steel handles.

Henckels also makes a version of this set that includes a storage block with sharpening knife slots #AD. It costs a little more, but it is a good option for anyone who dislikes sharpening knives.

Victorinox Fibrox 8 Piece Set

The Victorinox Fibrox 8-Piece Block Set shown qith the knives shown both in and out of the wood storage block.
Blade Steel:X50CrMoV15
Handle Material:TPE
Rockwell hardness:HRC56
Lifetime Warranty
Very sharp right out of the box
Made in Switzerland
Handles are easy to grip
Blades are stamped rather than forged.
Knives are not full tang

Set Includes – one 4″ paring knife, one 6″ boning knife, one 8″ chef knife knife, one 8″ bread knife, one 10″ slicing knife, one 10″ sharpening steel, one pair of kitchen shears,  and a slant hardwood storage block.

This 8 piece set from Victorinox is incredibly popular, and it has been for several years. At first glance this seems surprising, because the blades are stamped rather than forged which can often result in a lower quality blade. However, Victorinox has perfected their stamping method to such a degree that I have no qualms about recommending their stamped knives. Any skepticism I had about Victorinox’s stamped blades disappeared after using a few of their butcher knife sets which can handle some extremely hard use.

The functional design and basic look of the Victorinox Fibrox set is no surprise from a company that has has been making knives for hunters, butchers and the military for years. This set will not win any beauty awards, but these knives perform at a high level. The 8 inch chef knife is the hero of this set. It slices, dices, and rock chops like a much more expensive knife.

The handles of this set are made of a textured thermoplastic that is extremely easy to grip even if your hands are wet, and the ergonomic shape makes the handles comfortable even when the knives are used for an extended period of time.

The knives in this set are not full tang, but that doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on their durability. The lifetime warrant makes me think Victorinox is not worried about this set’s durability either.

MSY Big Sunny 7-Piece Knife Set

The MSY Big Sunny cutlery set surprised us with its great design and overall performance.
Blade Steel:X50CrMoV15
Handle Material:Pakkawood
Rockwell hardness:HRC56-58


Well balanced
High end look
Very sharp right out of the box
Handles are easy to grip


No empty slots in the storage block
Pakkawood handles look great but require hand washing

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

The tapered handle and tall blade of the MSY BigSunny chef knife make it ideal for dicing an onion.
The 8 inch chef knife in this set features a tall blade and tapered handles that make it a great option for slicing and dicing fruits and vegetables.

We have received a lot of questions about the MSY BigSunny 7-piece set, but we only recently purchased one for the purpose of testing. The set has a great high-end look and the knives are all well balanced, but the it is really important to never put these knives in the dishwasher. The pakkawood handles look great, but they will fade and peel if they are washed in the dishwasher regularly.

The five inch utility knife included with this set is a big part of why we think the MSY BigSunny knife set is one of the best sets under $200.
The 5 inch utility knife included in this set is a great option for anyone who cuts a lot of citrus.

If you don’t mind hand washing, these knives offer excellent performance, decent edge retention and a unique look. The set is not large, but it does include the key knives needed for most food prep applications. The 8 inch chef knife and five inch utility knife are standout performers.

The German X50CrMoV15 steel blades of these knives holds a decent edge, but it falls short of the higher carbon blades found on more premium knife sets. However, the edge retention is competitive with other knife sets at this price point.

MSY BigSunny also makes a set that includes a cleaver #AD, but it costs a little more.

Knife Types & Their Purpose

Kitchen Knife Types and their uses to help shoppers find the best options for their needs.

One of the most important considerations when choosing the ideal knife set under $200 is how big of a set you need. If you are a little unsure about the purpose of a santoku or utility knife it is possible that a small cutlery set will meet your needs. And in most cases, all a kitchen really needs is a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.

This is important, because you can get better quality knives for your $200 budget if you need fewer knives than the standard set contains. You may even want to consider creating a custom cutlery set with the best knives of each type for your needs regardless of brand.  The downside of this set-building option is that the knives will not match, but if you value performance over aesthetics the custom knife-set-building option may be ideal.

Our favorite kitchen knife sets under $200

Here is a list of popular kitchen knives and their intended purpose to help you pick out the ideal kitchen knife set under $200 for your needs.

Chef Knife –The chef’s knife is the all purpose workhorse of any cutlery set. They range from 6 – 10″, although 8″ is the most common. Chef’s knives excel at everything for on-board cutting including slicing meat, chopping vegetables, and mincing garlic. In this price range you will mostly see western chef’s knives, which are thicker and sturdier, but there are several other types including the Japanese gyuto, and the French sabatier. This is the cornerstone of any good kitchen cutlery set, and it is important for it to be the highest quality knife in the kit.
Santoku Knife – Also known as the “three virtues” knife, which at this point is meaningless, because no one can seem to agree on what those virtues are. We’ll settle on “chopping, slicing, and dicing” here though, because that pretty well describes the motions best used with this knife. It is similar to the chef’s knife in that is is a multi-purpose blade, but it tends to be better at chopping, and not quite as good at slicing especially if you are partial to rock chopping with a big-bellied western knife.
Carving Knife – The carving knife is designed to slice thin, uniform cuts of meat from larger pieces. This is often the knife used to carve a turkey or a chicken. If you and your family do not eat a lot of meat this may be a knife you can skip.
Utility Knife – The utility knife is an all purpose knife, usually with a 5″ blade, designed for cutting things on board where a chef’s knife is too long or heavy. It doesn’t have a specific use (so you won’t see a lot of chefs using one), but it sits in an in-between range that many home cooks find convenient, especially those with small kitchens or travelling in campers.
Bread Knife – It’s not just for bread. You can use it for just about everything from cutting tomatoes to scoring ice to cutting slices off roasts. A good serrated blade can get a lot of work done (just not always as cleanly as a sharp plain edge). Generally you want a bread knife with nice wide sharp serrations so they won’t tear what you’re cutting.
Paring Knife – This was designed for peeling fruits and vegetables, but paring knives are good for any off-board work like coring strawberries or segmenting oranges. There are three basic types: the birds beak (also called a tourné knife, which is curved inward and more specialized for peeling and making garnishes), the sheepsfoot (a flat-edged blade without much of a tip), and a spear point (an even-sided blade with a versatile range of uses thanks to the neutral shape; it is the most common type to come in a set).
Boning Knife – A boning knife is a thin-bladed knife designed to debone meat, poultry and fish. There are flexible, semi-stiff, and stiff boning knives (generally determined by the thinness and length of the blade). The more flexible a knife is, the better it is at working around and breaking joints, while stiffer knives tend to be good for cutting away meat in larger animals. They also come in several blade shapes, but you’re most likely to just see the straight bladed versions for sets in this price range. The choice between these types often comes down to personal preference, although we’ve found most people prefer semi-stiff if they only have one boning knife.

Hopefully this knife-type list helps you find the perfect knife set for your needs and within your budget. There’s a wide world of chef knives and santokus out there, though, so you can also check out our other kitchen knife reviews to see what we’ve been testing lately.


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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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