If you’re looking for a chef’s knife that balances quality with affordability, then you’re in the right place. We’ll be sharing some tips on how to choose a budget chef’s knife, plus our top 5 recommended budget chef’s knives available in the UK right now.
About Chef’s Knives
What is a chef’s knife?
A chef’s knife is a versatile knife used by chef’s and cooks for a variety of tasks including slicing joints of meat and dicing vegetables. Chef’s knives come in a range of sizes, but the standard chef’s knife is 20 centimetres (8 inches) long and 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) wide.
Chef’s knives come in two main varieties: French and German. French knives have a straighter cutting edge, whereas German knifes are more curved. They both work just as well as each other, but some people prefer the shape of one to the other.
What materials are chef’s knives made of?
The blade of a chef’s knife is usually made from one of these materials:
- Stainless steel – Less sharp than carbon steel knives, but they don’t rust
- Carbon steel – Easy to sharpen but can rust
- Ceramic – Need sharpening less often, but are brittle
You can also buy knives with a ‘laminated’ blade. This means that several materials have been layered on top of each other to try to take advantage of each material’s unique qualities.
One of the most popular materials used in budget chef’s knives is high-carbon stainless steel.
How much do ‘budget’ chef’s knives cost?
Chef’s knives vary greatly in price, from under £20 to over £100. For the purposes of this article, we’ll say that ‘budget’ chef’s knives are those available for under £50. However, we can’t guarantee that they will still be available for that price when you read this article.
Best Budget Chef’s Knives in the UK
Here’s a roundup of our favourite budget chef’s knives on the market in the UK right now. We hope this helps you find the right knife!
1. Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife
Size: 18 cm (7 inches)
This is the most expensive knife on this list (at the time of writing), but it’s arguably the best. It’s comes in a beautifully designed box, which makes it a great gift.
This knife comes with a nice sharp edge and shouldn’t require sharpening before you use it. If you’re not used to chef’s knives the difference is like night and day. This knife cuts very cleanly, allowing you to cut meat and dice vegetables quickly and easily.
At 18 centimetres (7 inches), it’s slightly smaller than a standard chef’s knife, but not much. It’s definitely a good size for a home kitchen.
We couldn’t find out any information about where this knife is made, but the blade is made from German high-carbon stainless steel. While this knife is very sharp, it will lose some sharpness after a few months of regular use, so you will need to sharpen it regularly.
One of the nice things about this knife is that it’s available with a money-back guarantee and a 15-year warranty if you buy it directly from Zelite Infinity. Make sure you double-check this before you buy it as not all sellers offer a guarantee and warranty.
This knife is at the upper end of the ‘budget’ price range, but if you’re serious about cooking it’s worth spending a bit more to get a higher quality product.
2. MOSFiATA Chef Knife
Size: 20 cm (8 inches)
Consisting of premium stainless steel, the MOSFiATA is a high carbon German chef knife, designed for strength and rigidity.
The blade itself offers effortless precision due to expert polishing technology and hand sharpening of 16 degrees on each side. And the laser engraved carving will add a sophisticated touch to your kitchen utensils.
Thanks to the 15% chrome built in with an anti-tarnishing finish; you can use it for many years to come. However, whilst it is a great choice for gentle slicing, it’s not a good idea to use it for crushing food such as garlic, you will need something sturdier.
3. Chef’s Path Kämpfer Series Kitchen Knife
Size: 20 cm (8 inches)
The Chef’s Path Kämpfer Series Kitchen Knife is an 8-inch knife made in China using high-carbon German steel for the blade. This knife offers good value for money and is sold in a bundle including a protective sheaf, a polishing cloth and a booklet.
This knife is very sharp and has a good weight (458 g). The handle is ergonomically designed and comfortable to hold.
You can buy this knife with a money-back guarantee, but there will probably be terms and conditions so we don’t know how easy it would be to get a refund.
How to Choose a Chef’s Knife
There’s no single best chef’s knife that will suit everyone. Choosing a chef’s knife is a very personal thing, and a knife that feels good to you might not feel right for someone else. Here are some things to consider when choosing a chef’s knife.
A budget chef’s knife could cost around £10, while a really high-quality one could cost over £100.
Chef’s knives come in a range of sizes, from 3.5-inch pairing knives to 10-inch knives for high-volume veg prep.
If you’re looking for a versatile all-rounder, a knife of around 7-8 inches is your best bet. This is what most home cooks use, and it should be fine for most tasks in professional kitchens.
Bear in mind that you will need a large chopping board if you opt for a larger knife.
If possible, you should try different knives out for yourself before buying one. Many online retailers will let you return the knife if it doesn’t feel right, which is an alternative to buying one in a shop.
When testing out a knife, keep an open mind and try to judge the knife by how it feels rather than by its price or how it looks.
If you’re able to test a knife out in the kitchen, try using it to do a few common tasks like mincing herbs, dicing onions, and cutting carrots into strips.
How to know if you’ve found a good knife
A good knife should feel like an extension of your hand. You should feel completely in control of it, and it should be comfortable and easy for you to work with.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Balance: When you grip it by the handle, the knife shouldn’t feel like it’s tipping forwards toward the blade or backwards toward the handle.
- Weight: Some people prefer heavy knives as they seem to fall through foods, while others prefer a light knife that they can move about more easily..
- Size: If you want a versatile blade, you should probably choose an 8-inch knife. If you need something more nimble, consider a 6-inch knife. 10-inch knives are good for chopping large quantities of food quickly.
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