Chef Masaharu Morimoto says “a kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.” Something as essential as a proper chef’s knife should be top-quality, but it’s pretty easy to spend a few hundred dollars on getting a fancy one hand-made by artisans in a faraway land. Not everybody has that kind of dough to spend.

Our favorite chef’s knives are comfortable to hold, with strong, tarnish-protected blades that make cooking a serious pleasure. They also won’t add up to be half your mortgage payment.

Best overall: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef Knife

The First To Make The Cut

A beloved, Swiss-engineered classic. Amazon

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If you love Swiss Army knives, you know you can trust Swiss brand Victorinox for their excellent blades. The Victorinox Fibrox Pro is loved by professional chefs and home cooks alike. Its stainless steel edge minces, chops, and slices, and the knife’s weighted handle has a non-slip grip that holds up even when wet.

Great gift: Imarku Pro Kitchen Chef Knife

Great Slicing At A Slice Of The Price

Ultra-sleek and designed to last. Amazon

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The Imarku Chef Knife comes with a carbon-boosted, stainless steel German blade. The elegant handle is made from Pakka, a material prized for its durability and comfort. The blade has a 56-58 rating on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, making it a tough, multi-tasking knife. The knife has anti-corrosion and anti-tarnish properties from chrome inside the blade’s composition, ensuring that the blade will keep its glossy finish for years. The knife comes in a gift-ready box, which makes it feel like a luxury.

Must-have: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife

Cut Like The Best

Restaurant quality for an at-home price. Amazon

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Trust a company that makes knives for career-chefs-in-training. The Mercer knife comes with a Santoprene handle—it doesn’t slip when wet or oily—and holds up to a wide range of temperatures. The high-carbon German blade chops satisfyingly, and resists wear. Some users even report slicing bread with this blade.

Prettiest blade: Paudin Pro Kitchen Chef’s Knife

Attractive Option That Gets It Done

This elegant pattern will elevate your kitchen. Amazon

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The Paudin Pro Kitchen Knife stands out for its eye-catching wave-patterned blade. The stainless steel blade is just 2.5mm thick and easily slices, dices, and minces. The handle is designed for balance, and quick, precise tuned movements. Cook like a pro—and look great doing it.