Are you looking for the ideal all-purpose knife for your kitchen? A Japanese chef knife may do the trick. While these knives are known for their premium quality and impressive performance, you can still find the best Japanese chef knives under $200.
Unlike their European counterparts, Japanese chef knives are known to provide a better edge. While they have steel construction, they are still impressively lighter, thinner, harder, and more balanced on your hand. Thus, they make excellent everyday cutting tools for kitchen food prep. Here are our recommended top 7 picks for the best affordable Japanese Chef knives under $200 for this year.
01. Mac Professional 8-Inch Chef Knife
Designed with a 2.5mm thick blade, the Mac Knife 8-inch Professional chef Knife is a perfect companion in the kitchen. The blade’s 2.5mm thickness is complemented with dimples, allowing the knife to glide through sticky foods easily. This makes the lightweight knife perfect for foods such as potatoes, apples, and squash.
On the other hand, its lightweight construction also allows easy handling and makes it easier to accommodate different cutting styles. The Japanese chef knife features an alloy steel construction with an 8-inch long blade and hollow blade edge for various meal prep techniques. You can use it to chop, slice, dice, and cut most food items. A stylish Pakkawood handle, on the other hand, improves the knife’s balance and handling.
Read More: 10 Best Chef Knives Under $200 In 2021
02. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
What makes the Shun Classic 8-inch chef’s Knife stand out is its proprietary VG-Max Cutting Core and Blade design. The exclusive VG-Max cutting core formula features a layered alloy steel construction.
It integrates an extra layer of tungsten on the blade to give it a sharper edge. Additionally, the formula combines chromium, cobalt, and carbon for corrosion resistance, added strength, and long-lasting durability.
On the other hand, the curved blade design makes it easy to push the knife forward and down. This design helps to smoothen your cutting and slicing process, reducing the chances of chipping. Additionally, a Pakkawood handle is fitted to the knife and infused with resin for a water-resistant and high grip finish.
03. Global 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
The Global 8-inch Chef’s Knife combines a unique steel mixture to make it extremely hard and sharp. Yet, it remains soft enough for easy sharpening using a whetstone. The blade is made from combined vanadium, chromium, and molybdenum. The high chromium content gives the knife impressive resistance to rust and staining. Unlike regular knives, the Japanese knife doesn’t feature a standard beveled edge blade.
Instead, its straight edge blade gives a dramatically sharper profile and maintains the sharpness longer. Its edge also extends to a quarter-inch or more in length, allowing it to glide through different food items easily.
Additionally, the knife maintains a lightweight design to make handling easier. On the other side, the 8-inch Japanese chef knife features a stainless steel molded and dimpled handle for added comfort and safety grip.
04. Yoshihiro Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife
A truly traditional Japanese knife, the Yoshihiro VG-10 Knife uses a proprietary forged design. The Japanese chef knife is forged and hammered with 46 layers of steel for ultra durability and strength.
The steel is layered in Damascus tradition using a VG-10 core to enhance the knife’s functionality. Its curved blade allows it to rock back and forth easily for smooth cutting. Additionally, the blade features an extended tip for quick chopping.
This design is handy when cutting meat, fish, and vegetables. On the other hand, its unique hammered texture helps to eliminate friction during use, keeping the food from sticking to the blade. The knife also integrates a traditional Japanese Wa-style handcrafted octagonal handle. The lightweight and ergonomic handle sits nicely on the hand for seamless use.
Read More: 7 Best Chef knives For Small Hands 2021
05. Zelite Infinity 8″ Damascus Japanese Knife
Integrating high-quality stainless steel blade, the Zelite Infinity Chef Knife is one of the sharpest knives on the market. Its super stainless steel blade is even designed to last a lifetime. The knife’s versatile build makes it ideal for use by home cooks and restaurant kitchen chefs. The knife is constructed using Japanese AUS-10 super steel with 67 layers of high carbon stainless steel.
The result is an ultra-durable and high tensile finish. For added functionality, the 2.4mm thick blade features a beautiful Damascus pattern. The Damascus pattern allows the knife to resist stains, corrosions, and discolorations.
The blade’s rounded edges make cutting much smoother and prevent any friction with food items. The full tang knife’s tapered bolster offers a smooth transition from the blade to the handle for comfortable use.
Read More: 12 Best Damascus Chef Knives In 2021
06. Dalstrong Phantom Series 8-Inch Chef Knife
A D-shaped black Pakkawood handle of the Dalstrong Phantom Japanese Chef Knife allows it to tuck perfectly into the palm of your hand. A hand-polished end cap offers a counterbalance to make the blade feel like an extension of your body.
The knife features a special red spacer with mosaic copper and brass bolster near the handle and blade edges to add elegance to the knife. However, style and ergonomic design are not all the knife offers.
The Japanese chef knife features AUS-8 steel construction. The blade undergoes a hard sharpening process using a traditional honbazuke method. In turn, this gives the blade an edge to razor-sharp 13 to 15 degrees for effortless cutting. The knife also comes with a high-quality polymer DragonLock Saya folds shut perfectly over the blade to lock it into place.
Read More: 7 Best Chef Knives Under $100 In 2021
07. Katsu Kiritsuke 8-Inch Chef Knife
The Katsu Kiritsuke Chef Knife features a traditional Japanese convex grind Damascus blade. The Hamaguri-ba blade offers superior sharpness, durability, and ease of sharpening. On the other hand, the knife integrates a handcrafted octagonal ebony wood handle.
The handle is complemented with a buffalo horn bolster for lightweight and seamless use. The knife is constructed using 67 layers of Damascus steel with a beautiful steel pattern for smoother cuts.
Furthermore, the chef knife comes covered with a dark walnut wood magnetic Saya style sheath for a stylish and classy look. The knife even comes in an exquisite Katsu Gift box to make it the perfect gift for your home cook and chef loved ones.
Read More: 7 Best Chef Knives Under $50 In 2021
How to Choose the Best Japanese Chef Knives Under 200?
To choose the best Japanese chef knives under $200, you have to know the right features to look out for. Here are some of the essential features for determining a suitable knife for your needs.
A good-quality Japanese chef knife is made from high-quality steel, either stainless or carbon steel. Using steel, the knives guarantee a high tensile profile with added durability. Additionally, steel is easy to sharpen and remains that way for a longer period. Furthermore, it features durable corrosion resistance to extend the life of your knife.
Handle Materials and Design
The best Japanese chef knife must integrate a high grip handle to make it easy to use. Additionally, the handle must feel light on the hand so you can seamlessly move the knife back and forth. Pay attention to the knife’s bolster to ensure it connects the blade to the handle seamlessly to make it more comfortable to handle. Typically, a good quality knife features a wood or steel handle with grooves.
Single Edge or Double Edge
A Japanese chef knife will feature a single or double edge design. A double edge knife features a slight incline on both sides, running down to the edge. A single-edged knife only features this blade design on one side.
Compared to a single edge blade, a double edge blade is quite versatile, allowing you more control over whatever you are cutting. Furthermore, double edge knives can be easily used by both left and right-handed cooks. However, the downside to this design is it makes sharpening the knife difficult.
On the other hand, a single edge knife works great for soft and short food items like boneless fish. Its soft hollow side makes it easy to finish strokes. However, it also comes with disadvantages. A single edge knife is more susceptible to over-grinding damage and tends to be thicker and heavier than double-edged knives.
Full Tang or Half Tang
Tang describes how the blade is connected to the handle. A full tang features a solid blade with two handle pieces fixed on either side. A half tang features a blade that extends halfway into the handle. If you want to enjoy versatility, a full tang knife is ideal for accommodating different cutting styles. On the other hand, a half tang is suitable for light cutting and slicing jobs. Anything heavier may very easily compromise the quality and integrity of the knife.
Weight and Balance
Your knife should be lightweight to make it easier to handle and balance. With a lighter knife, you can make easy back and forth strokes for easier cutting. However, you don’t want the knife to be too light so that it becomes flimsy. As a general rule of thumb, your knife should weigh at least 5 to 6.5 ounces.
The bolster of your knife is where the blade meets the handle. Its purpose is to provide a smooth transition from the blade to the handle. It also helps to offer a counterbalance and control since a good quality knife must have a lighter handle than the blade. A bolster is especially useful if you use your knife for filtering, boning, or similar tasks. This is because it helps to prevent the hands from slipping.
Even the best Japanese chef knives under $200 come with warranties. A knife that comes with a warranty ensures its quality. It also helps to protect you should the knife have any defects. Typically, you want to choose a knife with a warranty period of at least a year or two.
Even the best quality knives aren’t dishwasher friendly. This is because the washing detergent and dishwasher cycles all contribute to damaging the sharp edges. Additionally, unloading the knife from the dishwasher may be unsafe.
Instead, most Japanese chef knives are hand wash friendly. Washing is pretty simple. All you need is mild soap and warm water. If your knife has some food remnants and tough build-up, a soft-bristled brush will do.
Undoubtedly, Japanese chef knives offer great quality, functionality, and versatility in any kitchen. Unlike regular knives, these kitchen tools provide a much sharper and finer angled option with excellent cutting edge. The result is smooth and premium quality cuts, whether you are slicing meat or chopping vegetables.
In addition to the cutting quality, Japanese chef knives provide superior comfort to the user. On your hand, they feel more balanced and light to prevent strain or hand fatigue. Nonetheless, even with the premium quality design, you can still find the best Japanese chef knives for under $200. So, to improve life in your kitchen, it’s time to try out these affordable kitchen cutting gems!
I’m a food and cooking enthusiast and I love testing new kitchen gadgets almost as much as I love eating new, different exciting foods. Most of the time I try to taste new recipes even sometimes I cook. But if I don’t then I go to my computer and start writing for my blog or research for other kitchen products manually. I believe the kitchen and food are an important part of our everyday life. That’s why I spend tons of time on it and learned a lot about it.