9 Best Chef’s Knives Under $200


A chef’s knife is the most important tool in the kitchen. It’s the all-rounder of kitchen tools. It will slice, dice, chop, descale and smash. Really, you could probably do about 95% of tasks which require a knife in the kitchen with a good chef’s knife.

That’s why of all the knives in your kitchen, I think it’s particularly important to focus on getting a top-quality chef’s knife, one which is right for you, one which is comfortable for you to use and is beautiful to look at.

A quality chef’s knife which is properly maintained can easily last for decades. In fact, if you just take the regular steps of frequent honing hand infrequent sharpening to maintain your knife a high-quality chef’s knife could definitely last you your whole lifetime, perhaps even your kids too.

That’s why I’ve made this article. I want to showcase some of the very best chef’s knives you can get, which are still within a reasonable price range. You can go out and find single knives which might cost $500 – $1,000, ‘handcrafted by a guild of Samurai master in the foothills of Mount Fuji’, but unless you’re an absolute knife buff you probably don’t need to, the funny thing too is that often these knives are much more difficult to maintain than a more western style chef’s knife.

So here’s my list of recommendations for incredible chef’s knives for under $200. A price that’s expensive enough to get really top quality products, but not so expensive that they have been sharpened by blind monks… I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

The chef’s knife I would recommend is the Wüsthof Classic 8 Inch. Wüsthof is a titan of the knife world and they produce some of the highest quality chef’s knives you will find. It’s a tried and tested knife used in many professional kitchens. It’s usually available between $160 – $180.

My Top Recommendation
You can view the Wüsthof Classic 8 Inch on Amazon here.

9 Best Chefs Knife Under $200

I’m listing 9 chef’s knives, from 9 different knife manufacturers. I’ve deliberately listed a range of knives with slightly different shapes and styles using a range of different steels and handle materials.

I want to offer you a list of great knives. All 9 of these are fantastic so you just need to find the one which you prefer.

I’ve ranked them in price order but all these knives use great quality materials and are comfortable to use so I think your decision should really be based on which knife you think you would find most comfortable and which you like the appearance of.

NamePriceCheck current price
Mac Hollow Edge 8 Inch$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Zwilling J.A. Henckels 8 Inch$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Shun Classic 8 Inch$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Messermeister Oliva Elite 8 Inch (best design)$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Wüsthof Classic 8 Inch (my top pick)$160 – $180Link to Amazon
Global 8 Inch$150 – $170Link to Amazon
Zelite Infinity 8 Inch$130 – $150Link to Amazon
Dalstrong Shogun 8 Inch$120 – $140Link to Amazon
Ferrum Estate 8 Inch$110 – $130Link to Amazon

I’ve added the general price range that you’ll find these knives for as well as a link to their current price on Amazon.

It’s pretty common for knives to be offered at a discounted price so I would definitely recommend that you check out the current price of any knife you like the look of using the links above, as you might just find a bargain.

Mac Hollow Edge 8 Inch

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Mac Hollow Edge 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeVG-5 (Top quality Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 59-61
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPakkawood (wood/resin composite)
ProsSuper sharp with great edge retention

The Mac 8 inch knife is made in Japan. You can start to see this from the blade of the knife which is a mix between the traditionally straighter Japanese styles and the curved cutting edge of the classic western chef’s knife.

The steel used for this knife is a very high-quality Japanese steel called VG-5. It’s an extremely hard steel with more durability and resistance to rust and corrosion than many other Japanese steels. However, this steel, like most Japanese steels, is not as durable as quality german steels.

This is mainly due to the high carbon content which increases the strength of the knife, allowing for a sharper cutting edge and better edge retention. But it comes at a cost, there’s less chromium in this knife which is the element that provides rust resistance. It won’t cause you an issue if you ensure you wipe the blade dry after every use, but it’s an important thing to know.

The blade has hollowed dimples along the surface, these prevent sticky foods such as potatoes from sticking to the blade when slicing. The blade has a partial bolster and full tang into the handle. The handle is classic western in style, black in color with a triple rivet. The material used for the handle is pakka wood, a wood commonly used for quality knife handles due to its durability, you’ll find a lot of Japanese knives using pakka wood for the handle.

The edges of the handle are rounded to prevent any single part digging into your hand during use and the classic style is always going to be comfortable. There’s a very generous heel on the knife leaving plenty of space for your knuckles whilst chopping.

It’s a great knife using a super hard Japanese steel, it might need a bit more care than some other knives on this list but in return, you get one of the sharpest edges in cooking.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro S 8 Inch

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Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro S 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (Very durable German steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsDurable materials and classic design

Zwilling is one of the world’s giants of German-style chef’s knife manufacture. They make knives which are classic in design and this 8-inch chef’s knife certainly has that traditional western style design.

The steel used is a friodur steel using X50CrMoV15. This is the process of ice-hardening steel by putting it through a four-step process in which it is frozen to -94°F. This process makes steel exceptionally hard and corrosion-resistant. The steel is also a high carbon German stainless steel and all these features combine to make an extremely durable blade that can be sharpened to a very fine angle and has fantastic edge retention.

Talking of the edge, the blade is sharpened to a 15-degree angle which is pretty much as good as you can get on a western-style knife and it will feel razor-sharp, most chef’s knives are sharpened to an angle closer to 20 degrees.

The blade has a full bolster and full tang going into the handle. The handle is very classic in design with rounded edges so no single part digs into your hand. It is triple riveted and black in color and made from a thermoplastic called Polyoxymethylene, this makes it very resistant to any water damage or temperature changes and adds to the durability of the knife.

The balance between the blade and the handle is perfect and although it comes with a full bolster and full tang the knife doesn’t feel particularly heavy. It looks like a professional chef’s knife as it uses some of the best materials and knife making techniques you’ll find in western style knives.

Shun Classic 8 Inch

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Shun Classic 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeVG-MAX (Durable and hard Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 61
Factory edge16 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPakkawood (wood/resin composite)
ProsVery sharp and extremely rust resistant

If you would like a knife in a traditional Japanese style which has been crafted to fit the western market then you can’t do much better than this Shun Classic 8 Inch knife.

The blade is made using a steel type exclusive to Shun, VG-MAX. It’s a western twist on classic Japanese steel. As you would expect with Japanese steel it is high in carbon which makes it extremely strong, giving it a super sharp edge with excellent edge retention.

The western twist is that Shun has added more chromium to the blade, the element which makes stainless steel knives resistant to rust and corrosion. As a result, you end up with the blade having Japanese strength with increased durability.

The blade edge is more curved than many traditional Japanese knives and more similar to the western chef’s knife, allowing for rock chopping and resulting in the western user being able to get to grips with the knife easily, traditional Japanese knives with a very straight edge require a different technique when slicing and chopping.

The blade has a partial bolster and a full tang going down the handle. The handle is crafted in a beautiful traditional Japanese style, with a tapered cylindrical shape using pakka wood as the material. This wood is often used for quality knife handles as it’s renowned for its durability and attractive natural appearance.

This is an excellent knife and has a great reputation in the knife world. It offers you something a little bit unique and uses all the traditional features which make Japanese knives so great with a few western ideas to make it easier for the western user to work with.

Messermeister Oliva Elite 8 Inch

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Messermeister Oliva Elite 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (Very durable German steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialOlive wood
ProsDurable materials and incredibly beautiful design

There are a number of very classic western chef’s knives on this list. They are brilliant knives and I’m sure 80% of people would prefer that classic look, but I also wanted to include some knives which have that classic influence, as well as their own unique bit of design, for those other 20% of people who want something a bit different.

This Messermeister Elite 8 Inch is another knife on my list of recommendations which takes its design from the classic western chef’s knife style but incorporates a stunning olive wood handle instead of opting for the traditional riveted black handle.

Messermeister makes a range of terrific knives, and many are very classic like their elite 8 Inch knife with a black handle which you can see on Amazon here. But I just love this Oliva version of their Elite line.

The steel used for the blade is a german stainless steel called X50CrMoV15. As you would imagine it is very durable and resistant to rust and corrosion as well as having great edge retention.

The cutting edge is very well curved allowing for an easy rock chopping motion. The blade has a partial bolster connecting the handle and a full tang so it’s a very strong knife overall.

The handle is made from Italian olive wood, shaped into a classic ergonomic style, it is well rounded, comfortable and absolutely beautiful. Olive wood is not as durable as pakka wood or thermoplastic handles so I would advise that you take a bit better care of cleaning this knife, don’t leave it soaking in water at don’t put it in the dishwasher (it is actually advertised as dishwasher safe but honestly I would strongly recommend against that).

It is certainly durable enough to last for a very, very long time if properly maintained though, so unless you just want a super-durable knife (Like the Global 8 Inch knife below) then I wouldn’t let it influence your buying decision.

Wüsthof Classic 8 Inch (My top pick)

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Wüsthof Classic 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (Very durable German steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsOne of the most durable knives available

We go straight from the Japanese style of the Shun to a classic western style knife made by the world’s best-known producer of western-style knives, Wüsthof. I really don’t think anyone who’s looking for a quality chef’s knife could be disappointed with their Classic 8-inch knife.

The steel used for the blade is a German stainless steel called X50CrMo15. This is a steel frequently used for quality knife blades as its high carbon content makes the blade strong, with great edge retention, and the high chromium content makes it very resistant to rust and corrosion, increasing the durability.

The blade has a perfectly curved edge for rock chopping, with a full bolster connecting the handle and a full tang down the length of the handle. The handle is triple-riveted and black in color for that classic appearance. The material used for the handle is a thermoplastic called Polyoxymethylene, this makes it extremely resistant to water and temperature changes as well as being a very strong material. The handle is designed classically and rounded at the edges for comfort.

The balance between the blade and the handle is perfect and this knife is very comfortable to use, feeling lightweight even with the full bolster and full tang.

It is a strong and durable knife, embracing all the best features of the classic chef’s knife design and merging them with quality modern materials.

Global 8 Inch

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Global 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeChromova18 (high rust-resistant Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 58-60
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialSteel
ProsIncredibly rust-resistant and lightweight

I’ve added this Global 8 Inch knife to the list because not only is the knife-edge razor-sharp and made from top-quality steel, but the whole knife is made from the same block of steel making it extremely durable. Often the first thing to go wrong with a knife can be the handle, and that just will not happen with this one piece of steel Global knife.

Global uses highly durable steel for this knife. It’s also high in carbon which gives the knife more strength and allows for a sharper and longer-lasting cutting edge.

The steel used is Cromova 18. The 18 stands for 18% chromium. Chromium is the element that makes stainless steel knives resistant to rust and corrosion. 15% chromium is considered to produce highly rust-resistant steel so 18% means that you’ll struggle to find a high-quality chef’s knife with better rust and corrosion resistance to this one.

Since the blade and the handle are made from one block of steel there is no bolster. The handle has been completely covered in a molded dimpled surface to ensure that you can still grip the handle well. The handle is a tapered cylinder in shape.

The knife is very lightweight, especially considering it is all steel. One reason for this is that the handle is actually hollow, making the balance between the handle and the blade fantastic.

This is an extremely durable knife and could continue to perform well even after some pretty rough treatment. All the knives on this list are very well built and durable, but I’d say this knife is the best one if you’re looking for ultimate durability.

Zelite Infinity 8 Inch

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Zelite Infinity 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureChina
Steel typeAUS-10 (High-quality Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 61
Factory edge12 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialG10 (fiberglass laminate)
ProsIncredible materials for a relatively low price

Zelite makes a range of top-quality kitchen knives with a Japanese influence, this Zelite Infinity 8 Inch is one of their best. Zelite knives are manufactured in China using imported German or Japanese steels, as a result, you get incredible quality knives but for a relatively low price.

The knife blade is made from a top-quality, very high carbon steel called AUS-10. This is a well-renowned steel in the knife world. As high carbon knives can become quite brittle, this steel has added nickel, manganese and silicon to improve the flexibility of the blade.

The addition of vanadium, chrome and molybdenum to the steel also increases its resistance to rust and corrosion. Overall this highly technical steel is super strong, allowing for a great cutting edge, whilst still remaining durable.

The blade is polished with Zelitles own ‘Tsunami Rose Damascus Pattern’, in a typically Japanese style. The knife has a partial bolster and full tang into the handle. The handle is triple-riveted and shaped ergonomically, with a humped back and completely smooth circular length made specifically for comfort. Zelite is excellent at designing their knives for maximum comfort and they have certainly achieved that here.

The knife also comes with a useful blade sheath which protects the knife from damage when stored and helps to keep the blade sharp for longer. It’s a great knife using quality materials with a very bold design, Zelitle is a relatively small family company but they have amassed a strong reputation for quality. You can see why with this knife.

Dalstrong Shogun 8 Inch

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Dalstrong Shogun 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureChina
Steel typeAUS-10 (High-quality Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 61
Factory edge12 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialG10 (fiberglass laminate)
ProsIncredible materials for a relatively low price

As you’d imagine from a knife with Shogun in the name, the Dalstrong Shogun 8 Inch knife is another knife that takes its inspiration from the Japanese style.

Dalstrong knives are manufactured in China using imported German or Japanese steels, as a result, you get incredible quality knives but for a relatively low price.

Like the Zelite knife, this knife uses AUS-10 as the steel for its blade. It has a very high carbon content making it extremely strong as well as a mixture of nickel, manganese, silicon, vanadium, chrome and molybdenum which combine to make it resistant to rust and corrosion and to add a little flexibility since high carbon knives tend to be brittle. It’s a top-quality steel and it makes for a fantastic blade with a sharp cutting edge that retains the sharpness very well.

The blade edge has a nice curve allowing for the rock chopping technique. The blade has a partial bolster and a full tang into the handle. The handle itself is a mix between the classic western style and the more cylindrical Japanese style of handle and as a result, it’s very well rounded and comfortable to use. It’s riveted and the material used for the handle is a fiber-glass like material called G-10 Garolite.

This means the handle is light and incredibly durable, chemically inert and resistant to water and temperature changes it shouldn’t corrode or deform at all. There is also a generously sized heel to the knife, leaving plenty of room for your knuckles whilst chopping.

The balance between the knife and the blade is perfect and it is an extremely lightweight knife and comfortable to use over long periods. This is a great knife with an attractive Damascus wave pattern on the blade, typical of that Japanese style. The knife also comes with a useful blade sheath to protect it when it’s being stored.

Ferrum Estate 8 Inch

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Ferrum Estate 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureUSA (Oregon)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 61
Factory edge16 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialMaple wood
ProsBeautiful design and classic shape

Last but certainly not least is my lowest priced recommendation on this list. Ferrum is a small producer of kitchen knives and they make a truly beautiful range. Ferrum offers a handmade knife, made to a high standard using great materials. I love their Ferrum Estate 8 Inch and I think it offers one of the best value for money items on this list.

Ferrum employs a technique more commonly used in the medical device industry to forge the steel for their blades. They use a method of mixing different types of powdered metals and shaping the blade in a similar fashion to injection molding. They claim to be the first cutlery producer in the world to use this method and it results in a sharper edge with better edge retention. This can certainly be seen on this Estate model which has a cutting edge of 16 degrees, which is pretty much as sharp as you can get on a western-style chef’s knife.

The blade edge is beautifully curved and perfect for rock chopping, the blade has a partial bolster and full tang going into the very special, maple wood handle. The maple wood brings a great aesthetic quality to the already attractive blade and it’s a smart choice of wood, being strong and durable. The Estate line is certainly that and it’s known as the ‘workhorse’ line of Ferrum’s knife range. The handle has also been well rounded so it feels very comfortable and sturdy to hold.

There is a generously sized heel on the blade, leaving plenty of room for your knuckles and combining well with the curved blade edge to make this knife ideal for rock chopping.

This is a truly beautiful knife made with some unique but high-quality materials, it’s super sharp, well designed and offers something a bit more unique than the knives from the larger brands.

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