Top 7 Best Japanese Chef Knives For Under $100: Which One Would You Pick Up?

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Japanese chef knives are the ideal choice for a lot of professionals out there.

They are slimmer and sharper than their western counterparts, and they also offer a whole new range of control for anyone using it.

These knives are ideal for more delicate jobs in the kitchen, and since they are lighter, they are also much easier on the wrists.

Using a Japanese chef knife can be a life-changing experience for a lot of people, and sometimes, all it takes is one experience with one for a person to change their mind about knives in general.

And while these knives can sometimes be really expensive, there are also a lot of budget-friendly options out there under $100.

If you’ve been looking for a quality Japanese knife for under $100, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll be taking a close look at the best Japanese chef knives for under $100.

Keep reading to learn more.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Under $100 (Updated List)

* A Serious Contender *

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  • Powerhouse Knife. Masterfully elegant, perfectly balanced, razor sharp...
  • Peak Performance: Mercilessly sharp, the Phantom Series edge is...
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Related: Best Japanese chef knives

How to Choose Japanese Chef Knives That Are Under $100

best japanese chef knives under 100

Type Of Steel Used

This is one of the most important qualities of any knife.

The steel used is what determines the durability, hardness, and edge retention of a knife.

Ideally, you would want to get a knife made out of high-carbon stainless steel.

This is by far the standard for most chef knives as they are durable, sharp, and can hold their edge for a long time.

Another good choice would be Damascus steel, a popular material nowadays that is being used by a lot of the top brands out there.


The next thing you would need to check out in a knife is the type of handle being used.

Knife handles tend to vary greatly from knife to knife, and there isn’t one handle design that’s superior to the other.

Some knives used a type of plastic for the handle, some use metal, and some used wood.

Each of these handle types has its own feel to them and everyone will have their own tastes and preferences.

However, you have to make sure that regardless of the design and material that the handle feels comfortable in your hand.


Lastly, it’s important to check out how it feels in your hand.

The reason Japanese chef knives tend to cost some money is that they offer superior comfort and control when you’re cutting.

Each knife will have a different feel to it, and it’s up to you to decide which is the right one for you.

When checking out a knife, take some time to really hold it in your hand and go through the cutting motion to determine if it’s the right one for you.

Reviews of the Best Japanese Chef Knife For Under $100

FAMCUTE (Best Overall)

FAMCÜTE 8 Inch Japanese Chef Knife, 3 Layer 9CR18MOV Clad...
  • 100% from Japan's High Quality Steel - FAMCUTE series uses 9CR18MOV. A...
  • Ergonomic Design- Design inspiration are designed to show the special...
  • Full of Natural Handles - Is crafted from African rosewood, and is a...

One of the first things you’ll notice with it is the really unique look on it.

Let’s start with the handle.

It’s made of African Rosewood and gives it a really elegant look, and on top of that, it feels great in the hand and helps a lot in getting a comfortable grip on it.

The blade itself is made of high-grade Japanese Stainless Steel, which is what gives it a Rockwell hardness rating of 60.

This means that it is very tough and durable, and it won’t need to be sharpened too often.

The blade also has a clad dimple design, which is another reason for the unique look.

This design minimizes the amount of food that will stick to it, which can save you a lot of time and effort in the kitchen.

it is also designed so that when you use a pinch grip with it, you have a “true” 8-inch chef knife.

It also stays ell below the $100 mark and is one of the best budget-friendly Japanese knives on the market today.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Very affordable
  • Sharp right out of the box
  • Doesn’t need frequent sharpening
  • Made of high-grade Japanese Stainless Steel
  • African Rosewood handle


  • Only has a partial tang

Tojiro (Best for Handling)

Tojiro DP Gyutou - 8.2" (21cm)
  • Stain resistant chef knife
  • Usable to both left and right handed users as it's even edged
  • Blade Height: 1.7" , Blade Length: 8.2"

A Gyuto knife is the Japanese equivalent of a chef knife.

It typically measures anywhere from 8” to 10”, depending on a chef’s needs.

Tojiro is a brand known for making affordable knives that perform up to standard with more expensive models out there, and that’s exactly what to expect with this Gyuto.

It is a full tang knife, which can give you a whole lot of balance when cutting, and when paired with a very sharp, stainless steel blade, makes for a very good knife.

Of course, since it’s a budget knife you won’t be getting some of the benefits that come with the higher price, but for its price range, this model truly stands out.

it isn’t dishwasher safe, so make sure to wash it by hand and dry it after every use so it retains its edge much longer.

All in all, it would make for a great tool in the kitchen and can handle just about anything you throw at it.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • Affordable
  • Very sharp
  • Made of high-quality stainless steel
  • Full tang
  • Steel bolster


  • Not dishwasher safe

Greater Goods (Best Damascus Choice)

Japanese Damascus Chef Knife and Magnet Holder by...
  • The Right Choice: Premium Damascus Steel isn’t just beautiful; it...
  • The Features You Need: Our 8-inch multipurpose Chefs Knife is...
  • Backed By Real Support: Isn't it nice to call a company and someone...

it from Greater Goods is one of our top picks for a Japanese chef knife under $100.

It is handcrafted and made with Damascus steel that instantly gives it a sharper edge when compared to the competition.

It is fairly light in the hand, and a lot of users report that the first time they hold it, they easily mistake it for a Shun.

That’s a great sign since Shun is known as a top knife brand in the culinary world.

it is made for those who have more experience with chef knives as it is extremely sharp right out of the box.

Because of its construction, it should be seen as a knife that you should take extra care with.

That means using the right type of cutting board (either plastic or bamboo), not putting it in the dishwasher, and always paying close attention to it when using it.

The Damascus steel construction is the reason it has a pattern on the blade, and it has a High-Carbon VG10 core.

it is constructed so well that a lot of people are surprised to find that it sells for under $100.

If you’re looking for a very sharp. handcrafted chef knife on a budget, this might be your best pick.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9/10


  • Full tang
  • Handcrafted Damascus steel knife
  • Very light
  • Comes out of the box very sharp
  • Full-sized, 8” chef knife
  • Retains its edge for a long time


  • A lot of care needs to be taken when using it

FANTECK (Best for Home Kitchens)

[8 Inch]Chef Knife,FANTECK Kitchen Knife VG10 Damascus...
  • [Ultra Sharp 8 Inches Damascus Chef Knife]: V-sharp edge accurately...
  • [VG-10 Japanese Damascus Steel High Carbon Material]: Expertly crafted...
  • [Comfortable Ergonomic Pakka Handle with Acrylic Rim]: The ergonomics...

Next up on the list, we have another affordable Japanese chef knife made of Damascus steel.

This time it comes from the FANTECK brand, and it is beautifully crafted and would be a great fit in any kitchen.

It has a Pakkawood handle with an acrylic rim, which allows for a very comfortable and steady grip on it.

You could be cutting and chopping all day with it because it’s so comfortable, and it’s very sharp blade makes for an overall great experience.

You won’t have to be exerting too much effort to cut through ingredients, which also makes it very safe in the kitchen.

There are 67 layers of Damascus steel on it, which also makes it very durable.

This is also the reason that it retains its edge for a really long time.

Right out of the box, it has a 15-degree edge on both sides, which is sharper than a lot of others within the same range.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a knife with Damascus steel and a wooden handle and you don’t want to bust the bank, it from FANTECK would serve you very well.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 8/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9/10


  • Made with 67 layers of Damascus steel
  • Pakkawood handle gives it a classy look
  • The blade is very sharp right out of the box
  • Full-tang
  • Will retain its edge for a long time


  • Not dishwasher safe

Shun Sora (Best for Brand Recognition)

-10% Sale
Shun Sora 8 inch Chef Knife, NSF Certified Cutlery...
  • The must-have kitchen knife - handcraft in Japan
  • Steel: proprietary composite blade technology; VG10 san Mai cutting...
  • VG10 is clad with one layer of stainless steel on each side to create...

While the title of it suggests that it is a chef knife, due to the design of the blade and handle, it is technically a Gyuto.

It comes from the Shun Sora line, which is a very respected line of knives in the culinary world.

Shun is one of the best brands for Japanese chef knives in the market today and this specific model is their entry-level knife.

That means it retains the key qualities of a Shun knife.

It’s very sharp, is made of high-quality materials, it will retain its edge longer, and it feels great to cut with.

This is a very standard high-quality Gyuto that can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks such as cutting up meat, slicing vegetables, and chopping up ingredients for cooking.

it also has a roll-off tip which is very common for a Japanese chef knife, which means you will have to lift it fewer times when using it, making for a much smoother and faster cutting experience.

This is a great budget model from a very well-respected brand, and it would fit perfectly in any kitchen.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • High-quality build
  • Full tang
  • Roll-off tip means you lift it less, making for a smoother experience
  • Very sharp
  • Has a VG10 steel core


  • it has to be washed by hand and dried after every use

Yaxell Mon (Best for Durability)

-7% Sale
Yaxell Mon 8" Chef's Knife - Made in Japan - VG10 Stainless...
  • Blade core is made from 3-layer Japanese Cobalt Molybdenum Vanadium...
  • Sand-blast finish blade and Katana sword wave line gives an impressive...
  • Black resin and linen canvas Micarta handle with two stainless steel...

This brand has been around since 1932, and for decades they have been supplying chefs all over with high quality, sharp, and affordable chef knives.

The blade has three layers of VG10 steel at the core and is clad with high-quality stainless steel on both sides.

This makes for a very durable build and knife that will hold its edge for a really long time.

it is also sandblasted, which gives it a more premium look.

Since Yaxell pays close attention to the quality of its knives, this model will be extremely sharp right out of the box.

No need to take out your whetstone before using it.

To make sure it retains its quality, you also have to make sure to use the right chopping board.

Make sure to use a soft wooden cutting board with it, or else you might risk damaging it.

It’s a full tang knife, and the handle is made out of resin with rivets.

This gives you a very comfortable grip when using it and also gives it a very sophisticated and professional look.

A great model for anyone looking for a high-quality Gyuto on a budget.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Full tang
  • Rockwell hardness rating of 61
  • Has a very professional look
  • Made of very high-quality stainless steel


  • A bit more expensive than other models on this list

Xitou (Budget Choice)

XT XITUO 8-inch Professional Damascus Chefs Knife, Japanese...
  • Must-Have Kitchen Chef Knife : Best kitchen helper for food...
  • Razor Sharp Edge: Sharp right out of the box, the maximum cutting...
  • Ergonomic Handle: The handle was made of solid pakka wood, with a...

Capping off our list is another knife made of high-quality steel.

This is a great material for a chef knife as it gives it a lot of durability and edge retention.

It holds its own when compared to other more expensive knives, which is a testament to the high-quality build and attention to detail.

However, the Damascus pattern you see on it is artificial and made by lasers.

This is because a true Damascus steel knife with all these features would cost much more money.

Despite the artificial Damascus pattern, it still has a very sharp edge and is a joy to use in the kitchen.

It can be used for a wide variety of tasks, which is what makes it very popular with home cooks.

The handle is made of wood and has a nice shape to it, which gives it a great balance while allowing you to have a comfortable grip.

It should be noted though, that some users reported having to sharpen it a bit out of the box, so make sure to pay attention to that.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8/10
  • Handling: 8/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • Affordable
  • The handle allows for a very comfortable grip
  • Great for a lot of kitchen tasks
  • Made of high-quality stainless steel


  • May need to be sharpened out of the box

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What Is The Best Japanese Chef’s Knife?

The best Japanese chef knife is the one that works best for you.

There’s no one brand or model out there that is better than the rest because all cooks have different needs in the kitchen.

Usually, when you go out and buy a chef knife in the store, you’ll usually be asked what you’ll use it for.

That’s because certain knives work better for certain tasks.

So when looking for a Japanese chef knife, make sure to take the time and ask yourself what you’ll be using it for, that way, it’ll be much easier to figure out which knife would suit your needs the best.

Why Are Japanese Chef Knives Expensive?

While there are a lot of relatively cheaper options for Japanese chef knives out there, they are still relatively expensive.

This is because Japanese chef knives are known to be made with high-quality steel, incredible craftsmanship, and with a lot of attention to detail.

Not only does this jack up the cost of the knives, it also makes them well-worth every penny.

Investing in a high-quality chef knife can make a huge difference for any home chef in the kitchen.

Are German Or Japanese Knives Better?

As is the case with the best Japanese chef knife, the answer to this question will have to depend on the user.

Japanese chef knives tend to be much slimmer and sharper than their Western-counterparts.

While that makes for a lot of precision and control while slicing, it also means heavier chopping jobs like cutting around the bone will be tough.

If you think you’ll be doing a lot of heavy chopping jobs in the kitchen, a German-style chef knife will suit your needs better.

But if you need a lot of precision in the kitchen and won’t find yourself doing heavy chopping jobs a lot, then the Japanese style Gyutou would be your best pick.

What Knives Do Japanese Chefs Use?

Just like Western chefs, Japanese chefs have a whole set of knives designed for specific tasks that they can pull out at any moment.

These knives all have different names, and can sometimes be used for very specific tasks such as the Yanagi, which is mostly used for sushi and sashimi.

However, you’ll usually find a Japanese chef either using a Gyuto or a Santoku knife.

These knives are very similar to the Western-style chef knives, but they also tend to be sharper, thinner, and much more delicate.

What Are Japanese Knives Best For?

Japanese knives are best when a lot of precision is needed.

These are knives that are thin, sharp, and very easy to control.

That’s why they are great for slicing vegetables and fruits, slicing fish, and cutting up the meat into cubes.

But the beauty of a Japanese knife is that they can be used for a whole lot of different tasks in the kitchen and can make a huge difference when it comes to your own workflow when cooking.


While many people believe you have to shell out a lot of money for a Japanese chef knife, that isn’t the case.

In this day and age, many brands release high-quality Japanese chef knives that you can get on a budget.

After conducting the research, we concluded that the Tojiro DP Gyuto is the best pick for most chefs.

Since it’s a Gyuto knife it will be easier to use than some traditional Japanese knives and it features a stainless steel blade with an incredibly sharp edge.

Another great choice for chefs is the FAMCUTE 8” Chef Knife.

This model features a more traditional design, with a wa handle and tsuchime finish.

And if you’re looking for a model with Damascus Steel, we recommend the Greater Goods Damascus Chef Knife.

This is by far one of the best Damascus knives available for under $100.

Further reading:

How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives – Cook’s Illustrated

How to Keep Your Knives Sharper, Longer | Epicurious

Last Updated on September 22, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.