11 Best Japanese Chef Knives Under $100

Could you be looking for a high-performance kitchen knife? Well, a Japanese chef knife is the way to go. These knives provide the most delightful moments in the kitchen, and that’s why they’ve become popular in the few recent years.

Of course, just like the Western-style chef knives, high-end features and capabilities don’t come cheaply. But can one still get a high-quality Japanese chef knife without paying much? Well, that’s why we are here today!

If you don’t want to spend much money on a knife, or maybe don’t have enough money for the high-end models, it’s possible to get a decent Japanese kitchen knife for an affordable price. With less than a hundred bucks, you can land yourself a real kitchen gem that’s going to revolutionize your kitchen experience.

Unfortunately, most of the low-priced models can be more of a liability than of help. So, if you’re going to settle for a low-end model, you’ve got to be very considerate of the quality you carry back home.

Now, as we all know, moving from knife to knife looking for the best isn’t the easiest of tasks. But it doesn’t have to bother you anymore— we’ve handpicked the best Japanese chef knives for under $100. Follow closely to identify your ideal kitchen companion from the list of budget friendly knives.

Top 11 Best Japanese Chef Knives Under $100

#1 Yaxell Mon Chef’s Knife

Yaxell Mon 8" Chef's Knife - Made in Japan - VG10 Stainless Steel...
  • Blade core is made from 3-layer Japanese Cobalt Molybdenum Vanadium VG10 superior stainless steel, clad by high quality stainless steel from both sides
  • Sand-blast finish blade and Katana sword wave line gives an impressive appearance; 61° Rockwell hardness

The knife that scoops the top spot on our list is from a brand that dates back to 1932. With all these decades of serving in the industry, Yaxell has become an extremely well-respected Japanese knife maker. And after in-depth research and evaluation, this chef knife emerged as the Editor’s choice.

To begin with, you are getting a full-tang knife, meaning the high-quality chef knife feels solid and is well-balanced. What that means is, if you spend long hours interacting with a kitchen knife, expect minimal hand fatigue with this version.

The piece features triple layer VG-10 stainless steel. It is also clad with premium stainless steel on both sides, meaning that it’s one of the models you can count on to serve you the longest in the kitchen.

The price isn’t even near the 100-dollar mark. However, by the look, the stainless steel knife appears like one of the most expensive knives. The sandblasting gives it a more premium look. So, it’s the go-to option if you want a piece that looks expensive without paying a high price.

Obviously, with such durable construction, this quality stainless steel knife isn’t the kind that’s going to lose its sharpness after a few cuts. Hence, if you want a knife that will spend most time cutting and less time sharpening, you won’t go wrong here.

Pros:

  • An incredibly sharp blade.
  • Expensive look.
  • The stainless steel blade stays sharp for a long time.

Con:

  • The blade may catch scratches.

#2 FANTECK Kitchen Knife

[8 Inch]Chef Knife,FANTECK Kitchen Knife VG10 Damascus...
  • [Ultra Sharp 8 Inches Damascus Chef Knife]: V-sharp edge accurately hand sharpened to 10-15°per side for an effortless slicing experience. This mens & womens chef knife can be used with both left and right hands. It is suitable for chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing any fruit, fish, meat, sushi and vegetables for both home and restaurant kitchens.
  • [VG-10 Japanese Damascus Steel High Carbon Material]: Expertly crafted from 67 Layers VG-10 Japanese high carbon stainless steel ensures exceptional strength, durability and stain resistance. V-Glod 10 Japanese super steel cutting core at 62+ Rockwell hardness. Vacuum heat treatment and nitrogen cooling technique are implemented, thus get the best characterization of the steel.

The next on our list of affordable chef knife options is a knife from Fanteck. It is a high-performing piece with everything you could ever need from a high-quality chef knife. Consequently, it scoops the position of the top choice Japanese chef knife under $100.

Firstly, this kitchen piece utilizes premium Japanese Damascus steel for exceptional strength and long-lasting sharpness. The professional Damascus chefs knife goes through vacuum heat treatment to enhance its toughness and give you the best characterization of steel.  

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the excellent blade steel resists stains, so you will find it easy to live with this kitchen tool. With that said, for the professional chefs who want an easy-care piece of cutlery, this could be what works best for them.

The edge angle here is 10-15 degrees per side, giving you the razor-sharp edge you’ve always wanted for your kitchen projects. The blade edge angle makes the knife suitable for chopping, mincing, slicing, dicing, and performing any other knife-related task in the cookhouse.

The brown pakka wood handle is ergonomic and sturdy with an acrylic rim. Also, it has a convenient size and shape, which combine with the blade design to ensure that you get good up & down, front and back cutting action.

Pros:

  • Nice presentation box.
  • Excellent craftsmanship.
  • Premium blade finish.

Con:

  • Blade sharp enough for work— not razor-sharp, for those who want super-sharpness.

#3 Shun Sora Chef’s Knife

Shun Sora 8 inch Chef Knife, NSF Certified Cutlery Handcrafted in...
  • The must-have kitchen knife - handcraft in Japan
  • Steel: proprietary composite blade technology; VG10 san Mai cutting core; Japanese 420J blade upper

This chef’s knife boasts exquisite craftsmanship for the most outstanding performance in the kitchen. Whether you are working on vegetables, meat, or any other type of ingredient, our honorable mention knife is sure to enhance your kitchen experience.

The unit comes with triple layer VG10 stainless steel on the cutting edge and Japanese 420J stainless steel on the upper part of the blade. And with each piece going through a heat treatment process, we are safe to say that this knife is among the most durable you will find in the market.

The manufacturer’s proprietary blade technology ensures that each knife comes with high-performance materials exactly where needed the most— the cutting edge. With that said, this knife provides precise cuts and superb edge retention.

Keen attention to detail also comes out clearly in the handle. The manufacturer combines the traditional Japanese handle design with textured TPE for an excellent grip that’s easy to maintain clean.

Also, you will notice that the knife has the cute manufacturer’s logo at the handle end. This feature delivers aesthetic benefits and ensures the knife feels more balanced in the hand when working with it.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong.
  • Logo at the handle end looks nice.
  • Non-slip handle.

Con:

  • Although durable, the handle feels light.

#4 TUO Japanese Gyuto Knife 

TUO Chef Knife - 7 inch Professional Kitchen Knife - Japanese...
  • 🔪【 PERFECTLY BALANCED】 The 7-inch chef's knife has 14-16 degrees on each side to achieve a better cutting angle, and the overall curve design forms a lever cutting, which can promote good up and down swing and forward and backward movement, suitable for all left-handed and right-handed use.
  • ✅ 【FORGED FROM SUPER STEEL】Featuring special-forged German stainless steel with a precise vacuum heat-treatment, nitrogen cryogenic tempering, achieving high corrosion resistance and edge retention. It can well retain the flavor of the ingredients, allowing you to taste the original food.

One way to know about the performance of a product before buying is by looking at the customer reviews. A high-performing knife will attract better ratings and more positive customer reviews. And yes, if you are looking for such a product, this option is the bestseller Japanese knife.

The blade length here is 7 inches, an inch shorter than any of the predecessors on the list. However, that doesn’t mean it falls short when it comes to performance. Actually, you will find the shorter blade easier to work with, whether an entry-level chef or having vast experience with chef knives.

The famous knife features special-forged German Stainless Steel construction with vacuum heat treatment. What that means is, this knife won’t let you down when it comes to durability. Nitrogen cryogenic tempering enhances the knife’s corrosion-resistance properties for even more long-lasting performance.

The budget knife offers 14-16 degrees on either side of the blade. So, with this knife, always expect the level of precision you’ve always wanted for your chopping tasks. The blade bevel and the unique curve design make the knife comfortable to use lefties and right-handed users.

The ergonomics here are also top-class. The integrated design between the knife’s blade and the handle ensures that you get a well-balanced piece. And now to the handle, the G-10 grip offers better anti-skid properties for better control.

Pros:

  • Slick design.
  • Good weight to it.
  • Convenient blade length.

Con:

  • Some rivets don’t sit flush to the handle surface.

#5 Yaiba Japanese Utility Kitchen Knife

Utility Chef Knife 6 Inch Chef knife Japanese Damascus Utility...
  • 【Ultra Sharp Damascus Utility Knife 6 Inch】All-Purpose Professional Utility Chef Knife with perfect curvature(10-15°per side) that meets all the chef's requirements. This 6 inch chef knife is perfect for mincing, slicing, and dicing any fruit, fish, meat, sushi and vegetables. Great for professional chefs, culinary experts, food caterers and for novice home chefs
  • 【VG10 Japanese Damascus High Carbon Steel&Best Cutting Edge】67-Layers forged VG-10 Japanese premium Damascus steel ensures this Japanese utility knife with a high level of rust-resistance, wear-resistance and long-lasting performance. VG-10 Japanese super steel cutting core at 62+ Rockwell hardness. Minimal Slicing Resistance

A knife with a larger blade size will save you time when cutting. However, big knives don’t work well for everyone. For those learning the ropes, a smaller knife should work better since it’s more maneuverable. And yes, here comes the best entry-level Japanese chef knife.

At a glance, you will notice this piece is smaller than a standard chef knife. At six inches long, it’s the shortest on the list. The shorter blade size is easier to manage, making it a must-have for those new in the culinary world.

Although small, the scope of this entry level carbon knife isn’t in any way small. You can use it for mincing, slicing, dicing, and more. Actually, this knife will serve in just about every area where a standard-size chef knife will.

The blade of this solid entry-level Japanese chef’s knife is of VG10 Japanese Damascus HC Steel. With this type of construction, expect long-lasting performance and superior corrosion and wear resistance.

The black pakkawood handle is ergonomic and provides anti-skid performance even when using it with wet hands. Additionally, you will notice decorated color sections between the grip and the blade, a feature that improves the tool’s aesthetics.

Pros:

  • Stain-resistant.
  • Decorations near the handle.
  • Decent sheath.

Con:

  • Short for kitchen tasks that work best with a longer blade.

#6 KYOKU Daimyo Series

KYOKU Chef Knife - 8"- Daimyo Series - Japanese VG10 Steel Core...
  • TOP-NOTCH VG-10 JAPANESE STEEL – Crafted with superior Japanese VG-10 steel cutting core at 58-60 HRC, this chef knife features supreme sharpness, long-term durability and incredible edge retention. The super steel core contains cobalt that increases the hardness and ease of sharpening, making VG-10 steel outperform AUS-10 steel in durability.
  • FUNCTIONAL & AESTHETIC DAMASCUS STEEL – The blade consists of 67-layer Damascus steel cladding that enhances toughness and protects the valuable VG 10 steel cutting core. Beautifully laminated, the Damascus wave pattern showcases the stunning craftsmanship and its luxurious identity. Each blade is cryogenically treated in liquid nitrogen to enhance hardness, flexibility and corrosion resistance.

Most Japanese knives under $100 don’t come with the highest quality construction. Therefore, not many will last as long as some high-end versions. Now, if you are after durability, you can count on this piece. It takes the place of the best-construction Japanese knife under $100.

When we say that it has the best construction, we mean not many knives of the same price range will match the build quality. The piece of cutlery features a Damascus steel blade. What’s more, the blade material is cryogenically-treated using a multi-step process for incredible flexibility, hardness, and corrosion resistance.

Also, the knife production process used here produces a thinner, sharper, and more durable blade than you will get in a typical German-style chef knife. With that said, if you want a knife that will make more precise cuts, this model won’t disappoint.

The hammer-beaten wave pattern gives it the traditional Damascus steel design. Therefore, with this piece, you aren’t just receiving a beast but also a beautiful piece for your kitchen.

About the handle, it comes with an ergonomic design, so it will feel as if it were an extension of your hand. Plus, the grip has a mosaic pin that reveals the luxurious identity of the piece.

Pros:

  • Unquestionable quality and beauty.
  • Decent storage case.
  • A balanced knife.

Con:

  • Not the cheapest.

#7 Kuro-Obi Damascus Chef knife

Kuro-Obi Professional Damascus Chef knife Japanese AUS-10 High...
  • PROFESSIONAL QUALITY AND RAZOR-SHARP - The cutting blade is made from AUS-10 steel. AUS-10 is 58-61 HRC (Rockwell hardness) and is one of the highest grades of high carbon extra strength stainless steel made in Japan. The cutting blade is sandwiched between 33 layers of Damascus steel, resulting in a blade consisting of 67 layers. This is an excellent knife that is highly durable, corrosion and rust-resistant, and sharp like a KATANA (Japanese sword).
  • HANDLE IS DESIGNED FOR FUNCTIONALITY - The handle is simple, with a focus on functionality, eliminating unnecessary decoration. The blade is perfectly welded to a 430 stainless steel handle to make a full tang. The steel handle is sandwiched between polished jet-black pakka wood and finished with rivets at three points. This makes it ideal for durability and won’t cause the handle to loosen or rattle even after long-term use.

If finding it difficult to figure out the perfect gift for your chef friend on their special day, getting them a decent Japanese knife would be a brilliant idea. While not all Japanese knives fit the bill, here comes the best Japanese knife for a gift.

We all love giving the best to our lovely ones. It assures us that they are going to treasure for life whatever we present to them. With that in mind, the manufacturer of this knife combines exquisite craftsmanship with materials of the highest quality. The result is a product that’s going to deliver outstanding performance for many years. 

Precisely, the piece features 67 layers of Damascus steel. That should tell you that it’s one of the most durable knives you can ever find for less than 100 bucks. Additionally, we appreciate that this knife comes with a wave-like pattern throughout the length of the steel blade. Therefore, it’s just as visually appealing as it performs.

The knife has an edge angle of 13 degrees on both sides. What that means is you have a razor-sharp piece for your kitchen tasks. Also, it’s well balanced with a super-comfortable grip. And with all these to offer, it’s undoubted that this piece makes for the most delightful moments in the cookhouse.

Pros:

  • Decent gift.
  • It comes with a decent gift box.
  • Impressive quality.

Con:

  • A smaller edge angle would be better.

#8 Yatoshi 5 Knife Set

Yatoshi 5 Knife Set - Pro Kitchen Knife Set Ultra Sharp High...
  • 🔪 Just the right knife for any task: 1x 8in Chef Knife, 1x 7in Santoku, 1x 5in Santoku, 1x Utility Knife, 1x Paring Knife
  • PROFESSIONAL CHEF'S KNIFE: High-carbon Cr17 stainless steel blade. To boost its sturdiness, the steel contains 0.6-0.75 carbon. This makes it two times as hard as other knives in its class as they contain about 0.3% carbon.

Usually, a single knife is not enough to tackle all the chopping needs in the kitchen. Size, design, and shape affect the usability of the piece. That’s why most people opt for a set, and taking the next position on the list is the best Japanese chef knife set.

The cutlery set brings five sharp knives at an affordable price. Here, you will get a chef knife, 2 Santoku knives, a utility knife, and a paring knife—that’s more pieces than you will find in any other package on the list.

What’s even more, they offer different sized blade lengths for versatility. In other words, whether you are working on meat, vegetables, fruits, or any other type of food in the kitchen, you will always have the perfect piece for the hour.

The set comes equipped with Cr17 stainless steel blades, just like some options out there. However, unlike with other carbon steel kitchen knives that only contain 0.3% of carbon, these blades have about 0.6-0.7% of carbon content, at least twice the competitors’. Hence, on durability, this set isn’t going to disappoint.

The knife handles are of soft pakkawood, a durable material that provides a decent in-hand feel. The shape of each handle is also well-thought-out, so you expect minimal hand fatigue when using either of these knives.

Pros:

  • Different blade sizes.
  • Easy to use.
  • The decent blade steel doesn’t bend.

Con:

  • Packaging not the best.

#9 Longyier Kitchen Knife

Kitchen Knife Set, Professional High Carbon Stainless Steel...
  • 【Professional Kitchen Knife Set】This premium cutlery set can easily handle all your kitchen tasks, such as chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing meat, fruits and vegetables. Even better, the kit contains a high-quality sharpening rod, which is a universal knife sharpener that can be used with other types of chef knives and tools.
  • 【Super Quality Steel】Forged from German high-carbon steel, it has excellent anti-pollution, anti-rust, anti-corrosion, anti-tarnish and super sharpness properties. The steel has a carbon content of 0.6% and a hardness of HRC56±2. The hand-polished edge is between 8 and 12 degrees, and each side is handcrafted by experienced workers for long-lasting sharpness.

If you want a Japanese kitchen knife set but aren’t ready to meet the price of the previous cutlery set, you can consider settling for this best inexpensive Japanese chef knife set.

The set comes at a fraction of the price of the predecessor. Hence, it’s ideal for those operating under a tighter budget. It doesn’t offer the same number of pieces, however. But even with the fewer, they should work well for almost all your kitchen tasks.

The package contains two knives, a standard 8-inch Japanese chef knife, and a 7-inch Santoku knife. What’s even more interesting, you will get a bonus sharpening rod, so all your knives will always be in tip-top condition.

The blades are of high-carbon German steel, thus super-sharp, anti-corrosion, anti-rust, and anti-abuse. Also, like some options, the carbon blades of these affordable knives won’t tarnish with time. Hence, they are among the few that retain their day one beauty for many years.

Generally, the set brings you premium affordable chef knives. They are all easy to maintain sharp with the provided sharpening rod or any other type of sharpener. However, ensure that you don’t use a whetstone as it may scratch the surface of the knives, making them more susceptible to rust and other threats.

Pros:

  • Expensive appearance.
  • Good design on the blade.
  • High-quality sharpening rod.

Con:

  • Only two knives in the set.

#10 KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife

KUMA Professional Damascus Knife - 8 Inch Japanese Chef Knife,...
  • Forged for the ages - Famous for its resilience, we forged 67 micro-layers of Pure Japanese VG-10 Core Damascus Steel, carefully heat treated to obtain its distinct character and durability that lasts a lifetime
  • Cook for hours - Our razor sharp blade doesn't mean we sacrificed on comfortability or balance. You won't put this down after you feel the uniquely balanced G10 handle that fits just right in the palm, with a hefty grip

Unless you are working with a super-comfortable handle, it’s almost impossible to make precise cuts. A knife handle with a good grip will give you the high level of control needed for cutting thin slices. Now, if you want a Japanese knife with the best handle, you’ll appreciate what this knife offers.

The technology and craftsmanship that goes into the handle designing produce a high-quality grip that won’t lose its pinch no matter the situation. Although heavy-duty, it’s a lightweight knife handle, so it won’t cause hand fatigue when working with it for extended hours.

It’s an eight-inch knife, the perfect size for both professional chefs and home cooks. The piece comes with 67 layers of Japanese Damascus steel, so it’s ultra-strong, resilient, and chip-resistant. Actually, unlike some knives that will bend when used for cutting hard foods, the carbon steel blade of this piece will retain its shape.

The blade edge comes razor-sharp and ready for action. Therefore, if you don’t want the hassle of having to sharpen the knife immediately it arrives, you can consider getting this handcrafted chef knife.

Once you place the order, expect to receive the carbon steel knife in a sleek, custom box. Inside the box is a nice blade cover for convenient storage in the kitchen when not in use.

Pros:

  • Ideal for professional and home chefs.
  • It retains its shape.
  • High-quality storage sheath.

Con:

  • It doesn’t hold the edge the longest.

#11 XITUO Damascus Chefs Knife

XT XITUO 8-inch Professional Damascus Chefs Knife, Japanese...
  • Must-Have Kitchen Chef Knife : Best kitchen helper for food preparation, more than enough to dealing all kinds of daily kitchen tasks. Constructed by premium VG10 damascus steel, rust resistant with high hardness and high durability that can be use for years, definitely worth a try.
  • Razor Sharp Edge: Sharp right out of the box, the maximum cutting performance ensures it can smoothly and effortless cut through anything with its sharp blade, holds its edge for a long time.

Next up on the list is yet another reliable option you can secure with under $100. Actually, its price tag isn’t even close to the 100-dollar point, although it performs comparably to most high-end models. And comparing the price-quality ratio, this knife deservedly scoops the position of the best value Japanese chef knife.

The top-grade VG10 Damascus steel blade retains its shape and beauty throughout the knife’s service life. The ultra-sharp blade cuts through just about anything with maximum accuracy and minimal effort.

When it comes to the grip, it’s of standard pakkawood. Everything about the wooden handle is excellent, ranging from the build quality to size to shape. Hence, with it, expect enhanced control and the best non-skid performance.

The valuable carbon steel knife also impresses when it comes to the area of versatility. You can rely on it for chopping, cutting, slicing, and dicing different types of food. Thus, no matter the recipe you choose for the night, this knife should make life in the kitchen more pleasurable.

Although heavy-duty, it’s worth mentioning that you are also getting a more lightweight knife here. Well, when we say lightweight, it’s in comparison with the majority of other models, so it still possesses an adequate amount of heft for heavy-duty tasks in the kitchen.

Pros:

  • Best price-quality ratio.
  • Lightweight but sturdy.
  • Versatile.

Con:

  • Not dishwasher safe, but that’s a common downside of carbon knives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are German Or Japanese Knives Better?

The ideal knife depends on the nature of your kitchen tasks. If you do a lot of slicing, then it means you need a knife that offers a high level of control and precision, and so a Japanese-style knife is your perfect helper. However, if you are into heavy chopping tasks, a German-style chef knife is the real deal.

Why Are Japanese Chef Knives Expensive?

You may not agree with me on this, especially now that we already have a lineup of the most affordable Japanese chef knives. However, a price that’s almost 100 dollars still isn’t too small. The hefty price tags come from a high level of craftsmanship and technology going into designing. The high-quality materials also play a part in making them generally relatively expensive.

What Are Japanese Knives Best For?

With a closer look at a Japanese chef knife, you will notice that they have sharper edge and slimmer than their western-style counterpart. That makes them perfect for cutting tasks that require utmost precision.

How much does a quality Japanese knife cost?

You can get a decent Japanese knife for almost any amount. Our list includes options below the 100-dollar price point. Nevertheless, some go even for over $500. Therefore, it’s all about what you can accommodate in your budget.

Are Japanese knives worth it?

Since they usually cost more than their western-style knives, it’s easy to wonder whether Japanese knives are worth the increase in price. Well, in terms of sharpness and beauty, they are worth the additional pennies they demand from your pocket. They are second to none in these areas.

Final Verdict

Japanese knives go a long way to make life easier and things more efficient in the kitchen. They are a joy to work with. And while most of them are expensive, it’s still possible to get friendly knives budget-wise. We don’t guarantee every knife on the list to work perfectly for every need you have. Nevertheless, the vast majority should address your needs.

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