sharpening and caring for your kitchen knives

Quality Kitchen Knives on Sale

Bob Kramer Meiji chef knife_feature
Here are some of the latest deals on high-quality kitchen knives. We’re talking name-brand blades that will get sharp, and stay sharp, for a serious amount of time. As long as you treat them right, of course (see my Top Ten Tips). They should feel great in your hand and make you want to have fun in the kitchen. And most are priced at around $100 (though prices fluctuate like airfares)!

I’ve culled a list that covers a variety of styles and knife makers, but leans toward Japanese made. Which means many of these kitchen knives have thinner blades and are made of harder steel than their German counterparts. They will take a super-sharp edge and keep it longer—but you need to be more careful with them. You won’t get away with powering through a bone without cracking an edge. Capice?

Any one of these chef/santoku knives would make a wonderful gift for someone who loves to cook and loves beautifully designed things.

Global Chef (G-2), 8-Inch

NOW ONLY $100 (Reg. $125) @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Global G2 chef knife
Global Ni santokuGlobal kitchen knives are made in Japan and look like an artifact from the future. They are precision-machined, lightweight, and finished to perfection. (Celeb chef, Anthony Bourdain, swears by Global.)

The G2 classic chef (above) is one of Global’s most popular models. The shape of the blade is just about as close as Global gets to a traditional chef knife—which is very close. It has a slightly slimmer tip and belly than your average German chef’s, but, nonetheless, has the potential to be a serious cook’s go-to.

Global Ni Santoku, 7-Inch (rocking)

NOW ONLY $100 (Reg. $140) @ Sur La Table
The “rocking” santoku (above right) is from Global’s latest line which has a slightly new look, but the same dependable quality. Because the blade is curved you can easily rock it back and forth when dicing herbs and onions and whatnot—thus “rocking.” (Very similar to the G-48 santoku on my Best Chef Knives. . . list which is an older style and currently sells for a similar bargain.)

Shun Classic santoku, 7-inch

Shun Classic Santoku, 7-Inch

NOW ONLY $100 (Reg. $140)
@ Amazon

Shun, along with Global, has become one of the giants of the Japanese kitchen knife world. With its pakkawood handle, unassuming simplicity, and wavy Damascus blade pattern, the Classic line echoes traditional Japanese knives blended with a Western design. The construction of the blade riffs on Japanese swords—a core of harder steel (VG-10) sandwiched between layers of softer stainless. The core does the cutting while the outer layers protect and decorate. Elegant, but sharp! I’ve test-driven this santoku and I love the feel. Snug and balanced. It’s nimble. . .yet the broad blade has enough umph to handle hefty jobs.

Miyabi Kaizen II Chef, 8-Inch

NOW ONLY $100–130 (Reg. $170) @ Sur La Table
miyabi_kaizen2_chef2a_kitchen knife
Miyabi knives, manufactured in Seiki City, Japan, are a boutique brand acquired by Henckels a few years back. The Kaizen line is a hybrid of Japanese and German knifemaking (originally) custom-designed for Sur La Table. The Kaizen II uses a newly-engineered, fine-grain stainless steel (FC61)—the same steel Bob Kramer uses in his Essential chef’s—which allows it to take a super-fine edge. Like the Shun (above), it’s constructed of a hard core that’s been wrapped in layers of softer steel that protect and produce the Damascus patterns. Can a $100 kitchen knife really look this sexy? (Pssst: If you love the Kaizen Damascus pattern, but prefer a more compact blade, the original Miyabi Kaizen santoku [VG-10 steel] is on sale also.)

STEEL TALK The quality of steel a kitchen knife is made of is its most important attribute. You cannot fashion a first-rate knife from second-rate steel. All of the kitchen knives recommended on the KKG website (unless specifically noted) are made from high-quality steel.
Miyabi Nakiri, 7-inch

Miyabi Evolution Nakiri, 7-Inch

NOW ONLY $90 (Reg. $140)
@ Sur La Table

Miyabi’s Evolution line offers an alternate approach to East meets West. Although like the Kaizen II the blade is Japanese-thin and razor-sharp, the handle is more Western and substantially slimmer. And it’s one piece of steel (FC61) without any layers. Don’t let the rectangular nakiri shape throw you—it’s a Japanese-style vegetable knife on the rise that has seduced many a Western chef into making it their one and only. Something about the compact broadness of the blade. (If you like the Evolution, but must have a curved blade, try the 7-inch Rocking Santoku on sale as well.)

six best chef knives collageMORE ON CHEF KNIVES To learn more about kitchen knives and the brands I recommend, please check out Best Chef Knives — Six Recommendations and How to Buy a Great Chef Knife.

Wusthof Classic Ikon Chef, 8-Inch

NOW ONLY $120 (Reg. $160) @ Amazon / Sur La Table

Wusthof Classic Ikon chef knife_2The Wusthof Classic Ikon is one of my favorite kitchen knife designs. I love the curved, ergonomic handle; it’s not only beautiful, but comfy as a handshake. This is German steel, so—unlike the Japanese knives in this post—it’s not as brittle and you don’t have to be quite as careful. It’s also a touch weightier, which some may prefer. Me, personally? I like both German and Japanese. (If you want to make more of a splash, there’s a Classic Ikon 7-piece block set. It’s not on sale, but still $120 less than buying all the pieces separately.)

If you’re on a tight budget or think a certain someone will appreciate a more classic-looking handle, the Wusthof Classic chef is on sale as well for $20 less. NOW ONLY $100 @ Sur La Table / Amazon

Henckels Pro Bread knife, 8-Inch

NOW ONLY $70 (Reg. $110) @ Amazon / Sur La Table
Henckels Pro break knife, 8-inch
There’s nothing more annoying than, instead of slicing, smooshing French baguettes down into your cutting board. Here’s the perfect fix at the perfect price. Henckels’ Pro line is a snazzy redesign of their signature Professional S by Italian architect, Matteo Thun. The quality remains, but with a modern flair.

Wusthof Classic Double-Serrated bread knife_1

Wusthof Classic Double-Serrated Bread knife

NOW ONLY $120 (Reg $140) @Amazon / Sur La Table
Behold, the Ultimate Bread knife. No joke. If you’ve been searching the world wide for a knife that will truly do the job—from hard-crusted Italian peasant rounds to delicate croissants—your quest ends here. The double-serrated is carried in Classic Ikon, Ikon Blackwood, and Grand Prix II lines as well. Read more about it at
Wusthof Knives.


Bob Kramer Meiji Chef, 8-Inch (Zwilling-Henckels)

NOW ONLY $250 (Reg. $300) @ Sur La Table
Bob Kramer Meiji chef knife_2
Designed by Bob Kramer—near legendary American bladesmith—the Meiji collection melds East and West at a whole new level of quality and style. Believe it or not, from start to finish, they are handcrafted. In Seiki City, Japan, home of the samurai sword. Similar in concept to the Shun and Miyabi—German blade meets Japanese handle, blade composed of a sandwiched core. But the blade is wider and the balance and feel different as well (more knuckle clearance for one thing). If you want to dip deeper into the Kramer/Henckels kitchen knives collection, click on over to Bob Kramer Knives — Why Spend $300 on a Chef Knife?

Miyabi Birchwood Santoku, 7-Inch

NOW ONLY $230 (Reg. $300) @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Miyabi Birchwood Santoku, 7-inch
Simply said, the Miyabi Birchwood is a babe among kitchen knives. But, to continue the metaphor, it’s a babe with brains. For, it’s not only gorgeous, but comes from the factory probably sharper than any knife on this page (well, maybe the Meiji). And it will stay sharp longer because the steel it’s made of (SG2) has been heat-treated to a Rockwell hardness of 63 (two points higher than any knife on this page). I’ve felt the Birchwood handle in my grubby mitts and it feels like. . .well, like, unfinished wood—earthy and real. Gift this to a gourmet cook who has an appreciation for the finer things in life—they will never ever forget the moment they opened the box. (Unlike the Meiji, the Birchwood comes in a full line of knives, including multiple-sized chefs.)

KNIFE CARE Please do not buy any of the Japanese blades in this post unless you’re willing to care for them properly (see Top Ten Tips).

• • • KNIFE SETS ON SALE • • •

Henckels Four Star 2-Piece Chef’s Set

NOW ONLY $100 (Reg. $130) @ Amazon
Henckels Four Star 2-piece set
Next to Wusthof, Henckels is the other major German knife manufacturer who’s been pounding out kitchen knives for a couple of centuries. Their “newer” Four Star line is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary and the quality of the blade is still tops. This sale gives you two knives—an 8-inch chef and a 4-inch paring knife—for the price you’d normally pay for one. The ergonomics of the paring knife make it one of my very favorites for peeling fruit—the knob at the base of the handle keeps it firmly in my palm.

Global 3-piece Prep Set

NOW ONLY $160 (Reg. $200) @ Sur La Table
global_prep_3set_7chef_kitchen knives
Set includes: 7-inch chef, 3-inch paring, 8-inch bread knife |
What’s most unusual about this Global 3-piece set is that it offers you an actual bread knife (most 3-piece kitchen knife sets do not). So you start off with the core three, the three most useful knives to have in your kitchen. A most excellent wedding gift. The only trade off is that the chef knife is a bit short—ideally, it should be 8-inches. If you do a lot of big jobs in your kitchen (chopping large onions, etc), then you may not be happy with this chef knife as your mainstay.

Henckels Pro 7-Piece Set

NOW ONLY $300 (Reg. $350) @ Amazon / Sur La Table
henckels_pro_7set_8chef_kitchen knives
Set includes: 8-inch chef, 4-inch paring, 5.5-inch santoku, 5-inch serrated, shears, steel, block |
As mentioned above, the Henckels Pro line is a stylish retooling of the classic German kitchen knife. What’s nice about this set is that instead of the obligatory utility knife (which is rarely used), you get a santoku which is super-useful for smaller jobs. And by having two all-purpose knives—the chef and the santoku—it allows two cooks to be working at the same time in the same kitchen. The only negative, of course, is the missing bread knife. But you can pick up an inexpensive one for a song that will easily do the trick and fill out the set: OXO Good Grips, 8-Inch Bread Knife / Henckels International Fine Edge Pro, 8-Inch Bread Knife.

Happy shopping!
  1. I really like Shuns! They seem to fit my hands the best. But they are a bit expensive. . .

    • The price for the Shun knife on both sites is out by 49 dollars.

      • Thanks for the catch, Doug (they’re actually out by $40). The sale is no longer on for the Shun or for the Kramer Essential either for that matter. But I’m not sure if it’s worth changing the copy yet because the merchants often play with prices. That happened with the Kramer Meiji which was on sale during the holidays, then came off sale (and they ran out of stock to boot), but now is on sale again :)

        Best, KKG

  2. We have been using Wusthof before, but as the time comes we shifted to using the cheaper ones like the Victorinox. Though Victorinox is good, it would still be best if we were able to buy some Wusthof knives. Is there any discount on this, aside from the free shipping on Amazon?

    • Hi Josh,
      Although I realize Victorinox performs very well in the kitchen, and may have a sharper factory edge than many Wusthof knives, I would just find it depressing to use an inexpensively made knife with a cheap plastic handle in my kitchen day after day :)

      Sorry, but KitchenKnifeGuru does not offer any special discounts. The point of the above post is simply to highlight great deals on high-quality kitchen knives. (BTW, Sur La Table also offers free shipping on any order over $59.)

      Best, KKG

  3. Hi, any experience with the Enso hammered Damascus Japanese prep knife?

    • Hi Valerie,

      No, I haven’t had any personal experience with Enso knives. But my research tells me that the knives in the Enso HD, Hammered Damascus line, should qualify as a high-quality kitchen knives. They are made in Seki City, Japan, one of the knife-making capitals of the world, famous for its quality, and the manufacturer has supposedly been in business since 1932. The company makes what looks like identical knives under two different brands—Enso and Yaxell. Not sure why, but they both look to be high-quality.

      The Enso HD Hammered Damascus line is similar in design to the Shun Premier (see them both below), with a hard steel core, sandwiched between softer stainless steel that has been hammered. But a comparable Shun knife will be twice as expensive, thus Enso offers terrific value.

      Here are what I see as the major differences between Enso HD Hammered Damascus and the Shun Premier:
      Core steel (that forms the cutting edge): Enso uses VG-10 which is respectable and is what Shun used to use in their Classic line. But Shun has now upgraded to VG-MAX alloy (a proprietary name) that should be more wear resistant and tougher than VG-10, yet still hold a very fine edge. Both steels come heat-treated at HRC 61—which is significantly harder (and more brittle) than most Western-made knives.
      Layers: Enso has 17 layers per side, while Shun has 34. This could make the Shun a bit stronger, but 17 layers per side doesn’t strike me as skimping.
      Sharpitude: Both come sharpened at 14-16 degrees which is razor sharp.
      Handle: Enso is made of micarta, a highly compressed composite made of linen and resin. Shun uses pakkawood, a highly compressed wood composite. Both handles should hold up well.
      Feel: I can guarantee you that they will each have a different feel . . . but this is something you can adjust to if you choose to, or let it drive you crazy.

      Conclusion: I assume the Shun Premier, with a dramatically higher price tag, will have more spit and polish and may also simply retain its good looks for a longer time. It also may perform better and should require less sharpening. But the Enso HD Hammered Damascus is no slouch and comes for less than half the price of Shun. From the reviews I’ve read and from what I can extrapolate, it would be hard to go wrong with this puppy! Heck, I might add it to my recommendations above. . . :)

      Enso HD Hammered Damascus Prep Knife, 5.5-inch: VG-10, 14 layers per side, micarta handle, $70

      Enso HD Hammered Damascus Prep Knife

      Shun TDM0727 Premier Santoku Knife, 5.5-inch: VG-MAX, 34 layers per side, pakkawood handle, $165

      Shun Premier Santoku, 5.5-inch


  4. What is wrong with Lamson made here in the good old USA? I was a chef for 15 years and always had our staff use their knives. Great product! I just bought some for my home kitchen and they are every bit as good as the Henckels I bought 2 years ago for much more money.

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