Your Favorites In The $250-500 Bracket?

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HumbleHomeCook

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Taking things up a notch from the excellent "Under $300" thread: Top 5 Knives to try at Under $300

I don't think I have anything that breaks $300 and honestly, a good bit of what I've tried is at or under the $250 mark. So what are some favorites in this next tier up?

I understand there's a point of dimensioning returns and $500 starts bumping into the custom world. Those things are accepted for this discussion. Also, keep in mind, prices have been and are shifting up so maybe some of yesterday's sub-$300 favorites have moved up.

Whatchya got?
 

Delat

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Yoshikane, Myojin, Birgersson, Markin, Brian Hanson

edit: adding some color to my list above

Yoshikane 210 - profile too flat for some, but I love it. Cuts similarly to my Shibata and Yu Kurosaki but those are going and the Yoshi is staying. ‘nuff said. This is the laser on my rack.

Myojin 180 - a tiny fraction thicker feeling than the Yoshi, but adds a subtle feeling of refinement and strength/durability that makes the tradeoff more than worth it. I grab it when I need a stainless that I can leave dirty on the board for a while as I’m going back forth to the stove.

Birgersson 220 - similar to the Myojin, brings a bit more of a durable heft while still cutting super-smooth. Nice rustic finish I don’t worry about messing up.

Markin 225 - surprisingly heavy, but omg how does it manage to cut so smoothly with all that heft? Opened my eyes to why people love workhorses. Drops though food like the Myojin and Birgersson but with a lot of heft for big jobs. Not an everyday user for me since I prefer midweight knives but super fun to grab once in a while.

Brian Hanson 180 - I have his “standard” line but ground extra-thin at my request. A bit of stiction initially from the sandblasted finish but after some light sanding this feels very similar to my Birgersson in terms of performance. The performance at the low price point (<$300) and ready availability makes this one easy to grab as an everyday user and one I don’t mind messing with on the stones. Haven’t touched the Myojin since getting this guy and now debating selling the Myojin.
 
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I buy most of my stuff via bst and I feel this price range is the sweet spot for hunting heavy hitters. I've been lucky enough to find some great deals on an iron clad Watanabe, Kagekiyo b1, Birgersson, Manaka b1, even a dammy Toyama.

BST aside, Henry Hyde, Ryan @Illyria and Fellipi Porto usually have great stuff in that range
 

tostadas

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I won't go into customs here, just ones you can purchase from vendors. But there are plenty of good custom options available.

Anything from Myojin is excellent. His sg2 line is my preferred stainless option. I currently use the 180, 210, and 240. Contemplating replacing my s Tanaka 150 with a myojin 165 also.

The hatsukokoro offerings in this range are good value also. Particularly the komorebi line. I've done a couple reviews of them, but you get a lot for the money, especially when you can score a deal from vendors. The new Yaoke line is also interesting, but I feel kinda rough. I'm still working on 2 of em as project knives and will report back when I get around to finishing em.

Watanabe/toyama for tall durable "workhorse". Great convex grinds, low edge profile, sanjo style taper.

Any y Tanaka blue #1 will knock your socks off. So many sharpeners but all good stuff.

And can't forget TF. White 1 treated to high hardness. You can get crazy sharp edges with little effort. Grinds vary wildly though, but I have not come across one that I didn't like. I recommend a yo handle one for the full experience. Forward balanced with western handle feels great in hand.
 

Lars

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My most used ones in this price range are all from Maksim's defunct Itinommon line, so not sure they are relevant anymore. I really like my Masamoto KS Suji, but I'm on the fence about it being worth its current price of $399. For the $250 I paid it's great though..
 

Ruso

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Yoshikane, Myojin, Birgersson, Markin, Brian Hanson

edit: adding some color to my list above

Yoshikane 210 - profile too flat for some, but I love it. Cuts similarly to my Shibata and Yu Kurosaki but those are going and the Yoshi is staying. ‘nuff said. This is the laser on my rack.

Myojin 180 - a tiny fraction thicker feeling than the Yoshi, but adds a subtle feeling of refinement and strength/durability that makes the tradeoff more than worth it. I grab it when I need a stainless that I can leave dirty on the board for a while as I’m going back forth to the stove.

Birgersson 220 - similar to the Myojin, brings a bit more of a durable heft while still cutting super-smooth. Nice rustic finish I don’t worry about messing up.

Markin 240 - surprisingly heavy, but omg how does it manage to cut so smoothly with all that heft? Opened my eyes to why people love workhorses. Drops though food like the Myojin and Birgersson but with a lot of heft for big jobs. Not an everyday user for me since I prefer midweight knives but super fun to grab once in a while.

Brian Hanson 180 - I have his “standard” line but ground extra-thin at my request. A bit of stiction initially from the sandblasted finish but after some light sanding this feels very similar to my Birgersson in terms of performance. The performance at the low price point (<$300) and ready availability makes this one easy to grab as an everyday user and one I don’t mind messing with on the stones. Haven’t touched the Myojin since getting this guy and now debating selling the Myojin.
Which Markin do you have? They few I handled all were towards a laser.
 
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There's an embarrassment of riches in this price range via BST and sales. Myojin anything, Watoyama, Yoshikane, Spare, Prendergast, Birgersson all should be easily gettable in this range. Shihan or HVB might take some patience if you want one in 240 for $500 but I've seen them come up. Haven't tried Markin or RDG but would like to and they by all accounts punch above their price point.
 

EShin

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From what I have used over the years and is in this price range now (TF denka used to be...), my favorites would be:
  • Migoto blue 2 mini cleaver (Y. Tanaka / Kawakita)
  • Nakagawa/Morihiro blue 2 255mm gyuto
  • Nakagawa/Tadokoro ginsan 240mm gyuto
 

Delat

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Which Markin do you have? They few I handled all were towards a laser.

Huh, just weighed it and it’s only 206g so more of a heavy midweight. Funny I would’ve guessed around 240g.

It’s thin enough BTE that the cutting feel is reminiscent of a laser which always surprises me given the weight. But plenty of meat in the spine at the handle for a very comfortable grip.

946B4CD6-784B-444E-A789-1419BF7D77E9.jpeg



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esoo

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Shihan 210 is at the top of the range but a definite winner. Just above it you could get it in A2 last I hear of his pricing.

My Spåre ApexUltra 230 is extremely fun.

Not sure of the pricing right now, but I think a Kono FM would be in range. Just not the White 2 version.
 
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HumbleHomeCook

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There's an embarrassment of riches in this price range via BST and sales. Myojin anything, Watoyama, Yoshikane, Spare, Prendergast, Birgersson all should be easily gettable in this range. Shihan or HVB might take some patience if you want one in 240 for $500 but I've seen them come up. Haven't tried Markin or RDG but would like to and they by all accounts punch above their price point.

I had one of Ryan's knives and was excellently done!

HVB?
 

chefwp

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The first that comes to mind is my Takada - Gyuto 210 mm Blue #2 Suiboku, a close second would be the Tetsujin Tanryusen Gyuto 210mm in AS. I don't think I can really recommend a 240 in that range, but I'm sure they are out there, probably on KKF's BST...
If you are talking about specialty, my Ashi 270mm sujihiki, mono W2, came in right around 300, but that was a while back. I am very content with it.
 
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I had one of Ryan's knives and was excellently done!

HVB?
Hunter Valley Blades - Mert Tansu's production-ish line, for lack of a better term. Mostly in 52100 or simple carbons, less finely finished than the stuff he does under his own name but still quite nice and solid cutters. Mine is a serious beast... 250x59 and over 300g.

PXL_20221014_231118154 (1).jpg
 

Perverockstar

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Kyohei Shindo Bunka
Shibata Tinker Tank
Kisuke Manaka ATS34 (any)

Of all my knives, those are the ones that I encourage everyone to give them a try. I find them particularly good, in many ways.

The Kyohei, for me, gets the crown for how stupid inexpensive is for such a great knife.
 
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Hatsukokoro Komorebi is high up there for me in that range
Obvs tanaka blue 1 but also enjoying white 1.
Agreed with HVB and Markin. Fit and finish on both for the money are fantastic, but the grinds and heat treats are really just great.
 
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Huh, just weighed it and it’s only 206g so more of a heavy midweight. Funny I would’ve guessed around 240g.

It’s thin enough BTE that the cutting feel is reminiscent of a laser which always surprises me given the weight. But plenty of meat in the spine at the handle for a very comfortable grip.

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Never tried one but I really like the profile that starts tall at the heel and tapers to a short tip. Is there a flat edge section or is it a continuous belly?
 

Delat

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Never tried one but I really like the profile that starts tall at the heel and tapers to a short tip. Is there a flat edge section or is it a continuous belly?

There’s a moderate flat section followed by very gentle curve for the first 2/3rd, then more upsweep for the last 1/3.

5260B40E-7636-4C1A-B901-92A330F1FB54.jpeg
 
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Morihei Hisamoto TF Fine Finish - 4th TF knife and finally understood what the hype was about. Bought a second one of these and it performed just as well as the first. Have one with and without bolster, both knives cut just as well, so go with your preference/budget. Way out cut any Denka or Mab i've owned. PSA - Iron clad and White steel make them very reactive. Prepare for that and enjoy the patina along the way.

Myojin SG2 Line - So well done. A more robust and better cutting Fuji is how I felt when I owned one - and why I sold my Kono FMs! If they could drop the SGII stamp I might have kept it. Felt like a factory knife to me with that one there.

Old Iron Clad Wats - Great feel. Little share around the choil and spine, but nothing that can't be fixed with some sandpaper or a little file.

Maz - older profiles with some thinning are quite exciting to use. Still have weight, great steel treatment, and now thin behind the edge! Takes a little work, but worth it and fun along the way.

2nd for the Shihan comment. If you can get your hands one for under $500 they are great all around. Great cutter, good edge life, and strong enough to hand to non-knife guests and not instantly start sweating.

I think most knives in this range plus a little work from you on the stones, you can end up with a knife that hangs with anything. My KU Togashi White #2 cuts as well as my Yanick. Edge fades a little faster and the Yanick has great profile/specs, but put them both in front of a sweet potato and you'd be equally as pleased - maybe even more so with the cheaper knife ;) I should also add, some of the knives at the top end of what I've seen are really well done and not matchable by a lackey like me and a SG500. Xerxes, Bazes, Yanick (1st one i used), Raquin, HF all have something special about them when you catch the right example. But you're 2-3x in price to get a little of that magic!
 

Cliff

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Moritaka Chuka
JNS Tanaka B1 damy, 210 Gyuto
Takeda small Gyuto -- potato slayer
Konosuke -- a bunch of them in this range.
Ashi Ginga 270 Gyuto and Suji, and Chuka
 
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