For many years, the 8-inch Victorinox Fibrox chef's knife, a budget-priced Swiss model, reigned supreme in professional tests and user reviews. However, Victorinox has redesigned this knife, replacing the Fibrox handle with a nylon handle and renaming it the Victorinox Swiss Classic 8\" Straight Edge Chef's Knife (*Est. $40). Our usual sources haven't tested the Swiss Classic yet, so we can't recommend it at this time. (The original Fibrox knives are still available from some online sellers, though supplies may be limited.)
With the Fibrox gone from the field, the clear standout among chef's knives is the Global G-2 8-inch Cook's Knife (*Est. $120). This Japanese-made knife features a stamped-steel blade that's much thinner and lighter than the forged knives made by most German manufacturers. It also has an extremely keen edge, which excels in professional tests at making ultra-thin slices. Experts and owners alike say this knife is well balanced, and most find the metal handle comfortable to hold. However, some users with larger hands say it isn't a good fit for them. The blade is made of a special, high-carbon steel that reviewers say holds its edge well but is vulnerable to chipping and breakage.
The Shun Classic 8-inch chef's knife DM0706 (*Est. $170) also performs well in professional tests, though not quite as spectacularly as the G-2. Like the G-2, it's made of high-carbon steel, which holds a keen edge but is prone to chipping, according to reviews. However, this knife's forged construction imparts a heftier feel, according to testers at Choice magazine. Reviewers say the knife is well balanced, but the handle may be uncomfortable for left-handed users and those with larger hands.