I always read the knife posts, and love to hear the views of others on the subject. Lots of good thoughts & examples in this one.
How much you are willing to spend for said knives, is a good indicator of the quality you may be able to get.
The maintenance you are willing to invest, also plays a big part. You can pay >$100 for a good knife, but if it requires you to keep it clean, oiled & dry, you will not get the intended benefit from it. It has been mentioned (kinda) that the harder the steel, the longer it will stay sharp. Takes you back to maintenance... S.S. knives are a good in between, if you want low maintenance, but they are typically a little harder to sharpen, then say carbon steel.
What ever knives you buy, (user knives) if you decide on a cutting edge angle and keep it sharp by tuning it at the first signs of performance loss, you will enjoy it more. Note: I like a work knife to have a positive grip, fits good in your hand and design that avoids one's hand from slipping forward, from handle to blade... I would recommend checking the web for knife clubs & shows in your area. You may fine a wealth of info there. Also, any laws about what you can use. Another thought, (back to maintenance again) get a good sharpening system. Stones are ok, but I prefer the jig style. I have seen a lot of knives visit the grinding wheel and loose most of their hardening, in the process. Happy shopping and good luck, Dan