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For anyone who regularly cooks whole turkeys, chickens, or roasts, a good kitchen knife is a necessity. You may want a traditional blade that easily cuts through the meat, and allows you to slice it as thin or as thick as you like it. If you’re not very confident in your knife wielding skills, though, an electric knife can be a better option than a more typical blade. They slice through meat quickly and easily, with little effort from you, so you can carve up dinner in no time.
But choosing an electric knife can be a little tricky. You have to know the right features to look for in the blade, handle, and motor, to ensure you purchase a knife that gets the job done.
At BestReviews, we never accept products from manufacturers. You can trust our recommendations to be completely unbiased. We also conduct field and expert research, to provide you with all the info you need to make the right shopping decision for your kitchen. If you’re ready to buy an electric knife, take a look at the matrix above for our top recommendations. For general tips on choosing an electric knife, continue reading our shopping guide.
Most electric knives feature two serrated blades that are clipped to one another.
When you turn on the knife, a motor in the handle causes the blades to move in a continuous, lengthwise sawing motion that cuts through meat and other foods quickly and efficiently.
Electric knives typically don’t work well for very tough cuts of meat and soft foods, like tomatoes.
Because the cutting power is supplied by an electric knife’s motor, you don’t have to use as much force or pressure to cut through meat and other foods, which means less exertion for you.
The knife’s powerful motor allows it to cut through even thicker cuts of meat easily.
An electric knife’s blades move so quickly that it’ll take much less time to cut your food than it would by hand, which means you can slice up meat much more faster than you do with a traditional knife.
With an electric knife, you can get precise, accurate slices every time you cut.
An electric knife is often safer than traditional knives, because you don’t have to put as much force into cutting. As long as you keep your fingers away from the blades, you can avoid accidents.
It may take as much as ten minutes to cut a turkey by hand, but with an electric knife, you can usually get the job done in one to two minutes.
While electric knives can cut a variety of foods, they work especially well with meat and bread.
If you often cut turkey, chicken, roasts, or loaves of bread in your kitchen, you’ll likely benefit from an electric knife.
However, even if you only cut meat and bread occasionally, you may benefit from an electric knife if you have arthritis or other hand issues, because you don’t need to apply as much pressure or force when you use one.
An electric knife can be particularly helpful if you have arthritis or other joint issues because you don’t have to use any force to quickly and easily cut up meat.
Electric knives are available in both corded and cordless models.
Corded models must be plugged into an outlet for operation, which may limit the locations where you can use the knife.
Cordless models operate on batteries, so you can use them anywhere. Some cordless electric knives are rechargeable, which allows you to plug them in for charging.
Corded models tend to offer more consistent power, because cordless models can slow down as their batteries weaken. However, cordless models offer better maneuverability.
Corded electric knives tend to offer more consistent power, because corded knives can slow down as their batteries weaken. However, cordless models usually offer better maneuverability.
Most electric knives feature different types of interchangeable blades. You can remove one and replace it with another depending on your slicing task. For the most versatility, look for a model that includes a carving blade for meat, and a slicing blade for bread.
For the most effective knife, look for blades that are at least seven to nine inches long. Longer knives offer increased flexibility around bones and other tough sections of meat.
To ensure the knife’s durability, choose a model with stainless steel blades, which don’t tarnish or warp over time.
Because the motor is housed in an electric knife’s handle, it can vibrate quite a bit during operation. In some cases, it can hurt your hand.
For the most comfortable knife, look for a model with an ergonomically designed handle that fits your hand’s contour.
Fishermen can find electric knives that come with a fillet-style blade, making it much easier to clean and prepare the day’s catch than with a traditional knife.
Depending on the type of food that you’re cutting, you may want to vary the knife’s speed.
Choose a model with variable speed control, so you can increase or decrease the speed to get the exact type of slices that you want.
Many electric knives come with a carving fork, which allows you to secure the meat that you’re cutting for easier slicing.
Some also include a storage container to place the knife in when you put it away. It may be a case or a block-style container that makes storage safer for both questing fingers and the knife itself.
If you’re interested in a corded electric knife, opt for one with a swivel cord that’s at least three feet long. You’ll have much more maneuverability when you’re slicing.
Because of the motorized blades, an electric knife can be slightly more dangerous than a traditional knife.
To avoid accidents, look for a knife with blade safety locks. These keep the blades from moving accidentally when you’re handling the knife.
It also helps to have a safety button that allows you quickly turn the knife off when you’re using it.
For a home with small children, look for an electric knife with a locking trigger or other safety feature to prevent accidents.
Electric knives vary in price based on the type, blade heads, and accessories, but you can typically expect to pay between $15 and $170.
For a basic electric knife — a single blade head and no storage container — you’ll usually pay between $15 and $20.
For a basic electric knife that comes with a storage case and carving fork, you’ll usually pay between $25 and $40.
For an electric knife that comes with at least two blade heads, a storage case, and carving fork, expect to pay between $45 and $70.
For an electric knife that comes with three or more blade heads, a storage case, carving fork, and other accessories, prices run between $85 an $175.
Electric knives don’t dull as easily as traditional knives, so you usually don’t have to sharpen them as often.
Meat can shift easily under the power of an electric knife, so use a carving fork to stabilize the meat as you cut. If you need more stability, set the meat on a clean kitchen towel before you begin cutting.
To get the best cuts, slice with an electric knife in a downward motion, then pull it out to avoid sawing the meat or bread.
If you’re cutting around bones or joints, start with shallow, gentle cuts with your electric knife. When you see better where you’re cutting, you can go deeper.
Never immerse an electric knife in water, or you’ll damage the motor. Remove the blade for cleaning, and wipe down any residue on the handle with a damp cloth.
Q. Do you need to sharpen an electric knife?
A. Electric knives usually have a serrated edge, and tend to stay sharp longer than traditional blades. That’s why some manufacturers don’t recommend sharpening them. However, other brands do encourage using a sharpening rod to sharpen the blades when they begin to dull. Consult your owner’s manual to determine whether sharpening is appropriate.
Q. What safety measures should you use with an electric knife?
A. Until you’re absolutely ready to carve with the knife, make sure that it’s locked so it doesn’t accidentally turn on before you’re ready. As with a traditional knife, you should keep your fingers away from the blades.
Q. How do you clean an electric knife?
A. Most of electric knives feature removable blades, so disassemble the knife and wash the blade by hand with warm, soapy water. Manufacturers typically don’t recommend washing the blades in the dishwasher, but consult your care instructions to see if it’s possible. To clean the handle and motor unit, wipe it down with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
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