Multipurpose Chinese style chef knife great for cutting all types of meat. Comfortable to hold with a good, balanced weight. Made of German steel with a full tang. Very sharp.
A little pricier than other brands, but worth it for the quality.
7-inch cleaver works well for bone cutting. 100% stainless steel blade is easy to sharpen. Good weight and comfortable to hold. Dishwasher safe.
The knife does require some sharpening before first use and the handle can damage over time.
Made of premium AUS-10 high carbon steel. Polished pakkawood handle is easy to hold. Blade is very sharp and offers long-lasting performance. Rust- and wear-resistant.
Some buyers say this is more appropriate to use as a vegetable cleaver rather than a meat cleaver.
German stainless steel with a very sharp blade and a lot of weight to it. Nitrogen cooled for enhanced hardness. Offers corrosion resistance for long-lasting performance. High polymer handle is ergonomic and comfortable.
Almost too heavy to use as a vegetable cleaver. Better used as a meat cleaver.
For those who love the culinary arts, having the best possible tools is crucial. Just as Michelangelo couldn’t have painted the Sistine Chapel with finger paints, a great chef can’t prepare a life-changing meal with subpar cutlery. Cleavers are the workhorses of the kitchen, and having a good one is essential for proper food prep.
If you’re wondering what goes into making a great cleaver, there isn’t one single factor that determines its quality. Rather, it should have a number of design and quality aspects that come together to create a worthy culinary tool. Personal preference also comes into play when choosing the best possible cleaver for your needs. For instance, do you want one that’s lightweight, or do you like the feel of a hefty two-pound cleaver? Would you prefer a cleaver with a curved ergonomic handle or a straight one?
To learn more, keep reading our buying guide for tips on how you can make the right choice. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at our top picks.
Cooking and food prep is a sensory experience in every possible way. That means that everything about your cooking tools needs to work ergonomically and functionally for you to do the best job. The following are a few factors that you should consider when shopping for a cleaver. Doing so will help you find the right cleaver for your own personal cooking needs.
When it comes to a cleaver’s weight, there is a lot of variation. Weights range between 13 ounces up to two pounds. Whether you want a lighter or heavier cleaver will depend on a few different factors. One is the types of meals you tend to prepare. If you need a cleaver to cut through large bones, then a heavier option may be better. Another factor is personal preference. Many cooks who have less upper-body strength actually prefer a heavier cleaver because it gives them more leverage when cutting.
Some cleaver handles are designed with a curved style to make handling the cleaver easier on your hands — which is especially beneficial if you regularly cook and have a lot of heavy chopping to do. Some chefs prefer this handle style over a straight-handle design in order to prevent aches and fatigue. The size of your hands and your own personal movements when cutting will determine which handle style you prefer. It’s all about the “feel” of the knife.
There are two types of cleaver blades: curved and straight. What’s best for you will depend on how you use your cleaver. Some cooks use the front of the blade for trimming, while the middle or back of the blade is used for cutting through bone. If you don’t have a lot of strength, a curved blade allows you to rock the cleaver back and forth to get through those hard-to-cut pieces more easily.
Most modern cleavers are made of carbon steel or iron. Both are extremely strong and maintain their sharpness through many uses. Iron tends to be slightly heavier than steel, which leads some who prefer a heavy instrument to favor iron cleavers.
Many meat cleavers have a premium wood handle, which gives the cleaver a classic look. The most common is pakkawood, although other woods, such as walnut and mahogany, are available as well. While a wood handle is certainly more attractive than one made from a synthetic material, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll mind washing it by hand to prolong the life of the wood.
A cleaver is an important tool for any cook, so some would like to give it the respect they feel it deserves. Some cleavers come with an included knife sheath to protect the blade when not in use. To keep your cleaver as sharp as possible, keep it sheathed when not in use. The sheath is also handy to protect you from accidentally cutting yourself.
In the past, almost every cleaver produced had a hole in the upper tip of the blade. This hole is to either hang the cleaver on a hook in the kitchen or a hook on the cook’s apron. Because the use of cleavers has become much more widespread among home cooks, not all cleavers still come with a hook hole in the blade. If you think this may be useful for your storage purposes, then consider choosing one that has a hook hole.
Inexpensive: From $10 to $400 is the inexpensive range for cleavers. Even though they are not the most expensive, you can still find extremely high-quality options within this price range.
Mid-range: Between $400 and $800 is where you’ll find cleavers that tend to have ice-hardened stainless steel corrosion-resistant blades for major durability.
Expensive: The priciest cleavers will set you back between $800 and $1,500. These tend to be used primarily by professional chefs. They are sometimes made of Blue Aogami Super Steel, which is extremely hard but also easy to sharpen.
Q. How often do I need to sharpen my cleaver?
A. Because a cleaver is used for heavy cutting, it doesn’t need to be as sharp as most other knives. You probably won’t need to sharpen your cleaver more than once or twice a year.
Q. Can’t I use a smaller knife for cutting through bone?
A. No. A cleaver is specially designed for cutting through bone and thick pieces of meat. If you use a smaller knife for this purpose, it will dull the blade prematurely and damage the longevity of the blade.
Q. Is there one right way to hold and wield a cleaver?
A. No. There are some trusted techniques, but your own style and needs will dictate how you use it.
Q. How often should I wash my cleaver?
A. You need to wash your cleaver thoroughly after every use. Because it is used primarily for cutting through raw meat, you have to be sure that no bacteria remains on the blade after using it.
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