Thin, 2.5mm, 8-inch blade has a a hollow-ground factory edge and Granton-style indentations for reduced friction and ease of slicing meats and dense vegetables. Molybdenum-vanadium alloy steel for added sharpness and cutting power. Lightweight pakkawood handle features triple riveting for stability and strength.
It's somewhat expensive and takes some experience to sharpen properly.
Made of high carbon steel. Conical ground for good sharpness out of the box. Ergonomically designed and slip-resistant. The brand is known for excellent customer service. Knife is very stain-resistant and easy to sharpen.
Doesn't get as sharp as high-end blades nor hold an edge as long, but at least it's pretty easy to sharpen yourself.
Quality design forged from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel. Well-balanced, full-tang knife with a razor-sharp blade that's 20% sharper with twice the edge retention of previous models. Handle is contoured and sits comfortably in your hand.
It's a bit heavy and not everyone prefers the rounded belly geometry.
Triple-layer blade with a core of resistant VG10 cobalt alloy steel and outer layers of chrome steel. Triple-stud, full-tang handle for stability. Stainless steel bolster for hand protection. Double-sided edge for right or left-handed use.
Thin, light blade takes some getting used to if you're only familiar with Western knives. It can also take a little extra effort to sharpen.
Forged in Japan of Swedish carbon steel, it can get as sharp as anything on the market and holds an edge for a very long time. Asymmetrical edge with 70:30 proportion helps to release precision-cut foods, as long as the user is right-handed. High-impact triple-riveted wooden handle. Has an iconic dragon etching and develops a beautiful patina over time.
Carbon steel knives require significantly more care and attention than stainless steel models. Lefties will want to rework the edge geometry to get the most out of it.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
It doesn't matter if you rarely cook or you chop and dice daily, a quality chef's knife is essential in any kitchen. Contrary to what you might be thinking, a sharper knife is safer because it requires less pressure and will slice rather than tear and slide. But with all the options available, how do you know that what you are considering is truly a quality knife?
A forged high-carbon stainless steel blade performs the best. It holds a sharp edge extremely well, but it is also the most expensive option. If budget is your primary concern, you might need to consider a stamped carbon steel or stainless steel knife. Either way, look for a durable laminate handle as wood can hold bacteria and plastic may crack.
While there are many different types of knives, the average home chef needs a minimum of these three: a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.
This large, all-purpose knife has a straight edge – not a serrated edge – and is typically eight inches long. You can use a chef’s knife for mincing, dicing, chopping, and slicing.
A paring knife is similar to a chef’s knife, but it is smaller. Most paring knives have a three- or four-inch blade without serrations. You can use a paring knife to mince, chop, peel, and fillet.
These serrated knives generally have a nine- or ten-inch blade, and despite the name, they aren’t just for slicing bread – although they do that beautifully. You can use a bread knife to slice tomatoes and other soft fruits and vegetables, cut cake, and slice meat.
A utility knife isn’t mandatory, but it is a useful addition to your collection if you are an avid cook. In terms of length, utility knives fall somewhere between chef’s knives and paring knives – typically around seven inches. A utility knife is great for those times when your chef’s knife is a bit too big and your paring knife a bit too small.
There are two basic methods of knife construction: forging and stamping. Here’s a look at the specifics of each type.
These are made from a solid piece of metal that has been heated to an extreme temperature and pounded into shape. The production process is quite elaborate, and as a result, forged knives are more expensive than stamped knives. They are usually a little heavier and thicker than stamped knives, and they tend to hold their edge very well.
These are machine-punched out of steel and then sharpened. Although there are some excellent stamped chef’s knives – and they are less expensive than forged knives – most serious cooks prefer a forged chef’s knife. However, we urge potential buyers to not automatically discount this type of blade. If you don’t have need for a chef’s knife that often, a stamped chef’s knife could be all you need.
There are three common metals used to make kitchen knives: stainless steel, carbon steel, and high-carbon stainless steel. Each has its pros and cons.
The most common metal you’ll find in the average kitchen. It’s also the least expensive.
Pros: Doesn’t rust, durable, easy to sharpen, doesn’t stain
Cons: Doesn’t hold a sharp edge as well as other metals
The preferred blade material of many chefs, but you’ll pay more for this premium metal.
Pros: Holds a sharp edge, easy to sharpen
Cons: Tends to discolor or develop a patina, pricier than stainless steel, rusts
It has more carbon in the steel mixture than regular stainless steel, giving it superior strength without the problematic tendency to rust or discolor found in carbon steel. You’ll pay a lot more for this metal, however.
Pros: Excellent performance without a tendency to rust or stain, holds a sharp edge very well
A quality chef’s knife feels good in your hand and has a well-balanced, comfortable handle. Many chef’s knives have ergonomic handles that are specifically designed for ease of use.
There are three common handle materials used for kitchen knives: wood, laminate, and plastic.
This classic knife handle material feels good in the hand. However, wood can hold on to bacteria and is not as durable as other materials.
A composite of wood and plastic, laminate knife handles look like wood but are far easier to care for and more durable, too.
Easy to maintain and lighter than wood, but a plastic knife handle can crack after exposure to high temperatures or UV rays.
When shopping for a chef’s knife, you may come across some unfamiliar terms. Here’s a brief glossary of important terms to know.
Tang: The tang of a knife is the part of the blade that extends into the handle and holds it in place. If you look at a good chef’s knife, you’ll generally see a strip of metal running through the middle of the handle; that’s the tang. A full tang, which is the most desirable, is thick enough to show on both the top and the bottom of the handle. Full-tang knives are very stable and feel balanced in the hand. A partial tang extends only down the top or bottom of the handle.
Edge: The edge of a chef’s knife is the sharp side.
Spine: The spine of a chef’s knife is the slightly flattened side of the blade that isn’t sharp.
Point: The point of a knife blade is its very tip.
Blade: This term refers to the entire knife, save the handle.
Butt: The butt is the end of the knife’s handle.
Rivets: A knife’s rivets are those metal “dots” you see along the knife’s handle. There are usually three, and they secure the tang inside the handle.
Heel: The heel is the wide “bumper” at the bottom of the blade right before it attaches to the handle. This adds balance to the knife and also serves as a handy edge for chopping harder items like nuts or carrots.
Bolster: The bolster is the thick part of the blade right in front of the handle. It helps keep your fingers from slipping while you use the knife. Not every chef’s knife has a bolster.
A. There are inexpensive chef’s knives that cost less than $25, and there are chef’s knives that cost well over $100. For the average home cook, the sweet spot is somewhere between the $30 and $60 mark. For this kind of price tag, you should expect a product with quality construction, good balance, and a comfortable handle.
A. While buying a complete knife set is undeniably easy, you could end up with knives you don’t need and will never use. And the more knives you have, the more storage space you need; for those low on space, this is a definite consideration.
Ultimately, the choice between a knife set and a single chef’s knife is up to you.
A. Good knives deserve respect. Don’t toss your chef’s knife into a jumbled drawer or leave it blade-down in a knife block; both of these actions could dull the blade or damage the knife. Keep your knife blade-up in a knife block, attach it to a magnetic knife holder, or keep it in a drawer with a utensil holder that safely separates sharp blades from other kitchen utensils.
A. While Japanese knives are indeed fine utensils, they are not necessarily better than western knives. Japanese blades are generally very hard and sharp with thin, lightweight blades. That makes them easy for some people to wield, but it also means they are more likely to break during heavy use. Western chef’s knives, by contrast, tend to be heavier, thicker, and sturdier.