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Best Chinese Chef Knives

Updated May 2022
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Best of the Best
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Chinese Chef Knife
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels
Twin Signature Chinese Chef Knife
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Premium Steel
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A Chinese chef’s knife from two of the leading culinary knife brands of the world.


Stamped out of a single piece of German carbon steel with special stain-resistant formula. Ice-honed edge holds sharpness longer. Full-tang construction to the plastic, Western-style handle. Seven-inch blade.


Expensive. Blade may be a little short for some needs.

Best Bang for the Buck
Winco Chinese Cleaver with a Wooden Handle
Chinese Cleaver with a Wooden Handle
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Kitchen Workhorse
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A workhorse knife from a well-regarded restaurant equipment brand.


Traditionally styled Chinese chef’s knife with semi-rectangular, 8-inch blade. Round, traditional wooden handle with brass guard fits comfortably and allows nimble control. Dishwasher-safe.


The rounded handle can take getting used to.

TUO Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife
Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife
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Elegant Addition
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This knife sports a modified blade shape that comes to a sharp point.


Seven-inch blade with santoku-like drop point for precision perforation. Designed to slice, chop, and mince meat or vegetables. Pakkawood handle is attractive and ergonomically fitted. Full-tang design for strength.


The handle can be slippery with wet hands.

SHI BA ZI ZUO Chinese Kitchen Knife
Chinese Kitchen Knife
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Solid & Stylish
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A fine chef’s knife of Japanese steel from a respected brand.


Forged of Japanese carbon steel. Full-tang construction through the handle for strength. Wooden Western-style handle is shaped to fit the hand and comes triple-riveted. Blade is 6.75 inches long.


Shorter blade than some. Must be hand-washed for best performance.

Mercer Culinary Chinese Chef’s Knife
Mercer Culinary
Chinese Chef’s Knife
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Everyday Use
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An attractive and solidly performing knife with a blade of good carbon steel.


Japanese carbon steel is easy to hone and takes an edge well. Rosewood handle is genuine and feels good in hand. Brass guard separates blade from fingers. Well-balanced blade for chopping and slicing. Eight-inch blade.


Spine and bolster edges are also sharp out of the box; need to be sanded.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

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.

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Buying guide for Best Chinese chef knives

Having the right tools in the kitchen is essential if you want to prepare your favorite dishes quickly and easily. Knives are some of the most basic kitchen tools, but if you’re tired of needing a different knife for each task, it might be time to invest in a Chinese chef knife.

A Chinese chef knife, also known as a Chinese cleaver, is a multi-purpose knife, which is why it’s often the only one that traditional Chinese chefs use. The rectangular blade has an extremely sharp edge that’s usually ground at a slight angle. It can be used for a wide range of kitchen tasks, including slicing and chopping vegetables, peeling fruit, crushing garlic cloves, and deboning and pounding meat. It’s an ideal tool for anyone who wants a single knife to help with many food-prep tasks.

Choosing a Chinese chef knife isn’t easy, though, because there are many factors to consider. If you’re unsure how to find the best one for you, take a look at our buying guide for all the tips you need. We also have some specific recommendations to make shopping as simple as possible.

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A good Chinese chef knife should feel solid in your hand without being too heavy. If you feel any strain in your wrist or forearm, it’s best to try another model.

Key considerations


As with any kitchen knife, choosing a high-quality Chinese chef knife can help ensure that it is durable and well balanced.

  • Tang: The tang is the prong or shank that connects the blade to the handle. A “partial tang” Chinese chef knife means that the blade and the handle aren’t a single continuous piece. That means the knife may be more prone to breakage where the blade and handle meet.

    A “full tang” Chinese chef knife means that the blade and handle are one continuous piece of metal. This type of knife is more durable because the blade isn’t as likely to break off. A full tang Chinese chef knife also feels more balanced in the hand, which can make it easier to use. These Chinese chef knives are usually more expensive, so if you don’t have the budget for one, opt for a model with a tang that extends at least three-quarters of the way into the handle.

  • Blade: Historically, Chinese chef knife blades were made of highly durable carbon steel. Some models are still made of carbon steel, but it is prone to rust and can add a metallic taste to the foods that you cut with it. These days, many Chinese chef knives have blades made of stainless steel because it doesn’t impart any taste to food and it resists rust, too. You can also find some Chinese chef knives with a blade made of a combination of carbon steel and stainless steel to give you the best of both worlds.
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Did you know?
Chinese chef knives are usually sharpened at an 11° to 16° angle, which gives them a very sharp blade.

Chinese chef knife features


The blades of Chinese chef knives can range from two to more than eight millimeters thick. The thickness determines what foods the blade works best with or what tasks it’s best suited for. Thinner blades typically work best for softer foods like fruits and vegetables, while thicker blades work best for meat and bones. Here’s a guide to choosing the appropriate blade thickness:

  • Two millimeters: Fruits, vegetables, skinning fish, julienning

  • Three to seven millimeters: Wide range of tasks, including cutting chicken bones

  • Eight millimeters and more: Cutting through dense bone; not ideal for slicing and finer cuts


Chinese chef knife blades are available in a variety of lengths. Seven inches is the most common and the most versatile, but avoid shorter knives because they aren’t as useful. You can find knives with blades that are as long as 11 inches.


Chinese chef knives are available with handles made of wood, stainless steel, and molded plastic. All three materials can work well, though wood has the most attractive appearance. As long as you choose a knife with a nonslip grip, any material that suits your personal preference is fine.


The marketing of many Chinese chef knives lets you know what tasks the knives are designed for. Not all models are meant for cutting through bone, for example, so the knife may be described as good for cutting vegetables and meat. Chinese chef knives with a thicker blade are usually designed to cut through bone, so the manufacturer will indicate that in the product description.

Chinese chef knife prices

Chinese chef knives range in price based on their thickness, material, and construction. Most cost between $13 and $250.

Inexpensive: The most affordable Chinese chef knives have thinner blades that are usually made of carbon steel or stainless steel. They typically have a partial tang and cost between $13 and $28.

Mid-range: These Chinese chef knives typically have thicker blades made of carbon steel or stainless steel. They may have a partial or full tang. These knives cost between $28 and $112.

Expensive: The most expensive Chinese chef knives have thick blades made of carbon steel, stainless steel, or a combination. They typically have a full tang and cost between $112 and $250.


  • Wash your knife by hand. A Chinese chef knife should always be washed by hand to maintain the blade. Use warm, soapy water, and dry the knife thoroughly after rinsing.

  • Take care with acidic foods. If you use your Chinese chef knife to cut acidic ingredients like tomatoes or citrus fruit, wash it immediately to prevent discoloration or other damage.

  • Keep the knife sharp. You should sharpen your Chinese chef knife regularly to avoid accidents like cut fingers. Honing steel or a sharpening stone is often the easiest, most effective way to sharpen a Chinese chef knife. Hold the steel or stone upright and slide the knife along it away from you five to ten times.

  • Store your knife properly. To keep a Chinese chef knife sharp and protected, store it in a knife block.
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Not all Chinese chef knives can chop through dense bone, so check the manufacturer's guidelines to see what foods your knife can safely saw through.


Q. What are the main benefits of a Chinese chef knife?

A. For most home cooks, the main benefit is versatility. Instead of needing a separate knife to mince garlic, chop peppers, pound meat, and cut through chicken bones, you can use a Chinese chef knife to handle all of those tasks. It’s also an extremely cost-effective kitchen tool because it can take the place of two or three knives.

Q. How can I store a Chinese chef knife if it won’t fit in my knife block?

A. If your knife block doesn’t have a slot that can fit a Chinese chef knife, a magnetic wall strip is an ideal alternative. As its name suggests, it’s a magnetic strip that mounts to the wall to hold knives. It doesn’t have slots for the knives to fit in; instead, they lie flat against the strip so knives of nearly any size will fit. A magnetic strip is ideal for holding a Chinese chef knife or other cleavers. Just be sure to install the strip so it’s out of reach of kids!

Q. Can I clean a Chinese chef knife in a dishwasher?

A. It’s always best to check the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to the proper care and cleaning of a Chinese chef knife. Some models are dishwasher safe, but it’s generally advised that you wash a Chinese chef knife or cleaver by hand. If you wash it in the dishwasher regularly, the blade can dull and become damaged.