Updated January 2023
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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. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Best of the Best
DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Cleaver Knife
Gladiator Series Cleaver Knife
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Best for Everyday Use
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A quality blade that works perfectly in the kitchen.


Made of German steel with a full tang. Features a very sharp blade with hand-polished edges. The black pakkawood handle is triple-riveted with a comfortable grip.


Some buyers received cleavers that had nicks or dings in the blade.

Best Bang for the Buck
Mueller-Austria 7-inch Meat Cleaver Knife
7-inch Meat Cleaver Knife
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Trusted Brand
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This professional-grade stainless steel cleaver is perfect for cutting and deboning meat.


Made from high-quality stainless steel that is rust and corrosion-resistant. Features a sharp double-sided blade that holds its edge for a long time. Equipped with a nonslip, ergonomic handle.


Blade may need to be sharpened upon arrival as there have been a few reports of it not arriving sharp.

Zelite Infinity Comfort Pro Cleaver
Zelite Infinity
Comfort Pro Cleaver
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Bottom Line

An excellent cleaver made of quality materials that will last.


Multipurpose Chinese-style chef's 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.

Juvale Meat Cleaver
Meat Cleaver
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Most Durable
Bottom Line

Consider this heavy-duty cleaver knife that is easy to store on a hanging hook or peg.


Designed with a full tang, making it ideal for cutting through tough meat and bones. Comes with a triple-riveted, solid-wood handle that is easy to hold. Dishwasher-safe.


Knife is quite heavy and does not arrive sharp.

Tuo Cutlery Cleaver Knife
Tuo Cutlery
Cleaver Knife
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Most Stylish
Bottom Line

A cleaver that works well and has a beautiful design.


Made of premium AUS-10 high-carbon steel. The polished pakkawood handle is easy to hold. The 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.


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 cleavers

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?

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Practice different holding techniques with your cleaver for different types of cuts. Personalizing your use of your cleaver will make you more effective at using it.

Key considerations

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.

Blade shape

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.

Blade material

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.


Premium wood handle

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.

Knife sheath

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.

Hook hole

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.

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Never use a cleaver that has cut raw meat for slicing other cooked food unless you have washed it first. This can cause serious illness.

Cleaver prices


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.


Between $400 and $800 is where you’ll find cleavers that tend to have ice-hardened stainless steel corrosion-resistant blades for major durability.


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.


  • Make sure you have a cutting board that is thick and sturdy enough before starting to cut or chop with your new cleaver.
  • One of the strengths of a cleaver is that you can use its weight and leverage to cut rather than your own power. Learn to wield the cleaver efficiently to get the most out of it.
  • If you are not experienced at cutting through thick cuts of meat and bone with a cleaver, don’t get frustrated. With a little practice, using this powerful kitchen tool will become second nature to you.
  • Place your thumb on the spine of the handle if you feel you need some extra power and precision. This is a time-tested technique used by butchers and chefs alike.
  • Always be aware of the position of your non-cutting hand when using your cleaver. This can be a dangerous knife, and it needs to be used carefully.
  • Before each use, check to see that your blade is still sharp enough for the impending job. If it’s dull, sharpen it to your taste.
  • Don’t rely on other people’s suggestions for the best cleaver. Only you know what you need for your kitchen needs. Assess your personal preferences and cutting and cooking style in order to choose the right cleaver.
  • Take care of your knives. A good knife is an investment.
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Review videos online for the best techniques for using a cleaver. Doing so will give you ideas that you may not come up with on your own.


Q. How often do I need to sharpen my cleaver?
. 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?
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?
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?
. 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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