What Is The Best Chinese Cleaver?
The Chinese cleavers are large knives that are more versatile than regular cleavers. If you are new to choosing cleavers, then finding the best quality Chinese cleaver could be difficult for you. However, the following guide will help you in finding the very best Chinese cleaver for any chef or cook in the kitchen.
What exactly is a Chinese cleaver?
The reason why Chinese cleavers have the word “Chinese” in front of their name is because the country of China is where they originated from. For centuries, these cleavers were used in China. Later on, Japanese chefs starting using these cleavers too, which then became known as “Chukabocho.”
Chinese cleavers are shaped a little bit differently than western cleavers. The Chinese cleaver’s blade is shaped rectangularly and has an extremely sharp edge with a 16° angle.
Chinese cleavers are unique because of their versatility. The designs of most kitchen knives allow them to do just one thing, whereas the design of Chinese cleavers let them be useful in multiple situations. They are good for slicing and chopping vegetables into thin pieces, deboning, and peeling. The blade has a flat surface that is perfect for crushing down garlic cloves. The blade’s spine can even pound meat if you want to do that.
Top 3 Best Chinese Cleavers That Are Expensive
Here are some of the top rated Chinese cleavers on the market.
7-Inch Yaxell Ran Cleaver
Yaxell is a company that is well known for their attractive and high quality kitchen knives. Their 7-inch Ran Cleaver series certainly fits this description. The blade of this cleaver has VG10 stainless steel material with each side of it having 34 layers filled with high carbon steel. There are not too many cleavers that look this good. Of course, the performance of the cleaver needs to be better than the looks, right? That is what really counts.
Well, the blade of the Ran Cleaver is very sharp. It is also corrosion resistant due to its 34 layers of carbon steel. Just don’t wash it in the dishwasher.
The handle of the Ran Cleaver is composed of Micarta, which is a durable composite that consists of various materials like glass fibers, paper, linen, and thermosetting plastic. It was fastened with two rivets.
If you are searching for a top-rated Chinese cleaver that is luxurious, then the 7-inch Yaxell Ran Cleaver is definitely the best choice for you.
Wusthof Classic Chinese Chef’s Knife
Chefs all around the world are familiar with the Germany company known as Wusthof. They make a Chinese cleaver that is simply amazing and works well in the kitchen. The Wusthof Classic Chinese Chef’s Knife contains a 7-inch alloyed stainless-steel blade that is razor sharp and easy to cut with. However, the manufacturer of this knife does not recommend people use it to chop up bones or else it will likely damage the blade. It is great for chopping up other food, though.
The handle of this knife is triple riveted and running through it is a full tang. It truly resembles the classic Wusthof knife design.
A big advantage that the Wusthof Classic Chinese Chef’s Knife has over the previous Yaxell cleaver is its affordability. Not only that, but many people like the plain look of the Wusthof knife more than the layered steel look of the Yaxell cleaver.
ZHEN Japanese Damascus VG-10 8-Inch Cleaver
The last of the expensive cleavers is the 67-Layer ZHEN Japanese Damascus VG-10. This knife has an 8-inch blade and has a full tang, just like the Yaxell cleaver. The core of the ZHEN cleaver is made of VG-10 stainless-steel. The sides of the cleaver have a beautiful pattern to them made from 33 layers of pure Damascus steel. This has an HRC rating of between 60 and 62. The only bad thing is this cleaver is designed for chopping meats, fruits, and vegetables only. This means you cannot use the cleaver to chop bones or else you’ll damage the blade.
The ZHEN cleaver’s handle is comprised of Pakkawood material, giving users a secure grip that reduces the chances of slippage.
The ZHEN cleaver has Japanese steel in it, despite it not actually being manufactured in Japan. It was really made in Taiwan.
If this cleaver’s 8-inch blade is longer than what you need, there are smaller versions of the ZHEN model available.
The 3 Best Chinese Cleavers That Are Cheap
The previous 3 cleavers mentioned were pretty expensive. If you want a good kitchen knife for occasional cooking that is more affordable, then take a look at the 3 Chinese cleavers listed below.
Master Cutlery’s Top Chef 7-Inch Chopper/Cleaver
The knife wholesale manufacturer Master Cutlery has an affordable cleaver on the market called the Top Chef. This cleaver only costs around $30 and it does a pretty good job in the kitchen. It has a 7-inch blade which is comprised of x30cr13 stainless steel that is ice tempered. Food won’t even stick to this blade either because of its hollow ground. When you receive the cleaver in the mail, you won’t have to sharpen it because it already comes very sharp. Although it has stainless-steel material, the cleaver should not be put in the dishwasher. On the upside, you can use this cleaver to chop bones, unlike other cleavers.
The handle of the Top Chef is comfortable to hold in your hand. The finish makes it anti-slippery too, which most people like. Overall, the Top Chef is very popular on Amazon because of its durability, sharpness, and affordability.
The WINCO Chinese Cleaver w/ Stainless Steel Handle
If $30 for the Top Chef is too much money, then try spending $12 on the WINCO Chinese Cleaver instead. On Amazon, this knife has gotten more than 100 reviews from customers and they are mostly positive reviews.
The WINCO Chinese Cleaver has a large 8.3-inch blade, which is big for a Chinese cleaver. The whole knife and blade are completely stainless steel. There are notches in its handle to prevent slippage and to provide users with a tightly secure grip that is comfortable.
The cleaver has a thin blade so you shouldn’t chop bones with it. It is better to chop deboned meat and vegetables.
This cleaver is supposedly safe for dishwasher user, according to the manufacturer. But it may be a good idea to hand wash it anyway.
Sekiryu Chinese Kitchen Chopping Knife
This Japanese-made knife has a 7-inch blade comprised of stainless-steel material. One common complaint that some people make is that food sticks to the blade after they chop it. But since the knife is super cheap, this should not be a big issue. Just remember that this knife is not meant for lots of heavy-duty cutting or chopping, such as bone chopping. You would need a much thicker and more durable cleaver for that kind of chopping. However, the Sekiryu Chinese Kitchen Chopping Knife is very sharp and suitable for chopping vegetables and slicing meat.
This knife has a Japanese oak handle which allows you to securely grip it in your hand. Along with the affordable price, it’s also gotten lots of positive reviews on Amazon.
Things to Consider
There are some things you should take into consideration when purchasing this knife.
Construction – Full tang knives are always recommended by me. This Chinese cleaver is one of the best full tang cleavers around. You want them to be “full” because partial tang knives tend to break in the area where the handle and blade meet. This could result in a serious injury if it happened with a cleaver.
Material – You can choose between high carbon steel and stainless steel. There may even be a mix of both steels. The bad thing about carbon steel is that it is not resistant to corrosion and it leaves a strange taste on the food that you prepare with it. That is why stainless steel is preferred amongst most chefs.
Length of Blade – The best cleavers should have a blade that is a minimum of 7-inches in length.
Thickness – There are different variations to the thickness of blades on a lot of the Chinese cleavers on the market. A cleaver with a thin blade is great for cutting vegetables. But if you want to chop bones, you need a blade that is thicker than 2 millimeters or else you will damage the edge. You must have a thick blade to chop bone and meat, preferably around 8 millimeters. If you go for a thickness in between those amounts, the blade may be okay as long as the bones you chop are not too thick.
Handle – The handle is really something of a personal preference for people. You can choose between molded plastic, steel, and wood. If you care about looks, then wood will be the best choice for your handle. Just make sure the cleaver won’t slip out of your hand.
Price – There are some prices for Chinese cleavers that will shock people. A Shun Chinese cleaver, for example, could cost over $200. But you don’t necessarily have to spend this much money to find a good Chinese cleaver. Most chefs understand that you can get a high-quality cleaver for as little as $50 and it will work just the same.
You now have the knowledge of how to pick a Chinese cleaver that is the best. Now pick one that is the best for you. If you need to chop bones then choose a cleaver with a thick blade. If you just need to chop vegetables, choose a cleaver with a thin blade. Consider this information carefully and you will surely make the right choice for yourself.