Our Best Kitchen Knives Comprehensive Guide
Choosing a proper kitchen knife may seem daunting at first but it really is quite simple if you take your time and do your homework properly. The first fact you need to understand is that kitchen knives come in a variety of different qualities depending on your need and your budget. If you have a low budget and just need a knife that does the job well enough, you can settle for a factory made knife that is usually made in bulk by machines and not by hand. Most of them come with plastic handles and materials that you wouldn’t exactly consider high quality. However, if you need a high quality knife that will last for years and have the money to pay for it, there are gorgeous kitchen knives available that I consider to be masterpieces made of premium quality materials. Whenever I think about this kind of quality the only two knives that come to mind are Japanese kitchen knives and German kitchen knives.
The Kitchen Knife Comparison Table
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Quality vs Price
I think it is safe to say that for most situations, the more you pay for something the higher the quality of that item is going to be. When it comes to kitchen knives, this rule most definitely applies so you need to always keep this in mind before making any purchases or cutting corners. Now I am not saying that you cannot find a good quality knife in the cheaper price range. You definitely can but they usually won’t last as long as the premium quality ones. If you don’t have much of a choice about this matter, check out our cheap kitchen knife sets and our best knife set under $100 for a knife that will perform well without breaking the bank. A lot of my reviews of these knives will be included the knife review section of my site so check it out if you need more information.
Single Knife vs Kitchen Knives Set
This is the part where it gets confusing for people that have never purchased a kitchen knife or kitchen knife set before. If you buy a set, usually it comes with every type of kitchen knife that you would every possible need plus you get a knife block with them which can be pretty useful. Another alternative would be to buy each kitchen knife separately which the more experienced chef tends to do. Here are some of the pros and cons to each option.
Buying a kitchen knife set
You will usually save more money buying them in a set.
All of the knives will look identical which looks great when you have them on display in your kitchen.
Most of the knife sets come with knife blocks, a honing steel, and kitchen shears which is highly convenient.
Most people never use every single knife in their set so they usually go to waste.
Buying kitchen knives individually
Buy knives and add them to your collection only when you actually need to use them which tends to save people money.
Buying knives individually allows you contribute more money towards a higher quality knife that you need.
You will have to buy your knife block separately because leaving them loose around the kitchen is a bad way of maintaining them.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to making this personal decision. It all comes down to who you are as a chef and what your personal preferences may be. One factor you should always consider when making this type of decision is your budget because that is what really matters in the end. If you are thinking about where you can find the best kitchen knives in the world, you are in the right place.
Different Types Of Kitchen Knives
Whether you are a professional chef by profession or a hobbyist who enjoys making his or meals at home, you need to know about every knife type and when to appropriately use them. I have seen it many times. Chefs continue using the wrong knives and wondering why they aren’t effective during food preparation. The following fact is pretty obvious. If you use the proper knife for the proper task, you will be able to become more effective and you will be able to build the foundation you need to steer clear of bad habits.
It is fair to say that one or two knives can complete most tasks in the kitchen. Most knife users tend to own at least one chefs knife or a Santoku. A very important rule every chef knows is that you can’t count on just one knife like most people do. If you do, you will most likely get the job done but not the same way using a more refined tool such as a paring knife or a boning knife would.
Without further ado, I present to you the 13 types of kitchen knives.
The Chef Knife
This is the knife that every single chef should have whether professional or just your typical hobbyist. You can basically perform almost any task with it. Tasks such as chopping, dicing, and slicing can be very easy if you know the proper techniques. This means that if you really want to learn how to cook, this is going to be the first knife you buy. Do you own one know? If you don’t get out there today and buy it because it will seriously shorten your learning curve.
A chef’s knife is a chef’s best friend. Depending on the quality and the price you pay for it, you will either lose respect or gain it. In my opinion, the ideal chefs knife will choose you when you start your search. You will just feel it once you start testing different brands. The ideal chefs knife will feel like it is an extension of your arm and made exactly for you. Anyone who is serious about a career in the culinary arts should do their research properly and take this choice very seriously. When choosing the proper chefs knife for you, there are many factors you need to consider, and luckily for you, we have done the work for you. You will not be disappointed with the following brands.
Henckels- This brand is usually the most affordable of the three we will be presenting to you in this section. They are not as polished as the Wusthof brand but you can expect high performance from them nonetheless and you can’t go wrong with the price. Although a bit weightier than the other brands, they make up for it with endurance and blade strength.
Global - This knife is very light and is most appreciated by the type of chef who has refined tastes. Many younger chefs tend to gravitate towards this knife because it just screams maverick and someone who is looking to change the game. While not as affordable as a Henckel knife, it is still well priced and will give you some style along with some great performance.
Wusthof- Last but definitely not least is the Wusthof brand of chefs knife. It is well known in the industry to be for the chef who wants to get the job done efficiently and effectively without showing off. It is one of my favorite knives and is one that I have been using for years because they are seriously one of the best knife manufacturers in the industry. Their reputation speaks for itself.
The Meat Cleaver
This is probably one of the scarier looking types of knives and is used in many horror movies. However, it is perfect for doing exactly what it describes in its name. No other knife cleaves meat better and efficiently than the meat cleaver. Most people wonder why the blade is so tall but if it wasn’t the knife wouldn’t be heavy enough cut through meats with thick bones and tough vegetables. Using a chef’s knife to perform this kind of task would damage it so this type of knife is definitely a necessity in the kitchen. There is one other thing that could happen if you try to cut through thick meats with other knives. You could accidently miss and hurt yourself because your accuracy decreases. I have seen this happen many times and it isn’t pretty. You might not have to shop for the highest quality cleaver but you should definitely buy one that is durable to last without having to sharpen it constantly. That could definitely get tedious.
The Tomato Knife
This knife is definitely more of a novelty and you could purchase it if you have some money to burn. Tomato’s can easily be cut by a chef’s knife so there is no need to buy it. You just have to make sure that you have a quality knife or else it might get difficult to cut your tomato’s. If you decide you still want to buy this type of knife, we will include the best tomato knives on the market in a later post. Cheese lovers tend to gravitate towards these knives for some reason so you should definitely check out my post about them.
The Bread Knife
As far as serrated blades go, this is the only one I recommend buying for your kitchen. Have you ever used a straight blade to cut through a piece of bread? If you have, you will know the feelings of frustration you get when your bread loaf is squished by it. Sharpening these knives is super difficult so I suggest you buy only this one if you love bread and call it a day. You won’t believe how good it feels to slice right through a fresh loaf of bread without squishing it.
The Boning Knife
This is one of the most important knives to have in your kitchen after the paring knife and the chef’s knife. However, you will need a lot of practice before you can use it effectively because it is for the more experienced chef. It can be used to trim the fats off of fish and remove the bones from chicken. There is no other knife that can complete those tasks so it is highly vital to have one in your kitchen. With this knife you will be able to visualize exactly where you are cutting because it is exactly the perfect size and not long like the others. Check out our guide for top boning knives here.
I love to have a good pair of shears around the kitchen. They are great to use when opening up a turkey or just to cut some string from a package. There isn’t much else to say about it but the fact that using one to do this task instead using a knife can help you avoid injuries. Shears are not to expensive and great to have around for multiple small tasks.
The Carving Knife
This knife is great when you need a knife that isn’t to big or to small. It is very similar to the utility knife because both because you can use them to show others how impressive your knife skills are in the eating area. These knives will usually be on display and not hidden like the others so it would be a good idea to buy ones that are the best quality. If you want to learn more, check out our latest carving knife guide.
The Nakiri knife
I would only recommend the Nakiri if you are interested in learning to cook Japanese cuisine. Most Japanese chefs use it to cut vegetables and will probably be teaching you how to use it so it would be wise to own one. It is used for root type vegetables and if you master it, you will be able to chop at super high speeds without endangering yourself. A lot of the older traditional Japanese chefs still use these and while not a requirement to use in your home, it is great to see them in action. If you want to learn more, check out our latest Japanese kitchen knives guide.
The Paring Knife
While not exactly the most important knife in your set, it is still pretty important to won the paring knife. What you shouldn’t do though is make it your main knife. A lot of knife users who are not experienced enough get into the habit of using it like this and it is a hard habit to break. You should only use this knife when you want to make super precise cuts or want to carve a something like a turkey with finesse. As far as budget is concerned they are inexpensive so it is a no brainer as to whether you should buy one or not.
The Honesuki Knife
This is a very unique knife because the Japanese use it mainly to prepare chicken. It is comparable to the boning knife but if you are a student in a Japanese cuisine school, you will also need to purchase this one with the Nakiri. If you don’t buy it you will just miss out by using a boning knife and won’t learn the proper techniques that make the experience priceless. If you are into Japanese knives, you should check out our popular sushi knife post.
The Honing Steel
A very important tool if you wish to maintain your knives properly. Many people believe it helps you sharpen your knives but this would be incorrect. What it actually does is realign your knife when it is bent which happens often if you use it enough. The edges will constantly bend and this is the tool that you need to take acre of your problem. If you don’t know how to use one properly, please check out our how to guide. It is very important because you could damage your knife if you don’t use your honing steel properly.
Best Kitchen Knives Reviews
Victorinox Fibrox Straight Edge 8-inch Chefs Knife
This has got to be one of the most popular and best selling knives on the market. It is in the medium price range and affordable enough if you are willing to pay just a little bit extra for a knife that could possibly last anywhere from 20-30 years. Chefs love it because it is specifically designed for something they do just about every single day—chopping, dicing, mincing and slicing. The knife does it extremely well and comes high carbon stainless steel steel blade that gives its user a superior performance.
Two other features you should know are its ergonomic design and its lifetime warranty that is notorious in the industry. As soon you place this knife in the palm of your hand, you will feel like it was made just especially for you. It feels perfect and is slip resistant so you don’t have to worry about any unnecessary injuries. Lastly, the lifetime warranty is iron clad and if you have any issues with this knife it will be taken care of or replaced. Their customer service team is great and they know how to treat customers. As far as Chef’s knives are concerned this one is the best on our best kitchen knives for the money list.
Wusthof Classic 7-inch Santoku Knife
I am what some people would consider a Wusthof fan boy. They are the best brand on my best kitchen knives list. Although you will be paying a premium price for knife that is more expensive than most of the ones being sold in the industry, I would highly recommend you buy it. It looks beautiful; it performs like a champ and is made by one of the most popular companies in Germany. They have a rich history when it comes to knife making and they are proud of their craft.
The Wushof Classic 7-inch Santoku knife is a Japanese style cooks knife that is specifically made for chopping, dicing and slicing foods with ease. The hollows on both sides are designed so that the foods you are preparing don’t stick to your knife. As many of you know, this is very convenient because food that consistently sticks to your knife will make you lose time. Another feature includes a blade that has been forged from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel. Lastly, it has a tough polypropylene handle with traditional rivets that allow you to have a stable grip. If you want the best and are willing to pay for that privilege, this is definitely the knife to go for.
Kyocera Revolution Series 7-inch Professional Chefs Knife
This medium priced knife is not only well price but is consistently acing professional tests making it one of the most reviewed knives around. What makes it unique is that it is a ceramic knife that most chefs still tend to love and use without shame. It slices cleanly and easily making it a godsend in the kitchen. What I really like about this knife is the design. The knife is sleek and well designed making it a pleasure to show off when guests come over and take a peak inside the kitchen. It is definitely the best ceramic chef knife on our best kitchen knives list.
Some other features include the fact that it is totally resistant to acids, juices, oils and other elements that would usually ruin a knife. Performance wise, it is extremely light and balanced when placed in the palm of your hand, which allows you to chop longer without getting tired. Just be ware of one very important fact before purchasing this knife. After you finishing using it, immediately wash it by hand and never throw it in the dishwasher. Your beautiful knife will be completely faded and you will most likely have to buy a new one if you make this mistake.
Victorinox 4-3/4 inch Straight Edge 6 Piece Steak Knife Set
As far as kitchen knife reviews go, this is one is short but will be thorough enough to let you know how great this set is. The true steak lover will fall in love with this incredible set. You will receive 6 durable hand crafted steak knives that have high carbon stainless steel blades. They are extremely sharp and retain their edge for a long time as long as you maintain them properly. I personally own this set and paid a premium price for it but I have not regretted it. It has been two years and they look pretty much the same as the first day I purchased them.
Aesthetically speaking, this set is a masterpiece. The rosewood handles are ergonomically designed with the user in mind. You won’t believe the level of balance and comfort you will experience as you slice and dice through all of your favorite foods. As with the other knives on best kitchen knives set list, make sure to only wash them by hand and promise you will not have to replace them for years to come. They put their money where their mouth is so no need to worry about losing your investment.
Wusthof Classic 8- Piece knife Set with Block
If you want to own every single knife you could every possibly need and you have the money to burn on a premium set, this is the one to go with. The set includes a chefs pairing, utility, bread and sandwich knives. Also, included are kitchen shears, sharpening steel for maintenance purposes, and oak block. This set can’t be beat and it is the best in the industry, which is why I included on my best kitchen knives list.
Each blade in the set is formed with the perfect balance of high carbon steel and stain resistant alloy. This means it can pretty much endure every type of environment as long as you maintain them well. The knives aren’t super light but hey are sturdy because of their weighted bolsters. Lastly, included with the set is an iron clad lifetime warranty that will replace any knives as long as you follow their recommendations and wash your knives by hand.
Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com