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The tools we use the most often are usually the ones worth investing in, especially if we expect them to take a beating. This principle is no more true than with kitchen knives, which chop, dice, slice and mince their way into making our favorite recipes.
The problem is that with thousands of options at a tremendously wide range of price points, it can be hard to tell the cutting-edge from the bluntly bad. That’s why we put our experience to the test and created this guide to the best kitchen knives, so you can see which products are simply worth the investment and a cut above the rest.
For anyone who isn’t into cooking, a knife may very well be just a knife. However, with a little bit of technical know-how and the right tool in your hands, meal prepping can go from a tiresome task to a simple and, dare we say, enjoyable one.
Which Knives Are Essential in Your Kitchen?
The first step to ensuring you can cut your way through anything in the kitchen is to make sure you have the right knife for the task. While some may think any blade with a sharp edge is suitable for cutting, knives are designed with a specific purpose in mind. For example, have you ever tried cutting bread using any other knife than one with a serrated blade? It’s neither comfortable nor convenient. Now imagine the same situation when cutting meat, vegetables and any other ingredient you can find in the kitchen. That’s why having a selection of knives at your disposal is a good idea.
When it comes to the best kitchen knives to select for your kitchen arsenal, some of them will depend on the kinds of food you prefer to eat. However, there are a few knife types you should always have at hand when starting out. These include:
- Chef’s Knife – The name offers a clue as to how vital this knife is in your collection. Chef’s knives are your go-to knife and usually sport broad blades, most commonly with an upward point. Job-wise, these knives are incredibly versatile and take care of almost everything, from chopping nuts and dicing vegetables to slicing herbs and cutting meat. As for size, these knives are highly variable and can measure anywhere from six to 14 inches in length. If you only ever get one knife, this is the best kitchen knife to get.
- Paring Knife – A paring knife is a precision tool for the small stuff. With a blade measuring three to four inches, you aren’t going to be cutting up anything sizable with this in hand. However, when it comes to deseeding fruits, peeling vegetables, deveining prawns and chopping herbs, it has you covered.
- Utility Knife – A utility knife usually measures between four and seven inches in length and essentially fills in for a chef’s knife when the item you’re cutting is awkward or on the small side. Cutting tasks like slicing buns, chopping vegetables, trimming meats and halving sandwiches, and this is where you will find a utility knife in hand.
- Carving Knife (Optional) – The carving knife is another aptly named piece of kitchenware. While it may be a specialized option for meat lovers, it’s bound to become a go-to favorite. Watch as the ultra-sharp blade, which is usually around eight to 10 inches, seamlessly cuts through your favorite dense meats, allowing you to produce uniform slice after uniform slice.
- Bread Knife (Optional) – The name already explains its duty — bread knives sport a large, serrated blade and are a must-have for bread lovers. No matter whether you’re cutting through a standard wholemeal loaf or a fancy French baguette, if you love bagels, bloomers, brioche and other oven-baked goods, you can’t do without one.
- Shears (Optional) – We know this isn’t technically a knife, but hear us out: A good pair of kitchen shears can be as valuable as a good knife. They fill in many gaps when cutting up herbs or awkwardly shaped ingredients and are also incredibly useful (and safe!) when dealing with hard-to-open packaging.
Each knife in the selection combines durability, beautiful design and, of course, sharpness. Even if your knife skills are a little less Iron Chef and a little more Worst Cooks in America, these knives will cut down on cooking time and help you maximize the time spent doing what you really love: eating delicious food.
1. Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s Knife
BEST KITCHEN KNIFE OVERALL
The Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s Knife will be the crown jewel of any kitchen knife set. This fine piece of craftsmanship is worthy of any amateur or professional chef and ticks every box you can think of. For starters, it’s produced by Victorinox, a company best known for manufacturing the Swiss Army knife, meaning you can trust its quality and functionality. The knife includes an ergonomic handle made from a thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) for a better, more comfortable grip and durability. It’s also beautifully weighted to keep you in control as you seamlessly cut through everything from meats to vegetables. If you’re just starting to take your knife collection seriously, this is the place to begin.
2. Made-In Paring Knife
BEST PARING KNIFE
No matter whether you’re garnishing, mincing, peeling or slicing, this Made-In Paring Knife is going to become your go-to option for these jobs. It sports a 4-inch blade that is “full tang” and “fully forged” to ensure it’s sharp enough to cut through what’s in front of you. The knife has also been designed with ergonomics in mind to ensure it feels comfortable in hand and won’t slip out of your grip, even when things get wet. Furthermore, this knife comes in three eye-catching colors to match any kitchen decor.
3. KitchenAid All-Purpose Shears
BEST KITCHEN SHEARS
It may feel a little bit like cheating, but the reality is that sometimes it’s easier to cut through things (like pizza!) with a pair of shears than it is with a knife. These KitchenAid All-Purpose Shears are more than capable of cutting through packets, string, meats, herbs and vegetables. They sport strong, sharp blades made from rust-resistant stainless steel. These blades also include micro-serrations for better cutting performance. Additionally, these dishwasher-safe shears boast a handy protective blade guard to improve longevity and prevent premature blunting.
4. TUO Vegetable Cleaver
BEST VEGETABLE CLEAVER
You’ve likely seen in viral videos how effective a cleaver can be at cutting vegetables, and this TUO Vegetable Cleaver is no different. Its 7-inch, premium, high-carbon stainless steel blade can cut through a wide variety of ingredients. It includes a slight curve in the blade for greater comfort and maneuverability when chopping, slicing or mincing. Additionally, the knife sports a polished pakkawood handle with visible grain to give it an appealing quality look.
Related: Best Japanese Knives
5. Paudin Pro Kitchen Chef’s Knife
With its knife-wide wavy patterning, the Paudin Pro Kitchen Chef’s Knife is a striking kitchenware addition that oozes class. It’s suitable for home and professional use and can cut through bread, meats and vegetables, making it a reliable choice for your everyday go-to knife. The 8-inch blade is ultra-sharp and sports a hand-polished finish, while the ergonomically shaped handle counteracts the blade’s weight beautifully to deliver a hard-to-beat cutting experience.
6. Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife
BEST BREAD KNIFE
Bread knives do precisely what they advertise, and that’s okay with us. This Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife comes backed by over 10,000 five-star ratings from happy bread lovers who enjoy evenly sliced bread on demand. The knife’s design includes a 10-inch, serrated blade attached to a Santoprene and polypropylene ergonomic handle. This combination of materials delivers greater comfort during use and added durability. You’ll also find textured finger points to provide additional grip when cutting tougher, crustier bread.
7. Calphalon Self-Sharpening 20-Piece Block Set
BEST GIFT IDEA
For the amateur chef who, frankly, doesn’t know where to start, this is the perfect knife set to accommodate any recipe. Whenever you pull a knife from seven of its slots, it self-sharpens, meaning you’ll never have to rely on another tool to keep your kit primed and ready. Each knife also lists its name and size on its cap so that you’re not rummaging through a drawer to find the one you need.
8. Henckels Classic Utility Knife
BEST UTILITY KNIFE
The Henckels Classic Utility Knife is a Spanish-made stainless steel blade that is ideal for cutting both large and smaller ingredients. The fully forged construction gives the knife impressive durability and long-lasting sharpness. For comfort, the handle features triple rivets for balance and a pleasant, in-hand feel accompanied by an attractive design that sees the blade seamlessly transition into the handle. In addition, this 4-inch knife is dishwasher safe.
9. Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef Knife
You’ll feel less like a chef and more like a surgeon with this super sharp, alloy steel indulgence that cuts like an absolute dream. The ultra-thin blade provides razor-sharp precision, while the triple-rivet handle offers balance and comfort. If you’re in the kitchen daily, don’t overthink it and just buy it — you’ll get your money’s worth in practically no time at all. Pro tip: Always wipe down your blades after use, especially when chopping liquid-heavy ingredients like tomatoes, watermelon or seafood. These can rust easily.
10. Cutluxe Slicing Carving Knife
BEST CARVING KNIFE
If your goal is to create uniform, controlled slices of your favorite meat, the Cutluxe Slicing Carving Knife should be the next kitchenware addition. The large, 12-inch blade is made for slicing all kinds of meat, from brisket and turkey to prosciutto and ribs. The design includes a luxurious pakkawood handle that has been triple riveted for security and comfort, ensuring you feel in control during every pass of the ultra-sharp, high-carbon steel blade. Furthermore, this knife is supplied in an attractive casing which makes it a gift-worthy option for the meat lover in your life.
11. J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife
The J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife looks like it means business. The triple-riveted handle and large, 8-inch blade give the knife that quintessential look you are used to seeing in a professional chef’s knife lineup. The large handle and blade seamlessly transition into each other, which helps produce the knife’s impressive and comfortable balance when in your hand. Handily, the satin-finished blade is dishwasher safe, making post-use cleanups a whole lot easier.
12. Cuisinart Stainless Steel Set
BEST KNIFE SET
This 13-piece Cuisinart set features a sturdy and innovative storage block along with a range of stylish metal blades. It would make a great gift idea for friends or family who love to cook, as each knife is made from high-quality stainless steel and includes a textured handle for greater style and comfort while cutting. The blades have also been precision tapered to maximize their sharpness and improve accuracy. In addition to the knives, this best kitchen knife set includes a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a slicing knife, a Santoku knife and a utility knife, and you’ll find a pair of shears and a steel sharpening tool.