The tools we use the most are usually the ones worth investing in, especially if they’re expected to be able to take a beating. This is no more true than with kitchen knives. 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 created this guide to the best kitchen knives.
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, kitchen cutting 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 you find 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 usually designed with a specific purpose in mind. For example, have you ever tried cutting bread using a knife with a straight 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 smart idea.
When it comes to the best knives to select for your kitchen arsenal, some of them will depend on the kinds of food you prefer to eat. However, when starting out, there are two or three knife types you should always have at hand. These include:
- Chef’s Knife – The very name offers a clue as to how important this knife is in your kitchen arsenal. Chef’s knives are your go-to knife and usually sport broad blades, most commonly with an upward point. Job-wise, these knives are extremely 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 anything from six to 14 inches in length.
- Paring Knife – The 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. Think cutting tasks like slicing buns, chopping vegetables, trimming meats and cutting sandwiches and this is when you will find a utility knife in your hand.
- Carving Knife (Optional) – The carving knife is another aptly named piece of kitchenware. While it may be a specialized piece of kit, 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) – It’s hard to add much more than the name already explains. 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 simply 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 useful as a good knife. They fill in many of the gaps when it comes to cutting up awkwardly shaped ingredients and are also incredibly useful when it comes to dealing with packaging safely.
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
The Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s Knife will be the crown jewel of any 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. Comfort-wise, the knife includes an ergonomic handle that is made from a thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) for better 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. Victorinox Swiss Classic Paring Knife
BEST PARING KNIFE
No matter whether you’re garnishing, mincing, peeling or slicing, this Victorinox Swiss Classic Paring Knife is going to become your go-to option for these jobs. It sports a 3.25-inch blade which is tapered and laser tested during the production process to ensure it’s sharp enough to slice 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 is available with a serrated blade and also comes in a range of different colors.
3. KitchenAid All-Purpose Shears
It may feel a little bit like cheating, but the reality is that sometimes it’s easier to cut through things 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, and vegetables. They sport strong, sharp blades which are made from rust-resistant stainless steel. These blades include micro-serrations for better cutting performance. Additionally, these dishwasher-safe shears include 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 seven-inch blade is constructed from premium, high-carbon stainless steel which can cut through a range of ingredients. It includes a slight curve in the blade for greater comfort and maneuverability when chopping, cutting or mincing. Style-wise, the knife sports a polished pakkawood handle with visible grain to give it that appealing look of quality.
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 both home and professional use and can cut through bread, meats and vegetables, making it a reliable choice for your everyday, go-to knife. The eight-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 exactly 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. Plus, you’ll also find textured finger points to provide additional grip when cutting tougher bread.
7. HomeHero 13-Piece Kitchen Knife Set
BEST GIFT IDEA
This HomeHero 13-Piece Kitchen Knife Set includes a beautifully designed, see-through display block, which offers a unique look and also helps to ensure you always grab the knife you’re looking for. This is especially handy because it includes a wide array of specialized tools, including a pizza knife, a cheese knife, a pair of shears and a peeler. It’s a great gift idea for new homeowners or anyone in need of a knife refresh as it covers all your cutting needs and even comes with six steak knives to ensure you’re dinner party-ready.
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 which is accompanied by an attractive design that sees the blade seamlessly transition into the handle. In addition, this four-inch knife is dishwasher safe.
9. Dalstrong Chef’s Knife
The Dalstrong Chef’s Knife is another impressively reviewed knife choice that could soon become your favorite kitchen item. The knife is constructed from premium-quality materials and uses cutting-edge (pun intended) technology to create a stylish, user-friendly cutting tool for almost every cutting task. The handle is attached in place using a triple-riveted joint while its fiberglass resin construction means it is highly impervious and comfortable in hand. Plus, if you would prefer a shorter blade length, this knife is available in both six and seven-inch models.
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 which 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
HEAVY DUTY PICK
The J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife looks like it means business. The triple-riveted handle and large, eight-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 also 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
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, which include a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a slicing knife, a Santoku knife and a utility knife, you’ll find a pair of shears and a steel sharpening tool.