Best Kitchen knives Reviews
A good chef’s knife is key for quick and safe prep work in the kitchen. The long blade allows for chopping, dicing and mincing as well as breaking down a roast chicken or slicing a steak for serving. They come in a variety of sizes — usually from six- to 14-inch blades — so you can find one that feels best in your hand.
When shopping for chef’s knives, the two main types to choose from are German knives, which are heavy and thick, especially at the bolster (where the blade meets the handle) and Japanese knives, which are lightweight and razor-sharp with thinner blades. In addition to blade length and style, they vary in material of blade and handle and how they’re made, which affects how they feel and how long they last.
How we test kitchen knives
In the Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, we tested more than 30 kitchen knives to find the best ones on the market. We tested with home cooks in mind and evaluated how well each knife cut and retained an edge after slicing and chopping through onions, whole chickens, cooked steak, carrots and cheddar cheese. We cut basil into fine ribbons, sliced tomatoes and minced garlic and parsley. The most impressive knives were super-sharp and made paper-thin slices of tomato with no effort at all.
We also checked the comfort of the handle and grip and the overall experience using the knife, looking for knives that rocked back and forth easily and required little pressure to cut through meat. We took note of the weight of the knife: While heavier ones often feel sturdier, they can tire hands when slicing hard ingredients like carrots. Larger handled, lighter knives give more control, while the smaller handled knives allowed us to slice quickly and thinly.
What to consider when shopping for a chef's knife
When shopping for the best chef’s knife, it’s important to hold them and get a feel for them if you can. At the end of the day, finding your go-to chef’s knife is largely based upon personal preference. What might feel perfectly balanced to one cook may feel heavy to another. Here’s what to consider:
✔️ Type: German or Western knives are great for heavy-duty tasks like chopping and breaking down a chicken, while Japanese knives are more delicate and are good for more precise cuts like cleanly slicing cucumbers. Because Japanese knives are crafted from harder steel, they can typically go longer between sharpening, but they may be prone to chipping or cracking.
✔️ Handle: Some handles are made of wood or wood composites, some are made of plastic and some are metal. The type of material affects the weight and feel of the knife, as well as the price. Choose the knife you’ll reach for again and again.
✔️ Tang: Some knives also have a full tang, which means the blade runs through the handle and helps it feel balanced.
✔️ Bolster: The bolster, or how and where the blade flows into the handle, is another point of differentiation. Some are angled, while others are straight. We found that angled bolsters allow for a proper and more protected grip, better for novices, while straight bolsters allow for a more controlled grip for chefs who like to pinch the heel of the blade.