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Theodore Baker
Theodore Baker

What Are The Best Kitchen Knives You Can Buy

This Wüsthof 8-inch chef's knife is razor-sharp and super versatile. It was one of the only knives in our test that could cleanly slice tomatoes, chop onions, cut up carrots, bone a chicken and create thin ribbons of basil. This German classic is fully forged and has a full tang (meaning the metal of the blade runs through the whole handle), which helps it feel perfectly balanced and ergonomic in your hand. It's dishwasher safe (a rarity for cutlery), but we recommend hand-washing to extend its lifespan.

what are the best kitchen knives you can buy


One of the sharpest knives we've tested, Global's Santoku is made from a single piece of stainless steel, so there aren't crevices where the blade meets the handle that could trap food. The blade also has hollow indentations along the blade, so foods don't stick as they're cut. This Japanese knife excelled at all tasks but wowed us with its ability to power through chicken bones.

All of our testers were equipped with kitchen knives to hack, chop and slice their way to their findings. We judged their sharpness from straight out of the box to how it fared after long-term usage. Besides sharpness, we judged kitchen knives based on how they felt in hand (did they feel sturdy and durable?), how they felt to use after long bouts of cutting and how easy they were to hone and resharpen. Another important factor for judging kitchen knives was price. Higher price tags don't necessarily mean a knife is better, so for the blades that cost a pretty penny, we wanted to make sure their usage and longevity were worth the price.

This knife's base thickness is 2.5 millimeters, which is more than 20 percent thicker than our top pick, the Tojiro Gyutou. This makes it more of an all-purpose knife (starches and hardy vegetables are not an issue), but also means it doesn't glide through softer fruits and vegetables as gracefully. The higher carbon content in the blade makes small rust spots commonplace if you don't wash and immediately dry the knife after use (unlike true carbon steel knives, though, highly acidic items like lemons or limes don't immediately stain the knife). After using this knife for more than a year, it's the best higher-end knife we recommend. We also like Mac's 25-year warranty against material and construction defects.

When we first tested this knife, we thought the price was a mistake. The feel and look is that of a more premium knife, and given Mercer's track record with making strong-value chef's knives, that's not a huge surprise. The edge is taper-ground, meaning it's thicker at the base than it is near the tip. This makes for easier honing and a more stable blade (which is of enhanced importance when dealing with budget materials). We also appreciate the bend of the heel on the knife, which creates ample room for a pinch grip.

Many of the best knives we tested fold attributes from Japanese knife design into Western knife design, and Misen's budget-friendly blade is no exception. The bolsters at the base of the blade slope and allow for an easy pinch grip. Most traditional Japanese knives will not come with this, opting instead for the handle of the knife to move directly into the blade, which can be awkward for cooks used to having a designated spot to grip. Curving down from the top and up from the bottom, the blade shape itself is also Western in origin and makes rocking the blade up and down on the cutting board easier.

The shape and handle are rooted in Western design, but the thinness of the blade is Japanese, and this makes the Misen knife one of our top recommendations. Thicker, clunkier knives at this price point can, after a month or two of use, start to feel more like a chisel than a knife; tools to break vegetables open with. The extremely thin build of the Misen knife makes for an experience more akin to surgery than brute force.

Very, very similar to our best overall pick, the Tojiro knife, Mercer Culinary's MX3 is a thin Japanese-style knife with a hardwearing stainless steel core and a sharp (and sharpenable) high-carbon steel exterior. It's also full-tang and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. A strong backup option if the Tojiro knife is sold out, which happens every now and then.

Eytan Zias has been running The Knife House in Portland, Oregon, since 2007, selling and servicing knives. In 2021, Zias got into the business of manufacturing knives with his new brand Steelport. As of now, Zias is only manufacturing an 8-inch chef's knife, made, of course, in Portland, and it's a doozy.

While a good chef's knife will cover a lot of ground in your kitchen, it's not the perfect tool for every culinary task. So to better equip yourself to handle any countertop cutting duties that come your way, we recommend picking up a more robust kitchen knife set.

From slicing a pork loin to dicing a pineapple, knowing how to work with the essential kitchen knives is critical to success in the kitchen. Equipping yourself with the proper knives is key, says Brendan McDermott, chef-instructor and resident knife skills expert at New York's Institute of Culinary Education.

If you're equipping your kitchen and wondering "what kitchen knives do I need?", keep reading to discover the four essential knives every home cook should own, plus how to use them, how not to use them, and what price point yields the best-quality blade.

A chef's knife is the go-to tool for more than 90 percent of daily kitchen tasks, McDermott notes, including most slicing and dicing of fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish. And while a chef's knife may be the "king of the kitchen," it should not be used to butcher or carve poultry, to remove the skin of large vegetables such as butternut squash, or, as some people have tried, to puncture a hole in cans. The broadness of a chef's knife blade makes it unwieldy for tasks better suited to a smaller knife.

If you're willing to make an investment in a knife in your arsenal, this is where to do it. Of all the knives you own, McDermott recommends spending the most on your chef's knife and suggests a price of about $100 for a high-quality chef's knife. "Remember that knives are heirlooms," he says. "And the good ones should last forever."

Choose blades that are full tang (one full piece of metal with the two handle pieces pinned to the sides) versus half-tang (a piece of metal that extends the full length of the knife, but only part of the width, or does not extend the length of the knife and is instead glued into the handle). Full-tang knives are more balanced, sturdier, and longer-lasting than half-tang models. Our test kitchen also generally prefers forged chef's knives, which are made from a single piece of forged steel, heated and pounded into the desired shape. The other option is a stamped blade, which is cut out of a large sheet of steel and is usually lighter, a quality considered undesirable in a chef's knife.

Avoid using paring knives to cut very hard vegetables, such as carrots, celery root, or parsnips. These smaller knives don't carry enough weight to easily slice through the foods, which may prompt you to increase the pressure or tighten your grip as you're cutting. "If you find yourself applying pressure at any point, you're doing something wrong," McDermott says. Forcing the cut is a signal that you aren't using the right blade for the job, and it can be dangerous, too, causing the knife to slip.

There's no need to spend a lot on a paring knife. McDermott recommends spending about $20 for a good-quality paring knife. Steer clear of ceramic knives and opt for a metal blade for a longer lifespan. We like these inexpensive, colorful Kuhn Rikon Paring Knives.

Serrated knives may be most commonly associated with slicing bread, which is why they are also called bread knives. But according to McDermott, the toothed blade can take on almost any job not suited to the straight blade of a chef's knife.

Serrated knives should only be used for slicing, rather than chopping, foods. Using a sawing motion with the knife allows the teeth along the blade to grip and cut through ingredients, which is also why a serrated knife should not be used to slice smaller items such as fresh herbs, garlic, or berries.

As its name implies, a boning knife is the best blade for cutting up or boning fish, meat, or poultry of any size, whether a 3-inch-long anchovy or a 150-pound side of pork. "Most knives are designed to cut straight lines," McDermott says. "But when it comes to anything with a ribcage and joints, there is no such thing as a straight line in the body, so you need a blade that can move and flex." A boning knife gives you that leeway.

While a honing steel isn't a knife, it's still an essential tool for your knife block. A honing steel is designed to keep your knives at their peak sharpness for as long as possible. "A honing steel is likely the second most important tool in the kitchen after a chef's knife," McDermott says. Running your knife along a steel realigns the teeth (or fibers) on the blade, which leads to a sharper edge and thus a cleaner cut. Knives should be honed every time you use them, but because honing doesn't actually sharpen the blade, McDermott suggests home cooks have their knives professionally sharpened once a year.

A honing steel is often included when knives are purchased as sets; however, they can also be purchased individually. In that case, McDermott recommends either a ceramic or steel model that costs about $25.

Finding the best kitchen knife is no simple matter. Chefs' knives are used in different ways for dicing veg, slicing salad, carving meat and cleaving joints and come in different thicknesses, types of steel, lengths and styles. Should you go for a Japanese or German-style knife? Carbon steel or stainless steel? It's a lot to take in.

We tested a range of Western and Japanese-style kitchen knives in the 30-300 range at home over a period of four weeks, using them for a variety of kitchen tasks like dicing an onion, finely slicing radishes, deseeding chillis, chopping parsley, slicing raw fish and carving steak and chicken. We also quizzed experts on the best and most reliable brands. 041b061a72


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