How To Choose Kitchen Knives
Quest For The Best Kitchen Knife

Tweet ThisShare On FacebookStumbleUponDigg itShare on

Home > Knives > Kitchen Knives > Miscellaneous > Articles > Choose The Right Kitchen Knife

What I understood from numerous email conversations regarding this subject, the best kitchen knife is the one that won't dull for a very, very long time, cut like crazy(definition of crazy varies from person to person), won't rust, won't require maintenance, cut everything(??? like a lightsaber?), won't break etc... Mainly people want to find a knife that won't dull for long time, preferably forever. Well, I am looking for that kind of knife myself. For the collection ;) Haven't found it yet, honestly. Once I find I'll post the link on my website, before that, we all have to sharpen and maintain our knives, no other way. Well, alternatively you can continue using a dull knife, or throw that one away and buy the new, sharp one.
    Like I said above, there's no one knife to rule them all. Make sure you understand what is that you want to use your knife for, and then based on that choose the one that suits you and your budget the best. I know this sounds rather vague, but it's not exactly possible to give a recommendation not knowing what is the knife going to be used for. if you use the same knife to cut vegetables and chop chicken bones then I can't recommend anything, but to reconsider. If you take care of your knives then choices are huge. I guess it's easier if you decide what do you need that knife for.


 - If you're looking for the more or less universal kitchen knives western Chef's knife and it's Japanese cousin Gyuto will work very well. You can use them pretty much for any type of food preparation, except for the bone chopping. There are real bargains in that area and for around 75$ you can get a very good chef's knife or gyuto. Messermeister, F. Dick. from western school and Togiharu, Tojiro DP, Kanamesa all provide reasonably good performance for a good price. If you want something better then, Chef's Choice Trizor 10X or Henckel's twin Cermax are worth looking at for western knives. For Japanese gyutos, I personally consider Akifusa and Yoshikane gyutos to be real bargains at their price point, 175$ and 150$ respectively. You can find more on Gyuto Reviews Pages.
    An alternative to the chef's knife in versatility can be the Santoku (occasionally incorrectly called - Santuko). Although, I personally don't see it as versatile as gyuto and consider it more of a vegetable knife than anything else. There are tons of Santokus out there. For whatever reason that became the most widespread Japanese influenced knife in the western world. I don't have Japanese made Santokus anymore, except for the Tojiro Flash Santoku. Don't use it much either. Although for a lot of people 180mm(7") santoku works a lot better than 240mm(9.5") gyuto. From other santokus I've used, I think Fallkniven Santoku is a very good choice, but requires some care, it's stainless don't worry. Alternatively you might prefer Henckel's Granton Edge Santoku, has it's pros. both are rather medium budget knives.


 - Both gyuto/chef's and santoku knives work well for vegetables, but dedicated veggie knives such as Watanabe Nakiri(review) or Takeda Chuka Bocho(review) a.k.a. Chinese cleavers will do. Again, you can get a cheap cleaver for around 20$ or spend closer to 400$ on Takeda cleaver linked here. Same goes for Nakiri and Usuba, there are cheaper ones for 50$ and all the way to 400-500$.


 - Very wide choice. As the name suggests this is a long knife designed to slice through rather larger meals. Pretty much every maker makes one or models. Mac cutlery, Shun, Wusthof they all make good slicers for reasonable prices, under or slightly above 100$. Some are pointy, others with the rounded tip. Length can vary too, so you have a lot to choose from. Sujihiki is a Japanese equivalent of the slicer in the west and again, check the makers list in gyuto section for bargains or high end stuff. I personally love my Watanabe Pro Sujihiki and his Kintaro Ame Sujihiki.

Paring And Peeling

 - One more knife that is very often needed in the kitchen. Interestingly enough those small knives, as usual 8-12cm(3"-4") long are quite expensive. Not sure why. Expect to pay anywhere from 35$ to 150$ from low to high end. As you can guess 150$ isn't the most expensive one ;). I really like my Tojiro Flash Paring knife for its damascus clad blade, very good edge holding and excellent cutting performance. For more budget minded and from my personal experience I can also recommend Global GS-40 paring knife.

Finally let's go through the minimal set of the knives one would need in his/her kitchen. Assuming that you're just a home cook then IMHO you will most definitely need: A chef's knife or gyuto. That's a must. If you don't like bigger chef's knives or developed affection for Santokus then that is the one. Next is the small paring knife. Actually you can do without it, but too inconvenient to do small jobs with a big knife and they[paring knives] don't cost that much. Also, very high edge holding isn't really necessary for those small knives. Of course the better the knife, better you are, but it's unlikely you will do a lot of harsh cutting with the small one. The last, but not least in the list is a serrated bread knife. That will double as your slicer and works wonders for your tomatoes as well, that is, in the absence of sharp knives.
    In the end, pick a brand or two you trust and then narrow down your selection based on intended use, price and personal preferences. If someone has already reviewed your knife of choice read it, but bear in mind it was still someone else, not you. Whatever he/she liked or disliked might not work or vice versa for you :)
    Let's say one more time, it matters greatly, how much or how well do you maintain your knife. With simple steeling which takes less than a minute after every or every other use I can keep my knife real sharp few times longer than the same or more expensive knife without steeling. So, in the end it may worth it to buy 20$ knife and steel it, vs. buying 100$ knife and not dong it. Chances are very good that 20$ maintained blade will outcut 100$ neglected one, and initial performance difference less likely to be one to five anyways. Except if you sharpen them yourself and know how to do that properly then the difference will be 10 to 1 or 20 to 1, trust me on that one ;)

Prev - What Brand?

Last updated - 05/19/19