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The Best Chef’s Knives: Choosing the Right Blade

The Best Chef’s Knives: Choosing the Right Blade

Every kitchen needs a nice chef’s knife, considering its versatility. The knife can perform different cutting tasks, including chopping and slicing ingredients. Manufacturers offer chef knives in different materials, designs, and prices.

Choosing a high-quality, well-made knife makes food preparation quick and comfortable. Are you looking for the best chef’s knife for your kitchen? Below is a comprehensive guide to ensure you buy quality chef knives that get the job done.

A chef’s knife is a multipurpose blade that is used for various tasks in the kitchen. A high-grade knife is extraordinarily sharp and feels comfortable in the hands. Manufacturers utilize different materials such as stainless steel and high carbon to make chef knives.

You can buy German or Japanese chef knives depending on your preference. The market provides longer and shorter chef knives to match varying user needs. Brands also use different handle designs and materials, and the quality can differ. We will look into the factors to consider when buying chef knives shortly.

Chef knives are available at different prices, depending on the brand. Some blades can be costlier than others. However, it is possible to get less expensive chef knives that are also high-quality, super sharp, and functional. As you shop, make price comparisons and choose what fits into your budget.

Nonetheless, if you are a professional chef looking for high-end chef knives, the industry has top-quality options made of superior materials to give you the quality and performance you need.

What Is a Chef Knife Used for?

A Chef knife is a blade that does all cutting tasks, unlike knives that perform specific functions. It is used for dicing, carving, slicing, and cutting foods. It is also called a French knife or cook’s knife, and the blade area typically measures around 20cm (8 inches) long.

However, some brands offer shorter knives like 15cm and 16cm options. A chef knife has a sharp edge with a sloping curve and is designed to be rocked back and forth as you cut through different foods. 

It can be used for small tasks like chopping herbs or mincing garlic and large jobs such as slicing ham or dicing a large onion. Aside from a chef’s knife, a home kitchen should also have a utility and paring knife. Nevertheless, a chef might need additional types of knives on the knife block.

Chef knife

How Do You Choose a Chef’s Knife?

There is a wide range of chef knives to choose from. Various manufacturers provide different blades to choose from for home cooks and chefs. Choosing the best chef’s knife is easy when you know the factors to consider during the purchase. Here is how to select the right chef knife.

Size and Shape

A chef’s knife can be eight inches or longer, up to twelve inches. A shorter blade allows precise cutting, and the length is enough for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients. On the other hand, a longer blade can be helpful when cutting massive foods, as it covers more area. And a chef knife with a narrower blade profile is ideal for slicing foods, while a broader option works better for chopping.  

Weight

You want to buy a chef’s knife that suits the cutting tasks you frequently do while cooking. A heavy knife comes in handy when cutting dense meat and hard root vegetables, as it exerts more force on the foods.

A lighter blade allows you to maneuver through foods easily and does not cause fatigue, especially when preparing large amounts of food. However, the type you choose depends on what you are comfortable with as well.

Balance

The balance of a chef’s knife also has to do with its weight. A knife with proper balance does not strain your hand when you hold it straight. It is comfortable in your palm, and cutting foods is effortless.

German or Japanese Blades

Japanese blades are masterpieces, considering the traditional craftsmanship involved in making them. They are light, thin, and extremely sharp, offering flexibility and speed when cutting ingredients.

However, light blades can have a hard time handling tough foods like hard root vegetables and bone. On the contrary, German knives are heavier and consist of toughened material. However, combining German material and Japanese sharpness allows brands to make tough, durable, sharp chef knives that offer amazing performance.

Blade Material

Knifemakers use different materials in creating chef knives. Stainless steel is commonly used to make knives. It is rust-resistant, dulls quickly, and is relatively inexpensive. However, high-carbon steel is better material, although costlier than stainless steel. It is tougher and maintains its edge and sheen better than stainless steel.

The market also has ceramic blades, whose sharpness lasts for a while. However, a ceramic blade is fragile and not as versatile. The best blade material is high-carbon steel.  

Design

Spend money on a super-sharp chef’s knife that provides paper-thin slices. Besides, full tang, fully forged blades are more durable than cheaply made options.

The best chef knife is also well-designed with an excellent grip and comfortable handle. It rocks back and forth on the chopping board, easily making food preparation enjoyable. A quality knife also has a good balance.

Your Budget

Chef knives come at different prices. While some are costlier, others are more affordable. Some brands are known to offer knives at higher prices, but the cost is worth it, considering the material used and the manufacturing process.

You can get a high-quality chef’s knife that is also less expensive. Take your time to compare available options and choose a blade that fits your budget.

How Many Chef Knives Do You Need?

One chef knife performs different cutting tasks. It is ideal for slicing, dicing, chopping, and carving ingredients. However, having a spare blade is also a good idea. You can have two chef’s knives, a broader and a narrower blade. Besides, the chef knives you buy also depend on your preference when it comes to knife weight.

That being said, if you only want one chef knife, then consider the dishes you prepare. Do you do more slicing or chopping? Slicing tasks need a short, light chef’s knife, while chopping requires a heavier, broader blade.

Our Favorites

There are many chef knives to choose from, and they differ in design, material, and size. However, we sifted through different models, and here are our favorite chef knives.

Wusthof Classic Ikon 23cm Black Chef Knife 

Wusthof is a leading manufacturer of top-quality knives. The German brand has been around for years offering well-made, durable blades for various cutting tasks, among them chef knives. The Wusthof Classic Ikon 23cm chef knife is great for slicing meat, chopping vegetables, mincing ingredients, cutting fruits, and disjointing large cuts. 

It has a black handle, and its length allows easy cutting of foods. The handle has no joints, a feature that fosters hygiene as food particles have nowhere to hide. Moreover, the knife maker adds three durable rivets on the handle to keep it intact.

The knife has a half bolster that lowers its weight for easier handling. Besides, the design allows for easier sharpening, and the knife has extraordinary sharpness. Wusthof utilizes alloyed stainless steel that fosters the blade’s durability. The knife is suitable for chefs and home cooks and fits comfortably in the hand to give you an easy time in the kitchen. 

Additionally, this chef knife consists of a forged blade made from hardened steel, ensuring longevity. It has proper balance, and the blade is elegantly smooth to cut through foods neatly. Whether preparing meat dishes, making fruit salads, or chopping vegetables, this chef knife will help you do all those tasks.

Wusthof Classic Ikon Black Chef Knife 23cm

F Dick Premier Plus Chef Knife 15cm

F Dick is a German knife manufacturer like Wusthof. The brand’s Premier Plus 15cm Chef knife is a high-quality blade that undergoes serious processes to ensure top performance.

Use the knife to slice meat, chop vegetables, and mince foods. It has a sharp edge that retains sharpness for a while. The knife consists of reinforced stainless steel material that goes through ice-hardening to ensure you spend money on a solid, tough chef’s knife.

F Dick uses superior technology to give a quality, well-polished knife. It is perfectly balanced to maximize comfort in the kitchen. The handle consists of high-grade plastic and is seamlessly attached to the knife’s tang. It feels soft in the palms and has a good grip for safety and effortless cutting. To ensure high stability, the knife maker utilizes one piece of steel,  an integrated tang, and a half bolster. 

The knife is resistant to wear and tear and stays sharp for a while before needing sharpening. Use it on a plastic or wood cutting board and store your chef knives on the right knife block or magnetic board to protect the edge from damage.

F Dick Premier Plus Chef Knife 15cm

Tojiro Shirogami Double-Bevel 21cm Chef Knife

If you like Japanese knives, Tojiro Shirogami double-bevel chef knife is one of them. It is elegant, and the wooden handle adds to its stylish design. The knife is perfect for cutting meat, vegetables, and fish. Note that the blade’s outer layer is made of soft iron, while the core blade is Shirogami steel.

The manufacturer uses a Rockwell hardness rating of 60 in making the knife, which has a lifetime warranty. The edge has good retention, and sharpening it is easy. The double-beveled knife is perfect for home use and offers you the comfort you need to prepare ingredients easily and quickly.

Furthermore, the handle consists of magnolia and a resin collar. It is water-resistant to ensure durability. The knife is not dishwasher-safe. Run it under hot water using a small quantity of detergent and dry well. Tojiro is a leading knife-making brand in Japan. The company has years of experience in creating super-sharp, high-quality knives.

Using high-grade steel and other materials, the manufacturer makes some of the best knives on the market. The techniques the brand uses have been handed down from ancient days to ensure you get top-quality blades. If you need a shorter double-bevel Tojiro knife, the brand offers an 18cm alternative.

Tojiro Shirogami Double-Bevel Chef Knife 21cm

Zwilling J.A. Henckels (Twin Fin II) 20cm Chef Knife

Zwilling offers a unique, stunning all-metal chef knife that looks spectacular in every kitchen. The knife is made in Japan and consists of quality materials. It is made for various tasks like chopping fruits and vegetables, slicing meat, and mincing foods. Besides, it features an upgraded construction and is made of N60 stainless steel, which has improved hardness. 

The knife is resistant to stains, ensuring it shines at all times. It has a razor-sharp edge and proper balance for efficient cutting. This chef’s knife is handcrafted, and its handle is ergonomic and comfortable.

It is also dishwasher-safe, rustproof, and retains sharpness for longer. However, it is recommended that you hand wash the knife since high heat might damage or discolor the handle. That aside, the manufacturer combines Japanese artistry and German design to give you an ultra-sharp, modern chef knife.

The blade is thin and smooth to cleanly cut through different foods. The brand uses high carbon stainless steel to make a quality knife that retains sharpness. Additionally, the knife is a one-piece, forged blade with proper weight distribution, and the manufacturer uses ice-hardening to make a high-grade product.

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Twin Fin II Chef Knife 20cm

Musashi VG-10 Steel 24cm Chef Knife

The Musashi 24cm chef’s knife allows different cutting tasks like other chef knives. Use the double-edge blade to cut various foods, including meat, vegetables, fish, and fruits. It is made from VG-10 stainless steel and has a Tsuchime Damascus finish. VG-10 stainless steel is strongly resistant to corrosion and offers quality edge sharpness and retention. The steel is sturdy and tough to ensure the durability and high-end performance of the knife.

The knife is hand-forged and has a stunning finish. The dents on the blade prevent ingredients from sticking to the knife, allowing easy food preparation and saving you time. Besides, the knife has an oak wood handle with a coating film for protection against damage. The wood also has disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties that foster hygiene and safe food preparation. 

Furthermore, the handle is sturdy and comfortable with a good grip and does not cause fatigue after use for hours. The manufacturer advises that you avoid using the knife in a twisting motion and do not use it to cut bone, hard foods, or frozen foods. Besides, use the knife on wooden or soft plastic cutting boards.

Musashi VG-10 Steel Western Handle Chef Knife 24cm

Tojiro Atelier 21cm Chef Knife

Tojiro offers another chef’s knife to consider purchasing. The 21cm Atelier knife has a core made from VG10 steel, while the outer layer consists of high and low carbon stainless steel. The knife features a full-tang design for durability, and the handle is reinforced and laminated with three studs. 

The handle is durable, considering the manufacturing steps, while the metal bolster ensures hygiene when preparing food and prevents staining and dirt accumulation. You do not want a knife that holds food particles between the blade and handle.

Additionally, the Atelier knife is handcrafted in Japan and made with maximum sharpness for effortless cutting, chopping, and mincing of foods. Do not clean the knife in a dishwasher to avoid blade corrosion. Hand wash the knife, dry it well, and store it in a moisture-free area to prevent rusting and discoloring. Do not use the Tojiro Atelier chef knife for other tasks other than what it is designed for to avoid damage.

Tojiro Atelier 21cm Chef Knife

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro 16cm Chef Knife

Zwilling offers you another best chef’s knife. It is high-quality and made of high-carbon stainless steel from Germany. The manufacturer employs precision forging to make a one-piece knife that is durable.

The blade is ice-hardened and hand-sharpened to give you superior quality. Zwilling provides your kitchen with an elegant chef knife that fosters hygiene when preparing meals. The full-tang blade is stain-free, razor-sharp, and flexible for easier cutting. It does not chip, which ensures it stays in proper shape for a long time.

The chef’s knife is corrosion-resistant, and the blade is sharpened to a 30° angle for outstanding functionality. Besides, the handle is ergonomic and slim with three rivets to prevent slipping and ensure durability.

The steel used in making the knife is also tough and elastic to retain sharpness and ensure flexibility. That being said, it is recommended that you hand wash the knife instead of using a dishwasher to prevent high heat damage to the handle. 

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Pro Chef Knife 16cm

F Dick Superior 23cm Chef Knife

If you need a longer F Dick Chef Knife than the previous 15cm blade, the brand’s Superior 23cm knife is a good choice. It is perfect for disjointing large cuts, slicing, mincing, and chopping meat and vegetables, among other foods. It is stable, and the curved design allows the cutting of herbs and onions. 

The Superior chef’s knife is lightweight, eliminating fatigue when you have much food to cut. It also has a smooth handle and seamless finish for hygiene, and the thin blade cuts through foods perfectly.

If you are a professional chef, this knife was designed for you. It combines traditional and modern design to give you a quality, comfortable knife with a riveted handle. The knife has a full-tang design and is made from a high-grade steel alloy. It has superior toughness, resistance to corrosion, and lasting edge retention.  It has a black handle and will look elegant on your knife block.  

F Dick Superior Chef Knife 23cm

Koi Knives 19.5cm K-Tip Chef Knife

If you are looking for a stylish chef knife to add to your collection, Koi Knives has what you need. The manufacturer incorporates a visually striking blade and a creatively designed handle on the Koi Knives chef’s knife. The blade does a good job chopping, scooping, slicing, and mincing food. 

The handle is lovely and comes in red and turquoise colors to choose from. Moreover, the blade features a thick spine as it approaches the heel, making it perfect for chopping watermelon and pumpkin. However, as you near the tip, the knife is thinner for intricate cutting on onions, fruits, and other small foods.

Koi Knives uses Damascus steel to make the knife, which comes with a 10-year manufacturer warranty. The handle is made from olive wood, and its design is eye-catching. However, do not clean the knife in the dishwasher; instead, hand wash it.

Besides, do not use the blade on hard surfaces like glass chopping boards, as they can cause chipping. The material used in making the knife has a high carbon amount, so it does not need frequent honing. Koi Knives makes the chef knife in Australia using Japanese blades, and the handle features a Western.

Koi Knives K-Tip Chef Knife 22cm White

Our Top Picks

Best Bang for Buck: Wusthof Classic Ikon 16cm Crème Chef Knife

Wusthof is a respected name in the knife-making business. The brand is popular for offering high-quality, well-forged knives for professional chefs and home cooking. It offers multiple chef knives to choose from, including the crème 16cm knife. It is elegant with an exquisite riveted handle.

The steel, the light-colored handle is irresistible. This would be a wonderful addition to your kitchen knives. It is designed for chopping, slicing, and mincing foods as you prepare delicious meals for your friends, family, or guests. It is easy to use, has a good balance, and the 16cm length is ideal for many essential cutting tasks in the kitchen.

Wusthof forges the chef knife from one piece of quality stainless steel, and the handle is made from unique synthetic material. The full tang ensures durability and fosters hygiene in the kitchen.  The knife is sharp, and Wusthof involves 40 steps to make quality knives.

You get to use the whole blade, allowing you to cut more food at ago, and you can sharpen the entire edge as well. Additionally, the blade’s spine is smooth to prevent discomfort on your thumb, fostering safe, comfortable food preparation. Besides, the handle feels soft in the hands for smooth-cutting experiences.

Wusthof Classic Ikon Crème Chef Knife 16cm

Best Overall: Felix Sirius 20cm Chef Knife

Felix provides a beautiful 20cm chef’s knife made with 130 layers of Damascus steel for longevity. The handle consists of maple wood, making the knife easy to wash and food-safe. It fits comfortably in hand, and the manufacturer designed it to fit large hands too.

The knife is made of hardened material and is best for mincing, chopping, and slicing food. Besides, the riveted handle is durable and feels great in the palms. It is also stabilized, and hand-washing is the right way to clean the knife.

Felix uses alloyed, multi-layer stainless steel to make a razor-sharp chef’s knife. The blade is high-quality, durable, and hardened for effortless, satisfactory cutting in the kitchen. It is also flexible, resistant to corrosion, and has excellent edge retention.

You do not have to resharpen the knife too often. That way, you get to focus on making meals with a knife that cuts foods perfectly at all times. The manufacturer takes knives through a rigorous 45-step process to ensure customers get to use high-quality, sharp, durable blades.  

FELIX Sirius Chef Knife 20cm

Knife Tests

The best chef knife is made of high-quality material, and the manufacturing process is rigorous to ensure users get top performance. It also has a good grip and balance to ensure comfort and effortless cutting. While some chef knives are thin, others are broader, and we already discussed these factors earlier to help you buy the right chef knife for your needs.

Testing knives also has to do with evaluating their sharpness. You need a razor-sharp blade that cuts paper-thin slices of food with so much ease. Whichever chef knife you buy, it should effortlessly mince herbs, dice onions, carve a melon, and cut carrots into thin pieces. This saves you energy and time when cutting foods.

chef knife

Maintaining Chef Knives

Washing and storing your chef knives correctly is the first step to ensuring their durability. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean the blades. Some brands are dishwasher-safe, and others are not.

Nonetheless, hand-washing is the best way to clean your knives. Wipe them dry afterward and store them in the right knife block or magnetic strip. You can also use in-drawer organizers to prevent the blades from coming into contact with other items that could cause scratches, damage, and dull the edges.

Quality knives are extremely sharp right out of the box. However, the sharpness can decrease after some time of use, and the blade will need sharpening. You can use whetstones or sharpening steel to keep your chef knives in good working condition. Nevertheless, if you cannot get your knives to the sharpness you want, you can always take them to a professional sharpener for proper sharpening.

Final Thoughts

A chef knife is a vital tool in every kitchen. It is used for various cutting tasks, including chopping, mincing, carving, and slicing. Chef knives come in different styles, materials, and designs. However, settle for knives that are well-made and high-quality.

High carbon stainless steel provides durable, super-sharp blades. We stock a wide range of chef knives, and with the above guide, you should not have a hard time finding the right knife for your needs.   

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