Kitchen Knife Buying Guide (Cheat Sheet)

With many different designs, sizes, blade shapes, and brands it can get confusing how to separate each knife apart and understand what each is designed to do.

We have cleared the air by...

  • Putting together a grid which clearly lays out what each knife does, it's purpose, and any unique characteristics they have.
  • Including further information as well as example pictures and links of each knife underneath.

Kitchen Knife Buying Guide - Cheat Sheet

The brilliant infographics are thanks to the team at


Chef Knife

The bread and butter of any professional chef or cook enthusiast culinary tools would have to be the multi-purpose chef knife.

The chef’s knife is usually designed with a 6 to 14-inch blade length with 8 inch as the most popular length. A multi-purpose knife designed to perform well at a number of tasks as opposed to specialising in any one purpose.

It has a wide, triangular blade and a curved belly for an easy rocking motion when cutting.

They are used for mincing, slicing meat, chopping vegetables and disjointing large cuts. A must-have in any kitchen.   

Tojiro Chef Knife

F. Dick Chef Knife


Santoku Knife

Typically smaller, thinner and lighter than Chef Knives, the name Santoku is translated to ‘three virtues’ symbolizes the characteristics of this knife – chopping, dicing and mincing.

Sometimes come with (scalloped) Granton edges which add air between the knife blade and the food being cut, preventing any food pieces from getting stuck to the blade. This particularly comes in handy when making thin cuts.

Comes with a slightly curved blade for easy mincing.

The Santoku knife is also a great all-purpose knife and may be more comfortable for people with smaller hands allowing you to chop food with ease.

Tojiro Santoku Knife

F. Dick Santoku  Knife


Utility Knife

Midway in size between a Chef's knife and a Paring knife, they are designed for cutting mid-sized fruits and vegetables, slicing cheese, small cuts of meat and sandwiches not quite large enough for a Chef knife.

They are versatile and have a narrower blade than a cook’s knife. They come with a straight or serrated edge and are typically 5-7 inches in length.


Shun Utility Knife

Luke Mangan Utility Knife 

Nakiri (Vegetable) Knife

A Japanese styled knife used for chopping vegetables, it is distinguished by its straight blade edge. This knife allows the user to cut all the way through vegetables with ease without the need of any horizontal push and pull. 

Tojiro Nakiri Knife

Shun Nakiri Knife

Paring Knife

A small knife with a plain edge blade, these knives are perfect for peeling fruits and vegetables or for small delicate work i.e. slicing a single garlic clove, de-veining a shrimp, cutting shapes into dough and so forth.

They are very versatile and one of the most used knives in a chef’s kitchen. Typically ranges from 2-4 inches long.

Tojiro Paring Knife

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Paring Knife


Generally used as a kitchen or butcher knife for hacking through meat and bone and for overall heavy-duty cutting. Comes with a large, rectangular blade.

The broad side can be used for crushing when preparing foods such as garlic.

Typically ranges from 6-10 inches long.


Shun Classic Cleaver


Zwilling J.A. Henckels Cleaver


Boning Knife

With a narrow blade and a sharp point, this knife is designed for removing the bones of poultry, meat, fish.

Usually comes with a flexible blade, the long and narrow profile that curves at the base and up near the tip is designed to follow the contours of bones and cartilage.


Tojiro Boning Knife


F. Dick Boning Knife

Bread Knife

With a sharp and serrated blade designed for cutting smooth or hard surfaces, examples including tomatoes, salami, bread and the like.

Typically ranges from 8-10 inches long. 

Tojiro Bread Knife

Shun Bread Knife