A cooking enthusiast, a simple house cook, or a professional chef, who does not enjoy having efficient equipment to grace their kitchen counters? From A-grade stoves and machinery to perfect workspaces and cutlery to work with. While, the list for kitchen equipment is endless, sometimes depending on the meal you are preparing, leading to a variety of most required equipment some kitchen utensils are part of your work no matter what you are making. Be it a simple salad to a complete three course meal. One of the most common and important kitchen utensils is the knife. This sharp object might be kept away from kids, but for an adult, it is their close companion for any meal preparation.
What are chef’s knives?
There are multiple kinds of kitchen knives, ranging from a simple blunt butter knife to a carving knife and the more efficient chef’s knife. A chef’s knife, also known as a cook’s knife was originally created for heavier pieces of meat but has become more versatile due to its multi-functioning design. The knife generally has a blade eight inches in length and 1-1/2 inches in width. A chef’s knife is further categorized to German, French, Chinese or Japanese knife- called Santoku knife.
A German knife is quite similar to a French knife. The difference mainly being in the curve in the blade in both knives. A German knife starts to curve during the middle of the blade. The blade is heavier and thicker and the spine is straight, flat and sturdier for greater balance, allowing better pressure in the rocking motion during chopping or dicing.
A French knife is often thinner than a German knife with the curve beginning at the tip of the blade. This provides more control over the knife and the chopping proportion is smaller. All in all, there is not much difference between a German and French knife and usually gets down to personal preference the most.
It get’s exciting!
However, a Japanese knife is very much different than a French and German knife in regards to functionality. A Japanese knife is lighter to a German as well as a French knife, with a narrower blade and harder steel. This is because Japanese chefs require more precision cutting of meat and vegetables. The hardness of the steel allows for a better and longer remaining edge, but it also makes the knife less durable and prone to chipping or breaking. Hence, a Japanese knife cannot be used on bones or harder material, while a softer German or French knife can be used on bones.
Although they will require sharpening or honing, while a Japanese knife should be sharpened less often. Another difference in both the knives is the symmetry. The edge of a Japanese knife is not symmetrical which makes it difficult for a left-handed person to use the knife. Whereas, a German or French knife is usually symmetrical providing functionality for a right or left-handed person.
Common features of chef knives:
A chef’s knife usually consists of stamped or forged blades. A forged blade is made through manual labor, requiring multiple processes and skill. A steel blank is heated and beaten to give it the shape of a blade, then ground and sharpened. While, a stamped blade is directly cut from cold rolled steel and heated to strengthen and sharpened to finesse. The blades are usually made from carbon steel, stainless steel, laminated or ceramic blades.
A carbon steel blade is easier to sharpen and retain their edge longer but are vulnerable to rust and erosion if not cared for properly. The stainless-steel blades as name suggests are resistant to corrosion. Lower quality stainless steel blades are inexpensive but cannot be as sharpened as a carbon blade, only those that are of a higher-grade material are known to outperform ceramic blades. A ceramic blade, is known to hold it’s edges longer than the other two blades but they are more brittle and run the risk of breakage. A laminated knife is a combination of hard and soft material to add in sharpness as well as strength in the blade.
A chef’s knife is usually selected based on one’s preference, experience, skill set, work requirement and even the size of your hands and your preference for using your left/ right hand. But while the above factors might influence one’s selection of a knife to a more personal level, an 8 inch bladed knife has been a usual preference for most people, including professional chefs. The size of the blade is neither too big nor too small, and is perfect for smaller vegetables such as garlic or chives to larger root vegetables or cuts of meat.
Top kitchen knife brands:
- Zwilling J. A. Henckels
Top 10 chef knives in 2019 : Detailed Reviews
1. MAC MTH-80 Professional Series Chef’s Knife with Dimples
The MTH-80 Professional Series Chef’s Knife is the brand’s most popular knife for everyday use. Sleek, super sharp and a universal all-rounder, this knife is perfect for all sorts of tasks.
- 2.5 mm blade
- Japanese style knife
- High carbon stainless steel blade
- Length of the knife- 12.63 inches
Product Review and Description
With a razor-sharp blade and a comfortable handle, it can transform any kind of meat into refined, elegant dishes. It is versatile enough to be used for the finest of chops to peeling vegetables, dicing a butternut squash and cutting a whole chicken. This is a Japanese style knife with a high carbon stainless steel blade and a small amount of molybdenum which reduces the brittleness and makes it more flexible and less likely to chip. Additionally, the knife is lightweight, which makes it very comfortable and easy to use for a longer duration. Very handy for home chefs as well as professional chefs and much beloved by all.
MTH-80 is made of durable, good-quality material. The weight of the bolster and the thin blades combine to make these knives extremely well balanced in the center of your hand, thus allowing you to cut through most foods using minimal effort. Its razor-sharp edge ensures that there is minimal wastage.
The dimpled edge on this chef’s knife is known as a “Granton” edge and provides a distinct advantage in food release. For the home gourmet, the 8″ chef’s knife is the most popular size, and this example from MAC is perfect. It is western-inspired, crafted using their proprietary chrome-moly vanadium steel, and designed to produce blades that could be thin (under 2.5 mm) strong, tough, and take a keen edge. These are features that all knife makers strive for, but due to limitations of alloying often have trouble achieving.
- Suitable for smaller hands.
- Balanced weight easy for speed chopping and cutting
- The dimpled blades keep most of the food from accumulating on the blades while chopping.
- Not suitable for heavy use such as thick pieces of meat or bones.
MAC MTH-80 Professional Series Chef’s Knife is the perfect everyday knife that will soon become like an extension of your hand. It is very reliable and will last for years. It is the top choice for cutting with a rocking motion, for the purpose of slicing/dicing. The knife is very well designed and constructed. It stays sharp for a long time and is worth every penny. This knife is super smooth in its operations and you wouldn’t know what you have been missing until you purchase this knife and use it. This knife can also be given as a gift to cooking enthusiasts or professional chefs.
2. Tojiro DP F-808
Tojiro DP F-808 is a chef’s knife suitable for the left as well as right-handed people. While Tojiro may not be among the most popular brands on a commercial level, it is an approved choice of knife among professional chefs and most experienced home cooks. With a customer review of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, this chef’s knife is perfect for those switching from a European blade to a Japanese blade, as it is slightly heavier than normal Japanese knives but lighter than a German or French knife.
The knife consists of a European style handle with a Japanese style blade allowing ease of use to those that are not yet accustomed to a Japanese knife. The flat middle curve over the blade is ideal if your cutting style includes a push and pull technique. The blade edge and weight seamlessly provide paper thin cuts of vegetables and meat.
- Height of the blade: 1.7″
- Length of the blade: 8.2″
- Stain-resistant triple-riveted handle
- Easy to maintain
- Extremely affordable
- Blade Thickness is 1.8 mm at spine to .8 mm at tip
- Suitable for all users because of its even edge
Product Review and Description
The premium quality steel of its high precision blade resists stains and retains its precision for long. Additionally, the knife is also handy and easy to maintain making it an ideal choice for both beginners and professionals.
When you require a great knife on a budget, this is what you choose. It is affordable and ideal for use by both right and left-hand users, while the blade is razor-sharp. The triple-riveted handle offers increased strength and durability, thereby making it the best budget pick. This is the knife that manages to stand out from the competition. The blade is stain-resistant steel and double-edged for a balanced and unmatched cutting experience. It has a Rockwell hardness of 60. Having a composite wooden handle, this knife delivers efficiency and convenience so that you are able to conquer different recipes with confidence.
The Tojiro will impress you in tests. For such an affordable price, this knife offers real value. This knife is recommended because in its design the concentration was on solid, practical construction rather than just aesthetic appearance. The handle is well constructed with triple rivets, full tang, and durable material. The blade is constructed with 3 layers of Stainless steel with a VG-10 steel core that extends to the edge. This core is overlaid with a soft outer stainless steel exterior that provides toughness & sheen.
- Cheaper than most chef’s knives, coming under $100
- Forged blade
- Sharp edge which holds well over longer use
- Rockwell rating 60.
- Thinner blade than European knives, hence prone to microscopic chipping.
- Aesthetically less appealing.
- Does not come with a sheath. Must be placed in a wood block.
Tojiro DP F-808 is a recommended, quality knife that is worth its price. It has the potential to become your next go-to knife.
3. ZWILLING Professional S Chef’s Knife
Zwilling J.A. Henckels is one of the largest knife makers in the world. It has been making knives since the 1700s. They produce a wide variety of chef’s knives and Henckels Professional S has been among their top-tier lines. The professional S is a forged knife. It consists of a full tang and a three riveted handle. It is made from high carbon steel providing a strong and sturdy blade.
Since it is a German knife it is heavier than a Japanese knife with a thicker blade. The weight of the knife helps during downward slicing, providing effortless smooth slices. The Chef’s knife is great for slicing meats, cutting vegetables, and chopping up almost anything in its path. It has 57 Rockwell Hardness which means excellent edge retention.
- Edge angle 15° on each side
- Handle Material: Plastic
- Construction Method: Forged
- Full tang with three-rivet handle
- Blade Material: High carbon stainless steel
Product Review and Description
The FRIODUR blade is harder because of ZWILLING’s signature ice-hardening techniques. It is sharper, will not stain or chip and retain its sharpness longer. Blades of such knives are honed and hand-finished by skilled artisans. The laser-controlled edge of the knife is incredibly sharp. The sturdy bolster acts as a finger guard and provides the right balance. These knives deliver safe handling and optimum balance. These are precision-forged from a single piece of solid steel. Tradition and quality of these impressive knives are trusted by professional chefs worldwide. The one-piece sigma forged construction provides high precision, perfect geometry and improved stability of the blade and steel structure.
An ergonomic, unbreakable Novodur handle has three rustproof rivets attached to a Friodur Ice-hardened and laser-honed steel blade creates a perfectly-integrated unit that is resistant to accumulating dirt or bacteria between handle and blade. Its full tang with bolster provides solid grip and balance. It is comfortable to use with its traditional 3-rivet handle. The precision-honed blades of these knives and their and laser-controlled edges ensure ideal cutting angles for sharpness and durability.
This knife is perfect for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and even smashing garlic. It delivers outstanding cutting performance and is used globally by professional and home chefs. The knives have improved quality consistency, lasting sharpness, and perfect geometry because these are forged knives made from a single piece of Zwilling exclusive high carbon stainless steel.
The ice-hardening process called Friodur changes the molecular structure of the steel improving the cutting properties providing a remarkably sharp blade and ensures a long lasting cutting edge. To assure the cutting edge is accurate along the full length of the blade each knife is hand sharpened, polished and laser controlled.
- Classic design.
- Does not chip or break.
- Durable tough steel.
- Suitable for heavier and more powerful work
- Prone to erosion.
- High maintenance required.
- Softer steel, requires sharpening often.
This knife will become the most widely used knife in your kitchen because it is a work horse of cutting perfection. The Professional S Chef’s Knife is by far one of the best knives that the Professional Series has to offer today.
4. Wusthof Classic Ikon
Like Henckels Zwilling has been producing knives for almost 200 years. The classic ikon is a forged knife with a thinner blade than most German knives, allowing for smooth cuts.
This knife features a sophisticated, sleek black handle with a double bolster for exceptional beauty, balance, and the ultimate cutting experience. The Wusthof Classic Ikon Cook’s knife with its 20 cm blade rests in your hand perfectly. It is slightly heavier than many knives of this size so it will suit those who prefer the heft of the knife to help when cutting.
- Forged from a single block of High Carbon of steel.
- Full tang with triple rivets.
- Crafted in Solingen, Germany
- Blade is 20% sharper because of Precision Edge Technology (PEtec)
- Weight: 9 ounces
Product Review and Description
This knife is essential for preparing any meal and can be used for chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing. It features a distinctive double Bolster design with an 8” long blade for professional-style heft. The handle is made from a long-lasting synthetic material to resist fading and discoloration. The handle design is sleek and ergonomic.
It is forged from a single block of High Carbon Stainless Steel and tempered to 58-degree HRC. The blade is 20% sharper because of the Precision Edge Technology (PEtec) with twice the edge retention than previous models. The angled blade allows for effortless maneuvering when slicing rinds or squashes. Due to its heavy blade it is a perfect choice to work with when working on heavier cuts of meats.
The knife is able to cleanly slice and julienne thin strips; the moulded handle is comfortable to hold.It is a well-balanced knife with a firm and sturdy blade and a professional appearance.The bolster does not extend to the edge of the blade like the classic German knives This makes it easy for it to sharpen from the tip to the end. Plus, the bolster extends softly into the blade with no straight edges making it very easy to clean. Also the “V” shaped handle is a bit curved downward at the back and has no straight edges. It is perfectly polished and fitted with three strong rivets.
- Heavier and powerful.
- Easily cuts through chicken breast bones
- Well balanced
- Perfect for chopping when using rocking motion.
- Durable, tough steel.
- Dulls faster
- Heavy weight makes it less ideal to chiffonade herbs
The advanced technology and effort which went into creating this exceptional piece reflect in the knife’s quality. The gorgeous and natural material of the handle, which is the African Blackwood, won’t expand or contract and it is extremely stable, hard, and heavy. Its dark hue and natural grains make the knives look even more beautiful.
This is probably the most comfortable and best-looking knife handles of German knives on the market today. It is created with German precision and cares with constant inspections and regular cleaning of the product through its production stage. The knife looks very stunning.
5. Shun Cutlery Classic Western Cook’s Knife
The Shun is a lightweight Japanese knife and most suitable for professional chefs.
- Damascus blade
- Pakkawood handle
- The handle of the knife is D-shaped
- Lightweight Japanese knife
Product Review and Description
The knife has an elegant design with great balance, all the while being perfectly functional. The blade consists of a hard metal core surrounded by softer steel. The hard center creates the edge, and the softer surrounding metal protects the harder from breaking. These factors allow a shun knife to slice through denser thicker substance providing little resistance and great cuts. The handle of the knife is D-shaped, providing a comfortable grip and with this feature, shun became a quick fan favorite.
The Classic is made to modern standards but it is a very traditional-looking knife made with some traditional techniques. It is befitting both, to its name and its maker’s approach to blade-craft. The Classic’s blade is as traditional as the materials used to make it. A very simple, very functional shape, which offers three different types of edge: a flat section for quick chopping, a bit of belly for slicing, and an acute point for piercing.
As you would expect from a chef’s knife, this is a do-all blade shape that you can rely on in the kitchen. Like most Shun knives, the Classic is made from VG-10 steel clad in faux Damascus. VG-10 is mid-range modern stainless steel for kitchen tasks made exclusively in Japan. Its primary characteristic of resistance to rust and stains makes it invaluable in a kitchen setting. It is an easy blade to maintain.
- Beautiful design, Damascus blade and Pakkawood handle.
- Large blade ideal for chopping
- Sharp factory edge
- High retention
- Not suitable for extremely dense food or bones.
- High level of maintenance needed
- Mostly suitable for professionals or experienced cooks
The Classic is a do-all chef’s knife. The steel is great, the ergonomics are sound, and the Damascus cladding offers is beautiful to look at. If you’re looking for your first serious chef’s knife, the Classic is a great recommendation.
6. Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife
The Victorinox Fibrox is a stamped knife, consisting of high-quality stainless steel. This knife is excellent as a starter knife for those who wish to get comfortable around chef’s knives. The Victorinox Fibrox Pro chef’s knife is a high-carbon stainless steel knife. From dicing to slicing, this knife has got you covered. It is made of high-quality, lightweight European steel.
The blade is created from a stamped process which essentially cuts the blade directly from a thin sheet of steel. The knife is ground in two directions to create a 15-degree edge. This allows the blade to hold a sharp edge longer and be easily sharpened to ensure maximum cutting performance. It has a half tang that is embedded into an ergonomic back handle.
- Made of high-quality stainless steel.
- Handle is made from a synthetic material (TPE)
- Comfortable grip
- Long lasting
- Large blade created from a stamped process
Product Review and Description
It is a European style knife meaning it has a heavier blade and is considerably larger in proportion to other professional knives. The Victorinox is ideal for cutting up larger vegetables and meat.
The handle is made from a synthetic material (TPE) which performs and has properties like rubber, but it is processed like plastic. It is a simple yet solid piece to prevent it from coming loose from the blade. The solid design keeps food, mold, or other grime from getting into any seems.The blade is well shaped to provide a long, sloping curve to aid a rocking motion for mincing and chopping. It is easy to chop onions and lettuce using a rocking motion. This knife is lightweight and provides some relief to those cutting for many hours each day. The balance of this knife is thrown off by the longer blade. The handle provides an excellent and comfortable grip.
Even kids find it easy to hold it in their smaller hands. The solid handle has a good texture to prevent the knife from slipping from your hand. Even when completely saturated the knife allows you to maintain a firm grip. This knife is very light. Although its balance is more blade heavy, it still provides a clean cut with minimal effort. The bolster of this knife is an outstanding addition as it adds the perfect weight to balance out the knife. It also provides a safety feature to prevent cut while holding the knife.
- The curved blade which allows for easier rocking motion during chopping
- Plastic handle seemed unappealing to many users.
This is an excellent entry-level knife. It is ideal for use as an all-purpose kitchen knife.
7. Messermeister Meridian Elite Stealth Chef’s Knife
Messermeister is the brand that put the foundation of the forged knife without a full bolster. Their forging techniques are more related to old ages.
- One-piece, fully forged blade
- The blade material is forged from single billet German stainless steel alloy.
- It has 56-57 Rockwell Hardness
- Ergonomic balance due to true bolster
- The blade is hand-polished with a 15° Elite edge
- Tang is fully exposed for strength
- It has a durable, triple-riveted handle
Product Review and Description
This Messermeister Chef’s Knife is the thinnest and sharpest. The elite edge of this knife is the sharpest edge of all forged German knives. The spine on this blade is also noticeably thinner. It has a very durable industrial-strength handle. The parts are specifically designed to perform different tasks. Using the techniques that have been the hallmark of fine Solingen made cutlery, these knives are handcrafted one at a time for quality and consistency.
This knife is ideal for peeling, slicing, trimming, chopping, dicing, and mincing vegetables. It also works well for filleting fish, and cutting meat. The bolster of the Messermeister makes sharpening easier. It has an excellent ergonomic balance. Its construction is out of stainless steel and polypropylene. The highly polished edge of the blade holds for a longer amount of time than most blades. The knife has a well balanced feel. The synthetic handle has industrial strength. It is resistant to heat, solvents, and moisture.
- Classic and thin design
- Slim handle
- Durable hard steel
- Does not need to be sharpened often
- The knife may require honing or sharpening before first use.
The Messermeister Meridian Elite Stealth Chef’s Knife is a premium food preparation cutting tool. It is one of the best original forged knives made in Germany.
8. Global G-2 Chef’s Knife
Global knives are considered a revolution in the world of kitchen knives. The edge and balance of Global Knives are their two most innovative features. The vital attribute of any knife is its edge. The blade is made from CROMOVA 18 stainless steel, which is one of the finest steel today.
The blade is made of a combo called Cromova 18 which is made from molybdenum, vanadium, and chromium. It is sharpened on both sides, like Western knives, but to an extremely acute 15-degree angle rather than a beveled edge (the average European edge is ground to 20-22 degrees). The blade is curved like Western knives. It is suitable for rocking-style motion of cutting.
- Weight is 7.84 ounces
- A hybrid between European and Japanese knives
- The unusual dimpled handle provides perfect grip
- The blade is made of Cromova 18
- Rockwell Hardness 56-58
Product Review and Description
The Global knives are considered a hybrid between European and Japanese knives with their extremely light and sharp blades and European design. Most Global knives are not forged instead made with high quality stainless steel. While it appears that the knife is made from a single piece of metal, it actually consists of three different metals. The sides, the center, and the handle. The handle is a pebbled surface which provides perfect grip without having the rough or slippery effect of most plastic or wooden handles.
The G-2 has an unusual dimpled handle that feels like a bicycle grip. This same handle is hollow. This would explain the knife’s weight which is 7.84 ounces. These attributes — samurai-inspired and hollow — mean the whole thing feels like it disappears into your hand when you use it. When you’re done using it, it’s really easy to clean. It is also very handsome to display.
This special steel is ice-tempered; it is hardened to a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58. The edge remains razor sharp longer than any other steel and resists rust, stains, and corrosion. Like western style blades, the blade edge is ground on both sides of the blade. The edge is ground to a straight point instead of a beveled edge. This results in a razor sharp edge that will stay sharper longer. The knife has a unique hollow handle filled with the right amount of sand to create the perfect balance. The ergonomic construction makes Global knives truly unique.
- Modern design.
- Light feel, slim handle.
- Uber sharp factory edge.
- Easy to care for.
- Thin blade (less resistant).
- Must be more careful in handling than German knives.
Global G-2 Chef’s Knife is a durable and unique knife suitable for all uses.
9. Mercer Culinary M23510 Renaissance Chef’s Knife
Mercer has been creating knives for the past 30 years. This knife is considered the workhorse in professional kitchen.
- Ergonomically designed Delrin handle
- Made from high-quality German carbon steel
- Single piece construction
- Excellent balance
Product Review and Description
Made from forged steel, is triple riveted made from high quality German carbon steel, and single piece construction. The blade running from the tip to the end of the handle provides superior balance while chopping. Its shortened bolster exposes the full edge of the blade thereby making sharpening easier. It has a comfortable ergonomic grip with a full tang to reduce slippage. It is NSF certified so that you have an assurance of quality.
The handle on this knife is not only ergonomically designed, but it features a rounded spine so that it will always feel good in your hand. Not only that, but the full tang handle reduces the risk of slippage, keeping you safe while you work.
The one piece design of this chef’s knife will give you peace of mind that your knife will always be functional. Without the risk of breakage, you’ll find that you won’t need to replace the knife for years when compared to some two-piece designs. The Taper-ground edge of the knife adds stability, allows easy honing, ensures long-lasting sharpness and increased efficiency while cutting and chopping.
- Excellent balance
- Can be used frequently and roughly; blade is stain and corrosion resistant
- Easy to sharpen
- Budget friendly
- Requires hand washing
- High on maintenance
This is definitely one of the best quality chef’s knives that you can get at this price point, and you won’t be disappointed.
10. Misono UX10 Gyutou
Misono UX10 Gyutou is an ultimate knife from the Misono Collection.
- Knife Style is Gyuto
- Made of Swedish Stain-Resistant Steel
- The Bevel is 70/30
- Handle is made of Composite Wood
Product Review and Description
The Gyuto is a versatile chef’s knife and can be used for cutting meat, fish and vegetables. This makes it suitable for preparing Western cuisine as well. Japanese chef knives are lightweight, thin and have a sharper blade. They maintain their sharpness for a far longer period than most other knives.
This knife is extremely light and agile. It cuts through herbs, leaving them in perfect chops or ribbons. Made from stainless steel, the blade cuts through It slices through softer food with precision and accuracy. However, this knife is not the perfect choice for using on chicken or hard root vegetables. The knife is honed at an asymmetrical angle, hence to retain the perfect shape it is best to have it sharpened by a professional.
Its blade is made of high-quality Swedish stain-resistant steel. This provides it the advantage of having the longest-lasting edge retention within the Misono brand. The riveted nickel silver bolster is a distinguishing feature of the UX10 knife. This enhances its durability as well as balances the weight of the blade and handle. Misono UX10 is the best one within the Misono collection.
- Scalpel-like delicacy while slicing
- Smooth surface of blade
- Not suitable for heavier ingredients
- Preferable to be sharpened by professional
- Different blades for left and right hands
Misono UX10 Gyutou is a must-have knife for home chefs as well as professionals. The next time you are standing in an aisle debating between a Japanese or European knife or a ceramic or stainless steel, you know which knife is more suitable to your style. Happy cooking!