• Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed 1
  • Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed 2
  • Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed 3
  • Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed 4
  • Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed 5

Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed

When it comes to home cooking, a good knife can save you time and trouble, making it easy to slice, chop, dice, and mince to your heart's content. Whether you're prepping vegetables, carving meat, or slicing bread, using the right knife will make your life easier. But selecting a knife from the numerous sizes, shapes, types, and brands can be daunting.

We did the research and came up with a list of the top 10 best kitchen knives. For a well-rounded, versatile knife, our go-to is Shun's Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife. It's large enough for chopping vegetables, slicing meat, and mincing herbs, but small enough to be comfortable and easy to use. Read on for the rest of our picks! And if you're having trouble choosing a knife, check out our buying guide for tips and information.

Experts featured in this article

Danilo Specchiulli
Kara Swanson
  • Last updated: 11-07-2021
  • 1,279 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Chef Danilo Specchiulli

In Collaboration With Chef Danilo Specchiulli

Danilo is an Italian chef who has grown up cooking traditional dishes under his nonna and mamma's tutelage. He has also worked in Italian restaurants in various countries such as Australia and Japan. 


The skills he has acquired at home and in a professional kitchen have enabled him to preserve and expound on Italian cuisine while dabbling in recipes from other cultures. Read on to see his insight into the article! 

Top 10 Best Kitchen Knives

Here's a roundup of 10 kitchen knives to help you cook like a chef. We've included a number of well-rounded chef's knives, as well as specialty knives for more specific tasks.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Danilo Specchiulli.

1

ShunClassic 8-inch Chef’s Knife

$149.95

TypeChef's knife
Length8 in.
Blade materialCarbon
Handle materialPakkawood
2

MAC MIGHTYProfessional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife

$144.95

TypeChef's knife
Length8 in.
Blade materialSteel
Handle materialPakkawood
3

WusthofClassic 8-inch Chef’s Knife

$159.95

TypeChef's knife
Length8 in.
Blade materialStainless steel
Handle materialSynthetic
4

Mac KnifeSuperior 6.5-inch Santoku Knife

$74.95

TypeSantoku knife
Length6.5 in.
Blade materialAlloy steel
Handle materialPakkawood
5

ShunClassic 7-inch Santoku Knife

$149.95

TypeSantoku knife
Length7 in.
Blade materialStainless steel
Handle materialPakkawood
6

Mercer CulinaryGenesis Forged 3.5-inch Paring Knife

$18.00

TypeParing knife
Length3.5 in.
Blade materialCarbon
Handle materialSantoprene
7

TojiroBread Slicer

$24.99

TypeBread knife
Length9.25 in.
Blade materialStainless steel
Handle materialWood
8

HENCKELSZwilling 8-inch Chef’s Knife

$59.95

TypeChef's knife
Length8-inch
Blade materialCarbon
Handle materialPolypropylene
9

Global8-inch Chef’s Knife

$99.95

TypeChef's knife
Length8 in.
Blade materialStainless steel
Handle materialStainless steel
10

HENCKELS6-inch Meat Cleaver

$60.28

TypeCleaver
Length6 in.
Blade materialStainless steel
Handle materialNot provided

Compare the Best Kitchen Knives

Image
1
Shun Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife 1

Shun

2
MAC MIGHTY Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife 1

MAC MIGHTY

3
Wusthof Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife 1

Wusthof

4
Mac Knife Superior 6.5-inch Santoku Knife 1

Mac Knife

5
Shun Classic 7-inch Santoku Knife 1

Shun

6
Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged 3.5-inch Paring Knife 1

Mercer Culinary

7
Tojiro Bread Slicer 1

Tojiro

8
HENCKELS Zwilling 8-inch Chef’s Knife 1

HENCKELS

9
Global 8-inch Chef’s Knife 1

Global

10
HENCKELS 6-inch Meat Cleaver 1

HENCKELS

Name

Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife

Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife

Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife

Superior 6.5-inch Santoku Knife

Classic 7-inch Santoku Knife

Genesis Forged 3.5-inch Paring Knife

Bread Slicer

Zwilling 8-inch Chef’s Knife

8-inch Chef’s Knife

6-inch Meat Cleaver

Features

A Super Slick Knife with a Thin, Razor-Sharp Blade

A Dimpled Knife for Everyday Use

A Long-Lasting Workhorse of a Knife

For Chefs Who Prefer a Smaller Everyday Knife

An Elegant Knife With a Textured Blade

Handle Detailed Tasks With a Small Knife

Easily Cut Loaves of Bread Into Thin Slices

A German-Made Knife for All Purpose Prep

Versatile, Low Maintenance, and Lightweight

Chop Through Bones With This Heavy Duty Cleaver

Price$149.95$144.95$159.95$74.95$149.95$18.00$24.99$59.95$99.95$60.28
TypeChef's knifeChef's knifeChef's knifeSantoku knifeSantoku knifeParing knifeBread knifeChef's knifeChef's knifeCleaver
Length8 in.8 in.8 in.6.5 in.7 in.3.5 in.9.25 in.8-inch8 in.6 in.
Blade materialCarbonSteelStainless steelAlloy steelStainless steelCarbonStainless steelCarbonStainless steelStainless steel
Handle materialPakkawoodPakkawoodSyntheticPakkawoodPakkawoodSantopreneWoodPolypropyleneStainless steelNot provided
Link

How to Choose a Kitchen Knife - Buying Guide

What's a kitchen without cutlery? Assuming you cook, you probably use a knife every day, so it's important to put some time and effort into choosing the right one. Here are some features to consider.

Choose a Type of Knife to Match Your Food Prep Needs

Kitchen knives come in different shapes and sizes, made for different types of food prep. While chef's knives are the most common and versatile, there are also specialized knives that can expand your culinary repertoire.

Chef's Knives for Food Prep and More

Chef's Knives for Food Prep and More

The chef’s knife, also known as a cook’s knife, is an all-purpose kitchen knife that provides speed and efficiency when slicing, chopping, dicing, and mincing. Chef’s knives have a longer, slightly rounded blade. They come in various lengths, but the most popular run from eight to 10 inches.

The curved blade allows the knife to rock back and forth for fast chopping and dicing of vegetables. And its long, sharp edge is great for slicing meat, as well as separating meat from bones. 

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

This is one of the most essential and versatile knives you can get. With a good chef's knife, you can practically do anything, albeit at risk of dulling your blade faster. I've used a chef's knife to chop veggies, slice bread, crush spices, fillet a fish, and so much more. 


Perhaps this is how the knife got the name "chef's knife" because of how convenient it is to use. However, if you were to ask any professional how many knives he really needs, you would often get the same answer: three (a chef's knife, serrated knife, and paring knife). You can conquer the kitchen world with just these three.

Santoku Knives for All-Purpose Chopping

Santoku Knives for All-Purpose Chopping

Here’s another all-purpose kitchen knife with roots planted firmly in Japan. The santoku knife is excellent for slicing, chopping, and mincing almost anything - fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. Compared to a chef's knife, it's lighter and shorter, with the blade typically measuring six or seven inches. 


Santoku knives have a flat blade with a curved tip, allowing for more of an up and down motion when chopping, compared to the rocking motion of a chef's knife. The wide blade is useful to help scoop chopped ingredients into a pot or bowl. 


Santoku knives come with either smooth, standard blades or Granton blades. Granton blades have little hollows along the sides that create tiny air pockets when chopping, preventing ingredients from sticking together. This is especially helpful when cutting meat, fish, and herbs.

Paring Knives for Intricate Work

Paring Knives for Intricate Work

Paring knives are very handy. They’re small knives with short blades, generally two and a half to four inches long. Since the blades are so small and thin and they have such small tips, paring knives are ideal for peeling, slicing, or trimming small fruits and vegetables. 


They shouldn't be used to cut large or hard vegetables, but they can pull off intricate work, such as deveining a shrimp or carving a sculpture from an apple.

Carving Knives for Slicing Meat

Carving Knives for Slicing Meat

Carving knives are designed to slice large portions of meat into slices - think roasts, hams, and poultry. They're constructed similarly to chef's knives, but with a longer blade that can range from eight to 15 inches long. They're also thinner than chef's knives, which allows them to cut thin slices of meat.

Cleavers for Cutting Through Bone

Cleavers for Cutting Through Bone

A cleaver, also known as a butcher’s knife, is a large, heavy knife used to cut through bones. They're rectangular in shape, with a heavy-duty edge made to withstand the force necessary to chop through bones, sinew, and cartilage. 


Cleavers are more common in restaurants than in home kitchens. But if you like to buy whole chickens or large cuts of meat and break them down yourself, a cleaver is a must-have.

Bread Knives for Slicing Bread

Bread Knives for Slicing Bread
If you've ever tried to cut a loaf of bread with a chef's knife, you'll understand the importance of a bread knife. Bread knives have a straight or slightly curved blade with a serrated edge that allows the knife to slice through crust without crushing the loaf and through the interior of the bread without shredding it.

Bread knives can be used to slice other foods that don't play well with chef's knives. For example, a large fruit like a canteloupe tends to stick to and trap a chef's knife inside, but a serrated bread knife will slice right through it. They're also great for slicing tomatoes without crushing them.

Know Your Knife Blade Materials

Let’s talk about metal. When it comes to kitchen blades, there are two main types: stainless steel and high carbon steel. Each metal has its own pros and cons.

Stainless Steel Doesn't Rust

Stainless Steel Doesn't Rust

Stainless steel blades are durable and – as their name suggests – don’t really discolor or rust. The edges tend to dull more quickly than high carbon blades, so they need to be honed and sharpened more frequently.


A caveat is that stainless steel doesn’t mean that the knife is invincible. If the blade is damaged or repeatedly exposed to salt, acid, and moisture, it can corrode. To prevent this, make sure to wash and fully dry the blade after each use, and avoid the dishwasher.

High Carbon Steel is Strong and Sharp

High Carbon Steel is Strong and Sharp

High carbon steel blades are stronger than stainless steel and very sharp. They keep their edge longer than stainless steel blades, so you won’t need to pull out your whetstone as often. And they're also easier to sharpen.

The downside is that they tend to rust easily. They can also get stained when they come in contact with acidic foods such as lemons and tomatoes. In order to prevent rusting and discoloration, avoid letting the knife sit on wet surfaces for prolonged amounts of time, and wash and dry it thoroughly after use. 

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

You might also be interested in how the blade is produced. There are two production methods of kitchen knives: Stamping or forging. Stamping requires a precut slab of steel, and this is where the blade will come from. A machine cuts or stamps the steel, thus creating the blade. The blade is then attached to the handle. 


With forging, you have a bladesmith who makes the knife by hand using a repeated process of heating, hammering, and cooling. These knives are often made as one piece, giving you a durable and reliable knife, although they are not as flexible as their stamped counterparts.

Pick a Handle for Comfort

Pick a Handle for Comfort

When it comes to knife handles, there are three factors that determine how comfortable they will be: shape, weight, and material. For the most comfortable fit, look for a knife that bulges a bit in the middle to fit your palm. You can also find knives that have curved ends to prevent them from sliding out of your hand.

The most common materials used in knife handles are wood, stainless steel, and plastic. Wood handles have been around for a long time and are very popular for their strength, durability, and feel on the hands. However, because they're a natural, porous material, they require a higher level of care. 

Pick a Handle for Comfort

Metal handles are stronger and more durable than wood, as well as easy to maintain. Because of their smooth surface, they can be more likely to slip in your hands. Look for a metal handle with a textured or brushed satin finish to help provide more grip.

Synthetic handles are most often made of acrylic, plastic, or resin. For some people, these handles may be too lightweight. However, they're extremely easy to care for and come in a wide range of shapes and colors.

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

People usually think the knife's blade is most important; however, the handle is its equal partner that should not be forgotten. These two must achieve a balance not only for the safety of use, but also for the comfort of the user. You will really feel the strain on your hands after a few hours of using a poorly designed handle. 


When it comes to handles, there are three materials they're made of: plastic, wood, or steel. We often have knives with wooden handles for that reliable grip. However, professional kitchens usually soak all knives in boiling water at the end of the day to sanitize and ensure that the porous material and blade don't offer contaminants a chance to breed.

Know the Difference Between European and Japanese Knives

Know the Difference Between European and Japanese Knives

European and Japanese knives differ in a couple of important ways that affect how easy they are to use and care for. 


Generally, Japanese knives are made from harder steel. Contrary to what you might assume, this makes for a blade that is more vulnerable because it's less flexible. It can get chipped or damaged easily, so you'll want to be careful around hard things like bones.


European knives have a thicker blade than Japanese knives. This makes them stronger and more suited to a variety of tasks, including heavier chopping. The angle of the blade is also different, which is important to keep in mind if you plan to sharpen your knife at home. 

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

Kitchen knives are categorized into two main types that can easily define their build, quality, design, and required care. First, you have the exquisite Japanese knives that showcase the craftsmanship of the master bladesmith and the ultra-versatile European knives that can do easy work out of bones.


Often made with a type of carbon steel called "hagane," Japanese knives are thin yet agile. They feature a 17-degree angle that requires exact positioning when sharpening using a whetstone. These knives are all about being lightweight, thin, sharp, and hard, much like the famous samurai swords. 


Then you have the European knives, which have a 20-degree angle and are known to chop even the toughest vegetables with ease. They might require more frequent sharpening, but the softer steel and more weighted blade and handle mean efficient chopping, mincing, and slicing.

More Expert Tips for Choosing the Best Kitchen Knife

More Expert Tips for Choosing the Best Kitchen Knife

Danilo says, "As mentioned earlier, balance is key to a good knife. The trick to checking for balance is simple. Grab a knife and lay it on the tip of your finger at the point where the handle meets the blade. If it stays perfectly horizontal, then it has excellent balance. This is a quick way to determine the quality of the knife in its entirety. 


Also, take a look at unnecessary curves at the point where the blade meets the bottom area of the handle. Any extra protruding parts can hinder you from getting a clean slice as the knife will hit the chopping board prematurely."

Take Your Cooking to the Next Level

Take Your Cooking to the Next Level

Having the right kitchen tools for the job can make for a more enjoyable and efficient cooking experience. Check out more of our favorite kitchen products below.

Summary

There are so many types of kitchen knives out there, from sturdy, all-purpose chef's knives to delicate paring knives. Having the right knife for the type of prep you're doing can make all the difference. 


Just remember, the most important factor when choosing a kitchen knife is how it feels in your hand. The size, shape, and weight of a knife matters as much as the sharpness. The “one” will simply feel like an extension of your hand. Happy cooking!

Pair an Expert Recommended Cutting Board With Your New Knife

Remember that you need a stable, flat, and oftentimes thick board to cut on - you don't want to ruin your countertops or dinnerware when slicing through meats and veggies! Check out this cutting board recommended by nutritionist Kara Swanson that's stylish and high quality.

Expert's
pick

John BoosReversible Cutting Board

$143.99

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    Cookie presses are a great alternative to cookie cutters. They help to make a large batch of professional-looking cookies in less time. Choosing cookie presses can be tricky and time-consuming because there are many things to consider. But if you keep our tips and suggestions in mind, you'll easily find the right one for you! In our buying guide, you'll find a lot of good advice on how to choose a good cookie press. We also did our research and went through reviews to pick the 10 best cookie presses that can be purchased online. OXO's Good Grips Cookie Press is our top pick because it's easy to use, comes with a non-slip base, and offers a lifetime warranty.
    Kitchen supplies
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