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The 15 Best Kitchen Knives: A Guide To Creating Your Set (2021)

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Out of the number of gratifying purchases, one can make, kitchen knives (strangely enough) have to be at the top of the list. There is literally nothing more satisfying than chopping up some crunchy vegetables with a brand new kitchen knife, and you don’t have to be a chef to agree with that. 

There is an incredible amount of high-quality kitchen knives from different companies from different parts of the world- the market for nice kitchen knives is quite dense. Thus, it cannot be evident to know which ones are really the best value you can find. 

Although he also likes Wusthoff knives, Gordon Ramsay uses Zwilling Henckels knives on Fox TV show Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon believes that the few essential knives are all the home chef needs.

  • Chef’s Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Carving Knife
  • Serrated Knife

Gordon Ramsay prefers German knives made from high carbon steel alloy, which is rust-resistant and easily sharpened because Chef’s Knives need to cut through meat, fat, and tendons. A good chef’s knife lasts a lifetime (although it might not if Chef Ramsay treats her like he throws them through the air during her shows).

Gordon uses knives made by Henckels and Wüsthof. The brands are two of the top knife manufacturers in the world, and they’re known for quality products. Wüstoff has been around since 1814, while Henckels has existed since 1895.

What brand of Knives do Professional Chefs Use?

Professional Chefs Use MTH-80 Professional Series 8-inch Chef’s Knife with Dimples by MAC. The Wüsthof Classic 8-inch Cook’s Knife and the J.A. Chef’s Knife by Henckels International Classic eight-inch. The best sharpener is the Misono UX10 Gyutou. The best lightweight knife is the Global G-2 Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife.

Are Japanese Knives Better Than German Knives?

German knives score around 57 on the scale, whereas Japanese knives score closer to 60 to 63. While Japanese knives made of harder steel will hold an edge better, they are also less durable and more prone to chipping and breaking.

Do Chefs Prefer German or Japanese Knives?

There are two kinds of kitchen knives: Japanese knives are perfect for delicate work and fine slicing, while German knives are more workhorses. Knives made in Germany tend to be heavier and thicker.

In this post, I’m going to let you in on the 15 Best Kitchen Knives by category, including chef’s, santoku, Chinese cleaver, paring, bread, slicing, carving, and steak knives (that was a mouthful) that will last you a lifetime, including a range of different price points and features to suit every need. Keep reading to find out which of these fantastic kitchen knives is the perfect fit for you. 

I’ve used and recommend both kitchen knife sets, Henckels Zwilling Pro 7-pc Knife Block Set or Wusthof Gourmet 18-pc Cherry Wood Block Set on Amazon or buy direct from either Zwilling.com or Wusthof.com.

Choosing the Best Cook’s (or Chef’s) Knife

The cook’s knife (also known as a chef’s knife) was created as a knife to cut large meat cuts. It features a sharp, curved blade and is best for the “rock-chop” cutting technique. Nowadays, the cook’s knife is the go-to general kitchen knife used in the West. 

There are two main producers of high-quality cook’s knives – Germany and Japan. If it’s made somewhere else, it likely still follows either German or Japanese style. 

Wusthof’s Classic Ikon 6-inch Cook’s Knife is the Popular Classic

If you’re looking to buy the best value cook’s knife on the market, look no further than the Wusthof chef knife 6-inch Cook’s Knife- a classic staple in any home.

The knife itself is made of high-carbon stainless steel. This knife has many great features; it’s balanced and weight mean it is good for light or heavy-duty cutting purposes. It has a handle designed specifically for grip and comfort and uses “precision-edge technology” for a 20% sharper blade. 

If you’re only looking to purchase one knife that can do a lot, this is your best bet.

Buy: Wusthof Classic Ikon 6-inch Cook’s Knife at Amazon

Shun Premier 8” Western Chef’s Knife is Both Strong and Elegant

For those with cooking experience wanting a professional-quality knife, One of the best Japanese kitchen knives, Shun’s Premier 8” Western Chef’s Knife, provides both durability and aesthetics.

According to their website, this gorgeous chef’s knife has a “core of extremely hard VG-MAX ‘super steel’ clad on each side with 34 microthin of stainless steel.” Wow. This thing will last forever. It also features hand-hammered blades, and walnut-colored pakkawood handles with dimples to prevent sticking, with a 22-degree cutting edge for the perfect slice. 

This chef’s knife is for the seasoned (pun intended) home cooks and professionals.

Buy: Shun’s Premier 8” Western Chef’s Knife at Amazon

Santoku Knife

The santoku knife is similar to the cook’s knife in that it’s a go-to general multipurpose knife- but this one is used in Japan and looks a little different from the Western cook’s knife. 

Instead of having a sharp, curved blade like the Western cook’s knife, the santoku blade is sharp and flat, so it creates a different cutting style that people who are used to chef’s knives may need some time to get used to.

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S Four Star 7″ Hollow Edge Santoku Kitchen Knife the #1 Choice for Santoku Knives

The best quality santoku knife you can find is the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S Four Star 7″ Hollow Edge Santoku Knife. I know that’s a lot to look at, but bear with me. 

This knife Made in Germany, Zwilling knives are forged from a single piece of solid steel., a type of steel often used to make surgical knives- so you can clearly rely on its sharpness. It has a hygienic antibacterial handle meant to prevent slipping and has a coating that prevents rust.

Buy: ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Hollow Edge Santoku Knife at Amazon

Zwilling J.A. Henckles’ 5.5” Gourmet Hollow Edge Santoku Knife is a Close Contendor at a Cheaper Price

While you really can’t beat the Tojiro Santoku quality, if you want to spend a little less for still a lot of quality, check out Zwilling J.A. Henckles’ 5.5” Gourmet Hollow Edge Santoku Knife.

This knife’s blade has a slight curve in it, so if you’re used to the chef’s knife’s curvature, this is a great introductory santoku. This one also features dimples for a non-stick effect and has a balanced blade-handle weight, allowing for increased control. With all these features at a comparatively low price, this is a runner-up for santoku knives.

Buy: ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Hollow Edge Santoku Knife at Amazon

Chinese Cleaver Knife

Traditionally, one type of knife is used for most kitchen purposes in China, and that is the Chinese chef’s knife/cleaver. This knife is often regarded as one of the most iconic and important tools in cooking Asian cuisine, and you’ve probably seen it before. It’s a large, incredibly sharp rectangular knife meant for chopping meat and vegetables.

The Zwilling Twin Signature 7-inch Chinese Chef’s Knife/Vegetable Cleaver has Everything You’ll Ever Need

The best Chinese chef’s knife you can find is the Zwilling Twin Signature 7-inch Chinese Chef’s Knife/Vegetable Cleaver.

This knife has an incredibly sharp and straight blade. The knife is made through an ice-hardening process, meaning it stays sharper for longer and is incredibly resilient, especially for a lighter knife. Many Chinese chefs’ knives can get extremely expensive, but they have professional quality at a comparatively affordable price. 

Buy: Zwilling Twin Signature 7-inch Chinese Chef’s Knife at Amazon

XiaoYao’s 7” Chinese Cleaver Knife is Customer Approved at a Price You Can’t Beat

What better company to purchase a Chinese chef’s knife than straight from the source? XiaoYao’s 7” Chinese Cleaver is customer approved, and, if you choose to go with them, your wallet will thank you. 

XiaoYao’s 7” Chinese Cleaver Knife is made of stainless steel with very sharp blades that can serve any slicing purpose. It has an ergonomic handle meant to be comfortable for all different hands and features a hole in the corner you can use to hang this up on your wall. 

The best of all, though? This knife won’t even cost you 20 bucks and still has raving customer reviews. They even offer a 100% refund if you aren’t satisfied, but I assure you that you probably won’t have to worry about that. 

Buy: XiaoYao’s 7” Chinese Cleaver Knife at Amazon

Enjoy a Paring Knife and All Its Uses

Paring knives are sharp, small knives that are originally used for peeling fruits and veggies but are also used for any slicing work that requires a little extra detail. These are typically cheaper due to their size and are so sharp that they’re notorious for causing finger cuts; so, be careful!

Get Precise with the Global 3” Straight Paring Knife

The Global 3” Straight Paring Knife is the best paring knife and value you’ll be able to find.

This paring knife is forged from a single piece for perfect durability and strength. It has an ergonomic handle designed to prevent slipping and promote grip under any condition, and the handle is weighted specifically to balance out the weight of the blade. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also marked at a fantastic price point. 

Buy: Global 3” Straight Paring Knife at Amazon

The Shun 4” Premier Paring Knife has Both Beauty and Grace

You want your paring knife to be small, have sharp blades, and give you control, and the Shun 4” Premier Paring Knife has it all and some.

This paring knife is small and sharp, giving you the control you need to make small cuts or decorative slices. It has a VG-MAX steel core with 34 micro-thin layers of stainless steel on each side, so it’s strong and durable, too. This line of Shun knives is “inspired by the hand-forged knives of ancient Japan,” so they provide unparalleled ornate aesthetics as well. 

Buy: Shun 4” Premier Paring Knife at Amazon

A Bread Knife is Essential in Every Kitchen

Bread knives are knives with long, serrated blades mainly used to cut through grain products like bread, but can really be used for any purpose in which a serrated blade is needed. 

The Shun Kanso 9” Bread Knife is Designed for Precision

The best bread knife for all you bakers out is the handcrafted Shun Kanso 9” Bread Knife. 

The blade’s serrations are wide and wavy, designed to reduce fallout and crumble that often accompanies bread slicing. This blade is also made from high carbon stainless vanadium steel, meaning it’s made for the long haul. The handle is made of “tagayasan,” Japanese for “iron sword wood,” creating the perfect aesthetic contrast between the elegant handle and rustic blade. 

This is the perfect knife for anyone involved in artisan bread or pastry making- professional or hobbyist.

Buy: Shun Kanso 9” Bread Knife at Amazon

Cut Through the Toughest of Bread with the Global Classic 8 ¾” Bread Knife

No bread is any match for the Global Classic 8 ¾” Bread Knife. I mean it. 

This is a Japanese bread knife made out of Cromava high carbon stainless steel with a textured serrated blade, designed to cut through even the toughest of artisan bread. It’s lightweight yet balanced, allowing for improved control. You’ll get the sharpest slices of bread you’ve ever seen with this knife. 

Buy: Global Classic 8 ¾” Bread Knife at Amazon

Use a Slicing Knife to Carve With Ease

Slicing knives are knives with very sharp, very long, and very narrow blades for slicing larger meat cuts. However, it can be used for cutting vegetables and fruits, too. They are a staple in most kitchen knives. 

Try the Miyabi Kaizen II 9.5” Slicer for the Highest Quality

If you’re looking for the best slicing knife your money can buy, the Miyabi Kaizen II 9.5” Slicer is the choice for you. 

This slicing knife is made with FC61 super steel with a Rockwell hardness level of 61, so this knife is durable and strong, guaranteed to last a lifetime. Their knives are made in small-scale factories to ensure hand craftsmanship rather than their machine-produced counterparts, and dark pakkawood handles add elegant contrast. 

Buy: Miyabi Kaizen II 9.5” Slicer at Amazon

Try the 12” Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife with Granton Edge for the Best Value

If you’re looking for a slicing knife at a great value, the 12” Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife with Granton Edge is the one for you. 

This gorgeous slicing knife features a blade with a Rockwell hardness of 56 is made to last with scalloped edges, preventing food from sticking to the blade. It has a non-slip handle, so you’ll maintain your grip even if it’s wet or greasy, and it features a rounded tip rather than the classic sharp tip for an intriguing look. 

Buy: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife at Amazon

Every Classy Cook Needs a Carving Knife

Carving knives are used for carving roast meat and are often visually similar to the slicing knife- you can consider them cousins. They are usually used in tandem with a meat fork and are often the go-to tool for carving the United States’ annual Thanksgiving turkey.

Wusthof’s 2-Piece Hollow Edge Carving Set will Make Your Family Envious This Holiday Season

Are you looking to wow everyone with your carving tools this holiday season? The Wusthof 2-Piece Hollow Edge Carving Set has got you covered- it’s sure to be a fan favorite.

The set comes with two pieces- a 6” straight meat fork and an 8” hollow edge sharp carving knife. Both are crafted with the same high carbon durable stainless steel, and handles are made with what’s called ‘polyoxymethylene,’ which, according to Wusthof’s website, has a “tighter molecular structure to resist fading and discoloration.” Did I mention they’re absolutely gorgeous, too?

Buy: Wusthof’s 2-Piece Hollow Edge Carving Set at Amazon

Get the Carving Done Right with J.A. Henckels International Forged Elite 2-Piece Carving Set

The J.A. Henckels International Forged Elite 2-Piece Carving Set gets the job done for a fraction of the price. 

This carving set features an 8” carving knife and 7” carving fork made with high carbon German stainless steel- meant to last a lifetime even at this price point. It has a forged full bolster for added weight and control and has the classic silver/black color contrast to fit your holiday traditions.

Buy: Henckels International Forged Elite 2-Piece Carving Set at Amazon

Steak Knives

Steak knives are sharp, dramatically serrated knives used for cutting through tough cuts of steak. Nowadays, they are usually the only sharp knife featured at tables during regular meals. 

The J.A. Henckels International Eversharp 8-piece Steak Knife Set Gives You a Lot for a Small Cost

For our carnivores interested in steak knives for a great value, the best steak knives you can get your hands on is the J.A. Henckels International Eversharp 8-piece Steak Set.

This set has it all. Each knife is made from stainless steel and includes sharp micro-serrations, allowing for the cleanest slices every time. Weighted handles add strength and balance to the knife, and their handles are non-slip, ensuring the safety of its users. This set of 8 steak knives is the perfect addition to any home. 

Buy: Henckels Eversharp 8-piece Steak Set at Amazon

Now you know the best chefs, santoku, Chinese cleaver, paring, bread, slicing, carving, and steak knives available on the market. Whether you’re an experienced professional looking for expensive, quality knives or a home cook looking to find quality kitchen knives for the value, this exhaustive list has you covered no matter what your needs are. 

Try XiaoYao’s 7” Chinese Cleaver Knife for a multipurpose Chinese chef’s knife at an incredible price point, Shun Kanso’s 9” Bread Knife for tearing through the hardest of bread crusts, or Wusthof’s 6” Cook’s Knife for the classic chopping experience. No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to be satisfied. Bon appetit! 

Related:

The 10 Best Kitchen Knife Sets For Home Cooks

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