Cooking Knife / Chef Knives Reviews
Purchasing a chef’s knife can be an intimidating task. People often see the size of a chef knife and wonder if they are even equipped to use one. The truth is that chef knives really aren’t that difficult to use, as long as you respect them. Various internet resources, including this website’s own Chef’s Knives Use and Care Guide, have been designed to help you learn how to use your chef’s knife safely and effectively.
This page is dedicated to helping you find your next (or maybe your very first) chef’s knife. I have scoured the internet, reading endless product descriptions and consumer opinions. I have researched chef’s knives, learning a lot more about how they work and how they are constructed. I have learned about different types of metals, as well as concerns related to blade size, balance, weight, and blade angles. I completed all of this work so that you will not have to. You can simply read through the reviews listed below and see what each of these knives has to offer.
To create this list of top chef’s knives, I reviewed purchasing statistics to see which knives are most popular on today’s market. I then took information about each of these knives’ specifications and weighed it against what I have learned about chef’s knives through my other research, as well as my own experience, to write product descriptions and evaluations for you. I didn’t want to simply list the top-selling knives for you. With little time and effort, you could create that list yourself. My goal is to help you understand why these knives are so popular and to decide which one you would like to purchase based on those attributes.
In order to achieve these goals, I have included a Top Three choices section, as well as a list of seven honorable mentions.
Top Three Choices
As you may have noticed throughout the rest of this website, I am a fan of “Top Three” lists. I like to keep things quick and simple for those people who do not have the time or energy to read the entire list of reviews I have included here. Of course, I do recommend reading every review thoroughly to make an informed decision, but I also understand that isn’t always possible. Based on my research, I have concluded that the following top three knives are bound to impress.
Best in Class
Zelite Infinity 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
Overall, out of every single knife I reviewed, the Zelite Infinity stood out as superior in quality and craftsmanship. Not only is this a stunning piece to look at, it is bound to impress when you actually put it to work. My research quickly revealed that the Zelite Infinity is constructed to meet the various needs of any home or restaurant chef.
Constructed of 67 layers of high-carbon stainless steel, this strong, rust-resistant knife is solid in structure; it should easily handle almost any task you throw its way. Chopping through tough vegetables and meat shouldn’t be a match for the Infinity. In fact, cutting through anything should be simple with this blade’s incredible 12-degree angle.
This knife’s thick bolster is specially-designed to allow you to pinch it firmly as you effortlessly tackle the fine task of mincing delicate herbs with the nearly flat two inches of blade nearest the handle. The rest of the blade is elegantly curved, allowing you to rock it back and forth with ease as you perform some of the more intricate slicing techniques for which chef’s knives are most commonly known.
Getting a good grip on the handle of this knife should be relatively simple as it has been slightly rounded for comfort. The full tang blade and solid steel end cap make controlling this knife even easier as they provide the perfect counterbalance to the weight of its blade.
Victorinox Fibrox Straight Edge
This Victorinox knife is excellent for beginners. Both its quality and its price reflect its applicability as a beginner’s knife. Of course, its quality isn’t quite up to par with some of the more expensive knives on this list, however beginners are usually more focused on affordability and less on quality. I believe that this Victorinox gives you just enough quality to stop you from giving up on your home-chef goals for an acceptable price.
Sharpened with precision in mind, this 15-degree blade will not disappoint in terms of sharpness. It will easily and effortless cut through almost anything you place in its path. This knife’s blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel and features a sweeping curve designed to easily rock back and forth during various cutting tasks.
Its plastic handle appears rather comfortable and has been textured to allow for a better grip than many other plastic handles. If you are looking to buy a good-quality knife without breaking the bank, and do not require something that can stand up to an entire afternoon of peeling potatoes, this may be the way to go.
Best Big and Small
Wusthof Classic Cook’s Knife
Every hand is made differently, and so too should every knife be made differently. People with dainty hands may have a difficult time controlling clunky, oversized knives. People with large hands may overpower smaller knives. People with stubby fingers, long fingers, or weak wrists may all have special requirements where their chef’s knives are concerned. Different jobs can even require knives of different lengths. It is for those reasons that I believed it would be best to include a top spot for a knife available in many different sizes.
The Wusthof Classic Cook’s knife is available in seven different sizes, including 4.5 inches, 6 inches, 7 inches, 8 inches, 9 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. The handle of each knife has also been adjusted to reflect its blade’s length to allow proper counterbalance and control.
This all being said, I did not select the Wusthof Classic cook’s knife because it was the only knife which came in this array of sizes. Other chef’s/cook’s knives are also available in an array of sizes. What made this Wusthof stand out were its many other great qualities.
For example, its triple-riveted full tang blade offers excellent balance and control in the hands of any home or restaurant chef. Its slight curve will allow you to rock it back and forth atop your cutting board as you complete some of the smaller and finer kitchen tasks. Its high-carbon stainless steel is more rust-resistant than other high-carbon steels but stays sharp much longer than low-carbon stainless steel.
There are many more than three great chef’s knives in the world. It would be unfair of me to only list my top three then carry on with my day. Not only are these other knives deserving of mention, but you deserve to know about them.
I selected my top three knives based on the average needs of average people from specific groups. “Best in Class” was assigned to the knife most likely to impress someone in search of top quality. “Best Value” was given to the knife that I believe will best satisfy someone who is looking for some quality but is not willing or able to spend a lot of money. It is what I believe to be the best beginner chef’s knife. The “Best Big and Small” category went to the knife I believed would appeal most to someone looking for a top quality knife available in multiple sizes.
However, you may not be the “average” person I created in my mind for each of those categories. Perhaps you are looking for something dishwasher friendly. Maybe you are in search of something made from only high-carbon steel or stainless steel, not a high-carbon stainless steel hybrid metal. Perhaps you are in search of a knife with a particular aesthetic appeal.
I created this “Honorable Mentions” list to bring you more of the most popular chef’s knives on today’s market, on the off-chance that one of the “Top Three” simply does not meet your needs.
J. A. Henckels International Classic Chefs Knife
Available in the average 8-inch size as well as a larger 10-inch option, the J. A. Henckels International chef’s knife appeals to me mostly because it has been forged from high-carbon steel. Firstly, I prefer high-carbon steel to stainless steel or even the new hybrid high-carbon/stainless steel many companies are now using, because it is harder, stronger, stays sharper longer, and is easier to sharpen. Secondly, I prefer forged knives because the way they have been created to offer even more strength and durability in their blades. Forged knives are getting harder and harder to find which, to me, only increases their value. Interestingly, this knife is actually rather inexpensive.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find much information regarding the angle of the knife’s blade. For me, this makes it much less appealing, as I am not a fan of sharpening knives. If I am honest with you, although I know how to sharpen my own knives and have done it many times in the past, I have recently become so busy that I’ve decided to send them out for sharpening on occasion. Therefore, while this blade could be brought to a clean 15 degree angle (if it isn’t already) it just seems like a little more work than I am willing to put forth. If you do not mind the work, you may want to try this knife on for size. Who knows, maybe it is already sharpened to 15 degrees.
Equinox Professional 8-Inch Knife
The Equinox Professional 8-inch chef’s knife features an average length stainless steel blade. Despite the fact that stainless steel is not as strong as high-carbon steel and will not stay sharp as long as high-carbon steel, this option may appeal to those who are in search of a dishwasher-friendly option.
This Equinox’s handle is D-shaped, which offers a superior grip when compared with round or flat blades. Not only will the grip be more secure, it will also be more comfortable for the user. This blade features no finger grooves, which may be seen as a positive or a negative depending upon how you most often use your knife. If you usually use it in one fashion and find that finger grooves help you keep a solid grip, you may not be happy with this knife. On the other hand, if you like to perform a variety of techniques with your chef’s knife, you may enjoy the flexibility this knife’s handle offers you in terms of grip.
Unfortunately, this Equinox features one major downside – its blade is nearly flat. Save for a small curve near its tip, this blade is almost completely flat, which will make it very difficult to perform many of the techniques most people expect to be able to perform with their chef’s knives. In making your decision of whether or not to select this particular knife, I suggest strongly factoring in its nearly straight blade.
Shun DM0706 Classic
Available with a 6-inch, 8-inch, or 10-inch blade, the Shun Classic Chef’s knife is perfect for those people who prefer a broad curve to their chef’s knife’s blade. Personally, I prefer a chef’s knife with a slight curve – curved enough near the tip to allow me to rock it back and forth but straight enough near the base to allow me to chop in a side-to-side motion. However, some people prefer a rounder blade, based on their own preferred techniques. The curve of this blade and its incredibly sharp 16-degree angle should not fail to impress those people.
Created from 32 layers of high-carbon stainless steel, this knife will stay sharp almost as long as the leading high-carbon knife and will also maintain the rust-resistance of a stainless steel knife. Its thick bolster gives you something to grab hold of as you work on fine tasks, such as mincing and julienning.
The stainless steel aspects of its blade are probably what have prompted the company to claim that this knife is dishwasher safe. Still, I caution against placing it in the dishwasher on account of its Pakkawood handle. This handle’s beautiful dark woodgrain offers a touch of elegance and should not rot, like some other wooden handles, because it has been protected by lamination. I worry, though, that the high heat and high moisture environment of a dishwasher may compromise that lamination and, therefore, I suggest that you hand wash this beautiful piece.
Imarku Professional 8-Inch Chef Knife
Created with an average 8-inch blade, this forged high-carbon stainless steel chef’s knife will impress most home and restaurant chefs. In fact, it was very close to taking the “Best in Class” ranking in our “Top Three Chef’s Knives” list. The high-carbon content of the blade makes it strong and helps it stay sharp longer than your average stainless steel knife, while the stainless aspects of the metal also make it less likely to rust. The 15-degree angle of the blade makes it extremely sharp. As long as you keep it adequately sharpened, you should never have to struggle with cutting through pepper skins or worry about this knife slipping while you are chopping.
I have absolutely no doubt that this blade can stand up to difficult tasks, based on these three major points: it has a high carbon content, it is thick, it was forged (not punched or pressed). High carbon steel is significantly stronger than low carbon steel. This knife’s blade is a surprisingly thick 2.2mm at its thickest point, making it much more difficult to bend than some of the thinner blades of today’s other top-selling chef’s knives. Finally, forged steel is always stronger than punched or pressed steel. Something about the way that the molecular makeup is altered when pressure and heat are added to the steel during the forging/hammering process makes it stronger and more difficult to bend or break.
The beautiful gift box packaging can also double as a storage container if you do not yet have an adequate knife block. Unfortunately, it does not come with a sheath, which leads me suggest not storing it in a drawer.
Dalstrong Gladiator Series
Perhaps one of the strongest knives on this list, the Dalstrong Gladiator Series 8-inch chef’s knife has been fully forged from high-carbon stainless steel. If you haven’t read any of the other reviews or the Buying Guide, you may be scratching your head wondering what on Earth I am talking about. First let me say that fully forging a knife from any kind of steel is one of the strongest ways to construct a knife. Forging metal, as opposed to stamping or pressing it, makes it strong. The very process of pounding it into its proper shape serves to strengthen the molecular compound of the metal. Don’t ask me how it works – I am not a scientist of any sort, so I cannot explain it; I simply know that it happens.
Secondly, the fact that the blade and the handle are, essentially, one piece means that it will be virtually impossible to break this knife while performing regular kitchen tasks. Whereas other blades may risk coming apart from their handles and possibly harming the user, this knife is much more likely to stay together. The laminated Pakkawood added to the handle does not make up the actual handle itself, but has been triple-riveted to reduce the likelihood of it coming apart from the steel handle.
This knife’s 18-degree cutting angle is slightly less impressive than its construction, as many knives are now being creating with 15 and even 12-degree angles, making them much sharper in comparison.
Shun Premier Chef’s Knife
The second Shun on our list, the Shun Premier, features a comfortable D-shaped laminated Pakkawood handle which is more than just ergonomically supportive, it is also aesthetically pleasing. This knife’s fully forged, hand-hammered blade is incredibly strong and has been curved just enough to allow you to easily rock it back and forth while performing various slicing techniques.
The blade is 16-layers of clad stainless steel. First one piece of steel was hammered into shape then it was enveloped inside another piece of steel which was hammered into shape around it and so on. The stainless steel makes this knife very rust-resistant but more difficult to keep sharp than the high-carbon steel used by many competitors. The number 16 must be a favorite among Shun inventors, as the blade of this knife was not only made up of 16 layers, it is also sharpened at an extremely sharp 16-degree angle.
The dishwasher friendliness of stainless steel is part of what has made this particular knife so popular. However, I warn against actually placing this knife in the dishwasher. Its Pakkawood handle is rot-resistant thanks to its laminate coating, but I worry that the laminate itself would be compromised and possibly destroyed by the high heat and moisture environment inside of a dishwasher.
Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge
The Mac Knife Professional 8-inch chef’s knife is unique among the knives on this list in that it is the only one which features a hollow edge. Do not get confused by that description – the edge of this knife is not actually hollow. It does not have holes in it. Instead, it has what are often referred to as dimples; tiny indents which create air pockets as you slice your food. These air pockets make it more difficult for the food to suction itself to the blade, allowing the slices to fall free from the blade and saving you the time and struggle of continually having to wipe the blade clean.
The hollow points are definitely not this knife’s only selling features, though. Many other hollow edge chef’s knives are available on today’s market, yet this is the only one to have reached this list. Do you wonder why? Perhaps it is because the triple-riveted, full tang handle creates a nice counterweight to the blade and offers a sense of stability and control to the user of the knife. Maybe it is the beauty, comfort, and warmth of the laminated Pakkawood handle which helped bump this particular hollow edge knife into the realm of such high popularity that it earned itself a spot on this list. Or it could have been the easy-to-grip bolster at the base of the handle. Chances are, however, that it was some combination of all these factors.
Making Your Selection
Now that you have read through the various top selling, most popular chef’s knives on the market today, I hope that you have been able to come to a decision about which knife you would like to purchase. At the very least, I hope you have come to a better understanding of what is available and how the different aspects of a chef’s knife come into play in purchasing decisions. I hope that seeing how I select my own favorites and how those favorites compared to my runners up (or honorable mentions) helps you to weigh out your own options.