Whether you’re a pro chef or a foodie still learning the ropes of cooking, a good knife is your best friend. Indeed, having the best knives can help you chop, slice, and dice to create sumptuous dishes in your kitchen.
In this article, we’ll discuss why having a great knife is crucial for any cook. We’ll also look at pointers to consider when shopping for a knife. And we’ll countdown nine of the best ones on the market regardless of your budget.
The Importance of a Good Knife
If you know someone who went to culinary school, you probably know how much they give importance to their knives. Even on the TV show, Top Chef, the host’s standard elimination line is “Please pack your knives and go.”
Pro or not, knife skills are crucial if you’re serious about cooking. Here are some of the reasons why finding a good knife or knife set is critical:
- You can hone most high-quality knives for a sharp edge that makes them as good as new. Anyone who has spent time in the kitchen knows just how hard it is to cut food with a dull knife. Sometimes, when using a dull blade, the added effort to cut can result in a higher risk of a kitchen accident.
- Knife skills are gold in culinary arts, and your knife set is your dance partner. A good chef’s knife will allow you to cut uniform pieces of vegetables, meat, fish, and other raw ingredients. If you’re a self-taught cook, you’d be surprised at how doing so can make your dishes gourmet.
How to Choose Knives
You can try to search for a product hailed as the best chef knife in the world, but you probably won’t find it. What you can consider being the best can largely depend on your needs and preferences. Here are some factors you need to consider when choosing a knife:
- Weight is one of the most crucial factors to consider when selecting a knife. Some cooks prefer a heavy knife as it falls with more potent force. On the other hand, some people prefer lightweight knives that offer more control. Before buying, check the weight of the knife and make sure that you’ll be comfortable using it.
- A good knife will give you a perfect balance when you grip the handle. The knife fits snuggly on your grip, and its weight balanced perfectly on your palm.
- Another crucial factor is the materials used for the knife. The blade steel must be high-quality and should stay sharp if you handle it well.
9 Best Knives Regardless of Your Budget
Here are nine of the best knives you can find in the market today. Check out the features of each to guide you in purchasing a knife to fit your needs and lifestyle.
Aritsugu Aoko Betsuuchi Yanagi Knife
This product is 30-cm long and weighs two pounds. The red sandalwood handle gives it a nice, classic look, with a water buffalo horn bolster. It’s a pretty knife, alright, but its power lies in its function in the kitchen. Unlike standard knives made of stainless steel, this knife is made with a carbon steel blade. This material is sharper but also requires more care from the user.
Due to its sharpness, it can slice perfectly glossy, smooth, wedges of fish, without having rough or bruised parts. In the same vein, it’s also a great tool for skinning fish, slicing veggies thinly, and carving cooked meats.
The knife will set you back at $479.99 USD on Amazon. Despite the hefty price tag, it can be a worthy investment if you know how to take care of the blade.
Yoshihiro Aoko Blue Steel Kurouchi Santoku and Petty Japanese Chef Knife
Considered one of the best kitchen knives set options worldwide, this product includes a 7-inch santoku and a 6-inch chef knife. For those not familiar with santoku, it’s Japan’s version of a chef knife. Similar to a chef knife, the variant from the Land of the Rising Sun is great for chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing. The term santoku translates to “three virtues,” meaning you can use it for fish, meat, and veggies.
The term Kurouchi means “Black Forged” in Japanese. It’s the method of creating high carbon knives that are sharp and stain-resistant. These knives are sturdy, with a Rockwell scale hardness of 62 tp 63. Proper maintenance includes keeping it dry after use and putting Tsubaki Oil or Japanese Tea Seed Oil on the surface. Honing the knives on Japanese water stones once in a while is also suggested.
This set costs USD 299.99 on the company’s website. You can order a set with gift wrapping for an additional USD 4.99 and text engraving for USD 9.99.
Takamura HSPS Pro Honesuki Knife
If you’re looking for the best knife brands, Takamura won’t let you down. As the name suggests, the 5.9-inch blade of this knife has a HSPS (High Speed Powdered Steel) core. R2/SG2 powdered steel, made through a tech that mixes iron with other powder-form alloying elements. This process results in a flexible and ductile product.
The product retails for around $320 USD at MTC Kitchen.
Global G-2 8-inch Chef’s Knife
This 8-inch chef’s knife is lightweight and boasts of being precisely balanced. The blade itself features stainless steel from molybdenum and vanadium, crafted through a high-tech process. The result is a sharp knife that’s soft enough to be whetstone-sharpened. The razor edge is notable, and the handle’s design is perfect for a safe and comfortable grip.
The knife retails for $84.95 on Amazon. The company also offers a lifetime warranty against defects and breakage.
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX
This knife, handcrafted in Japan, has extra tungsten, chromium, and cobalt, resulting in a sharp edge, corrosion-resistance, and strength. The handle, on the other hand, features water-resistant ebony PakkaWood. The knife is a product from traditional Japanese blade-making practices.
The knife retails for $149.95 on Amazon.
Miyabi 34373-203 Chef’s Knife
This knife features a G2 micro carbide powder steel with an authentic thin Japanese blade profile. The 8-inch product features stainless steel and top-of-the-line Birchwood. The knife’s micro-carbide powder steel features 100 layers of steel. Aside from the strength of its lade, buyers love the aesthetics of its handle, made with Karelian Birch, also used for Faberge eggs.
Miyabi 34373-203 retails for USD 249.95 on Amazon.
KUMA Premium Damascus Chef Knife – Professional Edition
Also considered one of the best Japanese kitchen knives online, this 8-inch knife takes pride in having a blade with 67 fine layers of crafted Japanese Damascus steel. KUMA says the edge is so strong and sharp, and it can “cut through tomatoes like butter,” and “even chop through thin bone.”
The maker combined modern tech and ancient techniques to create a scalpel-like cutting edge knife. Its 2.5mm-thick super blade strength has a 58 to 60 hardness on the Rockwell scale. Due to its versatility, you can use it for meat and vegetables. Added to its features, the product doesn’t require any special maintenance steps. It only needs hand-washing, drying, and keeping the blade in its knife guard.
This knife is on sale at USD 99.97 at KUMA’s website. They offer a lifetime limited warranty that includes a 30-day 100% Money-Back Guarantee.
Dalstrong Phantom Series Nakiri 6″ Vegetable Knife
If you do a lot of veggie-cutting at home, you might want to consider this knife. The 6-inch forged blade has high levels of added chromium for stain resistance. The sharp edge is hand-finished with precision, resulting in a mirror polish.
The handle, on the other hand, features high-quality laminated Pakkawood imported from Spain. In the same vein, it features a stainless steel hand-polished end cap that adds counter-balance. Added to that is the crafted brass and copper ‘phantom spirit’ mosaic that makes for a beautiful kitchen tool. The Japanese D-shaped handle sits into the palm of one’s hand for optimum comfort and control.
This is a low-maintenance blade, perfect for those who don’t have the time to hone or apply blade oils. Phantom Series Nakiri 6″ is on sale at $69.90 at Dalstrong’s website.
Veark CK01 Chef’s Knife
VEARK is a Danish design company committed to creating honest quality items. One of their products, CK01, is one of the best knives for home cooks. The knife has a 7.9-inch blade, with an overall length measuring 12.6 inches. The blade is drop-forged by skilled craftsmen in the knife-forging town of Solingen, Germany. The Rockwell hardness scales of this knife fall between 55 to 56 Rockwell.
Previously funded through Kickstarter, the knife features an ergonomic design, guided by how pro chefs hold their knives. The result is an open-handle design, which allows users to slide their thumb onto the blade while holding the knife at a point of balance.
Drop-fording creates patterns on each knife, making every piece a unique work of art with its own character. CK01, which weighs 200g, retails for USD 167.83 on VEARK’s website.