There is no kitchen knife more important than a chef's knife, unless, of course, you're an Italian nonna, in which case you can probably break down a cow with a dull paring knife. But for all the rest of us, a chef's knife is where most of the action is. It is a true workhorse, useful for nearly any task. This is the knife you use to dice onions, chop carrots, smash garlic under its side, and cut up meat. Sure, there's a whole array of specialized knives you can invest in, but in a pinch, a sharp chef's knife can do most of their jobs more than well enough, whether that's slicing delicate fish, carving a turkey, or mincing a shallot.
Because of its importance in the kitchen, a chef's knife is one of the knives that most warrant a splurge. I always tell people to buy inexpensive paring knives and serrated slicers so they can allocate more toward a good chef's knife. (This is also why I don't generally recommend block sets of knives: You end up overpaying for the less significant knives and underpaying for the key ones.
Whether you're an professional chef or a novice, having a sharp, durable, and sturdy chef's knife is essential when preparing a meal. It's one of the only kitchen tools you use almost every time you prepare food, so selecting high-quality cutlery can have major benefits in the kitchen—both in terms of safety and efficiency. However, chef's knives aren't one-size-fits-all, and what works for some may not work for others. In search of the best chef's knife, we put some of the leading models to the test by chopping, slicing, and dicing a variety of foods.
There is no such thing as a universal best chef's knife because finding the knife that works best for you involves considering many personal variables, like the size of your hands, the style of your cooking, and what feels natural and comfortable to you. However, a solid chef's knife should always be sharp, balanced, and comfortable to hold, no matter the size. Before shopping for one, it's important to assess what types of food you plan to use it for and how often, as well as how you plan to clean and care for it.
Here are our choices for specific tasks, consideration is given to all aspects of quality and durability.
Mac Knife 8-Inch Hollow Edge Chef's Knife
Pros: A super-sharp blade and slip-free handle make this a standout choice for best overall knife.
Cons: This knife does not come with a sheath, so make sure to store it properly in order to safely preserve the super-sharp edge.
Overall, our testers were thoroughly impressed by how easily this knife passed all of our tests. It's lightweight and sharp, which any serious home cook knows are the two most important factors in finding a reliable chef's knife.
This Japanese-style knife features a thin blade and dimples that help prevent food from sticking. Throughout all of our tests we found this knife to be surprisingly sharp, lightweight, and durable. Our testers were able to slice through dense vegetables just as easily as soft vegetables, and the blade had no trouble gliding through a sheet of paper or slippery tomato skin. The Pakkawood handle was easy to grip and felt sturdy in our hands no matter what type of material our testers were cutting against. Overall, this knife has a super-sharp blade that is expertly balanced with the handle, so pressure and strain on our hands and wrists was minimal.
Price at time of publish: $95
Global Classic Chef's Knife
Pros: This knife is made from one single piece of metal, so it's lightweight and ergonomic. Cons: Since this knife is on the lighter side, our testers had a little trouble cutting through tough ingredients like butternut squash.
If you're most comfortable with a very lightweight knife and want one that's easy to care for, this is a solid option. It's made of just one piece of metal, including the handle, which is hollow and filled with sand. The specific construction makes the knife feel perfectly balanced from heel to tip. Because the handle isn't weighted down with any extra material—like rivets—the knife feels sleek and ergonomic in our hands. The metal handle has dimples to provide a safe grip, and while some cooks think it gets slippery when used to cut chicken, meat, or anything juicy, we didn't find that to be the case. Global's knives are made in Japan and come in a range of sizes like 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch.
This knife easily achieved paper-thin cuts in our tomato test and made easy work of chopping and mincing garlic. Though the super-sharp blade was able to slice through the squash, our testers noted that having a heavier knife might be better for tough, dense ingredients.
Note that this knife should be hand washed using warm water and mild detergent. We found it to be easy to clean, though some ingredients left spots on the metal.
Price at time of publish: $105 for 6"
Shun Classic Blonde 8" Chef's Knife
Pros: This Japanese knife has a Western-style curve, which means you get the benefits of both blade styles in one knife. Cons: This is a pricier knife that should be hand washed and diligently taken care of.
As far as Japanese Chef's knives go, Shun is an industry favorite that consistently offers sharp, lightweight knives that are durable and sturdy. The Classic Blonde does not disappoint, as it comes equipped with a birch wood handle that's treated with resin for extra durability and designed for comfort in both left and right hands. The knife is handcrafted with 34 layers of forged stainless steel on each side, resulting in a flexible blade that is rust-proof, stain-proof, and stick-resistant. As a high-end option, our testers love how easily it achieves paper thin slices, and the slightly curved blade allows for moderate rocking.
After using this knife for many years, our editors can attest to its quality, so long as you care for it properly. Make sure to hand wash and fully dry in between each use, and store it in a way that will safely preserve the razor-sharp edge.
Price at time of publish: $170
A little Plug for our Knives
New Style Chef Knife, Handmade Stainless Steel Chef Knife 13" Mirror shade
ABOUT THE HANDLE:: THE HANDLE IS MADE OF THE BEAUTIFUL RESIN AND STEEL BOLSTER. THE HANDLE IS DESIGNED ERGONOMICALLY FOR A PERFECT GRIP. TENSILE HIGH POLISH STAINLESS STEEL BLADE FOR ULTIMATE DURABILITY.
TOTAL LENGTH:: "13 Inches
BLADE LENGTH:: "8 Inches
HANDLE LENGTH:: "5 Inches
Thanks for dropping by, and happy cooking!