Best Chef Knife

Best Chef Knife Review 2019-Expert pick of the finest chef’s knives

We researched 100 Chef Knife models and found three with the most professional quality and intuitive design

Most PopularBest for Experienced CooksBest Starter Knife
MACShunVictorinox
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How we found the best chef knife

Contents

100 knives considered

4 experts interviewed

3 top picks

Best Chef Knife

There is a reason why we call the best kitchen knives “chef knives”. A good cook is a multitasker, so a good chef’s knife is designed to handle multiple jobs. Think of all the slices and bites that occur in a sautéed meat or chicken noodle soup. You want a single tool that can handle everything. But the best kitchen knife cannot be defined by a single set of characteristics.

It’s all about the feel of the hand: the right knife should feel almost like an extension of your forearm. We talked to two chefs, a cooking instructor and an expert in knives, then cut, diced and peeled with the 11 best-selling chef’s knives to see which one stood out.

How We Chose the Best Chef Knife

8-inch knives

While many aspects of the best kitchen knife are reduced to personal preferences, the length of the blade and the material were rare areas of consensus: all the experts we spoke with recommended eight-inch stainless steel blades for the home cooks.

“Eight inches is great,” Chef Ariane Resnick explained. “Twelve or thirteen is huge! I would only recommend that if you cut a lot of really big food. “Bon Appetit also recommends eight inches, noting that” residential kitchen counters, non-industrial cutting boards, and civilian muscles cannot handle anything much larger than that. ” size allows for both precision tasks such as cutting the garlic and larger jobs such as cutting root vegetables or cuts of meat.

Stainless steel blades

We put emphasis on stainless steel knives. While there are benefits to ceramics, it can be sharper, maintain a longer edge and not rust, the drawbacks are significant. The pottery is extremely brittle, and if you cut a bone rogue or hit the cutting board at the wrong angle, your blade is likely to splinter.

Bestsellers across nine brands

We compared the Serious Eats and Consumer Reports purchase guides, observed user preferences in kitchen forums such as Chef Talk and Chowhound, then polled our experts to see which brands they preferred, which led to our list of 28 brands just eight very popular options.

Our top Chef Knife brands:8
Global

MAC

Messermeister

Miyabi

Shun

Victorinox

Wusthof

Zwilling

Brands that didn't make the cut: 20
Anolon, BergHOFF, Calphalon, CasaWare, Chicago Cutlery, Clauss, Cuisinart, Curtis Stone, Ginkgo, Ginsu, Ivo Cutlery, KAI, Ken Onion, KitchenAid, OXO, Pfeilring, Rosendahl, Sabatier, Wolf, Zyliss

Each brand manufactures multiple models (Miyabi has eight 8-inch stainless steel knives), so we contacted each of the companies to ask which models were the best sellers. We wanted tried and tested designs. If we were directed to more than one sales success, we ordered them both. Then we brought those knives to our test kitchen to see which ones they would cut.

We put 11 knives to the test

Deborah Brownstein, the cooking instructor, and owner of Mangia Bene Catering and Kitchen Coach Cooking School visited our testing room to help us put our contenders at their own pace.

To evaluate the touch of the hand, we subject our knives to four common kitchen tasks. With Brownstein watching the good technique, we pricked mint leaves, diced carrots, peeled zucchini and chicken breasts with butter. Our test group comprised a variety of ages, body types and hand sizes, not to mention very different levels of cooking experience, so we were surprised to find that there was a consensus on which knives felt better.

The 11 knives to the test
Global G-2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

MAC MTH-80 Professional Series 8-Inch Chef Knife with Dimples Messermeister Meridian Elite Chef’s Knife

Messermeister Park Plaza Carbon 8″ Chef’s Knife

Miyabi Kaizen Chef’s Knife

Miyabi Morimoto Red Series 600 S 8″ Chef’s Knife

Shun Classic Chef Knife Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Wusthof Classic Chef Knife

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional S 8-Inch Chef Knife

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Forged Razor Series 8″ Chef’s Knife

Top 3 Best Chef Knives

  • MAC MTH-80 Professional Series 8-Inch Chef Knife with Dimples – Most Popular
  • Shun Classic 8″ Chef Knife – Best for Experienced Cooks
  • Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife – Best Starter Knife

Best Chef Knives Reviews on Details

MAC MTH-80 Professional Series 8-Inch Chef Knife with Dimples – Most Popular

Pros

Comfortable design
Balanced weight
Dimpled blade

Cons

Expensive

😊Intuitive design for most hand sizes and skill levels

Why we chose it

Comfortable and maneuverable

The 8-inch notched chef knife of the MAC MTH-80 professional series is the brand’s “most popular knife for everyday use” and was the most popular knife in our testing room.

It is maneuverable enough to cut mint leaves, cut carrots and peel the pumpkin, offering clean cuts without the need for a perfect shape. “The MAC knife is one of my favorites,” Brownstein told us. “The weight/balance is perfect for me.

It’s wide enough to keep your food together and maintains a great advantage. “Bob Tate, the knife sharpener and owner of Seattle Knife Sharpening & Supply, agrees that the MAC is good for smaller hands and for people who want Make fine cuts, it’s a Japanese-style knife, which means that, in general, it’s going to be smaller than a European-style knife.

Balanced weight

With 7.1 ounces, the MAC is right in the middle of our contenders in terms of weight, but the blade is only 1.88 inches wide, which means you never feel like you’re wielding a blade.

In fact, the satisfactory weight of the MAC was a matter of execution, which an evaluator described the blade as “thin and light, but balanced”. This balance could have been helped by the MAC medium reinforcement.

Two of the three fully reinforced knives we tested were hit by feeling “clumsy” or “heavy”, while the knife without a head felt “almost too light” for some of our testers.

Dimpled blade

The MAC’s concession edge, also known as “dimples” along the side of its blade, is designed to prevent food from sticking to the knife when cutting. Brownstein pointed out that while these divots do not make a big difference, the best way to keep away sticky foods is to rub the knife blade with some simple vegetable oil before cutting things like garlic or potato. But the evaluators noticed that the MAC accumulated fewer pieces of carrot and mint than the knives without dimples.

Points to consider

Expensive

The MAC is one of the best kitchen knives, but it has a high price. It’s not more expensive than most high-end knives, but if you’re a novice chef, spending more than $ 100 on a kitchen knife may seem like too much. That said, if your price is not a deciding factor, the MAC is a great knife for beginners and professionals alike. When we asked Brownstein which knife he would like to take home, as a thank you for helping us with the tests. She chose the MAC.


Shun Classic 8″ Chef Knife – Best for Experienced Cooks

Pros

Functional, beautiful design
Unique D-shaped handle

Cons

Not for beginners
Requires high level of maintenance

😊Gorgeous, but with a tougher learning curve

Why we chose it

Functional, beautiful design

The Shun Classic 8 made a great impression when we started cutting. The testers had no trouble dividing a pumpkin in half, and the knife was maneuverable enough to peel the pumpkin in “long, pretty strips.” It was also the only knife we ​​tried that made a satisfying “showing” sound when we cut.

The Shun, like the Mac, is a light Japanese knife with half reinforcement. “I love Shun knives,” Brownstein told us. “They are beautiful, like a piece of functional art, with great balance and good quality steel.” At 7.3 ounces, with a 1.8-inch-wide blade, it had a weight and balance similar to MAC.

Unique D-shaped handle

The Shun got an overwhelmingly favorable response from seasoned chefs for their grip and balanced weight, and even the rookies liked it better than the Japanese-style Miyabi knives we tried, which had leaves and mangoes that felt stiff and clumsy.

In fact, the Shun handle was an outstanding feature. Instead of being totally round (like some traditional Japanese knives), it is D-shaped: the curve of the D fits into the curve of the fingers when grasping the knife.

Points to consider

Not for beginners

The Shun is clearly designed for people who already know the kitchen. Several novice chefs in our group struggled to maintain a comfortable grip, and one of them lamented that “it just does not feel right”. The knife’s column was also less tolerant, rubbing against index fingers that slipped from a proper pinch grip.

Because the handle is designed with a professional pressure grip in mind, if it does not maintain the proper shape, your mileage may vary. But if you master the right technique, your Shun can stay sharp for a long time. “My favorite brand of the knife is Shun,” chef Ariane Resnick told us. “Your Western-style Japanese knives can go years without sharpening, even with serious use.”

Requires a high level of maintenance

The compensation for the visual elegance of Shun is that the knife requires careful maintenance. The handle is made of a wood / plastic compound, which is more delicate. Brownstein noted that too much exposure to water would be harmful to her; You should thoroughly dry the knife and its handle after using it.

The knife is also coated with Damascus: the blade is made of steel and then covered with an outer layer of Damascus steel. While Damascus is only quite strong, when it is just an outer layer, the edge of the blade is more likely to splinter. In fact, the Shun website includes this warning in its frequently asked questions: “Shavings can occur due to inadequate cutting technique. Shun cutlery is designed to be used with a smooth and sharp movement, and never in a sharp and up and down. “


Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife – Best Starter Knife

Pros

Budget-friendly
European-style knife

Cons

Plastic handle

😊Inexpensive and offers a solid performance

Why we chose it

Service title

The Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch chef’s knife is an excellent choice for people who want to start cooking regularly but are not yet ready to invest a lot of money, offering solid performance for around $ 45. Tate agrees that the Victorinox It is the best knife for people who have a limited budget (although he, like our evaluators, prefers a wooden handle to the Victorinox plastic). Brownstein told us that commercial kitchens often ask for this knife for their line chefs. If you are looking for a low cost but a respectable quality, Victorinox is a good place to start.

European-style

The Victorinox is a European-style knife, which means that the blade is wider and a little thicker than the Japanese-style MAC and Shun. It only weighs 6.6 ounces (lighter than the MAC and Shun), but the blade measures 2 inches wide at its widest point. Although he did not feel as maneuverable as the Shun or the MAC, one of the testers pointed out that “he did not like the big handle to cut small things”, he believed that the Victorinox was “great for big things” like squash.

Points to consider

Plastic handle

The handle of Victorinox was its most controversial feature. Made of Fibrox, with a slightly textured pattern, it offers a non-slip grip even if your hands are wet. Our fingers felt undeniably safe. But the handle also felt bulky for some testers, and several people noticed that the material seemed “cheap” or “flimsy”. One tester even told us that “every time I use it, it’s more comfortable, but it feels cheap, so I have a mental block there.” However, if you have a budget and are new to the kitchen, Victorinox is your best option. . .

How to Care for Your Chef Knife

Know the which parts of your knife are which

No single feature makes a knife objectively better. Rather, they are indicators of how the knife is designed to perform. But it’s good to know the names of each function to understand your personal preferences.

Butt: The back of your handle.
Heel: the back end of the blade, closest to the fingers.
Tip: The front half of the blade. Do not confuse it with the point.
Point: The literal pointed bit at the end of the knife.
Edge: The sharp side of the blade. Be careful.
Spine: The upper part of the sheet. Some people place their index fingers along the spine while cutting, but this is considered a bad technique.
Tang: The steel that extends beyond the blade of your knife and into the handle. When a knife has a full tang, it means that the steel reaches the end.
Reinforcement: The thick band of steel between the handle of the knife and the heel of the knife. A full reinforcement extends to the heel; A half cushion stops at the heel. Some knives do not have any reinforcement.
Granton Edge: The dimples in the sheet. Not all knives have them. In theory, this prevents food from sticking as it is cut.

Keep your chef knife properly sharpened

As Rachel Muse, private chef and founder of Talk Eat Laugh says: “If you buy a professional knife, you must maintain the advantage, otherwise it’s like having a car and not putting fuel in it.” A professional knife sharpener in your area, you can outsource the task. If not, MAC and Shun offer a sharpening service by mail (Shun offers it for free). You can also learn to sharpen your knife yourself.

Hone your knife

A knife sharpening rod, or burnishing steel, is designed to keep your knife working well between sharpening. Sharpening straightens the edge of a knife, while sharpening literally removes some of the steel to produce a sharper edge.

Brownstein recommends sharpening your knife every time you pick it up (the whole process should only take 10 to 20 seconds) or, if you prepare a lot, whenever you start to feel bored. She offers these tips:

  • Hold the steel upright and move the blade quickly through and down the steel at a 25-degree angle, as if you were cutting slices of cheese.
  • After tuning, check the sharpness of your knife by gently sliding it over a soft tomato. The knife should bite the fruit immediately without pressure.


Keep in mind that not all of our experts recommend perfecting. “People often get sharpened incorrectly,” Resnick told us, “so unless you know you’re doing it right, it’s not worth it.”

Learn the right way to chop

If you are looking to improve your cutting game, Bob Tate offers these tips:

  • Imagine that your cutting board is a clock. Most people point their knife at noon, placing the food horizontally on the cutting board. But if you tilt the knife so that it points towards 10 o’clock (and adjust your food so it stays parallel), the knife becomes an extension of your forearm and is easier to handle.
  • Keep your knife in contact with your cutting board or work surface. It is not necessary to lift it from the cutting board for each cut.

Just use your knife in food. When Brownstein teaches cooking classes, he is surprised at how many students use their chef’s knives for tasks like cutting open boxes. “A chef’s knife is his most important kitchen tool,” he says, “buy a pair of kitchen scissors for boxes and bags!”

Avoid the dishwasher

Regardless of the manufacturer’s instructions, never put your kitchen knife in the dishwasher. And while you’re doing it, never throw it in the sink. Each time the blade of the blade hits something, such as the plastic spines of your dishwasher or the metal sides of your sink, it may become dull, and you want to keep the blade as sharp as possible for as long as possible.

Instead, wash your knife by hand with standard dish soap, then use a clean dishcloth or a paper towel to rub it completely dry. (If you let it air dry, it can develop water spots or rust spots).

Chef Knife FAQ

Should I get a knife set?

All of our experts considered that knife games were a waste of money. “Buy knives one at a time,” Muse told us. “Each chef will have his own mix; a set is too narrow and prescriptive. “

How many other kitchen knives do I need?

After you have invested in a quality chef’s knife, you may want to expand your collection with any of the following:

  • A serrated bread knife to cut loaves of bread.
  • A peeling knife, which has a very short blade, for tasks such as peeling apples or potatoes.
  • A boning knife or filleting knife can be useful depending on the cuts of meat and fish that you normally cook.

As a general rule, if the purpose of the knife is in your name (bread knife, filleting knife, even meat knife or grapefruit knife) you mark a task that will be difficult to achieve with a multi-purpose chef’s knife

What’s the best type of steel for a chef knife?

The best steel for kitchen knives usually falls between 55 and 60 on the Rockwell hardness scale, strong enough to retain a sharp edge, but soft enough to avoid being too brittle. (You want your knife to be able to take a beating without fracturing).

The harder the steel, the longer it will stay sharp, but the harder it will be to resharpen on its own, and professional service is often required to recover it. If you would like more information about their specific properties, the KnivesAndTools.com and The Manual guides are great places to start.

What’s the best way to hold my knife?

According to Bob Tate, you should hold your kitchen knife with a pinch grip: grip towards the front of the handle, with your thumb and your index finger, bent pressing the base of the blade.

What’s the difference between a chef knife and a Santoku knife?

At a glance, Santoku knives and chef knives look nearly identical. But each caters to a different cooking style. Santoku knives are shorter, lighter and thinner, with a rounded tip and a flat edge. This means that cutting requires an up-and-down slicing motion. A chef knife’s blade is curved and allows you to cut by rocking the knife against the cutting board.

A Santoku excels at tasks that require agility like mincing delicate herbs or making precise cuts. The tradeoff is that it’s not as versatile as a chef knife and is likely to struggle against larger tasks, like cutting up a chicken or slicing through butternut squash.

Our Chef Knife Review Comparison Table

MAC MTH-80Shun ClassicVictorinox Fibrox
The bestOverallFor experienced cooks Starter knife
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck price
Weight7.1 ounces7.3 ounces 6.6 ounces
Inches wide1.881.80 2.00
BolsterHalf-bolsterHalf-bolster N/A
Knife styleJapaneseJapanese European
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