Perhaps one of the most important tools of any kitchen is the knife. Kitchen knives are an extension of the arm of the chef, so it is important that you are adequately comfortable with your kitchen knife to maneuver around any recipe. This comfort begins, though, by having the right tool at your disposal.

We took a close look at the most common kitchen knives available on the market today to come up with our top seven favorite options. These blades are designed with the average homeowner in mind but still bring a focus to precision cutting and premium build quality to help you slice, dice, and chop your way to the perfect meal every time.

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Top 7 Kitchen Knives

  • Santoprene handle is great for sturdy grip, even with wet hands
  • Taper-ground edge is great for a longer-lasting blade and efficiency
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty

  • Pakka handle is light and provides solid balance
  • Included case for easy display and storage
  • High carbon (0.6%-0.75%) aids in durability
  • Includes a lifetime guarantee

  • Traditional triple-rivet handle remains familiar in balance and comfort
  • German steel build offers better flexibility while still preserving hardness
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

  • Dimpled blade edge glides through foods
  • Pakka wood handle is easy to clean and provides a sturdy, comfortable feel
  • 2.5mm design is sharp enough for all food types
  • Includes a 25-year warranty

  • Textured handle is ergonomically designed for comfort
  • European steel makes for a more lightweight design
  • Exacting angle and tapered edge holds sharpness for longer
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

  • Fibrox handle easily offsets high-carbon steel blade
  • Extra wide-blade helps to easily separate and slice foods
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Includes a lifetime warranty

  • Premium Japanese steel provides for a hard and long-lasting steel
  • Mirror polished blade has a rugged feel alongside durability
  • Triple-riveted handle is textured and fits well in your hands
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

The first knife on our list comes in many different shapes and sizes, but this 8-inch version is certainly one to consider. Offering a clean Santoprene handle and flexible German steel, the Mercer Culinary Genesis is mirror-finished and comes in a variety of lengths and design options when purchased online. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of online shopping and allows chefs to pick out their favorite options without needing to compromise.

While this blade tends to have a fair amount of give, we appreciate the simple design choices and the sturdy composition. The Mercer Culinary Genesis has more than earned its place as one of the top-selling and most highly recommended blades on the market today.

Pros

  • German steel composition
  • Great versatility
  • Good weight/size
  • No-slip handle

Cons

  • Can be too soft for some chefs

Offering a similar design to that of the Mercer Culinary Genesis at half of the price, Kacebela proves itself to be one of the best budget options available for everyday cooks and homeowners.

The Kacebela Chef’s Knife comes in a simple case that doubles for both storage and display. It also utilizes a pakka handle that gives the blade both a wooden finish as well as a classic feel. We greatly appreciate the focus on high carbon steel, which may be preferable to budding kitchen enthusiasts. Like with the previous knife on our list, though, we do have to wonder if the extra softness is going to affect performance in the long-term.

We ultimately have to conclude that the Kacebela blade is a great first blade or gift option that appeals to most home cooks who may not yet have a dedicated kitchen or chef’s knife.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Included case
  • High-carbon steel
  • Slim handle

Cons

  • No non-slip handle
  • Can be too soft for some chefs

This Spanish blade, offered in several sizes and optional engraving options, balances a sturdy steel build with design choices typically seen in more affordable blade options.

The J.A. Henckels International 31161-201, upon first glance, looks to be nothing special thanks to its classic triple-rivet handle. Don’t mistake this choice for poor quality, however, as the Germain steel used in this product is widely reported to be stronger and more sturdy than most. We appreciate the focus on machine washability from this J.A. Henckels blade, although we still recommend hand-washing to avoid any unhappy accidents. Otherwise, this mid-range option looks to be a good middle-of-the-road blade with a fair set of features and a focus on a simple, no-frills design.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Customizable
  • Classic design
  • Balanced weight

Cons

  • No non-slip handle
  • Lackluster design and finish

Making the jump from entry-level kitchen blades to higher-end chefs options like those from Mac Knife can be intimidating the first time it’s done. This option shows, though, that you can get a considerably sturdier blade for your money. The Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife is the first on our list to skip the straight mirror finish and offer a dimpled edge, which will reduce friction and suction problems when cutting through stickier foods. It’s a simple choice that really helps to set this blade apart from the competition.

Otherwise, the pakka wood handle offered here is similar to the option found of the Kacebela blade while maintaining the classic triple-rivet look of the J.A. Henckels International knife. The end result is a blade that, while expensive and occasionally brittle in mass production, seems to be one of the best combinations of styles available today.

Pros

  • Dimpled blade edge
  • Sharp and thin blade
  • Extra-long handle
  • Durable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can be brittle

Bearing almost no marking or logo of any kind and featuring a unique, slick handle, the Victorinox Swiss Classic Chef’s Knife seems to aim for ergonomics over all. This knife features a flat, mirror finish and comes in at just five ounces, making this the lightest blade on our list. At the same time, the focus on a simple, contemporary handle seems to have paid off, as this blade is one of the easiest to keep hold of in both wet and dry conditions.

The price on this blade is certainly right, and with several options available for different lengths, you won’t need to worry about adjusting to a size you don’t want. The European steel used within it isn’t as hard as we’d like, but otherwise, this option is certainly worth considering.

Pros

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Lightweight design
  • Highly versatile
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can be too soft for some chefs
  • Lackluster design for some

The Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife looks to balance out some of the features and design choices found in the earlier Swiss Classic blade from the same company. It is a heavier, more durable blade with a harder steel used in its build. To compensate, the handle is less focused on ergonomics and offers more grip to counteract the extra weight. Otherwise, the blades share a certain number of similarities as well, from the overall finish of the blade to the sloping curve found in both.

While the design remains lackluster across both Victorinox models, the only real drawback to the Fibrox Pro versus the Swiss Classic is a more difficult time holding sharpness. Provided you keep a honing and sharpening rod close at hand, though, you can expect this Victorinox option to last for years to come.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Non-slip handle
  • Clean, sloped blade and finish
  • Minimal branding

Cons

  • Can struggle to hold sharpness
  • Lackluster design for some chefs

The Zelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series offers a stark difference from the rest by focusing on a unique, hardened steel and a focus on Japanese craftsmanship. This is a high end, highly polished Chef’s knife that’s notable for the warbling, marbled finish on the blade’s flat end. This is due to the use of Japanese steel, which puts a heavy focus on hardness above all else.

The triple-riveted pakka handle echoes that of the Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge, which is likewise reflected in pricing. Due to the design of the blade itself, this Zelite Infinity option is going to need much more attention and care than most other blades on our list. For experienced chefs, however, this won’t be an issue. If you care for this blade and offer it the periodic maintenance it requires, you’ll be left with one of the most durable and long-lasting options available today.

Pros

  • Hardened Japanese steel build
  • Polished, premium finish
  • Heavyweight design
  • Textured pakka handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires consistent maintenance

Comparison Chart

FeaturesMercer Culinary GenesisKacebela Chef’s KnifeJ. A. Henckels International 31161-201Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge
Length8 inches8 inches8 inches8 inches
CompositionHigh-carbon German steelHigh-carbon stainless steelHigh-carbon German steelSteel
Weight10.7 oz.8.5 oz.8 oz.9.6 oz.
FinishMirrorMirrorMirrorDimpled
FeaturesMercer Culinary Genesis
Length8 inches
CompositionHigh-carbon German steel
Weight10.7 oz.
FinishMirror
FeaturesKacebela Chef’s Knife
Length8 inches
CompositionHigh-carbon German steel
Weight8.5 oz.
FinishMirror
FeaturesJ. A. Henckels International 31161-201
Length8 inches
CompositionHigh-carbon German steel
Weight8 oz.
FinishMirror
FeaturesMac Knife Professional Hollow Edge
Length8 inches
CompositionSteel
Weight9.6 oz.
FinishDimpled

 

FeaturesVictorinox Swiss Classic Chef’s KnifeVictorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s KnifeZelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series
Length8 inches8 inches8 inches
CompositionEuropean stainless steelHigh-carbon stainless steelJapanese super steel
Weight5 oz.8.8 oz.9.9 oz.
FinishMirrorMirrorMirror Polished
FeaturesVictorinox Swiss Classic Chef’s Knife
Length8 inches
CompositionEuropean stainless steel
Weight5 oz.
FinishMirror
FeaturesVictorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife
Length8 inches
CompositionHigh-carbon stainless steel
Weight8.8 oz.
FinishMirror
FeaturesZelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series
Length8 inches
CompositionJapanese super steel
Weight9.9 oz.
FinishMirror Polished

Kitchen Knives Buyer’s Guide


Still confused as to what you should be looking for in your blades? Before you commit to your next kitchen knife we recommend you consider the following and make sure your prospective blade lines up with what you need for your kitchen.

Length & Composition

Perhaps more so than all other metrics, the length and composition of your new kitchen knife is going to provide a clear indication as to how it is going to perform. When it comes to length specifically, there is certainly precedent to follow. You’ll notice that almost all of our knives are 8 inches in length, which provides a solid balance of maneuverability and range that many chefs prefer.

The composition of the blade is likewise important when considering what you’ll be cutting and the conditions in which you’ll be expecting your blade to work. While it may not seem like it, kitchen knives work under some intensive conditions. Knives rely on the quality and design of the treated steel to deal with the constant pressure and pulling from all angles. That’s why we were sure to note the type of steel used in each of the blades on our list.

For instance, Japanese steel has a reputation for being some of the hardest steel available. However, harder steels can be more brittle over time, and without proper maintenance, this type of steel can break. German blades are known to be softer but less prone to shattering and generally easier to handle and manipulate.

If you’re not sure of the type of composition you need for your blades, we recommend opting for a stainless steel blade with a high amount of carbon. The carbon content within the blade should provide enough give and balance to your blade without sacrificing too much on hardness.

Weight

In addition to sharpness and length, another essential factor is that of the weight of your blades. Blades of similar length and size may appear to be weighted similarly, but small changes and distinctions in manufacturing can throw off a blade’s weight by several ounces. We were sure to note each of the blades on our list’s weight, as well as provide a list of blades that offered a large range to best appeal to those with different weight preferences.

If you’re not sure of the weight of your kitchen knife, we recommend either weighing your current option or opting for a standard blade weighted at about 8 ounces. Such an option provides a blade that’s light enough to execute precise movements without overcompensating but can also bring weight and power when it’s needed. Heavier blades are also more durable over time provided you maintain, hone, and sharpen the blade, which may be another factor you need to consider.

Finish & Style

Perhaps more so than most other appliances and products in the kitchen, the finish and style of a knife are going to play an important factor for many. While aesthetic design and style choices of a knife may initially seem like trivial factors, these choices can have a profound impact on performance.

There’s no denying that kitchen and chef’s knives have a distinct visual appeal for them. Many of these choices, though, from mirror-finished blades to dimpled and polished options, represent different cutting potentials. Dimples, for example, reduce the amount of friction and suction a knife undergoes when cutting into dense material such as meat. Opting for a dimpled butchers knife in this instance may have far more to do with performance than personal style.

In other instances, non-flat blade finishes that are deliberately polished to appear rugged or designed for hard use may produce excess friction and reduce the performance of the blade. Likewise, when sharpening knives such as these, you may notice that performance is reduced, as the steel is not evenly layered down each side symmetrically. Ultimately, if you’ve never considered finish and style options for your next or first blade, we recommend opting for a mirror finish, which balances great aesthetic appeal with optimal performance.

FAQ

Are the knives dishwasher safe?

Check with the manufacturer before committing the knife to the dishwasher. It’s worth noting that dishwashers spray water at a high pressure so may cause the knife to move inside the machine. This, in turn, could cause the knife to knock other utensils and dull the edge. For that reason, even though some manufacturers state that their product is dishwasher friendly, it is advised that for the best lifespan and condition of the knife that you wash it by hand.

What does full tang mean?

Tang is the term used to describe a knife that is one solid piece, from tip through to the handle. The handle then gets bolted onto each side of the metal.

What is the Rockwell Hardness Scale?

The Rockwell Hardness Scale is a test of how well the metal blade performs when penetrating a tester under a certain amount of load. Anything under 50 on the scale won’t give you the performance or lifespan that you want from the knife.

Can I wash my kitchen knife in the dishwasher?

For most higher-end chef’s knives and kitchen knives, it’s recommended that you skip the usual dishwasher cycle. Dishwashers are abrasive appliances that force water around and across your blade at high speeds and at high temperatures. This can potentially weaken your blade’s integrity, so it’s recommended that you hand wash the blades that are most important to you.

To effectively wash your kitchen knife, make sure to rinse it as soon after use as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely debris will bond to the steel and become more difficult to remove. Next, use a washcloth or sponge and wipe away from yourself and towards the tip of the blade. Be careful never to wash in a way that puts you at the knife’s edge. Finally, always dry your blades after washing to reduce the risk of premature rusting.

How do I sharpen my kitchen knife?

Sharpening your kitchen knife is a valuable practice that will help to preserve the quality and extend the lifespan of your investment, but most novice chefs struggle with the difference between sharpening and honing a knife. And while you need to ensure your knife is sharpened periodically, honing your knife needs to occur far more often.

Every few uses, you’ll want to hone your knife with a honing stone or honing rod. Using this tool will ensure your knife’s edge is going to be as straight as possible since the blade’s edge will be curved over time. After a while, honing will no longer keep your knife’s edge as sharp as it needs to be; at this point, you’ll need to sharpen your blade using a sharpening rod or other tool. This will physically remove a portion of steel from your blade and create a new edge.

To sharpen your kitchen knife, run the blade down a sharpening rod at a slight angle, always making sure to make an even number of passes on each side of the blade. This is the same motion and process used in honing your blade. After several passes on each side, you should be able to test your knife. If you can now cleanly cut through paper or a tomato, your knife should be sharp enough. If not, go in for a few more passes with the sharpening rod and try again.

What blade thickness is needed for my kitchen knife?

The thickness of your kitchen knife is going to depend on personal preference and style. However, if you’ve never bought a kitchen knife before or haven’t seriously considered your blade’s thickness, we recommend you take the time to get familiar with the current blade thickness you have so that you may have a better frame of reference.

Generally speaking, we recommend you stick with a thickness of 1/8th of an inch, or roughly 3.5mm. This puts you right in the sweet spot of blade weight, feel, and strength.