Chef's Knives

chef's knifeA good chef’s knife is an essential piece of any kitchen cutlery set. It’s your workhorse. With the way the blade is shaped, a chef’s knife can be manipulated to chop, slice, dice, and mince. Think of it as an “all-in-one” knife.

The heaviest part of the blade, near the bolster, is best used for chopping. Slicing and dicing tasks are meant for the middle portion, and the knife’s sharp tip makes quick time of mincing.

What To Look For

Since you’ll be using this knife a lot, don’t skimp on quality. Look for blades that are made from quality materials. Terms like high carbon stainless steel, Solingen steel, and VG-10 are a good place to start. Stainless steel that is “high carbon” will not only be resistant to stain or rust, but it’ll also hold an edge for a very long time. The term Solingen references a city in Germany that’s renowned for its production of high quality steel, and companies like Henckels and Wusthof often use Solingen steel in their knives. And in Japanese cutlery, VG-10 is a commonly seen term. This type of steel is easily sharpened and is an excellent strength for basic kitchen chores — just not a lot of heavy chopping.

A forged knife is superior to its non-forged counterpart. The forging process ensures a strong, sturdy product, since the edge is created during the heating process. Stock knives that aren’t forged are shaped after being heated, which means there’s excess metal coming off the blade.

Most quality knife manufacturers will only produce full tang knives. This means that the portion below the blade, or tang, extends fully into the handle. This construction provides better balance, more leverage, and less chance of the knife breaking if overworked.

You’ll also notice that chef’s knives come in a lot of different lengths. This is like trying on a shoe size; different lengths and weights feel more natural to some than to others. If you get a chance, step into a knife shop and try hefting a few different lengths of chef’s knives in your hands to see what feels best and “balanced” to you.

Chef’s Knives We Like

The Henckels International Classic Forged 8-Inch Chef’s Knife is a basic, sturdy Western or European design that requires minimum sharpening — but if you are so inclined, the steel is such that you can use different grinds on each portion of the blade to enhance its work-ability. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

If you are drawn to Japanese cutlery, take a look at the Suisin Special Inox Knife. Its blade is thin, yet still quite strong, and traditional Japanese sword smith techniques are used to forge the sleek AUS-10 steel blade.

The Shun Classic Damascus Chef’s Knife is a knife to see if you’re wanting the best of both worlds, i.e. Japanese blade construction fitted to Western patterns. The edge is extremely sharp and requires very little maintenance to keep it that way. But since it’s made of VG-10 steel, use it mostly for slicing tasks and go easy on the heavy chopping duties — otherwise, you may need to sharpen it more often.

And now for something completely different: the Alton’s Angles Chef’s Knife by Shun and celebrity chef Alton Brown.  It’s a full tang VG-10 Damascus steel knife with raised handles, giving chefs more room in between their knuckles and the kitchen countertop when using the knife. This style isn’t for everyone, but if your hands need that extra clearance room, the Alton’s Angles Chef’s Knife is definitely worth a shot.

Read all of our Chef’s Knife reviews below:


Henckels Four Star Chef’s Knife Set

2 Piece Stainless Steel Paring Blade

Henckels Four Star Chef’s Knife Set | 2 Piece Stainless Steel Paring Blade

These are the two knives that most home chefs will use most often--the 4" paring knife and 8" cook's knife. By themselves they are not a complete set, but unless you've shifted over to santoku these are still the ones most often in hand. Even if you prefer ...





Wusthof Grand Prix II Cook’s Knife

Solingen Stainless Steel Cutlery 6 Inch

Wusthof Grand Prix II Cook’s Knife | Solingen Stainless Steel Cutlery 6 Inch

Many years ago I had practical reasons to learn some things about old hand tools and the way things were done before "one size fits all" technology became standard. Today the kitchen is one of the few places where those old rules still apply, which is why I ...





Henckels Forged Chef’s Knife, Full Tang Cutlery

International Classic Stainless Steel 8 Inch

Henckels Forged Chef’s Knife, Full Tang Cutlery | International Classic Stainless Steel 8 Inch

The 8 inch International Classic Chef's Knife from J. A. Henckels Cutlery of Germany maintains the old standards in this modern version of the mainstay knife of Western kitchens. The specially formulated stainless steel blade of the Classic is forged from a single bar of high carbon alloy--blade, bolster and ...





Chroma F.A. Porsche Vegetable Cleaver Knife

Chinese Stainless Steel Type 301

Chroma F.A. Porsche Vegetable Cleaver Knife | Chinese Stainless Steel Type 301

The vegetable cleaver is the most versatile knife in an Asian kitchen, equivalent to the chef's knife familiar in Europe and America. This Chroma Type 301 Vegetable Cleaver, in the pattern designed by F. A. Porsche, makes one of the most practical prep blades even better.

If you're shopping on the ...





J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star Chef’s Knife

6 Inch Solingen Stainless Steel

J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star Chef’s Knife | 6 Inch Solingen Stainless Steel

If you've been cooking long enough that you deserve a treat, shopping around for "the right knife" may fit the bill. For some, the Henckels 6" Chef's Knife could be it. If you like the light weight and versatility of a utility knife but want something that leaves ...





Wusthof Gourmet Cooks Knife

Kitchen Cutlery Stainless Steel 10 Inch

Wusthof Gourmet Cooks Knife | Kitchen Cutlery Stainless Steel 10 Inch

It certainly has a German shape and a German name, but that's where the
similarity ends.

This isn't quite the same level of quality that most folks
expect from Wusthof. This stamped blade knife shouldn't be confused with
its more expensive "forged" brethren, but it will offer a respectable level
of performance at a ...





Wusthof Cook’s Knife, 9 Inch

Forged Chef’s Cutlery Stainless Steel Grand Prix II

Wusthof Cook’s Knife, 9 Inch | Forged Chef’s Cutlery Stainless Steel Grand Prix II

Tailored to fit large hands and do big jobs, this 9" Grand Prix II Cook's Knife from Wusthof of Solingen, Germany, is the classic general purpose cook's blade of the European kitchen. Designed to do most of the work available, the cook's or chef's knife is a multi-purpose ...





J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Asian Set

Kitchen 2 Piece Stainless Full Tang Cutlery

J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Asian Set | Kitchen 2 Piece Stainless Full Tang Cutlery

Henckels of Solingen, Germany, now produces a lighter streamlined counterpart to its usual forged steel builds - the Twin Signature Asian Set features hollow ground blades of stamped high quality German stainless steel that rival the versatility of traditional Japanese santoku knives.

This two knife set includes a 3" ...





Shun Alton’s Angles VG-10 Chef’s Knife

Kitchen 8 Inch Stainless Damascus Steel

Shun Alton’s Angles VG-10 Chef’s Knife | Kitchen 8 Inch Stainless Damascus Steel

I will not steer you away from this knife--it's a Shun knife, in their VG-10 Damascus layered steel pattern. I doubt that anyone can say there's a better practical cutting edge around. I do have some concerns about the handle, though.

First, let me list all the good ...





Wusthof Classic Cook’s Knife

Kitchen Chef’s 6 Inch Stainless Steel Full Tang

Wusthof Classic Cook’s Knife | Kitchen Chef’s 6 Inch Stainless Steel Full Tang

A big knife for small hands, the Wusthof Classic 6" Cook's knife is the full size workhorse Chef's knife scaled back for the less ham-handed cooks of the world. Well balanced and lighter than the 8" version, the construction details and uses of this blade are just the same. ...





Kai USA Shun Chef’s Knife

Kitchen Cutlery | Stainless Steel Damascus 8 Inch VG-10

Kai USA Shun Chef’s Knife | Kitchen Cutlery | Stainless Steel Damascus 8 Inch VG-10

If you don't own a Shun already, it's hard to imagine how this Chef's Knife in polished stainless and Damascus layered steel could not become the favorite knife in your kitchen. Using the methods that created the best of the old Samurai swords, Shun Cutlery of Seki City, Japan, has ...





Kyocera Revolution Series Slicing Knife

Kitchen 5 Inch White Ceramic Blade

Kyocera Revolution Series Slicing Knife | Kitchen 5 Inch White Ceramic Blade

The modern alternative to steel blades, Kyocera's Revolution 5 inch slicing knife has definite advantages over the usual stainless steel knife, but at a cost. You will need steel backup blades even if this zirconium oxide ceramic knife becomes your favorite. And it could. Even with its ...





Henckels Twin Signature Chef’s Knife

Kitchen 8 Inch Full Tang Stainless Cutlery

Henckels Twin Signature Chef’s Knife | Kitchen 8 Inch Full Tang Stainless Cutlery

Henckels Twin Signature 8" Chef's Knife, a lightweight stamped steel variation of the company's better known forged knives, has much of the traditional look but cuts back a bit on features. Owners of older Henckels patterns may be more interested in the forged products.

There is quality here, but in ...





Yoshikin Global Cromova Cook’s Knife

Japanese Stainless Utiilty Cutlery 5 Inch GS-3

Yoshikin Global Cromova Cook’s Knife | Japanese Stainless Utiilty Cutlery 5 Inch GS-3

Global's 5" utility knife, with all the unique features of that company's fine knives, is a good pick if you need to fill out a short list of Global chef's blades. Combined with a Santoku and a paring knife, you'll have a set that will span the range of ...





Wusthof Gourmet Chef’s Knife

Kitchen Stainless Steel Vegetable Cutlery

Wusthof Gourmet Chef’s Knife | Kitchen Stainless Steel Vegetable Cutlery

With a few concessions to the advantages of modern stamped steel blades, this Wusthof Gourmet Chef's Knife is in some ways an improvement over the heavier forged steel patterns that made the company famous.

Missing is the forged steel bolster and the thick, stiff steel that made the older chef's knives workhorse blades ...





J.A. Henckels Carving Knife for Roast Meat & Poultry, International Classic

8 Inch Stainless Steel Cutlery

J.A. Henckels Carving Knife for Roast Meat & Poultry, International Classic | 8 Inch Stainless Steel Cutlery

Useful for many kitchen prep tasks as well as for carving and serving roast meats and poultry at the dining table, the Henckels International Classic 8" Carving knife shows both practical construction and the clean design of traditional chef's knives. Although not fancy, anyone who knows cutlery will see a good ...





Full Tang Wusthof Chef’s Knife Starter Set

Classic Kitchen 3 Piece Stainless Cutlery

Full Tang Wusthof Chef’s Knife Starter Set | Classic Kitchen 3 Piece Stainless Cutlery

For chef's who prefer the extra heft and stiffness of forged blades this three knife set from Wusthof of Solingen, Germany, is a good first step towards a complete professional quality knife set. The paring, utility, and chef's knives here can cover all but the heaviest chopping work, and will ...





Kyocera Revolution Professional Chef’s Knife

Kitchen White Ceramic 7 Inch

Kyocera Revolution Professional Chef’s Knife | Kitchen White Ceramic 7 Inch

This 7" Chef's knife from Kyocera's Revolution series adds both length and depth to the zirconium oxide ceramic blade. Closer to the usual dimensions of a good santoku or chef's knife, this version offers users better knuckle clearance and enough cutting edge for larger work.

The cutting ability of ceramic blades is ...





Wusthof Trident Grand Prix II Santoku

Kitchen Vegetable Cleaver 7 Inch Stainless

Wusthof Trident Grand Prix II Santoku | Kitchen Vegetable Cleaver 7 Inch Stainless

Made in Solingen, Germany, by the well known cutler Wusthof Trident, the Grand Prix Santoku is a streamlined version of the Western chef's knife. This 7" cutting edge blade has the shape of a Santoku, with a long and nearly straight edge, but not the hollow ground granton ...





Japanese Shun Chef’s Slicing Knife, Damascus Classic

Stainless VG-10 Steel, 10 Inch

Japanese Shun Chef’s Slicing Knife, Damascus Classic | Stainless VG-10 Steel, 10 Inch

One of the best and most versatile knives you can get, the Shun Classic Chef's Knife is the familiar Western "cook's knife" pattern, but better. Made in Seki City, Japan, the Damascus style blades of Shun Classic knives show the same expertise as the best of the old Samurai swords, ...





Kyocera Revolution Series Chef’s Knife

Kitchen 6 1/4 Inch Black Ceramic Blade

Kyocera Revolution Series Chef’s Knife | Kitchen 6 1/4 Inch Black Ceramic Blade

The Kyocera Revolution Series, including this black zirconium oxide Chef's knife, is for those who insist on working only with the best tools. Kyocera claims the edge holding ability of these blades is ten times the best their competition can offer. Even so, this is a great knife ...





J. A. Henckels International Classic Knife Set

Kitchen Stainless Granton 2 Piece

J. A. Henckels International Classic Knife Set | Kitchen Stainless Granton 2 Piece

These two very useful prep knives from the International Series by J. A. Henckels both feature hollow ground edges but in two different styles. Combined with the forged strength of this modified German pattern, this results in blades that will handle nearly any task in the kitchen except chopping through ...





Kai USA Shun Steel Chinese Chef’s Knife

Kitchen 7 3/4 Inch Full Tang Damascus

Kai USA Shun Steel Chinese Chef’s Knife | Kitchen 7 3/4 Inch Full Tang Damascus

What looks like a meat cleaver to Western cooks is actually the Asian equivalent of the Cook's Knife--the all purpose vegetable prep knife we've all used for slicing, dicing, mincing and more. Shun's Steel Chinese Chef's Knife, with a blade edge 7 3/4" long and much thinner ...





Wusthof Classic Kitchen Chef’s Knife

Solingen 9 Inch Stainless Full Tang Cutlery

Wusthof Classic Kitchen Chef’s Knife | Solingen 9 Inch Stainless Full Tang Cutlery

The Wusthof 9 Inch Classic Chef's Knife, a staple of Wusthof's Solingen steel cutlery line for decades, is still one of the favorite general purpose knives in American kitchens and in Europe. The design is little changed from the day this knife was first introduced, although materials--both steel and polymer ...





Wusthof Kitchen Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch

Full Tang Forged Stainless Steel Classic Cutlery

Wusthof Kitchen Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch | Full Tang Forged Stainless Steel Classic Cutlery

This very popular Classic Chef's Knife from Wusthof of Solingen, Germany, is available in sizes to fit any hand or task; six different blade lengths from 4.5" to 10" will do anything from mincing herbs to slicing melons. The 6" blade is a good general purpose choice for mincing, slicing vegetables ...





Henckels Kitchen Chef’s Knife, 8 Inch

Forged Stainless Steel Twin Four Star

Henckels Kitchen Chef’s Knife, 8 Inch | Forged Stainless Steel Twin Four Star

The workhorse blade of any kitchen, the Henckels Twin Four Star 8" Chef's Knife has been a popular and proven choice since the introduction of the product line in 1976. Although it's still a reasonable choice for the modern kitchen, the forged construction, heavy bolster, and flat grind are ...





Togiharu Inox Kitchen Knife

Japanese Professional Chef’s Cutlery

Togiharu Inox Kitchen Knife | Japanese Professional Chef’s Cutlery

Offered exclusively through Korin Trading in the US, and their sister companies in Europe, Togiharu knives have quickly established a reputation amongst professional cooks and serious amateur cooks for their thin geometry and fine performance.

Unlike the Virgin Carbon Steel Gyutou, I recently reviewed, this gyutou is made from INOX stainless steel, ...





Togiharu Virgin Gyutou Knife

Japanese Kitchen Carbon Steel Cutlery

Togiharu Virgin Gyutou Knife | Japanese Kitchen Carbon Steel Cutlery

In the realm of kitchen knives, Japanese virgin carbon steel is considered amongst the most desirable of blade materials. What makes Virgin carbon steel so special and why does a virgin carbon steel blade offer such fine performance?

Unfortunately, most steels these days, both carbon and stainless, originate from recycled materials. ...





Togiharu Molybdenum Kitchen Knife

Japanese Utility Petty Cutlery HKR-EA-P150

Togiharu Molybdenum Kitchen Knife | Japanese Utility Petty Cutlery HKR-EA-P150

This Togiharu petty is part of their entry level Molybdenum line, aimed at culinary students, entry level professional cooks, and serious amateurs. The steel is not quite of as high a quality as the mid level INOX line so it won't take quite as fine an edge and will require more ...





Suisin Special Inox Knife

Japanese Kitchen Professional Chef’s Cutlery

Suisin Special Inox Knife | Japanese Kitchen Professional Chef’s Cutlery

I've run across very few Suisin knives which merit significant criticism. As a knife maker, they seem to have found a nice balance between respect for the old traditions of the Japanese bladesmiths and modern knifemaking techniques and materials. Regardless of how they do it, I've consistently found their knives ...





Masanobu Kitchen Chef’s Knife

Japanese Professional VG-10 Blade

Masanobu Kitchen Chef’s Knife | Japanese Professional VG-10 Blade

If you want to be the cook with the coolest looking knife in the kitchen, look no further. Fortunately, looks aren't the only thing this knife has to offer. The Masanobu offers a handsome blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics combined with the modern performance of VG10 steel. ...





Global Meat Cleaver Knife

Kitchen Cutlery 6 1/2 Inch Blade

Global Meat Cleaver Knife | Kitchen Cutlery 6 1/2 Inch Blade

The days when every kitchen had a well used cleaver are well in the past along with the days where people routinely butchered their own meat and poultry. These days, the closest to a cleaver most people have come is the latest slasher movie at the multiplex. However if ...





Calphalon Contemporary Chef’s Knife

6 Inch Stainless Steel Kitchen Cutlery

Calphalon Contemporary Chef’s Knife | 6 Inch Stainless Steel Kitchen Cutlery

Manufactured in China, with proper care this 6" cutting edge forged steel Chef's knife can be a welcome kitchen companion. Although it's rated safe for dishwasher cleaning, that can be its undoing, as well as the voiding of the lifetime warranty.

A full length tang, forged bolster, and seamless handle construction ...





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