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What Are The Best Kitchen Knives To Buy

This Wüsthof 8-inch chef's knife is razor-sharp and super versatile. It was one of the only knives in our test that could cleanly slice tomatoes, chop onions, cut up carrots, bone a chicken and create thin ribbons of basil. This German classic is fully forged and has a full tang (meaning the metal of the blade runs through the whole handle), which helps it feel perfectly balanced and ergonomic in your hand. It's dishwasher safe (a rarity for cutlery), but we recommend hand-washing to extend its lifespan.

what are the best kitchen knives to buy


One of the sharpest knives we've tested, Global's Santoku is made from a single piece of stainless steel, so there aren't crevices where the blade meets the handle that could trap food. The blade also has hollow indentations along the blade, so foods don't stick as they're cut. This Japanese knife excelled at all tasks but wowed us with its ability to power through chicken bones.

In 2017, we gathered a testing panel of seasoned cooking pros and curious home cooks in our test kitchen to chop, slice, dice, julienne, chiffonade, and mince with the 15 knives we collected. The panel included Wirecutter staff members as well as Sam Sifton, an assistant managing editor at The New York Times and founding editor of New York Times Cooking.

Most mass-produced Western-forged knives are drop-forged, meaning the manufacturer heats a blank of steel to an extremely high temperature and then uses a high-pressure hammer to pound it into the shape of a blade. Stamped blades, as the name suggests, are punched out of sheet metal before further refinement and sharpening. The quality of stamped blades varies widely, from the flimsy knives found at grocery stores to our top pick and runner-up pick. Knife makers like Mac and Tojiro heat-treat their blades to make them just as strong as forged steel.

In 2020, we had to pare down our testing. I tested two knives in my home kitchen, cutting butternut squash, tomatoes, onions, and carrots. I also used them for daily meal prep to see if I found them sharp and comfortable to use day in and day out.

In our tests, the Wüsthof Classic Ikon cut smoothly through butternut squash and onions, although carrots did split slightly. Like the other drop-forged German knives we tested, it caused moderate bruising to cut basil. Compared with the Mac Mighty MTH-80, this Wüsthof knife was less agile and sharp when peeling the skin from butternut squash.

Steel hardness is measured on the Rockwell C scale. Decent high-carbon steel knives should register anywhere between 55 HRC and 64 HRC. Steel at the lower end of the scale is softer and more durable. Higher HRC ratings mean the steel is harder and more brittle.

Steel alloys for knives are formulated to increase stain resistance, machinability, and hardness; to improve grain structure; and to increase shock resistance. The composition of most German knives (including our also-great and budget picks) is X50CrMoV15, which roughly translates to 80% iron, 0.5% carbon, and 15% a combination of chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium. Chromium protects against corrosion and is what makes the knife stainless, while molybdenum and vanadium increase machinability and wear resistance, and refine the grain. This stainless steel is usually hardened to 56 HRC, softer than Japanese knives but capable of taking a beating well and withstanding up to a certain level of mistreatment.

Even though the Mac MBK-85 is an objectively good knife, our testers were pretty lukewarm about it. The edge was sharp and the knife itself was comfortable to hold, but the 8-inch blade length was a little too much for home cooks. This model was one of the knives we gave to pro chefs to try, and no one mentioned it in any of our interviews as a favorite.

All of our testers were equipped with kitchen knives to hack, chop and slice their way to their findings. We judged their sharpness from straight out of the box to how it fared after long-term usage. Besides sharpness, we judged kitchen knives based on how they felt in hand (did they feel sturdy and durable?), how they felt to use after long bouts of cutting and how easy they were to hone and resharpen. Another important factor for judging kitchen knives was price. Higher price tags don't necessarily mean a knife is better, so for the blades that cost a pretty penny, we wanted to make sure their usage and longevity were worth the price.

This knife's base thickness is 2.5 millimeters, which is more than 20 percent thicker than our top pick, the Tojiro Gyutou. This makes it more of an all-purpose knife (starches and hardy vegetables are not an issue), but also means it doesn't glide through softer fruits and vegetables as gracefully. The higher carbon content in the blade makes small rust spots commonplace if you don't wash and immediately dry the knife after use (unlike true carbon steel knives, though, highly acidic items like lemons or limes don't immediately stain the knife). After using this knife for more than a year, it's the best higher-end knife we recommend. We also like Mac's 25-year warranty against material and construction defects.

When we first tested this knife, we thought the price was a mistake. The feel and look is that of a more premium knife, and given Mercer's track record with making strong-value chef's knives, that's not a huge surprise. The edge is taper-ground, meaning it's thicker at the base than it is near the tip. This makes for easier honing and a more stable blade (which is of enhanced importance when dealing with budget materials). We also appreciate the bend of the heel on the knife, which creates ample room for a pinch grip.

Many of the best knives we tested fold attributes from Japanese knife design into Western knife design, and Misen's budget-friendly blade is no exception. The bolsters at the base of the blade slope and allow for an easy pinch grip. Most traditional Japanese knives will not come with this, opting instead for the handle of the knife to move directly into the blade, which can be awkward for cooks used to having a designated spot to grip. Curving down from the top and up from the bottom, the blade shape itself is also Western in origin and makes rocking the blade up and down on the cutting board easier.

The shape and handle are rooted in Western design, but the thinness of the blade is Japanese, and this makes the Misen knife one of our top recommendations. Thicker, clunkier knives at this price point can, after a month or two of use, start to feel more like a chisel than a knife; tools to break vegetables open with. The extremely thin build of the Misen knife makes for an experience more akin to surgery than brute force.

Very, very similar to our best overall pick, the Tojiro knife, Mercer Culinary's MX3 is a thin Japanese-style knife with a hardwearing stainless steel core and a sharp (and sharpenable) high-carbon steel exterior. It's also full-tang and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. A strong backup option if the Tojiro knife is sold out, which happens every now and then.

Eytan Zias has been running The Knife House in Portland, Oregon, since 2007, selling and servicing knives. In 2021, Zias got into the business of manufacturing knives with his new brand Steelport. As of now, Zias is only manufacturing an 8-inch chef's knife, made, of course, in Portland, and it's a doozy.

While a good chef's knife will cover a lot of ground in your kitchen, it's not the perfect tool for every culinary task. So to better equip yourself to handle any countertop cutting duties that come your way, we recommend picking up a more robust kitchen knife set.

If you go the santoku route, please be aware to buy a 7-inch and nothing smaller. Most models come in two sizes, and the smaller (around 5-inches) is definitely not long enough to serve as your mainstay kitchen knife.

Messermeister has been a trailblazer in German kitchenknifedom. They were the first to produce a forged chef knife without a full bolster (yes, before Wusthof and Henckels), and. . .the first to sharpen their blades to a sassy 15-degree angle. (The old German standard being 20-22 degrees.)

The data for this list comes from informally testing the factory edges of brand-new knives, as well as professionally-sharpened edges of used knives, on 1) ripe greenhouse tomatoes, 2) news print, and 3) other veggies and fruits (including melons, onions, carrots, etc.). Plus, 4) using the knives in various everyday kitchen-knife tasks, 5) understanding their construction and the make-up of their steel, and 6) gathering opinions through the kitchen-knife grapevine. (Below: Best Chef Knives onion-cutting tests)

I do not own Global knives but my friend has a whole big knife block full of them. And he has them for years. When we cook at his house there was never anybody complaining about the Global knives. I have big hands so they are not for me, but I do enjoy working with them at my friends place.

Very strange comment. GLOBAL makes excellent products that will cover the needs ANY serious home chef. I have been using a G2 chef knife in my kitchen for more than 20 years. I recently had it professionally sharpened which totally revitalized it and made it frighteningly sharp. My most resent purchase is a 01 knife from the SAI series.

To begin with, let me tell you. . .I love Spain! My parents lived in Madrid in the late 70s and I still remember dining on chimpirones en su tinta (a Basque dish, I know), walking in El Retiro, and viewing Goya paintings at el Museo del Prado. But lets not let our nationalism, or cultural bias, get in the way of choosing a great kitchen knife :)

I do not own an Arcos knife, so my opinion must rely on research (as with a number of knives I discuss on KKG). But after spending quite a bit more time exploring the world of Arcos online, my revised opinion is that their manufacturing quality is probably similar to the German brands.

Arcos manufactures an army of product that varies in style and quality. (So do Henckels and Wusthof for that matter.) Thus, you must be specific about what models/lines your talking about before coming to any conclusions. In general, Arcos seems comparable to the major German knife makers. See my full response on Arcos knives above. . . 041b061a72

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