10 Best Chef Knives In 2020 (Review Guide)
The chef’s knife is considered one of the most important tools in the kitchen. Other kitchen knives tend to have specific uses but a chef’s knife can do everything from simple tasks such as slicing tomatoes to difficult tasks such as carving a turkey. You will use a knife just about any time that you prepare food and having a good chef’s knife can simplify the entire process for you.
Knives were one of the first tools made by humans and they have improved and adapted to our changing needs. Buying a chef’s knife that is perfect for your hands, your cooking style, and the food you prepare will change your experience in the kitchen.
At a Glance : Our Top 5 Pick For Best Chef Knives
- PRODUCT OF OUR CHOICE: J.A. Henckels Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife
- PRECISION EDGE BLADE TECHNOLOGY: Wusthof Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife
- SPECIAL HIGH CARBON STAINLESS: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional
- LIGHTER AND THINNER WITH CURVED HANDLE: Wusthof Classic Icon 7-inch Santoku
- INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH POLYOXYMETHYLENE HANDLE: Messermeister Meridian Elite Stealth
The Best Chef Knife
J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife
Zwilling J.A. Henckels was founded by Peter Henckels in 1731 in Germany and it is one of the leading manufacturers of chef knives to this day. They put all of their knives through a forging process before packaging them. In addition, these knives are thoroughly hand honed by an expert which makes the blade more durable and gives it a finer edge.
This is one of the best chef’s knives on the market today. It is also one of the leading German knives. It is assembled in at J.A. Henckels factory in Spain. This knife offers the best value because it is tough and durable and it will last a long time. It has a flat edge, a riveted handle, and a thick bolster. The tang extends all the way through the handle, which gives you excellent control when you are slicing and dicing. This 8-inch chef knife has a sharp edge that is made of carbon steel and it will remain sharp after several uses and when exposed to high heat.
This knife will work well for professional and home cooks. The blade allows for different cutting styles and it can effectively slice, dice, mince, and chop nearly any food with ease. The bolster almost doubles as a finger guard for safety. This is one of the best knives for kitchen crafters.
Wusthof Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife
Wusthof is another knife manufacturer founded in Solingen, Germany over 200 years ago. It is family owned and takes pride in producing high-quality knives. This 8-inch chef knife is forged from a single block of high carbon stainless-steel,and it is tempered to 59 degree HRC. The blade was made using Precision Edge Technology, which produces a blade that is sharper and has greater edge retention than other models.
The Wusthof Classic is an all-purpose knife and it chops, minces, slices, and dices well. The tang extends to the end of the triple riveted handle. The handle is five inches long with an ergonomic handle design that is made of long-lasting synthetic materials and it weighs 8.5 ounces. It has a full bolster and a finger guard, and it is one of the best German knives.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional S
This is one of Zwilling J.A. Henckels top-of-the-line 8-inch chef’s knives. It is manufactured in Germany and it is made with a special formula high carbon without stainless. The knife is forged from a single sheet of steel and then it is ice-hardened so that it starts off sharp and remains sharp after use. This is one of the best chef’s knives that you can buy.
This 8-inch chef’s knife has a precision-honed blade and laser-controlled edge, which ensures an ideal cutting angle for sharpness and durability. In fact, it has an edge angle of 15 degrees and excellent edge retention. It has a handle with three rivets that is ergonomic and made of polymer but it looks and feels the same as wood. It is heavy and thick; most home cooks find that the weight helps them slice. This is a great kitchen knife for the chef and the home cook.
Wusthof Classic Icon 7-inch Santoku
This Japanese knife gives the width of a longer knife without adding to the length. It is lighter and thinner than German knives and you can slice through carrots and squash without resistance. It has a curved handle that provides a comfortable and secure grip. It can slice anything paper thin.
This Japanese knife is forged from a single piece of high-carbon combination and has a laser controlled and tested cutting edge. It has double bolsters which provide balance so that cutting is effortless and the tang extends to the end of the handle for durability. In addition, this best knife is triple riveted, and it has a contoured design that makes it comfortable. People who feel intimidated by the 8-inch chef’s knife may prefer this knife at just 7 inches. There is no doubt that a chef will consider it to be one of the best Japanese kitchen knives out there.
Messermeister Meridian Elite Stealth Chef-Knife 8-inch
This knife comes from another German knife maker and it is even from the same town, Solingen. This 8-inch chef’s knife is drop-hammer forged and more similar to the older style of making chef’s knives. It only has a partial bolster so it is easier to sharpen. Messermeister was actually the first company to make a forged 8-inch chef’s knife without a full bolster.
This knife is the stealth model, which is thinner and lighter than other models. It is also a slimmer design, so it is easier to use for hours at a time in the kitchen. It is made of German stainless alloy and is durable and industrial strength. It is strong from end to end and many consider it one of the best knives out there. It is also handcrafted and polished using methods that have been around for hundreds of years.
In addition, it has a three-step, 15-degree elite edge that is crafted to have the sharpest edge of any cutting tool. It is comfortable and easy to use, and it is one of the best chef’s knives out there.
Dalstrong Chef-Knife - 8-inch Phantom Series
This Japanese high-carbon steel knife is one of the best Japanese knives available. It has an incredibly sharp edge and the edge has been honed by expert craftsmen and nitrogen-cooled for hardness, flexibility, and corrosion resistance. The knife is tapered to cut through anything with precision and ease.
This is one of the chef’s knives that is forged from a single piece of ice tempered high-carbon Japanese steel and it has an ergonomic bolster shape for a smooth pinch grip. It is designed to be attractive and stay comfortable in your hand over and over again. It is the best value of this type of knife. Some like this knife best because it is lightweight and easy to use.
This knife is attractive with its Spanish pakkawood that is hand polished and laminated for a great grip and durability. Some consider this to be the best chef’s knife because it is so easy to use.
Global 7-inch Hollow Ground Santoku Knife
This Global knife has a modern design. It may earn a spot on the best chef’s knives list because it is high performance, attractive, and affordable. It has a thin, razor sharp edge. The metal is not forged, but the company uses its own blend to create the materials for this knife. It is a knife best suited to slicing because it is so thin.
The shape and balance feel different from other knives. The knife is hollow with a sand filling and is made out of three pieces of metal. It is seven inches long and it is lightweight.
Sun Classic Chef-Knife 8-inch
Sun is another popular Japanese brand and this knife is manufactured in Seki City, Japan. As with Solingen, Seki City is a knife-making center. This knife is sandwiched in between 32 layers of swirly-patterned softer steel but it has a solid core that makes the edge. It can actually hold a 16 degree edge for a long time.
Its construction is derived from that of the samurai swords. It has a pakkawood grip with a durable water-resistant finish. It is durable enough to withstand regular use. This is one of the best chef knives to have as a staple in the kitchen as it performs so many different functions. This is a knife best used by everyone and is sure to become a favorite.
Wallop Chef Knife - 8 inch
Wallop is a professional knife manufacturer that produces quality chef utensils that are built to last. They use cutting-edge technology to sharpen and forge a knife that is flexible and easy to use. It is eight inches long and still easy to maneuver. The grip is contoured and made of pakkawood. It can chop, dice, slice, peel, carve, mince, and pare so that you won’t need another utensil in the kitchen.
This one is hand-polished and it has a minimalist design. This chef utensil is all about utility. It makes preparing every meal easier. The knife is made of Japanese Damascus steel and it is built to last.
Rigstyle German 8-inch Knife
This knife is a professional quality knife that anyone can use. It has a sharper edge, it is made of high-carbon steel, and it is sharp. The grip isn’t wood but it is an ergonomic and durable micarta. It is simple to use and won’t fatigue you. You will enjoy using this knife no matter what your preparation needs might be.
It is forged from German stainless and is very sharp and retains sharpness after you have been using it. It comes in an elegantly designed gift box.
Best Chef knives – A Quick Comparison
Those were our reviews of currently the most popular Chef knives on the market – see how they compare and find the one that suits your needs the best. There’s an Chef knife for everyone’s taste and budget, and we’re sure you’ll find one to your liking.
Best German Stainless Steel
J.A. Henckels Classic
- Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel.
- Triple riveted handle surrounds a full tang
- Full bolster provides weight and ensures safety
- Made in Spain
Essential Kitchen Knife
- Precision-forged, full tang knife
- Contoured handle for optimal comfort
- Full bolster and finger guard
- Hand-honed for razor-like sharpness
Three-Rivet Handle Design
Zwilling J.A. Henckels
- Edge angle 15 degrees per side
- Manufactured in Germany
- Special formula high carbon no stain steel
- Sigma forge solid steel knife
Triple-Riveted Black Handle
Wusthof Icon Santoku
- Versatile 7-inch Santoku knife
- High-carbon German stainless steel
- Double bolsters provide effortless cutting
- Ffull tang extends through the handle
Finest German Stainless Steel
Messermeister Meridian Elite
- The Chef’s knife is the workhorse in every kitchen
- Can be used for 90% of all your cutting tasks
- Full-exposed tang handle.
- Handcrafted in Solingen, Germany.
Incredibly Sharp Edge
Dalstrong Phantom Series
- 8” Phantom Series Chef Knife
- DragonLock Dalstrong Sheath
- Neatly Packed with Dalstrong’s Renowned Packaging
Modern Design Knife
Global Ground Santoku
- Full Stainless steel kitchen knife.
- Hhas an elegant design with a modern and distinctive look.
- Sold individually
- Dimensions: blade: 7″
Popular Japanese Brand
Sun Classic 8-inch
- Exclusive Formula VG-MAX steel.
- Handle is ebony PakkaWood
- Handcrafted in Japan
- Knife Steel is Essential
High-Carbon German Steel
Wallop Chef Knife - 8 inch
- Ergonomic GRIP Handle
- Cutting-edge technology about sharpening and forging.
- Fine Grinding Edge
High Carbon Stainless Steel
Rigstyle German 8-inch Knife
- It has a sharper edge
- It comes in an elegantly designed gift box.
What Is a Chef Knife?
A chef knife is a knife that is able to perform many different tasks in the kitchen. It can be used to mince, chop, and slice vegetables or it can be used to slice meat and carve turkey or chicken. There are two main categories of chefs knives, German and Japanese. In addition, many knives include characteristics of each. Take a look at the following differences.
German knives are heavy and thick. They can be used for most cooking tasks. The blade is thick and curved, and they are made of softer steel so they need frequent sharpening.
The Japanese chef knives are very sharp and lightweight. Their blades are thinner and they have a straighter edge. They can handle precise jobs such as slicing tuna or cucumbers. They are made of harder steel and they can go longer before you need to sharpen them.
Anatomy of a Chef Knife
The blade of a chef’s knife is what allows it to slice, dice, and carve effectively. It is normally either forged or stamped. A forged blade is made when a single blank of steel is heated to a high temperature and then beaten into shape. Following this process, the craftsperson grinds and sharpens the blade.
A stamped blade is actually cut from cold rolled steel. It is then heated for strength, followed by grinding and sharpening. The end result is a blade that is lightweight and thin. It is more flexible and bends when it cuts firmer materials.
A forged chef knife blade tends to be heavier and thicker than a stamped blade and it often has a full tang. This means that the blade runs all the way through the handle. This type of blade also tends to have a bolster in the middle for added weight and balance. Forged blades can keep their edges longer because they are stronger and harder.
Forged knives tend to be more expensive but they come with the full tang and are more durable. Stamped blades are usually less expensive but if the knife is poorly made, it may have a partial tang, which would cause it to break easily. However, quality stamped blades that are made with good materials and have a full tang can be durable and long-lasting as well.
Which Is Better: Forged or Stamped Blade?
As long as you are looking at two high-quality knives, it is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer a sturdier knife when they are making heavy-duty cuts as less force is required to cut through firm foods. Chef knives are often used for rocking and forged knives do this better as well. As a result, people tend to prefer it for mincing, which is done by rocking. Because the blade is sturdy and doesn’t bend, it allows for precise cutting.
However, there are people who prefer the lightweight stamped blade because it prevents fatigue after hours in the kitchen. This blade is thinner so it cuts through foods easily. In fact, they are better for slicing. Their lack of a bolster makes them easier to sharpen.
Which of these blades is better depends on your needs and goals with the knife. A stamped blade is thinner and more lightweight, and a forged blade is stronger and sturdier. As long as they are made of quality materials, either will do the job that you need it to do.
The blade of a chef knife is usually made with carbon steel, stainless steel, a combination of the two, or ceramic. Take a look at the following characteristics of each:
Most carbon steel chef’s knives are made of an iron alloy and one percent carbon. This type of steel is easier to sharpen and holds it edge longer, but it may rust or stain more easily. The blade should be cleaned and lubricated after every use, and many chefs prefer this material because it stays sharper longer.
Stainless steel blades are usually made of an iron alloy with very little carbon. This material is more expensive and it can resist corrosion. Lower-quality stainless is not as sharp as higher-carbon steels but a good-quality stainless steel blade can be very sharp and hold its edge well.
High-carbon stainless steel
This type does a great job of holding an edge but it can chip and break if it is dropped. It also requires a special device and knowledge to sharpen it correctly. They do not ever affect the taste of food or rust.
- Single grind
- Chisel edge
- Double grind
- Single bevel
- Double bevel
- Hollow ground
- Convex edge
Parts of a Blade
The cutting edge
The bolster is the thick part of the knife that is in the middle. It is common on forged blades and it gives the knife greater balance and weight.
This is the back of the blade and it bears most of the force. It is sharp and strong so that it can cut through thicker foods such as fibrous vegetables or tough skin.
The knife tang refers to how much of the blade extends through the handle and in what shape. A full tang is the sturdiest and it extends all the way through the handle. A partial tang does not, but there are three types of partial tangs.
- Half tang: extends to half the length of the handle
- Stick tang: extends to the end of the handle but is more narrow than the blade
- Narrowing tang: extends to the end of the handle and narrows as it gets closer to the end
The full tang knives have greater stability and balance and they can withstand heavy-duty cutting for a much longer time. They are usually of a higher quality. Partial tangs usually are less expensive knives and they are more prone to breaking where the blade meets the tang.
The Handle: The most important thing about the handle is that it is comfortable and you want it to fit your hand. Handles can be made from wood, plastic, rubber, or a composite material that is wood treated with plastic resin.
Wood has long been popular but wood is porous and can provide a space for bacteria to hide and reproduce, which has led to an increase in popularity of the other materials.
The Rivets: The rivets are the studs that you see on the handle. They hold the tang in between the outside layers of the handle. They should not protrude from the handle at all.
Steeling your knife is a part of proper maintenance and it will help your knife to last longer. Most good knives come with a steel, which resembles a long skinny cylinder. You can hold the steel straight up and down, place the knife next to it at the angle that matches that of your edge, and stroke the knife from heel to tip. This will ensure that any rolled or impacted edges are pushed back into alignment. You can also steel your knife before you sharpen it to make sure that the blade is even without any rolled metal.
When you use your knife, the metal can be pushed out of form. Steeling will help to keep it in the shape it is meant to be in. You should use this device with your knife every time you use it to keep it in good form.
Grip and Chop
It is important to grip your knife properly to maintain balance and control. You should hold the knife at the bolster by placing your thumb and forefinger on each side. The remaining three fingers can fall onto and curve around the handle. You want to hold it comfortably. The knife should feel like an extension of your arm and it should not be heavy or unbalanced. If it tips in one direction, you may need to find one that is lighter in weight.
When you chop with a chef’s knife, you need to grip the knife with one hand and use your other hand as a guide. You can curl your fingers away from the knife and place them behind it and move back as you chop. Try to use your middle or forefinger as a guide and stabilize the hand with your pinky finger and thumb. The knife can follow your knuckle, and you can start off slowly and increase your speed as you get more comfortable.
Selecting a Knife
The first thing to do is to pick up and grip the knife to make sure that it works for you. It should fit comfortably and feel that it is an extension of your hand. Evaluate the following characteristics of how it feels:
Hold the knife and make sure that it feels good in your hand. A heavier knife may cut through food easier, but a light knife may allow you more precision. Determine your needs and select the appropriate weight.
- Mince parsley
- Cut carrots into thin strips
- Carve melon
- Dice an onion
- Slice winter squash
The Verdict: Which Is the Best Chef Knife?
Our overall pick for the best of these knives is the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional S. If you are looking for quality and functionality all together, this is it. It is super sharp and durable, and it has an ergonomic design for comfort. It holds its edge well and can do any job. It is made of high-carbon without stainless. For this reason, it will not contaminate or alter the last of food.
Henckel produces a number of different knives and it is the oldest company from Germany. They have factories in Germany and Spain. Their knives have all of the bells and whistles. The design of this knife is classic and it is made from high-quality materials. It actually keeps its edge with minimum sharpening.
This product is very similar to the J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-inch knife but it is better and will last longer than this. The Pro is made of quality materials and is an incredible product. It is heavy and durable, and it holds its sharpness. Whether you are a home cook or a chef, you will never be at a loss in the kitchen with this knife.