We chopped, sliced and diced to find the top-performing chefs knives. Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these affiliate links.
If there’s one kitchen tool that’s indispensable for professional chefs and home cooks alike, it’s a chef’s knife. Though a good chef’s knife is a must-have, what constitutes the best is more subjective than for other kitchen tools. Think about the task at hand: Are you planning to use it for a lot of prep work? Are you looking for a butcher knife? Maybe you need something to execute precision cuts on more delicate ingredients. All these things affect which knife will be the best fit for you. Here are our top picks for the best chefs knives for a variety of kitchen tasks.
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top chefs knife picks.
Ina’s Favorite: Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
When we interviewed Ina Garten during her Cook Like a Pro book tour last fall, she revealed that the number one tool that every single home cook needs is a “good knife.” Of course, there are lots of “good” knives out there. Ina’s favorite? The knives in the Wüsthof Classic line. “They’re what I use. They’re pretty expensive, but they last a lifetime. That’s why I say, ask for one as a gift or buy one at a time,” Ina told us, admitting that they’re a bit of an investment — but totally worth it. The German-made chef’s knife is forged from high-carbon steel that’s meant to help prevent rust and stains. It’s also “full tang,” which is a fancy way of saying that the metal blade runs all the way through the very end of the handle. Simply put, this knife is meant to stand up to even the strongest watermelon or butternut squash.
Although we trust Ina with our lives and usually love Wüsthof knives, it felt different when we were comparing it to other knives. It had the thickest, clunkiest blade and handle, which made us feel like we had less control than with the others. This brand new Wüsthof was also the least sharp of the four knives we tested, and while knife weightiness is often a matter of personal preference, this one felt off kilter in our hands. This knife was totally “good,” but it was not “great.” Rating: 6/10Buy: Wusthof Classic Chef’s Knife, $187
Shun Dual Core 8″ Kiritsuke Knife
The Shun Dual Core is made out of durable carbon steel, and the knife has an eight-section steel handle. The contoured, octagon-shaped pakkawood handle has an L-shaped section that fits snugly around the knife’s blade, allowing for a firm grip and accuracy.
The edges are not dulled using L-shaped clasps, which means that the knife will stay crisp and sharp even when used every day. The eight-section steel handle is also strong, providing a balanced feel while the blade does its job.
The blade is composed of two materials: thin, high-carbon steel and a hard, diamond-tipped backspacer. Both materials are combined in a single unit to make the Shun Dual Core, which gives it a two-piece knife design. The knife’s diamond-tipped backspacer prevents the knife from shifting when the user handles it.
Shun knives are known worldwide and are often seen on dishes, pots, cups, tea sets, chopsticks, etc. The knives are made in the same traditional Japanese sword style as all the Shun knives, which can also be seen worldwide. So if you are looking for an excellent substantial traditional Japanese chef cut or a unique collectible Asian cuisine aficionado set, the Shun classic proline is the way to go.
Buy: Shun Dual Core 8″ Kiritsuke Knife at Amazon
How Much To Spend on a Chef’s Knife
Since you’ll reach for your chef’s knife often, it’s wise to invest — though that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank or that more expensive equals better quality. Consider your budget and whether you have any wiggle room. If you’re deciding between a couple brands, opt for the brand that is known for producing great knives. The bottom line: Choose something that you can afford, feels comfortable, works for you and gets you cooking!
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