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Best Chef’s Knives in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

By Luna Regina | Updated
Our recommendations are made independently through research and testing following our review procedure. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.

We all long for the best chef’s knife— one that offers solid performance, endurance, and comfort while supporting us in numerous food prepping tasks.

Best Chef’s Knives 2021

But what makes a good chef’s knife?

That depends a lot on the size and shape of your hands, your aesthetic taste, cutting style, and preferred level of sharpness. That being said, all good knives share certain features.

For this guide, we studied the technical features of dozens of popular knives and experiences from cooks who have used them. All this has helped us work out the top traits you should look for when buying a new chef’s knife, and we’re going to share those with you. It's very possible you might find your next chef’s knife among one of the 10 reviewed later in the article.

But first thing first: let’s discuss what to pay attention to when choosing a chef’s knife.

How to Find the Best Chef’s Knife

The quality and reliability of a chef’s knife depend on many different factors. At a basic level, you need to pay attention to the size, material, tang, edge shape, and handle.

How to Find the Best Chef’s Knife
For general cooking purposes, we recommend buying a chef’s knife that’s made of high carbon steel, with a hardness level between 56 and 60 HRC, a full tang, and a V-shaped edge. Choose a blade length that’s relative to the size of your hands.

Size

A chef’s knife blade can be anywhere between 5 and 10.5 inches. Most people are happy with an 8-inch blade, thus the popularity of this length.

If you have smaller, more delicate hands, a shorter blade (5 - 7 inches) will be easier to maneuver and less likely to cause wrist fatigue. Note, however, that shorter knives also have narrower blades, which are less helpful when scooping diced food off of a cutting board.

Blade Material

At the basic level, the material options are ceramic and metal.

Ceramic

Ceramic knives can be sharp and keep their edge for longer than steel knives, with sellers claiming they last 10 times longer. However, when they do become dull, there are few, if any, practical ways to sharpen them. Most end up in the trash, which is wasteful. The blades themselves are also more prone to breaking.

If you plan to use one chef’s knife for years, it’s better to get one made of a steel alloy, as they are sharpenable and more durable.

Metal

Among metal knives there are two basic types: carbon steel and stainless steel. Carbon steel knives are hard and can maintain their edge for longer than their stainless counterparts, but they’re more prone to rust and snapping under pressure. Stainless steel knives are better against rust, but are also a bit softer. They lose their edges faster and need more frequent honing and sharpening.

Knifemakers have also succeeded in making the best of both worlds by introducing high-carbon stainless steel knives. These knives have great edge retention while being much less likely to rust over time.

Note that knives with a high carbon content require better care. They must be carefully washed and immediately dried before storage. It’s also a good idea to wipe the metal surface with food-grade mineral oil after drying.

Hardness Level

A blade’s hardness is usually measured on the Rockwell hardness scale as the HRC figure. A higher number on the scale indicates harder material.

Hardness can be a double-edged sword when it comes to blades. Harder materials retain their sharp edge longer and thus need less sharpening and honing. But they are also more brittle than softer materials. If your knife is too hard, you run the risk of chipping the edge.

Most quality kitchen knives rate at around 56-60 on the Rockwell scale. Occasionally, you’ll see something harder, and if you’re after a cleaver, you may want something softer. Take special care around bones and frozen foods if you have a hard blade, and keep a honing rod handy if you have a soft one.

Tang

The chef’s knife is the most frequently used knife, so it’s a good idea to have one with a full tang. This refers to a design where the blade runs all the way through the handle, like a backbone. Full-tang knives offer greater balance, stability, and durability.

Knives with partial tangs weigh less, but unless you’re only cutting tofu and soft greens, the imbalance in weight and pressure will break the handle apart. In our experience, that usually happens within the first year of use.

Edge

While concave or chisel edges have their own advantages, we recommend amateur cooks stick to the traditional V-shaped edge, also called a flat-ground edge. This edge is ambidextrous and works for every cutting task in the kitchen while also being easy to sharpen. Most pull-through sharpeners, which are common among home cooks, are designed to work on a V-edge.

The edge of a typical German knife has an angle of 18 to 22 degrees on each side, allowing it to cut through harder material with minimal damage to the blade. A Japanese knife, meanwhile, is ground to 12 to 15 degrees, offering better precision and cleanness when cutting soft but tough material.

Kitchen Knife Edge AnglesKitchen Knife Edge Angles

However, there are many hybrids, as you will see in our picks below.

Handle

Natural wood handles look and feel luxurious, but they’re more prone to wear and tear as well as shrinking due to heat fluctuations. Plain plastic feels cheap and has poor resistance to heat.

Stainless steel can be cold to the touch, but it’s durable and easy to clean. Mixed synthetic materials such as fiberglass-resin laminate, engineered wood/resin composite, or fiberglass-reinforced nylon offer a better balance between aesthetics and durability. These are materials we look for in the handle of a chef’s knife.

Note that not all knife handles are made to be ambidextrous. If you’re left-handed, make sure you get a knife that’s southpaw-friendly.

Reviews of Best Chef’s Knives in 2021

There’s nothing as the perfect knife for everyone, but it’s possible to find ones that meet specific needs.

Here are our picks for the best chef’s knives to buy in 2021:

  1. Wusthof Classic— Best Chef’s Knife to Buy in 2021
  2. Cubikook Chef’s Knife— Best New Chef’s Knife
  3. J.A. Henckels Classic— Best Chef’s Knife for Beginners
  4. Global SAI-M03 Santoku— Best for Small Hands
  5. ZHEN— Best Chinese Chef’s Knife
  6. Dalstrong Shogun— Best Damascus Chef’s Knife
  7. Sabatier Vintage Au Carbone— Best Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife
  8. Global Classic— Best 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
  9. Shun Premier— Best 10-Inch Chef’s Knife
  10. Shun Classic Santoku— Best Japanese Chef’s Knife
  11. Mercer Culinary Genesis— Best Value

1. Wusthof Classic — Best to Buy in 2021

Wusthof offers in this Classic chef’s knife a function-focused design: a strong forged German body and an edge much keener than that of a typical Western blade. It’s expensive, but amateur and professional cooks alike who are seeking guaranteed performance will find the Classic an investment worth making.

WÜSTHOF Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
  • Forged, thick, solid blade

  • Extremely sharp edge (14 degrees)

  • Well-balanced

  • Bolster and triple-riveted full tang

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Plastic handle looks basic

  • Delicate edge is prone to brittle

This Wusthof Classic is forged from high-carbon stainless steel and hardened to a Rockwell rating of 58 HRC. As such, it can retain its edge longer compared to traditional stainless formulas while still responding well to whetstones or other sharpeners.

Unlike most European-style chef’s knives, Wüsthof sharpens theirs at a 14-degree angle. This is done using a computer-guided PEtec process while the final polishing is completed by hand. The result is near-razor sharpness, which surely is the competitive edge of this knife.

On the other hand, the edge’s delicacy also makes it more susceptible to damage. We highly recommend storing the knife in a sheath or a quality block. Dropping your chef’s knife in a drawer with other kitchenware runs the risk of chipping it.

You’ll notice from photos that the tang runs all the way to the butt, giving you plenty of leverage. Additionally, the knife has a sizable bolster and finger guard. The bulk of the bolster helps balance the knife and also gives you a bit more space for a comfortable handle length.

The Classic chef’s knife sports a polymer handle, which seamlessly matches the tang’s contours. Fastened to the tang with three rivets, it’s stable and comfortable to hold. Plus, it won’t absorb water or meat juices, so it can last a lifetime. Admittedly, it’s less elegant to look at than wood-grain handles.

Wüsthof is one of the top names in cutlery today, and for good reason. Their Classic 8-inch model isn’t flashy— you won’t find any gimmicks here— but it’s focused on simplicity and functionality. And when it comes down to it, that’s what a good chef truly needs.

This knife (like most other Wüsthof offerings) comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

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2. Cubikook— Best New Chef’s Knife

Cubikook may not be a veteran in knifemaking, but their products are far from sub par. The brand’s KC201-RTC chef’s knife has a German steel body, forged full tang, angled bolster, and pakkawood handle— qualities you usually only see in knives that cost upwards of three times as much.

Cubikook Forged Santoku Knife 7 Inch
  • Full tang, smart bolster, metal butt cap

  • Extremely sharp

  • Attractive pakkawood handle

  • Beautiful magnetic box

  • Affordable

  • Thin edge is prone to chipping

The Cubikook’s blade is made of 1.4116, a stainless steel with carbon content around the 0.55% mark, which qualifies it as a high-carbon steel. It scores 56 on the Rockwell hardness scale. As such, the knife has decent edge retention while still being ductile enough to resist sudden pressure. It’s a versatile piece that can handle any cutting task.

You wouldn’t want to use it on particularly hard materials, though: Laser-cut to 13 degrees, its edge is thinner than most Western chef’s knives out there. This gives it great advantages when it comes to thin slicing and precision cutting of even the toughest vegetables, skin, or meat, but also makes it more prone to damage on the edge.

You’ll have to use a wooden or plastic cutting board, and make sure not to put this knife in the dishwasher.

The knife has a full tang visible between its beautiful pakkawood grips, ending with a shiny butt cap. Pakkawood is a type of resin-infused wood. The resin seals the wood against moisture and scent infiltration, so the handle shouldn’t warp or expand. It has an ergonomic design and is very comfortable to hold. The bolster tapering to the blade also helps add to an easy grip.

Similar to their santoku knife, the Cubikook chef’s knife comes in an exquisite magnetic box with stuffed red velvet lining, which may not be practical for storage, in our opinion, but it makes a great gift.

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3. J.A. Henckels Classic— Best Chef’s Knife for Beginners

J.A. Henckels International is a well known cutlery brand, so it should surprise no one that it wound up on our list. This particular chef’s knife sports a 6-inch blade. The smaller size is great for cooks with small hands or those who still need practice.

J.A. Henckels 31161-161 CLASSIC Chef's Knife
  • Forged, thick, solid blade

  • Hard stainless steel

  • Bolster > full tang, triple-riveted

  • Reasonable price

  • Basic plastic handle

It also comes in the 8-inch blade version, though.

This line of J.A Henckels cutlery gets the name “Classic,” which is easy to confuse with the Wüsthof knife on this list. It’s even made of German stainless steel. However, you’ll probably note the massive difference in price.

Each full-tang blade is forged from a single billet at the company’s factory in Spain. Unlike the Mercer knife, the full tang is exposed and the bolster is quite substantial. It all works together to give you good leverage exactly where you need it.

The edge of this blade is reported to be 15 degrees, and its hardness falls within the range of 56-58 HRC.

Like the others listed above, this is a no-frills knife. The grips are made of black polymer that’s fitted to the shape of the tang, and are triple-riveted, giving the knife extra stability. The polymer isn’t especially pretty, but it’s functional and won’t absorb water or food smells.

We were surprised to see the note “dishwasher-safe” on J.A. Henckels’ website. While the materials should be fine in the dishwashing machine, we still don’t recommend it. Silverware and cutlery are rattled around by the water jets. There’s a chance something will jostle against your blade and put a chip in the edge. So, this knife is best washed by hand.

Again, it’s a good idea to store this knife in a knife block to protect the edge. Many knife blocks are designed with 8- or 10-inch blades in mind, but there’s nothing to prevent you from placing a shorter one in that space. Barring a block, you may be able to find a sheath for it. The manufacturer does not produce one themselves, though.

J.A. Henckels offers a limited lifetime warranty on their knives.

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4. Global SAI-M03 Santoku— Best for Small Hands

Not everyone does well with such a large blade. If you have small hands, you may need a knife with both a smaller grip and a shorter blade. Enter the Global Sai-M03.

Global SAI-M03 Santoku Knife
  • Small, compact (5 in)

  • Hard blade (56-58 HRC)

  • Razor-sharp edge

  • Durable single-piece construction

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Delicate edge is very prone to chipping

  • Heavy for its size

This one is notably different from the others on this list. Not only is the blade just 5 inches long, but the tip is a sheep’s foot shape, and the handle is entirely metal. The edge also features a narrow 12.5-degree bevel, with a hardness of 56-58 HRC. Be very careful not to chip this edge!

Since the edge is at such an unusual bevel angle, you’ll probably be stuck either using a whetstone or buying one of Global’s purpose-made sharpeners. Most pull-through sharpeners aren’t the right angle.

Like the Shun Premier, the upper portion of the Global Sai-M03 is hand-hammered and dimpled to reduce stickiness. It’s a good option for slicing vegetables and plain meat, but should not be used on cuts with bones in them.

The single-piece construction makes for a unique handle. Its ergonomic shape is a bit different than most knives, which may sit well with some chefs, but not others.

It bears repeating that although this is an entirely stainless-steel knife, it should be hand washed. Placing it in the dishwasher risks chipping the edge.

Global offers a limited lifetime warranty on their Sai line of knives.

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5. ZHEN— Best Chinese Chef’s Knife

The Zhen knife is a hybrid of blades: It’s a Chinese-style chef’s knife made of extra hard Japanese steel with Damascus patterns and sharpened to a santoku’s angle. When your food preparation calls for the chopping of vegetables, you will find that few other knives can do the job better.

ZHEN Japanese VG-10 Chopping Chef Butcher Knife
  • Japanese steel

  • Hard blade (60-62 HRC)

  • Sharp edge

  • Ergonomic pakkawood handle

  • Bolster, full tang, end cap

  • Prone to chipping

  • Not suitable for chopping hard materials

The Chinese chef’s knife has a big rectangular blade that very much resembles a meat cleaver. However, there’s a critical difference: The former has a design meant for chopping vegetables.

For a start, the Zhen is larger and heavier than most chef’s knives. That weight on its own can do some of the work for you. Make use of the ergonomic pakkawood handle and bolster to give you good leverage, and let gravity help you out.

The knife is made from Japanese steel (VC-10) heat treated to a hardness of 60 to 62 HRC. The edge is also ground to a 15-degree angle. Such a sharp angle allows the knife to cut through any tough materials effortlessly, while hard metal keeps the blade straight and stable and reduces the chance of bending or breaking when cutting thick vegetables such as squashes.

On the other hand, this knife is easy to chip. This knife should never be used in close proximity to bone, or even frozen meat!

Many wooden knife blocks do not have a slot large enough for this knife. It’s still important to protect the edge during storage, though, so we recommend exploring your options thoroughly.

Zhen offers a limited lifetime warranty on defects.

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6. Dalstrong Shogun— Best Damascus Chef’s Knife

Many of the “Damascus” knives we see today have the pattern printed on for show. The Dalstrong Shogun chef’s knife, however, is 66 layers of high-carbon stainless steel cladded on a Japanese steel core, making it one of the hardest (and prettiest) knives available. You will also get to experience phenomenal sharpness with this knife.

DALSTRONG Chef's Knife - Shogun Series X Gyuto - Damascus
  • Extremely hard forged blade (62 HRC)

  • Razor sharp edge

  • Bolster, triple-riveted full tang, durable handle

  • Elegant Damascus style

  • Tsuchime finish reduces dragging and sticking

  • Protective sheath

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Edge is extremely delicate and prone to chipping

With 67 layers of steel in total, this knife clocks in at 62+ on the Rockwell scale. That’s great for edge retention— it shouldn’t require sharpening more than once a year if used properly.

We were surprised to see a bevel angle of 8-12 degrees, which is not far off the angle of a razor blade. This edge will cut through a ripe tomato in one go without squishing the innards.

The handle’s fiberglass-composite grips are fitted to a thick, exposed tang. That and the hefty bolster will give you the leverage you need for nearly any cooking task.

With such a hard and fine angle, you will need to protect the edge. Dalstrong recognizes this fact because they include a sheath with the knife. So, even if you don’t have a knife block, you can keep it safe. When using the knife, keep it away from bones or frozen meat; it’s not worth chipping your high-end blade.

Dalstrong offers a money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty on all their knives.

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7. Sabatier Vintage Au Carbone— Best Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife

This K. Sabatier 10-inch carbon steel chef’s knife is about as classical as it gets. The company has been producing knives out of the same factory in Thiers, France for over 150 years.

French Sabatier 10 Inch Forged Carbon Steel Chef Knife
  • Forged, solid blade

  • Bolster > triple-riveted full tang

  • Easy to sharpen

  • May develop beautiful patina

  • Prone to rusting

The knife is large and hefty, and features a burly bolster and finger-guard. Its tang runs all the way through the handle, and is hand-fastened in between the POM grips with three brass rivets, ensuring excellent balance and stability. The steel itself is forged and tempered to a rating of between 54 and 56 on the Rockwell scale.

We don’t recommend swinging it like a butcher knife, but this Sabatier will make short work of just about any other cutting task.

We have to reiterate that with a carbon blade, this knife requires more care than others. Don’t let it sit long with water or food particles on the surface.

This is one instance where a wooden knife block is not the best idea. Sometimes moisture finds its way into the knife slots, so an open-air storage option like a wall-mounted magnet would be better. Fortunately, carbon steel is more magnetic than stainless.

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8. Global Classic— Best 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

If you’re looking for an 8-inch chef’s knife that’s sharp, lightweight, well-balanced, and easy to maintain, the Global Classic Chef’s Knife may be worth your time.

Global 8
  • Durable single-piece construction

  • Well-balanced

  • Extremely sharp

  • Lightweight

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Dishwasher-safe

  • Needs frequent edge straightening

Like the 5-inch Global knife we mentioned, this one is all stainless steel, including the grip. No need to worry about a bolster and tang— you simply have a single-piece kitchen tool. And as a bonus, it’s a bit cheaper than many other high-end chef’s knives.

The handle of this Global item is dimpled to improve your grip (smooth steel is not the ‘grippiest’ of materials, after all). Each dimple is painted black so the handle looks hollow from a distance. It’s an attractive bit of modern flair that goes great with any contemporary-styled kitchen. Just be sure to wash the dimples carefully— you don’t want food particles hanging out in there.

The handle is partially hollowed out, but rather than having holes that go all the way through, it’s filled with sand. This is done to achieve a proper balance.

This 8-inch chef’s knife is ground with a narrow but slightly convex bevel to give it a little added strength. That’s helpful since the whole blade is relatively thin.

The Classic is meant to be one of Global’s lightweight designs. That’s great if you’re uneasy using a particularly hefty knife. Nevertheless, we do wish it had a substantial bolster. The web of your hand is likely to ride up on the knife’s spine sometimes.

This knife is stamped rather than forged like most on this list. It’s great for a stamped design, but it may not live up to its premium forged contemporaries.

Global offers a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

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9. Shun Premier— Best 10-Inch Chef’s Knife

If you have big hands and find 8-inch blades inadequate in size and feel, this Japanese handcrafted 10-inch Shun chef’s knife may be your next BIFL knife.

Shun Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife
  • Forged, solid blade

  • Bolster > full tang

  • Pakkawood handle with end cap

  • Elegant Damascus finish

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Free sharpening service

  • High price

  • Delicate edge

The Shun Premier is forged using a proprietary steel alloy and heat-treated to give it a very hard edge. It’s sharpened at a bevel angle of 16 degrees (again, relatively narrow). If you page through the reviews, you’ll find a lot of ecstatic reviews regarding its sharpness, but also a few unlucky individuals who chipped their blades. Be very careful with the edge of your Shun knife.

The knife certainly has a look to match its name. The remarkable surface of the knife is achieved by creating a Damascus-style pattern and then hammer-finishing the blade. The rippled surface is meant to reduce food’s tendency to stick to the metal.

As you’d expect from a premium chef’s knife, this one is forged and features a full tang. The tang is encased in a gorgeous pakkawood handle. The D-shaped cross section is a little unusual, but most cooks don’t find it to be a problem.

A side benefit of Shun’s premium pricing is its sharpening service. They will sharpen your knives for free throughout the life of the blade (although you still have to pay shipping). Shun also offers a limited lifetime warranty.

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10. Shun Classic Santoku— Best Japanese Chef’s Knife

Traditional Japanese-style knives (also known as Santoku knives) are a bit different from the others we’ve listed here. You’ll notice the edge has a shallower curve, lending itself to a slightly different slicing motion.

Shun Classic 7” Hollow-Ground Santoku All-Purpose Kitchen Knife
  • Forged, solid blade

  • Bolster > full tang

  • Pakkawood handle with end cap

  • Elegant Damascus finish

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Free sharpening service

  • High price

  • Delicate edge

Since Shun is a Japanese company, it should come as no surprise that they make an excellent Santoku.

This Japanese chef’s knife retains the features Shun is known for. It is forged using a proprietary stainless steel formula and has an attractive Damascus-style finish. The edge is ground to a bevel of 16 degrees. The tang runs through the handle to the butt of the knife, and the handle is constructed of pakkawood, which won’t absorb moisture or scents.

One feature that distinguishes this knife visually is the hollow-ground indentations in the metal. These are common to Santoku knives. The changing contour reduces the tendency of meat and fish to stick to the blade.

The Classic line is not quite as expensive as Shun’s Premier knives, but that doesn’t mean it comes cheap. Fortunately, this knife is also covered by Shun’s limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening service. Take good care of this Japanese knife and it will return the favor.

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11. Mercer Culinary Genesis— Best Value

Not everyone can afford to drop hundreds of dollars on a single knife. This Mercer Culinary chef’s knife is much more affordable but still possesses the features you need.

Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Short Bolster Forged Chef's Knife,
  • Forged with full tang > bolster

  • Certified as safe for food

  • Affordable

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Basic TPE handle

  • Hidden tang

The blades of the Genesis-series knives are made of German high-carbon stainless steel. It is a good middle ground between corrosion resistance and toughness. At 56±1 HRC on the Rockwell scale, it’s slightly softer than some and thus less likely to chip. The downside is you’ll have to sharpen it more often.

The Mercer Culinary Genesis is a forged knife that features a full tang hidden within the grip. Generally, we prefer knife tangs that are visible down the length of the handle so all your leverage is applied directly to the knife’s metal body. But you can’t get everything at a low price point.

The bolster of the Genesis chef’s knife helps balance it, despite not being as substantial as the bolster on other knives.

Mercer grinds their chef’s knife to a 15-degree angle. Again, that’s rather narrow for this type of blade. Take care of this knife and get the right type of sharpener— it will serve you well if you do.

In a departure from the other knives on this list, Mercer’s grip is made of Santoprene. Santoprene is similar to thermoset rubber; it is relatively pliable but does not absorb moisture. Some users like the grip it gives them even while their hands are wet. Other chefs aren’t fans of the texture. You’ll have to decide for yourself how well you like it.

The link listed with this review is for the 8-inch blade. However, Mercer Culinary does offer other sizes of chef’s knives. A short search should turn up the one that fits your needs.

The Mercer Culinary Genesis line of knives comes with a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.

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Top-rated Chef’s Knives Comparison Table

ProductBlade LengthEdge AngleMaterial/ HardnessConsider it if...
Wüsthof Classic Chef’s Knife8 in14 degrees* High-carbon stainless steel
* 58 HRC
Guaranteed German quality is what you’re looking for.
Cubikook Chef’s Knife8 in13 degrees*High carbon stainless steel
*56-58 HRC
You don’t mind buying from a new brand, as long as the knife delivers.
J.A. Henckels Classic6 in15 degrees*Stainless steel
*56-58 HRC
You’re looking for a solid knife that’s straightforward to use.
Global SAI-M03 Santoku5 in12.5 degrees*Stainless steel
*56-58 HRC
You want a sharp and lightweight blade.
ZHEN Chinese Chef’s Knife8 in15 degrees*Stainless steel
*60-62 HRC
Your food preparation involves chopping a lot of vegetables.
Dalstrong Shogun6 in8 - 12 degrees*Stainless steel
*62 HRC
You want the sharpest knife available.
Sabatier Vintage Au Carbone10 in15 degrees*Carbon steel
*54 - 56 HRC
You’re after true traditional carbon knives and don’t mind the maintenance work.
Global Classic8 inN/A*Stainless steel
*62 HRC
Thin slicing and precision work make up the majority of your prepping.
Shun Premier10 in16 degrees* High carbon stainless steel with Damascus cladding
*60 HRC
Aesthetics and brand are as important as performance.
Shun Classic Santoku7 in16 degrees* High carbon stainless steel
*61 HRC
You want a knife that’s hard and solid, but not too big or heavy.
Mercer Culinary Genesis8 in15 degrees* High-carbon stainless steel
*55 - 57 HRC
You want decent quality at an affordable price.

Best Chef’s Knife Brands

1. Wusthof

Wüsthof is a family-owned knife-maker based in Solingen, Germany, with 200 years of experience forging knives.

Wusthof knife

Most Wüsthoff knives belong to the higher end of the spectrum, although they also offer affordable stamped options. Among their best-selling knives are the Classic line, which are forged using high carbon stainless steel and have a black plastic handle. These provide excellent cutting experience and durability while staying in a reasonable price range.

2. Mercer Culinary

Mercer Culinary is an American knife brand. Geared towards both home cooks and professional chefs alike, their blades are certified to meet strict NSF standards for culinary tools.

Mercer Culinary

Mercer Culinary makes both forged and stamped knives, and is a relatively budget-friendly brand. Some of the most beloved Mercer Culinary knives include the MX3, the ZüM, Renaissance, and the Genesis

3. Shun

Shun is a culinary tool brand from Tokyo, owned and operated by the KAI Group.

Shun Brand

The brand offers a wide selection of knives. Apart from Japanese blades, they also make those resembling the western style, but with thinner blades, sharper edges, and lighter weight.

Shun combines old Japanese blacksmithing with modern manufacturing techniques to create knives that maintain their sharpness for a long time. Each of their knives goes through 100 handcrafted steps, which enhances their durability, but also comes with a high price.

4. Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Zwilling J. A. Henckels is an accredited company based in Solingen, Germany. With almost 300 years of experience, they now run several brands of kitchenware, including Zwilling J. A. Henckels, J. A. Henckels International, and BSF.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Brand

The brand has a large collection of knives made in different countries, which include the full spectrum of prices. Their most popular pieces are from the Four-Star line, which features forged knives with full tangs and molded polypropylene handles.

5. Dalstrong

Dalstrong is a newer company compared to its older competitors. Beginning in 2012, they’re shaking up the industry with their modern knives.

Dalstrong Brand

Dalstrong knives feature very hard blades (58 to 66+ HRC) with sharp edges (8- to 18-degree angles). They maintain their edge for longer, but are extra sensitive to hard materials.

The knife ranges they offer include the Shogun, Phantom, Gladiator, Shadow Black, Omega, and Crusader series, each designed and priced to answer a different cooking level and budget.

6. Global

Global is a brand of kitchen knives manufactured in Japan, and has been operating since 1954 under the name of the Yoshida Metal Industry Co. Ltd.

What differentiates Global from its competitors, such as J.A. Henckels or Wüsthof, is that the blades are thinner and made of a harder steel alloy, allowing the blade to hold its edge for longer.

One of the series of knives offered by Global is the Global Ni (“two” in Japanese), which is the second in the new generation of Global Knives.

7. MAC

MAC is a Japanese brand of knives manufactured in Japan, and has been operating since 1964. They offer a variety of different knives and knife sets. Some notable ones are the Original, Superior, and Japanese series.

The typical MAC knife stands out with its hybrid edge that utilizes the best of both worlds. It combines the traditional Japanese single-beveled chisel edge with the Western V edge, making an off-center edge that is sharp enough for thin slicing, but also stable enough for straight cuts.

9. Victorinox

Victorinox is a knife manufacturer based in Switzerland with more than a century of experience making blades. They are most famous for their Swiss Army knives, but also offer several lines of kitchen knives.

Victorinox Brand

Victorinox knives offer great value for the price. They’re mostly stamped out of stainless steel sheets, although forged and ceramic knives are also available.

10. Messermeister

Messermeister (Messer meaning “knife” and meister meaning “master”) is a knife maker from Germany. Though rather new to the game compared to other brands on this list, they offer more than a dozen lines of kitchen knives and cutlery tools.

Messermeister knives are affordable and a popular choice among aspiring chefs. In fact, they even make a line specifically for culinary students.

Luna Regina

A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.

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