With department stores, kitchen stores and even hardware stores selling a variety of knives, all claiming to be sharp and of impeccable quality, it can be confusing and overwhelming to look for a great new set of cooking knives.
In fact, the decision between buying a set of cooking knives or just purchasing one or two individual blades really depends based on how you answer these five questions:
- Do I already own a set?
- Do I need a whole new set or just one knife?
- What will I most be using my knives for, and how often?
- Does it matter to me if my kitchen knives match?
- How much am I ultimately willing to spend?
In this article, we’re going to dig into the topic of finding the best cooking knife that’s available on the market today. In doing so, we’ll talking buy a set of knives versus individual ones, different forms of knives designed to aid in the cooking process, how to sharpen them, how to store them, and even a few reviews of some of our recommended favorites.
To better help illustrate the kinds of great cooking knives on the market today, please take a look at our interactive table below. Inside, you’ll be able to compare and contrast knives made by everyone from Victorinox to Wustoff to Kyocera. These blades are all compared based on price, blade material, length, and average customer review ratings.
$ = $1 – $30 | $$ = $31 – $60 | $$$ = $61 and above
|J.A. HENCKELS Int'l Classic Chef's Knife||Stainless steel||8''||$$||4.5/5|
|Wusthof Classic Cook's Knife||High-Carbon Stainless Steel||8''||$$$||4.8/5|
|Victorinox Swiss Classic||Stainless steel||8''||$$||4.9/5|
|Victorinox Fibrox||High-carbon stainless steel blade||8"||$$||4.8/5|
|Kyocera Revolution Chef's Knife||Ceramic||7"||$$$||4.5/5|
|Global G-2 Chef's Knife||Molybdenum/Vanadium Stainless Steel||8''||$$$||4.6/5|
Top Cooking Knives at a Glance
Here, we’re going to rank what we believe to be some of the top cooking knives—but it’s based on price. One money symbol means the cheapest in price, while five money symbols means you’re getting a better product but are also shelling out more money.
- Ikea Andlig
- Victorinox Swiss Classic
- Global G2
- Kyocera Revolution
- JA Henckels Int’l Classic
- Shun DM0760
- Wusthof Classic
- Kikoichi Elite Carbon Gyutou
- Misono UX 10 Gyutou
- Miyabi Kaizen
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling chef’s knives currently for sale on Amazon:
- Victorinox 8” Fibrox
- J.A. Henckels Int’l Classic 8″
- Shun DM706 Classic 8”
- Wusthof Classic 8”
- Global G-2 (8”)
Reviewing the Best Knives
- Victorinox Swiss Classic ($)
The Victorinox Swiss Classic 8 inch chef’s knife is a quality knife without a massive price tag. Victorinox is primarily famous for its pocket knives yet the quality and overall design of this knife clearly demonstrate that they are not limited to pocket knives alone.
This knife series features blades that are made from X50CrMoV15 steel. This steel is very hard and because it is not a high carbon steel, it requires little maintenance to prevent rust (although it does have some difficulty retaining an edge and will give the user plenty of practice sharpening and honing the knife). This is the same type of steel the higher end knives use, and so while the edge may be hard to retain, it is extremely sharp once an edge has been put on the blade.
In all, the Victorinox Swiss Classics are easy on the wallet and Victorinox is able to keep this price by maintaining a more simplistic design and handle materials.
- Kyocera Revolution ($$)
The Kyocera Revolution is a premium ceramic knife series, which means it is extremely hard, holds an edge exceptionally well and will not transfer taste or brown foods it has cut.
These knives, while more delicate and limited in their abilities due to the brittle nature of the blade, are excellent at cutting vegetables, fruit and deboned meats. These knives are lightweight and will slice cleanly through fruits and vegetables that other knives will usually crush, such as ripe tomatoes.
The drawback to a ceramic knife is that if you twist it or drop it they are prone to chipping and shattering. They also cannot be used for disjointing a carcass and even carving a turkey can be a challenge as the knife does not do well when it hits bone. The other issue with ceramic knives is that they are much more difficult to sharpen, as ceramic is significantly harder than most steels out there.
When looking for a knife, the Kyocera Revolution line of knives is certainly one to check out, as they are very good knives and the price doesn’t hurt either. You can actually purchase either a white or black Kyocera blade, so there’s something for everyone here.
- Shun Classic ($$$)
Shun knives are known the world over for their unparalleled quality in the kitchen. These knives are made from VG-10 stainless steel, which is stain resistant and commonly used in Japanese knives such as the Shun.
The advantage to VG-10 steel is that it is both easy to sharpen and hone while holding an edge exceedingly well. This makes it ideal for the kitchen, as you will spend less time perfecting the blade and more time using it.
These knives, while not cheap, are an affordable option for quality materials and craftsmanship. While this line of knives is not often seen in professional kitchens, many of the same technology used to create this blade are seen on Shun’s more expensive professional lines.
- Wusthof Classic ($$$$)
The Wusthof Classic series is a premium line of knives. Made from X50CrMoV15 steel, these knives display quality craftsmanship and handles, which are designed to be easily held in either a regular or pinch grip. They are quite heavy knives and clearly show their Germanic design with their deep belly and ample finger clearance.
Wusthof Classic knives are commonly sought by professionals and home cooks alike. While the edge may need honing and sharpening more often than some knives with harder steel, they are also more forgiving and less likely to chip.
- Miyabi Kaizen ($$$$$)
Miyabi is a brand created from collaboration between Zwilling J.A. Henckels and former Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba. These knives embody the essence of Japanese tradition and skill, while embracing Western technology.
The handles on these knives are made from Micarta in a teardrop design which makes them fit comfortably in the hand, regardless of grip and cuisine. These knives are produced in Seki, Japan with a core of VG10 stainless steel, which is wrapped by 64 layers in a flower Damascus pattern.
The treatment of the blade to harden and temper it is unique in that it is done in a vacuum furnace, double tempered and rapid-quenched. On top of this, it also receives a cryogenic treatment at -321ºF to ensure this blade will not rust with proper care.
These knives are truly one of a kind and come from the factory with a 3-stage “Honbazuke” (true-edge) done in a traditional fashion by hand. No expenses were spared in the making of these knives and they are truly a working piece of art.
Finding the Knife: Identifying Forms
First things first–knives come in two basic forms: Forged and Stamped. Forged knives are significantly more work because each knife needs to be heated and shaped, which creates a very dense, high-quality blade, which will hold an edge well and put up with plenty of abuse without warping.
Stamped knives are cheaper because they are cut from a large sheet of steel with a large machine similar to a press with dozens of cookie cutters on it. From there, the knives are heated and cooled on a conveyer belt and then sharpened. This can all be done easily and quickly on an assembly line and therefore the cost of production is significantly less, although it lacks the individual attention given to a forged knife.
How to Sharpen Knives for Kitchen Use
Sharpening a kitchen knife can be accomplished in multiple ways. The easiest is to take it to a sharpening professional. Another method is to use an electric knife sharpener. There are many different models, and all of which have different instructions, however all of them require you to pull the knife through the sharpener. These vary considerably in cost and quality therefore it is advised that you discuss this with a local professional.
A common misconception is the honing steel. This is designed to hone a blade rather than sharpen it, even if it is labeled as a “sharpening steel.”
The final method is the whetstone. Whetstones can be used for both sharpening and honing a knife and therefore is a very useful skill for one to learn, particularly if you intend on sharpening all of your own knives. To accomplish the task of sharpening the blade on a whetstone, you must make sure the stone is wet and then keep the blade at the correct angle while drawing it across the stone.
More information can be found here regarding whetstones and other sharpening methods.
How to Store
Cooking knives are designed to be used regularly and need to be cleaned after every use. While many knives say they are dishwasher friendly, this often will cause excessive wear on the knife and either the blade or the handle may suffer. This can lead to the blade’s coating being compromised, particularly with a heat cycle, promoting rust. Cracking of the handle is a common issue regardless of the materials used.
All knives should be stored in a location where they will be dry. Common solutions to this are a knife block and magnetic knife strips.
While the knife strip allows for proper air flow and displays your knives proudly, some metals do not stick as well and these knife strips may cause a hazard if young children are present in the home.
It does not matter what your budget is, there is a knife that will suit all of your needs. While this may take some experimenting to find the perfect knife, provided it receives the proper care and honing, it will help you create years of good memories effortlessly.
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