Tempered Steel: The 9 Best Chef’s Knives

Any job is easier when you are using the right equipment, and gets much harder whenever you are forced to use something inferior. This goes for everything from stock car racing all the way down to the simple task of cutting meat and chopping vegetables. If you haven’t outfitted your kitchen with the proper cutting utensils, you’re working too hard every time you carve a turkey, slice up a steak, or just dice up fruit for your protein shake. Don’t let something as weak as poor cutlery make your life harder.

Whether you’re a connoisseur of the kitchen, a professional of the pantry, or just a person that wants a knife to do as it is supposed to, choosing a good chef’s knife is important. Chef’s blades are slightly different than average kitchen knives in that they are intended to reduce user fatigue, maintain an edge for longer periods, and give you a versatile cutting ability so that you don’t need to change instruments partway through your culinary symphony. Certainly, you don’t need to be a chef to appreciate these fine knives, but it helps that each of our 9 best chef’s knives are all professional grade.

Victorinox 8 Fibrox

Victorinox 8” Fibrox

For Beginners: The price and the style of this knife just calls out for the home cook who needs a good knife for everyday use. The stainless steel blade has a high carbon content to hold an edge longer while the conical grinding of blade allows you to cut easily from any angle with equal effectiveness. The Fibrox handle prevents slipping and is easy on the hands. Even if you aren’t acclimated to gripping a blade for long chopping sessions, you won’t tire out. Just don’t give it to your girlfriend when she is mad at you as its perfect balance makes it exceptional for throwing. [Purchase: $39]

Zyliss 7 25-Inch Chefs Knife

Zyliss 7.25-Inch Chef’s Knife

Ergonomic: It is easy to get turned off of the Zyliss because the price tag makes it seem like a cheap blade. Admittedly, it won’t hold an edge as long as many others and you aren’t likely to find it in many high-end kitchens. On the other hand, anyone who suffers from arthritis, hand cramps, carpal tunnel, or standard slicer’s fatigue will probably keep one on hand because the handle is so buttery smooth and ergonomically designed that it is very easy on the fingers and wrists. It will need a little more TLC to keep it in top condition, but holding it is like shaking hands with an easy chair. [Purchase: $15]

Wusthof Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku Knife

Wusthof Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku Knife

Cleaver Blade: Chef’s knives are often large and unwieldy for smaller users. This one is favored by those of a diminutive stature with smaller hands or those that feel they need a little more control over their blade. It is made with high-carbon-steel in the traditional Wusthof quality, so it will outlive you. It comes in 5 or 7 inch options, which are easier for smaller chefs. It is a cleaver blade style making it excellent for chopping meats and mincing vegetables. No one will laugh at the size of your knife after they try it out. [Purchase: $115]

Global GF-33 Heavyweight Chefs Knife

Global GF-33 Heavyweight Chef’s Knife

Heavy Cutter: Global is known for making knives that add a little extra heft for hard-core slicing and dicing. This model is a molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel that can hold an edge for ages and take Gordon Ramsay-level abuse. Many people enjoy the smooth design wherein the blade and handle are one, offering a greater sense of accuracy. It is 8 1/4 inches making it slightly longer than average but the svelte handle works for cooks of any size. The point angle is slightly more acute for easier rocking and the weight helps with serious chopping. [Purchase: $132]

Shun Premier Chefs Knife

Shun Premier Chef’s Knife

Light as a Feather: If you’ve ever been sitting right at the bar at Benihana’s then odds are you have seen one of these whipping past your face at subsonic speeds. The blade is made of Damascus steel that has been hand-hammered for a textured look that also prevents food from sticking to the blade. It has a thinner design that comes with a 16 degree blade angle which is 4-6 degrees less than most European knives so it bears a razor’s keenness. Though the handle is Pakkawood the entire knife is dishwasher safe. [Purchase: $170]

Wusthof Classic Cooks Knife

Wusthof Classic Cook’s Knife

Most Versatile: The next time you want to complain to a professional chef about a meal, this is probably what they are going to grab to threaten you with because very few restaurant kitchens don’t have one of these around. The body is a classic full tang, 3 rivet style. The blade is carved down and sharpened by Wusthof’s laser technology to create and retain a sharper edge which is then hand sharpened until it is ready for surgery. The composition is high-carbon stainless steel that needs minimal maintenance. Comes in any size you desire. [Purchase: $120]

Henckels Twin Four Star II Chefs Knife

Henckels Twin Four Star II Chef’s Knife

Forever Sharp: Great cooks that are lazy about their equipment tend to love this Henckels because it stays sharp endlessly. The reason for this is the blade is made from a single piece of stainless steel that is then ice-hardened as it is being made which allows it to retain a particular shape once it has been set. The polypropylene handle is comfortable without feeling soft or giving, so fatigue is greatly reduced. The design is new for Henckels with a full tang body and capped handle. [Purchase: $104]

Kyocera Ceramic Chefs Knife

Kyocera Ceramic Chef’s Knife

Ceramic Slicer: Traditionally ceramic options have not been able to break into the big time. Issues with dulling, snapping, chipping, and myriad other problems have held them back. No longer. The Kyocera is a zirconium oxide blade that actually works better than many of its true metal counterparts since it can keep an edge for ages longer. It is made by a diamond grinding process that hones it to microscopically precise levels. It also resists all of the corrosive materials that can ruin a good metal knife over time. Add in a perfect balance with the resin handle and a low price and you might find yourself a ceramic convert. [Purchase: $60]

Bob Kramer 10 Carbon Steel Chefs Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Bob Kramer 10″ Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Long Blade: It is a rare chef – or a giant – that actually prefers a 10″ blade, but when that is the only thing which will cut the mustard then there is no substitution for this beauty. The gentle downward arc helps anyone cut from a standard angle without strain. The high-carbon steel is easy to sharpen and to clean while the African blackwood handle is shaped with ergonomics in mind and to help work with the weight of the blade for fast, smooth action. Even if you’ve never considered changing for longer knives, this will make a believer out of you. [Purchase: $350]

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