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Want to buy the best kitchen knife? Looking to upgrade? Are you in the market for NEW kitchen knives?
If so, you’ll want to check out our list of picks for the best kitchen knife brands. After our brand recommendations we’ve also got some handy kitchen knife tips that will help you at home.
This is one kitchen tool that you shouldn’t skimp on.
Good knives will last a lifetime and serve you well. Cheap knives can break after only a few uses and it can be dangerous when they do.
We’ve found that a good brand is often a good guide to the quality of the knives but it’s worth noting that you need to examine the knives you buy carefully and don’t solely rely on a brand name.
There are many great knife manufacturers and our list is not intended to be definitive but rather to pick out the top brands that we’ve used and trusted and which have been reliable for years and years. Stay sharp!
Established in 1731, the company that would become J A Henckels has had plenty of time to get its knife building right. They bring German engineering precision to bear on creating strong, dense blades and substantive overall construction.
We also like that they’re committed to paying fair wages to their staff in all countries and have a strong human rights presence around the world.
Wusthof is another german brand famed for superb kitchen knives and the quality of its forged steel. In Germany, Wusthof may just edge out J A Henckels as a mark of quality.
Wusthof has married top of the range technology to their old school traditional processes and the kitchen knives they create are true works of art.
The Kai Corporation is a massive conglomerate and it wouldn’t surprise us if it launched even more knife brands in the years to come. For now, however, it makes Shun and Pure Komachi. The differences between the two are really all in the aesthetic appeal.
Both brands benefit from Japanese attention to detail and engineering standards.
The American company Chicago Cutley lets the knives do the talking; they’re notoriously shy of seeking out the spotlight of publicity but have been in the business for a very long time, indeed.
As you’d expect from an American brand, they lead the way in product innovation and their customer service is considered to be unparalleled in the industry.
The young Swiss brand Zyliss is the last on our list. Well, when we say young – they were founded in 1948, they’ve had a bit of time to get really good at making kitchen knives.
We like the blend of technology and Swiss fussiness that makes their knives both fun and ultra-reliable.
OK, now that we’ve touched on the best brands – let’s look at what you need to consider when buying your kitchen knives.
If you’re just starting out in a new kitchen – you’ll need a decent range of knives. We’d say that the typical chef is going to want:
We’d recommend that if you need a lot of these things at one time that you seek out a set which will be cheaper than buying individually. However, you should still follow the rest of our tips when selecting your set.
There’s no such thing as the perfect knife, just the perfect knife for you. Try them out in your hands, how do they feel? If the answer is “no good”, don’t buy them, no matter what the brand may be.
Top quality knives are made from a single piece of steel. Welding or worse, glue, marks are a sign that your knives are less likely to last and may break during use. Very thin steel is a real red flag when buying knives too.
Knife weight needs to be considered in harmony with its purpose. You’d expect a cleaver, for example, to be much heavier than a vegetable knife. Carrots are pretty easy to cut, right? So, feel them out in context with what you’ll do with them.
The better the knife, the better the balance. Place your finger at the finger grip on the hilt and then see if it will balance on your finger (be careful not to cut yourself) if it balances well, it’s a good knife. This is important because the balance of the knife affects how well it will cut when in use.
The hilt should be solid and straightforward to keep clean. It will take the majority of the strain when you’re cutting and low quality, thin, plasticky hilts are likely to disintegrate. Open holes in the hilt that can’t be cleaned are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Avoid.
The ideal handles are steel and of the same material as the blade but this can be very expensive. If you can’t stretch your budget to that – make sure you use a high-density material which won’t break easily. Light wood, cheap plastic and even old school bone will disintegrate over time.
You, ideally, want non-stainless steel which won’t rust and will maintain a sharp edge. Stainless steel, which many knives are made out of, isn’t as good and it will go blunt fast and take a long time to sharpen.
If you have a tight budget, buy a cheap stainless set and wait until you can afford a better non-stainless set.
The “all in one” knife sounds like a good idea but in reality, it’s almost always a bad one. The blade will be serrated which is not suited to most types of cutting (except for steak after it has been served) and in fact, can be very dangerous when cutting vegetables or raw meat because they will slip and possibly cut you.
We said it at the start but it’s worth reiterating. The perfect kitchen knife is one that you like and which feels like good quality. Always trust your gut. Brands are an indicator of good quality and not a guarantee of it.
Choosing good knives takes a little time and a decent budget but it’s not the most challenging of tasks as long as you pay attention to the details.
This is worth doing because you use knives every single day in an active kitchen and because they’re sharp, you want knives that are safe and built to last.
You don’t want to take any risks with your safety or your family’s safety.