The 10 Best Chef's Knives

Updated June 21, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Chef's Knives
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
Looking for a gift for a working chef you know, or perhaps for someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen? Our selection of chef's knives has something for everyone in every budget range, from enthusiastic amateurs to demanding professionals. They've been ranked here by durability, sharpness, and overall value, so you can cut through the nonsense and get cooking. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best chef's knife on Amazon.

10. Okami 8"

The Okami 8" features microscopic air pockets created by the unique cladding process that help to reduce friction during slicing, to create a nice even glide. It makes for a good combination of elegance, performance, and price.
  • resin-impregnated hardwood handle
  • handcrafted gift box included
  • blade is only half-tang
Brand Okami Knives
Model Nakama
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. FEINZER Ceramic

The FEINZER Ceramic maintains your food's taste without leaving metallic odors or discoloring your fruits and vegetables thanks to the fact that it's chemically inactive. Be careful, though, as it can crack while sharpening.
  • matte black nonstick blade
  • requires less maintenance than steel
  • short for a chef's knife
Model pending
Weight 9.9 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Miyabi Fusion

The Miyabi Fusion features a superior ice-hardened blade composed of cobalt, molybdenum, and vanadium, which gives it some flexibility. It has a rounded spine and heel, and it looks like a knife that should cost twice the price.
  • designed by iron chef morimoto
  • eye-catching red accents
  • brittle edge can chip easily
Brand Miyabi
Model 34313-213
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Global G-2

The Global G-2 features a unique face-ground design with a long taper for more room in the fingers, as well as a hollow handle with flowing sand that ensures perfect balance and also makes the knife lighter than traditional blades.
  • dimpled grip is slip-proof
  • seamless build for easy cleaning
  • some find it uncomfortable to wield
Brand Global
Model G-2
Weight 9.9 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. ZHEN Dragon Gyuto

The ZHEN Dragon Gyuto is made of Japanese VG-10 Damascus steel that boasts a unique pattern along the length of the blade and makes for a fine, razor-like edge. It has a nice curving flow to both the handle and the knife spine.
  • stainless bolster and butt end
  • waterproof and bacteria-resistant
  • too delicate to use on bones
Brand ZHEN
Model D1P
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Shun Classic 10-Inch

The Shun Classic 10-Inch features an elegant pakkawood grip, and is precision-forged in Japan by much-renowned manufacturer KAI. It has a double-beveled edge that stays sharp longer, so it doesn't need to be resharpened often.
  • damascus pattern in the blade
  • 33 layers of stainless steel
  • requires a large sharpening stone
Brand Shun
Model DM0707
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Zwilling Twin Pro-S

The Zwilling Twin Pro-S has a broad, 8-inch blade, constructed with a curved cutting edge to help sever even the thickest foods effectively in one rocking motion. It's made in Germany, and is a virtually indestructible knife.
  • uniquely welded from 3 steel types
  • smooth stain-resistant handle
  • spine digs into the index finger
Brand ZWILLING J.A. Henckels
Model 31021-163
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Wustof Classic Ikon

The Wustof Classic Ikon has both front and rear bolsters that act as counter balances to provide the ideal amount of control for safe and effective cutting. It also features a triple-riveted handle for long-lasting durability.
  • strong full-tang blade
  • composed of high-carbon steel
  • fits nicely in the hand
Brand Wüsthof
Model 4596/20
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Victorinox Fibrox

If you're not shopping for the fanciest-looking knife and just want something that is affordable and keeps an edge well, the Victorinox Fibrox fits the bill. It has a thick grip that is textured to reduce slippage when wet.
  • expertly made in switzerland
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
  • has a pinky hook at the handle's end
Brand Victorinox
Model 45520
Weight 10.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Yaxell Super Gou

The Yaxell Super Gou may not be as well known as some other brands, but it is a professional culinary tool made of extremely durable layer-forged steel. It's resistant to all corrosion, and slices through meat with tremendous ease.
  • thin edge requires less force
  • red and black linen micarta handle
  • dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Brand Yaxell
Model 67400-3
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Making The Cut

If you've ever cut yourself while working in the kitchen, there's a good chance that the knife you were using was too dull. Sure, it did a number on your fingers, but that's only because it wasn't sharp enough to cut your food more easily, so it slipped and got you instead.

A good knife cuts by virtue of its edge, which must be honed to a crisp line, thin as can be and marked with microscopic peaks and valleys. Those peaks and valleys create friction against a piece of food that you want to slice, and when you glide them along the surface of the food, they tear open a crack in that surface, after which the continued friction of the knife's edge and its properties as a wedge work through the rest of the cut.

Conversely, if your knife is too dull, instead of a crisp edge with many peaks and valleys to create friction, you have a rounded surface, smooth like a wire. If you draw that smooth texture across the surface of your food, there's nothing for it to grab on with, so it slips and cuts into the next thing it finds. Unfortunately, that's often your other hand.

It's a simple matter of physics, but it requires that your knives receive a good honing after every couple of uses. That's why a lot of knife block sets come with honing rods to keep your best knives sharp. Those physics also mandate that a good chef's knife not be serrated. You'll notice that none of the chef's knives on our list have an overt serration, and if you have one that does, it's a sure sign that you've got something cheap, and dangerous, in your hands.

A Cut Above The Rest

Knife nuts like me will often go into a high-end kitchen shop–the kind where everything in sight is mindbogglingly expensive, and just stare at the gorgeous knives in the case. It doesn't help if you have an affinity for the aesthetic and history of samurai swords. Knowing how those epic blades of ancient Japan were forged, one can spend a cozy afternoon tracing the demarcations in the metal of these chef's knives, marveling at the craftsmanship, the stories behind each fold of the steel.

Of course, you shouldn't go choosing a chef's knife based on its aesthetics unless you know what it is you're looking for. For example, a close visual examination of these knives should be enough to tell you how they were forged and cut. A blade that looks like a single piece of metal, with very few variations in its coloring and striation, is liable to have been laser-cut. Laser cut blades are incredibly sharp, but they don't have the same time-intensive craftsmanship behind them.

When you see those waves running through a blade, the striations that look like sound waves or the flow of water in steel, you're seeing evidence of the physical folding and hammering of the blade. It's a more traditional method of forging, and the knife it results in may need more sharpening out of the box, but these are the blades that will last you a lifetime.

The big downside to the more traditionally forged blades is price. Most home chefs would do just fine with a laser cut blade and never feel the lack of their more expensive counterparts. If you're willing to spend the extra bit on a hand-forged chef's knife, however, it's probably the last one you'll ever have to buy.

Blade Of A Bygone Age

One of the most epic depictions of the dawn of man in any art form comes to us in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, when Kubrick shows us the first moment that primitive man took up tools of any kind. He shows us the immediate consequences of that discovery, and implies its through-line to man's development into a space-traveling species.

It's an amazing feat of cinema, and it's one that immediately comes to mind when looking back over the history of the knife. Researchers in Spain discovered a flint knife deep within a cave that dates back 1.4 million years. It's humbling, to say the least, to think about mankind functioning at any level so many years ago, and it makes one wonder about the knives we'll leave behind for archaeologists to find millions of years in the future.

Since that date, the knife has seen plenty of transformations, evolving from the flint tools of the stone age into bronze and eventually iron. Steel blades grew in popularity for military purposes before they found their way into the kitchen, and throughout the middle ages, most individuals carried some sort of blade on their persons that served for protection, as well as for food preparation.

As modernity reared its head after the discovery of America, Europe saw an enormous influx of raw materials and wealth, eventually leading to class revolutions that offered more diverse culinary experiences to citizens on either side of the Atlantic, necessitating the slow and steady development of culinary tools like these chef's knives.

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Last updated on June 21, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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