The 10 Best Paring Knives

Updated September 28, 2017 by Sam Kraft

10 Best Paring Knives
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Anything from our selection of paring knives is ideal for peeling and other intricate work, such as deveining a shrimp, removing the seeds from a jalapeño, skinning mushrooms or cutting small garnishes. Since they’re a staple in every kitchen, we’ve included models priced for home cooks along with options that are sharp and durable enough for professional chefs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best paring knife on Amazon.

10. Mercer Culinary Genesis

A nice option for everyday use, the Mercer Culinary Genesis features an ergonomic handle with a nonslip grip that is designed to withstand both extreme temperatures and exposure to kitchen oils without breaking down over time.
  • comes with nsf certification
  • is rust-resistant
  • can be difficult to sharpen
Brand Mercer Culinary
Model M20003
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Henckels Four-Star

Expertly crafted in Germany, the Henckels Four-Star has a fully-forged, four-inch blade made from a single piece of high-carbon steel. It has also undergone a rigorous ice-hardening process for prolonged edge retention and stability.
  • even weight distribution for balance
  • pronounced tip for easy peeling
  • plastic handle is rather weak
Brand ZWILLING J.A. Henckels
Model 31070-103
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Wusthof Classic

The Wusthof Classic features a super-precise blade tip with a full tang design that’s ideal for fine cutting, peeling, and making decorative slices. In addition, its handle is triple-riveted for additional strength and maximum stability.
  • comfortable bolster for your finger
  • easy to hand wash
  • does not retain an edge well
Brand Wüsthof
Model WU4066/09
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

7. Global Western

Built with a relatively sturdy blade that has been hand sharpened at a 15-degree angle, the Global Western is a solid choice if you’re looking to slice through a variety of fruits and vegetables without tearing or bruising your food.
  • thin blade reduces fatigue
  • a nonslip handle
  • requires frequent sharpening
Brand Global
Model GS38
Weight 4.5 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Victorinox Spear

Available in a straight or a Swiss classic design, the Victorinox Spear utilizes a condensed blade for increased precision and accuracy, as meticulous control is essential when peeling and dicing. Its tapered edge makes it easy to hold a cutting angle.
  • choose from 2 color options
  • lifetime warranty against defects
  • laser-tested for reliability
Brand Victorinox
Model 6.7703US1
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Dalstrong Shogun Series

Hand finished with a bright sheen, the Dalstrong Shogun Series boasts scalpel-like sharpness and superior edge retention, thanks to multiple layers of premium high-carbon stainless steel. Its blade is professionally tapered for minimal slicing resistance.
  • engineered for precise control
  • polished spine for smooth handling
  • includes a money-back guarantee
Brand Dalstrong
Model SSPar
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Tuo Cutlery Fiery Phoenix

Hard and durable, the Tuo Cutlery Fiery Phoenix features a handsome wooden handle and a strong, high-density blade. When tomatoes cut like butter and carrots slice like paper, preparing the family’s dinner is actually kind of fun.
  • corrosion resistant
  • oil-proof surface
  • 4 inches long blade
Brand TUO Cutlery
Model Smart Cutlery
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Mcusta Zanmai Classic

A suitable option for not just paring, but peeling, scraping, slicing and trimming your foods, the Mcusta Zanmai Classic features a black, triple-riveted handle that is complemented by red spacers for both style and easy handling. It's great for chopping garlic and ginger.
  • steel end cap for extra balance
  • handcrafted in japan
  • attractive decorative appearance
Brand Mcusta Zanmai
Model HFB-8000D
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Zelite Infinity

Slice and dice your way through fruits and vegetables effortlessly using the Zelite Infinity, which is constructed from razor-sharp Japanese steel and features an elegant tsunami rose pattern that complements most styles of kitchen decor.
  • tempered in liquid nitrogen
  • ergonomic rounded handle
  • scratch- and stain-resistant
Brand Zelite Infinity
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Yaxell Gou

For unsurpassed quality and professional workmanship, look no further than the Yaxell Gou. Each side of its core is clad with 101 layers of high-carbon stainless steel, which deliver excellent durability and impressive performance.
  • resilient and corrosion-resistant
  • kiln-heated and ice-hardened
  • handle fastened with 3 steel rivets
Brand Yaxell
Model 67303
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

An Important Addition To Any Kitchen

Many chefs will tell you that playing with flames and sharp things is the most fun part of their job. For some, that was the specific reasons they started working in the culinary field. And it's obvious that few tools are as crucial to cooking as a good knife.

But not all knives have fat, six-inch long blades. Not all of them are suited for slicing prime rib roasts or carving turkeys. And the fact is, there are many kitchen tasks that require a level of attention and accuracy that can't be achieved with a serrated slicer or a heavy German chef's knife. For a wide range of intricate tasks, chefs around the world turn to the highly versatile paring knife.

It's a common misconception that these knives got their name because they cut whole pieces of food into pairs. They carry that title because they pare down excess material from foods, reducing them to smaller pieces.

These are small knives, between about three and four inches long. Very often, the handle will actually be longer than that. These short steel blades are shallow from spine to edge, no deeper than 3/4 inches. The entire setup is designed to fit easily in the palm of your hand. This allows you to use your thumb and forefinger freely to guide the small foods you're working with, lending great precision to your work.

What's In A Knife?

The vast majority of paring knives on the market are made of steel. The few exceptions to that are some ceramic options, but those are difficult to sharpen and very prone to chipping and breaking. For that reason, they should generally be avoided.

Like with many other kitchen knives, you'll run into two general styles of paring knives: western and Japanese. These differ in two important ways: geometry and materials. Not only are Japanese knives more smoothly tapered to a point, their blades are thinner and their edges are ground at a more acute angle. Western models, specifically knives from German makers like Wüsthof, tend to have a broader heel, and their taper is more sudden and begins closer to the point.

Eastern knives are often made with harder steel alloys. This allows for lighter, thinner blades that are more maneuverable and can hold an edge longer, but require a bit more care to use and may be prone to nicks. French and German styles have heavier blades made of slightly softer steel, which makes them more suitable for many heavy-duty tasks (somewhat counterintuitively). For example, it's not recommended to work with tough foods like winter squash, sweet potatoes, or seed pods using more brittle, harder alloys. And you'd never want to use a traditional Japanese chef's knife to split bones for marrow.

Overall, the softer, western-type knives are much easier to maintain than high-hardness pieces and can get usually get just about as sharp. Moderate honing is all they need on a daily basis, and they're fairly resistant to chips and turned edges.

A lot of the fancier, more expensive paring knives have dense handles with attractive finishes. Some of these will provide better grip in wet or oily conditions, and some feature attractive, handcrafted designs. Both stainless and carbon steel models are available with different types of cladding and chemical resistance to oxidation.

You'll notice that some high-end options have prominent bolsters designed to provide maximum balance and surety of cuts. But because of the small nature of paring knives, it just so happens that some of the smallest, most economical options can outperform many heftier and far more expensive choices.The simplest models consist of narrow handles made of textured, high-impact plastic.

You'll find yourself most often using the paring knife in the air and not on the counter, so a low-profile handle helps to add control and safety to your cutting. The blades of these inexpensive options are narrow, maneuverable, and easily sharpened, and they're readily available at affordable prices. This makes them perfect for stocking an entire kitchen in need of precision tools.

So Small A Blade, So Much Possibility

Because of its small size, the paring knife has a wide range of uses and is a definite necessity in any chef's toolkit. This versatile item cores tomatoes with ease or shaves paper-thin slices of garlic. It's the perfect knife for removing stems and cleaning strawberries. Potato eyes are no match for the paring knife's small and easily maneuvered blade. Devein shrimp or prepare fine garnishes with the right variety of these diminutive cutting tools.

Everybody loves a stuffed pork loin or chicken breast. A razor-sharp, 3-inch knife is perfect for making a quick incision into a piece of high-quality meat, making room for delicious, cheezy, breadcrumb-filled goodness. Paring knives even work in place of a peeler in a pinch, letting you strip the hard rind from a squash or a melon without straining or cutting yourself.

In high-end kitchens, you'll see talented chefs using incredibly sharp paring knives for the intricate carving of vegetables. Classic designs like green onion tassels, chili pepper flowers, and tomato rings add visually creative and flavorful elements to a dish. You can even find sheaths for your paring knife that strap right to your belt. This way you have instant access to this incredibly useful tool at a moment's notice, no matter where in the kitchen you are or what you're doing.

With so many different functions, these are truly essential items to any home or professional cook. Just make sure to clean and maintain yours as thoroughly as you would any important kitchen tool. This will ensure the knife's long life as well as your fingers' safety.

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Last updated on September 28, 2017 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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