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Kitchen Knife Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on November 10, 2017

Editor's note:
The Mac MTH-80 takes our top spot in the chef's knife category in this year's report, with Victorinox and J.A. Henckels coming in as two great budget choices. We also name plenty of terrific runners up, like Wusthof, Kyocera, Global, Mac, Rada, OXO and Mercer. No matter how you slice it, these are all great knives.

Mac MTH-80 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Stamped Avail. lengths - 8" Dishwasher-safe - No

Best chef's knife

Lightweight and well-balanced, the Mac MTH-80 is a great choice if you want an all-purpose chef's knife that will hold up to frequent use. The Mac MTH-80 is sharp out of the box, stays that way longer than comparable knives and is easy to hone or sharpen at home when it starts to dull. Whether you need to chop herbs without crushing, or slice butternut squash without cussing, the MTH-80 has you covered.

Buy for $142.93
Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Stamped Avail. lengths - 5", 7.5" Dishwasher-safe - Yes

Best budget chef's knife

Some expert reviewers turn up their noses at the Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife, but most agree you simply can't beat the value for the price. The blade is made from high carbon stainless steel and the handle is comfortable and well-designed for an optimal ergonomic experience. This Victorinox knife is as efficient at dismembering a chicken as it is finely slicing a delicate tomato. Plenty of serious cooks say the Victorinox is their go-to knife. See our full review »

Buy for $34.30
Kyocera Revolution Chef's Knife Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - N/A Avail. lengths - 3", 4.5", 7", 8" Dishwasher-safe - No

Best ceramic knife

It excels in professional tests, and owners of the Kyocera Revolution Series 7-inch Professional Chef's Knife say they can't imagine life in the kitchen without it. This ceramic knife gets top ratings for slicing cleanly and effortlessly through tough items such as carrots and potatoes, yet can slice a tomato as thinly and evenly as you need. It's lighter than metal, something people who do a lot of food prep appreciate.

Buy for $50.97
Victorinox 3-1/4-Inch Paring Knife Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Stamped Avail. lengths - 3-1/4", 4" Dishwasher-safe - Yes

Best paring knife

The Victorinox 3-1/4-Inch Paring Knife earns the top spot in this category because of exceptional performance at an equally exceptional price. Professional testers, chefs, and amateur cooking enthusiasts rave how about well-balanced and easy the Victorinox Paring Knife is to hold, with a comfortable, sturdy handle. It's sharp out of the box, with a spear-point tip that makes trimming or seeding a breeze, and it holds its edge for a long time. See our full review »

Buy for $8.32
Victorinox 10.25-Inch Serrated Bread Knife Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Stamped Avail. lengths - 8", 10.25" Dishwasher-safe - No

Best serrated bread knife

The Victorinox 10.25-Inch Serrated Bread Knife gets raves from both experts and owners for its ability to cut cleanly through even the thickest, crustiest loaves of bread with one stroke. It's also versatile enough for other kitchen tasks, such as slicing through tomatoes, watermelons or round cakes. It's extremely comfortable to hold and use, and owners say it stays sharp for years at a price that is easy on the wallet. See our full review »

Buy for $54.95
Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Forged Avail. lengths - N/A Dishwasher-safe - No

Best knife set

The Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Cutlery Set is worth every penny, reviewers say, because these knives will last a lifetime -- and they have a lifetime warranty to back that up. This set comes with the cutlery that is considered most useful in the kitchen -- top-rated chef, paring, utility, and bread knives, as well as a pair of shears and honing tool. The walnut storage block is a gorgeous addition to any kitchen decor. See our full review »

Buy for $399.95
Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Fine Edge Steak Knife Set Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Forged Avail. lengths - 5" Dishwasher-safe - No

Best steak knife set

The Messermeister Avanta 4-Piece Fine Edge Steak Knife Set is a top choice of both owners and professional testers for its superb performance and beautiful appearance. At five inches long and weighing 2.7 ounces each, they feel well-balanced and comfortable. The knives curved tip separates meat from bone with no "sawing" require, cutting through even the toughest meats cleanly and easily. Three sturdy, attractive handle options are available, brown, black and stainless.

Buy for $39.86

Types of Kitchen Knives

Chef's Knife

Also referred to as a cook's knife, this is the one to choose if you can only have one kitchen knife. Experts say a chef's knife can handle most kitchen tasks all by itself. Since this knife is the kitchen workhorse, it's crucial to find one that feels good in your hand, with the right weight and balance and a comfortable handle. It should be sharp enough to disjoint a chicken or thinly slice a tomato without crushing it. While 8-inches is the most common size, if you have smaller or larger hands, you may be more comfortable with a 6- or -10-inch chef's knife instead.

Paring Knives

Small enough to fit easily in your hand paring knives are used for more intricate work that requires greater control, such as peeling or coring fruit, cutting up small items like berries or herbs, and removing eyes from potatoes. Typical blade lengths range from 2.5 to 4 inches, but most experts say the perfect size for most people is 3.25 inches. People with larger hands often like the 4-inch option, however.

Serrated Bread Knives

Although they may be called bread knives, these are not just for slicing bread. The best bread knife, experts say, is 10 inches long so that it can handle even the largest loves of crusty, artisan bread with one swipe. However, these knives can also be used for slicing tomatoes, watermelon and cakes. Some serrated knives are made in smaller sizes that aren't as useful for cutting larger loaves of bread, but many reviewers say they still cut smaller loaves well and are more versatile for other tasks.

Knife Sets

If you're stocking a kitchen for the first time or just want a good selection of knives that match, you'll want to consider a knife set. Owners say they love having a dedicated place to store their knives and many display the included bock as part of their kitchen decor. In addition, there are some very high-quality knife sets that would cost far more if you purchased the same knives individually.

Steak Knives

Even if you never use a knife for food prep, you'll probably always need a sharp knife to cut food at meals. And, in spite of the name, they're not just for meat. A matched set of good steak knives also adds some class to your table layout when you have guests.

A good knife is a safer choice

Experts agree: a sharp, good quality knife is essential for your kitchen. A dull knife can be dangerous because it requires more force to use, so it is more prone to slipping and cutting where it's not supposed to -- like on your hand. The ideal kitchen knife will have a sharp blade that holds its edge well, good balance, a comfortable handle and durable construction.

Knives are constructed either from forged or stamped steel. Forged knives are made from one piece of steel that is heated and shaped using a hammer or press. Stamped knives are literally "stamped" from one larger piece of metal. It used to be a given that forged knives were better quality, but that's no longer true. These days, stamped knives are also manufactured to a very-high-quality standard that is virtually indistinguishable from forged knives. In fact, many cooks prefer stamped knives because they're lighter and more versatile, and they tend to hold their edge longer than softer, forged knives. Stamped knives are also much more affordable than forged ones.

Although the best knives will stay sharp for a long time, most will eventually need to be sharpened. If that's something you'd like to take on at home, see our separate report on knife sharpeners. However, if you think that may be above your level of expertise, you can find a local or mail-order professional to do the sharpening for you. Most of the manufacturers in this report will sharpen knives for the life of the knife for a nominal fee.

Finding The Best Kitchen Knives
Our Sources
"Kitchen Knives"
"Paring Knives"
"Chef's Knives Rated "

Kitchen knives get a decent amount of feedback and, in recent years, several less expensive brands of knives have risen to the top in many expert reviews and professional tests. To find our top choices, we analyzed the results of professional tests from Cook's Illustrated, Wirecutter, Food & Wine, Consumer Reports and several others. Roundups at sites like Epicurious, Reviewed and Reviews.com that also include testing were also very informative.

After using the experts' input to narrow down our picks, we turned to the tens of thousands of owner reviews posted at sites such as Amazon and Williams Sonoma. Those reviews helped us to hone our choices down to the best knives for most kitchens.

Recently Updated
Kitchen Knives buying guide

What every best Kitchen Knives has:

  • A sharp edge.
  • Solid construction.
  • A comfortable handle.

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