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Kitchen Knife Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on November 15, 2016

Editor's note:
It's always a close call between Wusthof and Victorinox when it comes to the best knives and this update is no exception, so you'll find those two brands in most categories. But we also name plenty of runners up, like Kyocera, Global, Mac, Rada, OXO and Mercer. No matter how you slice it, these are all great knives.

Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Stamped Avail. lengths - 6", 8", 10" Dishwasher-safe - Yes

Best chef's knife

No other chef's knife earns the kind of love that the Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife gets from professional testers, expert reviewers, amateur foodies and beginner cooks. The blade is made from high carbon stainless steel and experts say the handle is comfortable and well-designed for an optimal ergonomic experience regardless of grip. This Victorinox knife is as efficient at dismembering a chicken as it is finely slicing a delicate tomato. See our full review »

Buy for $41.99
Wusthof Classic Santoku Knife Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Forged Avail. lengths - 5", 7", 8" Dishwasher-safe - No

Best santoku knife

A top performer in expert roundups, the Wusthof Classic also gets near- perfect ratings in hundreds of customer reviews. Users say it is light and well balanced, with a comfortable grip. It's reported as extremely versatile, easily handling a variety of tasks, from cutting through thick cuts of meat to finely slicing cheese, to chopping vegetables. In fact, this santoku knife is particularly popular with vegetarians, who say it's the perfect knife for vegetables.

Buy for $139.25
Kyocera Revolution Chef's Knife Review
Runners Up
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 $79.95
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 $7.59
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 $28.99
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 their kitchen decor, owners say. See our full review »

Buy for $359.99
Victorinox Rosewood Straight Edge Steak Knife Set
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Stamped or Forged - Stamped Avail. lengths - 4-3/4" Dishwasher-safe - No

Best steak knife set

Even if you never pick up a knife for food prep, you need a sharp knife for meals. The six-piece Victorinox Rosewood Straight Edge Steak Knife Set is a top choice of both owners and professional testers for superb performance and a sleek appearance. They're comfortable to hold and cut even the toughest meats cleanly and easily. While edge retention may fade, these Victorinox knives are simple to sharpen.

Buy for $135.36

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-in chef's knife instead.

Santoku Knife

The santoku knife is similar to a chef's knife but with a shorter, thinner blade and a straighter edge. It also has indentations in the blade that help keep starchy foods, like potatoes, from sticking as they're sliced. Santuko knives are particularly well-suited to dealing with vegetables, and we read many reviews from vegetarians who say santuko-style is their go-to knife.

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.

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 stvay 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"
"Steak Knives"
"The Best Knife Set"

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 ConsumerReports.org, Cook's Illustrated, and Cooking for Engineers. Roundups at sites like TheSweethome.com and TheKitchn.com that also include testing were also very informative. Last, we examined thousands of owner reviews posted at sites such as Amazon.com and WilliamsSonoma.com to see how all of these knives perform and persevere in the real world.

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  • A comfortable handle.

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