Knives are an integral part of any kitchen and cook. They can be very different with their overall design and the material of a handle or blade. The goal of this knives review is to find out whether a single best kitchen knife exists on the market.
In fact, the “best” attribute is a very subjective term. Some people want to use a high-end kitchen knife which costs a lot but brings pleasure to cook with. Others don’t bother themselves with expensive knives and simply use cheap knives which need to be often sharpened or even which they should not sharpen at all. All you need is to understand what knife you will be satisfied with.
To excel your knowledge in “how to choose knives” topic, read more about knives parts.
Factors that determine the choice of kitchen knives
- Frequency of cooking. It all depends on whether you prepare food every day for the whole family or used to go out to eat.
- Planned budget for buying knives. A high-end knife can cost more than $100, so if you cannot or don’t want to buy an expensive knife, try to find a good knife at an average price and a good sharpener.
- Types of knives you need the most. There are a lot of them for various products, but often only some of them can meet your everyday needs, e.g. a basic 7” – 10” chef’s knife, paring knife, boning knife, serrated knife, a cleaver (read more about types of knives).
- Cooking style. If you prepare Japanese dishes, you may need a special knife, often with a long blade, for paper-thin cuts.
- Weight and size of knives. Hands are of different sizes, so the handle, grip and balance are very important. If your hands are small, you might prefer more lightweight knives to heavy ones. In this case look at ceramic Kyocera knives which are light, sharp and gain more popularity each day or at Global knives often reviewed as the best sharp knives with small handles.
- Who will prepare food? Razor-sharp blade and heavy knives are usually not a good solution for children who might want to help you cook something.
- Frequency of sharpening. Some people don’t like razor-blade knives for fear to cut themselves or for some kinds of work like trimming meat or poultry when too sharp blade cuts instead of trimming, but those whose profession or hobby is closely related with food preparing, choose high quality, often expensive cutlery which needs regular sharpening. Remember that various materials of the blade need different frequency of sharpening. A good steel knife holds the edge longer than a bad knife does. As per knives review of different experts, i.e. chefs, high-end knives are sharpened once a week if they are used about 8 hours a day. So, calculating how many hours you spend in the kitchen may help you decide which of the knives to choose.
- Knife care and maintenance. High-end expensive knives are supposed to be especially cared. It means more strict terms of usage – no dishwasher cleaning, using wood boards which are safe to cut on with such knives and not ceramic, granite or the like. Some expensive knives with a thin blade can be damaged if you don’t use or care them in a proper way, e.g. opening bottles with a tip, cut large lumps of meat, even with bones into pieces instead of using a heavier knife like a kitchen cleaver.
High-quality knives features
Reading any knives review can help you make your first steps in choosing a right kitchen knife, as it is a very individual process. Though experts define the most important features of good knives, such as:
- type and quality of steel (manufacturers often provide different lines of knives with high and lower quality steel, so the prices differ. The steel can be soft or hard. Softer steel is easier to sharpen, but it does not hold the edge as long as the harder steel which has one drawback – it’s rather brittle),
- edge retention (remember that knives you purchase in a store need to be sharpened when you bring them at home. The edge should be straight and retain for a long time without frequent maintenance),
- ergonomics (a handle and grip should feel comfortable in the hand),
- blade geometry,
- blade weight balance,
- attachment of the handle (good knives have a full tang).
Difference between Japanese and European knives
European knives usually have thicker and softer blades, which can be sharpened to 20-25 degrees, and are heavier than Japanese knives which are lighter, thinner, harder and sharper (the edge can be sharpened to 10-15 degrees).
To our opinion, if you’re a newbie knives user who wants a good solution, look for a good multi-purpose knife, e.g. a chef’s knife or Santoku, which incidentally becomes more popular today; excel in using it, understand your needs and then choose a better, more expensive chef’s knife or other types of knives you need.