If you love to cook, it may be worth buying a kitchen knife of better quality. They have a much longer life span and can be sharpened several times with hard stones without loss of quality.
In general you can choose between European or Asian kitchen knives, but Asian kitchen knives like the Japanese Santoku are more suitable for experienced chefs.
To find out which knife suits you and your cooking style best, take a look at our Kitchen Knife Test 2020, where you will find all the information about European and Asian kitchen knives, their prices and their advantages and disadvantages.
We also summarize other important information you need to know to buy the right kitchen knife for you. This includes purchasing criteria such as the length of the blade, the material and the weight of the knife. In addition to our favourite products, you will also find tips on how to sharpen your new kitchen knife properly.
These are the best kitchen knife recommendations
place 1: twin 38041070 kitchen knife
place 2: PAUDIN chef’s knife kitchen knife
Place 3: WMF Touch knife set 2 pieces, kitchen knife with protective cover
Place 4: Sword crown 4-piece knife set straight/vegetable knife sharp Kitchen knife
Place 5: Victorinox 6-piece kitchen knife set
The most important facts at a glance
- The European kitchen knife is also suitable for beginners thanks to additional safety features. Asian kitchen knives are best suited for advanced users.
- The Japanese Santoku is often made of damask steel. This is a particularly high-quality material that improves the cutting ability and durability of the blade.
Questions you should ask yourself before buying a kitchen knife
The chef’s knife is very valuable if you cook a lot and if you enjoy cooking. A good kitchen knife can accompany you through your whole life.
Therefore you have to clarify some important points before you make a purchase decision. In this section we answer the questions that are most likely to be asked about kitchen knives.
When is it worth buying a kitchen knife?
If you regularly cook at home and need to cut the ingredients of your food, you will appreciate having a good kitchen knife at hand.
The Kitchen Knife is a larger universal kitchen knife that is used to cut, weigh and slice vegetables, meat and fish. (Photo source: unsplash.com / Muhammad Putra Arienda)
He probably has various utility knives, mostly office knives, in his kitchen. However, if you often cook for yourself and use fresh ingredients, we recommend that you buy a standard kitchen knife or several special knives according to your needs. They can make it easier for you to enjoy cooking again.
Which special knives you need depends on the ingredients you normally use. For example, if you are a vegetarian, you do not need a meat knife. The best way to do this is to look at the list of different kitchen knives above. This is the best way to decide which knives are important for you.
How much do kitchen knives cost?
The price range for kitchen knives varies greatly and of course depends mainly on the quality of the knife. It is worth investing a few extra euros for good quality.
Cheap kitchen knives, including peeling knives and office knives, can be bought from about 1.50 euros. Consequently, these knives are usually made of cheap and relatively inferior materials.
For a slightly higher quality, at least 10 Euros must be spent. In this price category you can already get a knife from the European standard chef. However, there is still room for improvement. For normal household use, you can get an acceptable quality compared to a standard kitchen knife from around 40 euros. In this case, the life of the knife is much longer.
Professional knives are available from 50 to 100 Euro. With good care they should last a lifetime. From just 100 euros you are already in the luxury segment. Here you can buy the best kitchen knives in the world. The finely crafted Santokus, for example, belongs to this category.
- poor quality 1,5-10 EUR
- Average quality 10-40 EUR
- with reasonable household use 40-50 Euro
- Professional quality 50-100 Euro
- Luxury segment from approx. 100 Euro
If you want to save money, you can also fall on a set or a complete knife block. Here you can often get different kitchen knives for a package price. But you must also pay attention to the quality. The above price ranges can also serve as a rough guide. In this case the prices should be considered as unit prices for the different knives.
“There were times when I desperately tried to regrind my cheap knives in a furniture shop. Today I know that cheap knife blades are not made for this. So I’d rather invest a few euros more! Every one or two years I allow a professional to sharpen my good piece. Working with a well sharpened knife is simply fun.
You can buy kitchen knives in well-assorted supermarkets, department stores or specialist shops. Since sales over the Internet have increased considerably in recent years, you will also find a wide range of online shops. As a rule, you will find more choice and lower prices for comparable models on the Internet.
According to our research, most kitchen knives in Germany are currently sold online in the following shops:
Every knife that we present on our website has a link to at least one of these shops. So you can knock directly when you find the right knife for you.
Which kitchen knives are suitable for beginners, advanced or professionals?
In general, as a beginner you should first check which kitchen knives you really need in your everyday life. Of course it makes no sense to buy special knives that are not needed in the end.
The basic equipment of every kitchen usually includes a standard kitchen knife, a table knife, a meat knife, a bread knife and a fruit knife. These knives can also be easily used by laymen.
In general, the more unique a kitchen knife is, the more complicated it is to use. This means that a certain amount of experience is required to master certain kitchen knives, such as the filleting knife.
The correct use of special knives requires a lot of experience. Otherwise you can easily injure yourself, because these knives are very sharp. (Picture source: unsplash.com / Jonathan Pielmayer)
As a beginner you should also make sure that the kitchen knife is not longer than 21 cm. This makes it easier to handle. Asian kitchen knives are not suitable for beginners because they are very sharp and the risk of injury is high due to the lack of safety.
As an advanced user of kitchen knives you can also buy knives with longer blades. You can also try your hand at working with the knives of an Asian chef. We recommend the Japanese Santoku knife as an introduction, as it is a very good utility knife.
Professionals use several special knives such as a boning knife or a ham knife. As a professional all doors are open to you. The quality of the kitchen knives is crucial.
As a professional you will probably use your kitchen knives very often. You should therefore pay special attention to the durability of the knives and reach the highest price segment. As a rule, professionals use either the European standard kitchen knife or the Japanese counterpart to the Santoku.
According to this trinity, Japanese knives forged by the cook’s hand must be able to cut meat, fish and vegetables.
The decision: Which are the knives and which is the right one for you?
First of all the kitchen knives can be divided into two categories:
There are of course many different subspecies, which in turn have different functions and different advantages and disadvantages.
Depending on how you want to use your kitchen knife, these types of knives are suitable for you. Then we would like to help you find the perfect knife for you. We will show you the different types of kitchen knives and tell you what they are best suited for.
Which Asian kitchen knives are available and what can you cut with them?
The most famous Asian kitchen knives are the Chinese mincer and the Japanese Santoku.
- cutting capacity in full length
- -very fine grinding is possible
- danger of injury due to missing leaf thickening
The main difference to the knives of European chefs is the swivel, which is missing towards the handle of the knife. This means that the blades of Asian knives can be cut through continuously.
The Chinese knife has a rectangular blade, which is usually twice as high. The cutting edge of this type of knife is hardly curved. The Chinese helicopter usually has a relatively thin and sharp blade. It can be used mainly for cutting vegetables, fruit, herbs and poultry.
The Santoku is a universal Japanese kitchen knife. It is characterized by the fact that the blunt upper edge of the blade forms a line with the handle. The wide blade of the Santoku knife protrudes far beyond the handle and is therefore designed for intensive contact with the plates. The damask steel used for the blade is typical of Japanese knives such as the Santoku. It consists of several layers of different types of iron and steel and is considered to be of particularly high quality.
Santoku means “knife of the three virtues”. These include fish, meat and vegetables, for which this knife is particularly well suited.
What are European kitchen knives and what can you cut with them?
There are different subspecies of European kitchen knives. There is a knife that is suitable for almost any kind of food. The different types of knives differ in size, shape and weight. The European kitchen knife is generally known as the universal knife of the European kitchen. In contrast to an Asian kitchen knife, the European counterpart is more suitable for sharp cutting movements.
- Safety thanks to advanced compaction on the stem
- The cut surface is limited by compaction.
European kitchen knives are relatively heavy compared to their Asian counterparts. The blade is also relatively long, 20 to 25 cm. For safety reasons, the tip of the European kitchen knife becomes thicker towards the handle and thus blunt. It can also be held stable with greater force because the shape of the handle is adapted to the hand.
The back of the knife is almost straight and the cutting edge extends to the tip. This makes European kitchen knives particularly sharp and allows piercing objects and sharp cutting movements.
The European standard kitchen knife can be used as a universal tool for cutting meat, fish and vegetables. The tip of the knife also allows finer work.
To introduce you to the variety of European kitchen knives, you will find a selection of the most important ones below:
The office knife is generally used in the household as a universal knife for cutting vegetables, fruit and meat or for peeling and decorating. In principle, it can always be used when larger knives are difficult to handle. It is relatively small and has a very hard blade, which makes it possible to achieve a precise cut. Slightly longer knives of this type are called spears or utility knives.
The tournament knife can be used for peeling and cutting fruit and vegetables. Therefore it is also called peeling or cleaning knife. Like a fruit knife, it can be used to remove the skin from food without damaging the pulp of the fruit.
It can also be used to decorate food with filigree ornaments. The shape of the blade, which is bent downwards towards the tip, is similar to a bird’s beak. This shape is ideal for cutting out food motifs with a tournament knife.
With a bread knife, as the name suggests, you can cut bread or brioches into even slices. There are both universal bread knives, which are suitable for different types of bread, and special knives, which are suitable for different types of bread (e.g. granulated bread).
The cheese knife is particularly suitable for cutting hard and soft cheese. It often has a fork-shaped tip with which individual cheese slices can be collected. Unlike other kitchen knives, the tip of the cheese knife has more or less large indentations. There are also special knives for each type of cheese, e.g. Parmesan cheese.
With a tomato knife you can cut products that have a relatively hard skin and a very soft flesh. This includes not only tomatoes, but also plums, peaches or aubergines. The serrated edge of the blade allows the product to glide effortlessly over the skin.
As the blade is very sharp, the food is not crushed. The shape of the blade of the tomato knife can vary from round to pointed. It is also possible to use the forked tip of the blade to pick up the cut product.
With a ham knife you can cut meat products (e.g. ham) into thin slices on the wafer. It is about 23-26 cm long and has a relatively narrow and sharp blade. The blade is very sharp on both sides and is therefore ideal for meat. A ham knife can also be used as an alternative to a filleting knife or salmon knife. Sometimes a ham knife is also called a bacon, sausage or carving knife.
The boning knife is ideal for removing bones from meat. It can also be used to cut tendons or remove skin.
The boning knife has a narrow, long and rounded blade. The combination of different types of steel in the production process makes the blade very flexible. This means that it does not break as easily as other blades, despite the high stress in use.
A meat knife is a long, narrow and above all sharp knife. It can mainly be used to cut pieces of meat. The meat knife is suitable for all types of raw and cooked meat. The thin blade of the plate allows a clean and precise cut.
It can also protect the fibres of the meat as they are cut cleanly and are not damaged. There are also some special types in the meat knife category, such as filleting knives and ham knives.
With a carving knife you can cut the cooked meat into slices. These slices of meat, usually about 1 cm thick, are also called slices, hence the name of this knife. With a carving knife you can cut smooth slices without the meat wearing out and without letting the meat juice escape.
It can also be used for fish, vegetables or fruit. The blade of the carving knife is about 3 cm wide and can vary greatly in length. Typical is a straight back with a projection that tapers at the end of the blade. The carving knife is extremely sharp and pointed on both sides. It can also be delivered directly in a set with a matching cutting fork. There is a special type, the steak knife.
The fruit knife can be used to treat fruits and vegetables without damaging the delicate fruit flesh. It is also known as a fruit knife. The fruit knife is relatively small and narrow, but very agile in use.
The characteristic shape of the blade is typical for this knife. When the cutting edge is straight, the back of the blade is slightly curved, and the blade is slightly bent towards the knife handle. It is therefore suitable for the round contour of most types of fruit. Fruit knives with straight blades are also available.
With the cradle knife you can cut food, especially herbs, very finely. With the cradle knife you can cut food into pieces. There are also cradle knives that have two parallel blades. This allows you to process your food even faster. If you prefer to cut with one hand, you can also buy a cradle knife with one hand.
You can compare and classify kitchen knives by the following factors
Below are the criteria that can be used to compare and evaluate kitchen knives. In this way you can decide for yourself which knife suits you best and is best suited for your purpose.
These are the most important criteria for comparison:
- balance sheet
- knife and weight treatment
- hardness and sharpness of the blade
- handling of material
In the following sections we explain the individual purchase criteria and their classification.
Type of kitchen knife
The different types of kitchen knives were discussed in more detail above. However, we would like to stress once again that this is probably the most important decision when choosing a kitchen knife.
This decision mainly depends on the experience you have already gained with professional kitchen knives. If you are a beginner you should rather use the European kitchen knife, as the thickening of the cutting edge towards the handle makes handling safer and easier. It also has the advantage that you can cut all kinds of food with it.
If you are a hobby cook and use kitchen knives regularly, you can also try the Santoku. It is very sharp thanks to its special material and its often very refined cut. You can use it to cut fish, meat and vegetables.
You will have to get used to the Chinese knife because of its special rectangular shape. As the name suggests, you should use this knife to cut food instead of cutting it back and forth. It has a very thin blade and is not suitable for hard materials like bones.
The balance of the kitchen knife is one of the most important characteristics of the operator. A good kitchen knife must be balanced between handle and blade. A well-balanced knife makes cutting easier and requires less effort. You will notice the difference, because a well-balanced kitchen knife puts less strain on the arm when cutting.
The centre of gravity of the kitchen knife should be at the end of the handle where it comes into contact with the blade. You can find this out by placing the knife here on your index finger. If it floats horizontally on your index finger, it is well balanced. If it leans forward or backward, the center of gravity is either on the handle or on the blade, which is a bad sign.
A good balance between the handle and the blade of the knife is therefore a high quality signal.
Handling and weight of the knife
When machining a blade, the most important factor is whether it is forged or not. A forged blade should be preferred because the material is thicker and has a more uniform structure.
If you choose a forged blade, you should at least make sure that it is sharp. This will make the blade more even and easier to cut.
High quality knives are forged in one piece. When buying a knife, look for welding marks or other mounting methods. Such joints can cause the knife to bend or break at this point.
The handle should also not be attached to the blade in this way. There are two common methods of attaching the blade holder to high-quality kitchen knives:
- The inside hollow handle is placed on the steel knife and fixed with a board at the end. Here it is a bit more difficult to see if the knife is forged in one piece. However, you can tell by the material the handle is made of and the corresponding weight whether it is forged in one piece.
The weight of the various knives in the chef’s kitchen varies greatly. The different types of kitchen knives differ not only in weight, but also in the different models.
What is important here is what you prefer. A light knife has the advantage that it can work faster and more accurately. A heavy kitchen knife, on the other hand, makes work more difficult, but it is ideal for hard foods such as nuts or ginger.
The weight of a kitchen knife depends on the size and material of the blade and the size and material of the handle. These characteristics are discussed in more detail in the following sections.
blade length, blade material and blade thickness
The length of the blade to be selected depends on the intended use of the kitchen knife. If you want to process fruit and vegetables first, you should choose a relatively short cutting blade, about 8 to 10 cm long. This is sufficient for most types of fruit and vegetables, but not too long so that you can work quickly.
For utility knives, an average blade length of about 15-20 cm is advantageous. This includes the knife of a European cook, the Santoku or the Chinese knife. You can therefore use these knives for different types of food in different ways.
Long cutting edges of more than 20 cm are mainly used for special knives such as bread or meat knives. This also makes it possible to work well with these knives for cutting large pieces.
The most commonly used material for kitchen knife blades is steel. Compared to ceramic knives it has the advantage of being more durable and easier to sharpen. Although ceramic knives are easy to care for and can cut like a scalpel if they are of good quality, the cutting edge here is very thin and good quality is usually very expensive.
For steel blades we can recommend carbon steel as material. It is good and easy to sharpen, but not stainless.
Damascus knives have a long service life.
We also recommend the world-famous damask steel. It consists of many different layers of iron and steel and is therefore particularly robust. Japanese Santoku knives are mainly made of this material. This means a particularly durable cut, i.e. the cutting edge is preserved for a relatively long time.
Another possibility is stainless steel. If you choose this blade material, it is best to choose a stainless steel with a high carbon content. It has a higher degree of hardness and remains sharp longer. It also has the advantage that it does not rust.
Ordinary stainless steel starts up faster and takes longer to sharpen. For this reason, kitchen knives with blades of ordinary stainless steel tend to be in the low-price segment.
It is your decision whether you prefer a stainless steel kitchen knife or not. There are very good stainless steel knives and stainless steel knives that do not rust. An important criterion for distinguishing the material the blade is made of is also the number of layers of steel it is made of. With good workmanship, the following applies: the more layers of steel, the more durable your kitchen knife will be.
The blade thickness refers to the thickness of the blade and is generally 1.5 to 2 mm for standard kitchen knives. The ideal blade thickness depends on how you want to use your kitchen knife.
Thinner blades are generally advantageous because they are easier to sharpen and move more easily on the material to be cut. Only if you want to cut particularly hard material or use a knife as a lever, e.g. for boning, is a knife thicker than 2 mm useful.
It is important that the blade is not too thick so that the material to be cut does not break when cutting. However, the blade must be thick enough so that it does not break or create resistance.
hardness and sharpness of the blade
In general, the harder the blade, the slower it wears out. This means that when choosing a kitchen knife, you should make sure that it is as hard as possible. This is measured on the HRC unit. The abbreviation stands for Rockwell cone hardness, where hardness is the hardness value, Rockwell is the test method and cone is the scale.
Commercially available kitchen knives have a hardness between 50 and 70 HRC. It is also important to ensure that the blade of a kitchen knife remains as flexible as possible despite its hardness. An inflexible blade tends to break more easily under heavy load.
When sharpening, prefer a hand-sharpened knife to a machine-sharpened one. This is another indicator of quality. A good kitchen knife is characterised by the fact that it is very easy to sharpen.
If you want to sharpen your knives yourself, you must also make sure that you use the right tools. Technology also plays an important role. (Picture source: pixabay.com / Steve Raubenstine )
In addition, a distinction is made between single-sided and double-sided knives. Kitchen knives ground on both sides are preferable because they have better cutting properties and move more easily through the material to be cut. Furthermore, these knives are especially suitable for left-handed people.
There are different types of grinding, which should be chosen according to the intended use. Standard kitchen knives, such as the European kitchen knife, the Chinese knife or the Santoku have a smooth blade.
Bread knives or tomato knives, for example, have a serrated edge, which is more suitable for food. It is best to read the description of each type of kitchen knife. There is a detailed description of how each type of knife is sharpened and what it can be used for.
In addition, some kitchen knives are called diving knives. This means that several adjacent cavities are extruded into the surface of the blade over its entire length. They are intended to prevent sticky products such as cheese or ham from sticking to the knife.
Sharpening the blades
When you sharpen a knife, you must not only make sure that it is as sharp as possible, but also that it is kept as sharp as possible.
This is reflected in some of the criteria already described:
1) Material of the blade
- hardness of the blade
The vanguard should also be easily rechargeable. You can also read our tips on this subject under the heading Wissenswertes later on this page.
Handling of the equipment
First of all, the handle of the knife must be firmly in the hand. What counts here is your personal feeling. Knife handles are made of wood, metal, plastic and bone. The choice of material depends mainly on your preferences and budget.
However, make sure that the material is easy to clean, so that bacteria cannot easily attach themselves to it. In addition, the material of which the handle is made should have a high density. This is a sign of stability and durability.
Did you know that kitchen knives should always be cleaned by hand?
Many suppliers advertise that their knives can be washed in the machine. However, they pay little attention to the fact that the chemicals in the dishwasher can damage the handle and the blade of the knife.
Therefore we advise you to clean the knife with a little washing-up liquid when the water is circulating. The knife must be dried immediately, otherwise the knife with the wooden handle may swell.
Knives with wooden and plastic handles are more common. Metal and bone handles are quite rare. Especially bone is not recommended as a handling material, as it decomposes over time and becomes brittle.
Some kitchen knives are also available with a safety handle. It is characterized by the fact that it covers the tip of the blade. This reduces the risk of cutting your fingers. Knives with a safety handle are particularly suitable for beginners and children or young people.
Interesting facts about kitchen knives
How do you get a good cut?
Which cutting technique you use with your kitchen knife depends on which knife you are holding in your hand and what you want to cut with it. It is important that you hold the knife correctly. The tip and cutting edge should always be away from the body to minimize the risk of injury.
Use a sturdy cutting board as a base. Also make sure that you hold the food in your hand so that your fingers cannot be injured. The knife should be sharp enough to move around the food without too much effort.
How do you handle kitchen knives?
After you have used the knife, simply wash and dry it. Never put it in the dishwasher as it can cause corrosion and wear.
Use wooden or plastic boards to cut surfaces. Stone or glass will reduce the life of the knife edge. When storing knives, make sure that the blades of kitchen knives do not touch or rub against each other. You can use knife blocks, magnetic bars or bags, for example.
How do I sharpen a kitchen knife properly?
It is best to sharpen the knife with a good sharpening steel. However, choose a ceramic sharpening stick for sharpening Japanese blades. You will need a sharpening stone to restore the basic sharpness. You can choose a thicker grain for pre-sharpening and a finer grain for re-sharpening. For beginners it is recommended to bring the basic sharpening knife to a professional.
If the kitchen knife has not been sharpened for a long time, use a sharpening stone with a grain size of less than 800 for a good pre-sharpening. When the knife is finished sharpening, use a whetstone with a grain size of 800 to 2000.
- repair grinding 200-400
- medium grinding 800-1000
- Fine size reduction 3000-4000
- polishing 6000-10000
How can I simulate the kitchen knife myself?
To forge the knife yourself, you will need an anvil, a forging furnace, a workbench, an outhouse and a hammer.
From a heated piece of steel a hammer produces the desired shape of the knife. Then the steel is hardened by hardening and sharpening the knife blade. It is then sufficient to make an appropriate fist and tighten it. To learn this process, there are several suppliers from whom you can buy a forging manual.