Finest chef’s knives for 2020: Wusthof, Mercer, World and extra

I exploit my chef’s knives for every kind of prep: from chopping Napa cabbage to make home-made kimchi to chiffonading sage for a pizza. However even with a lot use, $150 can really feel like a excessive worth for knife — not to mention for one you may find yourself disliking. So earlier than hitting “purchase” on Amazon or tossing the most cost effective knife within the cart in your subsequent outing, it is necessary to ask your self two questions: What does a chef’s knife provide, and what do you want it for within the kitchen?

Excessive-quality chef’s knives provide versatility above all. Except you spend appreciable time deboning fish or peeling pears, you do not want a particular boning knife, paring knife, carving knife, serrated knife or different specialty knives as a result of a chef’s knife ought to have the ability to accomplish 95% of your wants. And let’s not even get began on the counter area consumed by a large knife block.


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Since you are going to be utilizing it so much, a chef’s knife must be a pleasure to make use of — correctly weighty, however not heavy sufficient to make utilizing it tiring. You may even need an ergonomic deal with. As for the blade? Sturdy, because it will get a lot use, and persistently sharp. There’s nothing worse than a boring knife when reducing, chopping and slicing, so edge retention must be a precedence.

The second query — what you want — is more durable to reply. Fortunately, I’ve examined among the hottest chef’s knives in the marketplace, and under are the very best chef knife picks for each sort of residence prepare dinner. We’ll replace this checklist periodically. Seize your reducing board and tomatoes — we’re diving in!

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This Japanese-style chef’s knife lies on the increased finish of the spectrum on the subject of worth, nevertheless it rests on the prime of most greatest lists on-line for a purpose: it is a incredible product. Not solely is it tremendous sharp (it slides via tomatoes with none tearing in any way), however its blade is thinner than heavier knives like Wusthof’s, which makes slicing snappier veggies like carrots really feel like reducing a ripe banana with a butter knife. No, I am not exaggerating — this can be a tremendous sharp knife.

Mac’s hottest chef knife is completely balanced, so that you by no means really feel prone to dropping management of the blade. Its stomach can be comfortably rounded, which makes the rocking movement whereas mincing really feel pure. The Wusthof was my favourite earlier than I bought my fingers on the Mac, however after this Japanese-style knife arrived, I discovered myself turning to it for all my fundamental wants.

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Wusthof’s 8-inch traditional chef’s knife is a workhorse within the kitchen. It is one of many weightiest knives I examined, which helps it slice extra delicate meals corresponding to tomatoes as effortlessly as heat butter and lower via extra sturdy meals like butternut squash with out exertion. The heavier knife weight helps information the blade in constant actions as you utilize it, however the Wusthof is not so heavy that you simply ever really feel managed by the blade.

The Wusthof was my preliminary choose for greatest total knife till I bought my fingers on the Mac knife (above), and it nonetheless stands up as a top-of-the-line choice. The one shortcoming of the Wusthof is the marginally softer metal used for its blade, which makes it not fairly so razor-sharp because the Mac.

That stated, the Wusthof traditional is completely balanced between the deal with and blade, and it has a heel to guard your fingers, which makes it really feel all of the safer to wield. Top-of-the-line measures of how comfy a knife feels in your hand is breaking down a hen — because it requires many varieties of cuts throughout pores and skin, meat, fats and cartilage. Once I used the Wusthof to interrupt down a chicken, it felt as if I might been utilizing the knife for years. I did not make a single errant lower or awkward movement.

This knife is top-to-bottom top-of-the-line out there at an affordable worth. It is versatile and comfy, and its high-carbon metal solid blade will maintain a pointy edge in addition to practically some other knife — Mac and World excluded — on this worth vary.

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World’s common chef’s knife is a Japanese knife fashion blade, like Mac’s, which suggests it boasts a scary-sharp edge and a nimble-feeling light-weight physique. World’s design can be distinctive: the deal with and blade are fabricated from a single piece of high-carbon metal, and the deal with is crammed with sand to weight it. Just like the Wusthof and Mac knives, World’s 8-inch choice is well-balanced and meets all of your normal mise en place wants.

Whereas the sting is not fairly as sharp as Mac’s 8-inch blade, this versatile knife will really feel nice for anybody preferring lighter blades. And for those who discover it on sale for a cool $80, like I did, then it is best to completely snap up this light-weight kitchen knife.

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For $50, J.A. Henckels’ Zwilling Gourmand 8-inch Chef’s knife is a superb funds choice. It would not have the heel of a heavier-duty knife just like the Wusthof or J.A. Henckels Basic, nevertheless it’s well-balanced and makes clear cuts on tomatoes and herbs, makes fast work of dicing onions and breaks down a hen with relative ease.

The Zwilling Gourmand is a stamped blade, fairly than a solid one, which suggests it doubtless will not maintain its edge so long as the Wusthof. It is also lighter, which suggests your hand will not be guided fairly as properly via a tomato or equally delicate meals.

All that stated, the Zwilling’s cuts had been persistently clear, it felt comfy in my hand, and for $50, I might be very happy so as to add this knife to my kitchen.

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Arms-down, the largest shock of my testing was the efficiency of Mercer’s $16 Culinary Millennia 8-inch chef’s knife. It is not as properly made because the Zwilling or Wusthof blades — each of which function long-lasting full-tang design (the knife’s steel travels all the best way from the tip of the blade to the butt of the deal with in a single piece). However the deal with design is ideal for educating novices methods to maintain and use a chef’s knife, guiding your thumb and index finger to the bottom of the blade. It is well-balanced and truthfully felt probably the most like an extension of my arm as I prepped varied veggies, fruits and meats in my assessments.

The sunshine weight and low-cost design imply you do not get the lengthy life or the total versatility you’d get from a workhorse just like the Wusthof, however for those who’re wanting a starter chef’s knife to study for six months whilst you save for an even bigger funding, the Mercer actually is a superb prepare dinner’s knife.

How we examined

Our procedures blended 5 assessments — slicing tomatoes, dicing onions, mincing leafy herbs, chopping carrots and breaking down chickens — every with a 1-to-10 score, with extra normal use and statement. I needed to method the procedures as the typical residence prepare dinner would, specializing in normal use and expertise. I additionally prevented over-emphasizing sharpness, as factory-sharpness would not actually let you know a lot a couple of blade past its first few weeks or months of use. 

Actually, you will doubtless need to put money into a knife sharpener to get a pointy edge as soon as you purchase a chef’s knife. I wrote about knife sharpeners in a separate story. We have additionally written about methods to sharpen a knife accurately. Taking sharpening critically is vital to a knife blade’s edge retention.

I took into consideration the kind of metal used within the knife’s building (most are high-carbon metal), the tactic (whether or not it was solid or stamped) and the final design (full-tang knives, as an example, last more than blades connected to a definite deal with).

Past its measurable efficiency with varied meals, I approached every knife as a package deal — experiencing how its weight and stability got here collectively to create an expertise that both felt intuitive or awkward.

The remainder of the sector

Total, we examined 11 of the most well-liked chef’s knives for residence cooks, together with Mac, World, Victorinox, Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Homefavor, Farberware, Zwilling, J.A. Henckels, Wusthof and Mercer. Of those knives, three had been the clear leaders, most others had been solidly designed and just one stood out as actually unhealthy.

Mac, Wusthof and World had been my stand-out favorites for high quality and efficiency, and for those who’re actually severe about adopting a high-quality chef’s knife, any of those three will do the trick. Whereas I gave my assessments above, everybody can have their very own slight preferences — the Mac felt greatest to me, but when I ate extra meat and denser veggies, I might in all probability lean towards Wusthof because the extra sturdy blade.

Mercer, Zwilling and to a lesser diploma,  provided stable efficiency and well-balanced merchandise for novices searching for a cut price (Victorinox will get numerous love on-line for its price ticket and stability, nevertheless it’s costlier than the $16 Mercer and never fairly as properly balanced).


J.A. Henckels’ Basic Chef’s Knife appears to be like much like the Wusthof Basic, however its slight variations in stability and design make it a a lot much less satisfying knife to make use of commonly.

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‘s and s knives had been sturdier than the cheaper opponents, however they did not stand out in any single class.

The $50 , which looks like a pure winner given its affordable price ticket and related design to the costlier Wusthof traditional, actually upset me. It is one other workhorse of a knife, however its butt is heavier than it must be, so heavy prep will get tiring, and mincing feels awkward.

Lastly, ‘s knife was the worst of the bunch: It’s so poorly balanced, in reality, that I ended the hen take a look at halfway via for concern of reducing myself. The deal with is extraordinarily gentle, which leaves the middle of stability for the knife an inch or two down the blade. That makes virtually each sort of prep, from slicing and dicing to mincing and hen boning, really feel awkward at greatest and harmful at worst. In brief, do not buy this knife.

A chef’s knife could be your greatest good friend within the kitchen — for those who discover the suitable match. So take your time, work out precisely what you want out of your chef’s knife, and make an funding. You can maintain shopping for these generic $10 knives from the shop each time your knife will get boring, however for those who’re actually severe about upping your kitchen sport, a high-quality chef’s knife is likely one of the greatest investments you can also make.

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