There is a motive cooks tote their knives round with them: kitchens and home equipment could differ, however the well-loved chef’s knife is irreplaceable. It is true for dwelling cooks, too. I invested in a chef’s knife after faculty and have used it nearly on a regular basis since — from slicing fruit to chopping onions to mincing garlic. At this level, my knife appears like an extension of my arm once I’m prepping meals.
However a chef’s knife is an funding. And $150 can really feel like loads for a very good knife — not to mention for one you find yourself disliking. So earlier than swiping “purchase” on Amazon or tossing the most affordable knife within the cart in your subsequent outing, it is essential to consider two questions: what does a chef’s knife supply, and what do you want it for within the kitchen?
Excessive-quality chef’s knives above all supply versatility. Until you spend appreciable time deboning fish or peeling pears, a chef’s knife ought to have the ability to accomplish 95% of your knife wants. So it ought to really feel good to make use of — correctly weighty, however not heavy sufficient to make utilizing it tiring; nicely balanced between the deal with and the blade; sturdy, because it will get a lot use; and naturally, constantly sharp.
The second query — what you want — is a little bit tougher to reply. Fortunately, I’ve examined among the hottest chef’s knives in the marketplace, and beneath are the very best picks for each type of dwelling prepare dinner.
$150 feels a little bit steep, however Wusthof’s 8-inch basic 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. The load 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.
Actually what this comes right down to is stability: the Wusthof basic 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. Probably the greatest measures of how snug a knife feels in your hand is breaking down a rooster — because it requires many varieties of cuts throughout pores and skin, meat, fats and cartilage. Once I used the Wusthof to interrupt down a hen, it felt as if I would been utilizing the knife for years. I did not make a single errant reduce or awkward movement.
Principally, this knife is top-to-bottom among the best obtainable at an inexpensive worth. It is versatile and cozy, and its high-carbon metal solid blade will preserve a super-sharp edge as nicely or higher than every other knife on this worth vary.
For $50, J.A. Henckels’ Zwilling Gourmand 8-inch Chef’s knife is a superb funds possibility. It would not have the heel of a heavier-duty knife just like the Wusthof or J.A. Henckels Traditional, nevertheless it’s well-balanced and makes clear cuts on tomatoes and herbs, makes fast work of dicing onions and breaks down a rooster with relative ease.
The Zwilling Gourmand is a stamped blade, fairly than a solid one, which suggests it possible will not maintain its edge so long as the Wusthof. It is also lighter, which suggests your hand will not be guided fairly as nicely by means of a tomato or equally delicate meals.
All that mentioned, the Zwilling’s cuts had been constantly clear, it felt snug in my hand, and for $50, I would be more than pleased so as to add this knife to my kitchen.
Palms-down, the largest shock of my testing was the efficiency of Mercer’s $16 Cullinary Millenia 8-inch chef’s knife. It is not as nicely made because the Zwilling or Wusthof blades — each of which characteristic long-lasting full-tang design (the knife’s metallic 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 instructing novices how you can 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 essentially the most like an extension of my arm as I prepped numerous veggies, fruits and meats in my exams.
The sunshine weight and low-cost design imply you aren’t getting the lengthy life or the total versatility you’d get from a workhorse just like the Wusthof, however when you’re wanting a starter chef’s knife to be taught for six months when you save for a much bigger funding, the Mercer actually is a superb product.
How we examined
Our procedures blended 5 exams — slicing tomatoes, dicing onions, mincing leafy herbs, chopping carrots and breaking down chickens — every with a 1-to-10 score, with extra basic use and statement. I wished to method the procedures as the common dwelling prepare dinner would, specializing in basic use and expertise. I additionally averted over-emphasizing sharpness, as factory-sharpness would not actually inform you a lot a couple of blade past its first few weeks or months of use.
The truth is, you may possible need to put money into a sharpener as soon as you purchase a chef’s knife. I wrote aboutin a separate story. We have additionally written about accurately.
I took under 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 overall design (full-tang knives, as an example, last more than blades connected to a definite deal with).
Past its measurable efficiency with numerous 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
General, we examined 9 of the most well-liked chef’s knives for dwelling cooks, together with Victorinox, Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Homefavor, Farberware, Zwilling, J.A. Henckels, Wusthof and Mercer. (Observe: I centered on the most well-liked knives at numerous U.S. retailers, however the can be nicely regarded, if not a greatest vendor. I’ll replace this checklist with a Mac Knife analysis as quickly as I can purchase one). Of those knives, most had been solidly designed, and just one stood out as actually dangerous.
Wusthof and Zwilling had been my stand-out favorites for high quality and efficiency, although Mercer and to a lesser diplomasupplied strong efficiency and well-balanced merchandise for novices searching for a cut price (Victorinox will get lots of love on-line for its price ticket and stability, nevertheless it’s dearer than the $16 Mercer and never fairly as nicely balanced).
‘s and s knives had been sturdier than the cheaper rivals, however they did not stand out in any single class.
The $50, which looks as if a pure winner given its cheap price ticket and related design to the dearer Wusthof basic, actually disillusioned me. It is one other workhorse of a knife, however its butt is heavier than it needs to 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 truth, that I ended the rooster check halfway by means of for worry of slicing myself. The deal with is extraordinarily mild, which leaves the middle of stability for the knife an inch or two down the blade. That makes nearly each sort of prep, from slicing and dicing to mincing and rooster boning, really feel awkward at greatest and harmful at worst. In brief, do not buy this knife.
A chef’s knife may be your greatest pal within the kitchen — when you discover the fitting match. So take your time, work out precisely what you want out of your chef’s knife, and make an funding. You possibly can preserve shopping for these generic $10 knives from the shop each time your knife will get uninteresting, however when you’re actually critical about upping your kitchen sport, a high-quality chef’s knife is likely one of the greatest investments you may make.