Cut like a Master: Chef Kitchen Knives For Every Budget: That’s What Professionals Work With
As numerous as the areas of application of knives are, so different versions are available to us on the shelves. Therefore, a short research is not necessarily enough, because it quickly becomes clear: the offers are huge and a more comprehensive insight into this topic is required to buy. In the search engine hit lists, terms such as chef’s knife, damask knife and Chinese knife pile up. But what is behind it and which knife fulfills which purpose? Before you cut your own flesh: We’ll explain the differences and reveal one and the other trick of the professionals. You will also find out why a fuzzy knife has no business in the kitchen.
Kind of essential kitchen knives
- Chef’s or chef’s knife : the blade is wide , it has a strong and smooth edge . It is the most basic and essential in the kitchen. It should measure between 18 to 20 cm .
- Lace : small (less than 10 cm) but powerful, thin blade , smooth edge . It is used to peel, turn and clean food. It is one of the chef’s survival knives , it is used frequently.
- Ham knife : it has a flexible , long, thin blade . With a smooth edge , it is used to cut pieces of meat and ham.
- Boner : has a thin, elastic blade . Finish in a fine point . This allows you to get to the bones to scrape them away from the meat.
- Fish fillet : straight, uniform blade and point. It has a very flexible blade that allows it to reach the skeleton of the fish. Can be used as a skinning knife .
- Bread knife : it is long, with an even and serrated blade . The teeth allow you to cut the bread without crushing it.
- Santoku knife : very wide , sharp blade with non-stick marks in the shape of alveoli. It is multipurpose . It is one of the most widely used Japanese knives .
Ceramic knives or metal knives?
Metal knives , those of a lifetime, are made with an alloy of metals that prevents oxidation and deterioration. Depending on its material, its edge, weight and quality will depend.
There are titanium , stainless steel and Damascus steel , among others. They are versatile, flexible, resistant and do not require special care.
The ceramic knives high quality are made in zirconium dioxide , a powder is compacted and hardened to the fire.
It results in a material almost as hard as diamond (8.5 on the Mohs scale ), so it keeps its sharpness much longer. Being made of a non-porous material , they cut without transferring the flavor to other foods and they do not favor bacterial growth, although they do not withstand high temperatures.
Ideally, use it on a silicone , wood, or plastic cutting board so use doesn’t destroy your blade.
The preference between one or the other will depend on the uses that are given to it in the kitchen.
The ceramic knives are not complete substitutes for metal knives, to the extent that they are a little more delicate and are not recommended for tasks like cutting frozen, bone or chop very hard food meal.
They must be handled with great care , as if they fall on the floor, they can break and cannot be washed in a dishwasher . But they are precise and sharp , perfect for delicate cutting tasks. They do not need constant sharpening and are very light compared to metal.
For amateur and professional chefs:
Chef’s Knife: All-Rounder
When chefs travel … The chef’s knife is the result of a practical solution. It was originally used by traveling chefs as a space-saving alternative to their knife set. Instead of carrying several cutting tools with you, a single knife in your suitcase was sufficient with this invention. The chef’s knife has several properties of its many con specifics so that the usual cutting quality comes to the kitchen table when you are out and about. For example, the blade enables small carving work as well as coarse dividing of bones and the like.
The widest part of the blade is on the handle, which tapers towards the front. The back part resembles a hatchet, which makes it easier to cut open or cut through hard objects. Precise chopping of garlic or the creative carving of fruit and vegetables are carried out with the tip of the knife. The desired cutting properties along the cutting edge can thus be achieved.
The use of this type can be a bit unusual at the beginning, because the knife guide is determined by the rounding and the blade is therefore moved in a rounded manner when cutting. So not in the “saw style” as with a bread knife: There the entire length of the knife blade is used when cutting.
The chef’s knives are available in different versions, which can be attached to the properties of the blade. This sets a focus for kitchen use. If, for example, a serrated edge has been made, this tool is particularly suitable for cutting hard bread crusts. However, if the knife has a dished edge, it can be used to cut particularly fatty and solid foods. Because if this knife is in the material to be cut, small air cushions are created with the help of the hollows. These in turn prevent the food from sticking to the blade. A smooth cut of the knife is suitable for most of the foods that we deal with in everyday life: fruit, vegetables and meat. This version is one of the most common in German households.
Best Chef’s Knives for Home Kitchen Use As Well
- Best Knife Overall: Wusthof CLASSIC Cook’s Knife
- Best Professional knife: Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife
- Best Knife in Mid-Range: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife
- Best Budget Knives: Farberware EdgeKeeper Chef Knife
- Best All Metal Knife: Global Chef’s Knife
- Best 6-Inch Knife: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife
- Best Shape Knife: Shun Classic Chef’s Knife
- Best Ceramic Knife: Kyocera Ceramic Revolution Series Chef’s Knife
- Best Custom Engraved knife: HENCKELS CLASSIC Chef’s Knife
Wusthof CLASSIC Cook’s Knife: Best knife For All Purposes
Its most recommended by professional cook/kitchen managers. Every minute I get to use it. It looks great and well known brands among fellow cooks and chefs. It is equally well used at home and in the professional kitchen where it gets roughly 10 hours of use 5 days a week at least. It is equally better to use on whetstone or use a honing stick on it more often. It is mostly opted by those who work with chicken, beef, pork, and veggies where they sometimes prep for hours and it still isn’t dull. If you’re someone new to cooking and looking to buy the best knife on a whim, this may make you love cooking after you get acquainted. This knife is heavier than some on the market, but this is the real deal. The one you can depend on. The one you keep clean after every use, to know where it’s at all the time, and hopefully come to know well. Worth the money, professional or at home, if you can buy it then you should.
Mac Knife Chef Series Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife, 10-Inch: Best Recommended Knife for Professional Chefs
It is one of the great knives professional cook rated in 2020. The fancy grape trick wasn’t just marketing fluff. If you try dropping grapes on the blade to see if it would cut in half, amazing thing this knife meet your expectation. The pressed steel felt a little flimsy but light weight blade dances across the butcher block and it feels very natural.
Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Knife Set, 4-Piece: Best Knife in Mid Range
These knives are amazing! They are so awesome to be selected among these high rated knives of 2020. The rubber handles are much better for gripping, while cutting and slicing into wet and soggy things, it cut deep without the slicing action losing speed, but they do lose their luster over time.The blades themselves are sharp and hold an edge well. Better for those who cook quite a bit, so the chef’s knife especially has really gotten a work out, and its held up great. You even don’t have to sharp them at all, and they still hold an edge that is sharper than whatever junk set you had prior.
Farberware Edge keeper knife: Best Budget Knife Set
21-Piece Forged Triple Riveted Block Set with Built-in Knife Sharpener
Super product in cutlery category. The handles are sturdy and very clean. The blades are thick and the knife edge is machine sharpened. The block is a good quality but the finish can be scratched by the knives over time. It would be recommended set to anyone by professional chefs.Quality is superb for the price among the best “Chef” knives. Best for those who use most of the blades daily and haven’t had to use the built in sharpener often.
Global Chef’s Knife: Best All Metal Knife: Best All Metal Knife
This knife got up in the list because many Japanese restaurant chefs had recommended.
・Design is great
・Since the blade and handle is completely made as one piece, it’s very easy to wash and therefore hygienic
The design is very cool, so using it makes you feel great! However, it uses molybdenum-vanadium stainless steel for the blade, so the sharpness of the blade is pretty average. If you’re looking to find a knife that can slice through paper, Global knives might not be the one you’d want to buy.
Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife: Best Professional Kitchen Knife
It has a good steel, came with a good edge and stays sharp fairly well. It has a nice grip for average hand size even when wet and is well balanced. You should not dish washer knives. When you sharpened it a couple times you would feel the steel isn’t hard to put an edge on.
It is one of the recommended kitchen gifts. In buyers feedback many people gifted this knife to others who weren’t too into cooking and they had all been very well received. This is one of the top knives choice in the 40-80 dollar range for its good materials, good ergonomics and wide range of uses.
Shun Classic Knife: Best Knife for Meat Slicing
Shun Classic 6” Utility Knife with Ebony PakkaWood Handle and Strong VG-MAX Cutting Core; Blade Size Versatile for Trimming, Peeling and Sectioning; Innovative and Contemporary Design
Kyocera Ceramic Knife : Best Ceramic Knife
Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 7-inch Professional Chef’s Knife, Black Blade
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compares to the quality, feel, and overall craftsmanship of this knife! This is really a sharp knife for mincing, dicing, and chopping. You do have to be extremely careful since it is ceramic and really light weight! The ergonomic design will help reduce fatigue and helps create clean cuts and less stress. HAND WASH ONLY!!! Don’t be silly and put this in the dishwasher!
We tested 24 kitchen knives. For us, the best European knife is the twin four stars . It is the lightest 8-inch kitchen knife in the test. The rounded handle lies very comfortably in the hand and the hand protection prevents cuts. The best santoku knife for most people is the Makami Premium.
Cooking, frying, simmering – knives are among the most frequently used tools in the kitchen. An all-purpose kitchen knife is the linchpin: It is used for cutting, weighing and chopping vegetables, meat and fish.
This all-rounder is called a chef’s knife. With its smooth, clearly curved blade that is around 20 centimeters long, it can handle almost all tasks on the work board.
What you need to know about kitchen knives?
Cooking knives differ according to their purpose: bread knives are wave-shaped, boning knives are pointed and slim, paring knives are curved and meat knives have a smooth, straight blade.
Now, not everyone in the kitchen wants a 15-inch battery made of specialized blades. Something like that takes up space and every knife needs a certain amount of care.
That is why there are two all-rounders for the kitchen world: the chef’s knife with a curved blade between 17 and 20 centimeters and the lighter and smaller all-purpose, paring or paring knife with a marginally curved blade of 6 to 9 centimeters.
With the filigree paring knife you can cut and peel fruit or use it to process vegetables or meat. Fine cuts can be made with the short blade – ideal for a decorative touch. Meat can also be peppered with this little kitchen aid and fish filleted. However, the paring knife reaches its limits when a lot of fresh ingredients and a large amount of meat are processed. Here the little blade is simply ineffective.
This is where the universal kitchen knife with its 17 to 20 centimeter blade comes into play, which we have tested here. It has a smooth blade for cutting meat. It has a clearly curved blade, so it can be used as a chopping knife with both hands. A chef’s knife is a larger, all-purpose kitchen knife that is used for cutting, weighing, and chopping vegetables, meat, and fish.
For a good chef’s knife you can put up to $200 on the table, prices start at $10 to $30 . Professional knives are available for prices between 50 and 100 dollars. With good care, they will last a lifetime. Beyond the 100 USD we are in the luxury segment, here you will find elaborately handcrafted knives as well as some particularly impressive Asian Santoku knives.
You can save money with a knife set or block, but you should break the set price down to the individual knives. If the individual knife is already in the “poor quality” category, hands off. It is better to spend a little more money on a knife that will be with you all your life.
For beginners, advanced and professionals
As a beginner, you should (for the time being) ignore the world of special knives and concentrate on a standard chef’s knife, a paring knife, a bread knife and a fruit knife. A layman can handle these knives well, they do not require any special practice and experience, such as with the filleting knife.
The kitchen knife does not have to be longer than 21 centimeters
The kitchen knife should have a blade of no more than 21 centimeters. Longer blades are more demanding to use. Asian kitchen knives are not recommended for beginners because there is a higher risk of injury due to the lack of safety features.
More advanced cooks work better with longer blades. You can also work with the Japanese Santoku knife, which is a very good all-round knife.
Professionals often use various special knives, such as boning or ham knives. The quality and longevity of the kitchen knives are particularly important here, which is why they are in the upper price segment ($50 to $100 ).
Professionals usually choose either the European standard chef’s knife or the Japanese santoku.
European and Asian kitchen knives
When it comes to kitchen knives, there are European and Asian chef’s knives. The European chef’s knife is the universal knife of European cuisine. In contrast to the Asian chef’s knife, the European counterpart is more suitable for rough cutting movements.
There are various subspecies of European kitchen knives. There is a suitable knife for every cut. The different types of knives differ in size, shape and weight.
The advantages of European knives are that they are stable, offer security due to the thickened edge on the handle and are particularly suitable for beginners. Disadvantages are that the cutting surface is limited by the thickening and that they are not suitable for filigree cuts.
European chef’s knives are relatively heavy compared to their Asian counterparts.
The blades are relatively long at 20 to 25 centimeters. The cutting edge of European kitchen knives becomes blunt towards the handle because the hand guard is located there. The knife can be held stable, as the handles are usually angular, even if more or less rounded.
The European chef’s knife is a universal tool for cutting meat, fish and vegetables. You can also do finer work with the tip of the knife.
The back of the knife is almost straight and the cutting edge runs up to the tip. This rounding with the appropriate length ensures that these knives can be used well for weighing cutting. The European chef’s knives are more pointed than the Santokus. They are suitable for piercing food and for rough cutting.
Asian kitchen knives are particularly the Japanese santoku and the Chinese cleaver. There are many different subspecies here, which in turn have different functions and advantages and disadvantages.
Santoku: the knife of the three virtues
The Santoku is the Japanese all-purpose kitchen knife. Translated, Santoku means “knife of the three virtues”. This means fish, meat and vegetables. The blunt top edge of the blade lines up with the handle. The wide blade of the Santoku protrudes far beyond the handle, which ensures a lot of board contact. The Damascus steel used for the blade is typical of Japanese knives. It consists of several layers of different types of steel around an iron core and is considered to be of particularly high quality.
The advantages of Japanese knives are that they can be cut in full length, have a sharp edge and can be very finely shredded. Disadvantages are the higher risk of injury due to the lack of thickening on the blade. In addition, they are not suitable for hard material such as bones. Beginners should refrain from using Japanese knives.
The Chinese cleaver has a very high, rectangular cutting blade, usually around twice as long as it is high. The cutting edge is hardly curved. The cleaver usually has a very sharp, relatively thin blade. It is mainly used for chopping vegetables, fruits, herbs and poultry. It is rarely found in European kitchens because it requires special cutting or chopping technology.
Steel, Damascus or Ceramic?
The question of whether the sharpness of a blade lasts for a long time depends on a number of criteria: blade material, blade thickness, hardness of the blade (HRC) and the edge of the blade.
Steel is the most commonly used for kitchen knife blades, and all knives in the test have such a blade. Steel has the advantage over ceramic knives that it is easier and more durable to grind. Ceramic knives, on the other hand, are easy to care for and can cut like a razor if they are of good quality, but the edge is extremely fragile and good quality is usually very expensive.
Stainless steel in different alloys is usually used for steel blades. There is also carbon steel, which is just as easy to sharpen, but not rustproof. In the case of stainless steel, you should use high-carbon material. This has a higher degree of hardness and stays sharp longer. Ordinary stainless steel dulls faster. Such simple stainless steel blades are more likely to be found in the low-priced segment and do not play a role in this test.
Damascus knives have a long edge retention – that is, the sharpness is retained for a comparatively long time. Damascus steel consists of many different iron and steel layers and is therefore particularly robust. Japanese Santoku knives in particular are made from it. Assuming good workmanship, the following applies: the more steel layers, the more robust. Knives with up to 67 layers of steel were included in the test field.
The blade thickness (measured on the back of the blade) describes the thickness of the blade and is usually 1.5 to 3 millimeters for standard chef’s knives. As a rule, thinner blades are beneficial, they slide better through the clippings and are easier to sharpen. If, on the other hand, hard material is cut, then we want to use the knife as a lever. A three millimeter sheet makes sense here.
A blade must not be too thick, it would split food when cut. But it doesn’t work too thin either, it would break and be too flexible to be levered.
The harder the blade, the slower it will wear out. The blade should therefore have the highest possible degree of hardness (HRC). The abbreviation stands for Hardness Rockwell Cone, where Hardness is the hardness value, Rockwell is the test method and Cone is the scale.
Kitchen knives have a hardness between 50 and 70 HRC. The knives in the test were 56 and 61. Nevertheless, despite the hardness, a blade should remain as flexible as possible, otherwise it would break under heavy loads.
There are knives that are sharpened on one and both sides. Kitchen knives ground on both sides have a better cutting ability and glide more easily through the cut material. In addition, these knives are also suitable for left-handers. All knives in the test are ground with a smooth blade on both sides.
Hammer-tipped hollows prevent cheese, ham, etc. from sticking.
Some kitchen knives have the so-called kull cut. Several recesses (hollows) lying next to one another are embossed along the blade. Alternatively, there are also indentations with a hammer, they cover the entire blade irregularly (except for the cutting edge). The depressions in the cutting surface are intended to prevent sticky items such as cheese, ham or moist bread from sticking to the knife. In practice, however, we couldn’t find a big difference.
Advice on buying a chef’s knife test or comparison:
Chef’s knives are versatile and true all-rounders. Japanese chef’s knives are particularly popular.
The quality of the steel determines the hardness and sharpness of the blade. Damask chef’s knives are considered to be the hardest blades.
A good grip guarantees safe and comfortable work. Therefore, pay attention to the ergonomics of the handle.
Regardless of whether you want to cut vegetables, mince meat or chop herbs: the chef’s knife is your all-purpose weapon in the kitchen. A good chef’s knife can be of great help in any situation. Ideally, you don’t even need to swap the chef’s knife for another, but can complete all work steps with just one knife .
Ultimately, you certainly want a sharp, reliable knife for your kitchen that will last a long time and will not get in the way of your cooking experience. Who hasn’t had the frustrating experience that a dull knife has turned any joy in cooking into a stress test.
It therefore makes sense to invest in a good chef’s knife . How to recognize a good chef’s knife, we will explain to you with the help of our test and comparison table 2020 in the course of this purchase advice. In chef’s knife tests you will find different manufacturers and brands, inexpensive chef’s knives and high-quality chef’s knives and certainly the best chef’s knife for your needs.
Damascus steel stands for high blacksmithing
Damascus steel is certainly one of the highest quality results in professional blacksmithing. During production, different types of steel are forged with one another as if in layers, thus combining the advantages in one blade. The advantages include, above all, the excellent balance of hardness and flexibility, which ensures that the blade is very hard at the same time, but remains pliable. The area of today’s Syria is usually mentioned as the original country of origin of this forging technique.
1. A good chef’s knife stands or falls with the quality of the blade
Above all else, a knife should do one thing: cut. In order for it to do this to your complete satisfaction, you should pay particular attention to the properties of the blade when buying a chef’s knife. This includes points such as the material of the blade, the sharpness of the blade, the blade length in cm and, above all, the hardness of the blade.
1.1. Forged knives stand for a long service life
As is the case with other knives, the blades of chef’s knives are usually manufactured in two different processes, which differ primarily in terms of the longevity of the blade.
The simpler method is to punch out the blade . The blade blank is punched out of sheet steel and then ground.
Forged knives, on the other hand, are made by hand from a blade blank . Machining by hand favors the density ratio of the steel . The denser material is harder and can therefore be sharpened while staying sharp longer than punched blades.
1.2. Not all steel is created equal, sometimes even ceramics. Different blade types in comparison
As with types of wood or other raw materials, steel also has different properties to consider, depending on which model from chef’s knife tests you choose. The following table will help you with your selection. And don’t be surprised, it doesn’t always have to be steel! Ceramic blades are enjoying increasing popularity.
1.3. The harder the blade, the sharper. But it should also be flexible
A sharp knife is worth its weight in gold when cutting large pieces of meat, as it does not fray the meat when it is cut.
For the sharpest possible chef’s knife, you need the hardest possible blade. Everyone from Stiftung Warentest to professional chefs agrees on this point. Hard blades made of Damascus steel, such as the Kai Shun knife in our chef’s knife comparison table, can be sharpened extremely sharply. With simpler steel, however, there is a risk that it becomes porous with increasing hardness . But how do you determine the hardness of a blade?
The hardness of the blade is given in Rockwell , or HRC for short. Rockwell is a unit of measure used to indicate the hardness of engineering materials. The higher the reading, the harder the material. A popular chef’s knife test winner, the Kai Shun chef’s knife, with a value of HRC 60-62 and the Gräwe damask knife with HRC 58-62 do best in this category. With a value of HRC 56, the F. Dick chef’s knife is one of the softer blades. With a weight of 180 g it is also quite light.
2. Durable, hygienic and comfortable to hold: criteria for a good knife handle
Have you ever worked in a large kitchen or prepared a banquet for friends and family and cut several hours of food? If so, then you know from your own experience how important the handle on a cutting knife can be. In previous chef’s knife tests, various aspects were highlighted that make a good grip. We tell you what to look out for.
2.1. The connection between the blade and the handle should be reliable and hygienic
The blade of a knife should be firmly attached to the handle . Under no circumstances should the handle wobble or come loose after a few cuts. There are different variants to guarantee this. The two most common ways of connecting are on the one hand assembly using hollow rivets with which the blade is held in the handle shell . With the other variant, the blade disappears invisibly in the handle.
You should pay attention to whether the transition from the handle to the blade is seamless. Seamless connections promise more hygiene in your cooking preparations. All chef’s knives in chef’s knife tests are seamless and therefore recommendable for a purchase.
2.2. Choose between the aesthetics of wood and the durability of plastic
When choosing the material for the knife handle, the manufacturers of chef’s knives mainly rely on two materials: plastic and wood. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why we want to explain them to you briefly.
2.2.1. Plastic promises a long service life
Plastic does not have the best reputation, especially today. It is considered environmentally problematic and cheap. But it is not that easy. Plastic also has advantages.
- +More hygienic work, as inorganic materials are not so susceptible to pests
- +Long life span
- +Very easy to clean
- -Plastic is not a sustainable material
- -less high quality compared to wood
2.2.2. Wood is a sustainable raw material
Wood is still the classic among the materials that can be used for a knife handle. And there are good reasons for that. Wood is a warm, established and versatile raw material that is also sustainable. However, different types of wood also have different characteristics.
2.3. Ergonomically shaped handles make longer cutting work easier
Whether wood or plastic, a knife handle should sit comfortably in your hand and be non-slip. Especially in large kitchens, but also in private households for larger festivities, it is not uncommon for chef’s knives to be in use for several hours. The result can be calluses on the hands and pain in the wrist.
Most manufacturers of high-quality chef’s knives therefore offer ergonomically shaped handles . So if you plan to use your chef’s knife a lot, make sure that the handle has a comfortable shape. In a chef’s knife comparison, the damask knife from Wüsthof as well as the knives from F.Dick or Kyocera do not do quite as well in this category. The knives from Graewe or Felix Solingen are a bit further ahead here.
Of course, safety when cutting also plays an important role. To avoid cuts, some brands offer hand protection at the transition to the blade or at the rear of the handle.
3. Application examples: Chef’s knives are suitable for cutting and chopping
A chopping knife is a useful alternative for cutting herbs. A chef’s knife can also be used to cut using weighing technology, but specially made knives make the work easier.
As a versatile cutting knife, chef’s knives can replace almost any other knife in your household, be it meat knives, fish knives, paring knives or even cheese knives. The only exception in this series is the bread knife with a practical serrated edge.
Due to their versatility, the chef’s knives mostly perform well in chef’s knife tests in various areas of application. They are not only very suitable for cutting, but also for chopping nuts or cutting herbs with the weighing technique.
4. With the purchase of additional knives for the chef’s knife set
Make a chef’s knife set out of your purchase. Most models are available in different versions. Chef’s knives with a 20 cm blade are also available as are 12.5 cm short versions. A chef’s knife with a 20 cm blade is better suited for roasts and larger fruit and vegetables. A chef’s knife set with knives from one and the same brand is also an aesthetic highlight in your kitchen .
A chef’s knife is the universal tool in your kitchen, but if you want to work more professionally, you should put together special knives for the respective purpose.
Japanese style chef’s knives such as the Kai Shun series or Santoku knives are very popular. This is due to its traditional use in Japan as a versatile kitchen knife . Damascus knives offer excellent sharpness , but as a chef’s knife set they quickly cost money.
If you want to put together an inexpensive chef’s knife set, WMF chef’s knives, which appear in every chef’s knife test, are also suitable. Unfortunately, Zwilling chef’s knives are not listed here either, but they are popular. You can find WMF chef’s knives and Zwilling chef’s knives online. You can also buy knives in individual supermarkets such as Aldi, Rewe or Edeka.
Knife Care and Sharpening
Every high-quality knife should only be washed and dried by hand, regardless of whether it has a real wood handle or not. The dishwasher would bleach the wood or plastic and also dull the cutting edge. This is due to the sharp additives in dishwasher tabs.
A chef’s knife should only be cleaned with soap and water
We recommend wooden or plastic boards as a cutting mat. Stone or glass reduces the service life of the knife edge. The blades should not touch or rub against each other during storage. This is prevented by knife blocks, magnetic strips or pockets.
When a knife no longer cuts smoothly through a piece of paper, it needs to be sharpened. Manual knife sharpeners with diamond or ceramic whetstones are ideal for routine regrinding in the kitchen. You should spend around $25 for it, and you get the Schärfer WMF Gourmet , which we recommend due to its great workmanship and good ceramic stones.
The grinding stone should offer your blade the angle at which it was already sharpened at the factory. That is 20 degrees for European blades and 15 degrees for Asian blades. Unfortunately, the grinding devices very rarely give this angle, but it is typically 20 degrees. However, any 15-degree Santoku can also be ground at 20 degrees.
We therefore recommend a grindstone with a coarser grit for coarse sanding (grit below 800) and a fine grit after re-sharpening (grit 800-2000). This takes much longer than with the grinder, but the layman can hardly cause any damage. For beginners, it is advisable to take the knife to a professional for the basic sharpening; if a cutting edge is very jagged, a basic sharpening must be made, either on a whetstone or with a motorized knife sharpener. However, both require practice, otherwise you can quickly ruin your cutting edge – especially with the motorized whetstone. The blade can also burn out because it gets too hot from the rapidly rotating stone.
Best Way To Check Quality Of a Knife
The most important thing about a knife is that it is sharp. All knives are sharp, fresh from the far factory, so you don’t notice much difference. Good knives are distinguished from less good knives in that they keep their sharpness longer – and are easy to sharpen.
Therefore, in the test, we brutally blunted all knives on a stone and checked how quickly they become blunt. Then we sharpened them again with various knife sharpeners. We did not recognize any differences between damask and stainless steel.
The blade material is not relevant for sharpening practice, a Damascus knife is not “more difficult” to sharpen than a stainless steel blade or one made of steel. It may take longer to grind a deep notch from a Damascus blade with a 60 degree hardness, but in practice we did not notice any differences in terms of time.
See also: The best knife sharpener. Here we tried out numerous manual and electrical devices for the preliminary and fine-tuning.
A good kitchen knife should have a balance between the handle and the blade. That was the case with almost all knives in the test. The center of gravity of a kitchen knife should be at the end of the handle where it meets the blade.
To do this, we put our fingers under this position and observed whether the knife was floating horizontally. If it were to tip forwards or backwards, the center of gravity is either in the handle or in the blade, which would not be good.
European kitchen knives are easier to use and, thanks to their hand protection at the rear end of the blade, offer greater security. They are suitable for cutting all kinds of food. For this reason we have chosen the test winner from the European forms.
In the test we checked whether the blade was stamped or forged. Forged blades are better because the material is denser and has a more even structure. All knives in our test were forged.
We looked for signs of welding or other methods of union. Such joints can lead to bending or breaking.
The attachment of the handle is also an important quality feature. A handle, which consists of two parts, is riveted onto both sides of the knife steel. The steel can be seen between the handles.
A handle, which is hollow on the inside, is placed on the knife steel and fastened at the end with a handle head. More typical, however, is a knife-steel body that extends all the way to the handle head, onto which the liquid handle material has been applied. This is usually a polypropylene plastic that is poured on both sides or round onto the pointed or round tang. More expensive models come with a wooden handle.
Above all, the handle of the knife should be comfortable and secure in the hand. This is where personal feelings count. Some like angular handles that you can feel all the time, others like rounded handles that glide softly over the skin.
In any case, the material of the handle should be easy to clean so that bacteria cannot establish themselves. In addition, the handle material must have a high density, i.e. it must be hard and scratch-resistant. This is a sign of stability and longevity.
The weight of the different kitchen knives varies greatly. It depends on the type of steel, the length and width of the blade and the material of the handle. Santokus are usually lighter because they have no hand protection and a thinner blade.
Personal preference decides here, because a heavy knife is not bad per se. A light knife has the advantage of being able to work faster and more precisely. A heavy kitchen knife makes work difficult, but is ideal for hard foods such as nuts, ginger or beets.
Chef’s knife: Zwilling 5 star chef’s knife
A light knife with hand protection, good grip and rounded corners.
The blade of the twin four stars is made of stainless steel, the so-called twin special melt. The Friodur blade is forged from one piece and ice-hardened.
The blade with a thickness of up to three millimeters is strong, which means it is rigid and can only be bent a little with a lot of force.
According to the manufacturer, the cutting edge is ground with a V-Edge trigger (symmetrical tape and polishing tape trigger). The angle here is around 15 degrees per side.
Because it is forged from one piece, the blade merges seamlessly into the bolster, with a clearly pronounced beard that runs down to the front hand guard. This reinforced bolster ensures a rigid connection between the blade and the handle.
There is a seamless transition from the bolster to the handle, the plastic handle clings to it. The same was poured onto the inner tang, as evidenced by a weak seam along the handle. As long as the plastic does not disintegrate, the connection cannot be released.
The handle has no rivets, which is why the look is less bulky than that of the other European colleagues.
The sturdy blade is very suitable for chopping, weighing or cutting hard vegetables. We can exert a lot of force with our hands on the broad back (three millimeters).
The blade is less or not at all suitable for filigree work, for example on onions, apples or peeling meat from the bone. The strength of the rigid, wide blade lies in the efficient cutting or chopping of large quantities of meat or vegetables.
The angular but strongly rounded handle ensures a stable alignment of the cutting edge at all times without pressing the ball of the hand uncomfortably at the same time.
The flat side of the twin four stars is just under five centimeters wide. You can quickly pick up clippings from the cutting board and transport them into the pot.
The Zwilling four star kitchen knife can easily be sharpened with any manual knife sharpener. A grinder should be used for coarse nicks in the cutting edge; the abrasion is too low for manual grinding.
The safety bar of the bolster ensures a natural stop when sharpening. But be careful with electric grinders. First practice on worthless knives! When deviating from the track, indentations can occur in the cutting edge. Your knife would then be sharp, but it looks like a hilly landscape.
Zwilling recommends cleaning by hand. We agree, because experience has shown that the plastic handles fade and the cutting edge also becomes blunt faster.
The tight blade can be an advantage but also a disadvantage. Fine-articulated work will not work as well with it as with a shorter, thinner and therefore flexible blade.
The blade made of special stainless steel falls under the term stainless steel. It is therefore not quite as high-quality as knives with umpteen layers of Damascus steel. The sharpness does not last as long as with the highly hardened damask kitchen knives.
Good for small hands: it has a narrow handle and a taut blade.
WMF Grand Class is almost 50 grams heavier than the test winner and looks more classic and high-quality with its brushed handle, two rivets and polished handle head. But that is a visual question, the two kitchen knives do not take much in handling.
The goiter of the WMF has an elongated beard that connects the leaf tightly with the handle. The knife was forged from one piece of stainless steel and hardened.
Chef’s knife test: Chef’s knife Wmf Grand class Chef’s knife test: Chef’s knife Wmf Grandclass Chef’s knife test: Chef’s knife Wmf Grandclass Chef’s knife test: Chef’s knife Wmf Grandclass Chef’s knife test: Chef’s knife Wmf Grandclass
The blade is very tight and just as inflexible as the test winner. Thanks to the wide back, we can place the palm of our hand and apply pressure to the cutting edge. The use as a chopping knife works just as well as with the test winner.
The narrow handle fits small hands comfortably in the hand, but also large hands can use it thanks to the spread of the handle scales. The brushed hard plastic is not quite as handy as the test winner.
Excellent blade material was used here. It has a thick handle and good power transfer.
The Makami Premium Santoku is the best Santoku chef’s knife for most of those who are flirting with the Asian knife shape. The 16.5-centimeter blade consists of 67 layers of damascus steel with a 60 degree hardness. It is the best and hardest blade material. Damask should keep its sharpness longer than stainless steel knives, but it can just as easily be sharpened manually.
But it’s not just the material combined with an attractive price. The Makami is light and, thanks to the comparatively short blade, handy and rarely on the work board. There is a balance between the handle and the blade.
Chef’s knife test: Makami Damascus chef’s knifeChef’s knife test: chef’s knife Makami premium santoku Chef’s knife test: chef’s knife Makami premium santoku Chef’s knife test: chef’s knife
The knife ends with a polished handle head, which, like most Santokus, is flat and round to oval. In our opinion, the handle is not made of real wood, the structure, feel and temperature speak for a kind of very hard plastic veneer with a wood look. The manufacturer speaks of micarta wood.
The thick and fairly round handle allows the hand to quickly find any position it needs, which is comfortable. The hand has more contact surface than most other Santoku knives, which means that a lot of force can be applied to the cutting edge if necessary. As usual with Santoku, there are no front and rear hand guards. You have to accept that as a disadvantage, the continuous cutting edge with maximum board contact is a key feature of the Santoku.
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