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A good knife can make or break your meal. Best Commercial Meat Grinder
A good kitchen knife is key to helping you prep your food safely and quickly. The long, sharp blade of a chef's knife allows for all sorts of cutting tasks, so you can slice a steak, chop a cucumber, dice an onion or mince some herbs. This versatile style of knife comes in a variety of sizes — from six- to 14-inch blades — so you can find the one that feels best in your hand whether you have a larger or smaller grip.
When shopping, the two main types of chef's knives you'll find are German knives, which are sturdy and thick, especially at the bolster (where the blade meets the handle), and Japanese knives, which are lightweight and razor-sharp with thinner blades. Within these categories, you'll find a variety of blade and handle materials and constructions, which affect how the knife feels and how long it will last.
The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab test everything you'll need to whip up some of your favorite meals, including knives of all kinds. We've spent years testing serrated knives, butcher knives, electric knives and more, and we reviewed more than 30 chef's knives for this article. Our experts considered factors like how well each knife cuts a variety of foods (such as whole chicken, cheese and garlic cloves) and how comfortable it is to hold as well as the weight and ease of cleaning.
Below, we share more information on how we test kitchen knives as well as expert insight on what to look for before shopping for a new knife for yourself or a new home cook.
Razor-sharp and super versatile, this 8-inch chef's knife from Wüsthof truly impressed our experts. It was one of the only knives in our test that could cleanly slice tomatoes, chop onions, cut up carrots, bone a chicken and create thin ribbons of basil. This German classic is fully forged and has a full tang (meaning the metal of the blade runs through the whole handle), which helps it feel perfectly balanced and ergonomic in your hand, but can be on the heavier side for some.
It's dishwasher safe (a rarity for cutlery), but we recommend hand-washing to extend its lifespan. While it does run on the pricier side, its sharp, sturdy blade offers an exceptional cut on almost all foods.
This excellent J.A. Henckels Classic Chef's Knife has the heft, shape and performance of a splurge-worthy chef's knife but comes at an attractive price point. It's an affordable, all-purpose tool that does an ace job of blitzing parsley, dicing onions and deboning a chicken. Our experts appreciate that this German stainless steel knife excels across a variety of different tasks, but they note that the hard plastic handle was a bit less comfortable than some other options on this list. The full bolster design might make less experienced cooks feel safer.
This chef’s knife from direct-to-consumer company Misen is made of Japanese AUS-8 high-carbon stainless steel, which means it's tough, durable and super sharp. Its blade is sharpened to 15 degrees — a sharper angle than traditional Western-style knives, which are typically sharpened to 25 degrees. It has an angled semi-bolster that encourages a proper pinch grip during use.
In our tests, it felt balanced, sturdy and comfortable: The blade is slightly narrower than other chef’s knives we tested, which proved to be good for slicing. It's beautifully designed for the price; knives of this quality typically cost upwards of twice as much! One note: It is heavier than most other chef's knives we tested.
As our best overall Japanese knife, this 8-inch pick from Shun is a standout. Our experts particularly like that it will last a long time without a price tag that will break the bank. While it’s on the delicate side and (like other Japanese knives) can chip more easily than some Western knives, it can easily cut through everything from vegetables to meat with its light yet sturdy blade. Our experts have been able to use this knife for long stints without sharpening and appreciate the good grip and weight of this model.
The brand's 6-inch knife is perfect for smaller hands and glides through ripe tomatoes with its sharp edge. The Premiere is another favorite that has a wider handle that fits comfortably in the hand and a sturdy dimpled blade that slices cleanly through food without feeling brittle.
Global's powerhouse Santoku is one of the sharpest knives we've ever tested. It's made from a single piece of stainless steel, so the handle is integrated, meaning it won't loosen over time and there's no joint that could trap food. The blade also has hollow indentations, so foods are less likely to stick as they're cut.
This Japanese knife excelled at all tasks throughout our testing process, but it particularly wowed us with its ability to cut through small chicken bones as well as around bones to help separate parts. While we did find that the blade can feel a bit brittle, we had no trouble slicing through all sorts of foods thanks to its incredible sharpness.
While on the bulkier side, this knife from Victorinox is quite lightweight, and we noted that it felt exceptionally safe during use. The plastic handle fits comfortably in your grip and helps keep your fingers away from the blade. The blade is wider than most of the other options on this list, so it's not as nimble, but the knife is well-balanced and offers stability. We also appreciated the good price.
Our consumer testers liked that it didn’t feel as though they’d easily ruin this knife, and they found it to be nice and sharp. It features a high-carbon stainless steel blade that “rarely requires sharpening,” according to the brand.
While certainly more expensive than others on our list, the Chef’s Knife from Miyabi is stunning and effective. Our experts found it was exceptionally good at cutting both veggies and meat, and it cut the thinnest slices of any blade they’ve ever used. This is likely due to the G2 micro carbide powder steel blade that, according to the manufacturer, is honed to a "9.5- to 12-degree" angle, which is finer even than many Japanese knives (generally around 15 degrees). It's a good pick for professionals because the sharp, narrow blade allows precise cuts.
While testing, we liked that the handle rested perfectly in the center of our palm and felt natural to hold. We also love the marbled look of the birchwood handle.
This Mercer Culinary chef's knife felt good in our hand from the moment we picked it up. Our experts liked that it managed to feel sturdy without being too heavy. With its high-carbon, stain-resistant German steel blade, it effortlessly sliced through tomatoes and cut carrots — we barely had to use any pressure because the blade was so sharp! We found that it sliced through onions easily too.
We did notice that the portion of the blade near the handle is a bit wider than some of the other options on this list, which helps improve the durability of this pick but means that it's not ideal for delicate tasks like trimming around bones.
With its colorful handle — and the option to customize it with an engraving — this Chef's Knife from Made In is as fashionable as it is functional. It performed every cutting task in our testing especially well, making it a workhorse when it comes to meal prep. We loved how easily it diced onions and how smoothly it sliced celery. Plus, it's full tang and forged, meaning it's made of one solid piece of stainless steel from tip to handle for better balance, but that does mean it's on the heavier side.
The Chef's Knife can be bought individually or as part of a four-piece set like this one (also available in an attractive olive wood version). It comes in cute packaging that is not only safe and easy to open but also provides instructions on how to hold the knife and how to use the entire blade like a pro.
A fan-favorite among our experts, Hedley and Bennett’s Chef’s Knife has been used in our Kitchen Appliances Lab since it first came out, and it also makes frequent appearances in our personal home kitchens as well. Our pros keep reaching for it due to its comfortable grip and weight as well as its ability to tackle any cutting task. We found it to be well-balanced, and we appreciate the thoughtful design: It's sturdy but not heavy, and the handle has nice rounded curves that help you maintain a secure grip. The sharp tip is particularly helpful when cutting around bones, and the fun handle colors are beautiful and great for personalizing.
If you’re looking for a set, their Chef’s Knife set features this stellar pick alongside the brand's Bread Knife and Utility Knife, all with blades made of Japanese three-layer (the Chef’s Knife and Utility Knife) or German (the Bread Knife) steel. But don't forget to dry this knife well after washing since we did notice some small rust spots can appear where droplets accumulate.
This 8-inch chef's knife offers some heft but is still lightweight compared to the Western-style knives we tested. It has a thin, rounded handle, similar to Japanese-style knives, but feels sturdy and natural in the hand — a pro for new cooks. We did notice, however, that the blade felt a little thick in comparison to other Japanese-style knives, which can be disorienting at first for those expecting a thinner knife in classic Japanese style.
We tested the knife on an assortment of ingredients, including onions, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and it sliced all of them with ease. It comes in three other colors — Blue Grey, Almost Black and Sage — and we're fans of the three-piece knife set that includes this knife as well as the brand's slim knife stand. It's particularly good for beginners thanks to its reasonable price point as well as the fact that it doesn't need too much sharpening and encourages a good grip.
The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab tested more than 30 kitchen knives to find the best ones on the market. We tested with home cooks in mind and evaluated how well each knife cut and retained an edge after slicing and chopping through onions, whole chickens, cooked steak, carrots and cheddar cheese. We cut basil into fine ribbons, sliced tomatoes and minced garlic and parsley. The most impressive knives were super-sharp and made paper-thin slices of tomato with no effort at all. They cleanly severed the herbs with no crushing or bruising.
We also checked the comfort of the handle and grip. When assessing the overall experience, we looked for knives that rocked back and forth easily and that required little pressure to cut through meat. We took note of the weight of the knife: While heavier ones often feel sturdier, they can tire hands when slicing hard ingredients like carrots. Larger-handled, lighter knives gave us more control, while smaller-handled knives allowed us to slice quickly and thinly.
When shopping for the best chef’s knife, it’s ideal to hold the ones you're considering so you can get a feel for them. At the end of the day, your go-to knife is largely based on personal preference. What might feel perfectly balanced to one cook may feel heavy to another. Here's what to consider:
✔️ Type: German or Western knives are great for heavy-duty tasks like chopping and breaking down a chicken, while Japanese knives are well suited to more delicate and precise tasks like cleanly slicing cucumbers. Because Japanese knives are crafted from harder steel, they can typically last longer between sharpening sessions, but they may be prone to chipping or cracking. The softer steel in Western knives might not hold an edge as long, but they tend to be sturdy.
✔️ Handle: Handles are generally made of wood or wood composites, plastic or metal. The type of material affects the weight and feel of the knife, as well as the price. Choose the knife you'll reach for again and again. But take note that wood might warp or splinter over time due to use and washing.
✔️ Tang: Our pros recommend knives that have a full tang, which means the blade runs through the handle, rather than just being inserted into it. A full tang keeps the blade more secure over the life of the knife and helps the knife feel balanced for better control.
✔️ Bolster: The bolster, or how and where the blade flows into the handle, is another point of differentiation. Some are full bolsters, meaning they cover the whole back end of the blade, while some are semi-bolsters that cover only a portion of the blade. We found that a full bolster allows for a more protected grip for novices, while a semi-bolster (or no bolster) provides a more controlled grip for chefs who like to pinch the heel of the blade. In addition, this section of the knife can be angled or straight, and you may have to try a few styles to find what you prefer.
Bottom line: Look for a knife that feels like an extension of your hand, and keep it sharp. A sharp knife requires less effort and pressure on your part, which makes slicing safer easier, more stable and less tiring.
Nicole Papantoniou is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, where she oversees all the testing that takes place related to kitchen gear. She conducted the most recent side-by-side chef's knife test as well as the most recent test for serrated knives and butcher knives. She's a trained cook and uses one of her three trusty chef's knives almost daily.
Jamie Spain worked with Nicole to update this guide. She tests and reviews a variety of products for the Good Housekeeping Institute.
Nicole (she/her) is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, where she has overseen content and testing related to kitchen and cooking appliances, tools and gear since 2019. She’s an experienced product tester and recipe creator, trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition. She has worked in test kitchens for small kitchen appliance brands and national magazines, including Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal.
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