What are the best kitchen knives

Chef's knife comparison 2021

  • 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. Damascus 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: That 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, you can all work steps with just one knife take care of.

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 investing in a good chef's knife. In the course of this buying guide, we will explain how you can recognize a good chef's knife using our test and comparison table 2021. 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.

1. Why does a good chef's knife depend on the quality of the blade?

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 main advantages are 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.

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Above all else, a knife should do one thing: cut. So that it does 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 procedure is this Punching out the blade. The Blade blank punched out of sheet steel and then sanded.

Forged knives, however, are made by hand from a blade blank. Processing by hand favors the density ratio of the steel. The denser material is harder and can therefore be sharpenedwhile staying sharp longer than punched blades.

Note: For both sharpened and punched blades, the bevel should be as smooth, straight and even as possible in order to guarantee a clean cut.

1.2. Not all steel is alike, 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 give you a little help with your selection. And don't be surprised, it doesn't always have to be steel! Ceramic blades are enjoying increasing popularity.

  • consists mainly of iron
  • Carbon content in simple steel is less than 2%
  • simple steel is relatively inexpensive
stainless steel
  • is similar to simple steel
  • higher quality by adding steel finishing metals such as chrome
  • better corrosion resistance
Damask steel
  • very high quality steel with excellent cutting properties
  • is made by forging several types of steel
  • is considered to be particularly hard and sharp with simultaneous flexibility
Zirconia ceramic
  • is considered a modern high-tech material, which is also used in space travel
  • it is manufactured by combining ceramic with zirconium oxide under high pressure and high temperatures
  • very popular especially in Japanese cuisine due to its excellent cutting properties

Tip: One advantage of a ceramic blade is that it won't rust. Certainly an argument in favor of a ceramic knife.

1.3. The harder the blade, the sharper. But it should also be flexible

A sharp knife is worth its weight in gold, especially when cutting large pieces of meat, as it does not fray the meat when it is cut.

For a chef's knife that is as sharp as possible, you need a blade that is as hard as possible. Everyone from Stiftung Warentest to professional chefs agrees on this point. Hard blades made of damascus steel For example, the Kai Shun knives in our chef's knife comparison table can be sharpened extremely sharply. With simpler steel, however, you run the risk of it porous with increasing hardness becomes. But how do you determine the hardness of a blade?

The 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.

More about the Rockwell unit of measurement

The abbreviation HRC of the Rockwell unit stands for "Hardness Rockwell". The "C" indicates the scale on which the measurement process was carried out. There are eleven scales in total, but scale C is the most common. A cone is pressed into the material as a test body and the depth of penetration is measured. Depending on the starting material, the measurement can be carried out with other test specimens, which in turn are characterized by different scales. The “C” in scale C stands for the English word “cone”, since test method C is carried out with a diamond cone.

2. What other criteria, besides durable, hygienic and comfortable to hold, should you consider 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 that make a good grip have been highlighted. We tell you what to look out for.

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2.1. The connection between the blade and the handle should be reliable and hygienic

The blade of one Knife should be firmly attached to the handle be connected. 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 to connect are on the one hand Assembly using hollow rivetswith 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 in today's world. 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 materialwhich is also sustainable. However, different types of wood also have different characteristics.

Wood speciesproperties
Walnut wood
  • is considered to be noble hardwood
  • is tough and tough
  • medium to heavy wood
Olive wood
  • exceptionally hard wood
  • characterized by a warm color scheme
  • is considered to be resistant and particularly resilient
Pakka wood
  • is not a natural wood, but a combination of different types of wood
  • in the core mostly inferior wood species with a veneer layer made of high quality wood
  • usually ground, polished and impregnated

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 the 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 little further ahead here.

Of course, safety when cutting also plays an important role. To help prevent cuts, some brands offer one Hand protection at the front at the transition to the blade or on the back of the handle.

3. Are chef's knives suitable for cutting and chopping?

A chopping knife is a useful alternative for cutting herbs. Although a chef's knife can also be used to cut using weighing technology, 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 various fields of application in chef's knife tests. Not only are they very good for cutting, but also for chopping nuts or cutting herbs with the weighing technology.

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4. Why is it worth buying additional knives and a 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 available as well as 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 a aesthetic highlight in your kitchen.

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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 traditionally frequent 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 a cheap 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 also not listed here, but they are popular. WMF chef's knives and Zwilling chef's knives can be found online. You can also buy knives in individual supermarkets such as Aldi, Rewe or Edeka.

5. Why is cleaning by hand recommended for high-quality knives?

Chef's knives are professional knives. Anyone who spends a lot of money on a high-quality chef's knife should handle it accordingly. That means that the Special attention is paid to care and cleaning should be. But no worry! Chef's knives are very easy to clean and do not rust. All knives in the chef's knife comparison perform well to very well in this category.

High quality knives are Not suitable for dishwashers. The professional blades such as those from the damask Santoku knife should always be cleaned by hand. Only the ceramic knife from Kyocera is dishwasher-safe due to the material of the blade.

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Note: All of the chef's knives listed in the chef's knife comparison are rust-free.

6. In addition to storage and sharpening, what are the most important questions about chef's knives?

Knife blocks can dull the blades in the long run. A magnetic strip is the better choice at this point.

In the following, we will try to answer questions that you come across again and again when it comes to the subject of chef's knives.

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6.1. How should you store chef's knives?

High quality chef's knives should definitely not just in the drawer be placed with the cutlery. There is a high risk that the blade will wear out between other kitchen knives such as paring knives or bread knives. See your chef's knife as a professional knife. And a professional would take care of professional storage too.

The most common type of storage is certainly a Knife block made of wood. This usually offers space for your entire chef's knife set. Knife pockets to protect the blade are also common. A a more elegant variant is a magnetic strip, to which your knives can practically be attached.

Danger: Please note that a knife with a ceramic blade is logically not compatible with a magnetic strip and - if at all - is only held by the strip with a metal handle.

6.2. How often should you sharpen chef's knives?

There are no general formula for how often you should sharpen a chef's knife. This information depends largely on various factors. Above all, it depends on how often you use your chef's knife and what material it is made of.

For professional chefs who use their knives on a daily basis, it may be necessary to sharpen the knife after a few months. In average households enough, every two to three years sharpening the blade.

Tip: Also make sure that you choose a cutting mat that is as soft as possible. Hard cutting surfaces made of stone, glass or metal can quickly dull the blade. Hard blades such as Japanese chef's knives or Damascus chef's knives stay sharp longer.

Kai Shun Premier Tim Mälzer (TDM-1706)
Currently available for € 181.84
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Knife typeJapanese chef's knife
Country of originJapan
What material is the blade of this chef's knife made of?The blade of the KAI Shun Premier Tim Mälzer chef's knife is made of 32-layer corrosion-resistant Damascus steel.
Graewe Damascus Santoku knife
Currently available for € 62.78
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Knife typeJapanese chef's knife
Country of originGermany
How is the handle of the GRÄWE damask knife?The wine-red handle with ends made of stainless steel consists of different, uniquely drawn hardwoods.
Wüsthof chef's knife Classic (1040100120)
Customer favorite: the best-rated product in comparison on Amazon
Currently available for € 79.85
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Knife typeGerman chef's knife
Country of originGermany
Is the chef's knife "made in Germany"?Yes. The Classic chef's knife 1040100120 from Wüsthof is made in Germany and the blade is forged in Solingen.
Kyocera Gen Color Chef's Knife (FK-200WH-BK)
Currently available for € 71.19
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Knife typeGerman chef's knife
Country of originChina
"Does the Kyocera Gen Color chef's knife (FK-200WH-BK) with a ceramic blade offer any advantages over knives with a steel blade?""The ceramic blade of the Kyocera Gen Color chef's knife (FK-200WH-BK) is hard and flexible at the same time, does not secrete any metal ions and is unsurpassedly sharp, and can also be re-sharpened.

Which are the best chef's knives from our chef's knife test or comparison 2021?

Choose your personal chef's knife test winner from the following list:

  • 1st place - very good (comparison winner): Kai Shun Premier Tim Mälzer (TDM-1706) - from 181.84 euros
  • 2nd place - very good: SHAN ZU damask knife - from 89.99 euros
  • 3rd place - good: Wüsthof Classic Chef's Knife (1040100120) - from 79.85 euros
  • 4th place - good: KYOCERA - GEN Series - from 77.74 euros
  • 5th place - good: Klamer Premium Santoku Damascus Knife - from 79.99 euros
  • 6th place - good: Graewe Damascus Santoku knife - from 62.78 euros
  • 7th place - good: Kyocera Gen Color chef's knife (FK-200WH-BK) - from 71.19 euros
  • 8th place - good: F. Dick Kochmesser 1905 Series (81947152) - from 58.88 euros
  • 9th place - good: Wüsthof Chinese chef's knife (9282) - from 58.58 euros
  • 10th place - good: Widder Classic - from 21.99 euros
  • 11th place - good: PAUDIN chef's knife - from 26.99 euros
  • 12th place - good: SKY LIGHT kitchen knives - from 18.97 euros
  • 13th place - satisfactory: Imarku Professional 8 Inch Chef's Knife - from 30.99 euros
  • 14th place - satisfactory: WMF Chinese chef's knife - from 55.16 euros

The chef's knife comparison comprises a total of 14 chef's knives, of which the rating is divided as follows: 2 "very good" chef's knives, 10 "good" chef's knives and 2 chef's knives with the grade "satisfactory".

Two of the manufacturers presented in the chef's knife comparison can even show more than just one excellent product - both Wüsthof and Kyocera offer you a diverse selection of "very good" and "good" chef's knife models.

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How many manufacturers are compared in the chef's knife comparison?

In the chef's knife comparison, the editors compare 12 different manufacturers for you in order to offer you the best possible purchase advice. More precisely, the experts compared and rated models from KAI SHUN, SHAN ZU, Wüsthof, Kyocera, KLAMER, Graewe, F. Dick, Widder, PAUDIN, SKY LIGHT, Imarku or WMF. More information "

In which price range are the models from the chef's knife comparison or test?

The most expensive chef's knife from our chef's knife comparison currently costs 181.84 euros, for the cheapest chef's knife you only have to calculate 18.97 euros. More information under chef's knife test. More information "

Which chef's knife has the most customer reviews?

With 4133 reviews, the PAUDIN chef's knife received the most customer reviews on Amazon. However, the average best reviews received the Wüsthof Classic Chef's Knife (1040100120). More information "

How many of the 12 different manufacturers were rated "VERY GOOD"?

The "VERY GOOD" -rated models include:

  • Kai Shun Premier Tim Mälzer (TDM-1706)
  • SHAN ZU damask knife
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Which chef's knife models were compared or tested?

All in all, 14 different models of chef's knives were made, including:

  • WMF Chinese chef's knife
  • Imarku Professional 8 Inch Chef's Knife
  • SKY LIGHT kitchen knives
  • PAUDIN chef's knife
  • Aries Classic
  • Wüsthof Chinese chef's knife (9282)
  • F. Dick chef's knife 1905 Series (81947152)
  • Kyocera Gen Color Chef's Knife (FK-200WH-BK)
  • Graewe Damascus Santoku knife
  • Klamer Premium Santoku Damascus Knife
  • KYOCERA - GEN Series
  • Wüsthof chef's knife Classic (1040100120)
  • SHAN ZU damask knife
  • Kai Shun Premier Tim Mälzer (TDM-1706)
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What are customers looking for chef knives still looking for?

The most popular alternative term for chef's knife is Zwilling knife, followed by synonyms such as Sabatier knife and Sabatier Damast chef knife. More information "