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The Best Chef’s Knife for Every Type of Home Cook

Looking for the best chef's knife for your cooking style? Our Test Kitchen experts will point you in the right direction.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Tkp Chef Knife TestTMB Studio

Searching for the Best Chef’s Knife

When you start making dinner—whether it’s a quick weeknight supper or a special occasion entree—the first tool you reach for is a chef’s knife. For the easiest and most satisfying prep, you want the best chef’s knife in your knife block.

These tools are one of the essential knives you need at home. These sharp tapered knives are typically about eight inches long (though you’ll find larger and smaller ones on the market) and are great all-purpose tools for cutting everything from veggies to fruits to proteins. These knives’ slightly curved edge makes them ideal for rocking across the cutting board as you slice stalks of celery and the sharp tapered point allows you to do finer work like slicing tender tomatoes.

To help you on your quest for the best all-purpose knife for you, our Test Kitchen put ten popular and highly-rated knives to the test.

Cutting homemade pasta with chef's knifeTMB Studio

How We Picked Our Favorites

For this test, Senior Food Editor Peggy Woodward led the charge. Over the course of many weeks and many more meals, Peggy worked with ten different chef’s knives in her home. Each was put through a series of standardized tasks (breaking down a chicken, dicing veggies, slicing tomatoes and more) in addition to Peggy’s everyday cooking.

Each knife was judged according to these categories:

  • Material: There are so many types of knives out there including ones made of stainless steel, carbon steel and even ceramic. Some of these materials are more durable than others. Our Test Kitchen made sure to take note of the components of each knife.
  • Construction: Certain elements make for a quality knife. One of the most important features for a long-lasting chef’s knife is a full tang. The tang is the part of the knife that extends past the blade and into the handle. Especially sturdy knives (and ones that we’re happy to call Test Kitchen-Preferred) have a full tang for extra strength and durability. Other important construction features include comfortable grips and sharp blades.
  • Performance: How well does the knife cut, chop, slice, chiffonade and carve? The best chef’s knives should tackle all these tasks easily without a lot of drag or friction on the cutting board to slow you down.
  • Price: Our Test Kitchen kept all budgets in mind for this test, trying knives ranging from $30 to nearly $200. Our team knows that value for money is important when shopping for an essential kitchen tool like this.

In the end, six chef’s knives earned the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.

Wusthof Chef Knifevia merchant

Best Chef’s Knife to Splurge On

Wüsthof Classic Chef’s Knife

Do you really want to treat yourself to a top-notch knife? Our Test Kitchen recommends the Wüsthof Classic Chef’s Knife.

“This is a really classic chef knife,” says Peggy. That means it’s sturdy, perfectly tapered, hefty (without being weighty) and super sharp. That checks all the boxes on our best chef’s knife search.

In action, this knife is a dream to work with, per Peggy. “It’s comfortable and has good maneuverability.” With a good grip, you can deftly work your way around joints when carving Sunday’s roast chicken just as well as you can finely mince an onion.

This Wüsthof chef’s knife also glides super easily across the cutting board. That means you can really get into the groove when slicing up stalks of celery or carrots for homemade soups without encountering friction that’ll slow you down.

Also worth noting is that this chef’s knife is made of high-carbon stainless steel. That means the blade has the rust- and tarnish-resistant qualities of stainless steel and the durability of carbon that keeps knives sharper for longer.

Pros

  • Comfortable grip
  • Sturdy
  • Super sharp
  • Little friction or dag when slicing

Cons

  • Hefty price tag for casual cooks

Specs

  • Material: High carbon stainless steel
  • Price: $170

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Mercer Chefs Knifevia merchant

Best Budget Chef’s Knife

Mercer Culinary Renaissance Chef’s Knife

You can get a great all-purpose knife for around $50 and the Mercer Culinary Renaissance Chef’s Knife is proof.

This high carbon stainless steel knife is comfortable to hold while slicing and dicing. This knife does wonders when it comes to chopping veggies for a stir-fry and glides easily across the cutting board. Getting that just-right rocking motion while you mince garlic comes easily with this chef’s knife.

However, this knife isn’t ideal for finer kitchen prep. “It’s a bit large and cumbersome for angling through more intricate cuts,” says Peggy. For more delicate knife work, grab your paring or filet knife.

Overall, though, this Mercer Culinary chef’s knife is a great bet for folks looking for a great knife for less.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable grip

Cons

  • Too bulky for finer chopping

Specs

  • Material: High carbon stainless steel
  • Price: $53

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Misen Chefs Knifevia merchant

Best Lightweight Chef’s Knife

Misen Chef’s Knife

When you finally decide to trade in your old knives for professional-level tools, acclimating to weightier blades can be a challenge. But not with Misen. The Misen Chef’s Knife is wonderfully light but is still made with durable high carbon stainless steel.

Before even slicing, you can notice a difference in this knife. First off—it’s blue! “I love the color options,” says Peggy. Paired with the sleek, modern styling of this knife, Misen is a standout. And, per Peggy, “It’s lighter than German-style knives, but it doesn’t feel flimsy.”

Taking this knife for a spin in the kitchen, you won’t be disappointed. The fine, sharp blade glides easily through tomatoes, butternut squash, onions and apples. It also works well when cutting up a whole chicken.

When it comes to getting that flowing, rocking motion when dicing celery or mincing herbs, this chef’s knife definitely doesn’t glide as easily against the cutting board as other options, but it still cuts cleanly.

If you snag this Misen chef’s knife and love it as much as our editors, try the Misen kitchen shears as well.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Color—you can choose from a black, gray, dusty blue or tomato red grip
  • Nice price for a stylish piece of equipment

Cons

  • High friction against the cutting board

Specs

  • Material: High carbon stainless steel
  • Price: $75

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Zwilling Chefs Knifevia merchant

Best Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife

Zwilling Gourmet Chef’s Knife

Material matters when it comes to your knives. While many of our top picks are a blend of carbon and stainless steel, the Zwilling Gourmet Chef’s Knife is all stainless.

So what does this mean for you? A forged stainless steel knife like this is made from a single piece of metal that’s ground to a smooth taper with no bevels. This smooth finish makes cutting foods a dream. Stainless steel also won’t rust or discolor. Stainless steel knives like this Zwilling model do need to be sharpened more frequently than others, but they also last longer than their carbon steel counterparts. To keep a forged stainless steel knife like this ready to use, learn how to sharpen a knife the right way.

Now, when it comes to performance, Peggy says that Zwilling is one of her favorites. Even soft tomatoes were no match for this super sharp blade. Other veggies and fruits were also simple to slice—no resistance, no slipping, no problems at all.

Pros

  • Made of long-lasting stainless steel
  • Very little friction against the cutting board
  • Comfortable grip

Cons

  • Requires more sharpening than other knives

Specs

  • Material: Forged stainless steel
  • Price: $113

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Ja Henckels Chef Knifevia merchant

Most Comfortable Chef’s Knife

J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio Chef’s Knife

When you cook frequently, comfort is key; it’s why kitchen mats are so popular! Comfort should also be a consideration when shopping for knives. The J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio Chef’s Knife provides an exceedingly comfortable grip that allows you to slice and dice without needing to take a break.

The handle is rounded and the overall shape is arced which makes working with this knife a real pleasure. This chef’s knife also has a full bolster (that’s where the blade meets the handle) which makes getting a grip even easier. “The handle just feels so comfortable,” says Peggy.

With a great grip like this, even difficult tasks become simple. Slicing into an extra-firm butternut squash is no biggie, according to Peggy. When you have a good handle on the knife and you feel secure using it, prep work is a breeze. Even carving a turkey and chicken becomes near-effortless.

If there is one drawback with this knife, it’s the drag the blade has on cutting surfaces. It doesn’t glide quite as easily as other knives, but “the comfort of the knife, outweighs that drawback,” per Peggy.

Pros

  • Super comfortable ergonomic grip
  • Made of long-lasting stainless steel
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • High friction with cutting board

Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Price: $68

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Schmidt Brothers Chef Knifevia merchant

Most Innovative Chef’s Knife

Schmidt Brothers Heritage Chef Knife

You may think that all chef’s knives are basically the same, but Peggy encourages you to think again when you pick up a Schmidt Brothers Heritage Chef Knife.

Schmidt Brothers knives are all outfitted with the brand’s patented transitional bolster. That means you can get a firm grip on these knives while feeling comfortable and confident while dicing and mincing and all the rest. According to Peggy, this design feature makes holding the knife much safer and prevents it from slipping.

With a secure grip, breaking down produce and proteins is a breeze. Cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots and cucumbers are simple to slice—even fine slices of tomato, one of the trickiest veggies (or is it a fruit?) to slice are easy with this top-rated chef’s knife.

Pros

  • Curved bolster
  • Comfortable grip

Cons

Specs

  • Material: High carbon stainless steel
  • Price: $100

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Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products

Knives are just the tip of the testing iceberg! Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing kitchen gadgets, cleaning gear and delicious food, looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test-Kitchen Preferred.

If you’re looking to outfit your kitchen with a few new items, be sure to check out these tests:

Want more fun product picks and money-saving deals from our shopping experts and Test Kitchen? Sign up for the Stuff We Love newsletter.

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.