The best chef’s knife of 2020
When you're slicing and dicing in the kitchen, you need high-quality knives to get the job done, and few are as versatile as a chef's knife.
Chef knives feature a large, wide blade that's sharp enough to handle a variety of kitchen tasks. They can slice, dice, and chop vegetables, but they also work well for cutting meat and can even get through some bones to take apart larger cuts.
There are few cooking prep jobs that a chef's knife can't tackle. To help you find the best chef's knife for your kitchen, we've taken another look at the options and trends and have included a new entry on our list as well as two of our long-standing favorites that are worthy of your consideration.
Best chef's knives of 2020
Our short list of favorite chef's knives are all full-tang models made of hard, durable steel. Take a look through the article for a deeper analysis of each model.
1. Shun's Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
An extremely sharp, well-made knife that boasts a lifetime warranty and customer service that's a notch above. It's been a favorite of ours for years.
2. Victorinox's Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife
Designed in Switzerland, this versatile top-rated knife has been on our list before for its exceptional performance at an affordable price point.
3. J.A. Henckels International's Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
New entry to our list, this is an impressive knife from a well-known brand with a reputation for high quality.
What you need to know before buying a chef's knife
When you're shopping for a chef's knife, the first question to ask yourself is whether it's a forged or stamped model. Forged knives are constructed from a piece of metal that's heated and pounded to create its desired shape. They are usually thicker and heavier and hold their edge well. Stamped knives, on the other hand, are punched from a sheet of metal and sharpened. While forged knives are generally higher quality, you can still find some impressive stamped knives.
You have your pick of a few different types of steel for a chef's knife. Stainless steel is the most affordable, sharpens easily, and doesn't rust or stain. However, it doesn't keep its edge as well as other options. Carbon steel holds its edge very well and is easy to sharpen, but it can discolor and rust over time and is pricier than stainless steel. High-carbon stainless steel is more expensive still, though it doesn't rust or stain and maintains its edge very well.
Don't overlook the importance of a chef knife's handle material. Wood usually has the best feel in hand, but it's not as durable as other options and can harbor bacteria. Plastic is lightweight and easy to clean, though it can crack and split pretty easily. You can also find knives with handles made of laminate, which is a wood/plastic composite. It resembles wood but lasts longer and doesn't require as much maintenance.
After the construction and materials, the most crucial feature of a chef's knife is its tang. The tang refers to the section of the knife that fits into the handle. A partial tang only extends halfway or three-quarters of the way into the handle. A full tang knife extends all the way through the handle, which offers a much more balanced feel in hand. It's usually more durable, too, because the blade isn't as likely to snap off the handle.
Depending on the type of construction and quality of the materials, you can pay between $12 and $200 for a chef's knife. Home cooks usually don't need high-end, luxury knives and can find an excellent model that costs between $30 and $60.
Q. Is it better to buy a chef's knife separately rather than as part of a set?
A. When you need several different types of knives, a set can be a cost-effective way to get a chef's knife, but if you only want a chef's knife, you can wind up paying for knives that you don't need. In most cases, a chef's knife purchased individually is usually higher quality than those bought as part of a set.
Q. How should I store a chef's knife?
A. For your knife to have a long life, proper storage is crucial. Don't store it in a drawer, where its blade can get dulled and possibly nicked. Instead, invest in a knife block or a magnetic knife holder. If you opt for a block, make sure to place the knife with the blade up to maintain its edge.
In-depth recommendations for best chef's knives
Best of the best: Shun's Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
What we like: Features a carbon steel core for added strength and durability, as well as 33 layers of Damascus steel. Includes tungsten for improved sharpness and chromium for corrosion resistance. Handle is made of a hardwood/resin composite, so it's easy to clean and highly durable.
What we dislike: Some buyers find the blade to be too thin.
Best bang for your buck: Victorinox's Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife
What we like: Made of high-quality high carbon stainless steel that's low maintenance and very sharp. Comes in at an extremely affordable price point considering its quality. Ergonomic handle.
What we dislike: Doesn't hold its edge as well as some buyers would hope.
What we like: Made of high carbon German steel. Features fully forged construction and a full tang handle for improved durability. Has a stable, balanced feeling in hand. Dishwasher-safe.
What we dislike: Some buyers complain the blade loses its edge easily.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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