Best chef’s knives 2022: 8 top knives for home chefs

Pick up the best chef's knives for your kitchen with our reviews of top knives from Robert Welch, Stellar, Viners, and Our Place
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  • If there’s one knife you need in your kitchen, it’s one of the best chef’s knives. From chopping onions and carrots for a midweek meal, to carving meat and fish with expert precision, the best chef’s knife will be a versatile addition to your daily life.

    We’ve tried each and every one of the top picks in our best chef’s knives roundup, with top picks from Robert Welch, Our Place, Wusthof, Stellar, and Viners. Our reviews include our thoughts on how easy the knives were to use, how well they lasted over time, and the cleaning process.

    Check out the best saucepans for more cooking essentials

    It’s no secret that the safest knives are the sharp ones. These offer accuracy and prevent kitchen mishaps, but part of having the best chef’s knife is keeping it in top condition for day-to-day use. Read our full roundup to find Japanese santoku knives as well as paring knives and classic chef’s knives. These knives have ergonomic handles to balance any weightiness, and will not need too much maintenance if used correctly. For more options, take a look at our tried and tested best knife sets.

    How much do the best chef’s knives cost?

    If you opt for something seriously slick, the best chef’s knife can cost upwards of £100. That’s a lot, but then, it can make life so much easier. Of course, there are also some excellent chef’s knives available for under £20, or even under £10 if you know where to look (hint: we’ve found a great one).

    Keeping your knife sharp and well cleaned will extend its lifespan, whether you spend £6 or £60. Follow the cleaning instructions to make sure you get the best experience possible when using it. 

    Best chef’s knives 2022

    1. Wusthof Classic Cooks Knife 16cm

    Best chef’s knife overall

    best chef's knives

    Size: 20cm, 23cm, 26cm
    Reasons to buy: It’s incredibly durable
    Reasons to avoid: Keep scrolling for cheaper options

    Wusthöf have been making knives in Germany for more than 200 years, so they know a thing or two about what makes a good blade. The Classic range has a comfortingly traditional look and feel, featuring a riveted, full tang blade that’s precision formed from a single piece of steel with a Rockwell rating of 56.

    We opted to test the slightly smaller 16cm version, although they also do a standard 20cm, 23cm and a massive 26cm one. It proved to be a good choice for the smaller handed of our two testers as it fitted beautifully in the palm and the blade didn’t feel as weighty as some.

    As you’d expect, the sturdy handle and full tang mean it’s very durable and it coped as well with boned chicken thighs as it did with soft herbs such as mint and coriander. We feel it’s balanced, super-sharp knife that’s the perfect addition to any cook’s kit.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife

    Best chef’s knife for design

    our place chef knife

    Size: 20cm
    Reasons to buy: Guided grip, German steel
    Reasons to avoid: Storage sheath is fiddly

    Home of the Always Pan, one of the best non-stick frying pans on the market, Our Place is known for making stylish and practical products that you can use every single day. The Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife has a grooved handle that makes holding it feel very natural, and it’s a well-weighted knife.

    The knife comes with a black cover that we enjoyed re-using to store the knife loose in our drawers. The plastic handle is sturdy and unfussy, and you can choose from four colours when picking your knife, which is perfect for those who want a knife to match their existing cookware.

    As for the blade itself, it arrived incredibly sharp, and stays that way for a pretty long time before it needs to be sharpened. The full-tang blade (that means it runs down the handle too) is made from premium German steel, so the quality is pretty impressive for the price.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife, £65, fromourplace

    3. Stellar Taiku 16cm / 6.5″ Santoku Knife

    Best santoku knife 

    Size: 16cm
    Reasons to buy: It stays sharp
    Reasons to avoid: Heftier than other knives

    This Japanese-style santoku knife is great for chopping veggies, meat and fruit. It’s very versatile, and the 16cm blade is incredibly sharp.

    The handle is very comfortable to use and the knife feels sturdy and reliable to hold. It can also be washed in the dishwasher and is stain and rust-resistant. 

    With an ambidextrous design, it’s suitable for all users and feels balanced and lightweight to hold, weighing in at under 200g. 

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    4. Paudin Professional Chef’s Knife

    Best chef’s knife overall

    Paudin Professional Chef's Knife

    Size: 20cm
    Reasons to buy: Great value for money
    Reasons to avoid: The handle ages quickly

    An Amazon favourite, the Paudin Professional Chef’s Knife brings amazing value for money. It’s got a wooden handle that’s grippy and looks great, but we did have to wash carefully to prevent damaging the wood. The blade itself is excellent, made of German high carbon stainless steel.

    We were able to chop vegetables, cut meat and fish, and slice fruits with no difficulty whatsoever, and even after a few weeks of testing the blade didn’t sustain any damage or need sharpening.

    There’s no cover included with this knife, but it does come in a stylish box that could definitely double up to keep it safe when not in use.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    5. Viners Assure 8” Chef Knife

    Best chef’s knife for safety

    Size: 8 inches
    Reasons to buy: Non-stick surface means veggies slide clean off
    Reasons to avoid: Not suitable for scoring

    We haven’t got a bad word to say about the Viners Assure 8” Chef Knife. It’s amazingly affordable and genuinely high quality. The matte black handle is soft-feel and lovely to hold, and the non-stick coating means veggies and meat fall off the knife instead of sticking in place. 

    It stayed sharp for months and months after the initial testing and the black finish has not peeled or flaked. The block ending of the knife means there’s no sharp edge that could potentially catch your fingers while chopping. 

    This also makes it easy to store, because the knife can point down on a magnetic grip without fear that it would hurt anyone or catch any kitchen items if it were to fall. 

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    6. Füri Pro 20cm Cook’s knife

    Best for heavy-duty chopping

    Size: 20cm
    Reasons to buy: Pleasing and ergonomic to use
    Reasons to avoid: Hand wash recommended

    The all-in-one handle and blade design of this 20cm Australian-made Japanese steel knife had a pleasing aesthetic and made it feel larger than some of the other 20cm knives we tested. It also means there’s no potential dirt trap, which can sometimes exist between blade bolster and handle.

    It has a 20-degree bevelled edge, meaning it’s super sharp and while it certainly was great when finely slicing squishy tomatoes and avocado, it was also strong and long enough to make light work of larger, harder items such as butternut squash and celeriac.

    Furi advises that it is only sharpened with its own make of industrially crushed diamond-coated sharpener to ensure the blade stays at the optimum 20˚ angle.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    7. Robert Welch Signature Cook’s Knife

    Best high-end chef’s knife

    Size: 12m through to 25cm
    Reasons to buy: Great for fine slicing
    Reasons to avoid: A pricey option

    This full tang German steel cook’s knife with Japanese-style, hand-applied 15˚ edge comes in variety of blade lengths, from a petite 12cm to a large 25cm. We loved the gently curved shape of the blade and the angled bolster and the rounded handle felt comfortable and secure to hold.

    At 14cm long, this was the smallest of the chef’s knives we tried but it definitely held its own in terms of harder root vegetables such as swede and carrot, although if we were regularly chopping larger items such as butternut squash, we’d opt for a longer blade length.

    The blade was great for chopping foods very fine – potato for dauphinoise for instance – but still substantial enough to efficiently cut up large pieces of meat. A good-value, versatile knife.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    8. Judge Sabatier IC Paring Knife

    Best chef’s paring knife

    Size: 9cm
    Reasons to buy: Great for small tasks
    Reasons to avoid: Less versatile than larger knives

    From peeling fruit to slicing fine vegetables, this paring knife from Judge Sabatier delivered. It’s made of stainless steel and despite its small size it feels sturdy and satisfyingly weighty. 

    We enjoyed how easily this knife was able to slice through smaller objects like orange and sausages, and while it’s not the ideal chef’s knife for larger items like butternut squash or steak, it’s a good choice for having an appropriate knife on-hand for smaller tasks.

    You can place this knife in the dishwasher and it’s very easy to clean by hand. Sharpening is also straightforward and it stayed sharp for a very long time. 

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    How to buy the best chef’s knife for you

    Knives aren’t simply a blade and a handle. They have several elements, including the tip, belly (the curve of the blade), the butt and a bolster, which is the thicker part where the blade meets the handle. The bolster is key, as it’s used to balance the knife and is mostly seen on forged knives.

    Some knives also have a tang, which is the part of the blade that runs through the handle. A full tang runs through the whole of the handle to the butt (end) while a partial tang just runs some of the handle’s length. Tangs ensure the handle is well-balanced and strong, making it less likely to break if it’s put under pressure – cutting through bone for instance.

    What’s the best knife material?

    A forged steel knife is generally more expensive and is made from a single piece of steel that is then heated and hammered, either by hand or by machine, into shape. A stamped knife is created by cutting out the shape from a sheet of steel that is then treated and honed to ensure it is strong and long-lasting enough to use.

    A forged knife will be heavier with a thicker blade and usually a bolster and tang, and more durable. A stamped knife will have a thinner blade, great for delicate slicing and is more flexible so could bend when cutting tougher ingredients. Ice hardening is a manufacturing process where steel is exposed to temperatures below sub zero.

    This helps to increase the hardness while at the same time making it resilient enough to cope with even the toughest of kitchen conditions. Ceramic knives have a blade that’s harder and therefore more brittle than steel but that tends to stay sharper for longer. They’re also resistant to acids and rusting so great for fruit, vegetables and boneless meats.

    What is a Rockwell rating?

    best chef's knives

    Image credit: James Gardiner

    The Rockwell Hardness Scale (RHC) measures how much of a dent in metal with a measured amount of weight a diamond point will make – the smaller the mark, the harder the steel. The RHC rating of your knife is useful to know if you’re looking for an all-purpose, sturdy knife that won’t snap or chip under pressure.

    A general-use ‘softer’ steel knife can range from 54-56, while more professional style premium blades, from 58-64 at the upper end. The higher the rating, the thinner the blade can be forged, creating a finer, sharper cutting edge but there are trade-offs as knives this hard can be brittle, chip if misused and take longer to sharpen.

    As a general rule German blades tend to be on the lower end of the scale, while Japanese are on the higher.

    Why do people rate Japanese knives?

    Generally there are two things that separate Western and Japanese steel knives, blade hardness and shape. Japanese knives are harder and razor sharp, while German knives tend to have a lower RHC but they are easier to sharpen.

    Japanese santoku knives will have a straighter, scalloped edge to prevent things such as thinly sliced fish sticking to the blade, while German chef’s or cook’s knives will usually feature a smooth blade with a rounded belly which make them great when using a rocking, chopping motion.

    How to sharpen a knife with a sharpener

    chef's knives

    All knives are sharp when first bought but constant use will deaden the blade resulting in them becoming blunter over time. Regular sharpening will ensure your knife remains in tip-top condition.

    There are many methods of sharpening, from traditional whetstones to electric blade sharpeners. Whetstones or sharpening steels are great for a professional finish particularly on harder or Japanese knives, producing a perfectly angled cutting edge but they can be difficult for a beginner to achieve the perfect angle.

    Standard sharpeners are great for sharpening to the right angle without the guesswork and are suitable for most Western style blades but not good with scalloped Japanese style knives or ceramic knives. You’ll need a diamond dust coated sharpener to keep a ceramic blade in top condition. Finally, electronic models will give your blade an effort free edge but can be expensive.

    Never use a knife on a glass or ceramic chopping board – wood or plastic is best – as they will blunt the knife much sooner.

    Related: Best kettles

    Should I put my knife in the dishwasher?

    While some knives say they are dishwasher safe, most makers and chefs recommend you don’t put them in the dishwasher, particularly if they have wooden handles. Just wash by hand in warm, soapy water to ensure a clean, sharp edge for longer.

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