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The chef’s knife is one of the few items that people agree is essential for any kitchen. It’s the workhorse of the cutting tools, and can be used for slicing or chopping vegetables, bashing cloves of garlic, dicing onions, mincing herbs, and even for slicing meat.
01 of 08
Best Overall: Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Hollow-Ground Cook's Knife
This knife is a true kitchen workhorse that you’ll reach for every day. The Granton edge on the 8-inch blade helps keep food from sticking to the blade as you chop, slice, and dice. The blade forged rather than stamped, for better durability and a comfortable weight, and the knife has a full tang with a triple-riveted handle for security and a classic look.
The knife is made in Germany and has a synthetic handle that can stand up to kitchen abuse while providing a good balance when cutting. The full tang keeps fingers away from the blade and helps promote a proper pinch grip when cutting, for more efficient and safer use every time.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Farberware 6-Inch Chef’s Knife with Self-Sharpening Sheath
This knife is inexpensive to buy and inexpensive to maintain, since a sharpener is built into the sheath. Every time the knife is inserted or removed, the blade sweeps against the sharpener to hone it and keep it sharp without the need for a separate sharpener.
The six-inch blade is great for people who have smaller hands, and it’s also great for tiny kitchens. Since it comes with a sturdy sheath, you can safely store this in a kitchen drawer or toss it into a picnic basket without worrying about finding the blade instead of the handle.
With an affordable price point and lack of maintenance needed, this is also a great knife for a vacation cottage or RV, or for taking along to potlucks or parties where you want to slice the food onsite.
03 of 08
Best 6-Inch: Mercer Culinary Genesis 6 Inch Chef's Knife
This chef’s knife has a 6-inch blade, so it’s easier to use for people with small hands, or for those who simply prefer the shorter length. It’s also great from tiny kitchens where counters and cutting board are similarly small.
The handle on this knife is made from Santoprene, so it’s NSF safe for commercial kitchens and easy to keep clean. The Santoprene material also provides a firm, non-slip grip, no matter if your hands are wet or dry, so it’s great for working with wet foods that you’ve just washed. It is also unaffected by heat, cold, or food oils, so it won’t crack, get sticky, or degrade over time.
The blade is made from German high-carbon steel that resists corrosion and is forged rather than stamped. The edge is taper ground so it can be easily honed and it will maintain a sharp edge for a longer time.
04 of 08
Best Under $100: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife
If the Victorinox name seems familiar, perhaps it’s because they’re the manufacturers of the very popular Swiss Army knives. Like those knives, this one is made in Switzerland.
The 8-inch blade on this knife is made from high-carbon stainless steel that will maintain its super-sharp edge. The blade is straight with a gently curved tip that encourages a rocking motion, so it’s also great for slicing meats.
The handle is made from the proprietary Fibrox material that is textured to provide a nonslip grip. It's placed so you won’t hit your knuckles on the cutting board, even if your hands are large, and it’s designed to provide a comfortable ergonomic feel for most users.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best All Metal: Global G-2 8-Inch Chef's Knife
Unlike knives that have an attached handle, this entire knife is made from stainless steel, with no joints, rivets, or corners where food could accumulate. To provide a better grip, the handle has dimples that create a textured surface.
The knife is designed to be lightweight (despite being made entirely from metal), so it’s not fatiguing to use. Made from molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel, the blade is razor sharp and will retain its edge. This knife comes with a lifetime warranty against breakage.
06 of 08
Best Set: Wüsthof Three Piece Cook’s Set
When you’re setting up a new kitchen, you can't go wrong with this set, since it includes the three knives that are most essential in every kitchen. The 3 1/2 inch paring knife is great for peeling vegetables or cutting small foods like limes or lemons. The 6-inch utility knife is the one you’ll reach for when you’re slicing sandwiches, meats, or vegetables, and as a backup when the chef’s knife is being used by someone else. While it’s not as long as a standard slicing knife, the straight edge is ideal for slicing roasts.
The 8-inch chef’s knife is the workhorse of this set, with a curved blade that promotes a rocking motion when cutting. It’s great for chopping, dicing, smashing garlic cloves, and slicing larger cuts of meat.
All three of these knives have forged blades made from high carbon steel, and they are hand-honed for perfect sharpness. The handles are made from a composite material with a traditional shape that will be familiar to anyone, and they are triple-riveted for security.
While these are dishwasher safe, they’re just as easy (and possibly safer) to wash by hand. For gifting, these three knives come in a box, so they’re easy to wrap or safely tuck into a gift bag.
07 of 08
Best Ceramic: Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 7-inch Chef's Knife
Ceramic blades are becoming increasingly popular, and they’re being made better than ever before. While ceramic blades can shatter or break when dropped, they’re completely resistant to acids, salts, or oils, and they’ll never rust or corrode.
The 7-inch black blade on this knife looks professional (and a little exotic), and it’s precision ground by the manufacturer for a super-hard and extremely sharp edge. To keep that edge, the knife can be sent back to the manufacturer for resharpening. For home maintenance, the Kyocera electric knife sharpener for ceramic blades is recommended.
Since ceramics are lighter than metal and the handle is designed to be ergonomic, this is great for people who fatigue easily.
08 of 08
Best Custom Engraved: J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
This is truly a global knife, The metal comes from Germany, the knife is assembled in Spain, and it can be custom-engraved by an authorized Henckels dealer (which makes the perfect gift).
The 8-inch blade is forged for durability and substantial weight, with a full bolster for a safe, secure grip. The blade has a satin finish rather than a polished one, so it won’t show the inevitable cooking scratches as easily. The blade is made from a stain-resistant carbon steel with a full tang, and the handle is triple-riveted for security and a classic look.
The blade can be engraved in three different places, so you can customize it for a wedding, birthday, promotion, or any other event. The same knife is also available without engraving at a lower cost.