This partial-tang knife is an absolute workhorse. You can slice through pounds and pounds of produce with ease, without needing to sharpen it up on the honing steel too quickly. Like the original Fibrox knife, the plastic handle leaves much to be desired, but its re-engineered design does feel slightly better in hand, reducing wrist and hand fatigue. Basically: Get this knife for your starter kitchen and upgrade once you’ve mastered all your basic chopping skills.
The Best Splurge-y Chef’s Knife: Steelport
Steelport is a new-to-the-scene knife brand from Eytan Zias, who has been operating one of the most prominent knife retailers—Portland, Oregon’s The Knife House—since 2007. The bladesmith, knife sharpener, and former chef is giving well-established knife brands a run for their money. The American-made chef’s knife is one of the sharpest we’ve ever tested, due to its high-carbon steel composition, and also because (according to the brand) the knife’s heat treatment makes the blade extra durable. In the past few years of testing this knife, we’ve yet to find any reason to not call this one of the best knives in the business. From details like the so-called sheepsfoot tip that helps with slicing and precision cuts to that beautiful locally-sourced maple wood handle, the Steelport knife is the kind of blade you gift to a chef who just graduated from Le Cordon Bleu.
The Best German-Style Knife: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature
Imagine your typical chef’s knife, and something like this slicer from one of the most recognizable brands in the game will come to mind. Zwilling, which has been making German knives for literal centuries, has a huge selection when it comes to kitchen knives—including all types of chef’s knives, as well as serrated knives, paring knives, and more—but we found the Twin Signature to be the most classic and utilitarian of the bunch. It’s stainless steel, so you don’t have to be as careful about it rusting (just remember that it’s not “stain-free” steel), and despite the metal’s notoriety for being not-super-sharp, we found that this knife has no problem cutting with ease. Yes, this blade will need some honing every now and then, but it’s by no means a knock against how well it performs in the kitchen. Another small detail we like is the way the handle tapers down into the blade, making for a comfortable hold.
The Best Japanese-Style Chef’s Knife: Akira-Saku Blue #2 Funayuki Gyutou
If you see someone using a Japanese-style chef’s knife, you better watch out—they’re probably a pro in the kitchen and you can learn a thing or two from checking out their knife skills. Chubo is a knife retailer based out of New York City, and its Akira Saku collection of knives are all hand-forged by Japan-based blacksmith Shoji Yoshida. The razor-thin blade is sharper-than-sharp, easily slicing through raw chicken, cooked steak, and every type of produce you can imagine. Being a partial-tang knife, the gyutou (just another name for a Japanese chef’s knife) is very lightweight, making hours of prep work feel like, well, light work. Beware of the carbon steel, because this knife is very quick to rust. Give it a few swipes with a towel in between knife work to reduce the time that there’s moisture on the blade.
The Best Lightweight Chef’s Knife: Hast
Hours upon hours of prep work will mean you don’t want to wield a heavy knife, which will lead to wrist strain and a very tired hand. Hast, which won a Red Dot Award in 2021 for its knife designs, makes one of the agile blades around. The single piece of steel is more than just a nice design feature—it also makes it more sanitary so that food bits don’t get caught in any crevices where the steel meets the handle. Despite its dainty looks, the knife is seriously sharp with a blade that slices like a lightsaber. The bolster, or where the end of the blade comes to meet the handle, is designed to encourage users to engage in a pinch grip, which is the most effective way to wield a knife for ergonomic use. For a premium, i.e. a $20 upcharge, you can grab the knife in glossy steel or titanium black.
The Best-Looking Chef Knife: Artisan Revere
When it comes to kitchen knives, looks should be the last thing that matters. But when it comes to Artisan Revere, looks are half of the fun of using these crazy-sharp, effective knives. Part of what makes this brand’s knives so good is its Elmax steel blade, which is sharp like carbon steel, durable like stainless steel, and just a damn pleasure to work with. When you hold the knife, it sort of feels like it was made just for you, and it’s a testament to the balance and design of the overall construction. You can also choose from four colors for the handles, which again, does nothing to help the knife’s performance, but will surely convince you to pick it up and make dinner tonight (sorry, GrubHub).