How to Pick the Perfect Kitchen Knife

Reviews.com for Á la Carte Alabama

With the holiday cooking season here, kitchen pros and amateurs alike will be tackling carving, cutting and slicing a variety of dishes. And that means having the right knife for the job. But how do you find the perfect knife for you and your needs. Reviews.com has some helpful information if you're in the market for yourself or for that special chef in your life.

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Finding the best chef knife for you

From young and inexperienced hands to those of a master culinarian, familiarity with knives and knife skills is an essential in the kitchen. The knife works as an extension of the arm and often plays a role in virtually every step of the cooking process from prep to plating. Kitchen knives are often referred to as chef knifes because, like a master chef, they’re great at a wide variety of tasks from bulk prep to delicate slicing.

Overall, it’s important to understand that there is truly no one knife that is the “best” for everyone, though there are certain criteria that can be used to narrow one’s options. The team at Reviews.com recently released a guide to finding a great chef knife that serves as an overview of knife basics and a knife’s role in the kitchen.

Knife basics

The first step to finding a great knife is to get comfortable with the anatomy and terms for the different parts of the knife. This may be old hat to master chefs, but it’s still an important factor for those who use the kitchen recreationally.

These key terms may help familiarize you with the different parts of the knife and make shopping an easier process overall:

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  • Butt: back end of your handle.
  • Heel: back end of the blade, closest to your fingers.
  • Tip: front half of the blade. Not to be confused with the point.
  • Point: the pointy bit at the end of the knife.
  • Edge: sharp side of the blade. Be careful.
  • Spine: top of the blade (not sharp)
  • Tang: steel that extends past your knife blade and into the handle
  • Bolster: the thick band of steel between the knife handle and the knife heel. 
  • Granton Edge: the dimples on the blade to keep food from sticking to it

Finding what’s best for you

When shopping for a knife, prepare yourself for many models that will perform very well. Knives, by definition, come out of the box sharp and ready to cut, so paying attention to the smaller details that set them apart will help you use process-of-elimination to find a great model for you.

Price: The amount you spend on a knife depends heavily on a variety of personal details: how often do you plan to use it? Are you a professional chef or a recreational cook? Are you still mastering skills and wanting to hold off on a large investment until you’ve got them under your belt? Fortunately, there are great options at a variety of price points, but note that lower-priced options may not hold onto an edge as long as a high-end knife.

Weight: As is the theme with kitchen tools, there’s simply no weight that’s best for everyone, so it’s best to hand-test your options as best you can. Knives should be maneuverable enough to chop smaller ingredients like herbs, peel fruits and vegetables, and offer a clean cut for each. This perfect weight depends on the size and strength of your hands and arms, so try a few out to get a good idea of a range that’s best for you.

Length: You’ll find a huge variety in knife lengths that are available for purchase. For a multitasking chef knife, aim for an 8” model, which will be large enough to tackle most kitchen jobs yet small enough to maneuver for delicate movements. Smaller and larger knives most certainly have their place in the kitchen and are essential in professional environments, but a chef knife length is a great place to start.

To take a look at the full article and to see which models Reviews.com recommends, you can take a look here: https://www.reviews.com/chef-knife/

Reviews.com researches products and services to provide consumers with unbiased advice and guidance. Its in-house research team spends hours scouring existing research and hand testing its topics to help consumers avoid the trial-and-error process and find what's best for them.