As any chef will tell you, the right kitchen knives make a world of difference. And while there are dozens of knife types to choose from (serrated, santoku, chefs, cleavers—to name a few), all kitchen knives can be divided into two categories: sharp and dull.
For anyone who cooks, the right set of knives is essential to preparing food, whether you’re a home cook or a pro at a fine-dining restaurant. So, which is the sharpest kitchen knife ever?
We’ve scoured the globe to find the world’s sharpest, most durable knives to give you the edge in any kitchen.
How to choose the best chef’s knife for you
When it comes to chef’s knives, there are two main categories to choose from: German knives and Japanese knives. They’re not as dissimilar as one may think (and many knives actually combine aspects of both styles!), but here are the key points of differentiation worth noting:
- German knives: Heavy and thick, especially at the bolster (where the blade meets the handle), German knives can be used for everything from mincing garlic to cutting through chicken bones. They have thicker blades that tend to be curved to facilitate rocking and are made from softer steel, so you’ll need to sharpen frequently.
- Japanese knives: Lightweight and razor-sharp, western-style Japanese knives tend to have a thinner blade and straighter edge than their German counterparts, making them ideal for precise tasks like cleanly slicing cucumbers or tuna. And because they’re crafted from the harder steel, they can typically go longer between sharpenings but may be prone to chipping or cracking.
What to consider when shopping for a chef’s knife
When shopping for the best chef’s knife, it’s important to hold them and get a feel for them if you can. At the end of the day, finding your go-to chef’s knife is largely based on personal preference. What might feel perfectly balanced to one cook may feel heavy to another. Here’s what to consider:
Handle: The first thing you’ll likely notice is the different handles and how they attach to the blade. Some are made of wood/wood composites, some of the plastic, and some of the metal. The type of material affects the weight of the knife, the feel of it, as well as the price.
Tang: Some knives also have a full tang, which means the blade runs through the handle and helps balance it.
Bolster: How the blade flows into the handle, aka the bolster, is another point of differentiation. Some are angled, while others are straight. We found that angled bolsters allow for a more protected grip, better for novices, while straight bolsters allow for a more controlled grip for chefs who like to pinch the heel of the blade.
Our best words of advice: Look for a knife that feels like an extension of your hand and keep it sharp.
Stainless Steel vs. High-Carbon Stainless Steel vs. Carbon Steel
All of the knives I recommend are stainless steel or as current marketers love to declare, “high-carbon stainless steel.” Is there a difference? Not much. All steel has carbon and all stainless steels have very similar amounts of carbon that might vary only by .5 percent.
There’s not a dramatic difference (as far as the carbon’s concerned) between stainless steel and high-carbon stainless steel. . .it’s more in the name.
On the other hand. . .there is a huge difference between “high-carbon stainless steel” and just plain “carbon steel.” Carbon steel lacks a healthy dose of chromium (10.5 to 30%)—which is the element that allows stainless steel to resist corrosion.
Thus, carbon steel can rust pretty darn easily while stainless cannot. On the other, hand. . .high-caliber carbon steel can take a finer/sharper edge and hold it for a longer time than most stainless steel.
18 Best Kitchen Knives of 2021 According to Top Chefs
Cutting ingredients with a lackluster knife is not only difficult, but it’s also dangerous. As any professional chef will tell you, a blunt, slippery blade is more likely to send you to A&E than a sharp one.
What’s more, watching a grown man tackle a tomato with a dull knife is a truly pitiful sight. For the sake of your physical and mental wellbeing, as well as your reputation, it’s time to invest in a quality set.
That’s why we asked top chefs, restaurateurs, and food stylists for their buying recommendations, from easy-to-wield Japanese knives to razor-sharp paring blades, forged by the best brands around.
While there are some pretty pricey options in there, worthy of a true grandmaster, there are also budget choices that will last you a long time.
Our experts have also offered some maintenance and chopping advice too, to ensure that your new tools live to prep another meal.
On that note, even the most expensive knives on this list will dull if you don’t treat them with the respect they deserve.
All things being correct, you should be able to seamlessly slice through a piece of paper and leave not a single scrunch or tear. That means no slamming it against a chopping board (throw that marble one away while you’re at it), or sweeping ingredients off with the sharp side of the blade.
That means maintaining it regularly with a rod or whetstones (some chefs even suggest doing so every time you use it).
Learning to sharpen a knife is awkward and somewhat anxiety-inducing at first, but before long it’ll just become part of the ritual.
Many of these products are crafted by independent bladesmiths, and so can go out of stock regularly. To help, we’ve provided alternatives.
1. Adejoké ‘Joké’ Bakare, Chef-Owner of Chishuru, Brixton Village
“My favorite knife to use is The Tog Santoku knives. They are British-made Japanese knives and I was introduced to them when I was still staging in restaurants.
I loved (and still do!) how they handle and they are so versatile, you can really use it with anything be that meat, fish, or vegetable prep.
It also reminds me of when I was first starting and how far I have come with my cooking.”
Santoku三徳ナイフMultipurpose knife, £190
Alternative: Tsuki Series 7 Santoku Knife 18cm
2. Chris Gillard, Head Chef at Rondo at The Hoxton, Holborn
“I have some lovely Japanese knives, which hold a great edge for clean slicing of vegetables and fish. For butchery, however, I have an old faithful boning knife, which I’ve been using for twenty years, from Gustav Emil Ern. German steel isn’t as hard so is less likely to chip against bone.
The Gustav also has just the right flex for my liking, which is relatively firm for a boning knife.
This allows me to work with the accuracy and speed I need – important, as there never seems to be enough time in the kitchen.”
Gustav Emil Ern Boning Knife 15cm, £37.99
Alternative: Victorinox Fibrox Boning Knife
3. Brodie Meah, co-founder of Top Cuvée, Highbury
“Opinel makes great knives for working front of house and their bread knife is cool. It means you can perfectly slice your homemade sourdough ready to be slathered with real butter and enjoyed with a glass of natural wine.”
N°116 Bread knife Parallèle, €26
Alternative: Dick 1905 Fully Forged Bread Knife
4. Tom Brown, Chef/Owner at Cornerstone, Hackney
“Tayayuki knives are Japanese and make working with fish like I do every day an absolute dream. Whether it’s filleting or chopping it preserves the integrity and texture of whatever it is I’m handling.
I buy them from Sushi Sushi online – a retailer who works directly with Japanese artisans for products, like soy and chili sauce, and cooking equipment to make sure these arts we use in our everyday kitchens are never lost.
The putty knife is a good starter knife and is a small investment for a big reward.”
Sakai Takayuki Tus Petty knife 120mm, £79.99
Alternative: Tsuki Series 7 Paring Knife 9cm
5. Glen Burrows, co-founder of the Ethical Butcher
“As our name suggests, ethics and sustainability are paramount to us. When looking at knives, craftsmanship, the use of ethically sourced, high-quality materials, and longevity are key.
For these reasons, we use Savernake Knives as the product’s strength can keep up with our levels of use and the knives can take on a variety of cuts of meat. We also love their passion for design, something that is also very important to us.
Being able to create a bespoke knife to suit our individual needs is not only a brilliant way to unleash creativity but it’s also meant that we have the exact knife that we need.”
The Raven’s Claw, £300
Alternative: Global G 48 Santoku Fluted Knife 18cm
6. Sabrina Ghayour, chef and cookery writer
“IO Shen Knives: I use all their knives but recommend the Santoku or Chef’s knife. They have nice weighty handles which steady your cutting action and provide more precision.
The Santoku is especially good for hard vegetables but they all work really well with meat and vegetables. Can’t live without them, they are fantastic knives.”
I O Shen Chefs Knife 24cm, £109.95
Alternative: Deglon Sabatier Santoku Knife 18cm
7. James Cochran, Chef/Owner of 12:51 and Around the Cluck Delivery service
“For the conscious cook like me, Clement Knives are my pick. The reason why is they transform metal and plastic waste into knives and the pure craftsmanship and attention to detail is like no other.
Whilst they work a whizz in the kitchen too, there are great options if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint too.”
149mm Nakiri, £203
Alternative: Dick Red Spirit Chinese Chopper
8. Matt Bishop, Head Chef at Roast, Borough Market, Borough
“My favorite knives are Japanese. They’re unbeatable when it comes to carving. They may seem like a lot of work to maintain and care for when you first start using them, but the results they yield are far superior.
I sharpen mine most nights for a few minutes and then will give them a little top-up on diamond steel before using them.
If you’re going to splash out on a decent knife, make it a proper chef’s knife. Mine is my all-around best friend – reliable and there to count on when I need it!
The shape and weight mean it’s perfectly suited to prep: chopping herbs, slicing raw meat, chopping veg, and preparing fruit.”
Takayuki Traditional Deba, £129
Roast, Borough Market
Alternative: Global G 3 Carving Knife
9. Alex Claridge, Chef founder of The Wilderness, Birmingham
“My everyday knives are Mac professional and Shun – proper workhorse knives that sharpen well but don’t cost the earth. When choosing a knife for home don’t be seduced by the ‘package’ block of five you’ll never use – the home kitchen needs just a few knives kept sharp.
Invest in a good chef knife, paring knife, and filleting knife and you’re good to go. Knives need love and attention, so invest in a knife sharpener or – if you’re the ambitious home cook – a set of whetstones.
Remember, you’re more likely to end up in A&E with blunt knives than a sharp, well-maintained blade. For something more serious, I’m inappropriately in love with Joel Black Knives.”
Kai Shun Premier Santoku knife (18cm), £169
The Wilderness, Birmingham
Alternative: Dick 1905 Fully Forged Chef Knife
10. Kostas Papathanassio, Executive Chef, 5 Social, Mayfair
“My team of chefs mainly uses Japanese knives. The only issue with them is that they are easily damaged, therefore it’s important to look after them well.
I also believe that it’s not always about the knife, it’s about the way you use it – good knife skills are a must!
Make sure, for example, you’re not using a knife that’s too big for the job. For someone inexperienced, a big, sharp knife can be dangerous!”
Tsuki 5 Piece Series 7 Knife Set and Wallet, £263.68
5 Social, Mayfair
Alternative: Tsuki Series 7 Three Piece Set
11. Luke French, Chef-Owner, Jöro Sheffield
“My favorite knives are custom hand forged from carbon steel by Simon Maillet – a French Knifemaker based in Sheffield.
Knives are our number 1 tool as chefs so using the very best is paramount to me. Simple, efficient, durable, and modestly beautiful.
Extremely sharp blades, very comfortable to handle, and a brilliant weight make for effortless cutting capabilities in the kitchens allowing me to work faster, cleaner and sharper.
“Simon makes the handles bespoke from sustainably sourced woodlands to the feel you’d prefer and also make a ‘Saya’ (wooden blade cover) for all of his knives to keep the blades sharp when not in use and ensure safety when traveling with them.
They are forge stamped with his signature for approval as he is responsible for them and will maintain aftercare for your blades should you want or need it.
True craftsmanship at its very best in the field. I have worked with Simon on some new designs over the last couple of years which pushed us both creatively to produce something that hadn’t really been done before.”
12. Shaun Rankin, Chef, Grantley Hall, Yorkshire, and Ormer Mayfair
“I have used many knives over the years, but the ones I go back to are the Wolf Gourmet Range.
The high-quality steel makes them strong enough to cope with anything from tough vegetables to meat and they are easy to keep sharp.”
6 Piece Knife Set, £849.95
Alternative: Deglon Sabatier 7 Piece Knife Set and Wallet
13. Rosemary Shrager, professional chef and TV host
“I love my Zwilling East-West knife. I use it all the time, it’s good for chopping and slicing, also because of its wide flat side it replicates more of a cleaver, so you can move the chopped food easily into a pan.
I also find the balanced weight really good, which is very important. My advice to anybody buying an expensive knife is to take something to cut in the shop and try the weight and balance.”
Zwilling Professional S Chefs Knife 15cm, £89.98
Alternative: Zwilling Professional S Santoku Knife 18cm
14. Elizabeth Haigh, Chef/Owner of Mei Mei, Borough Market
“I love the versatility of a Blenheim forge petty knife. It’s light and easy to handle – a kitchen essential.”
Alternative: Tsuki Series 7 Utility Knife
15. Paul A. Young, chocolatier, TV chef, pâtissier, and chocolate stylist
“My go-to knife is my Global G-80 cook’s knife. I’ve had Global knives for 20 years and love their perfect balance. There are no joins so it’s super easy.
It’s great for general food prep and excellent for chopping chocolate and for cutting brownies into perfect clean-sided squares.
Never put them in the dishwasher as the chemicals are too harsh and the blade can get damaged.
Wash and dry them immediately after cutting anything acidic and sharpen with a whetstone once a week if using the knife regularly.”
Global Knives G-80 Fluted Santoku Knife with 18cm Blade, £92.47
Alternative: Zwilling Professional S Chefs Knife
16. Tom Aikens, Chef Founder of Muse by Tom Aikens, Belgravia
“My favourite knives are by MAC, Wüsthof, Shun and Zwilling JA Henckels.
In London, the best place to buy a knife is The Japanese Knife Company shop on Baker Street – it’s brilliant – but if you’re looking for the real deal, it’s Japan itself! MAC does a good basic set (three pieces with a wrap to keep them in) for about £60 but you can splash out and get a very serious professional set for yourself as well.
Wüsthof & Henckels do a good one, but they are a bit dearer. If you’re after one decent knife, make it a paring knife – it’s a chef’s best friend.”
Wusthof 9 cm Paring Knife, £33.50
Muse by Tom Aikens, Belgravia
Alternative: Hygiplas Paring Knife White 7.5cm
17. Dean Edwards, MasterChef finalist 2006, TV chef, and author
“I use an 8” Flint & Flame chef’s knife for 90% of the jobs in the kitchen. For a home cook, I would suggest investing in one good quality knife and steel to keep it sharp.
Tips: keep your knife in a wrap and don’t just throw it in a drawer otherwise it will blunt easily.
If you totally lose the edge on your blade take it to your local butcher and ask them to grind it back to a razor-sharp edge. Most accidents happen with blunt knives.”
Flint & Flame 8″ Chef Knife, £130
Alternative: Tsuki Series 7 Santoku Knife
18. Shaun Presland, Executive Chef at Pacific
“I use only 2 brands of Japanese knives – ‘Aritsigu’ (hand-forged carbon steel; sashimi, fish filleting, and vegetable styles) along with ‘Nehoni – Nenox’ (stainless steel; petty, sujihiki and gyuto styles).
My knives are all beveled on one edge (similar to a chisel) as I find this gives more control of the blade and polishes the flat surface of what I’m slicing.
I particularly like the way that Japanese knives treat the food they cut: the balance in the arm, the steel quality and durability, and the idea that there may be a bit of someone’s pride in the knife that is passed on to me.
I’ve been buying my Aritsigu knives from the same knife maker in Tokyo since 1996.
Choose a knife that feels comfortable in your hand and is well balanced – the knife is an extension of your arm, much like a golfer choosing a club.”
Nenohi Nenox Wa-Kiritsuke, around £375
The P600: “World’s Sharpest” Professional Chef Grade Ceramic Knife Now Available In The Market
Don’t you just hate it when you want to cook something amazing and your kitchen knife is blunt?
Nothing is worse than a blunt knife ruining things when you’re trying to cook a delicious meal.
So what can you do about it?
Well you know how when a professional chef carves meat or slices vegetables, his knife seems to just glide right through them like butter?
He just makes it look totally effortless, right?
Now imagine that knife is even sharper and even easier to use… And it’s in your kitchen.
That’s what you get with the Chef’s Foundry P600 Ceramic Chef’s Knife.
It’s a new professional-grade, an ultra-sharp ceramic knife that the pros kept for themselves up until now.
What makes the P600 blades the sharpest?
The secret is the zirconium ceramic blades which are 10 times harder than steel. That’s right, 10 times harder than steel.
Cut diamonds are the only thing known to man that is harder than ceramic.
In fact, diamonds are actually used in the manufacturing process to sharpen the P600 blade.
Due to its sharpness, the Chef’s Foundry P600 ceramic blade makes slicing way easier.
It will let you make more precise cuts.
And wafer-thin slices to make you look incredible in the kitchen.
People will be asking if you’ve been taking lessons from Bobby Flay or Mario Batali!
How does the P600 save time in the kitchen?
The truth is, most people underestimate how much time an ultra-sharp knife is going to save them in the kitchen.
It has been shown to shave countless precious minutes off professional chefs’ meal prep time.
We all know that cooking your own food from scratch is a must for good health in your later years.
So it’s more important than ever to have an ultra-sharp knife in your arsenal so that cooking is a pleasure, not a chore.
The Chef’s Foundry P600 Ceramic Chef’s Knife is the sharpest knife money can buy.
Its razor-sharp, ultra-durable blade is prized by professional cooks all around the world…
And now it’s been made available to the public.