A simple guide on how to choose the right knife

Ready to buy your first quality knife for the kitchen? As you may know, there are so many kinds of knives out there, and it might get confusing when trying to choose just one. But don’t worry! We’re here to guide you so that you make the perfect purchase.

1. Purpose

This is the obvious one. There are many, many kinds of knives that adapt to each use, and that is why chefs and cooks often own a wide collection. If you’re looking for something more or less multi-purpose, you can just search for a chef knife. But bear in mind that there are specific types designed for:

  • Meat: steak knives, cleavers, brisket, boning, carving, slicing and butcher knives
  • Fish
  • Fruits and vegetables: cleavers, utility, paring and cutting knives
  • Bread
  • Cheese

So, make sure you know what you’re going to use your knife for, and compare it to the usages they can have. Once you’re clear on this, you will have narrowed down the search substantially.

2. Weight

Overall, heavier knives are best to cut meat or heavy vegetables such as a pumpkin, as the general complexion of the tool and the force of gravity will help you cut harder materials. However, it also means more effort every time you lift it, and while this may seem like of little importance, try using it continuously for a while and you will definitely notice it can become uncomfortable.

Conversely, the thinner and lighter ones are going to be ideal for most fruits and veggies, but most of them will require a lot more effort from you if you want to use them for meat or even bread.

As a rule of thumb, apart from the food you are going to cut with it, the result should be a minimum effort on your part, balancing the strength needed to lift it and hold it, and the strength needed to make the cut.

3. Size

Thinner blades are more maneuverable, while wider ones give you more stability. A longer knife will be able to cut bigger pieces of food in general, but again, it will be less stable than shorter ones. So, pay special attention to how firm the knife feels; apart from this, stability will also give you cleaner cuts. And, of course, check that the handle size is comfortable on your hand.

4. Balance

This is something you have to test and focus on when you’re trying out options. At times, knives, as do other tools, can feel too heavy on the handle or too heavy on the tip. When you hold it, and while you move it, make sure that you feel a comfortable weight balance.

5. Overall style

At this point, we are left with the different styles, which will allow you to pick just the right knife according to your preference. There are basically two styles out there: German and Japanese. While Japanese, due to their composition, tend to need sharpening more often, they are also chosen by a wide number of chefs and cooks because they have a thinner blade without making them excessively light.

As we said earlier, many people choose a multi-purpose knife to begin their collection. Among popular ones, you can count on a Shun classic chef knife to be the one that, to most users, feels incredibly comfortable. Santokus are also a great option. And if you want to go German, Zwilling Pro are the most famous ones.