Best knives

11 Best Chef s Knives, According to Experts

This chef’s knife from direct-to-consumer company Misen is made of Japanese AUS-8 high-carbon stainless steel, which means it’s tough, durable and super sharp. Its blade is sharpened to 15 degrees — a sharper angle than traditional Western-style knives, which are typically sharpened to 25 degrees. It has an angled semi-bolster that encourages a proper pinch grip during use.

The Absolute Best Chef’s Knives, Based On Extensive Testing

The versatile chef’s knife is the MVP of any knife collection. Designed to handle the lion’s share of chopping, slicing and cutting tasks, the best chef’s knives excel at precise knife work and tougher cuts alike: They chop through hard winter squash, mince herbs with necessary delicacy and break down raw chickens with ease. After extensively testing 10 popular chef’s knives, during which I considered sharpness, versatility, comfort and price, I found the MAC Professional Series Chef’s Knife (MTH-80) to be the best option for most home chefs, as it easily tackled just about every culinary task it faced.

The best chef’s knives are kitchen workhorses, featuring super sharp blades and comfortable, secure . [+] handles.

Illustration: Forbes / Image: Retailers

More than one blade impressed me, though. Here are all the winning chef’s knives from my testing process:

  • Best Chef’s Knife Overall:MAC Professional Series Chef’s Knife (MTH-80)
  • Runner-Up:Global Classic Chef’s Knife (G-2)
  • Best Budget-Friendly Chef’s Knife:Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife
  • Best German-Style Chef’s Knife:Wüsthof Classic Ikon

When a chef’s knife feels like a true extension of your hand—easy to hold, control and maneuver—you’ll know you’ve found the right one for you. While I believe the MTH-80 to be the best option currently available, the sleek, all-steel Global Classic Chef’s Knife (G-2) was a close runner-up, performing every task just as well. However, its thin spine, bolsterless design and stainless steel handle aren’t for everyone. If you prefer heavier, German-style knives that shine during heavy-duty tasks, you can’t go wrong with the Wüsthof Classic Ikon. And for those seeking a more affordable pick, consider the Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife, which performed nearly as well as the other winning knives for a much lower price. Ahead, here’s what I loved about these knives.

Best Chef’s Knife Overall

The Best Sleek, Sharp, Versatile Chef’s Knife

MAC Professional Series 8-Inch Chef’s Knife (MTH-80)

Blade material: Molybdenum steel | Handle material: Pakkawood | Weight: 6.5 ounces | Style: Western-Japanese hybrid

Best for:

  • Home cooks seeking something between a Western-style and Japanese-style knife
  • Cooks who want a single knife they can use for almost anything
  • Cooks who don’t mind a little extra knife care in exchange for longer-lasting sharpness

Skip if:

  • You’re on a budget
  • You don’t want to commit to a light amount of special knife care (primarily rinsing and drying the knife immediately after cutting foods to minimize the risk of stains and/or rust)

The MTH-80 is MAC’s most popular everyday knife, and after testing it’s easy to see why. A hybrid of Western- and Japanese-style knives, the MTH-80 (often referred to as the MAC Mighty) is sturdy yet agile, the kind of knife you feel you can bend to your will before you even pick it up. Perhaps most importantly, it boasts an extremely sharp factory edge that makes it a pleasure to use right out of the box. For these reasons, it’s my pick for best chef’s knife overall. (Here’s my full review of the MAC MTH-80.)

The MAC MTH-80 yielded beautifully neat, precise diced onion.

Throughout testing, the knife excelled at slicing, dicing and chopping whatever I threw its way. It effortlessly julienned scallions and cut some of the neatest diced onions, and it was easy to maneuver around the curves of the baby watermelon rind. The thin blade also slipped through dense butternut squash with ease—it didn’t feel overly delicate or brittle like many Japanese-made carbon steel knives (though it’s still wise to use a high-quality wooden cutting board with this pick). What’s more, it remained comfortable to hold. Weighing in at 6.5 ounces, the MTH-80 is one of the lighter chef’s knives I tested, and I found I could put in lots of cutting time without any undue wrist or hand strain. The ergonomic resin pakkawood handle, featuring a slight curve at the end of the handle for your pinky to rest, adds to the knife’s overall grip.

Like the majority of the knives I tested, the MTH-80 features a partial or half-bolster, which allows you to sharpen the full length of the blade. More about the blade: It’s stamped, meaning the metal was cut out of a sheet of steel and extends all the way through the end of the handle. The blade also features dimples on both sides, which are intended to reduce how much food sticks to the knife. If you believe as much as I do that investing in a great, high-quality knife will make meal prep faster and cooking more enjoyable, the MAC MTH-80 is absolutely worth the investment.

Long-term testing notes: Over a year of regular use, this knife has proved again and again that it’s the best option out there. To start, it’s retained its sharp edge impressively long (I took it to be professionally sharpened after 11 months of relying on it as my main blade). Equally as important, it’s continued to be a joy to use. Thanks to its sturdy construction and ergonomic handle, I don’t dread tedious prep work when I use this knife, as it effortlessly glides through all kinds of produce and other foods, keeping me pain-free.

Runner-Up Best Chef’s Knife

A Super Sharp (But Divisive) Chef’s Knife

Global Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife (G-2)

Blade material: Stainless steel | Handle material: Stainless steel | Weight: 6 ounces | Style: Japanese

Best for:

  • Home cooks who like their knives incredibly lightweight
  • Those who favor a thin blade for precise knife work
  • Anyone drawn to a minimalist design

Skip if:

  • You want a knife with a bolster
  • You tend to favor heavier/bulkier knives

The entirely stainless steel Global G-2 chef’s knife is my runner-up to the MAC MTH-80 because while it performed every cutting test just as well as the MAC, some elements of the knife’s design can be polarizing (which I’ll get into). Weighing in at 6 ounces, the Global is incredibly lightweight. No matter what you’re chopping, it feels like the blade flies right through.

The Global’s stainless steel stamped blade features a steep edge that is incredibly sharp out of the box and passed my cutting tests with flying colors: It made no noise as it sliced through scallions, and it produced perfect swaths of watermelon rind with minimal waste. It was particularly fun to dice onions with the Global, as the blade slipped through the allium with remarkable ease. Because of how lightweight this knife is, I was initially concerned it wouldn’t be able to stand up to sturdier ingredients like butternut squash and chicken. But in my testing, the blade smoothly sliced through the dense squash flesh and chicken joints better than some of its weightier competitors.

Now onto the knife’s love-it-or-hate-it design: It lacks a bolster, the cuff of metal that typically sits where the knife blade meets the handle (which is filled with sand for weight). While its absence didn’t affect the blade’s performance, there were times when the side of the blade pressed up against my finger uncomfortably. J. Kenji López-Alt, the author of the New York Times–bestselling books The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science and The Wok: Recipes and Techniques, has similar thoughts on the Global: “They’re nice and well balanced, but when I’m holding it, the blade can dig into my finger a bit.”

Additionally, this was the only knife I tested that features a stainless steel handle, which takes some getting used to in terms of the feel. The signature dimple pattern all over the handle is meant to provide a nonslip grip, to which this sweaty-palmed cook can attest. However, be careful not to get your hands too greasy while using this knife, as things might get slippery.

Long-term testing notes: I’ve tried many chef’s knives over the years, and after nearly a year of using the Global G-2, I’m still blown away by its sharpness. Since adding it to my cutlery arsenal, I’ve only had to sharpen it once—after about nine months of regular use. While this knife did lose its edge about a month sooner than the MAC MTH-80, professional sharpening restored its edge beautifully. To this day, it’s my favorite chef’s knife for super precise cuts.

Best Budget-Friendly Chef’s Knife

A Surprisingly Great Affordable Knife

Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife

Blade material: German stainless steel | Handle material: Thermoplastic | Weight: 7 ounces | Style: Western

Best for:

  • Anyone on a budget
  • Beginner cooks who want to work on their knife-holding technique
  • Those drawn to chic, colorful kitchen tools

Skip if:

At $70, the Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife provides great value for a knife that consistently performed almost as well as my pricier top picks. Featuring a full-tang, stainless steel blade, this German-style knife feels strong without being weighty. Additionally, the thermoplastic handle comes in six trendy, muted pastel colors, which add a fun pop of color and make the knife enjoyable to look at. (Read my full review here.)

Out of the box, the factory edge on the knife was extremely sharp, making tasks like thinly slicing onions a joy and a breeze. It also had the agility and maneuverability to easily follow the curves of the watermelon rind, which isn’t something I can say about many of the other blades I tested. Even more notably, the Everyday Chef’s Knife earned top marks in my butternut squash test—a real feat, considering how difficult a vegetable it is to chop.

The Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife features a “proprietary intuitive pinch grip handle,” designed . [+] to help you master the knife-holding technique preferred by the pros.

Of the 10 knives I tested, the Our Place knife was the only one that came with a protective sheath for storage, which is a nice touch. The handle, too, stands out for its uniqueness. Described by Our Place as a “proprietary intuitive pinch grip handle,” it features a groove that’s meant to coax you into holding the knife in a pinch grip, the grip commonly used by the pros. If you want to master the pinch grip but need to work on your current knife skills, the Our Place knife might help get you there. If you’re not invested in mastering the pinch, though, the groove may feel like it’s in the way of your natural grip.

Where the Our Place knife falls short of higher-end knives such as the MAC and the Global is its overall construction: It doesn’t feel as well crafted. But it’s a small price to pay for all the other benefits you get in one well-priced package.

Best German-Style Chef’s Knife

A Classic Western-Style Pick That Does It All

Wüsthof Classic Ikon 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Blade material: German stainless steel | Handle material: Synthetic material (polyoxymethylene) | Weight: 9.75 ounces | Style: Western

Best for:

  • Home cooks who prefer a heavier chef’s knife
  • Those who do a lot of tougher cuts at home—chopping winter squash, chocolate and the like
  • People with larger hands

Skip if:

  • You prefer lighter, Japanese-style knives
  • The majority of your knife work is precise

If you prefer a thicker, heavier chef’s knife that’s ideal for robust chopping tasks, the elegant Wüsthof Classic Ikon features the hallmark details that are characteristic of German knives: Its wide, rounded blade is conducive to rock-chopping, as well as scooping up and transferring food from the cutting board to the pan. Despite being the heaviest knife I tested—it clocks in at nearly 10 ounces—I found this pick to be balanced overall, plus easier to control and maneuver than many of its much lighter competitors.

Thanks to its curved ergonomic handle, the Wüsthof Classic Ikon is remarkably comfortable to hold. While it feels sturdy in your hand, it’s not bulky, distinguishing it from some of the clumsier German-style knives I tested. When slicing through butternut squash and peeling watermelon, for example, the blade glided through the hard produce with ease. That said, I found the knife to be slightly less accurate during some of my precision work. For example, the Classic Ikon wasn’t as adept at neatly dicing onions and chives, and I had some trouble getting clean cuts through the chicken skin.

That’s really the only drawback of the knife: While it makes a great all-purpose blade, it’s not as precise a slicer as the MAC or Global knives, which both have thinner blades. (In general, Japanese knives excel at fine knife work over German knives, for this reason.) But if you want a knife that’s robust, hefty and durable—all characteristics associated with German-style knives—this may be your blade.

51 Of The Best Christmas Gifts To Celebrate The Season

The 55 Best Toys For 2-Year-Olds To Keep Busy Toddlers Entertained

Other Chef’s Knives I Tested

In addition to the four winners, I tested six other chef’s knives that didn’t make the cut.

Victorinox Swiss Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife: This popular budget-pick knife was a solid middle-of-the-road performer across all my tests, which means it ultimately didn’t get top marks. While it made relatively clean and easy cuts, it often required extra effort to maneuver the knife.

Miyabi Kaizen II 8-Inch Chef’s Knife: While this knife’s flashy Damascus pattern makes it a looker, it had mixed results in my tests. The knife has a very handle-heavy balance point that works against the blade as you cut, meaning it takes more effort on the cook’s part to simply halve an onion or dice squash. (Speaking of squash, the thin blade wanted to bend while I was cutting rounds of butternut.)

Zwilling Twin Four Star II 8-Inch Chef’s Knife: I liked how this knife excelled at cutting through chicken bones, but that’s where my compliments end. Regardless of whether I was slicing chives or dicing onions, whenever I was doing finer knife work, this knife felt like it had a mind of its own, as if it were somehow resisting my direction.

Material 8-Inch Knife: This is one chic-looking knife. Unfortunately, the goods didn’t match the looks in my testing. From the onions and squash with jagged edges, to the fact that I was exhausted after expending the effort it took to get this knife through all my tests, the Material knife did not live up to my expectations.

Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife: At $160, this was one of the most expensive knives I tested. Unfortunately, the blade edge kept threatening to slip while I was dicing onions and cutting squash, ultimately making it not worth the price tag.

JA Henckels Forged Premio 8-Inch Chef’s Knife: This was the only knife I tested that came with only the blade of the knife packaged in hard plastic, and the exposed handle had a tiny ding in it. For the price, I wouldn’t be afraid to use this knife for more aggressive tasks such as butchery and chopping big blocks of chocolate, but I couldn’t get it to yield good-quality precise knifework.

After extensive research, I decided to test 10 top-rated chef’s knives.

How I Tested The Best Chef’s Knives

I selected 10 knives to test based on extensive online research and reviews of bestselling knives at major retail outlets, as well as recommendations from food industry professionals. I considered a mix of German-style chef’s knives from widely available, well-known knife brands such as Wüsthof and Zwilling, as well as some knives from newer, direct-to-consumer brands such as Our Place and Material. While chef’s knives can range in size from 6 to 14 inches long, I considered 8-inch knives, which is the ideal size for most people.

Because a sharp edge is paramount when considering which chef’s knife to buy, I put each knife through a series of cutting tests designed to see how the blade’s edge held up. But chef’s knives not only need to be razor-sharp—they must also be versatile enough to transform a wide range of foods into a variety of specifications.

Cutting paper: Running a knife down the length of a sheet of paper is a fairly common party trick to show off the sharpness of the blade. For this test, I took each knife—fresh out of the box—and ran it through a sheet of printer paper, pulling the blade from the top to the bottom. I looked for how smoothly and easily each knife sliced through the paper and noted whenever a knife got caught in or tore through the paper.

Slicing scallions and chives: This test was inspired by one of my all-time favorite anecdotes about proper knife sharpness and technique. In an old episode of the Sporkful podcast featuring López-Alt, he recalls that the chef at his first restaurant job could tell he was slicing scallions incorrectly simply by listening to the sound they made as his knife cut through them. When using the proper technique with a sharp chef’s knife, you’ll neither hear nor feel scallions crunching underneath the blade. What I looked (and listened) for in this test was a smooth and quiet gliding through the scallions.

I also used each knife to mince chives to see which knives turned out light and fluffy herbs with minimal blade stickage, rather than ones that resulted in bruised and/or damp chives that stuck to the blade significantly more (a result of less-sharp knives that crush the cell walls rather than cleanly slicing through them).

Dicing onions: Similar to scallions, diced onions can tell you a lot about the knife that was used to cut them. I worked my way through several pounds of onions, finely dicing them to see which knives glided through as if the onion were butter, and which ones struggled to make clean cuts (due to lack of sharpness).

Chopping butternut squash: Next, I used each knife to cube hard and dense butternut squash, the perfect example of a vegetable that is infinitely more dangerous to cut with a knife that’s even slightly dull. I looked for how smoothly each knife slid through the squash and how easy it was to produce neat, even cubes.

Peeling baby watermelons: To see how well the knives maneuvered around curves and grooves, I used each blade to slice away the rind of baby watermelons. Specifically, I noted how it felt to follow the curve of the rind as I sliced, as well as how many strokes it took to fully peel it off.

Breaking down raw chickens: I wanted to see how easily each knife could cut through the joints and smaller bones of raw chickens as I broke them down into eight pieces per chicken; I also examined the knives afterward to see if the test caused any chipping of the blades.

Cutting paper (again): After performing all of the above tests on each knife, I ran them all through a final paper test to determine whether any had lost significant edge sharpness.

As I made my way through each test, I also considered how comfortable each knife was to use, how easy it was to wield and maneuver and how precisely it executed my desired results. These criteria guided my selection of the winners.

Long-term Testing

Since January 2023, Forbes Vetted home and kitchen editor Amanda Arnold has been using the winning knives in her home kitchen, noting how well the blades hold up to regular use. Her long-term testing notes have been incorporated throughout this piece.

How To Pick A Chef’s Knife

There’s no such thing as a “wrong” chef’s knife, and the buying process is highly subjective. (Remember: The best knife for you should feel like an extension of your hand.) Whenever possible, try to shop for knives in person so you can immediately get a sense of the weight, balance and feel of a particular knife in your hand. That said, buying knives online can also be a great option if you don’t have access to a trusted knife or kitchen store—as long as you know what to look for. Here are some criteria from the experts to help you narrow down your options.


One of the biggest decisions you’ll want to consider when buying a chef’s knife is whether you want a stainless steel or carbon steel blade. Stainless steel blades are very popular for their ability to take a bit of a beating in the kitchen without too many consequences. A trade-off of opting for stainless is that you’ll generally end up with a knife that will dull more quickly (i.e., needs to be sharpened more often) and is harder to sharpen than a carbon steel knife. Carbon steel blades lack that protective chromium film and thus require more TLC than stainless steel to keep them spot- and rust-free. It’s especially important to promptly wash and thoroughly dry a carbon steel knife after every use. Carbon steel is also generally more brittle and fragile than softer stainless steel. But if you’re willing to put in a little extra care, carbon steel knives are generally sharper—and stay sharp longer. “If you can look after cast iron, you can look after carbon steel,” says Donald. “If you can sharpen it, it’s a great material to work with.”

Finally, you may come across many knives marketed as “high-carbon stainless steel,” which conjures a vision of a happy medium between stainless and carbon steel blades. However, Donald says using this phrase to play up a knife is akin to how food brands will slap the term “all-natural” on everything from milk to granola—it doesn’t always mean all that much. “Technically culinary steel is high-carbon steel,” he says. “It’s kind of a marketing thing. Manufacturers want to play up that their stainless steel is good quality.”


Chef’s knives come in a huge range of prices, from $20 to hundreds and even thousands of dollars. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on a great chef’s knife to find one that works for you. When looking at different price points, consider the brand’s reputation, how transparent it is about its manufacturing and forging practices and what you’re willing to spend. Remember: Spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy knife you’re too scared to unsheath isn’t a great idea. You want to buy a knife you’re encouraged to use all the time.

My Expertise

As a professional recipe developer and avid home cook, I use chef’s knives every day, both for work developing new recipes and for pleasure; I’m also a former professional line cook and previously developed recipes for Bon Appétit. Because I make a living cooking food and testing recipes, I seek out knives that maximize my efficiency, which in turn makes cooking feel like a pleasurable activity rather than a chore. More than any other blade in my kit, I depend on a good chef’s knife to prepare a wide variety of foods every week, from dense and bulky vegetables like winter squash to fine, tender herbs like chives to delicate fish and whole chickens.

For this piece, I interviewed Josh Donald, a cofounder of the renowned San Francisco knife shop Bernal Cutlery; I also consulted his book, Sharp: The Definitive Introduction to Knives, Sharpening, and Cutting Techniques, with Recipes from Great Chefs. In addition, I spoke with two chefs: J. Kenji López-Alt, the author of the New York Times–bestselling books The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science and The Wok: Recipes and Techniques; and Niki Nakayama, co-owner of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant N/naka in Los Angeles.

What Knives Do Top Chefs Recommend?

Considering how personal the experience of buying a chef’s knife can be, it’s not surprising that chefs generally recommend going with the knife that feels best to you. “It’s hard to say a Wüsthof is universally better than a Henckels or a Japanese knife,” López-Alt says. “It’s about what feels right to you. It’s a personal decision. What fits my hand and what’s right for me might not feel right to someone else.”

How Should You Care For a Chef’s Knife?

There’s no special knowledge needed to take good basic care of any blade in a knife set. Get into the habit of washing your knife by hand and drying it with a cloth after each use; this will go a long way toward extending its life. Even if a knife brand claims its products are dishwasher-safe, never put your knife in the dishwasher or leave it soaking in the sink, as this will speed up corrosion and destroy the blade edge.

Keep a ceramic or metal honing rod (like this one) in your kitchen to realign the edge of the blade, as it will naturally slope to one side with use. While honing won’t sharpen the blade, it will preserve an already-sharp edge so you can get more use out of your knife between sharpenings. Finally, sharpen your knife when the blade edge inevitably gets dull. At some point, you’ll want to decide whether you want to do this step yourself with a knife sharpener or whether you want to bring it to a professional sharpener. If you’re interested in learning how to sharpen your own knives, you might consider getting a carbon steel knife, which will be easier to sharpen. If you’re not interested in sharpening your own knives, stainless steel might be a better pick for you, with the caveat that you’ll need to be more vigilant about getting them professionally sharpened a couple times a year.

How Long Do Chef’s Knives Last?

Some people claim chef’s knives can last a lifetime—but that’s true only so long as you’re not really using them, Donald says. The reality is that knives are meant to be used; those knives will inevitably dull with use, and each time they get sharpened, you’re removing a little more metal off the edge. “Once you grind off a quarter of the blade, there won’t be enough room for your knuckles to clear the knife,” Donald says. In other words, that knife will no longer be functional. So how long will a well-loved chef’s knife last? For a celebrated chef like Nakayama, it could be five years. For a home cook, it could be 10 years or more. But one thing is for certain: The only knives that “last a lifetime” are the ones you don’t use.

11 Best Chef’s Knives, According to Experts

best kitchen knives

A good kitchen knife is key to helping you prep your food safely and quickly. The long, sharp blade of a chef’s knife allows for all sorts of cutting tasks, so you can slice a steak, chop a cucumber, dice an onion or mince some herbs. This versatile style of knife comes in a variety of sizes — from six- to 14-inch blades — so you can find the one that feels best in your hand whether you have a larger or smaller grip.

Our top picks:

Classic 8-Inch Kitchen Knife

Best Overall Chef’s Knife

Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Kitchen Knife

Classic 8-Inch Chef

Best Value Chef’s Knife

J.A. Henckels Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

8-Inch Professional Kitchen Knife

Best Multi-Purpose Chef’s Knife

Misen 8-Inch Professional Kitchen Knife

Classic 8-Inch Chef

Best Japanese Chef’s Knife

Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

7-Inch Santoku Knife

Most Durable Chef’s Knife

Global Knives 7-Inch Santoku Knife

Fibrox 8-Inch Pro Chef

Best Budget Chef’s Knife

Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Pro Chef’s Knife

8-Inch Chef

Best Chef’s Knife for Professionals

Miyabi 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

The 8

Best Kitchen Knife for Beginners

Material Kitchen The 8″ Knife

8-inch Chef

Best Customizable Chef’s Knife

Made In 8-inch Chef’s Knife

Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef

Sturdiest Chef’s Knife

Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife

When shopping, the two main types of chef’s knives you’ll find are German knives, which are sturdy and thick, especially at the bolster (where the blade meets the handle), and Japanese knives, which are lightweight and razor-sharp with thinner blades. Within these categories, you’ll find a variety of blade and handle materials and constructions, which affect how the knife feels and how long it will last.

The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab test everything you’ll need to whip up some of your favorite meals, including knives of all kinds. We’ve spent years testing serrated knives, butcher knives, fish fillet knives, electric knives and more, and we reviewed more than 30 chef’s knives for this article. Our experts considered factors like how well each knife cuts a variety of foods (such as whole chicken, cheese and garlic cloves) and how comfortable it is to hold as well as the weight and ease of cleaning.

Below, we share more information on how we test kitchen knives as well as expert insight on what to look for before shopping for a new knife for yourself or a new home cook.

Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Kitchen Knife

Classic 8-Inch Kitchen Knife

Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Kitchen Knife

  • Excelled in Lab tests
  • Felt well balanced

Razor-sharp and super versatile, this 8-inch chef’s knife from Wüsthof truly impressed our experts. It was one of the only knives in our test that could cleanly slice tomatoes, chop onions, cut up carrots, bone a chicken and create thin ribbons of basil. This German classic is fully forged and has a full tang (meaning the metal of the blade runs through the whole handle), which helps it feel perfectly balanced and ergonomic in your hand, but can be on the heavier side for some.

It’s dishwasher safe (a rarity for cutlery), but we recommend hand-washing to extend its lifespan. While it does run on the pricier side, its sharp, sturdy blade offers an exceptional cut on almost all foods.

J.A. Henckels Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Classic 8-Inch Chef

J.A. Henckels Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

  • Budget-friendly
  • Versatile; excels across tasks
  • Some might find the hard handle less comfortable

This excellent J.A. Henckels Classic Chef’s Knife has the heft, shape and performance of a splurge-worthy chef’s knife but comes at an attractive price point. It’s an affordable, all-purpose tool that does an ace job of blitzing parsley, dicing onions and deboning a chicken. Our experts appreciate that this German stainless steel knife excels across a variety of different tasks, but they note that the hard plastic handle was a bit less comfortable than some other options on this list. The full bolster design might make less experienced cooks feel safer.

Misen 8-Inch Professional Kitchen Knife

8-Inch Professional Kitchen Knife

Misen 8-Inch Professional Kitchen Knife

  • Balanced, sturdy and comfortable
  • Great value
  • Tough and durable

This chef’s knife from direct-to-consumer company Misen is made of Japanese AUS-8 high-carbon stainless steel, which means it’s tough, durable and super sharp. Its blade is sharpened to 15 degrees — a sharper angle than traditional Western-style knives, which are typically sharpened to 25 degrees. It has an angled semi-bolster that encourages a proper pinch grip during use.

In our tests, it felt balanced, sturdy and comfortable: The blade is slightly narrower than other chef’s knives we tested, which proved to be good for slicing. It’s beautifully designed for the price; knives of this quality typically cost upwards of twice as much! One note: It is heavier than most other chef’s knives we tested.

Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Classic 8-Inch Chef

Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

  • Doesn’t need frequent sharpening
  • Light yet sturdy

As our best overall Japanese knife, this 8-inch pick from Shun is a standout. Our experts particularly like that it will last a long time without a price tag that will break the bank. While it’s on the delicate side and (like other Japanese knives) can chip more easily than some Western knives, it can easily cut through everything from vegetables to meat with its light yet sturdy blade. Our experts have been able to use this knife for long stints without sharpening and appreciate the good grip and weight of this model.

The brand’s 6-inch knife is perfect for smaller hands and glides through ripe tomatoes with its sharp edge. The Premiere is another favorite that has a wider handle that fits comfortably in the hand and a sturdy dimpled blade that slices cleanly through food without feeling brittle.

Global Knives 7-Inch Santoku Knife

7-Inch Santoku Knife

Global Knives 7-Inch Santoku Knife

  • Super sharp to power through any task
  • Crafted from a single piece of stainless steel
  • Notched blade help prevent food from sticking

Global’s powerhouse Santoku is one of the sharpest knives we’ve ever tested. It’s made from a single piece of stainless steel, so the handle is integrated, meaning it won’t loosen over time and there’s no joint that could trap food. The blade also has hollow indentations, so foods are less likely to stick as they’re cut.

This Japanese knife excelled at all tasks throughout our testing process, but it particularly wowed us with its ability to cut through small chicken bones as well as around bones to help separate parts. While we did find that the blade can feel a bit brittle, we had no trouble slicing through all sorts of foods thanks to its incredible sharpness.

Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Pro Chef’s Knife

Fibrox 8-Inch Pro Chef

Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Pro Chef’s Knife

  • Handle is comfortable and protects fingers
  • Doesn’t feel delicate and is well-balanced
  • Blade is wider than most options, so it’s not as suited to delicate tasks

While on the bulkier side, this knife from Victorinox is quite lightweight, and we noted that it felt exceptionally safe during use. The plastic handle fits comfortably in your grip and helps keep your fingers away from the blade. The blade is wider than most of the other options on this list, so it’s not as nimble, but the knife is well-balanced and offers stability. We also appreciated the good price.

Our consumer testers liked that it didn’t feel as though they’d easily ruin this knife, and they found it to be nice and sharp. It features a high-carbon stainless steel blade that “rarely requires sharpening,” according to the brand.

Miyabi 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

8-Inch Chef

Miyabi 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

  • Cut thinnest slicest
  • Comfortable to hold and use
  • Cuts both veggies and meats well

While certainly more expensive than others on our list, the Chef’s Knife from Miyabi is stunning and effective. Our experts found it was exceptionally good at cutting both veggies and meat, and it cut the thinnest slices of any blade they’ve ever used. This is likely due to the G2 micro carbide powder steel blade that, according to the manufacturer, is honed to a “9.5- to 12-degree” angle, which is finer even than many Japanese knives (generally around 15 degrees). It’s a good pick for professionals because the sharp, narrow blade allows precise cuts.

While testing, we liked that the handle rested perfectly in the center of our palm and felt natural to hold. We also love the marbled look of the birchwood handle.

Material Kitchen The 8″ Knife

The 8

Material Kitchen The 8″ Knife

  • Good value
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Sturdy but lightweight
  • Blade feels a little thick compared to other Japanese-style knives

This 8-inch chef’s knife offers some heft but is still lightweight compared to the Western-style knives we tested. It has a thin, rounded handle, similar to Japanese-style knives, but feels sturdy and natural in the hand — a pro for new cooks. We did notice, however, that the blade felt a little thick in comparison to other Japanese-style knives, which can be disorienting at first for those expecting a thinner knife in classic Japanese style.

We tested the knife on an assortment of ingredients, including onions, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and it sliced all of them with ease. It comes in three other colors — Mocha, Almost Black and Sage — and we’re fans of the three-piece knife set that includes this knife as well as the brand’s slim knife stand. It’s particularly good for beginners thanks to its reasonable price point as well as the fact that it doesn’t need too much sharpening and encourages a good grip.

Made In 8-inch Chef’s Knife

8-inch Chef

Made In 8-inch Chef’s Knife

  • Smoothly sliced through veggies
  • Helpful instructions on knife usage
  • Available as part of a knife set

With its colorful handle — and the option to customize it with an engraving — this Chef’s Knife from Made In is as fashionable as it is functional. It performed every cutting task in our testing especially well, making it a workhorse when it comes to meal prep. We loved how easily it diced onions and how smoothly it sliced celery. Plus, it’s full tang and forged, meaning it’s made of one solid piece of stainless steel from tip to handle for better balance, but that does mean it’s on the heavier side.

The Chef’s Knife can be bought individually or as part of a four-piece set like this one (also available in an attractive olive wood version). It comes in cute packaging that is not only safe and easy to open but also provides instructions on how to hold the knife and how to use the entire blade like a pro.

Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife

Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef

Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef’s Knife

  • Durable but not overly heavy
  • Super-sharp for effortless cutting
  • Blade is wider near the handle than some knives, which means it’s not ideal for tasks like trimming around a bone

This Mercer Culinary chef’s knife felt good in our hand from the moment we picked it up. Our experts liked that it managed to feel sturdy without being too heavy. With its high-carbon, stain-resistant German steel blade, it effortlessly sliced through tomatoes and cut carrots — we barely had to use any pressure because the blade was so sharp! We found that it sliced through onions easily too.

We did notice that the portion of the blade near the handle is a bit wider than some of the other options on this list, which helps improve the durability of this pick but means that it’s not ideal for delicate tasks like trimming around bones.

Hedley and Bennett Chef’s Knife


Hedley and Bennett Chef’s Knife

  • Well balanced
  • Sturdy but lightweight
  • Sharp tip great for delicate tasks
  • Can create rust spots if not dried right after use

A fan-favorite among our experts, Hedley and Bennett’s Chef’s Knife has been used in our Kitchen Appliances Lab since it first came out, and it also makes frequent appearances in our personal home kitchens as well. Our pros keep reaching for it due to its comfortable grip and weight as well as its ability to tackle any cutting task. We found it to be well-balanced, and we appreciate the thoughtful design: It’s sturdy but not heavy, and the handle has nice rounded curves that help you maintain a secure grip. The sharp tip is particularly helpful when cutting around bones, and the fun handle colors are beautiful and great for personalizing.

If you’re looking for a set, their Chef’s Knife set features this stellar pick alongside the brand’s Bread Knife and Utility Knife, all with blades made of Japanese three-layer (the Chef’s Knife and Utility Knife) or German (the Bread Knife) steel. But don’t forget to dry this knife well after washing since we did notice some small rust spots can appear where droplets accumulate.

How we test kitchen knives

Best knives

The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab tested more than 30 kitchen knives to find the best ones on the market. We tested with home cooks in mind and evaluated how well each knife cut and retained an edge after slicing and chopping through onions, whole chickens, cooked steak, carrots and cheddar cheese. We cut basil into fine ribbons, sliced tomatoes and minced garlic and parsley. The most impressive knives were super-sharp and made paper-thin slices of tomato with no effort at all. They cleanly severed the herbs with no crushing or bruising.

We also checked the comfort of the handle and grip. When assessing the overall experience, we looked for knives that rocked back and forth easily and that required little pressure to cut through meat. We took note of the weight of the knife: While heavier ones often feel sturdier, they can tire hands when slicing hard ingredients like carrots. Larger-handled, lighter knives gave us more control, while smaller-handled knives allowed us to slice quickly and thinly.

What to consider when shopping for a chef’s knife

Best knives

When shopping for the best chef’s knife, it’s ideal to hold the ones you’re considering so you can get a feel for them. At the end of the day, your go-to 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:

✔️ Type: German or Western knives are great for heavy-duty tasks like chopping and breaking down a chicken, while Japanese knives are well suited to more delicate and precise tasks like cleanly slicing cucumbers. Because Japanese knives are crafted from harder steel, they can typically last longer between sharpening sessions, but they may be prone to chipping or cracking. The softer steel in Western knives might not hold an edge as long, but they tend to be sturdy.

✔️ Handle: Handles are generally made of wood or wood composites, plastic or metal. The type of material affects the weight and feel of the knife, as well as the price. Choose the knife you’ll reach for again and again. But take note that wood might warp or splinter over time due to use and washing.

✔️ Tang: Our pros recommend knives that have a full tang, which means the blade runs through the handle, rather than just being inserted into it. A full tang keeps the blade more secure over the life of the knife and helps the knife feel balanced for better control.

✔️ Bolster: The bolster, or how and where the blade flows into the handle, is another point of differentiation. Some are full bolsters, meaning they cover the whole back end of the blade, while some are semi-bolsters that cover only a portion of the blade. We found that a full bolster allows for a more protected grip for novices, while a semi-bolster (or no bolster) provides a more controlled grip for chefs who like to pinch the heel of the blade. In addition, this section of the knife can be angled or straight, and you may have to try a few styles to find what you prefer.

Bottom line: Look for a knife that feels like an extension of your hand, and keep it sharp. A sharp knife requires less effort and pressure on your part, which makes slicing safer easier, more stable and less tiring.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

ghi line

Nicole Papantoniou is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, where she oversees all the testing that takes place related to kitchen gear. She conducted the most recent side-by-side chef’s knife test as well as the most recent test for serrated knives and butcher knives. She’s a trained cook and uses one of her three trusty chef’s knives almost daily.

Jamie Spain worked with Nicole to update this guide. She tests and reviews a variety of products for the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Nicole (she/her) is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, where she has overseen content and testing related to kitchen and cooking appliances, tools and gear since 2019. She’s an experienced product tester and recipe creator, trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition. She has worked in test kitchens for small kitchen appliance brands and national magazines, including Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal.

Watch Next

preview for Featured Videos From Good Housekeeping US

Around the Kitchen

best stand mixers

The Best Stand Mixers

best air fryers

The Best Air Fryers

slow cookers from greenpan, crockpot, wolf and instant brands which were among those tested for this story they are on a blue background

The Best Slow Cookers

bread loaf pans

The Best Bread Loaf Pans

vintage domestic kitchen interior

The Best Retro Refrigerators

colorful kitchen tools

The Best Kitchen Utensil Sets

best bread makers

The Best Bread Makers

small airfryers

The Best Small Air Fryers

best kitchen faucets

The Best Kitchen Faucets

best gas ranges

The Best Gas Ranges

healthy delivery from organic farm

17 Best Food Subscription Boxes of 2023

best waffle makers

8 Best Waffle Makers of 2023