Buyers guide to kitchen knives

Knives are a kitchen essential, but it can be hard to decide which knife you need for which task. Read our guide to discover which three kitchen knives are essential, which brand to choose and how to sharpen your knives

What should I look out for when choosing a kitchen knife?

  • Material - some materials are more prone to rust than others, so it's worth keeping in mind how much time you have to care for your knife and making sure you know how to care for the material you choose.
  • Hardness - knife hardness is measured in something called the Rockwell scale and is usually written as HRC. Most knives have a hardness between 53-58, more premium knives have a hardness of 60 or above.
  • If the steel is harder it will hold its edge for longer, but also requires more work to sharpen. A softer steel will need to be sharpened more frequently but is easier to sharpen.
  • Sharpening angle - you will need to  know what angle your knife is sharpened to in order to properly care and resharpen it correctly.
  • Personal preference - if you prefer more heavier knives maybe opt for a knife with a full tang. Or if you prefer larger blades look at chef's knives over paring knives. 

What are the three most important kitchen knives?

If you only buy three kitchen knives, make it a chef’s knife, a paring knife and a serrated slicer. This trio covers most basic kitchen tasks - you can slice, dice, cut and chop anything from fruit to fish to focaccia. 

Which are the best kitchen knives to buy?

The choice of which knives you buy comes down to what you need it for, how frequently you’ll be using it, and how much you’re willing to pay.

Messermeister Custom Chef Nakiri Style Knife, 16.5cm

Best kitchen knife for vegetable preparation

The flat, almost cleaver-like blade makes short work of a cabbage or roughly chopping harder vegetables such as potatoes. The nakiri also has a wickedly sharp edge, so you can do more precise slicing.

Senzo 33 Layer Gyuto Knife 240mm

Best kitchen knife for chopping & dicing meat, vegetables and herbs

The Senzo 24cm knife is ideal for high-speed slicing and dicing. This large, well-balanced knife, also known as a gyuto, is Japan’s answer to the Western chef’s knife. With a curved belly and a narrow point, it’s well suited to the ‘rolling’ action - the very quick French method of slicing where the tip of the knife never leaves the cutting board.

Messermeister Oliva Luxe Chef's Knife, 20cm

Best kitchen knife for chopping & dicing meat, vegetables and herbs

The Messermeister chef’s knife is the Western equivalent of the Santoku knife or the 'original' gyuto knife.

Arcos Nordika Utility Knife, 14cm

Best kitchen knife for smaller ingredients

This Arcos Nordika utility knife is the ultimate knife for handheld kitchen tasks – such as removing the eyes from potatoes, peeling fruits and vegetables, or even intricate carving for artistic garnishes. 

Opinel Bread Knife With Beechwood Handle

Best kitchen knife for slicing bread

This serrated slicer is perfect for cutting meat or slicing bread and cakes. 

Stainless Steel Chopper

Best kitchen knife for cutting meat

This stainless steel chopper, or Chinese chopper, is a versatile piece of kit perfect for cutting meat and vegetables. The large, rectangular blade has a similar use to a Santoku knife, and is a great everyday knife for preparing meat and vegetable stir fries.

Messermeister 8 Piece Knife Block Set

Best complete knife collection

This Messermeister 8-piece knife collection is a stunning collection of knives that’ll help you complete every cookery task. Each one is made of 1/4116 stainless steel, which has a high carbon content meaning they are incredibly hard wearing and resistant to corrosion. The hard steel means the blade will hold its sharp, 15 degree edge for longer. The steel blade is both stain and corrosion-resistant, creating a tough and durable knife that’s easy to sharpen.

Sashimi Knife, 27cm

Best kitchen knife for sashimi

Every sashimi and sushi chef should have a fantastic knife they can rely on. Also known as a yanagiba or ‘willow blade’ knife, the blade of this sashimi knife is much longer than most Western knives. This is for the express purpose of slicing sashimi with one single cut, as sawing backwards and forwards will damage the aesthetic and flavour of your fish. 

Messermeister Oyster Knife

Best kitchen knife for oyster and shellfish preparation 

The Messermeister oyster knife is a must for shellfish lovers. Designed by 3-time Dutch oyster shucker champion, Marcel Schouwenaar, this knife is sleek in design and offers optimal results with every use. The one-piece knife has a compact blade, with a super-sharp tip that gives you good leverage when shucking. It also enables a clean break to prevent excessive flecks of shell breaking off. 

Bordelaise Lame - Bread Scoring Blade

Best kitchen blade for bakers

This professional baker's knife - often known in French as a grignette or lame - is made by Mure & Peyrot, the largest supplier of bakeries across Europe. Their Landaise knife is specially designed for scoring bread dough, with an ergonomic handle for both left and right handed bakers.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I sharpen my kitchen knives?

It’s important to keep knives sharp so that they can cut and slice through food with ease. A dull, blunt blade requires more pressure, meaning it’s more likely to slip and cause injury. 

If you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing, it’s a good idea to take your knives to a professional to have them sharpened correctly. However, it is possible to sharpen knives at home, read our guide to learn more.

Shop all kitchen knives, and use your knives when preparing these fantastic recipes


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