Not all knives are created equal. Similarly, not all knives meet the criteria for what makes the best chef’s knife for home cooking. It would make sense for those who enjoy meal preparation time to know what makes a great all-purpose kitchen knife.
Using the best kitchen knife will only add to the fun of cooking at home. It also makes time spent in the kitchen preparing food much more efficient. If safety is top of mind when handling a knife on a regular basis, then read on.
In this article, we look at different Chef’s Knives and more specifically at potential great knives to add to one’s cutlery list of any home cook.
What Makes the Best Chef’s Knife for Home Cooking
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As a spoiler alert, the top-of-line knife that ticked almost all the boxes as the best chef’s knife for your home following the kitchen knives consumer report’s buying guide and performance criteria detailed below was the Mac Professional Series Chefs Knife 200mm(7.8Inch) MTH-80.
Exploring the Essentials
According to many chefs, including Ramsay’s Guide to Kitchen Knives, all you really need to effectively tackle any kitchen food prep need can be summarized as:
- The Chef’s Knife
- The Slicer
- The Utility Knife
- The Paring Knife
So, how do you choose the best in each of the above categories? We have done the research for you for, not only the reasonably priced knife out there but also the safety criteria that should be considered while investing in one of the most used kitchen tools. The best chef’s knife for your home needs to meet your home’s safety standard above all. We have also reviewed some of our current popular chef’s recommendations to lend more credibility to our picks. What we ended up selecting is a chef’s knife that is both great at performance and versatility for your home.
Some common Terminology
There are two types to remember, forged or stamped. Forged knives, which carry a higher price point, are made out of a single piece of molten steel fashioned into the desired shape. It comes with a sturdy heavy bolster and heel to protect the hand during cutting. Being less flexible, forged knives are less likely to bend over time. However, the quality of a forged knife could well be imitated through a different manufacturing process to achieve the look of a “forged” knife. This cautions us to look for genuine manufacturers in any case.
Stamped knives, on the other hand, are built using the mass production technique omitting a bolster and heel. They usually come with the same thickness except at the cutting edge. Needless to say, they are generally more affordable than forged knives. In terms of performance, stamped knives are as good as forged knives.
Other Factors to Consider
It’s interesting to note that the chef’s knife was originally designed primarily to slice and disjoint large cuts of beef. Today it is the primary general-utility knife for most western cooks.
If you have specific preparation needs, you may want to consider using a set with different pieces, or buy additional knives from the same line, known as “open-stock”. This is doable for most fine-edged knives. For example, the original Santoku knife has a linear cutting edge which limits “rocking” the blade during fine slicing. The Santoku is ideal if you are not apt to rocking and looking for a light knife, though not recommended for chopping through bone. This knife still ranks high as a great knife for preparing fish and vegetables.
Next, consider a low-maintenance knife set if you are not keen on regular honing. Also, for longer use and best performance, always choose set with a corrosion-free rating.
Before you settle on a particular knife, hold the knife in your hand if you can. Finding the right handle comfort and one that is equally balanced is as important as the actual quality of the knife.
Choosing the Best Chef’s Knife for Home Cooking
It’s best to choose a knife that feels good in the hand. Other than being comfortable, efficiency is also important for those who spend a lot of time on food preparation. While a forged knife is weighty and feels balanced in the hand, a stamped knife is lighter and might feel easier to use for some people.
One way to assess the weight and balance of the knife is to look at the length of the ‘tang’. A knife ‘tang’ is the continuation of the steel blade from the very tip to the end of the handle. When looking at quality kitchen knives, a full tang is a knife must-have. It not only provides the best way of attaching the handle, but it also improves strength and durability.
For a longer-life knife, look for a blade with long retention (i.e. how long a knife stays sharp). Generally, a forged knife is likely to hold a better edge compared to a similar stamped knife.
Needless to say that you should look at well-known and well-regarded brands while narrowing down your choices. However, since the name alone is oftentimes not a good indicator of quality, we have limited our recommended list to those with high rankings among users to give our selection more credibility.
Our Picks for the Best Chef’s Knife for Home Cooking
1. Global G-2-8 inch, 20cm Chef’s Knife
A high-performing and award-winning Japanese cook knife, the Global G2 is an 8-inch lightweight wonder. This knife is made from a single piece of high-quality CROMOVA 18 stainless steel and has a large blade so this knife can be used for most of your needs. The ice-hardened, convex edge can hold a sharp edge for a long time. It has an ergonomic handle with a dimple pattern making it comfortable and slip-resistant, useful for repetitive slicing. The knife’s perfect weight is achieved through the hollow handle that is filled with sand for an ideal balance. The Global G-2-8 inch, 20cm Chef’s Knife is excellent for almost all your preparation needs such as slicing vegetables, chopping meats, or cutting fruits for a healthy fruit salad.
Even though the G-2 has a very stylish look that would greatly compliment any home kitchen, it can seem too light and the handle too thin for someone who is looking for a good grip while using a knife. It is currently highly rated on Amazon at 4.8 stars from 517 customer reviews.
2. The Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch
For your home, our favorite and most ranked kitchen knife would be the Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch. It is a lightweight knife with a 2.5mm blade, 12.63 inches long. The gradual taper from heel to tip is in the style of the Gyuto or Japanese chef’s knife. The 8″ length is the most commonly used size in both the home and professional kitchen. It comes with a wooden handle which, however, makes it not dishwasher safe.
At the time of writing and based on 250 customer reviews, the Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch has a 4.7 stars review rating on Amazon. It is a Japanese-made knife from a reputable manufacturer. It is known for its lightweight while strong enough to get through tough vegetables. The knife comes with a razor-sharp blade which is excellent for chopping herbs or other greens without smashing them. Another positive is its dimpled blade that keeps food from sticking to the sides of the knife.
The Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife comes with a sturdy Pakka wood handle which provides a good grip. It also looks more attractive. However, wood handles are generally slightly more difficult to care for as they must be cleaned more thoroughly and occasionally treated with mineral oil. Most wood handles, especially those of ordinary varnished hardwood, do not resist water well and will crack or warp with prolonged exposure to water. The Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife should, therefore, be hand-washed for that reason. Overall, the Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch makes a great all-purpose chef’s knife for your amazing home!
3. The Mac Professional Series Chef’s Knife 200mm (7.8Inch) MTH-80
Alternatively, for those who would prefer the Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife with a bolster, we suggest the Mac Professional Series Chefs Knife 200mm(7.8Inch) MTH-80. According to the Mac Knife website, this knife is “our most popular knife for everyday use. The 8″ length is the most commonly used size in both the home and professional kitchen. With standard features of our Professional series, the thin 2.5mm blade and bolster allow this knife to easily cut slice and dice almost any food. The added dimples help the knife to glide through sticky foods such as potatoes, apples, and summer squash.“ While the MTH-80 is aimed at the professional chef, it makes an excellent choice as the best chef’s knife for your home based on the criteria discussed above.
The Mac Professional Series Chefs Knife 200mm(7.8Inch) MTH-80 was ranked as the best knife among 11 tested knives for its cutting performance by Cooking for Engineers.
Conclusion: what makes the best chef’s knife for home cooking
Our best overall rated Chef’s knife for your home would be the Mac Professional Series Chefs Knife 200mm(7.8Inch) MTH-80 for performance, quality, and feedback from users both professional Chefs and regular cooks. However, choosing the perfect knife for your daily food preparation tasks is more of a personal choice. While the Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch is as good as the MTH-80, it all boils down to how comfortable you want to feel while holding the knife. The same would apply to the Global G-2-8 inch, 20cm Chef’s Knife.
Bearing in mind that they are all great knives to have in one’s kitchen, we have a personal preference for the Mac Professional Series Chefs Knife 200mm(7.8Inch) MTH-80 as it ticks most of the boxes while providing that most comfortable grip which most cooks are after when choosing their go-to all-purpose knife.
- Kitchen knives, Consumer Reports
- Best selling products, Mac Knife’s Website
- Chef’s knives, Cook’s Illustrated
- We Found the Best Chef’s Knives, Epicurious
- Chef’s Knives Rated, Cooking for Engineers