Choosing The Right Knife For You

Jun 13, 2018 | Kitchen Gadgets

Knives are undoubtedly one of the, if not the most important tool in any kitchen. They get used more than just about anything else and so a decent knife is important. But do some people put too much emphasis on them? I absolutely think so. This has become obvious to me based on how much I get asked about knives. So, let’s cut through all the noise and all the bullshit and look at what you actually need in a knife. It may surprise you.

First of all, I would say that there is a bit of a knife craze going on based on the popularization of Chef Culture. Shows like “Chef’s Table” and “Mind of a Chef” have brought a new generation of Chef’s to the conscious mind of society. With them has come a focus on the tools and techniques they use which isn’t inherently bad. But what’s important to remember is that these are professional Chefs at the top of their game. For them, their knives are about more than just cutting. They are a symbol of their dedication to their craft. It’s something that most home cooks don’t need to prove.

It is definitely easy to get caught up in the knife craze.  There is so much information about knives and so many different kinds of knives out there now. A lot of them are beautiful, more pieces of art than tools. There Japanese knives which a lot of people swear by. There are German knives and French Knives. Then there are small suppliers that make limited quantities of boutique knives. There stainless steel and high carbon steel, or blends of the two. There are even knives made of goddamn astroids. You don’t need any of it.

Here is what is needed in a knife.

A good solid handle that feels comfortable in your hand. Preferably, a blade with a full tang. This means that one continuous piece of metal runs from the tip of the knife to the butt of the knife. The handle, probably wooden, is then riveted to the blade itself. This makes the knife really strong. There should be a bit of weight to the knife, the blade should be strong.

Things you don’t need in a knife.

Sand in the handle. Metal from a goddamn asteroid even though it looks amazing. You don’t need a handcrafted knife made by a Japanese master whose family lived and died by the sword for a thousand generations. There is no need for a knife that has a blade as thin as paper but with the strength of an elephant. And you absolutely don’t need a knife that costs more than your monthly car payment.

Things To Look Out For When Buying Knives.

When buying knives avoid the three pack that contains a chef knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife, that costs $50 at your local hardware store. Those are not good knives. They won’t stay sharp. They will probably rust, and they may break. Also, I generally recommend not buying knives off of the internet. You want to hold a knife before you buy it. Get a feel for it. Make sure it’s comfortable.

It’s often true as well that you don’t want want to buy a knife block full of knives unless you are spending a lot of money. It’s much better to buy the knives individually over time and create your own collection of knives you like.

Just because a knife is made by a company you recognize, doesn’t mean it’s a good knife. The big knife brands make some good quality knives, but they also make some pretty shitty ones as well. If you are spending $20 on a brand name knife, know that you are not getting the top of the line.

How much should you spend on a knife?

This really comes down to the individual. But what I would say is that for most home cooks, spending over $150 on a knife is excessive. Spending $200 on a knife is kind of crazy. If you spend more than $200 on a knife you probably really love cooking but still, it seems a bit ridiculous to me.

I would say that if you want a decent knife that will last you a long time, spend between $60 – $150. But again, make sure it is well built, and make sure it’s comfortable in your hand.

How many knives should you have?

I honestly believe that you really only need two knives, maybe three. You need a Chef Knife which will get you through just about everything. You need a paring knife for any small detailed stuff you want to do. And you may need a serrated knife for slicing bread or something like that. You really don’t need more than that.

Keeping Your Knives Sharp.

It used to be that if you wanted to keep your knives sharp you had to learn how to use a sharpening stone. You had to learn the proper angles and make sure you maintained them. Today, there are all kinds of little gadgets out there that are cheap and take no skill to use. They will keep your knives sharp and ready to use. You have likely seen the little gadgets I’m talking about. Little plastic things with a few different grades of wheels. They work well, not perfectly but well enough for home use. Look for a knife sharpener that has either diamond or ceramic wheels.


A good, comfortable, sharp knife makes cooking easier, safer, and fun. Try not to get caught up in all the hype of what looks cool and what professionals use. Get a knife that you want to use, not an art piece. Don’t spend loads of money, but don’t cheap out either. When buying a knife keep practicality in mind. It is a tool. You wouldn’t buy a $600 hammer because the person who made it has family that has been making hammers for 400 years. Don’t do that with knives either.



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