Food & Nutrition

The 19 Best Chef’s Knives, According to Chefs in 2023

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed cooking expert or still learning your way around the kitchen, the best chef’s knives can completely elevate your cooking experience. Because of its versatility, it’s one of the most important kitchen tools to have on hand. From chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing, the best chef’s knives can help you prepare your favorite recipes with greater ease and control. 

“There are so many different knives for all types of cutting needs, but the workhorse of any chef’s knife kit is their chef’s knife. It’s the most important knife to spend a little extra money on,” says Chef Chris Curren, an executive chef at The Graceful Ordinary in St. Charles, Illinois.

The two types of chef’s knives

Full tang on the left, hidden tang on the right.


There are two types of chef’s knives: a full tang and hidden tang, as Geoff Feder, owner of Feder Knives, tells SELF. A full tang knife (top left) is heavier because the metal of the blade extends all the way to the handle where it’s sandwiched between two pieces of plastic (or whatever material the knife handle is made of). With a hidden tang knife (top right), the metal extends only partially (if at all) into the handle, making the knife lighter. 

The two types of steel on chef’s knives

The blade is usually made from one of two different kinds of steel: stainless steel or carbon steel. Feder explains that carbon steel performs better, but it’s delicate, so it’s more susceptible to rust and damage. On the other hand, stainless steel is easier to maintain, but the quality isn’t as high. 

How often do you need to sharpen your chef’s knife?

You should plan to sharpen your knife about two or three times a year, either on your own or with a sharpening tool. “Getting a knife sharpened on a whetstone is essential once you have purchased a nice, new chef’s knife,” Chef Olivia McCoy, head chef at Daily Chew in Atlanta, tells SELF. She shares that you can easily learn how to use a whetstone (or sharpening stone) through online tutorials, or you can find someone locally that can sharpen your knives for you. Feder recommends using a two-sided water stone or having it professionally sharpened at your local hardware store. If you sharpen your knife regularly, it’ll take less time overall to keep the edge sharp. “If you wait until it’s super dull, it’s much harder to bring it back,” Feder explains. “[That’s] one of the reasons most people have dull knives.” Sharpening knives is a skill in and of itself, so in general it’s easier (especially for beginner chefs) to have it professionally sharpened. In the end it’ll cost you less to maintain it than it would to buy a brand-new knife.

Do need to hone your chef’s knife every week?

You know those long metal rods that always come in the box knife sets? That’s a honing tool called a steel, says Feder. While sharpening removes steel from the knife to create a new edge, honing realigns the wire in the edge of the blade to keep it in working order. You should do this at least once a week, but you can do it as often as you like.

When you use it, Feder says you shouldn’t just mindlessly rub it up and down along the edge of your knife—that will do more harm than good. Instead, gently apply pressure to your knife as you run the edge against the honing tool at a 20-degree angle (you can watch a demo of the technique here). Go slowly, and repeat on both sides of the knife until you’ve honed the length of the blade. 

How to choose the best chef’s knife

When it comes to picking out the best chef’s knife, Chef Sieger Bayer, former executive chef of Etta in Los Angeles, shares that you need to keep two things in mind: price and maintenance. 

For example, if you’d like something that doesn’t require much upkeep, pick a chef’s knife that doesn’t need to be sharpened too often. Those who want an easier cleanup may opt for a knife that can be thrown into the dishwasher (as opposed to having to be hand-washed). Though be advised that some high water pressure and detergents can dull the edge and loosen the handle. Feder recommends hand-washing only and not letting it stay wet for too long to avoid the blade rusting.