America’s Test Kitchen Knives

America's Test Kitchen Knives

Citrus Zesters/Channel KnivesThese dual-use tools are supposed to make pretty garnishes from citrus peels. But were any ready for prime time?Buy the winnerSteak KnivesWhich set of steak knives can really cut it?Buy the winnerSerrated Paring KnivesWe put the serrated equivalents of our favorite paring knives to the test.Buy the winnerGrapefruit KnivesGrapefruit knives are designed to section the pulp by hugging the walls and membranes of the fruit as you cut. We put five models to the test.Buy the winnerChef’s Knives for KidsWe tested three different knife solutions that are both safe and age-appropriate for aspiring chefs.Buy the winnerCarbon-Steel KnivesCarbon-steel enthusiasts have long considered these knives sharper and more durable than stainless. But do they really perform better—and are they worth the upk…Buy the winnerChef's KnivesOne chef’s knife has been a champ in our kitchen for nearly two decades. Can any other blade come close to offering what it does—and at a bargain price?Buy the winnerMeat CleaversWe wanted a razor-sharp blade and perfect balance.Buy the winnerFlexible Cutting MatsWe found these to be a perfect supplement to a single cutting board.Buy the winnerSantoku KnivesIs there something better than the classic chef’s knife? We tested 10 of these trendy Japanese knives to find out.Buy the winnerOyster KnivesThe right one can make a difficult task a lot easier.Buy the winnerParing KnivesFor precision cuts, call on the (cheap) little guy.Buy the winnerSerrated KnivesWhy are some knives a pain and others a pleasure? Everything counts, from the number and shape of the serrations to the width of the blade.Buy the winnerSlicing/Carving KnivesWant perfect slices at your holiday table? Lose the chef’s knife.Buy the winnerShun Professional Electric Whetstone Knife SharpenerIt was twice the price of our favorite electric knife sharpener, but could it perform twice as well?Innovative Cutting BoardsNew twists on traditional cutting boards promise to streamline food preparation. Do they?Buy the winnerVegetable CleaversIt won't replace your all-purpose Western chef's knife, but if you chop a lot of vegetables, this may be your new go-to knife.Buy the winnerBest Buy à La Carte Knife SetIf our Test Kitchen à la carte Knife Set is too expensive for you, we've compiled a list of our favorite inexpensive options.Test Kitchen à La Carte Knife SetInstead of wasting money on a set of mediocre knives (half of which you'll never use), you can create your own set of Test Kitchen all stars.Knife Block SetsNine pieces of matching cutlery, plus a block for easy storage? It could be a bargain—or a rip off.Toss and Chop Salad ScissorsThis odd-looking pair of large kitchen shears, sports dual spring-loaded curved blades and a plastic scoop beneath the blades to capture items for slicing. Ca…Kitchen ShearsSharp, comfortable shears are a kitchen essential. But do you need to spend $75 for a good pair?Buy the winnerBagel SlicersIf your confidence around serrated knives is questionable, a bagel slicing machine might be the answer.AccuSharp Replacement BladesIs it worth spending almost as much for replacement blades as you would for a brand new sharpener?Buy the winnerElectric KnivesElectric knives might seem like relics of the 1960s, but we wanted to see if these knives had any place in the modern kitchen.Chef's Knives, Hybrid-StyleIn Europe, the chef's knife is a sturdy tool that can chop and slice anything. In Japan it's a thin, light precision instrument. What happens when East meets We…Buy the winnerMore Essential Kitchen EquipmentWe rounded up equipment review winners and made a list of kitchen tools that every well-stocked kitchen should have.Buy the winnerBoning KnivesWhen it comes delicate tasks like trimming silver skin from tenderloins or removing the breast from a whole bird, a boning knife is best. Could our old favori…Buy the winnerLettuce KnivesDoes this knife deliver on its promise to prevent lettuce from turning brown after cutting?Knife GuardsIn a crowded drawer, our favorite guard will keep your knives safe.Buy the winnerChef's Knives, InnovativeIn search of an improved mousetrap, we tested seven knives with innovative designs.Buy the winnerButter Measuring KnifeIf you've been annoyed by improperly wrapped sticks of butter—or unmarked blocks of butter—this measuring knife can be a real convenience.Buy the winner
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

We couldn’t test all of the possible contenders that fit our criteria, so we focused on popular, widely available knives. We also did not include Japanese santoku knives in this review, since those are better suited to vegetables and not as versatile as standard chef’s knives. In the end, we brought in 13 knives that all had an 8-inch blade, carried a price tag of $150 or less, didn’t have a full bolster, came recommended by experts and trusted editorial sources, and had stellar Amazon ratings. We then tested the Misen chef’s knife in early 2017.
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

Stamped blades, as the name suggests, are stamped out of a larger sheet of metal before further refinement and sharpening. The quality of these knives varies widely, from the flimsy knives found at grocery stores to our top pick and runner-up. Knife makers like MAC and Tojiro heat-treat their blades to make them just as strong as forged steel. In an Edge in the Kitchen, Chad Ward says, “There is some great steel out there now, better than anything ever before used for kitchen knives. It can be drop-forged or it can be laser-cut out of sheets. With proper heat treatment, the method of shaping the blade has more to do with manufacturing processes and knife styles than anything else.” He calls these heat-treated stamped blades “machined” to differentiate them from regular stamped knives. Cook’s Illustrated also points this out in their chef’s knife equipment review.
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

Eventually your knife will need to be sharpened. Depending on your use, that could mean every 6 months to a year. You’ll know it’s time when you have to work to get through skins of tomatoes or cucumbers. If you’re going to get a pro to sharpen your knives, it’s important that you look for someone who really knows what they’re doing. Unfortunately, that’s really hard to find. My best suggestion for this is to ask a local chef where they would send their own personal knives (not the cheap kitchen knives they give to the prep cooks). Generally, chefs sharpen their own knives, but they usually know of a reputable knife guy.
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

Sharpness is partly determined by the thinness of the blade’s cutting edge. Any material can be sharp if its edge is thin enough—this is why an otherwise harmless piece of paper can deliver a paper cut. Traditionally, Western knives have been sharpened to 20 to 22 degrees on each side of the blade while Asian knives are thinner—just 15 degrees on each side. However, those style markers appear to be blurring in favor of Asian knives: All the knives we tested are considered Western-style, yet when we asked the manufacturers, it turned out that half of the models sported 15-degree (or narrower) blades, including our top three favorites.
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

If you learn how to sharpen your own knives, you will have tools that are truly yours.If you learn how to sharpen your own knives, it’ll be one of the most rewarding things you’ll do. Murray Carter highly recommends it. He said, “It’s a mentality perspective. Who in Western society ever thinks about sharpening their own knives? … Once they have a new sharpening skill, it empowers them to have mastery over the cutlery they own.” If you learn how to sharpen your own knives, you will have tools that are truly yours.
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

With fibrous carrots, the MAC always made clean cuts, unlike the Victorinox, which cut part way, then cracked the rest of the carrot like an ax splitting wood. The cut edges of basil stayed mostly green with very little oxidation, meaning the MAC’s razor-sharp edge broke very few of the herb’s cells. All the budget knives turned basil black within 5 minutes. To be honest, all the Japanese knives did a superb job with the basil test, because they’re sharper and thinner. The drop-forged German knives fell somewhere in between, only causing a moderate amount of bruising and oxidation to the basil.
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America's Test Kitchen Knives

During the past 20 years, we’ve conducted five evaluations in the search for the best chef’s knives. Those tests have covered dozens of blades in styles ranging from traditional, to innovative, to hybrid knives combining Western and Asian features. And at the end of every test, we’ve told the same story: One bargain knife has typically trounced the competition—including knives costing 10 times its price tag.
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To maintain that narrow edge, we use a tool specifically designed to sharpen a blade to 15 degrees. Our favorite models, both from Chef’sChoice, are a manual and an electric sharpener that each do a fine job of restoring an ultrakeen edge to an Asian-style knife. But in recent years the trend toward slimmer knives—and slimmer knife sharpeners—has spread west, as European manufacturers including Wüsthof, Henckels, Messermeister, and Mercer have launched their own 15-degree knives and sharpeners. (In fact, Wüsthof and Henckels have discontinued their 20-degree knives.) We were curious to see what these new sharpeners had to offer—and were especially eager to test the claim of one that it can even hone a 20-degree knife to 15 degrees. How would the best knife sharpeners perform?