In 20 years, we have conducted assessment year in finding the best chef’s knife. Experiments have covered dozens of blades in different styles, from traditional to innovative, to knives feature hybrid combination of Western and Asian. And at the end of each test, we were told the same story: A bargain knife knives often beat competition including costs 10 times the price.

While it’s hard to imagine a knife factory was able to pass either in price or quality every so often we review the items to be sure. This time we have found 8-inch chef’s knife (size most all purpose) and limit our budget at $50. Ten models meet the criteria included a version of “consumer use “of previous winners of us, a model that will ultimately only purpose of our trade. We enlist the six trials, both men and women and different sizes and capabilities kitchen hand, and had to spend weeks of their hack, dicing, and cut their way through all 10 children chicken, butternut squashes 10, 10 onions, parsley and 10 bundles. What we are looking for a quick but powerful blade that feels comfortable and safe in our hands.

By the time we finish testing, we have found an outstanding favorite and a few other knives through Muster, but the rest of the model lagged behind, many of them by a significant margin . While leading artists can disrupted the whole bird and slide through dense pumpkin, the large part of a lot of hard work, and by the end of the test, we had piles of ragged piece of onion and vegetables bruised parsley leaves to prove it.

The question: What about the winners of our single made it a star performer? Its design is not entirely different from the other knife, and that is one of the most expensive knife in a squad already low cost. We decided to get to the bottom of what makes this chef’s knife a lot better than all the others.

Degrees of Separation

The first priority for a good chef’s knife is razor sharp. Right out of the box, some had sharp knives than others. Still others started out pretty sharp and quickly lose their edge. Either way, a blunt knife to turn a small pile of potatoes into a mountain and make sloppy food. ( “I could hear the booming cell”, a tongue spray test as a dull onion juice on the cutting board said. “Chicken, I feel sorry for you,” a disappointed second trial said, vainly hacking away with a relatively blunt edge.)

Sharpness is partly determined by the thickness of the cutting edge of the blade. Any document can be sharp if its edge is thin enough, this is why a piece of paper harmless can provide a paper cut. Traditionally, Western knives be sharpened to 20-22 degrees on each side of the knife blade while Asia thinner-only 15 degrees on each side. However, the styling cues appear to be blurring supporters Asian knives: All kinds of knives, we have tested is considered to be Western style, but when we asked the manufacturers, it turned that half of the models sported 15 degrees (or narrow) Knives, including the top three of our favorites.

But a razor thin edge cutting is not everything: If the metal is too soft, it will be easy to develop chips, dings, and dents, and the edges will wear down quickly. So what makes a difficult tongue than others? It started with the composition of the steel.

Steel is an alloy that always includes iron and carbon, but it may also contain other components selected to add special features to the metal. We were able to find out that the products in our product line to use one of three basic alloy steel: x50CrMoV15, x55CrMoV15, and 420. (To do the first two alloys easier to take references in this story, we will refer to them simply as “X50” and “x55” steel, respectively). When we examine the types of each blade steel against our ranking, we find that 420 steel knife is clearly inferior blades made from two different alloys, as they landed at the bottom of the table our ratings. These include the “dull,” model “fragile”, which was produced crushed, not diced onions. A blade is made of 420 was the last place finish, which struggled to clean cutting through copier paper (check the sharpness of our standards) and dulled quickly as test progresses. Meanwhile, the tongue starts out sharp and in doing so has been crafted from steel X50 and x55 and three leading model of our alloys using X50.

These results suggest that the production of alloy 420 without hard edged as those made of two different metals. When we consult with Bob Kramer, a master bladesmith, and Merrilea Mayo, a materials scientist and former president of the Materials Research Society, both experts confirmed our hunch: 420 steel is a softer metal than the other two alloys. This is because it usually contains less carbon and vanadium, the elements that make hardware dealer. So why a manufacturer would choose for this quality? A softer steel is easier to cut into the wings, lower cost of production. For the difference between the X50 and X55 steel, steel their makeups are very similar, so we can only assume that something else has to give the X50 a black edge over others.

Something that turns out to be how the metal is heated and cooled. Like baking time and temperature influence of a bread crumb, “cooking” process of identification of metal particles. For a hardware product, small, sticking the target particles. “Opera,” Mayo explains, “useless function for blades because they are too soft.” All manufacturers begin the process of making knives in the same way: by slowly cooling the molten metal. Next to the ownership: a multi-step annealing process of warming and cooling of metal to help shrink the grains and / or encourage new, smaller ones to form. According to Mayo, incubation can have infinite variations, which may lead to differences in particle size and model. We hope that it has been specifically helped me train our front-runner has high hardness. (Heat treatment may also explain why some X50 steel blade made from the same did not perform well.)

Get a (Good) Grip

The Best Chef Knife For Most Cooks 2
The Best Chef Knife For Most Cooks

For the other half of the chef’s knife handle we have found a point of interest will be divided among the test. After all, the comfort of a handful of mostly subjective and depends on the variables of the size of your hand, how do you keep your tongue, your knife skills, whether you prefer brawnier or a slimmer handle or one that is made from metal rather than plastic or wood.

Surprisingly, though, all six tested preferred a unanimous handling: that is our victory. This processor boasts ergonomic grooves or bumps; compared to the other models we tested, it really lacks design features. How can a grip-especially one very basic, but it’s looking almost seems underdesigned-felt like a “natural extension” of a lot of different hands?

We have shown the knife Jack Dennerlein, behavior and safety professor at Northeastern and Harvard universities who offer a one word explanation: “. Affordance” This term, he explained, is the what ergonomists used to describe the flexibility that we require our chef’s knife. Cutting is a complex task, and a handle designed for many to comprehend the scope of the necessary angle and force, allowing us to confidently drive the knife through a chicken bone as easily as we make precise cuts in an onion. Dennerlein said that when manufacturers add grooves and curves knife with a handle, like the handle on some of the less comfortable in our product line, they are telling us how to keep children knives instead of allowing us to choose what is most comfortable. Sharp angles on many of the knife handle and blade spikes are an example of this. They restrict where our hands are comfortable, as well as bolsters, both are digging into our hands when we use the so called bird pinch, you choke up on the knife and held arrested back of the blade between the thumb and forefinger of your pronunciation to control. other processors or too thin “like holding a lipstick tube with a sharp blade at the end of” Or too broad.

We also point out a chef’s knife point of a “bellylike” curve to grip and an indented ridge along the top. The manufacturer claims that these features are designed specifically for home cooks, but we are not sure why any chef wants them; we found that they did our fingers rotate out when we are holding for a better, cause fatigue and reduced control. Furthermore, the handling is done from a hard, shiny plastic that does not offer a lot of friction between our hands and the handle. As a result, it feels slippery, especially in the messy task as slaughtering a chicken.

But even when a handle is designed specifically to provide friction, it sometimes has other flaws. The plastic suitcase made open ridges on a chef’s knife, for example, is still in our hands, but also dig deep groove into our palms. For some tests on the timber holding the other knife feels much better in your hand, like the natural grain provide some traction, but to other tests of empathy to understand “crude”.

Any way you slice it

After nearly two months of testing, we have calculated the results and we can not say that we were shocked to know the winner. Again, loved our previous easily reach a top position with the possibility of its special cut and a suitcase, all testers found particularly comfortable. Do not be fooled by its design unprepossessing: This model shows some subtle features have helped propel it to the top of our rankings in the last two decades. For one, there are plain-Jane handle it. Is made from a polyamide bumpy, grippy nylon material known, it has enough traction to stay put in your hand, and its basic design boasts the so-called affordance that makes it very suitable for any type of grip. Second, its tongue is made of hard alloy steel X50 that Kramer has agreed that could put through a very fine tuning heating and cooling process to develop optimal stiffness.

Third, the sharpened blade is a thin 15 degrees. With a chef’s knife easily cuts through foods, which detects meaningful, but it also raised another question: how best to maintain a narrow edge is what? The producers originally designed knives for chefs and experts of food industry with the assumption that such users will be maintain the edge on a grinding stone. However, now that the Asian-style Cathedral has become more widely available to consumers in Western countries, the manufacturer also recommends that to keep winning the next model in an excellent plant sharp 15 degrees. In the future, we will sharpen this knife into our winning knife sharpener.

Also worth keeping in mind is our winner of the manufacturers plan to move the model of our victory from retail stores for 3 years and make it only available to commercial stores and restaurant supply stores, and only the consumer version will be available for retail sale. We hope that companies reevaluate that decision. Although consumer stocks version sharp blade winning model, we are not enthusiastic about the former due to less than perfect handling and its $10 price tag higher. We will continue to monitor and report on the availability of the winner.


Six test kitchen staff chef’s knife under ten 8-inch, $50 or less, with a variety of kitchen tasks and also comfortable and maintain edge evaluation. The price has to be paid online.

BLADE DESIGN: We liked the slightly curved blade rocked nicely and spines that were not tapping into our hands.

HANDLE: Handles that are comfortable and safe for a variety of tasks and a variety of grips highest rating.

TASK KITCHEN: We do both chicken meat; unwieldy chopped pumpkin soup; Chopped onion pomegranate seeds; and chopped parsley, perform each task 60 times. We average scores from each test to get the overall rating.

EDGE HOLD: We evaluate each blade fresh out of the box, time trial, and at the end of the experiment by cutting through sheet of copier paper we examine the standard sharpness.

Thanks for watching!

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