The Best Chef Knife

Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Our Top Pick for 2016: Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $179.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Every kitchen needs a durable chef’s knife that can be relied on for quick and easy slicing. The chef knife is the one kitchen tool you will reach for every day as it will help you prep all of your fruits, vegetables, and other gourmet ingredients for your favorite recipes. Because this is such an important part of your cooking experience, you will want one that is comfortable in your hand, provides even cuts, and feels sturdy. The following information will help you find the best chef’s knife for your own home’s kitchen.

Table of contents

All-purpose Knife For Chopping And Slicing
Broad, Strong Blade
2.5mm Blade
Layered Damascus Steel
Laser-controlled Edge
Pakkawood Handle
Striking, Hand-hammered Finish
High-carbon No-stain Steel
Hand Wash Is Recommended
Reduces Drag When Cutting
Sturdy, Heavy Knife
Made In Japan
Premium Pakkawood Handle
Easy Care And Handling

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef's Knife Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $179.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef’s Knife is the ideal kitchen tool when it comes to slicing, chopping, and dicing. It will handle everything from potatoes and carrots for stew to onions and green peppers for your pizza. It features an eight inch blade that has a slight curve for a smooth rocking motion while cutting. The blade’s large surface makes it easy to scrape or scoop your ingredients when transferring them form the cutting board to your favorite recipe.

The Shun Premier is created from a durable layered Damascus steel. It is accented by a hand hammered finish that both looks attractive and provides a hollow ground surface. This prevents foods from sticking to the blade as well as reducing the drag while cutting. The Pakkawood handle gives you a comfortable and secure grip as well as adding to the beauty of the knife. The Shun logo can be found embossed on the knife handle’s endcap.

This chef’s knife is best washed by hand and left to dry, but it is dishwasher safe. It measures 13.5 by 4/5 by 1 4/5 inches, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The blade’s core is created from high carbon VG-10. This is Japanese super steel that is well known for its ability to retain its edge retention. That means your knife will remain sharp for years to come. The blade is sharper than your European blades that have a 20 to 22 degree angle. Your Shun Premiere Chef’s Knife will include a 16 degree edge that is extra sharp right from the box. Keep in mind that the angle degree and the stronger steel will result in a more brittle blade. This doesn’t seem to be an issue with normal use in the kitchen.

The blade’s metal is easy to maintain and corrosion resistant. The Damascus style makes this knife attractive while providing air pockets that reduce friction when in use. The hammered finish is called Tsuchime, and it is what makes the hollow cavities for drag reduction. The handle has an oblong shape that will fit your palm nicely while keeping it secure. The pakkawood is impregnated with resin, and it is NSF certified. This means it can be used in any commercial setting as well as your home kitchen.

It comes to you from Seki City in Japan. This area is known as the samurai sword capital when it comes to manufacturing. Each Shun Premier 8-Inch Knife has a Rockwell rating of hardness of 60 to 61. Weekly honing is recommended to keep the blade in its best condition along with sharpening when needed with an Asian style electric sharpener or a professional sharpener. The metal used to create the blade is hard enough that staining will not be a problem. The knife has a total weight of eight ounces.

Those who have already bought and used this knife give it very high ratings. Both professional chefs and home cooks recommend the Shun Premiere Chef’s Knife in their online reviews. They often mention how many compliments they receive on its attractive appearance as well as how comfortable it feels in their hands. It truly is sharp out of the box just like manufacturer’s description states. It easily cuts ripe tomatoes, onions, apples, and the like. You can get a thin cut with light pressure. The handle makes it easy to maneuver, and its round shape, rather than a “D” shape, makes it easy for both left and right handed chefs to use.

This particular chef’s knife does hold its edge nicely with normal daily use. Those who own one state that it is ideal for de-boned meats, breads, and vegetables. They highly recommend the honing process after each use so that it retains its factory edge over time. This fact alone makes it most people’s go to knife. Owners of this piece also comment on how beautiful it looks in their kitchen. The Damascus steel and the Tsuchime finish make it look more like artwork than the useful kitchen tool that it is.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife

Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife

View it on Amazon for $129.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Mac Professional Chef’s Knife with a hollow edge is as commonly found in home kitchens as it is in professional settings. The bolster and the thin blade will allow you to cut and slice easily into most foods. It features dimples along the blade’s edge in order to help you cut through foods such as squash and apples with ease. It is one of the most highly rated knifes for home cooks everywhere. This stamped Japanese knife is among the most durable, sharpest, and most comfortable designs available.

This knife’s blade is razor sharp. It will glide through carrots, onions, and even butternut squash while creating classic French cuts. On the other hand, it is just as useful when working with fresh herbs such as basil. It dices without leaving behind any brown edges. The high carbon blade is not only durable, but it will remain sharp longer than many of the other knives found at this price point.

The 2.5mm blade and resin impregnated Pakka wood handle is lightweight and easy to control, but it is not dishwasher safe. You will have to hand wash it, and let it air dry for best results. It measures 8 by 1 by 1 inch, and it weighs 9.6 ounces. This knife is made in Japan, and it will come with a 25 year limited warranty. This Mac all-purpose chef knife will glide through even tough vegetables within seconds, and it will give you years of reliable service.

The blade of the Mac 8-Inch Professional Knife has an asymmetric edge and a 55/45 bevel. It is bias to the right hand, but those who have left online reviews found no difficulty using it with their left hand. Care of the knife only requires routine honing and the occasional sharpening. Many have used their Mac knife for over six months without the need to sharpen. Home cooks who most enjoy using this knife have medium to small hands, and they were not satisfied with many of the other available styles. Most profession knives have quite a bit of heft to them while others are so light that they are hard to control. This design is the ideal, middle of the road style, which most chefs prefer.

Online reviews describe the Mac Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife as being utilitarian in its appearance, but they say it handles like a work horse. The thinner Japanese style blade slices through the tougher vegetables such as carrots and potatoes with very little resistance. It is the perfect entry level knife for those who have wanted to switch to a Japanese blade. It creates paper thin slices and has an even consistency.

Owners of this knife recommended taking special care with it. Keep in mind how truly sharp it is, and take the time to keep it clean. The Japanese steel used to create the blade is different from German steel knives. They recommend getting into the habit of always washing the knife with soap and water and completely drying it after you are done using it. Immediately rinse it off after slicing anything acidic, and never leave it on the counter unwashed for an extended length of time. This will help guard against the threat from rust. With proper care and use, this knife will remain durable and sharp for many years.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro S 8-inch High Carbon Stainless-Steel Chef’s Knife

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro S 8-inch High Carbon Stainless-Steel Chef's Knife

View it on Amazon for $98.45*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro Chef’s Knife harkens back to the Vikings and their ability to craft beautiful blades. This signature eight inch knife is created form a single solid piece of high carbon steel that is ice hardened in order to provide long lasting sharpness. The full bolster with its excellent balance and weight allows you to have complete control as you move quickly from one job to the next. The laser controlled edge of the eight inch blade gives you a clean and precise 15 degree angle on both sides. Better handling is also achieved with the full tang, and a firm grip is made available with a three rivet polypropylene handle.

This chef’s knife will provide the ideal rocking, chopping, and circular motions needed when prepping ingredients for any culinary dish. Zwilling J.A. Henckels has been producing quality knives since 1895, and this one reflects that quality in an everyday knife that provides plenty of value for the cost. It is an affordable piece that was created with the latest technology, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.

The Twin Pro line by Zwilling J.A. Henckels is precision forged with high carbon steel that resists staining. It meets the Sigmaforge standards, and has improved consistency, perfect geometry, and lasting sharpness. In addition, the Sigmaforge construction offers you improved stability and a high precision steel structure. The cutting edge retention is improved, and it will stay sharp longer than similar knives in the same price range.

The handle on this eight inch chef’s knife has an ergonomic three rivet design that provides you with a comfortable grip while performing all of your cutting tasks. The handle has been bonded perfectly to the full tang for both durability and stability. The blade is corrosion resistant as well as stain resistant, and this particular knife is dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. The entire piece will measure 17 by 3 by 1 inch, and it has a total weight of 9.8 ounces. It arrives to you already sharpened and ready to use from Germany.

Online reviews from amateur chefs, home cooks, and professionals alike describe the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Chef’s Knife as being one of their favorites. They love that it is well balanced and preforms nicely. Slicing, dicing, and chopping is effortless, and its razor sharp edge will last a long time. Many people comment on how you know it won’t break due to the full tang. This tang is completely visible all of the way around the black acrylic handle. The curve of the blade is well suited for the most frequently used motions, and the highly polished blade is easy to keep clean.

Several of those who have given this particular chef’s knife high ratings have said that they used it to replace many of the other knives they had in the kitchen. They have found the price to be a great investment. It is not expensive, yet it isn’t exactly cheap either. Its performance outshines that of the numerous gadgets and cutting devices available at a much higher price point, and it provides years of reliability.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): OXO Good Grips Professional 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

OXO Good Grips Professional 8-Inch Chef's Knife

View it on Amazon for $19.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe OXO Good Grips Professional 8-Inch Chef’s Knife allows you to have the benefits of a chef’s knife at a reasonable price. This eight inch knife makes slicing, mincing, dicing, and chopping simple and easy. The blade is constructed of stainless steel, and it has a sharp cutting edge. The full tang keeps the design rigid in your hands, and it reduces the chance of it breaking. The ergonomically correct handle is created out of a black nonslip rubber to ensure a secure grip along with safety.

The OXO Good Grips Chef’s Knife is easy to keep clean. It can go in the dishwasher, but hand washing it and immediately drying it is best. The entire piece measures 12 by 2 by 1 inch, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It weighs 12 ounces, and comes to you from China. It holds its edge nicely so that you have a sharp edge that lasts. It has a very comfortable length, weight, and balance that many home cooks enjoy.

The blade of this particular chef’s knife is sharp and serrated on one side so that it can be used to easily slice tomatoes as well as some crusty breads and baguettes. It is thin, but it is in no way flexible. It is the perfect knife to fill the need for a mid-sized blade that can be used for multiple tasks. Those who have posted online reviews often comment on how surprised they were after having used it for some time. Most expected an okay blade for this price, but they soon discovered that the quality far surpasses the cost.

Those who have rated the OXO Good Grips Professional Chef’s Knife rave about the handle as much as they do the blade. The non-slip rubber is perfect while working in the kitchen where your hands can often be slightly wet. With the good balance the piece provides, they found this to be the knife they reached for the most often. They do recommend taking care of it. The edge will stay sharp longer if it is hand washed and dried as well as honed after each use.

Pre-purchase considerations

Type of Steel

Your first decision on selecting a chef’s knife will be what kind of steel to pick. Many people will overlook this, but once you know the major differences, the steel will become a key factor in choosing your chef’s knife. You will find there are numerous types of knives being made by many different companies, and each one is being constructed out of a variety of steel alloys. It’s not as confusing as it sounds. What all of this boils down to be is that you will basically have two options when it comes to steel. You will purchase a blade made of either Japanese Steel or German Steel.

German knives will typically have a thicker blade. This will make them sturdier, and they are less likely to have the tip break off if the knife is accidentally dropped. They are usually sharpened to a 22 degree angle for added sharpness. They will hold their edge for a long time, and they are easily sharpened. The only down side is that a German blade is more difficult to make fine cuts with. If you want the knife for slicing sushi or sashimi, a German blade will be too thick.

A Japanese knife will have a delicate composition and a thin blade. It is normally sharpened to a 16 to 18 degree angles. The extreme edge of the blade will make it extremely sharp, but the edge won’t last as long as a German blade. In addition, they tend to be a bit more difficult to sharpen.

The Handle

When selecting your chef’s knife, you want to consider what type of handle it has. It needs to comfortably fit in your hands. If your hands are small, you will want a thin handle. If your hands are large, you will need a wider handle. A thin handle in a large hand can produce pressure points. You may tighten your grip in order to alieve this, but that will cause poor fluidity in your movements and result in inaccurate cuts. You ideally want something you can hold comfortably while feeling relaxed for an extended amount of time.

Weighting and Balance

You want to consider the overall weighting of a knife before purchasing it. Weighting has more to do with the balance of a knife than its actual weight. A knife isn’t going to perform well simply because it doesn’t weigh very much. A ten inch knife should have a balancing point right where the handle connects to the blade. This means both sides weigh the same. As the blade gets shorter, the more heft there will be on the handle’s side. This is what gives you control over your intricate movements.

The Tang

A full tang is critical to a good knife. The tang is the extension of the knife’s blade that goes into the handle. A full tang refers to one that goes the entire length of the handle. A full tang improves the control, stability, and durability of the knife. Inexpensive and cheaply made versions have partial tangs. These tend to break over time. Many of the high quality knifes allow the tang to show all around the handle while remaining flush with it. They do this in order to prove the stability of their product.

Stamped or Forged?

Blades are either stamped or they are forged. Forged blades are often softer, heavier, simple to sharpen, and includes a bolster. Stamped blades are lighter, sharper, and harder to sharpen once they dull. If they have a bolster at all, it will be welded on. Forged doesn’t always mean better with today’s technology in knife manufacturing. Cheaply made knives are all stamped, but not all stamped knives are of lesser quality.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Finding the perfect chef’s knife is easy if you know what to expect in quality and performance. The Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef’s Knife is an elegant piece that slices and dices beautifully. Many people are drawn to the attractive hammered blade and Pakkawood handle of this knife, but it is also an extra sharp blade that easily glides through a variety of foods. Our silver pick, the Mac Knife Professional Chef’s Knife, has a more industrial look about it, but it still maintains a high quality blade that can be relied upon for many years to come.

If you are simply looking for a good quality knife for daily use in your home kitchen, the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro will suit your needs perfectly. With an eight inch high carbon steel blade and comfortable grip, you will be able to accomplish all of your food prep quickly and easily. Budget minded home cooks will enjoy the dependability of the OXO Good Grips Professional Chef’s Knife. It isn’t the piece of art that the higher priced knifes can be, but it will be a work horse among your kitchen tool collection.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Lesley Stockton, The Best Chef’s Knife for Most Cooks,, May 26, 2016
  2. Jacob Burton, How to Pick Out a Chef’s Knife That’s Right For You,, May 10, 2011
  3. Tessa Miller, What Should I Look For in a Multi-Purpose Chef’s Knife?,, January 25, 2013
  4. The Kitchen Hand, Shun 8 Inch Chef Knife,, December 27, 2013
  5. Excellent, Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro S 8 Inch High Carbon Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife, YouTube, April 9, 2015
  6. How to Use A Chef’s Knife,

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