Best Butcher Knives Reviewed and Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
With there being a number of different types of butchers knives one unifying trait that all of them needed to accommodate was the ability to quickly and easily slice through meat. All the other parts the bones, the ligaments, the cartilage would vary from cut to cut but every cut has some type of meat on it. With this in mind, I tried to only include knives that used steel as their primary metal as it has an amazing ability to remain sharp without compromising its durability. While there are a few different types of steel on this list, every one of these butchers knives was produced with steel.
While not all of your meat cutting will require this a good amount of it will require you to break or cut a number of bones or other animal body parts. In order to provide this function, I split the list between the cleaver butchers knives and the traditional straight butcher’s knives. The cleavers are quite good at chopping through bones or other tough aspects of meat while the straight knives provide a close cut to bones and bring a bit of flexibility to the blade.
Should you be using your knife for fish often times larger more dense fish such as tuna have a very thick rubber-like band of fat right under their scales. This band of fat can be immensely difficult to cut and will put your knife to the test. In order to combat this specific yet common challenge, I tried to include only cleavers that would be capable of retaining a 15-degree edge. This more narrow edge is better for slicing through the band with less resistance and can be accomplished with a single blow.
Another key performance aspect that some of these knives needed to embrace were the ability to bend around bones. Some of the cuts you will attempt to make will be very close if not surrounding a bone. While sometimes it is ok to just chop the bone off in other cases like with a tomahawk steak you want some of the meat to remain on the bone. For this flexibility, I added knives that used stamped metal which is very durable but allows the blade to bend and contour.
With the amount of moisture found inside of the meat, it is inevitable that some will eventually end up in your hands. With or without gloves this slick texture is sure to cause your hand to slip on a handle that isn’t texture in some way. Trying to help to keep your fingers firmly in place I sought to include knives that were textured or used another method to keep your hands from sliding due to excess moisture.
A fundamental and crucial aspect of every butcher’s knife is how well it can retain that beautifully sharp edge. When you cut meat with a dull knife it becomes a nightmare task that was doomed from the start but attempts the same cut with a fully sharpened butchers knife and the smooth and discrete cuts you make become a thing of legend. To ensure your knife stays as razor sharp as ever I tried to select knives that used a bit of chromium for its ability to retain its sharp edge.
With all the slamming and bashing or slicing, you will need this knife to accomplish using the right steel is a critical step in choosing and developing a good butchers knife. Considering this, I implemented knives that use high carbon steel. High carbon is extremely durable and generally heat treated, this method produces a metal that can withstand serious abuse on a daily regimen.
With the best of butchers knives, you need to be able to turn your knife mid cut and follow the natural shape of the animal you are butchering. Should your knife be unable to adjust to the shape of the meat you’re cutting you can end up cutting something that makes up the integrity of your cut potentially ruining that cut of meat you were trying to get. From stamped steel to surgical grade stainless steel there is surely an option on this list that will be able to navigate the meat you happen to be cutting with ease.
The National Sanitation Foundation marking or NSF approved certifies that the product was tested and inspected to ensure the product is sound and safe for personal and commercial use and that they meet specific health specifications. This foundation helps to regulate the product to ensure the highest quality is provided and only the ones that adhere are marked with their label. Many of the options on this list are NSF approved.
While a wood handle may seem to be an odd choice if the proper wood and style are used it can be a very beneficial addition. Knives that use pakka wood look appealing to the eye and provide use in that pakka wood has antibacterial properties. With cross contamination being a huge concern for many restaurants I sought to ensure that there was an option for a knife that used this stylish and useful handle design.
While texturing on the handle of a blade is effective and limiting your hand from slipping there is only so much it can handle. If the texture should fail you would be thankful to have a second system in place to prevent your hand from sliding onto that razor sharp blade your new knife is sporting. As a secondary prevention method, many of the knives on this list use a protective finger guard at the end of the handle near the blade. This thicker rounded nub will act as a barrier wall should you hand slip up towards the blade.
The moisture from meat is only one source of moisture with which you need to be mindful of. There is also the moisture that will come from regular washing and should you just simply throw your knife in the dishwasher and leave you may be working to damage the knife you rely on to perform. The detergent that is used with a dishwasher can speed up the damage taken by corrosion. Some knives will be more susceptible to corrosion depending on the steel composition. Steels that use chromium are much more resistant to this type of corrosion and were included in this best of the list.
The amount of time that goes into maintaining a good butchers knife can be overlooked quite easily. While some knives retain an edge for long periods of time all butchers knives will require some degree of maintenance. Knives that use stainless steel will lose an edge rather quickly and will likely need to be sharpened before each use. Whereas knives that use high carbon steel have an exceptional ability to retain an edge and won’t need to be sharpened but every few times you use it. Whichever your preference there are a great many of different steel compositions to choose from provided in this list.
The same chromium addition that makes a high carbon knife resistant to corrosion and provides phenomenal edge retention can be somewhat of a burden. The corrosion resistant is only effective against ordinary water. If there are additives like water or detergent they will work to speed the decay of your knife. This means that generally with high carbon chromium knife you will want to hand wash it which will require more effort in the maintenance of your knife.
While I didn’t make it a requirement while writing this guide, butchers knives that offer a manufacturer warranty were featured higher on this list. A warranty goes a long way when speaking for the quality of a product. With the industrial revolution there came a varying degree of potentially defective products. We found that while machines can mass produce an item it isn’t a perfect product every time. Should you end up with one of the defective products these companies send you a replacement free of charge.
High carbon knives are nice and their long list of amazing features makes them an asset in the kitchen but sometimes you just need a knife that is maintenance free. A knife that you can throw in the dishwasher and know that regardless of the task the knife is the last thing you need to worry about when you’re done cutting your meat into its different pieces. For anyone that needs a dishwasher-safe option, there are a few on this list that are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
Not as common in a commercial practice but very common in a restaurant you will want a butchers knife that can act as a general purpose chef’s knife. The truly high-quality butcher’s knives are quite capable of accomplishing this task. While I highly recommend washing them when going between meats and other vegetables these knives are sharp enough to slice and dice assorted vegetables as well as any other assorted herbs and fruits you may need to cut.
While a versatile knife is quite formidable there is the saying a place for everything and everything in its place. Many of the knives on this list are able to be expanded upon by buying another knife from the collection. Having the right tool for the job is 99% of what it takes to accomplish your task.
10 Best Butcher Knives
1. Utopia Kitchen 7 Inch
In the second place, the Utopia kitchen chopper. This stainless steel cleaver shaped butchers knife is an extremely robust knife that has an ergonomic design a the handle that feels natural to the touch. The large seven-inch blade is capable of maintaining a very sharp edge that can slide through the densest objects. While this knife is dishwasher safe it is recommended to be hand washed to help maintain the high quality.
While shorter in length than other cleavers on this list it is wider and weighs in at one pound. This additional weight and thickness provide more mass giving the knife a heavy feeling and enabling it to chop more effectively. This knife is sure to cut right through many of the harder objects you will run into.
Holds an Edge
This knife made of stainless steel has the ability to maintain an edge even with regularly chopping. This will ensure you spend less time sharpening your knife and more time getting to that cut of meat your after.
Cost and Value
If you consider that this blade as an astonishing ability to retain its edge, and its corrosion and rust resistant nature it's sure to be one of the more cost-effective options on this list. With a cost that is about average for this list, the biggest value comes from its extremely resilience to wear.
2. Winco 8
The Winco heavy duty cleaver is a stainless steel and corrosion resistant knife. It features a wooden handle for a comfortable and familiar feel while cutting. The handle is five inches in length and conforms to a larger hand. The blade is eight inches long and has a hefty feel. This larger blade has more mass making snapping thick fish skin and breaking smaller bones while cutting as easy as a swift bash. This knife has an eyehole loop on the end of the blade which allows for easy hanging storage. As the first place option on this list, it offers an uncanny ability to withstand the trials of time and usage and can be easily sharpened or replaced.
The worst part of preparing any cut of meat is the mess that it entails. The Winco heavy duty cleaver is made for a messy job and cleaning up can often be unpleasant. This knife is dishwasher safe allows for quick and easy cleaning no matter how dirty this knife gets.
With the rigorous cleaning that is required when something is stuck and steadfast to your knife, there is always a concern that over time your knife with corroding and wear. This knife was well design and the stainless steel used in its production is very resistant to corrosion and rust.
Cost and Value
The most redeeming quality of this knife is its purchasing value. As the cheapest knife featured on this list the price won’t break the bank. The price doesn't speak to the quality however, this blade would make a great addition to your knife line up.
3. TUO Cutlery Vegetable
As the best value choice on this best ten butchers knife list, you cannot find a more cost-effective option than the TUO cutlery cleaver. This seven-inch blade features a very eye-catching wood grain handle that screams hold me. The TUO cleaver uses tempered steel that can maintain a very sharp edge for a long time with rigorous use. While the cleaver is the featured product the TUO line comes in 6 different designs to conform to your specific purpose.
High Carbon Steel
The use of high carbon steel in the design of this knife was an ingenious implementation of the product. High carbon steel is renowned for its hardness and the higher the carbon content the harder the steel. This hardness allows the steel to withstand numerous bashes without damaging the integrity of the knife.
Wood Grain handle
The wooden handle is made with pakka wood grain that has antibacterial properties and provides the added benefit of looking awesome. This wooden handle is naturally conforms to your hand providing you with a feeling of total control.
Cost and Value
This knife is one of the more expensive knives of this best ten list. The high carbon steel design and the wood grain handle increase the value and combined with the functionality and versatility of this blade make it a staple in any kitchen.
4. F. Dick Ergogrip 10
While F. Dick has an entire line of knife products, the ten-inch breaking knife was the clear choice when looking for a high-quality butchers knife. This breaking knife is made of extremely durable polished stainless steel that can be sharpened repeatedly and maintain that edge for some time. This Egrogrip breaking knife is NSF approved and ready for even the most demanding commercial use.
High Quality Production
F. Dick or Friedrich Dick, is a German manufacturer of high-quality knives and tools. F. Dick has been in business since 1778 and manufactures some of the best knives and tools for butchers. This knife is remarkably well designed and puts user safety first and foremost.
This knife is the first on the list that is NSF approved, which is a company that tests the quality of products for international commercial use. Not only does the NSF inspect the product, in this case, butchers knives, but they inspect the plant in which they are produced.
Cost and Value
As one of the more expensive butchers knives of this list, the key selling points and value comes from all the safety features and user end consideration in production. The textured handle and flexible blade allow for total control and comfort when using this blade.
5. Victorinox Cutlery
While Victorinox is generally known as the creator of swiss pocket knives, the company originally started as a cutlery shop. Having started in 1884 it should come as no surprise that their 12” cutlery straight is featured here. It uses ice tempered stainless steel that retains an edge and sharpens easily. This blade uses a patented handle known as Fibrox that is textured and slip resistant. This knife is NSF approved so it is welcome for commercial use.
The Victorinox cutlery utilizes a stamped blade for a great number of things but it helps to reduce the price. A stamped knife is a knife that has been pressed out of a sheet of metal and then sharpened and then a handle is added to it. While it is the topic of great amongst chefs and butchers alike, there are a great many benefits of stamped blades. Stamped blades are much more cost effective and affordable.
The textured handle on the Victorinox Straight is quite good at adhering to your skin or even a protective glove. The material seems to grasp onto your skin and give you ultimate control over the blade.
Cost and Value
From the stamped blade to the safety constraints, this blade does a good job of feeling like a higher quality more expensive product with a reasonable price tag. Falling at the mid to higher ranged price this knife is worth giving a chance.
6. Imarku 7-Inch
This very appealing butchers knife has a seven-inch blade and 5-inch handle making it a foot in length total. The handle is made using pakka wood that is tender to the touch and has an added benefit of having antibacterial qualities. While larger in size this knife is surprisingly lightweight and can be easily handled allowing for precision cutting. This blade has very good edge retention keeping it sharp through stringent use.
Eye hole for Storage
With the larger and heavier cleaver knives, storage is the most concerning aspect. The Imarku chopper has an eye hole cut out in the upper corner of the blade so you can simply hang it on the wall when you're done using it.
While this is a cleaver it is surprisingly lightweight in size. This lightweight quality enables it to be used for more than just butchering and could comfortably be used to chop other ingredients without causing undue fatigue.
Cost and Value
From the ease of storage to the multiple ways, you can use this knife you are sure to get what you pay for with this product. As one of the higher priced knives, the value seems to fit the quality of the product a fair price for a fair product.
7. Global GF-27
The Global GF-27 is styled with a more Japanese sushi chef appearance and nothing was sacrificed with this design. This knife is made with CROMOVA steel that which can hold an edge longer than any other type of steel. The dimpled handle allows for perfect control no matter how much moisture is on your knife or hands.
Dimpled Safe Grip
When working with meat your hands can get particularly slick. If you try to cut anything that is tough or solid and your hands slip, that could spell disaster. The Global GF-27 has all your bases covered with a dimpled safe grip that provides a texture to prevent your hand from slipping when cutting your meat.
When you break it down into its essential elements butchering is simply removing the parts of the meat you don’t want. Sometimes when breaking down your meat you come across skin or silver skin, while edible it can be very tough and unpleasant to chew, commonly getting stuck in your teeth. This knife has a sharp angled tip that will slice through that skin with ease.
Cost and Value
This knife is hands down the most expensive on this list. With the use of high-quality CROMOVA steel and its ability to retain a sharp edge for very long periods, the price tag isn't much of a surprise. While it is expensive the high quality speaks for itself and is well worth the price tag.
8. Rada Cutlery Old Fashioned
The Rada Cutlery Old Fashioned butchers knife is a formidable contender on this list. This seven and a half inch knife is made using surgical grade carbon steel that can chop, slip or cut just about anything with ease. This knife has a skinning knife to remove any silver skin or other skin that needs to be removed. Designed after the more traditional butcher's knives this knife is thinner and better for slicing.
The aluminum handle on this butchers knife is light yet durable. With the aluminum being welded directly to the blade increases the durability of the knife and ensures that the handle will not break from slamming or bashing the knife.
The larger surgical steel blade is long enough to cut through the biggest portions of meat. The extra length of this blade you are able to generate some leverage over tougher ligaments or smaller bones.
Cost and Value
With the high-quality surgical grade steel and the lightweight aluminum handle, you might be surprised to hear this blade is one of the cheapest options on this list. With such a low cost and high durability, this blade has a lot to offer any kitchen.
9. Dexter-Russell (S112-10PCP)
This Dexter-Russell ten-inch butcher knife is a staple in their cutlery line up and is made using high-quality carbon steel. It is hand hone to provide an amazing sharpness right out of the box. It utilizes proprietary dexsteel stain resistant steel that won't tarnish or stain over time. The handle is a textured polypropylene that is slip-resistant and very easy to clean. This knife's handle can withstand both low and high temperatures.
Protective Finger Guard
While not exactly unique to this list but more prominent in its design the Dexter Russell 12” butcher knife has a protective finger guard at the end of the handle to assist the textured handle in preventing your hand from sliding forward onto the blade while cutting. This elevated finger guard may not some like much is quite effective at sliding prevention.
Prior to shipping, this knife is hand sharpened to ensure a high-quality razor sharp edge for your first-time use. The patented dexsteel is capable of maintaining this edge through extended use minimizing your time sharpening.
Cost and Value
This product's pricing falls in the mid to lower priced range and compared to others on this list and offers fewer features and functionality causing it to fall lower in the overall rating.
10. Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory
This knife is used by professional and home chefs alike. The Ontario 7111 is a traditionally styled knife that is sure to be affordable and to provide good quality for that low cost. While it is in the last and final place on this list, it is only the worst of the very best. This knife is still a very solid choice that is extremely durable and resistant to wear. With proper maintenance and regularly sharpening this knife competes with the best of them.
Full Wooden Handle
The full wooden handle on this model butcher knife is very appealing to the eye and is what you would expect a traditional butchers knife to look like. The wooden handle feels really good in your hand and has a very smooth surface.
This knife was uniquely picked for extreme affordability. While it isn't the cheapest or the most expensive knife on this list it offered a unique mixture of high-quality production and availability that set it apart from the other knives on this list.
Cost and Value
With affordability as the key trait when choosing this product the cost-effectiveness of this item was innately higher than others on this list. This knife is priced in the lower range category and the products used in its production were average or above average materials.