Preparing a meal for yourself or your loved ones can quickly go from a task you enjoy to a chore you dread if you have a dull, awkward to use knife. If you are starting to dread cooking, it may be time for a new chef’s knife.

Most kitchen tasks can be handled with your typical 8-inch chef’s knife, and below Best Kitchen Knives Reviewed takes a look at the best of the best of these.

Best Kitchen Knives – Japanese

Japanese Kitchen KnivesIf you are used to the classic French style knives, Japanese knives will take some getting used to. Japanese kitchen knives are lighter and are therefore less versatile than traditional chef’s knives. They are ideal for chopping vegetables, but I wouldn’t use them to chop through bone.

Don’t immediately dismiss them though. Japanese kitchen knives are excellent choices in the kitchen due to their light feel and extremely sharp beveled edge. So much so that reviewers gave safety warnings about the knives cutting through dish rags while cleaning. Two knives battle it out for the top spot in this class, the Global Chef Knife G-2 and the Shun Classic Santoku chef knife. Not only is their edge very sharp, but it stays sharp for much longer than other Japanese knives.

If you know that a Japanese style knife is for you, the choice comes down to weight and grip, as both of the aforementioned knives are razor sharp. Although lighter than the traditional style Chef’s knives, the Shun is far heavier than the Global. Therefore Shun knives can be used to break down a chicken, for example. Global knives probably would not give you the power you need for this type of job

The Global knife’s handle is made of stainless steel with dimples for a safe grip, however many reviewers report that the handle can become very slippery, especially when wet. The Shun’s handle is made of Pakkawood in a D-shape. For some, this is a very comfortable handle, but for other, more petite reviewers, this handle can become uncomfortable when prepping a lot of food.

Both knives are exceptional. The choice comes down to each individual user’s preference.

Best Kitchen Knives – Traditional Chef’s Knives

Best Kitchen KnivesTraditional Chef’s knives are heavier and longer than Santoku chef knives. The two most popular high end knives are the Wusthof Classic Chef Knife and the JA Henckels Pro S Chef’s knife. Just like the aforementioned Japanese knives, both of these knives are exceptional. It all comes down to user’s preference.

One thing to mention is that these traditional knives do not come out of the box as sharp as they can be. Give them a little love, sharpen them, and you will see their true potential. They will never be as sharp as the Japanese knives, but they can come close. And once they are sharp, they will stay sharp for far longer than Japanese knives. Let’s look at these two in a little more detail.

The Wusthof knives have a forged blade made from high carbon stainless steel with a bolster and a polypropylene handle riveted to the full tang. Some with larger hands find the handle to be too thin, others adore it. The blade is thicker than that of other traditional knives. This knife is weighty, durable, and well balanced. The Wusthof Classic can handle almost any job you throw at it.

The popular Henckels Pro S also has a forged blade of high carbon stainless steel with full tang, but the blade is welded to the handle instead of the entire knife being forged at once.  JA Henckels knives are sometimes criticized for this but the weld is invisible and the company claims that the welds are actually stronger than steel. The knife features Henckels popular triple-riveted Novodur handles and feels surprisingly light for the amount of power the knife possesses.

Best Kitchen Knives – The Budget Buy

Victorinox Forschner Chefs KnifeVictorinox kitchen knives, mainly the R.H. Forschner, is by far the top chef knife in the under $40 range. Don’t let the price turn you off. Some reviewers state that they rather reach for this knife instead of other expensive knives in their block.

Forschner knives, made by Swiss craftsman, are made from stamped, high-carbon stainless steel with no bolster. Most think that the best chef knives are forged, but this knife is the exception. The Victorinox’s handles are made from slip resistant Fibrox fiber and are ergonomically designed for balance.

The knife cuts well and keeps a good edge, but some miss the heft found in the higher end forged knives. The R.H. Forschner Chef’s Knife is dishwasher safe. Really. A lot of the higher end knives discussed above also claim to be dishwasher safe, but I wouldn’t recommend it. My Forschner goes in the dishwasher every time, and it is fine.

So…What’s the Verdict?

Yes, they all sound great and they all have their drawbacks. How are you supposed to choose?

The most important thing is finding a knife that is comfortable in your hand and fits your needs. All knives reviewed on Best Kitchen Knives Reviewed are the best of the best and will not disappoint.