How to choose the right kitchen knife

August 29, 2022 (Last Updated: August 24, 2022)
How to choose the right kitchen knife

Great knives are some of the best tools to have in your kitchen arsenal, but choosing the right ones can be tricky. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered! A good knife is like a dance partner – one that feels perfect in your hand might feel clumsy to your friend, that’s why you should try before you buy. Here’s How to choose the right kitchen knife.


Try several knives to find your ideal knife weight. Some people believe that a hefty knife ‘falls’ with more force, while another school of thought prefer lighter blades that let you manoeuvre it more skillfully. Choose the weight that feels best in your hand.

 An unbalanced knife makes you work harder. Judge balance by gripping the knife by its handle. The knife should not feel uncomfortably weighted towards any  one side (blade or handle). 

A 20 cm chef’s knife might feel too big for you to handle, but a 14 cm one won’t be of much use when cutting a watermelon. Try different sizes and weigh them up against the tasks you perform most at home. 

Bare Basics

You don’t need a complete set of pricey knives for successful kitchen escapades. A good chef’s knife and a couple of different paring knives will be versatile enough for most kitchen tasks. Use your chef’s knife for chopping, dicing and slicing and the paring knives for peeling and de-seeding. Other essential knives in your knife drawer include a sturdy bread knife and a set of steak knives.

Level Up

Once you’ve got the basics, think about adding those knives that will make your cooking easier. A filleting knife, cleaver or mezzaluna, perhaps? Or would a de-boning knife and a dedicated carving knife make more sense? And don’t forget a sashimi knife if homemade sushi is your thing.

Options For Days

When shopping, you’ll find high-carbon stainless steel knives, forged knives and ceramic knives. While the high-carbon stainless steel options are well-priced and will last you a lifetime, the forged options have a reputation for durability and balance. Knives made from super-hard ceramic have thin, incredibly sharp, and precise blades and hold their sharp edge longer than steel. But ceramic knives are still more of a compliment than a replacement for steel blades. Ceramics, however, lack a bolster and a thick heel; you’ll definitely want something heftier for hard squash, raw potatoes, and chicken bones.


A sharp knife ensures precise cutting and chopping and also minimises the risk of injury. To keep your blades in good condition, you really don’t need to sharpen them as often as you might think, but they will need regular honing. If you’re not comfortable with your honing skills, ask your butcher to teach you or watch a couple of Youtube videos. You’ll be a pro in no time.

Power It Up

Modern electric knives offer you increased power, improved safety, and carving accuracy with less exertion. When used correctly, they require little effort and can cut down on carving time on everything from holiday roasts, brisket and roasted chicken. They’re also great for bread if you don’t already have a large serrated knife.

An excellent electric carving knife should fit comfortably in your hand, be easy to use and operate. In addition, the blades should be easy to insert, detach and remain secure during cutting. Although corded models are more stable and robust, the cordless versions are always more practical.

Our favourite kitchen knife selection:

1. Get rocking

A must have for any kitchen tramontina mincing knife mezzaluna

R428 00, takealot

2. Go east

Slice sashimi like a pro global g series yanagi 30 cm sashimi knife

R2 399, yuppiechef

3. Carve away

Masterfully carve roasts tim malzer kai kamagata 23 cm carving knife

R1 999, yuppiechef

4. Debone like a pro

Easily break down a chicken Scanpan classic 15 cm boning knife

R839, yuppiechef


How to choose a chef’s knife

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