In our 2017 update, we included seven new kitchen knives, as well as models already tested by us, to put our first choices back into play. We sliced, diced and chopped a mountain of vegetables. We also sent each knife for a week’s training in the kitchen of a New York restaurant. In the end, we concluded that our recommendations remained the same.
We spent nearly 120 hours on this research. We have spoken with experts and leaders. We cut more than thirty kilos of fruit and vegetables, with twenty-one models of knives. After all these experiments, we believe that the Mac MTH-80 is the best model for the majority of people. For the fourth year in a row, the Mac has shown itself to be sharp, even after regular use. It is comfortable in all situations and is the model we preferred to use in our laboratory kitchen.
The Mac MTH-80
The best kitchen knife for most peopleWith a super sharp edge, a smooth, streamlined silhouette and a comfortable handle, this knife will make your daily cutting sessions easier and faster. buy on Amazon* 190€*at the time of publication, the price was 190€
Of course, the choice of a chef’s knife depends a lot on everyone’s personal taste. But we are convinced that the Mac MTH-80 will speak to as many people as possible. Its razor-sharp edge, comfortable handle and agile blade make cutting easier, saving time in meal preparation. The excellent finish of its edge allows it to remain sharp over time, provided it is well maintained.
The Tojiro DP F-808
A Japanese knife at an affordable price This extremely sharp Japanese knife is one of the best deals we have found in cutlery. But its blade is slightly less robust with less space under the handle for fingers. buy on Amazon* 95,50€*At the time of publication, the price was 95,50€
If our first choice is out of stock, the Tojiro DP F-808 is an excellent option. With its extremely sharp edge, high-strength steel, high quality workmanship and affordable price, this model is one of the best deals on Japanese knives. The flat shape of its blade makes it ideal for back and forth movement, and it is particularly suitable for cutting very fine vegetables or meat. The Tojiro DP F-808 being thinner and more fragile than our first choice, its blade is more vulnerable to microscopic splinters when used on compact vegetables, such as butternut squash. The Tojiro DP F-808 is a very good knife for us, but it requires a little more care than the Mac MTH-80.
The Wüsthof Classic Ikon 4596/20
A classic German knife. This traditional German knife is better suited if you prefer a strong model for more ambitious tasks. Its blade is more delicate than that of our first choice. Buy on Amazon or on other second-hand sites at 106€ (-23%)*At the time of publication, the price was 106€.
For those who are familiar with German knives, which are a little heavier, the 20 cm Wüsthof Classic Ikon 4596/20 is sharp and solid. He fulfills the contract. Compared to the other German-made knives we tested, the Classic Ikon has a thinner blade, which cuts squash and carrots more easily. We appreciate the ease with which it handles curves when you get rid of the skin of a squash or the zest of a citrus fruit. The Classic Ikon 4596/20 blade is made of softer steel than our first choice, Mac MTH-80, which means it will blunt more quickly. Like all the German models we have tested, this Wüsthof is also heavier than our first choice: it weighs about two hundred and fifty grams, seventy more than the Mac.CHOIX PETIT BUDGET
The Wüsthof Pro 4862-7/20
Cheap and incredibly sharp This knife is great for a first apartment or a travel kitchen kit. It is not the most fluid in use and its handle may be too big for some, but it is by far the best knife we have found for less than forty euros. buy on Amazon* 34€*At the time of publication, the price was 34€
If you are simply looking for a cheap, durable and incredibly sharp knife, we recommend the Wüsthof Pro 4862-7/20 with a 20 cm blade. In the low budget category, it is the best model we have tested in terms of precision, sharpness and price. Like our first and second choices, the Pro 4862-7/20 has a blade cut from steel (and not forged), but its use is not as smooth. Its handle is comfortable for small and large hands, but it is voluminous and oriented so that it is difficult to hold the blade tightly pinched. Nevertheless, this inexpensive kitchen knife is, in our opinion, the best choice for a small budget.
Why you can trust us
Who are these knives for?
Whether you start cooking seven nights a week or almost never, every kitchen should be equipped with a chef’s knife. Of all the parts in a cutlery service, it is the most versatile and most widely used.
Most people already have knives in their kitchen. But for those who only have an old set of knives or a second-hand collection that no longer cuts much, it’s probably time to move up a gear. Similarly, if your super knife has been worn to the bone marrow without ever being sharpened (or badly), you need a new one. It is not only that the basic knives are disappointing, it is also that they are more dangerous than a sharp blade. A sharp knife will be more accurate and less likely to slip, slip on food and attack your fingers.
OF ALL THE PARTS IN A CUTLERY SERVICE, THE CHEF’S KNIFE IS THE MOST VERSATILE AND MOST WIDELY USED.
Perhaps you have a small budget and are in the process of equipping your first kitchen. Since a 20-centimetre kitchen knife can do ninety percent of the job, buying a voucher is enough to save you the expense of a whole set of knives. You’ll put together a set when you’ve refloated the cash registers.
If you have always used German style stainless steel knives, you may be tempted by a Japanese-made model – like our first two choices – made of high carbon steel, which will stay sharp much longer.
Most kitchen knives fall into two categories: German style and Western-style Japanese style, double-edged (also called gyuto). Your personal preferences, cutting style and comfort will determine which one is best for you.
Legend: A Japanese gyuto (top) has a flatter edge, while the traditional German knife (bottom) has a more pronounced curve. Our first choice, the Mac MTH-80 (in the middle), represents a good balance between these two styles.CREDIT: MICHAEL HESSION / WIRECUTTER
The German style
- It is the most widely recognized knife style in the West. The blade wire is clearly curved and tapers to a sharp point at the end. This is best if you prefer to cut in a pendulum movement (i.e. the knife never leaves the surface of the cutting board, and you use the belly of the blade to slice food). Wüsthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckels are the two largest German knife manufacturers.
- Most German knives have a thick metal bolster between the blade and handle. Unlike Japanese knives, some German models have a bolster that extends to the edge of the blade, which makes the knife heavier and requires a professional sharpening service to grind excess steel on the blade heel.
- German knives generally weigh heavier and have a thicker blade than their Japanese counterparts, making them more practical for difficult tasks, such as opening a lobster or cutting chicken pieces with bones.
- Their guard is cut obliquely and they are generally made of lighter steel. As a result, they tend to lose their sharpness more quickly. But this type of steel makes German knives more resistant to chipping.
The Japanese style (gyuto)
- Gyutos generally have a thinner blade, with a flatter thread than Japanese knives, and end in a very sharp tip. The flat shape offers maximum control if you cut back and forth (i.e. the blade leaves the cutting board after each movement and you push the knife forward or pull it back, always down, to cut the food).
- Unlike German knives, you will never find a gyuto with a complete bolster that goes to the edge of the blade. This lack of extra steel allows you to sharpen your knife yourself, since you can sharpen the edge to the heel with a homemade sharpener or a sharpening stone.
- As gyutos are thinner and made of high carbon steel, their guard is at right angles and they tend to stay sharp longer than German knives. This design makes the gyutos perfect for making slices as thin as paper and precise cuts. But high carbon steel is more prone to rust than stainless steel. Japanese gyutos therefore require more maintenance than German knives. It is essential to wash and dry the knife thoroughly after each use (especially after cutting acid fruits and vegetables).