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Best Boning Knives

last updated Apr 12, 2019

Whether you’re a chef, a hunter, or a fishing enthusiast, if you’re looking for a tool that will gracefully slice meat away from the bone instead of tearing it as other tools can, a boning knife is what you’re after. If you’re looking for the best option, you’ll want to find the right one for your needs.

The long thin blade and extra sharp point make this tool perfect for its designed purpose of deboning meat. Like knives, not all meat is the same and you’ll enjoy different knives for different meats. A stiff blade is great for cutting beef, pork, and other larger animals.

You’ll want a more flexible blade for fish, poultry, and more delicate cuts. Users also have preferences in material, length, and design.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

icon
Mercer Culinary M23820BL
96.8/100 our score
Materials
97
Effectiveness
96
Durability
97
Comfort
97
Ease of Use
97
Mercer Culinary M23820BL
Why is it better?

Easy upkeep

Comfortable Santoprene handle

Really, really sharp blade

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Mercer Culinary M23820BL
Test Winner: Mercer Culinary M23820BL
Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
80
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
14
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Materials Effectiveness Durability Comfort Ease of Use By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Materials
97%
Effectiveness
96%
Durability
97%
Comfort
97%
Ease of Use
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$12.49
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.4
Materials
96%
Effectiveness
96%
Durability
96%
Comfort
97%
Ease of Use
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$120.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Materials
95%
Effectiveness
96%
Durability
96%
Comfort
97%
Ease of Use
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$23.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Materials
95%
Effectiveness
95%
Durability
96%
Comfort
96%
Ease of Use
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$14.49
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Materials
95%
Effectiveness
95%
Durability
94%
Comfort
94%
Ease of Use
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$119.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Materials
94%
Effectiveness
94%
Durability
96%
Comfort
95%
Ease of Use
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$109.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Materials
94%
Effectiveness
94%
Durability
95%
Comfort
94%
Ease of Use
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$59.47
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Materials
94%
Effectiveness
93%
Durability
92%
Comfort
94%
Ease of Use
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$64.71
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Materials
94%
Effectiveness
92%
Durability
91%
Comfort
93%
Ease of Use
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$25.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Materials
93%
Effectiveness
91%
Durability
89%
Comfort
92%
Ease of Use
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.05.19)
$119.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Mercer Culinary M23820BL
  • Victorinox 6 Fibrox Pro
  • Mercer Culinary Genesis
  • Dexter-Russell S131F-6PCP
  • Wusthof 4603
  • Global Cromova G-21-6
  • DALSTRONG - Gladiator Series
  • DALSTRONG Phantom Series
  • J.A. Henckels International
  • Shun DM0743 Gokujo
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Mercer Culinary M23820BL

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Mercer Culinary M23820BL
Materials
97
Effectiveness
96
Durability
97
Comfort
97
Ease of Use
97
best offer for today
$12.49
Pros:

Easy upkeep

Comfortable Santoprene handle

Really, really sharp blade

Cons:

So sharp it might not be safe for beginners

The Millennia is made of a single piece of high-carbon Japanese stainless-steel. The curved shape of the blade gives you a great angle for masterful close-to-the-bone cuts. The textured polypropylene handle provides a safe, comfortable grip. For a really sharp, easy-to-maintain product, the Millennia 6-inch is a solid choice and a great value. This selection makes the top of our list for a variety of reasons.

Read more

Material
The blade is made of a single piece of high-carbon Japanese stainless-steel. The handle is Santoprene and polypropylene.

Effectiveness
The Millennia has a very, very sharp blade. So sharp that beginners especially need to be very cautious of use and storage. But that same sharpness makes effortless work of delicate cutting tasks and slices meat cleanly away from the bone.

Durability
The construction lends to a really sturdy, long-lasting tool. The addition of polypropylene to the Santoprene handle adds a lot of durability. Mercer really stands behind the longevity of their products.

Comfort
The Santoprene handle is ergonomically engineered and the grip is comfortable and slip-resistant. The curved blade makes it easy to get a good angle when cutting which helps reduce hand fatigue.

Ease of Use
The high-quality steel is easy to sharpen and maintain. It’s important that you only hand wash this blade with soap and water as it should not be put into a dishwasher or left to soak.

Value
This product is our number one choice but the price range is much lower than other knives in its league. It’s even lower than most inferior boning knives. The comfortability, sharpness, and price range make this a great overall value.

2. Victorinox 6 Fibrox Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.4
Victorinox 6 Fibrox Pro
Materials
96
Effectiveness
96
Durability
96
Comfort
97
Ease of Use
97
best offer for today
$120.00
Pros:

Easy to sharpen

Very good grip

Really, really sharp blade

Cons:

Could rust if not washed properly

The Fibrox Pro handle is known for providing a safe, steady grip for any size of hands, even when wet. The ergonomic engineering will allow you to cut without suffering the wrist fatigue other less comfortable knives can cause. The 6-inch European steel blade is curved and flexible for a good angle and intricate cutting.

Read more

Material
The blade is made of European steel with a high-carbon count. The handle really makes this product stand out! The patented Fibrox handle is designed for secure gripping and extreme ergonomic comfort.

Effectiveness
The blade is sharp and can handle a wide variety of cutting and deboning. This is a favorite for working with whole chickens but it is also great for intricate work with fish and small poultry.

Durability
This is a Swiss made product so you can expect it to be of high standards! Ever hear of Swiss Army Knives?

Comfort
The feel of the Victorinox is one of its best features. The Fibrox pro handle is a favorite for comfort and it’s designed to be comfortable in hands of any size. The grip is secure, even when wet or greasy.

Ease of Use
It’s technically dishwasher safe but hand-washing is definitely recommended so the blade doesn’t get clinked around against other dishes and silverware. The blade sharpens up easily but frequent honing is needed.

Value
If you’re looking for a curved blade with swiss army knife standards and really good grip, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s definitely a good value given its comfort and durability. It falls in a fairly low price range as well so you’re not really risking as much as you could on more expensive options. We think this one is well worth the price.

3. Mercer Culinary Genesis

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Mercer Culinary Genesis
Materials
95
Effectiveness
96
Durability
96
Comfort
97
Ease of Use
97
best offer for today
$23.99
Pros:

Oil resistant Santoprene handle

Very good grip

Sharp blade for slicing veggies and filleting fish

Cons:

Must be hand washed

Another Mercer Culinary tool made our list. The Genesis Flexible 6-inch is made of high-carbon German stainless steel. The ergonomic, non-slip Santoprene handle is temperature-resistant and stands up to all of the oils and ingredients from your hands for a long-lasting piece of cutlery.

Read more

Material
This blade is made of German high-carbon, stainless steel. The handle is Santoprene.

Effectiveness
This is a really sharp blade that can handle a wide variety of cutting tasks. Fans of this product use it for everything from slicing ridiculously thin tomato slices to perfectly filleting a fish.

Durability
The Santoprene handle lends a lot to the durability of this tool. When you prep and cut, you’re often going to have a lot of oils, liquids, or grease on your hands. The unique property of the Santoprene won’t break down over time due to the ingredients it comes in contact with.

Comfort
We’re going to talk about that Santoprene handle again! It’s one of the most comfortable grips you can find for a tool in this value range. A better grip gives you better control, which is hugely important when working with such sharp knives.

Ease of Use
Hand wash only! Don’t let this one soak, especially in metal sinks. This is a pretty sharp piece of cutlery, so leaving it in a sink unattended isn’t safe anyhow. Speaking of, keep this one in a block. It’s too sharp to be left lying around on counters or easy-to-access drawers if children are around.

Value
This is another relatively low-priced choice. For the sharpness, durability, and the oil resistant Santoprene handle, we think the Genesis could easily be worth it at twice the price.

4. Dexter-Russell S131F-6PCP

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Dexter-Russell S131F-6PCP
Materials
95
Effectiveness
95
Durability
96
Comfort
96
Ease of Use
96
best offer for today
$14.49
Pros:

The seal between blade and handle keeps bacteria out

Comfortable for most hand sizes

Easy to sharpen

Cons:

Dulls faster than other blades

This 6-inch curved, flexible knife is good for all-around deboning but is especially well-suited for fish and poultry. A great selling point for the Dexter-Russell is its handle, which is not only ergonomic and slip-resistant but also sealed for extra sanitary food prep.

Read more

Material
The 6-inch blade is made of USA stainless steel. The handle is polypropylene.

Effectiveness
The blade is really, really sharp right out of the package. It does tend to need honing more often than some other options on our list but sharpens back up quite easily.

Durability
The grip-tex handle is not only easy to hold, but it’s also temperature resistant and more sanitary than other materials so it won’t break down as quickly over time. It might not be as luxurious looking as other options, but that white handle is easily recognized and used by a lot of cooking professionals.

Our favorite thing about this one is the seal between blade and handle that keeps bacteria from seeping into the handle when cutting messy meats.

Comfort
This knife has a very, very comfortable handle for most hands and is well-weighted with just the right amount of flexibility.

Ease of Use
Again, this blade needs more frequent sharpening as it tends to dull faster than other favorites. With this in mind, like other blades, hand-wash only and store in a block.

Value
This is an all-around good choice but what really makes it worth the very low price point is that seal between the handle and blade so you don’t have to worry about blood and other juices seeping into the handle where bacteria can grow.

5. Wusthof 4603

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Wusthof 4603
Materials
95
Effectiveness
95
Durability
94
Comfort
94
Ease of Use
95
best offer for today
$119.95
Pros:

Holds edge well

Comfortable for most hand sizes

Easily removes silverskin

Cons:

The logo may rub off easily

The Wusthof 4603 is a thin, flexible blade that will make quick work of most prep work and will make skinning fish a breeze. This product is great for removing silverskin, which can be an annoyance when preparing pork or beef roasts or ribs.

Read more

Material
The Wusthof blade is made from a single piece of German stainless steel. The stylish black handle is made of polyoxymethylene.

Effectiveness
Wusthof claims that this blade is 20% sharper due to the technology used in its forging. This claim seems to ring pretty true. Users like that it’s sharp enough to easily remove silverskin, the pesky membrane that covers pork and beef.

Durability
The triple-riveted design makes this a fairly durable price. It’s pricier than other knives on this list but it’s a great investment that seems to last most users a long time.

Comfort
Well-balanced, fairly light-weight, and comfortable, this tool is functional and easy to use.

Ease of Use
It doesn’t need to be sharpened as often as lesser knives and holds its edge well. The one complaint is that the logo can rub off over time and purchasers of higher-end knives see this is a downfall.

Value
This Wusthof is among the pricier options on our list, but it’s still on the low end of the middle price range. You could easily spend twice as much for lesser quality. This one doesn’t need to be sharpened as often as other blades so it’s a good investment that should last you quite awhile.

6. Global Cromova G-21-6

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Global Cromova G-21-6
Materials
94
Effectiveness
94
Durability
96
Comfort
95
Ease of Use
94
best offer for today
$109.95
Pros:

Narrow blade

Unique style

Great grip with dimpled handle

Cons:

Needs to be sharpened often due to narrow blade

Global is a well-loved brand and this product is no outlier. We love the sharpness of the Japanese steel and the unique dimpled handle for good gripping and cool aesthetic.

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Material
From blade to handle, this entire piece is made of Japanese stainless steel.

Effectiveness
The blade is really sharp and narrow. A narrow blade is a plus, but it comes with the need for more frequent sharpening.

Durability
The steel construction makes it really, really durable.

Comfort
The dimpled steel handle is not only unique looking but makes for a great grip with extra control. Plus, it looks really nice sticking out of your block.

Ease of Use
Hand-wash only and be prepared for extra sharpening to keep the blade from dulling.

Value
Around the same price range as the Wusthoff in the #5 spot, this is still affordable for a good investment and longevity. We can’t get over the unique look of this one, which would make it a great housewarming or wedding gift!

7. DALSTRONG - Gladiator Series

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
 DALSTRONG - Gladiator Series
Materials
94
Effectiveness
94
Durability
95
Comfort
94
Ease of Use
93
best offer for today
$59.47
Pros:

Beautiful pakkawood handle

Nice hefty weight in hand

Very sharp blade!

Cons:

Not extremely flexible

The Dalstrong Gladiator series is very popular among chefs and competitive cooks who value its sharpness, durability, and sleek look. This is a flexible knife with just enough flexibility to make it good for all cuts of meat.

Read more

Material
The blade is made of a single block of high-carbon German steel. The sleek black handle is made of polished pakkawood, imported from Spain.

Effectiveness
This Dalstrong Gladiator has a really sharp blade. It’s sharp enough that you need to be extremely cautious when using and storing it. This is great for its intended use, though! It’s flexible enough to easily move cut around bones and the point is skillful at getting into hard to reach parts of the meat.

Durability
This is a nice, strong piece of cutlery that is engineered to withstand a lot of use. It’s a favorite among professional chefs and butchers.

Comfort
The weight is slightly heftier than others, for those who like a heavier feel in their hand when cutting. It is well-balanced and just flexible enough to be versatile.

Ease of Use
This is a high-quality piece of cutlery that should last even a high-usage cook a long time. Hand-wash only. It comes with a sheath for extra protection and longevity.

Value
If you don’t need a very flexible blade and want to spend a little more than the lower-priced knives on this list, this is a good choice. It’s also a good price point for gifting.

8. DALSTRONG Phantom Series

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
DALSTRONG Phantom Series
Materials
94
Effectiveness
93
Durability
92
Comfort
94
Ease of Use
92
best offer for today
$64.71

The Dalstrong Phantom series knives are sleek, beautiful Japanese-style works of art. The tapered narrow blade is designed for extreme sharpness for swift and clean cutting through fat and sinew. The look of this knife really lets it stand out among others of the same price range.

If you’re looking for a piece of cutlery that will impress guests visually, this is a solid choice. It will make you feel like a fancy professional, even if you’re just cooking for your family at home.

Read more

Material
The Phantom Series is crafted gorgeously from a single piece of high-carbon Japanese steel. The handle is laminated pakkawood.

Effectiveness
This is a razor sharp blade, right out of the package. It makes light work of deboning and filleting fish.

Durability
The beautiful pakkawood handle is very durable. Dalstrong claims the blade itself is extraordinarily durable but there are mixed reviews on this point.

Comfort
This is a very lightweight tool and is designed to make you feel like you’re slicing through the air at lightning speed. This can be a pro or a con, depending on what’s comfortable for you and what you’re used to. Some people like a lightweight feel, others prefer a little more heft.

Ease of Use
The Phantom Series, like other Dalstrong products, is a well-made piece of cutlery that should last a long time if properly cared for. There have been some issues with cleaning it due to the shape of the hilt and the copper engraving.

Value

The Phantom series is usually a bit pricier than the Gladiator but a lot of knife enthusiasts find the stylish appearance alone enough to justify the extra cost. Even if it wasn’t so sleek and attractive, it would still be a good value for the features.

9. J.A. Henckels International

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
 J.A. Henckels International
Materials
94
Effectiveness
92
Durability
91
Comfort
93
Ease of Use
92
best offer for today
$25.95
Pros:

Stylish steel end cap on handle

Semi-flexible for versatility

Triple-riveted for durability

Cons:

Might not be flexible enough for some needs, like delicate fish deboning

This is a well-balanced, lightweight Germain stainless steel blade with a stylish capped handle. The semi-flexible blade is great for a variety of cutting needs and the curved handle is designed to comfortably fit in your hand.

Read more

Material
The blade is made from high-quality stainless-steel from Germany. There is an attractive stainless-steel end-cap on the triple-riveted handle.

Effectiveness
The blade is out-of-the-box sharp and semi-flexible which makes it great for larger cuts of meat like pork and beef roasts and even turkeys.

Durability
The handle is triple riveted for extra durability and long-lasting enjoyment. With proper care, this knife should give you a lot of use.

Comfort
The handle feels solid and sturdy in your hand for ultimate control and comfort with just the right amount of weight for most users.

Ease of Use
Hand wash only and dry it with a soft towel or cloth for long-lasting quality. This blade can be easily sharpened with most any kind of sharpener and will need to be sharpened every 5-7 times according to most users. This will obviously depend on the type of work you use it for.

Value
If you don’t need a flexible blade, you’re not sure which you prefer, or you want to have both on hand, this semi-flexible option is at the right price range to try it out without too much risk. We think you’ll like it for larger, less delicate cuts so you can spare your flexible blades for fish and poultry.

10. Shun DM0743 Gokujo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Shun DM0743 Gokujo
Materials
93
Effectiveness
91
Durability
89
Comfort
92
Ease of Use
92
best offer for today
$119.95
Pros:

Attractive Damascus appearance

D-shaped handle is very comfortable in most hands

Very sharp

Cons:

The sharp and narrow point can break if bent too far

The Japanese blade on the Shun Classic is made with 33 layers of Japanese stainless steel with an upward curve and sharp point that make it great for sushi and any other type of meat.

Read more

Material
This blade is 33 layers of Japanese steel, forged together to provide excellent strength and a sought-after Damascus appearance. The sleek black handle is made of resin-filled pakkawood and is capped with a stainless steel end.

Effectiveness
The blade is sharp and non-flexible. The point, however, has a tiny bit of flex so be mindful of that. It’s sharp enough to easily cut through salmon bones and makes a popular sushi knife.

Durability
The pakkawood handle feels secure and the blade is forged for strength. The edge requires careful attention as it can be more brittle than other types of non-Japanese steel.

Comfort
The pakkawood handle is D-shape for extra comfort in your hand and great control when you’re cutting.

Ease of Use
Hand wash only and be mindful of the narrow point which if bent too far can break off.

Value
This is around the same price range as the other mid-range knives on our list. If you like Damascus blades, you might find this choice worth it for that alone. The 33 layers of steel create a beautiful wavy Damascus pattern.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

A sharp knife is an effective knife

Most knives need to be sharp, but a boning knife really needs a high level of sharpness given its intended purpose. We looked at sharpness that would be more than adequate for expertly slicing through meat, poultry, and fish. We also know that a good product will slice meat away from the bone without tearing as duller kitchen knives will do.

Materials

Materials make the knife. Literally.

The material is important for a lot of reasons and this section can cover a lot of ground. Some users simply have preferences and loyalty to types of metal. German, Swedish, Japanese, and USA sourced steel was popular in our search.

Stainless-steel is important for rust-proof and stain-free cutlery.

High-carbon counts create a strong blade for long-lasting durability.

The forging process can also change the look of the product. For instance, the layering of metal can create the sought-after wavy, Damascus look.

The handle is extremely important and can often be overlooked in a buying guide when the focus is pointed more toward blade sharpness. You need good control, comfort, and grip in your handle. While hands come in all shapes and sizes, there are certain aspects of a handle that seem to cover more users’ needs. Handle construction can also determine the durability and longevity of the knife. We really liked the knives that were resistant to damage from ordinary cooking ingredients like oils and spices.

Durability

Durability gives you a longer lasting, safer knife.

Boning knives can vary greatly in price, so durability is an important feature to consider. If you’re putting down a sizeable amount of money on a piece of cutlery, you want it to last.

Durability is also really important for safety. A blade that can break off easily or a handle that detaches from the blade can cause serious injuries to the user.

Comfort

A comfortable knife keeps your hands happy

Chefs, butchers and other enthusiasts find the feel of a knife very important. This makes sense given that you want to not think about each movement every time you slice. Feel can be subjective so we made sure to cover as much about the feel as possible so you will be better informed when you make your choice.

Ease of Use

An easy to use knife is one you'll always grab

A good cutting tool will take more care and upkeep than an ordinary kitchen tool or piece of cutlery that you throw in a drawer and run through the dishwasher.

You’ll also want to keep in mind how often the blade will need to be sharpened. We chose knives that didn’t need an extraordinary amount of special care compared to other similar tools.

Value

Get the best value for your money

As we’ve shown, a boning knife can vary quite a bit in price. It’s important to look not just at the price but at the value you’re obtaining for that amount. For instance, will investing a bit more get you a knife that costs you less in sharpening and lasts longer? Or does a product at a lesser price point have the right amount of benefits and features for what you need? We took all of these into consideration when declaring our perceived value of each product.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Materials
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#2
Effectiveness
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#3
Durability
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#4
Comfort
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#5
Ease of Use
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#6
Value
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Flexibility

Choose the right flexibility or stiffness for your planned usage. A stiff blade is great for cutting deer, beef, and pork. A more flexible blade will suit you well if you need it for fish and poultry and more delicate work. There are also middle ground choices of semi-stiff or semi-flexible.

Durability

Don’t choose a product simply because it says it is dishwasher safe. While the knife might technically be able to withstand the spray from a dishwasher, it can still become damaged if when the hard spray moves it around, jostling it against other dishes or cutlery in the machine. This can damage knives making them less effective and unsafe. For better

Other Factors to Consider

Safety Hazards

It’s important to properly store any sharp kitchen tool. If you’re taking the time to choose a good product and put down a reasonable amount of money on one, you’ll want it to last. Storing it properly will help ensure its longevity.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re storing your sharp cutlery away from hands that could hurt themselves. This obviously means children but it could also mean anyone who doesn’t realize how sharp the knife is. If other kitchen users are used to ordinary kitchen knives, they could underestimate the sharpness.

You don’t want your sharp product in a drawer with other pieces where you might accidentally bump it with your hand while searching for another tool. You also want it kept safe from the damage that being bumped up against by other tools can cause.

Your purchase might come with a sheath. A good sheath can be useful for travel but often they’re just not enough for safety and protection. We recommend a professional-style cutlery roll for use when traveling with your knives.

When your knife is being stored at home, a block is a common choice. They come in many sizes and shapes and can fit nicely in most kitchens. Some people really enjoy blocks for those knives that have stylish handles or handle end-caps. You should still make sure that your block is away from the edge of the counter or shelf and that other members of your household know that those knives are off-bounds because they’re very sharp. Besides safety, you don’t want visiting cooks to use your knives improperly and ruin their effectiveness.

Another popular choice for storage is a magnetic strip holder. These are mounted on the wall above your kitchen counter. Your knives simple stick to the magnetic strip. Users like these because they make it easy to see and grab knives as needed. This is especially popular for knife-enthusiasts who collect a certain style or brand or just want to show off their collection.

Accessories

Regardless of the price point, knives can be a long-lasting investment that make your culinary experience much more efficient and enjoyable. An important accessory you’ll want to have on hand is a good, proper sharpener. There are different types to consider.
A sharpening rod (sometimes referred to as a diamond rod) is good because it sits at an angle. These are for maintaining the sharpness of your blade’s edge, but not for resharpening or making it sharp to begin with.

A whetstone is a block of ceramic compounds, each side of a varying grit. There is a coarse side and a fine side. The course side is used to smooth out the blade and get rid of any nicks or rough spots. The fine grit side is for giving your knife a fine, sharp point and edge. Look for grit made for specific types of steel. For instance, the difference in Japanese and European steel requires and benefits from different grit.

There also other sharpening tools like strops, belts, and slide-through devices.

A strop is a long piece of material, usually leather, that you slide your bladeback and forth over. A strop can be coated or sprayed with compounds for extra grit and sharpening. Users have mixed feelings about strops, though and many do not feel they are enough to use alone or even worth having at all.

A slide-through sharpener is a small tool where you slide your knife back and forth in a slit within the piece. These are common tools in kitchens but should probably not be used for boning knives.

Rods and whetstones are the preferred choices of most users and manufacturers.

A belt is similar to a belt sander you might use when working with wood. The belt, covered in various types of grit, will move at various speeds while you hold your blade up to it, letting the belt do most of the work.

You can also have your knives professionally sharpened. This will most likely be a pricier option, but a good professional service will ensure that your knives are properly sharpened and honed based on their specific makeup and use.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Is a boning knife the same thing as a filet knife?

a:

No. A boning knife is long and pointy so it can pierce meat easily. It is designed to cut meat away from the bone.

A fillet knife is meant for deboning fish with ease.

Many people do use one or the other for both, but it’s good to have one of each in your arsenal if you spend much time cutting meat and poultry and filleting delicate fish.

A flexible blade can be used to fillet a fish but a stiff blade is not recommended for the delicate skin, flesh, and bones of fish.

q: Will a honing rod also sharpen my blade?

a:

No, a honing rod is actually not a sharpener at all. A lot of people confuse honing knives for sharpeners because honing knives are often included in sets. You’ve probably seen celebrity chefs use one as well. It definitely looks like they’re sharpening their blade, but they’re not.

Whereas a sharpener actually removes pieces of steel to sharpen a blade, a honing tool actually straightens your blade without removing any pieces of steel.

Your knife will probably cut better afterward though, making it seem as if it has actually been sharpened. For best use, you will probably want a sharpener and a honing rod, especially for higher-end knives that cost more money up front.

q: Should I avoid “cheap plastic” handles?

a:

While plastic can be synonymous with cheap, especially when shopping for fancy new knives that are mostly made of steel, all of the knives we chose have high-quality handles.

Yes, some of them are made of plastic or rubber materials instead of steel, but they’re not what you think of when you think of cheap plastic. Some people prefer the non-metal handles for a variety of reasons. They warm to the touch for comfort, they’re often more sanitary, and they can be better for grip.

So, yes, you should avoid handles that are cheaply made but there are cheaply made wooden or metal handles out there as well. A handle made of synthetic materials can be quite strong, long-lasting, functional, and even beautiful.

You definitely want a good handle on your knife, regardless of the material, though. Not only is this important for durability and longevity, but it’s also necessary for safety. A handle that breaks or slips can seriously injure the user.

q: Why do I keep seeing a Rockwell number or a hardness scale number?

a:

You’re probably referring to the Rockwell Scale of Hardness, or the RHC, or RC. The “C” stands for “part C” which refers to knives specifically. This rating is all about the hardness of the steel in the blade.

You might think that the harder the better when it comes to a kitchen tool, right?

Not necessarily! The harder a blade is the more brittle it becomes. A really brittle blade edge can break more easily than a softer rated steel blade. That being said, a harder steel blade can hold an edge longer than a softer steel blade.

Holding the edge simply means that it stays sharper longer before going dull. This is important because you will not have to sharpen your blade as often. Every time you sharpen your blade, you remove part of the steel. So it’s easy to see how constant sharpening is not great for a blade’s use, safety, or longevity. You’re going to have to sharpen any knife you use, but a good product will hold an edge longer than others.

So what number should you look for when the Rockwell Scale of Hardness is mentioned?

The test consists of applying great pressure to the heat-treated steel blade, often with a diamond-tipped tool. After testing twice with different amounts of pressure a number range is assigned. There is a range of numbers instead of a single number simply because different points of the blade might be slightly different under pressure.

While there is room for some variation, the consensus seems to be that a Rockwell Hardness Scale rating of around 58 is what you want to shoot for when choosing a good product.

Sources

  1. GERALDINE CAMPBELL, What's the difference, Article-Review
  2. Larry Connelley, Understanding Rockwell Hardness in Knives, Article