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  • Zwilling Pro 8" Chef's Knife (38401-203)

  • Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife (5.2063.20)

  • Mac Professional Series 8" Chef's Knife With Dimples (MTH-80)

  • How We Tested Chef's Knives

  • What You Should Know About Chef's Knives

  • Other Knives We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Chef's Knives of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    Zwilling Pro 8" Chef's Knife (38401-203)

    Pros

    • Durable and heavy

    • Easy to hold and maneuver

    • Well-balanced blade

    Cons

    • Slightly too heavy for very precise cuts

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife (5.2063.20)

    Pros

    • Good control

    • Easy to use

    • Sharp blade

    Cons

    • Lightweight

    • Not very precise

    • Not built to last

    Skip to the full review below
Best Overall
Credit: Lindsay D. Mattison

The Zwilling Pro aced all of the tests we threw at it, earning its spot as the Best Overall Chef's Knife

Best Overall
Zwilling Pro 8" Chef's Knife (38401-203)

J.A. Henckels is one of the most recognizable names in the knife making industry, so it’s not surprising that this knife rose to the top of our list in the original testing and stayed there for round two. The Henckels Zwilling Pro is a serious workhorse, pulling ahead of the pack in nearly every one of our tests and earning the top spot as Best Overall Chef’s Knife.

This high-carbon steel German knife weighs in at 9.5 ounces, making it one of the heftier knives we tested. The weight gave it the strength to handle the heavy-duty tasks we threw at it, cutting through butternut squash with ease. A heavier knife can be less adept at precise cuts, but the Zwilling Pro has a super sharp edge that sliced up a tomato without issue. The design of the wide, tapered bolster made this knife easy to grip and seriously comfortable to use.

Overall, this is a really solid, well-balanced blade with excellent control, allowing you to confidently work through large cuts with precision and comfort. It's a perfect starter knife for beginners and would make a great addition to any pro’s knife collection.

Pros

  • Durable and heavy

  • Easy to hold and maneuver

  • Well-balanced blade

Cons

  • Slightly too heavy for very precise cuts

Victorinox 8-inch Fibrox Pro
Credit: Reviewed.com / Lindsay D. Mattison

The Victorinox 8-inch Fibrox Pro is an excellent value choice, with a sharp edge and great control for rocking, chopping, and slicing.

Best Value
Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife (5.2063.20)

While the Victorinox 8-inch Fibrox Pro didn’t feel as sturdy as some of the other knives, it made up for it by acing most of our tests. The knife got a little stuck when cutting through tough butternut squash, but otherwise had great control with rocking, chopping, and slicing. It stood edge-to-edge on sharpness with some of the more expensive knives. It stays sharp, too.

The blade is stamped from Swiss stainless steel and doesn’t feature a full tang, meaning that the blade is simply connected to the synthetic plastic handle. The knife itself appears cheap and flimsy but don’t let looks fool you; it's well balanced and comfortable to use.

Amazon reviewers seemed to agree—the Victorinox has over 5,000 reviews with a 4.8-star rating. With a lightweight feel (6.5 ounces) and razor sharp blade, this knife may not be built to last a lifetime—but at this price point, it doesn’t have to. That makes it our pick for Best Value.

Pros

  • Good control

  • Easy to use

  • Sharp blade

Cons

  • Lightweight

  • Not very precise

  • Not built to last

Related content

MAC Professional Chef's Knife
Credit: Reviewed.com / Lindsay D. Mattison

The MAC Professional Hollow Edge knife is an incredibly sharp and well-balanced knife, earning it our nomination for Best for Experienced Cooks.

Best for Experienced Cooks
Mac Professional Series 8" Chef's Knife With Dimples (MTH-80)

You may have heard of Japanese knife makers like Shun and Global, but MAC knives fly under the radar for Japanese hybrid-style chef’s knives. These hybrid knives take hard Japanese steel and forge them to be all-purpose like traditional Western chef’s knives, sharpening both sides of the blade.

This delightfully lightweight knife—our second-lightest at 6.8 ounces—offers the user incredible control and razor-sharpness right out of the box. Slicing through soft, ripe tomatoes were just as joyous as cubing a butternut squash, and the dimples help prevent food from sticking to the blade. It aced every single test that we threw at it, with a super-sharp edge that made a beautiful chiffonade of basil.

The super-thin, high-carbon steel blade is dimpled to help it glide easily through sticky foods like squash and cheese. In addition to sharpness and strength, it had the best control of all the knives, even when rocked to mince garlic.

With a wicked sharp blade, this MAC blade is ideal for experienced cooks. The knife would be a great addition to anyone’s knife bag, but we feel that beginners may benefit more from the sturdiness that comes from traditional, German knives.

Pros

  • Extremely thin and precise

  • Very sharp

  • Good control

Cons

  • None that we could find

How We Tested Chef's Knives

The Tester

Hi, I’m Jenny Dorsey! I’m a professional chef, writer, and the founder of a nonprofit community think tank called Studio ATAO. I've tested pressure cookers, meat delivery services, and more for Reviewed. As someone who is often reminded they don’t “look the part” of a professional chef, I’m acutely aware that most chef products are not made for me. When it comes to knives, much of what’s been lauded of the “best in class” have long been fairly unidimensional: heavy, thick-wrought pieces meant for tall, hefty, men.

Contrary to popular food media belief, I think it’s fairly disadvantageous to be holding a brick in one’s hands—regardless of how big you actually are as a human—while attempting to practice fine motor skills. I was very excited to evaluate these knives less on how much they evoked the typical media tropes and more on how well they were able to adeptly slice hardy vegetables like raw sweet potatoes as well as the delicate knife work required for an unbruised basil chiffonade, as a truly amazing chef’s knife should be able to do both.

And I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and the original tester for this list. I tend to use a chef's knife for most of my cutting tasks, as they last a lifetime if you take good care of them. They're also the perfect tool for cutting a large steak or prepping vegetables due to their straight, rigid blades. If you're working with a flexible budget and don't mind the maintenance, a chef's knife really is really an essential part of the kitchen.

The Tests

Four black plastic containers filled with diced tomato, sweet potato, onion, and raw chicken.
Credit: Reviewed / Jenny Dorsey

We tested each knife on sharpness and control, which meant a lot of slicing and dicing.

A good chef’s knife should be able to tackle the majority of your knife work in the kitchen, so it needs to be well-rounded and capable of handling almost any task you can throw at it. We tested each knife on three major criteria: sharpness, strength, and control.

A dull knife is a dangerous knife! When your knife isn’t sharp, it’s more likely to bounce off food than cut through it, which could result in serious injury. To test sharpness, we put each knife to the precision work test: If it could get through tomato skin without snagging and cut basil without bruising the delicate herb, we deemed it sharp enough.

We tested strength by throwing heavy duty ingredients at each blade, seeing if it could get through butternut squash’s hard exterior without sticking and slice a large block of cheddar cheese without crumbling or tilting.

Finally, we tested overall control by monitoring how the knife felt as we tackled each ingredient, assessing how the knife’s weight and balance felt in our hand. We paid attention to comfort additions like beveled bolsters and curved handles and measured how the knife tackled chopping versus rocking motions.

What You Should Know About Chef's Knives

Unlike a paring knife (a knife with a small blade) or a serrated knife (a knife with a toothlike edge), a Western-style chef's knife typically has a straight, rigid blade. It's a multi-purpose tool, meaning you can use it to dice vegetables or trim meat. You can also use it to disjoint large cuts of beef.

Chef knives are usually made of either stainless steel or carbon steel. There's actually quite a big difference between the two. Carbon steel knives cut better, but they're more fragile and prone to rust. Stainless steel knives, on the other hand, are made of softer steel and easier to maintain.

One of the major things to consider is whether or you want to keep up with regular maintenance. If you're willing to sharpen your chef knife a few times a year, you're going to have a product that'll last you a lifetime. If you're not comfortable sharpening your own knife, you can always bring it to a professional.

The one thing you should never do with a chef's knife is put it in your dishwasher. The high water pressure and detergent will absolutely ruin your knife by dulling the edge and messing up the handle. That's why you should only wash it by hand.


Other Knives We Tested

Product image of Material 8
Material 8" Knife

Pretty, affordable, and sharp are three good adjectives to describe this Material knife. It's also made with Japanese steel and whittled to an exact 26 degrees to ensure deliciously clean cuts. This knife aced our tests, effortlessly handling tasks like cubing cheddar and squash.

However, the main ding for Material’s chef's knife was the odd weighting of its handle—while it’s the same length as most of the other chef’s knives we tested, it felt immediately more awkward to grip and offset the overall balance while using the knife. The shape of the blade failed to rock as smoothly as our top picks during the garlic mincing and tomato slicing tests.

Even still, the Material chef’s knife is a good kitchen staple and can complete a variety of tasks with ease.

Pros

  • Sharp out of the box

  • Precise cuts

  • Attractive

Cons

  • Heavy handle

  • Doesn't rock

Product image of Wüsthof Classic Ikon 8
Wüsthof Classic Ikon 8" Cook's Knife (4596/20)

The Wusthof Classic Ikon came in a close second for our Best Overall winner. This is a sharp knife that performed well on most tasks, taking down heavy-duty items with no problems but struggling ever-so-slightly on precision work like tackling tomato skin without snagging and thinly slicing radishes.

I liked the contoured handle for the comfort of its slightly curved design, but the handle is slightly longer than the other knives we tested, which tips its balance and makes the knife harder to control than the competition.

This is in the top two most expensive knives we tested, and while it’s a great overall performer, it didn't quite measure up to the Zwilling.

Pros

  • Very sharp

  • Durable

  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • Not super precise

  • Not perfectly balanced

Product image of Our Place Everyday Chef's Knife
Our Place Everyday Chef's Knife

This is a sharp and simple knife that, as its name suggests, is great for everyday use. Its comfortably beveled handle is also fairly light, albeit being a little thick towards the end. During testing, its curved blade made quick work of slicing through chicken breast, dicing onions, and mincing garlic with a steady rocking motion and smooth handling.

Plus, its minimalist design means it will match most kitchen aesthetics.

Pros

  • Sharp out of the box

  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Handle not as high quality as blade

Product image of Shun Classic 8
Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife (DM0706)

Shun knives are beautiful and sharp. If your sole purpose is to impress your friends, buy this knife without hesitation! It blazed through many of the tests without a problem, especially the tasks that required thin slices and precision work. However, the same extra-wide, curved blade that helped it perform so well in slicing tests caused it to struggle a bit while mincing the oddly-shaped garlic clove.

One major drawback to the design is that the handle is offset further than the other knives we tested. This makes the blade feel closer to a 10-inch knife than an 8-inch one, affecting the balance and level of control we felt when yielding this knife.

Also worth noting: while this razor sharp, super-thin, lightweight knife is perfect for precision cuts, these thin blades do have a reputation for chipping easily.

Pros

  • Extremely thin and precise

  • Sharp

Cons

  • Not perfectly balanced

  • Might chip

Product image of Mercer Renaissance Collection 8
Mercer Renaissance Collection 8" Forged Riveted Chef's Knife (M23510)

I was surprised by how much I liked this knife. Mercer Culinary is best known as the suppliers of culinary school knife kits. I remember disliking this knife when I was in culinary school, but during testing it actually outdid many of the more expensive and flashy knives on the list.

It performed admirably across all testing categories and I dubbed it with the name of Squash Obliterator, as it outperformed every other knife when it came to easily carving up butternut squash. However, this is not a delicate knife, and its weight and balance prevent it from making super thin slices.

Overall, this is a decently sharp knife with great strength and adequate control, although it did dull more quickly than the comparably-priced Victorinox.

Pros

  • Durable and heavy

  • Great at cutting squash

Cons

  • Not very precise

  • Quick to dull

Product image of Misono UX10 8.2
Misono UX10 8.2" Gyutou (HMI-UXGY-210)

Misono has gained popularity over the past few years by making Japanese hybrid-style chef’s knives using Swedish steel. This makes these knives stronger than the average Japanese knife—but with the same super-sharp blade designed to maintain its edge for a long time. Although it was one of the lightest knives we tested (a mere 5.6 ounces), the Misono was great at performing heavy-duty tasks. It was adept at slicing and rocked well, but it took a while for us to get used to the center of control on this knife The blade itself is skinnier than most of the knives we tested, changing the knife’s balance point and the feel of the grip.

Pros

  • Sharp blade

  • Stronger than most Japanese blades

Cons

  • Not perfectly balanced

Product image of Global G-2 8
Global G-2 8" Chef's Knife

The Global 8-inch Chef’s Knife was the lightest knife we tested, weighing in at 5.5 ounces. This super-light knife had a beautiful, sleek look. While it had great balance and control and was sharp enough to perform well on precision tasks, it struggled with heavy-duty tasks because it simply was not heavy enough to accomplish them. After extended periods of use, the metal handle became slippery and greasy in our hands.

Pros

  • Sleek look

  • Good balance and control

Cons

  • Too lightweight

  • Handle slippery when wet or greasy

Product image of Misen Chef's Knife
Misen Chef's Knife

Sadly, long-time fan favorite Misen did not perform particularly well in our tests. From struggling to slice through tomatoes without squishing them, to getting extremely stuck chopping through a (small) butternut squash, the Misen knife proved to be both uncomfortably heavy to hold while offering little in return for its weight (8.9 oz, if you were wondering).

While the website boasts that the blade is honed at a 15 degree angle—versus the more common 25 for Western knives—this didn't seem to improve its actual ability to cut things compared to its counterparts. That said, the Misen Chef's Knife is quite comfortable to hold, and for that its balance somewhat offsets its weight.

Pros

  • Balanced

  • Comfortable to hold

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Not very sharp out of the box

Product image of Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 8
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 8" Chef's Knife (31071-203)

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star Classic has had the same design for the last 40 years. It's one of most lightweight German steel knives we tested, performing well on all of the tests. Its weight and balance made it easy to control when tackling both heavy-duty and precision tasks, and it was especially well-suited for dicing onions. The major drawback of this knife is the synthetic plastic handle, which became sweaty with extended use and made us feel like we had some residue left on our hands.

Pros

  • Good balance and control

Cons

  • Plastic handle

Product image of Wüsthof Grand Prix II 8
Wüsthof Grand Prix II 8" Cook's Knife (4585-7/20)

The Wusthof Grand Prix II is almost as heavy as the Classic Ikon but it lacks the balance of the Classic Ikon to give it the right amount of control. The polypropylene handle is comfortable even after extended use, and the tapered handle tackles rocking tasks such as mincing garlic with ease. The blade wasn’t as sharp as the other knives we tested, and—despite its significant heft—didn’t tackle the heavy duty tasks with as much ease.

Pros

  • Durable

Cons

  • Not well-balanced

  • Not very sharp

Product image of Tojiro DP Gyutou 8.2
Tojiro DP Gyutou 8.2" (F-808)

While the Tojiro DP Gyutou 8.2-inch knife wasn’t the worst knife on the list, it also didn't measure up to the other Japanese hybrid knives we tested. It was as lightweight as the MAC knife, but lacked the strength to make it through heavy-duty items, sticking in the squash and only going through with concerted effort. While it was sharp enough to cut paper, it made jagged slices of tomatoes and bruised the delicate basil. The blade itself was skinnier than most of the knives we tested, positioning our fingers closer to the blade than we wanted, and it lacked the finer control that a wider blade offers.

Pros

  • Sharp and thin

Cons

  • Very lightweight

  • Not well-balanced

  • Not very strong

Product image of Dalstrong Gladiator Series 8
Avoid
Dalstrong Gladiator Series 8" Chef-Knife

There is no denying that the Dalstrong Gladiator Series knife wins for presentation: besides the sleek look of the large blade and beautiful pakkawood handle, the knife comes in an impressive box with a hard plastic blade cover, a polishing cloth, and a keychain (I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that!). Unfortunately, the knife is too heavy at 10.5 ounces, lacks control, has an uncomfortable grip, and is sharper towards the handle and duller towards the tip. It struggled on all of the tests and wasn’t sharp enough to make it through the tomato test.

Pros

  • Very beautiful design

Cons

  • Too heavy

  • Lacks control

  • Uncomfortable grip

Product image of J.A. Henckels International Classic 8
Avoid
J.A. Henckels International Classic 8" Chef's Knife (31161-201)

I usually love J.A. Henckels knives, but unfortunately, this knife missed the mark. Made with Spanish steel instead of the traditional German steel, this knife wasn’t strong or sharp enough. It failed to be impressive in any category. While the knife is available at a value price, there are better knives at the same price point that feature sharper blades, stronger steel, and more control.

Pros

  • Nothing we could find

Cons

  • Not strong

  • Not sharp

  • Not precise

Meet the testers

Lindsay D. Mattison

Lindsay D. Mattison

Professional Chef

@zestandtang

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, food writer, and amateur gardener. She is currently writing a cookbook that aims to teach home cooks how to write without a recipe.

See all of Lindsay D. Mattison's reviews
Jenny Dorsey

Jenny Dorsey

Contributor

Jenny is a professional chef, author and speaker specializing in interdisciplinary storytelling fusing food with social good. She leads a nonprofit named Studio ATAO and runs her own culinary consulting business. Her food and work has been featured in outlets such as Food Network, Oxygen TV, Eater, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, among others. Her full biography, food portfolio, and bylines can be found here.

See all of Jenny Dorsey's reviews

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