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Choosing the right kitchen knife can help you prepare food easier, faster and safer. However, with so many different types of kitchen knives available, how do you go about picking the right one for you and your cooking style and experience?
Buying specialist knives without knowing how to use or care for them properly could end up with you placing them in your knife drawer with no intention of picking then back up again. Therefore, we've created a guide explaining what to look for in a knife, the different types of kitchen knives available, as well as their individual uses so that you can determine which are the best kitchen knives for you.
Having a basic understanding of the different parts of a knife can help you understand the knife’s function and how you can utilise it properly and safely. Although this is a general overview of a knife, remember that knives from other manufacturers may differ slightly.
The point refers to the very end of the blade and is typically sharpened to a fine point that can be used to pierce or score the surface of the ingredient.
The front part of the knife’s edge that leads up to the point is named the tip. The tip is traditionally used for delicately cutting, dicing or chopping your ingredients.
The blade is the metal part of the knife which is used for chopping.
The edge is the bottom and sharpest part of the blade – this part is used for cutting up the food in question. A knife’s edge differs in sharpness and is determined by how finely the edge is ground.
A knife’s spine is the blunt upper side of the blade. The spine is generally thicker than the blade as it gives the knife extra strength. You can push down on the knife’s spine for added pressure when it’s needed to cut through tougher ingredients.
The heel refers to the lower part of the blade – the furthest from the tip and the part closest to the knife’s handle. Chefs and cooks usually use the heel to add extra pressure and strength so that they can cut through thicker and tougher ingredients.
The area between the heel and the handle is referred to the bolster, and the bolster’s job is to provide a safe space for fingers so that they do not slip onto the blade while cutting and slicing.
The tang is typically covered by the knife’s handle, although this is not always the case. The length of the tang depends on the quality of the knife – the best knives will usually have a ‘full tang,’ which simply means that the tang goes all the way to the knife’s butt.
As the name suggests, the handle simply refers to the knife’s handle. However, a knife’s handle can also be referred to as the ‘scales.’ There are many handle designs and materials to choose from, so when it comes to choosing a knife, consider the shape and material best suited to your personal preferences.
The very end and bottom part of the handle.
There are numerous types of knives, so if you are unfamiliar with different knife types and what each one specialises in, the process of finding the right knives for you can be overwhelming. It’s important to learn the different types of knives and the jobs each one does so that you can improve your meal prep and safety in the kitchen. Using a knife incorrectly can be dangerous and a hazard.
We have a variety of knife ranges including our Japanese knife sets and Western style chef knives. Read on to find what purpose each type of knife is designed for, so you can find the right knife for your needs.
A chef knife is a great all-rounder and a firm favourite because of its versatility. What makes a chef knife so great for chopping and slicing a variety of vegetables and fruit is its curved blade that allows you to rock the knife back and forth when cutting. Because of its broad heel, a chef knife can withstand quite a lot of heavy-duty cutting and chopping, making it ideal for cutting hardier ingredients like potatoes or other root vegetables.
What is a chef knife used for?
A chef knife is incredibly useful and is perfect for everyday slicing and dicing. If you are after a knife that is sturdy and can cut through various foods with ease, this is a great knife to have and should be a staple in all households.
The Santoku knife is a traditional and popular Japanese vegetable knife and can be compared to a chef knife. With its long and sharp blade and edge, you can slice, dice and mince various foods and use the knife for precise and intricate cutting. A Santoku knife will usually have a scalloped edge so that food is prevented from sticking to the metal.
What is a Santoku knife used for?
Much like a chef knife, you can use a Santoku knife to cut a variety of ingredients like vegetables, fruit and meat. However, a Santoku knife is also great for precise and clean slicing of raw fish for sushi and sashimi. This is because the blade’s dimples stop the delicate fish from sticking to the blade and, therefore, protects the shape and quality of the fish.
Otherwise known as a Japanese vegetable knife, a Nakiri knife has a broad and rectangular shape and a very sharp blade.
What is a Nakiri knife used for?
As you may have guessed, the Nakiri knife is a great tool for cutting, slicing and dicing vegetables. Our Nakiri knives are designed to make chopping vegetables much easier, allowing you to chop right through the food in one clean movement.
Our Nakiri knives include a super-sharp cutting edge stone that is ground by hand..
A utility knife is similar in shape to a paring knife, but much smaller and with a slimmer blade. Due to its smaller shape and slimmer blade, a utility knife can allow for more intricate work such as deveining shrimp and is great for delicate slicing for ribbon-like slices.
What is a utility knife used for?
The utility knife is great for chopping, slicing and dicing smaller vegetables, and its smaller blade and handle makes light work of preparing smaller foods like tomatoes and shallots. If you are struggling to cut a vegetable with your chef knife, switch to a utility knife.
Not to be confused with a utility knife, a paring knife is a short and slim knife that has an incredibly pointed tip and is usually very light. The knife’s lightness makes it incredibly easy to handle and perfect for peeling food.
What is a paring knife used for?
Although small, the paring knife is incredibly mighty. Use a paring knife to peel vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes and apples. You could also use the pairing knife to trim any unwanted parts of the food in question.
One of the most distinct knives, a bread knife has a very long blade and a sharp serrated edge. The serrated blade makes the knife ideal for cutting softer items as it stops it from squishing the food and ruining its shape.
What is a bread knife used for?
As the name suggests, a bread knife is perfect for slicing bread without putting too much pressure onto the loaf and crushing the shape. However, a bread knife can also be used to cut other soft foods like cakes.
A cleaver is a large knife with a flat and rectangular-shaped blade that is usually weighty. A cleaver can come in a variety of sizes, depending on how you wish to use it. What’s more, a traditional cleaver will typically feature a hole near the blade’s spine and in the top corner, so they can be hung rather than stored in a drawer – although, this isn’t always the case as cleavers rarely need to be hung in modern kitchens.
What is a cleaver used for?
A cleaver is used to chop raw meat so that it can be divided into smaller portions before it is cooked. The blade is designed so that it can cut through bone, making it perfect for butchery processes.
A filleting knife is perfect for filleting fish whereas a boning knife is used to debone and cut up meat. Both knives are different in size and feature different blades – a filleting knife has a flexible blade while a boning knife does not.
What are filleting and boning knives used for?
Both these knives are used to debone meat and fish as well as cut them into your desired shapes.
A carving knife has a long, slim blade that is tapered to a sharp point. This is typically considered one of the longest knives that can be found in the kitchen. The science behind this knife is that, due to its narrow and long blade, you can create cleaner and more uniform slices.
What is a carving knife used for?
Carving knives are great for cutting and slicing through meat – both raw and cooked. However, you can use a carving knife for various foods like vegetables and even cake.
The material your knife is crafted from can greatly impact their strength, durability and sharpness. Knowing about the different knife materials can help you care for them.
Stainless steel is one of the most popular and common materials for knives due to the durability and protection from corrosion and rust it provides. Usually, stainless steel blades have a shiny finish and are strong enough to withstand a lot of use.
When shopping for a stainless steel knife, look for the carbon content in the product specification as this information provides indication of the knife’s durability. Our stainless steel knives contain carbon to increase the knife’s strength and longevity.
TIP: We recommend that stainless steel knives are not left submerged in water for long periods of time, as this can lead to pitting (corrosion) of the blade over time.
Created from a steel alloy made from carbon and iron, carbon steel blades offer exceptional strength and durability. However, carbon steel knives need to be looked after more vigilantly than stainless steel. For instance, if a carbon steel blade comes into contact with acidic foods, make sure to wipe it clean as soon as possible to avoid discolouration.
TIP: If you’re wondering how to clean your carbon steel knife, look no further. Clean your carbon steel knife while you cook. This means wiping down your knife with a soft cloth after you’ve finished cutting each and every fruit and vegetable – especially if you are cutting a highly acidic food like lemons or tomatoes.
Damascus steel has a long history and has been used for knives and swords since medieval times – and for good reason. Damascus steel is extremely strong and long-lasting as well as sharp. However, that’s not all. Numerous people absolutely love the beautiful appearance and pattern Damascus steel offers. The pattern is created because two or more different alloys are hammered together, creating a wavy pattern.
Not all knife edges are the same, and different edges are required for certain knives so that they can cut through different foods. Having a basic understanding of the different knife edges can help you understand why a certain type of knife is created a certain way.
Considered the most common type of knife edge, the straight edge can also be referred to as the flat ground edge.
Straight edges are typically found on:
A serrated edge has grooves and ridges much like a saw so that you can slice through softer food without misshaping or crushing it.
Serrated edges are found on:
Seen on most Japanese knives, a hollow ground edge is what makes Japanese knives so sharp. A hollow ground edge tapers from the middle of the blade so that it creates such a fine and sharp edge. Although a hollow ground edge is incredibly sharp, it can also be more vulnerable to breakages. They may also need sharpening more frequently.
Hollow ground edges are often found on:
Scalloped edges simply refer to blades that have dimples and are designed to stop food from sticking to the blade. The dimples help the sliced vegetables, meat or fruit slide off without harming the integrity of the food.
Scalloped edge knives can typically be found on:
We have a variety of kitchen knife ranges, all of which have their own unique features so that you can find the right knife set for you and your cooking style. Each one of our knives is designed using premium quality materials and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques. They’re all forged for additional longevity and quality.
If you are ever unsure on which knife range is right for you, always feel free to pop into one of our stores and speak to one of our trained members of staff.
Our ProCook Gourmet X30 kitchen knives are beautifully made and make great entry level knives for those who are new to preparing meals. The key features of our ProCook Gourmet range include:
Our ProCook Nihon X50 range features beautiful Japanese style knives that offer precise slicing and dicing as well as a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing beech wood handle. Our Nihon knives are lightweight and encompass the very best of Japanese knife design. Read more about the benefits of Nihon knives.
Introducing our ProCook Professional X50 range that as beautiful as it is functional. A great choice for serious cooks and professional chefs.
Our ProCook Elite Ice X50 are lightweight and includes a high blade quality so that home cooks and professional chefs can enjoy this range.
Beautifully made and excellently weighted for a comfortable hold and more precise cutting and chopping. Our ProCook Elite AUS8 range contains 0.8% carbon for improved edge retention.
Our Damascus 67 knives are stunning and offer an incredibly sharp edge for precise slicing and chopping. Featuring the traditional wavy design associated with Damascus steel, these knives are sure to look beautiful in your kitchen. Perfect for serious cooks, professional chefs, and those who love beautiful kitchen knives.
Our 6 piece Damascus 67 Knife Set is both beautiful and functional, featuring the traditional motteled pattern on the blade.