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What are the Different Types of Kitchen Knives?

All knives have their own specialisms. Read our guide on each knife type and find out which knife is right for you.

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Image of ProCook Nihon X50 bread knife resting on a chopping board next to a jam roly poly desert
Our beautiful  Nihon X50 Nakiri Knife, based off Japanese knives and perfect for chopping hard vegetables.

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.

Different Parts of a Kitchen Knife


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.

What are the Different Parts of a Knife?

What are the Different Types of Knives?

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.

Chef Knife

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.

Shop Cooks and Chefs Knives

Santoku Knife

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.

Nakiri Knife

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.

Japanese and Japanese style knives may require different care and attention due to their sharper and more delicate edges. We've created a handy guide that offers advice and guidance on how to care for your Japanes-style knives.

Shop Santoku and Nakiri KnivesTaking the Very Best Care of Your Japanese Knives

Utility Knife

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.

Shop Vegetable and Utility Knives

Paring 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.

Shop Paring and Peeling Knives

Bread Knife

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.

Shop Bread Knives


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.

Filleting and Boning Knives

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.

Shop Cleavers, Filleting and Boning KnivesHow to Carve a Roast Chicken like a Pro

Carving Knife

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.

Shop Carving Knives and Sets

You might need these:

Gourmet Kiru Knife Set 6 Piece and Knife Case Typical Price £99Only £69 Shop Now
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What's the Best Knife Material?

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

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.

Carbon Steel

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

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.

Image of a ProCook Damascus 67 knife set of eight displayed in a magnetic glass block on a kitchen worktopShop Knife SharpenersShop Chopping BoardsShop Knife Storage

What are the Different Edges of a Knife?

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.

Straight Edge Knives (also known as Flat Ground Edge)

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:

  • Chef knives
  • Utility knives
  • Paring knives
  • Carving knives
  • Filleting knives
  • Boning knives

Serrated Edge Knives

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:

Hollow Ground Edge Knives

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:

  • Nakiri knives

Scalloped Edge Knives

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:

  • Santoku knives
  • Salmon knives

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ProCook's Range of Kitchen Knives

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.

Gourmet Classic

Our Gourmet Classic range includes a timeless, classic design that is sure to never fall out of favour. Furthermore, each knife features a triple rivet handle for added comfort and impressive strength. The European blade shape has been stone ground for a strong and sharp cutting edge, so you can effortlessly cut, chop and dice your ingredients.

  • X30 stone ground blades
  • Rockwell hardness rating (HRC) of 52+2
  • Traditional triple rivet handles
Gourmet Classic

Gourmet Kiru

Introducing our Gourmet Kiru line, featuring a modern and sleek design with its seamless all-steel construction. The blades are inspired by Japanese knives for impressive cutting and slicing. What's more, each of the ergonomic handles includes a diamond design for improved comfort and anti-slippage.

  • X30 stainless steel blades
  • Rockwell hardness rating (HRC) of 52+2
  • Seamless all-steel construction
Gourmet Kiru

Professional X50 Chef

The Professional X50 Chef range is made from X50 German stainless steel and includes a slim, triple rivet handle that is contoured for further comfort. Each knife also include an anti-slip bolster for greater control when cutting.

  • X50 German stainless steel
  • Rockwell hardness rating (HRC) of 55+2
  • Contoured handles for additional comfort
Professional X50 Chef

Professional X50 Micarta

Beautifully crafted to offer supreme cutting abilities and a comfortable handle for optimal balance and strength.

  • X50 German stainless steel
  • Ergonomic, triple rivet micarta handles for increased comfort and control
  • A blade that offers superior edge retention
  • Rockwell hardness rating (HRC) of 56+2
Professional X50 Micarta

Nihon X50

Our 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.

  • X50 stainless steel
  • Carbonised ash wood handle for added comfort
  • Rockwell hardness rating (HRC) of 55+2
Nihon X50

Elite AUS8

Beautifully made and excellently weighted for a comfortable hold and more precise cutting and chopping. Our Elite AUS8 range contains 0.8% carbon for improved edge retention.

  • X80 AUS8 Japanese stainless steel
  • Ice hardened for a razor-sharp edge
  • Contains 15% chrome for high corrosion resistance, making the knives more resilient to tarnishing and food stains
  • Rockwell harness rating (HRC) of 58+2
Elite AUS8

Damascus 67

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 have a striking and unique blade pattern. Perfect for serious cooks, professional chefs, and those who love beautiful kitchen knives.

  • VG10 Japanese Damascus stainless steel
  • Beautiful wavy design
  • Slimline blades that are in the style of traditional Japanese knives
  • Handles are formed from G10, a material constructed from layered fibreglass cloth soaked in epoxy resign, then compressed and baked for increased beauty and strength
  • High carbon core encased in 66 layers of steel
  • Rockwell hardness rating (HRC) of 60, which is the optimal hardness for VG10 Damascus steel
Damascus 67

Sharpening and Storing Your Kitchen Knives

Proper care is required when it comes to kitchen knives. You will want to prevent chipping the knife's edge, which can be prevented from proper storage solutions such as wooden blocks, magnetic wall racks and knife cases. Regular sharpening of the blade's edge is needed as working with a blunt knife is not only dangerous, but can further damage your knife, requiring you to replace it sooner than normal.

How to Sharpen Your Kitchen KnivesThe Best Kitchen Knife Storage Solutions

Image of a ProCook Damascus 67 six piece knife set resting flat on wooden surface next to garlic cloves, chopped spring onion and herbs

Our 6 piece Damascus 67 Knife Set is both beautiful and functional, featuring the traditional motteled pattern on the blade. 

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