Types of Knives – Ultimate Knife Buying Guide for 2020

As an authority on knives, I pride myself on knowing the true ins and outs of every blade I can get my hands on. However, with so many blades, it can be a lot to keep track of.

That’s why I’ve created this ultimate knife buying guide for both novices and professionals alike that covers all types of knives to make sure that you’re getting the best tools for your needs.

Below, I’ll go over the purpose of each of these distinct kitchen and specialty blades.

I’ll also give some general care tips for beginners who are new to the knife world as a whole.


Types of Kitchen Knives

These blades are used almost exclusively for cooking.

Each knife has a unique curve and edge catered to the food type that it is best suited for.

Chef Knife

Chef Knife

This is a versatile blade that can be used for cutting, filleting, and preparing most basic dishes.

If you can only invest in one high-quality blade, you probably want a great chef’s knife since they are versatile enough to cut meat along with fruits and vegetables.



Paring Knife

Paring Knife

Paring knives are small, short-bladed tools that are used for precise cuts. These knives can be used for tasks like peeling, deveining, deseeding, mincing and dicing.



Santoku Knife

Santoku Knife

The Santoku knife is a great all-purpose knife similar to a chef’s knife in that it can cut meat, fish, and vegetables.

The multipurpose blade is slightly wider than the usual chef knife, making it especially atoned to chopping vegetables with its long straight-edge construction.



Ulu Knife

Ulu Knife

The Ulu knife was originally used to remove meat directly from animal skins.

This old-fashioned curved blade can be used to cut meat effectively though it is much less common in the modern kitchen.



Butcher Knife

Butcher Knife

The butcher knife is a heavier weighted blade, that is used almost exclusively for cutting dense sections of meat.

Butcher knives usually have a noticeable straight-edge to help separate the meat from the bone.



Cleaver

Meat Cleaver

Cleavers, sometimes synonymous with butchers knives, are made for cutting through meats with typically bulkier blade design.

This is one of the few knives that are suitable for hacking through bone.



Cheese Knife

Cheese Knife

Cheese knives come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are used to easily spread and cut dense cheese without producing excess friction.

Their sharpness level depends on what type of cheese the blades are marketed for.



Ceramic Knife

Ceramic Knife

Ceramic blades are a type of knife with a thin, non-stick coating that can be easier to clean and use in some instances.

You can find ceramic paring blades along with all-purpose knives— It’s a blade type or make, rather than a blade type itself.



Vegetable Chopper

Vegetable Choppers

Vegetable Choppers have straight or curved blades embedded to easily chop vegetables in a convenient fashion.

For example, you may use them to conveniently mince and onion, or turn squash into string-like chops for evenly cooked stir-fry.



Watermelon Slicer

Watermelon Slicers

Watermelons, though delicious can be a challenge to serve.

Watermelon slicers conveniently slice the fruit into even slices so that you and your whole family can enjoy without the hassle of cutting the clunky fruit.



Steak Knife

Steak Knife

These small, serrated blades are perfect for cutting meat for consumption.

It’s a great idea to have a couple of steak knives on hand for whenever you serve protein-packed dishes to your guests.



Nakiri Knife

Nakiri Knife

Nakiri knives are made for chopping vegetables effectively and efficiently.

With their almost full straight-edged design combined with somewhat weighted construction, they are sometimes referred to as vegetable cleavers.



Carving Knife

Carving Knife

Carving knives have noticeably narrower blades made for slicing and carving meats.

Carving blades can be used on a variety of meats and fish.



Bread Knife

Bread Knife

Bread knives are commonly called wave knives due to their highly-serrated appearance.

These blades are perfect for sawing through coarse loaves without using unnecessary arm power.



Boning Knife

Boning Knife

Boning knives are primarily used to separate meat from bones.

While they do not have a lot of cutting power on their own, these knives are usually thin, and somewhat flexible to get into tough to reach crannies and nooks.


Japanese Knives

14 Most Popular Japanese Knife Types and Their Uses

Japanese knives are one of the sturdiest and high-quality knives you can find.

With proper knife knowledge and care, these blades are powerhouses in any kitchen due to their unique design and sturdy construction.


Sushi Knife

6 Best Sushi Knives Reviewed

Surprisingly, a Sushi knife isn’t just good at crafting sushi but also ends up being extremely useful for cooking a whole number of dishes.

These blades prioritize efficiency, so with proper training, you can certainly speed up your cooking process with these knives.


Dalstrong Knives

Exceptional Dalstrong Knives Reviewed

The Dalstrong is one of the most popular and trusted brands within the knife market today.

Dalstrong knives are known for their impressive hardness, variety, durability, superior quality, and design.


Types of Specialty Knives

Not all knives belong in the kitchen. Below, you’ll find the purpose of some of the most common specialty knives used for hunting, display, and much more.

Damascus Knife

Damascus Knife

Damascus steel knives are usually hefty, well-constructed blades that hold up well over time.

They come in a variety of blade styles for hunting, fishing, or even basic cooking in some instances.



Hunting Knife

Hunting Knife

Hunting knives are used to prepare the game for consumption or separating meat from the skin of the game.

Hunting knives are used after the hunting is completed, unlike hunting daggers which may be used themselves to hunt.



Pocket Knife

Pocket Knife

Pocket knives have a myriad of uses while out in the elements.

These flat-edged blades are usually equipped with other multi-tools like a screwdriver, pliers, bottle openers , and other handy gadgets you may not be equipped with while adventuring.



Gravity Knife

Gravity Knife

Gravity knives are somewhat like switchblades in that the blade portion of the knives is contained in the handle.

This knife can be opened with one hand and acts as a great pocket multi-tool while outdoors.



Ballistic Knife

Ballistic Knife

These blades have an ejectable handle making them primarily used for self-defense.

However, their strong blades make them a great all-purpose outdoors knife should you have the need.



Obsidian Knife

Obsidian Knife

Obsidian blades are one of the sharpest knives available that have a rich background.

These knives are great for display with their unique, often handcrafted appearance.



Ganzo Knife

Ganzo Knife

Ganzo knives are excellent folding multi-tools for use while outdoors.

The blades are durable and easy to care for simple, portable use.



Bowie Knife

Bowie Knife

These beautiful hunting knives have a long, slightly curved blade that lends itself well to skinning or butchering when outdoors.

Bowie knives have a very distinct appearance and history, which may make them great display blades as well.


Scalpel

The Ultimate Scalpel Guide for 2020

Contrary to what you may believe, Scalpel blades aren’t just for surgery.

These tiny blades are also great for woodworking, precise fruit and vegetable cuts, and much, much more.


Scottish Dirk

Best Scottish Dirk Knife Selections

The Scottish Dirk has a rich history behind it.

It is the history of a knife that has had both a practical purpose and a decorative one throughout its existence.


Sloyd Knife

5 Best Sloyd Knives for Wood Carving

The Sloyd knife is named partly after the Swedish word Slöjd, meaning handiwork or crafts. 

It is a perfect starting point for beginners and an essential tool for the experienced woodworker.


Chisel

Best Chisel Buying Guide for Woodworkers

A Chisel can be used in a wide variety of projects.

It can be used to cut or carve many kinds of hard materials such as stone, wood, or even metal.


Swiss Army Knife

Best Swiss Army Knife Picks from Victorinox

The Swiss Army knife seems like your typical pocket knife at first glance.

But a Swiss Army knife usually has a variety of tools: screwdrivers, nail files, can openers, and much more.


Kris Dagger

5 Best Kris Daggers for Your 2020 Knife Collection

The Kris dagger, otherwise known as the Keris, is a beautiful, unique blade that makes a valuable part of any knife collection.

Its distinct asymmetrical appearance makes the knife well-worth having on hand.


Bolo Knife

5 Best Bolo Knife Picks for Serious Adventurers in 2020

The Bolo knife, or Bolo machete, is one of the best outdoor tools for survivalists and true outdoorsmen.

This powerful blade is perfect for chopping, cutting, and hacking away at thick green landscapes.


Railroad Spike Knife

Railroad Spike Knife: A Perfect Gift for Knife Enthusiasts

A Railroad Spike knife is a knife that is made from an old railroad spike.

It can be used for many small and minor tasks. But due its design, it cannot be used for any major task that would involve cutting. However, it is commonly purchased as a display piece.


Kephart Knife

Types of Knives - Ultimate Knife Buying Guide for 2020 2

A Kephart is a knife with a deep history.

It can serve as both a display piece or as a tool on your tool belt. It is both practical and simple for outdoor use.


Khyber Knife

The Khyber Knife: Its Uses and Its Unique History

Although it first originated from ancient Persia, the Khyber knife is more commonly recognized as an Afghani-based sword.

It is both a personal weapon and a sign of adulthood for the tribes living near the Khyber Pass. Khyber is also an amazing display piece.


Linoleum Knife

5 Best Linoleum Knife Top Picks for 2020

The Linoleum knife is designed to allow you to easily cut through linoleum. The handle, likewise, is designed in a way to improve on this feature.

Linoleum knives make it much easier to cut linoleum and other similar material.


Knife Accessories

To support your knife collection, you’ll likely need a number of knife accessories to keep your blades in tip-top shape. Here are some of the most necessary blade supplies for your kitchen and outdoor tools.

Knife Protection

It’s important to keep your blades adequately protected to ensure that they are kept in tip-top shape over time. This is most commonly done by purchasing a knife sheath or having some sort of knife storage which we’ll discuss later on.

Knife Sheath

Sheaves sometimes come with your blade purchase and protect your blade from dulling or damage over time.

These are especially important if you plan on keeping your knives in the same drawer as other blades.



Display Options

Knife display

Not all knives are used for cooking or hunting. Some knives bring great aesthetic value to any home or have a rich history that may be appealing to seasoned collectors.

If you have a blade that you use for predominately display reasons, you’ll want to invest in a display case or shelf that adequately holds and displays the blades while still staying safe in your home.



Holster or Knife Belt

Knife belt

If you have an oversized outdoor knife, it may not be the safest to store in your backpack or in your pocket. In which case, a holster or belt that holds knives with embedded sheathes may be the perfect solution.

These storage cases keep your knives at the ready for when you need to use them while keeping you and your gear as safe as possible.



Knife Oil

Knife Oil

Due to the nature of some blades, knife oil is required to keep some knives in tip-top shape.

While this oil is most commonly used on outdoor blades, it can be a perfect addition to any knife that folds or contracts for storage.

Knife oil helps the blade to bend and fold-out smoothly while protecting the knife for rust or water damage.



Manual Knife Sharpener

Manual Knife Sharpener

Any seasoned knife owner knows that blades are only as good as the quality of their sharpener.

Knife sharpeners keep your blades fresh, making them safer, more efficient tools.

A manual knife sharpener life a steel rod may be perfect for your stainless steel kitchen knives.



Electric Knife Sharpener

Electric Knife Sharpener

For a more automated approach, you can also find electric knife sharpeners for both kitchen and outdoor knives.

When adjusted properly, these sharpeners can make regular knife maintenance simple and effective on a regular basis.



Sharpening Stone

Knife Sharpening Stone

For hunting or outdoor blades, it may be more convenient to sharpen using a sharpening stone.

These stones are perfect for touching up handheld blades since they are compact and easy to handle.

You can also purchase longer models of sharpening stones for kitchen or longer blades, subject to preference.



Cut-Resistant Gloves

Knife Cut-Resistant Gloves

Especially if you’re a beginner, it’s important to strive to use knife protection every time you handle your ultra-sharp blades.

Cut-resistant gloves make regular knife maintenance so much safer. Be sure to use these gloves when cleaning and sharpening your blades, if not anytime you handle a blade.


Knife Storage

Storing a knife can be difficult, especially if it’s a longer or uniquely curved blade. However, learning to do so safely is essential to any serious knife collector. Here are two of the main ways of storing your blades.

Knife Block

Knife Block

Knife blocks usually sit on a kitchen counter with varied sized slots for different blade types. These blocks can be great for getting your knives out quickly whenever you’re cooking.

They come in a variety of materials like bamboo and stainless steel.



Drawer Organizer

Knife Drawer Organizer

For a more discreet solution, you can purchase a knife in-drawer organizer to prevent your knives from dulling each other.

These storage containers may be a safer solution for homes with small kids or pets since they keep knives out of direct view.



Magnetic Knife Strip

Magnetic Knife Strip

If you are a big fan of stainless steel kitchen blades, a magnetic knife strip may be the best pick for you.

These strips attach on to tile wall or magnetic surfaces and keep your collection on display while storing them in a convenient yet safe manner.



Knife Roll

Knife Roll

Another storage option for easy transport is the knife roll.

These heavy-duty cloth organizers have individual slots for each of your blades that are easily rolled up once the knives are properly stored.

Knife rolls are great for chefs who may travel from restaurant to restaurant, or desire to use their personal knives while working elsewhere.

They can also be great for outdoor knife storage in a backpack.


Basic Knife Maintenance

While having the proper accessories for your blades is more or less essential, it’s important that you also have a basic routine established to properly care for your blades. Follow these general guidelines to keep your blades in tip-top shape.

How to store a knife?

Most knives do well when stored in a cool, dry place. It’s important that you make sure your knife is in an area away from water since moisture can subject certain blades to rust and other water damage.

Ultimate knife buying guide: How to store your knife?

Moreover, knives are best kept isolated from one another. This is because too many knives in proximity can dull surrounding blades, not to mention make for a dangerous situation. Knives stored improperly in a crowded drawer can also be damaged by or damage other similarly kept kitchen tools.

Therefore, it is more or less essential that you keep your knives in appropriate sheaths, knife organizers, blocks, or on display with a magnetic strip or specially crafted shelf .

How do you wash a knife?

What is the proper washing procedure for knives?

Knives need to be washed properly to keep them in their best shape over time. To do so, you’ll need to make sure you’re wearing a proper cut-proof glove to prevent any injuries. While most knives can be properly cleaned with mild soap and warm water, you’ll want to pay attention to the specific care instructions for your particular blade.

Some porous materials may not work the best with consistent water exposure. In addition, some blades require a regular oiling procedure to keep them properly working. Just remember that not all blades should be cleaned the exact same way, so pay close attention to the care instructions provided to you.

While some knives may advertise that they are dishwasher-friendly, it’s always best to handwash your blades. Knives washed in the dishwasher can easily scrape against one another causing for unnecessary dulling and damage over time.

Moreover, drying is arguably just as important as the washing procedure to make sure that your blades are kept in tip-top shape. Always use a cut-proof glove when drying your knives, and do so thoroughly. This ensures that your blade won’t be subject to water damage, and keeps out nasty bacteria that can develop when water isn’t properly wicked away.

How to sharpen a knife?

Regardless of the caliber of the blade, every knife needs a good sharpening every now and then. Sharpening your blades will ensure that your knife is as efficient as it can be. Moreover, using a dull knife is actually less safe than using a freshly sharpened blade. This is because you have to exert more energy while using dull blades which opens the window to more potential accidents.

You can use a sharpening rod, stone, or block to sharpen your blade. There are also automated electric sharpeners that can make the process easier. However, it’s important to note that not all sharpeners can be used on any knife.

How to sharpen your knife?

Your blade can become severely damaged by using improper sharpening techniques and surfaces. Make sure you are carefully sharpening according to your manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re new to sharpening, there are a ton of free resources online that can give you an introductory lesson into the practice.

Moreover, if the process makes you too nervous all together, you can send your blades off carefully to a professional sharpening service to refresh your best blades. Some farmer’s markets offer this specialty service as well, so be sure to look out for potential service providers in your surrounding area.


What Makes a Good Knife?

This question is more common than you’d think, but it’s pretty difficult to answer— mainly because there is no one right answer. That being said, here are a couple of factors to take into consideration when purchasing a new blade for your home.

Weight

All blade designs vary in their weight. Generally speaking, a lightweight blade is more flexible but has less chopping power. This is why paring or boning knives are some of the lightest knives on the market. They are meant for separation rather than chopping themselves.

Conversely, heavier knives have massive chopping power, but they’re much more difficult to maneuver for more precise cooking tasks. An example of a heavy weighted knife would be a meat cleaver, built for hacking through bone.

You may have to work up to using heavier knives though. Some of these blades can weigh a pound or more. They can also be more dangerous since they’re so powerful, so make sure you’re using them safely and with caution.

Blade Length

Blade length varies greatly depending on the purpose of your knife. Most outdoor blades are shorter than kitchen blades since they are built for compact, portable use. There is also heavy variation even within both main knife types.

For example, an outdoor combat knife is likely much longer than a pocket knife. For kitchen blades, a bread knife is going to be much longer than a paring knife since it’s built for long, concentrated blade strokes.

Handle

Knives come in a variety of handle styles and materials that can be picked according to preference. While beginner knife users may appreciate the safety and security of a rubberized grip, others may benefit from nylon handles for reducing friction during use. Ultimately, handle material type should be based on what feels most comfortable for you while using your knife.

Blade Edge

As you’ll learn, the blade edge varies greatly depending on the blade type. Pay attention to whether or not the knife is serrated, curved, or flat-edged. This will give you an idea of the knife’s intended purpose.

Safety

It’s extremely important that you are picking out safe blades. While you can injure yourself using any knife, high-quality blades are less likely to break or slip, ensuring extra safety. You can also look out for blades with other added safety features, like a curved handle to properly separate your fingers from the blade itself. Never use a knife type you haven’t learned how to operate. Do some quick research beforehand to protect yourself and your equipment.

Aesthetics

While aesthetics aren’t the most important factor for picking out a good blade, there are certain knives you may buy for predominately display purposes. In this case, you’ll want to do research to make sure your knife is exuding authenticity. Some historic blades come with certificates to help alleviate some of the confusion. Moreover, you can find blades that have embedded seals or unique metal-alloy patterns for added interest.

At the end of the day, the best way you can pick out a good blade is by trying it out for yourself. Your individual needs should be your top priority. After all, you’re going to be the one using the knife! Don’t be afraid to continuously try out blades until you find the perfect solution for your needs. This process can take time, but it is certainly worth it once you have a knife set you can truly depend on.


Knives Are Essential Tools

Any blade you add to your collection is bound to be a useful addition to your everyday life. Hopefully, this ultimate knife buying guide made it uncovering the right tools for your home a somewhat easier process.

Knives are one of the most essential tools that you’re likely to use daily, so it’s a good use of your time to know what purposes each blade carries. Mastering all of the different blades can take a considerable amount of time, but in the end, it’s an excellent way to maximize your use of time.

Don’t forget, Knife Buzz is full of individual buying guides, tips and reviews that go into more depth about each of these unique blades. Enjoy expanding your knife collection for your kitchen and outdoor collections. 

Last update on 2020-09-22 at 16:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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