How to Purchase Kitchen Knives

Two Parts:Deciding Which Kinds of Knives to BuyPurchasing Your Knives

Are you in the midst of setting up your first kitchen? Or maybe you're finally upgrading hand-me-down kitchen tools that have seen better days. As with all kitchen equipment, there are many things to consider when buying kitchen knives. The variety can quickly become overwhelming, but these simple steps will help you purchase kitchen knives that you will use for years.

Part 1
Deciding Which Kinds of Knives to Buy

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    Determine your budget. This is one of the biggest purchasing decisions you'll make and having one in mind early can really make shopping easier. Your kitchen knife budget should be based on your kitchen needs, not what some celebrity chef recommends.
    • Don't feel limited by a small budget. Quality knives come in a wide range of brands and styles.
  2. Image titled Purchase Kitchen Knives Step 2
    Think about your knife needs. What knives do you currently use every day? If you're having trouble determining what you need, try writing down a list of things you use knives for on a regular basis. For example, slicing bread or tomatoes, coring fruit, filleting fish, etc. Use the list to decide what knives are right for those jobs.
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    Decide whether you will purchase individual knives or an entire set. While there are pros and cons of each, you need to primarily use your budget and knife needs to decide.
    • If you only use a few knives on a regular basis or have a limited budget, buying knives individually will save you money and give you more control over quality.[1] You'll also save space from not having to store knives that you never use.
    • If your budget allows and you need a variety of knives, buying a set makes sense. Most knife sets include a utility knife, bread knife, carving knife, paring knife and chef knife. Some knife sets also come with a storage block and a steel for sharpening the knives.
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    Determine what types of knives you need. If you don't know what kinds you need, refer to the list you made in step two. Compare the tasks to the knives listed below.
    • Serrated - use for slicing things like bread, tomatoes, cake layers, and sandwiches. You'll want to choose a long knife to ensure that it can easily cut through a loaf of bread or cake.[2]
    • Bread - similar to a serrated knife, but is slightly curved to allow a rocking motion for cutting through crust.[3]
    • Paring - a small knife for small tasks, such as coring, trimming, and peeling vegetables and fruit.[4]
    • Chef - chances are most of the things on your list can be accomplished with this larger knife.[5] Dicing vegetables, cutting meat, and chopping herbs are just a few examples of this knife's uses.
    • Santoku - an increasingly popular knife with hollowed-out indentations on the blade used for chopping, dicing, and mincing.[6]
    • There are also many task-specific knives such as boning, filleting, cheese, cleavers, and steak knives. If you find yourself needing many of these, you might consider buying a knife set.
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    Consider what kind of blade you want. Carbon steel blades are very sharp, but require lots of care, as they can rust and dull easily.[7] Stainless steel blades will not rust, but are more difficult to sharpen.[8]High carbon stainless steel seems to combine the best of the blades. It won't rust and stays sharp, though it can be sharpened easily.[9]
    • Your budget will probably come into play here, as high carbon stainless steel blades are often more expensive than the stainless steel blades or the harder to find carbon steel blades.
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    Decide if you want a forged, full-tang, or stamped knife. A forged knife has a blade made from a solid piece of metal, while full-tang means the blade continues down through the handle.[10] These knives are typically sturdier and longer lasting than stamped knives, which are punched out of a metal ribbon and fitted into a handle.
    • Stamped knives are often lighter than forged or full-tang knives, but can be poorly balanced because of this.[11]
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    Consider the type of handle you want. Knives come with wooden, plastic, composite, and stainless steel handles. Wooden handles can be shaped into a comfortable handle, but they do require lots of maintenance to prevent cracking and bacterial contamination.[12] Plastic or composite handles require little maintenance and can be contoured to provide extra grip, but they too can crack over time.[13] Stainless steel handles are the most durable, but can become slippery while you're using them. These knives are typically heavier.[14]

Part 2
Purchasing Your Knives

  1. Image titled Purchase Kitchen Knives Step 8
    Make a short list of brands that produce the knives you need. Include knives within your budget, so you're not disappointed if you prefer one that's much too expensive.
    • Note which knives on your list are available only online or in store. If a store carries them, be sure to list which stores in your area have them.
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    Go to the store and hold the knives on your list. You're mainly checking to see how the knife feels. Do you like the feel of the knife handle? Do you think you would be comfortable using the knife? Check to see is the knife feels balanced in your hand for cutting.
    • It's a good idea to also hold some knives that didn't make your list. You might find that you actually prefer a wooden handle to a metal one, or vice versa.
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    Do some price comparisons, based on the knives you've selected. Check for local sales, but also include online websites. This should help you make up your mind about which knives to get, if the prices differ dramatically.
  4. Image titled Purchase Kitchen Knives Step 11
    Determine the best place or source to buy your knives. If you choose a store in your area, consider whether they'll be running sales in the near future. If you use an online site, don't forget to figure shipping costs into your purchase.
    • Regardless of where you choose to buy your knives, learn the company's return policy.
  5. Image titled Purchase Kitchen Knives Step 12
    Purchase a knife or knife set that has at least a 1 year warranty. This warranty lets you know the manufacturer believes the knives to be of good quality, and you have the option of replacing any knives that break or are damaged.
    • Carefully read any warranty information that comes with your knives, since there are certain actions that can void the company's warranty, such as washing them in the dishwasher, incorrectly sharpening the blades, or taking them apart (if you own stamped knives).

Article Info

Categories: Cooking Knives and Blades