Best Knives for Chopping Vegetables
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Prepping vegetables can take forever and even get more needlessly difficult when you don’t use the right knife. Just like knives for cutting meat, there are knives that are designed for vegetables. These knives are primarily or even exclusively built for cutting/chopping vegetables. They are able to cut down much of the prep time and also simplify the prep work, making it more efficient, less messy, and very easy.
The interesting part is that chopping your veggies with these knives can increase its nutrients too. It can boost its antioxidant level. Cutting/chopping your leafy greens such as spinach or celery increases the polyphenol content. It wounds the leaves causing them to release more polyphenol – and antioxidants generally are made up of high polyphenol levels, so it’s good to consume food that contains more polyphenol. Using the right vegetable knives to chop your veggies can help you achieve this as they will shred them better.
They can cut more fluidly allowing you to make clean, super-thin, consistent slices, or cuts that cause less damage to the cells hence leaving the veggies with high polyphenol content. Therefore, they can make a world of difference no doubt, not just in prepping your veggies but also in your overall health and even lifestyle. It might even make you want to include more veggies in your diet or turn you into a fully-fledged vegetarian because the prep work will be totally a breeze and something that you’ll actually be looking forward to.
This article we’ll look at several best knives for chopping vegetables and provide a detailed guide on what factors to consider when choosing one. We’ll also share some useful information regarding their maintenance and answer some of the common questions about them.
What is the best knife for chopping vegetables?
There are several features that make a good knife for chopping vegetables. The material of the blade must be good quality. It should have high carbon content to ensure it is strong and durable, with good edge retention. The blade should be sharp to cut the veggies safely and efficiently. It should have a very fine straight edge in order to make clean and uniform cuts.
The blade should be thin and wide all the way up to the tip, such that it’s rectangular and flat in shape. Unlike traditional pointed blade shapes, this rectangular shape enables you to fluidly make precise and straight slices, cuts, and fine chops without rocking. With the sharp, straight edge, you can make super-thin, clean cuts without squishing or damaging the vegetables – the blade will be perfectly suitable for julienning veggies and herbs.
The best knife for vegetables would also have a good quality handle that’s firmly in place, feels comfortable in your hands and offers solid, non-slip grip. The blade and handle should be balanced properly. The knife shouldn’t feel very light or heavy. It should have proper weight distribution to give you the control and ease of use needed to handle different kinds of vegetables with precision and without causing hand fatigue, especially during prolonged use.
Three Best Knives for Chopping Vegetables:
1. Best Overall: Mercer Culinary Millennia Produce Knife
- Cuts easily with great precision
- Ideal for both leafy and hard veggies, fruits, and herbs
- Durable blade with good resistance to rust and corrosion
- Keeps its sharp edge for a long time
- Offers a secure and comfortable grip
- Textured finger points ensure a non-slip grip
- Handle material is sturdy and durable
- A bit inconvenient to press down entirely into the cutting board
- Blade can easily develop rust spots if not cleaned immediately
Why it’s the best
This is the best overall knife for cutting vegetables due to the fact that it’s affordable yet offers excellent cutting performance, durability, and ease of use. Its main selling point is its thin, ultra-sharp Nakiri blade which is the perfect blade for chopping veggies. The ultra-sharp edge is able to easily cut through nearly all kinds of vegetables and herbs, even the hardest ones. Its thin and wide profile provides good precision hence allowing it to deliver thin, clean slices or cuts of veggies. It’s a great option for julienning veggies. It’s very durable too. The blade is made of high-carbon Japanese steel. It’s quite sturdy and resistant to rust, corrosion, and stains. It does keep its sharp edge for a long time too. It doesn’t get dull quickly, even with frequent use.
Another major selling point is the ergonomic handle design that makes the knife comfortable and easy to use. The handle is made of santoprene and polypropylene which are durable materials. It’s very substantial and sturdy. It has textured finger points that ensure a very secure and comfortable grip – it’s totally non-slip even in wet and slimy conditions, plus it has a large finger guard to keep the fingers from getting to the blade. The whole knife is relatively lightweight and well-balanced which gives you great control over the blade for precision cutting and also makes the knife easy to maneuver and use.
2. Best Japanese Knife: Dalstrong Nakiri Vegetable Knife
- Delivers commendable cutting performance
- Great for almost all varieties of vegetables and fruits
- Hammered tsuchime finish prevents food from sticking
- Strong, durable blade that’s resistant to rust and corrosion
- Holds it edge for long and it’s’ easy to sharpen when it dulls
- Very sturdy G-10 handle that’s comfortable to hold
- Well-balanced for easy maneuverability and control
- Some users might find it too heavy to use
- Can easily develop rust spots if not cleaned immediately
- Not the most suitable option for regular home use
- Needs professional sharpening when it gets dull
- Handles can be slippery in wet and slimy conditions
Why it’s the best
This is our pick for the best Japanese knife for cutting vegetables because it provides the durability and sharpness needed to cut through a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, plus it’s very comfortable to use. It’s a Japanese Nakiri knife made of high-quality Japanese steel that’s very hard (62+ Rockwell hardness) and durable. It’s a blade that’s made to last and offers great edge retention and is resistant to rust, stain, and corrosion. The blade is solid and ultra-sharp (sharpened at 8 to 12 degrees per side). It cuts beautifully. It’s able to cut, chop, and slice both small and larger veggies and fruits accurately. The intricate hammered tsuchime finish also effectively prevents the vegetables and fruits from sticking to the blade while you’re cutting. The broad blade as well allows for easy scooping up of the cut veggies and fruits.
The handle is very sturdy, made of G-10 material and it is triple-riveted to a full-tang for full resilience and stability. It’s ergonomically shaped and has a smooth surface to offer comfort when holding it. The spine is smooth so that it can fit your natural pinch grip although it’s not really non-slip. There’s no finger guard too to keep the fingers from sliding to the blade but the 55mm blade width provides sufficient knuckle clearance when chopping. The weight of the handle and the blade is well distributed too, so the knife provides just the right balance for easy maneuver and control.
3. Best for Hard Vegetables: TUO Vegetable Cleaver
- Sharp, strong blade ideal for cutting hard vegetables
- It can work on all sizes of vegetables and fruits
- Blade is hard, durable, and not prone to rust and corrosion
- Handle is waterproof and comfortable to hold
- Handle’s construction is robust and durable
- Well-balanced for easy control and maneuverability
- The grain of the pakkawood makes the handle look beautiful
- Grip is not really secure and non-slip
- Handle doesn’t have a finger guard
- Might feel a bit heavy to some users
Why it’s the best
The TUO vegetable cleaver is the ideal choice for chopping hard vegetables due to its hefty, wider blade that’s thin with a razor-sharp double-bevel edge. It offers excellent cutting performance for hard veggies like carrots and cucumber, but can as well deliver even, thin slices and cuts of leafy veggies. It’s generally a great all-round knife, perfect for chopping, mincing, and cutting veggies. Its fairly long 7-inch blade makes it ideal for both large and small veggies, plus the wide profile of the blade allows you to also use it for smashing bulbs of garlic or ginger, and can as well be used to scoop up cut veggies. The blade itself is made of forged high-carbon German steel with 56±2 Rockwell hardness. It’s a hard and durable blade that can keep its sharp edge for long even with frequent use and it’s not susceptible to rust and corrosion.
The TUO cleaver comes with a polished pakkawood handle. It’s very dense and highly waterproof. It has a gentle curve and round shape that makes it comfortable and easy to hold. Although the spine offers a nice natural pinch grip, the smooth, polished surface of the pakkawood makes the grip not really very secure, especially in wet and slimy situations. That said, the wide profile of the handle offers a lot of knuckle clearance although there’s no finger guard. Moreover, the full-tang construction, thick bolster, and the dense pakkawood material not only makes the handle sturdy and durable but also balances the weight of the blade very well. You don’t feel fatigued when you use the knife for a prolonged time and you have good control over the blade even with its size.
Other Product Recommendation:
1. Best for Sticky Vegetables: Wusthof Gourmet Vegetable Knife
- Vegetables don’t stick on the blade
- Durable blade that resists rust and corrosion
- The blade can keep its edge for a fairly long time
- Comfortable handle with a firm, non-slip grip
- Lightweight yet well-balanced and easy to use
- It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty
- Not quite as sharp as other vegetable knives
- Rust formation can occur if not handled with care
- Sharpness may not last long with frequent use
- The handle might be a bit short for some people
Why we choose it
The Wusthof Gourmet vegetable knife is the best option if you want a knife for cutting vegetables and fruits that are prone to stick to the blade like potatoes. The blade has large, distinctive holes on the bottom edge which create air pockets between the veggies and the blade. The air pockets in turn prevent the veggies from sticking onto the blade while cutting them, hence making the cutting process easier and more efficient. There’s a horizontal ridge on the entire length of the edge which equally deflects the food away from the blade hence significantly reducing friction as well as drag when chopping. The ridge also helps stop the food slice from sticking on the blade. Generally, this is a knife that’s perfectly designed to deal with sticky veggies like potatoes. It’s as well great for veggies like onions, carrots, and peppers.
In terms of precision, the Wusthof Gourmet isn’t quite good. The blade is not as sharp as other vegetable knives we’ve tested. It does a decent job although not as precise as the others. However, the blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel. It’s strong enough to last a long time even with frequent use. It’s also resistant to rust and corrosion, plus its edge retention is relatively good. The handle is synthetic polypropylene and feels pretty comfortable in the hand. It offers a firm grip and has an anti-slip design and a substantial finger guard, so the knife is very safe to use in wet and slimy conditions. The handle is triple-riveted to a full tang making it sturdy and durable. This is equally one of the lightest knives we’ve tested. It has just the perfect weight and balance which makes it easy and comfortable to use for long hours.
2. Best Santoku Knife: MAD SHARK Santoku Knife
- Ideal for cutting all kinds of veggies and fruits
- Food doesn’t stick on the blade while cutting
- The blade is hard and resistant to rust and corrosion
- Comfortable handle that provides a good grip
- Good balance between blade and handle
- Finger guard to stop the fingers from sliding to the blade
- Blade dulls quickly when used daily requiring frequent sharpening
- Handles might be a little big for those with small hands
Why it’s the best
The MAD SHARK Pro is the best santoku vegetable knife, especially for home use. Its cutting performance is good and it has an ergonomic design that makes it convenient and easy to use. The blade is long (8-inches long) and strong yet sufficiently nimble for cutting nearly all kinds and sizes of vegetables. Its curved belly provides optimal precision and efficiency while slicing, cutting, chopping, and mincing. The blade also has a flat heel which accommodates fast dicing of both thinner veggies and fruits. Moreover, the blade features oval, hollow divots just near the bottom edge that create air pockets which make the food easily slide off without sticking to the blade when cutting. The hollow-edge design also allows for faster and cleaner slicing compared to other knives.
As for the blade material, it’s a high-carbon German steel that’s sufficiently hard (HRC of 56-58) to make the blade tough and long lasting. It doesn’t rust, corrode, or stain easily. The MAD SHARK’s handle is made of a military-grade polymer that’s very durable and provides a good grip. Its ergonomic shape makes it quite comfortable to hold and there’s a good balance between the blade and the handle, so you hardly experience any discomfort or fatigue while holding the knife continuously for long periods of time. Mosaic rivets firmly attach the handle to the blade’s full-tang, so it’s very secure and even has a bolster and finger guard to give it better balance and control as well as protect the fingers from sliding to the sharp blade.
3. Best Chef’s Knife: J.A Henckels International Classic Chef Knife
- Can cut small and large vegetables with great precision
- Capable of handling a wide range of other tasks
- Very solid and durable stainless steel blade
- Its resistant to rust and corrosion
- Solid handle that’s securely triple-riveted in place
- The handle provides a comfortable grip
- Has finger guard to protect the fingers during cutting
- Dulls relatively fast hence needs sharpening regularly
- Handle doesn’t offer a completely non-slip grip
- Blade has no dimples or any other nonstick feature
Why it’s the best
The cutting performance of the J.A Henckels International Classic chef knife is just as incredible as the other knives we’ve listed here yet it comes at a very reasonable price. The blade has a very sharp edge and a slight curve that allows it to make precise cuts of veggies. Its biggest advantage is that it can be used for a wide range of tasks like dicing, chopping, cutting, slicing, and mincing not just vegetables but also fruits and even meat. Its blade is very solid and durable, made of high-quality German stainless steel. It’s sufficiently long (8-inch long) to cut small to large veggies. It doesn’t have the dimples or other non-stick features, but it still works well enough. The stainless steel is fully-forged hence offers great stability and is resistant to rust and corrosion.
The knife has a polymer handle that’s securely triple-riveted to a full-tang, so it’s quite solid. It has a nice ergonomic shape that’s comfortable to hold and although its surface has no non-slip texture, it does offer a fairly good grip. Moreover, the handles feature a bolster and a large finger guard hence your fingers can’t slide to the blade while cutting. The balance between the blade and handle is pretty good too and the knife isn’t that hefty, so it’s easy on the hand and you can control and maneuver the blade very well.
Choosing a Knife for Chopping Vegetables
When scouting for a knife for chopping vegetables, there are certain factors that you should put into consideration before you buy so that you are able to make a more accurate decision. These factors are:
1. Knife Type
Knife type is one of the key factors to consider when choosing a knife for vegetables because there are different types available and each is designed for a particular job or type of veggies. For instance, there are those meant for the leafy green vegetables and others for the tough-skinned vegetables like squash. That in mind, the main types of knives usually used for cutting vegetables include:
Nakiri is a popular traditional Japanese vegetable knife. It’s specifically designed for cutting greens. It features a double-beveled blade that’s flat and thin, with no pointed tip. It has a rectangular profile, similar to a cleaver, but it’s shorter in length and the blade is thinner. The cutting edge is straight to cut through your produce all the way to the board. A simple chopping motion is all it takes to cut just about any vegetable. You don’t need to rock the blade or to pull or push horizontally to cut through tougher veggies.
Its flat, thin, straight, double-edge blade enables it to make paper thin, even slices. Each cut is full and clean. It’s basically the perfect knife for doing all kinds of vegetable preparations including chopping, slicing, cutting, and dicing. It can handle all vegetables, from the tough-skinned veggies like squash and eggplants to leafy greens. It’s excellent for julienning vegetables.
Like Nakiri, Chinese cleavers are primarily used for chopping vegetables – they are also known as vegetable cleavers. They are typically a smaller version of a standard cleaver. They feature a rectangular blade that has the same wide width of the cleaver and a sharp, straight edge. However, it’s a bit thinner than the standard cleaver which makes it ideal for chopping veggies and delivering clean, even cuts. These knives are simply ideal for chopping large and dense vegetables given that they are a little heavier than Nakiri knives.
The rectangular blade and the wide width of these knives also make them ideal for smashing or flattening bulbs of garlic or ginger. The blade can as well work as a spatula to scoop up ingredients. You can push the chopped veggies right on top of the flat side of the blade and then drop them into your pan when making a stir fry. Unlike Nakiri, Chinese cleavers can even be used to chop, slice, dice, and mince meats. The only downside is that they take some practice before you can actually get used to them, especially for first time users.
The Usuba is yet another Japanese knife that’s designed for cutting vegetables. It’s almost a smaller version of Nakiri but the blade is single-edged not double-edged like most Nakiri blades. The shape is similar though. It’s rectangular and flat, although narrower than a Nakiri blade. The Usuba is generally ideal for precision cutting. It’s remarkably sharp and able to deliver thin, even cuts or slices of veggies like a wafer-thin daikon radish. The single-bevel design, however, will take some bit of practice to get used to if you’re used to Western-style knives. When cutting straight down, these knives tend to cut a bit to the left if you’re using a right handed Usuba. It’s the opposite case when you have the left handed version.
This is a general-purpose kitchen knife and one of the popular Japanese-style knives that has gained favoritism in the west. It’s used in most western homes and professional kitchens. The name actually means “three purposes;” cutting, meat, fish, and vegetables. It’s pretty similar to a Nakiri knife in terms of length and blade, but the spine slopes down all the way to the tip, creating the traditional sheep’s foot-shaped tip – it meets the tip at around a 60-degree angle. The edge of these knives is usually straight and very sharp, but some modern versions have a slight belly/curve that allows you to cut vegetables in a rocking motion. Like Nakiri knives, they always deliver very accurate results.
You can use them to make precision cuts or slices on your veggies such as diced, thin rounds, long sticks, rondelle, or brunoise. It’s particularly effective in dicing carrots, onions, cucumbers, and mincing garlic and herbs among other veggie-based uses. Being lightweight and smaller in size, santoku knives are best suited for larger and denser ingredients or leafy greens.
The Gyuto is another popular Japanese knife for cutting vegetables and other foods. It’s equivalent to a western-style chef’s knife in terms of size and shape. However, it’s lighter and has a much thinner edge than the chef’s knife. The blade is usually around 6 to 8 inches long and has a rectangular shape with a pointed tip. The edge is quite sharp and can be double-beveled or feature a single bevel. Most, however, have a double-beveled edge, which lets you cut up both vegetables and fruits very easily, plus you won’t struggle mastering the knife like the single bevel versions.
Overall, the gyuto is a great option for cutting through vegetables. Its sharp edge and a profile which is flatter towards the heel make it ideal for chopping. You can easily and quickly cut through veggies with precision and speed. The thin design of the blade is also another key to its success. You can use it to mince garlic or cut through thicker-skinned veggies with more precision.
The blade also has a gradual curve towards its tip which allows you to cut using a rocking motion, so you can use the knife for just about any task including slicing, cutting, chopping, and dicing vegetables. It’s a great multi-purpose knife that’s ideal for handling a large variety of veggies from the leafy greens to squash, carrots, and potatoes. The only veggies it can struggle to handle are the large and tougher skinned ones, which require the Nakiri knife.
Chef knives, like the gyuto, are multi-purpose kitchen knives that can be used for a variety of tasks, including slicing, dicing, cutting, and chopping vegetables as well as many other different purposes. The shape of the blade is pretty similar to the gyuto but the blade is thick and a bit heavy. The spine and the edge gradually curve towards the tip hence you can use the knife in a rocking motion to chop vegetables. Overall, like the gyuto, you can use a Chef’s knife to cut various different veggies, including hard ones like squash and potatoes. You lose a little bit of the convenience you have with the other knives since it’s not specifically designed for vegetables, but it still does the job just fine.
Paring knives are small when compared to other types of vegetable knives on this list. They are mainly used for slicing and peeling vegetables. They feature a short blade that’s usually sharp-tipped. These knives can be used for small, precise tasks like elaborate cutting, slicing, dicing, trimming, peeling, and mincing of veggies and fruits. They are available in different sizes and shapes, each designed for a specific purpose. There is the bird’s beak paring knife which has a slightly curved blade with a bird’s beak shape just as the name suggests. This is suited mostly for peeling vegetables and rounded fruits or citrus, or cutting small items.
There is also the spear point paring knife which features the classic straight-edged, sharp-tipped blade that’s suited for tasks such as slicing, peeling, or paring the smaller vegetables. This is the ideal knife for quickly making thin slices of veggies like cucumber or for cutting up an apple. The final one is the sheep’s foot paring knife, also known as the flat paring knife. This features a slightly longer and larger blade than the spear point paring knife. It’s suited for paring or slicing small veggies such as garlic, ginger, shallots, and the like.
This is another go-to kitchen knife when it comes to slicing or cutting veggies. It’s a multi-purpose knife just like chef’s and paring knives with a medium-sized blade that’s smaller than chef’s knife but slightly larger than the paring knife. The blade mostly has a straight edge and it’s very sharp, ideal for slicing, dicing, and chopping mid-sized veggies and herbs. It’s great too for other quick meals prepping in the kitchen.
Overall, these are the main types of knives that are best suited for working on vegetables. They are very good at it and offer much convenience compared to the other types of knives which are mostly used to work on meat and fish. Your choice on which to pick will mainly depend on the type of veggies you are going to cut.
However, if we’re to choose the best overall knife, designed specifically for chopping vegetables, then it would be the Nakiri knife. We’ve tried many different types of knives, cutting countless vegetables of different varieties in the process. The Nakiri outperformed all the other knives we tried. It’s more accurate and produces clean, even cuts.
We found it quite excellent for creating paper-thin slices of vegetables or rather julienning vegetables. It’s pretty versatile too as you can use it to work on all types of vegetables and offers a comfortable ease in movement, making it convenient and simple to use. If you chop various different vegetables often, then the Nakiri knife would be a much better choice for you.
2. Knife Size
The knife size is another important factor that you have to consider when shopping for the best knife for chopping vegetables. It will determine what kind or size of vegetables you can cut and how much control you have over the knife. The key thing to look at here is the length of the blade which comes in many variations, ranging from 5 to 14 inches.
The standard size that’s accepted in most kitchens is 8 inches. A lot of professional chefs and home cooks consider an 8-inch blade for a vegetable knife to be comfortable, long, and versatile enough to tackle most vegetables. Therefore, you should consider knives within this range, especially if you’ll be dealing with different kinds of veggies. For a Nakiri knife, a 7-inch blade would be long enough to give you great results and handle a wide range of vegetables.
Considering that vegetables come in various shapes and sizes, you will need to consider the width of the blade too when looking at the knife’s size. You’ll want to go with a wide/broad-bladed knife, particularly if you’ll be cutting larger produce.
A wider knife blade allows you to easily cut through the lager produce like butternut squash with just one quick swipe. If it’s a blade with a smaller width, then the blade is likely to get stuck halfway through the produce. You can also use the wider blade to scoop up and transfer the cut veggies from the chopping board to a pan or into your salad or soup.
A wider blade is equally much safer to use on a cutting board because it’s fairly high hence gives your knuckles sufficient clearance above the surface such that they won’t graze the board when chopping the vegetables. A good example is the Cleavers or Nakiri knives, which are usually quite tall, measuring up to 2.1 inches tall, although taller options that are up to 3 inches high are available. Santoku knives also have relatively high blades that give good clearance for the knuckles.
Generally, as we’ve mentioned earlier, the size of the knife you choose will depend on the kinds of vegetables you plan to work on. You may still need a smaller knife like a paring knife for precision cutting or handling smaller produce like onions and garlic.
3. Knife Handle
Along with the knife type and size, you also want to look at the knife handle. It’s an important factor because it’s where you’re going to hold the knife when using it. You want a knife with an ergonomic handle that’s comfortable, safe, and secure to hold and allows full control and maneuverability of the blade. There are several aspects you’ll need to look at when considering the handle to ensure you pick the most suitable option. These include the handle material and the handle shape and size.
3.1. Handle Material
Handle materials vary with knives. The most common ones, however, are wood, laminated wood, plastic, rubber, and metal. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages;
- Wood – wooden handles are quite common on kitchen knives and are usually the most attractive amongst all. These handles are comfortable to hold and can offer a good grip. They are often sturdy and durable, especially hardwood handles. However, some tend to warp when used in wet conditions and can also get pretty slippery when wet or slimy. Wooden handles can as well be a bit hard to care for since they tend to absorb smell and hide bacteria. They easily get damaged by intense heat and hot water hence not the most durable compared to other materials.
- Laminated Wood – these are handles made of stabilized wood like pakkawood. They are strong and durable enough to withstand frequent heavy use. Unlike natural wood, they are less susceptible to warping, splitting, or cracking. They are also waterproof and highly resistant to heat. They offer a soft, comfortable grip, and are easy to care for too. They don’t absorb smell and hide bacteria. Unfortunately, like natural wood, laminated wood handles can get very slippery when wet or slimy as they usually have a smooth finishing/texture.
- Plastic – this is another common material for knife handles. The handles made of plastic are often lightweight and provide a good, comfortable grip. Maintaining them is easy too because they clean up easily, don’t hide bacteria or soak up smell like wood. Most are often sturdy too. However, the grip can get slippery when using the knife in wet conditions. Moreover, plastic handles can wear out or crack over time. They can as well get damaged when exposed to fire or very high temperatures.
- Rubber – rubber handles are the best option because they are lightweight and provide a soft, rubberized grip that’s not only comfortable but also firm and non-slip. They offer the most secure and safe grip needed when working in wet or slimy conditions. These handles are also easy to care for since they don’t soak smells or hide germs. Their only major downside is that they are usually not quite sturdy and durable compared to the other materials.
- Metal – metals handles are typically made of stainless steel and are the most sturdy and durable options. Maintaining them is simple too since they clean up easily and never soak up any smell. They offer a soft comfortable grip due to their smooth surfaces but some are slightly textured or feature indentations to provide a fairly solid grip. Even so, they are not actually non-slip hence can get very slippery when slimy or wet.
Generally, the best material would be a soft-grip rubber handle because it offers a comfortable and firm grip that’s non-slip even in very wet or slimy conditions. However, durability might be an issue and if that is a big concern to you, then we would recommend going with either wood or plastic handles that have a non-slip design like a textured finish or something that can guarantee a firm and secure grip in wet conditions.
3.2. Handle Shape and Size
The handles of knives for chopping vegetables come in various shapes and sizes. The key here is to look for models that have an ergonomic shape with contours that conform nicely to the curves of your fingers or hand. The shape of the handle should feel comfortable to hold and give you a solid grip. If it has special grooves all over, the better as this would enhance your grip and make it even more firm, especially in wet conditions. Some models will have hollowed-out handles. These too are good because the hollowed-out shape can make gripping the handle easier and secure.
If you’re cutting harder vegetables such as butternut, pumpkin, and other squash, you’ll need sturdy handles and as such, you have to consider the tang of the blade too. Here, a full-tang blade that extends all the way into the entire handle is the best option because it’s substantial compared to a half-tang design where the blade only runs half-way. The substantial full-tang design makes the handle strong and sturdy, ensuring the best cutting force as well as longest service life. The handle should also be efficiently riveted (triple-riveted) into the tang to ensure it remains firmly in place.
A finger guard is another feature you should be on the watch out for when considering the shape of the handle. It’s a small extension right at the bolster that helps stop the fingers from slipping to the knife’s sharp blade during cutting. It’s a small feature but it can certainly help you avoid unnecessary injuries. Look for models with metal finger guards instead of plastic because the latter is likely to break easily. Consider also a knife with a slightly longer handle, especially if you want a Nakiri knife – a long handle offers sufficient room for your hand hence can help keep it from directly hitting the cutting board.
4. Knife Blade
The blade is the most crucial part of a knife as it’s what does the actual cutting. Therefore, you need to be keen when looking at it to ensure you pick a knife with the best blade. The key considerations here are the:
4.1. Blade Material
The material used to make the blade matters a lot as it’s what determines its durability, efficiency, and sturdiness, which are factors that will affect its cutting performance, precision, and versatility. Stainless steel, carbon steel, and ceramic are the most common materials used to make knife blades and each has its strengths and weaknesses:
- Stainless Steel – the most widely used material. It’s sturdy and durable, perfect for regular use as it can handle heavy workload. It’s easy to clean too and not likely to rust or corrode quickly when taken care of properly. Stainless steel blades are equally easy to sharpen and to keep sharp. However, they lose their edge quickly hence need to be sharpened frequently.
- High Carbon Steel – blades made of high carbon steel are very tough and durable. They are able to keep their edge (remain sharp) for a longer time. They are resistant to corrosion or rust hence ideal for use in wet conditions. They generally have the longest life span and are easy to sharpen and maintain. Their only downside is that they are pretty expensive than the rest due to their quality.
- Low Carbon Steel – this is basically a hardened alloy of iron and carbon. It features low carbon content hence tends to be softer than high carbon steel and stainless steel. While the blades made of this metal are relatively strong, razor sharp, and keep their edge for a fairly long time (than stainless steel), they are highly susceptible to rusting, staining, and corrosion. They are not really long-lasting, especially when not taken care of properly.
- Ceramic – ceramic blades are rare but they are tougher and more durable than high carbon steel, and offer a good cutting edge. They are quite rigid than the other materials and are not susceptible to corrosion or rusting. Their major drawback is that they are pretty fragile due to their brittle nature. They can easily break or crack when dropped.
Overall, you would want to go for a blade that’s made of high-carbon steel. It’s certainly the best material for knife blades. It’s strong, has a longer lifespan, doesn’t rust or corrode easily, and offers a sharp edge that stays sharp longer than all the other materials and it’s easy to sharpen when needed.
A high-grade stainless steel blade is also a great option as it’s able to keep its edge for longer compared to standard steel. The perfect option though would be a multi-layer blade made up of a high carbon steel core that’s clad by layers of stainless steel on either side. This is a much tougher and durable blade that’s super resistant to rust, corrosion, and all manner of damage. It’s a blade that would certainly keep its sharpness for a very long time.
4.2. Blade Construction
Construction is another important aspect to consider when looking at the blade of a knife for chopping vegetables. Here, there are only two options to consider, a forged or tampered knife. For a forged knife, the blade is made of a single piece of steel from the tang to the point/tip of the blade, while for the tampered knife, the blade is constructed separately on a steel sheet, after which it’s then hammered on the knife.
The forged knives are much sturdier and durable than their tampered or hammered counterparts, plus they are usually also more expensive. These are ideal choices if you’ll often be cutting harder veggies or if you just want a knife that offers better lifespan.
4.3. Blade Edge and Sharpness
The sharpness of the blade will significantly affect its cutting performance as well as ease of use – a sharper blade cuts easily and uniformly, and you don’t need to put in a lot of force or effort when using it. The blade sharpness is generally related to its bevel angle. The bevel comes in two variations, single bevel or double beveled, both of which are created by mainly angling the blade edge.
In a double-beveled blade, both sides of the blade are angled, meaning you can use either side to cut or chop vegetables. It’s a blade design seen on most European knives as well as some Japanese knives. Generally, besides convenience, double-beveled blades usually offer great sharpness and longevity.
Single-beveled blades, on the other hand, are mostly common on Japanese knives and are characterized by their one-sided razor-sharp edges. These blades are able to deliver clean cuts but they take some time to get used to them if you’ve never used them before, plus they are not quite convenient like the double-beveled blades – a right handed person can find it hard to use a left-handed single-bevel knife.
With regards to the bevel angle itself, which affects the edge and sharpness of the blade, we recommend looking for models that have a 12 to 15-degree bevel angle or a 50/50 symmetrical grind. These are the best option for veggies as they will provide a sturdy blade with a sharper edge that’s ideal for optimal chopping performance. You also get a sturdy spine which reduces the blade’s flex hence preventing accidents in the kitchen. Blades with a bevel angle of less than 12-degrees tend to be soft and flexible hence not quite suitable for chopping both leafy and hard veggies.
4.4. Blade Finish
The other aspect of the knife blade you should consider is the finish. Vegetables tend to stick to the blade as you chop them, so the right blade finish can help prevent this from happening. Often, vegetable knife blades like Nakiri knives feature a hammered finish, also called “tshuchime” in Japanese. The roughness of the hand-hammered finishes reduces drag while cutting hence the veggies is less likely to stick to the blade after chopping.
Another type of finish that can achieve the same effect is the scalloped finish, more commonly known as a Granton edge. This type of finish consists of small indentations on the blade’s edge that create air pockets between the blade and the food/ingredients while chopping. These little pockets of air cause the food to easily release from the blade hence they don’t end up sticking on its surface after every slice.
5. Knife Balance and Weight
The balance and weight of the knife are essential factors to consider when looking for a knife that can perfectly chop and slice vegetables. The balance of the handle and the blade, in particular, needs to be in unison because if they are off-balance such that one outweighs the other, you’ll find it challenging to cut the veggies with optimal precision.
Using an unbalanced knife will also require you to exert much more effort than necessary when chopping the food. Therefore, the weight of both the blade and the handle needs to be in harmony and evenly distributed for the knife to have proper balance and deliver perfectly cut vegetables. This may however vary depending on the type of knife. For instance, the balance point of most Nakiri knives is tilted more towards the tip which gives them excellent nimbleness and precision when cutting.
That said though, the balance of the knife you choose should work well with its weight in order for it to be comfortable to use. Generally, there’s no specific weight that’s ideal for all or that you can say it’s the best for knives for cutting vegetables. Provided the knife is well balanced, the ideal weight will completely depend on your preference at a personal level. What you want to ensure though when assessing the knife’s weight is that you’re able to handle it easily.
Some prefer heavy-duty knives because they usually don’t require much force from you and are quite hefty. They make it easier to chop or cut hard and dense veggies with little effort from the user. On the other hand, there are those that prefer lighter knives because they find them easier to use and maneuver. They give them much control over the blade and the cutting and slicing process.
Ultimately, as we’ve mentioned above, your choice about the weight will depend on your personal preference, particularly your comfort while using the knife. Unfortunately, it’s hard to check the balance and weight of a knife unless you can hold it and know how it exactly feels on your hand. Therefore, if you’re buying online, the only way to know this is to rely on the feedback from users who already have it.
Maintenance Tips for Vegetable knives
Since knives for chopping vegetables get a lot of use in the kitchen, it’s very important to maintain them properly so that they can keep working efficiently and last a long time. With this in mind, here are a couple of tips on how to properly care for your knife to increase its longevity.
- Always keep it clean
You should always ensure your vegetable knife is clean. Once you’re done using it, be sure you wash it immediately. If it’s left in the dirt for a prolonged period, the acid, water, and other constituents of the food residue will damage the blade by causing it to rust or corroding it over time, even if it’s made of high-grade stainless steel or high carbon steel.
You can wash the knife carefully using a soft sponge, mild dish soap, and warm water. Once you’re done, you rinse it with lukewarm water to clean off the dirt and foam. You should avoid letting it soak in the warm water or the lukewarm rinsing water for too long because too much soaking will certainly damage the handle and even rust the blade, especially when left in the sink together with other dishes.
- Dry the knife completely
Be sure to dry the knife completely as soon as you are done rinsing it so that the blade doesn’t rust when you put away the knife. You should wipe it dry using a soft cloth – don’t let it air-dry on the dish rack, knife block, or magnetic strip as many people would suggest or do. Wiping it will help prevent the blade from oxidizing hence cutting down the possibility of it becoming rusted, which would be the case when you wait for it to air dry.
If the handle of the knife is wooden, use mineral oil on it to help preserve it. You can also rub vegetable oil on the handle periodically if it’s metal and you note that it’s starting to corrode or rust.
- Store it properly
Use a sturdy and clean block or knife holder to store your knife or knives to protect them from dirt and getting chipped and damaged, instead of leaving them loose in the drawer where they are at high risk of clashing with other kitchen items.
Storage cases, storage bags, and protective sheaths or sleeves are also very safe and convenient storage options that you can use. In fact, they are the best options when you want to safely store your knife for long at home. They can keep the integrity (edge) of the blade since they are designed with compartments that fit the exact size of the blade and they are usually made of materials such as leather which is less likely to take in moisture or water that might cause rusting.
Moreover, they keep the blade hidden from plain sight hence preventing accidental contacts that could lead to injuries. They also make it easy and safe to carry the knife with you anywhere whether it’s to some outdoor activity like camping or to work in case you are a chef.
- Sharpen it regularly
Sharpening your knife is part of maintenance. It helps ensure the edge of its blade always stays sharp to make precise and clean cuts. The sharpening process involves grinding down the metal using a special tool and it doesn’t really damage the blade but simply helps restore its sharp V-shaped edge.
How frequent you sharpen the knife will depend on how often you use it. If you regularly use the knife, then you may have to sharpen the blade at least several times a year if you properly clean and maintain the blade. If you use it more frequently, you can also hone the edge with a steel rod once or twice a month to ensure better cutting. However, if the knife doesn’t get that much use, sharpening it once every year or two would be just fine.
There are several methods you can use to sharpen the knife and the process itself is not exactly easy. Honing with a steel rod is probably the fastest and easiest to do because you’re not creating a new edge out of a dull blade. The honing rod actually helps to realign the metal/edge of the blade, smoothing out any indentations, nicks, and flat spots.
For actual sharpening, a relatively easy method would be using an electric knife sharpener. They are quite great and can effectively sharpen almost any type of blade without requiring a lot of effort, plus they don’t need much skill to use or operate.
The other method is using a sharpening stone, but in this case, you’ll need a certain level of skill or expertise and also know the proper angle in order to do it right, otherwise, you might damage the blade.
The best way overall to sharpen any knife, especially if you are not very skilled or good at DIY is using a professional knife sharpener. A professional sharpener will certainly be able to do it better compared to most home techniques.
1. What’s the best knife for chopping onions
Manual knives are the most common option and they usually rely on the muscle or effort of the user wielding the blade. They are ideal for precision works because you have full control of the blade throughout which makes it a lot easier to maneuver it. The fact that they don’t require a power source to use makes them pretty convenient and portable. You can take them with you anywhere as you don’t have to worry about sockets or carrying batteries. Their only major downsides is that they can be quite tedious to use, especially when cutting lots of meat. They are also slow since they depend on the speed of the user.
2. What’s the best knife for cutting carrots
The Nakiri knife and the Chinese cleaver, in our opinion, are the best knives to use to effortlessly cut hard vegetables like carrots. The thin, wide blade of the Nakiri knife especially with its sharp straight edge allows it to cleanly cut through carrots effortlessly. The blade’s natural curve also eliminates repetitive slicing actions, plus the sliced carrots will equally not stick to it.
3. Vegetable knife vs. chef knife for cutting vegetables
The main difference between the two knives is in the exclusivity of their function or purpose, that is, a vegetable knife is exclusively for chopping/cutting vegetables, while a chef knife is multi-purpose. It’s basically an all-round kitchen knife used for multiple cutting and slicing tasks. You can use a chef’s knife to chop, slice, dice, mince, and cut vegetables and fruits or to cut meat or thick bones. It can handle just about anything.
Knives for cutting vegetables, on the other hand, can only chop, slice, dice, and cut veggies and fruits. You can surely use them on meat, but you’ll end up damaging the blade. In fact, the only vegetable knife that can be used to cut vegetables and meat is the Chinese cleavers.
The other difference between the two lies in the blade design. Vegetable knives usually have wider, triangular blades with a square tip. The blades are thin and have straight edges for chopping veggies uniformly. On the contrary, chef knives usually have triangular blades with a pointy tip. The edge and spine curve gradually towards the tip.
Another subtle difference is in the available styles. Chef knives come in three versions; German, Japanese, and French. They differ only slightly from one another, but all generally have double-edged blades. The most common or best vegetables knives are Nakiri and Usuba which are available in Japanese style and can be both double and single beveled.