The best kitchen knives for today's home cook

Right at the top of every chef’s or home cook's wish list is a really good knife. Learn about the top 5 knife brands and how to shop for a knife.

Santoku: The latest and greatest kitchen knife
The lovechild of a classic French chef’s knife and a Japanese cleaver, this all-purpose baby is rapidly becoming a favourite of home cooks and pros alike. It is smaller, more manageable, and well, it looks really cool! This newcomer features a distinctive shape, smaller size, and clever graton edge, or little dimples that run along the surface of the blade, encouraging sticky potato and cheese slices to slide off the blade.

Santoku knives are made by most major knife manufacturers, priced at about $50 and up.
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There are countless makers of quality knives on the market from many parts of the world, in many styles and at many different price points. Here’s a sampling of 5 brand-name chef's favourites:

1. Global

All steel, one-piece construction. With a masculine aesthetic, this Japanese line is very popular with the pros.

5.5" to 10' Chef's knife price range:
$50 to $130
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2. Chroma 301 Knives by Porsche
Forged from Japanese steel and designed by the legendary auto-maker F. A. Porsche, this all-steel, one-piece construction, offers a great blade, with a very sleek, high-end look and price tag to match.

10" Chef's knife price:
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3. Calphalon
Offering three lines: Katana VG Japanese steel, Contemporary, and their latest, the LX Series, all at very good prices. These great looking and well-made high-carbon German and Japanese steel knives are manufactured in China, thus keeping costs down.

Chef's knives price range: $40 to $112

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4. Wusthof

Since 1814, classic German looks and solid construction. Offering seven lines, including one endorsed by Emeril, there is a knife here for every taste and budget.

Chef's knives price range: $55 to $200
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5. J.A. Henckels
Also from Germany, and also a classic choice. Offering several well-made lines, there are many different looks and price points to choose from.

Chef's knives price range: $130 to $450

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In the end, a good knife should:
• Deliver a smooth rocking motion when cutting.
• Feel great in the hand: nicely balanced, with a good heft to it.
• Be forged from high-quality, high-carbon, no-stain steel.
• Hold its cutting edge well for a long time, even in a busy kitchen.
• Never be made of stainless steel.
• Never go through the dishwasher.
• Always be stored in the sheath it came with, in a knife block, or on a wall-mounted magnetic strip, never loose in a drawer. It’s bad for the blade and dangerous for you and your family.
• Always make the cook very happy, and make short work of all your chopping and slicing.

Click below to learn how to properly steel a knife:

View more kitchen tips in our Test Kitchen Video Library >>

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