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Understanding Knives by Type

Types of Knives

From professional chefs to at-home cooks, kitchen knives are arguably the most important instrument when preparing meals. From slicing and dicing to cutting and mincing, and chopping and carving, knives enable cooks to handle a wide range of kitchen tasks with ease.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the most common knives by type and what they are used for. Missing something from your kitchen? Vertoku carries a line of professional, yet affordable chef knives that perform as impressive as they look.

Speaking of Chef’s Knives

The chef knife is a standard in virtually every kitchen, from commercial restaurants to weekend culinary warriors. Known for it’s versatility, the chef knife (also called a French Knife) features a wide blade, tapered to a point. Available in a range of sizes from 7-12”, the chef knife is suitable for tackling several kitchen tasks including but not limited to: chopping, dicing and slicing.

Santoku Knives

Sometimes confused as a chef’s knife, the Santoku is another generalist, typically a bit smaller than a standard chef knife but similar in both construction and shape. This style, originating in Japan, and loosely translated to the “Three Virtues”, is quite capable, handing slicing, chopping and mincing with ease. Typical lengths range between 6-7”.

Utility Knives

Featuring scalloped edges, and a longer blade, the utility knife is a good ‘all purpose’ knife ideal for slicing vegetables and fruit as well as other food items where a large chef knife is overkill, but a paring knife too small and delicate.

Bread Knives

Says it all in the name. These knives are easily identifiable by the ‘saw blade’ edge of the knife. Resembling the teeth of a hand saw, this knife is meant for sawing through breads without having to apply pressure that would otherwise smash down the loaf.

Paring Knives

Nimble and petite, with blade lengths not more than 2.5-4.5”, these knives might be small, but they can get a lot done. The added precision and maneuverability makes them ideal for both smaller and delicate tasks. Deveining shrimp, peeling vegetables, and slicing cheese are all the domain of the paring knife.

Slicing Knives

As the name clearly suggests, these knives are specifically engineered to make slicing a breeze. Slicing knives feature a long, straight and thinner blade and culminates in a rounded tip. These knives are ideal for thin slices of meat and other food items.

Boning Knives

For the meat lovers, this knife is a godsend. Capable of easily and safely separating meat from bones, while reducing wasted protein, these blades are a carnivore’s best friend.

Cleavers (Meat Cleavers)

Also known as a “butcher’s knife”, this type of knife features a long, overly-wide blade. It’s size and heft make it ideal for chopping and slicing through tough or large food items including meat (bone in or bone out), as well as melons, squash and more.

Which Types of Knives do YOU Need?

The right types of knives ideal for your kitchen depend largely on the type of cook you are, your skillset, and how often you prepare certain types of dishes or meals.

Vegetarians (for example) can skip boning knives and perhaps even cleavers. While aspiring cooks who explore a broad range of dishes may need a more extensive set of kitchen knives that covers all the most commonly used types of knives.


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