Navigating through a large number of different knife options can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you are not an expert on the topic. It could be that you want something cheap regardless of quality or the absolute best Chinese chef knife ever. Nevertheless, we’d like to shed some light on the best Chinese chef knives that we’ve found.
7 Best Rated Chinese Chef Knives
When looking for good chef’s knives, there’s a couple of essential factors to take note of:
The first being the hardness rating or HRC; this factor should indicate precisely what the performance and effectiveness of the knife are going to be like. A high HRC would mean that the blade edge will retain its sharpness exceptionally well and will often be extremely sharp for long periods without needing sharpening.
A low HRC would mean that the blade will be steady and tough, although requiring sharpening more often. Take the time to assess whether a cleaver is primarily for vegetables or bones. You might not want to mix them up. Vegetables and boneless meat are usually very graceful on knife edges. But bones and rock-hard fruits, however, might damage the blade, either chipping, denting, or even snapping it.
So it would serve you well to make the right choice. We’ve come up with 7 best-budget Chinese chef knives covering a range of different criteria, giving you an easy road to find what you’re looking for. Here they are!
Top 7 Best Chinese Chef Knife Reviews in 2023
TUO Vegetable Cleaver Chinese Chef’s Knife
This vegetable cleaver would speak loudly to anyone fond of beautifully designed cutlery. It looks like it has been made with a high level of precision and care and made from high-quality steel and wood. The handle is made from African Pakkawood, and the blade from High Carbon German stainless steel, giving it a smooth, elegant finish and bolstering the knife’s strength.
Pakkawood undergoes a treatment procedure that seals the wood’s pores, making the handle more resistant to water and splitting, prolonging its life. If you’re searching for something efficient for chopping and dicing, then this might be a perfect choice. It has a hardness rating of 56, meaning that it would retain its sharpness for an extended period while remaining durable and robust.
- The cleaver is heavy, making chopping a more effortless process.
- The blade seems to be resistant to corrosion.
- The knife is reasonably priced and affordable.
- The spine is not rounded off, which could cause discomfort after extended use.
- The blade looks a little too thick, still incredibly sharp, but could cause inaccuracy when cutting thin slices.
DDF iohEF Chinese Chef’s Knives
If you’re after the best Chinese chef knife for the money, this might prove to be it. It screams value for money while not throwing quality out the window so that you might acquire a good cleaver without leaving a big dent in your wallet.
Should you be hunting for something more on the light side, this is a hollow handle sleek single unit knife (one continuous piece of stainless steel for the handle and blade) with a very comfortable hand grip. The 15º double-sided blade edge makes it incredibly sharp and easy to use for both left and right-handers, having a hardness rating between 56 and 58.
The cleaver’s lightweight nature means that it might be slightly more flimsy than other types of cleavers, requiring more care to be taken by the user. If you intend to get yourself a bone-cutting tool, this might not be a good option, needless to say, because it’s a vegetable cleaver, and any attempt to chop through bone would probably result in the blade being damaged.
- Very affordable and cost-effective.
- Includes a hard-cased safety box with an info booklet on how to take care of the knife correctly.
- The handle would likely never break, having grooves for a comfortable grip.
- The cleaver’s balance might feel quite weird due to the hollow handle and might even wobble when placed down on a counter.
- The blade could get damaged if used on anything too hard, like meat bones, for example.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Chinese Chef Knife
When it comes to quality, a solid Henckels cleaver could be a valuable tool to get your hands on, or if you’re looking for a more sophisticated piece of equipment that will easily slice and dice your vegetables, then this is an excellent brand to consider.
In the research we’ve conducted, it seems as though this might be one of the best quality Chinese chef knife in the mix, albeit that it’s made in Germany, as well as from German stainless steel. High-quality European manufacturing naturally results in a higher price range, so if money is not a concern for you, then, by all means, give it a go.
It has a hardness rating of 57, giving the edge excellent sharpness retention and still preserving the blade strength. The edge is also angled at 15º, making it razor-sharp, with the blade having been ice-hardened for extra resilience – staying sharper for longer.
- The knife is lightweight and well-balanced.
- The handle is triple-riveted, providing the full tang handle with increased durability.
- It also has high corrosion resistance.
- The handle is made from plastic, which can sometimes crack and split the handle under high tension.
Mercer Cutlery Chinese Chef’s Knife
This beastly blade might resonate with far eastern knife lovers, as it leaks olden-day beauty with a Japanese stainless steel blade and rosewood handle. It has a simple design, slightly less ergonomic than one might want for a Chinese chef knife, and it’s quite heavy, which could make long-term use uncomfortable.
Japanese style blades are usually excessively sharp depending on the steel’s quality, sitting at a hardness rating above 60. Still, on this Mercer, the hardness rating is between 51 – 54, making it more sturdy and durable, although sacrificing sharpness retention.
- The durability of the cleaver is ideal if you wish to keep the knife for a long time.
- It has a kind of antique appeal to it, which could be a visually pleasing sight in a modern kitchen.
- The handle looks slightly oversized, which could cause a loss in some of the overall control while cutting.
- The blade might lose its sharpness reasonably quickly due to the lower hardness rating.
SHI BA ZI ZUO Chinese Chef Knife
Meals with family and friends are wonderful and fulfilling; however, sometimes not so great for the person stuck in the kitchen all day trying to prepare all the delicious food. A worthy companion might make the difference while slicing and dicing, turning meal prep from painful minutes of endless chopping into an effortless and efficient task.
The joy with this cleaver is its sharpness; it has a hardness rating of 56 – 58, giving it a brilliant balance between strength and effectiveness, as well as a beautiful rosewood handle for extra decadence and stability. There are a few minor hang-ups that you might want to know before making a decision, starting with small stickers that often come stuck onto the blade.
These stickers can be an enormous frustration to remove and might leave a sticky residue after taking them off. Another thing to consider is a small folded piece of steel at the back of the handle. The handle seemingly comes with no end cap, so the knife’s visual might be, in a sense, “tainted.”
- Good value for money
- The knife has an ideal weight, not too heavy or too light, providing a grandeur of control.
- It has a non-stick coating on the blade, which stops thinly sliced vegetables from clinging to the blade’s edge, also giving it more corrosion resistance.
- The finish of the knife looks scrappy with hard to remove stickers and no end cap.
- The handle is not full tang, making it weaker.
KITORY Cleaver Chinese Chef’s Knives
Once again, here we’re looking at an elegantly designed vegetable cleaver, with a meticulous pear wood handle set at a good length for a comfortable grip. If you’re searching for something a little more extravagant to furnish your kitchen with, this might be the choice of the year.
It has a curved blade to help cut bigger items of food and enhance that classic rocking motion technique for slicing. It’s also fitted with a stainless steel end cap which holds the handle together and gives the knife a very smooth finish.
It’s manufactured from high carbon German steel, with an HRC (hardness rating) of 56 for a great deal of durability. This cleaver should last you a long time, although you might have to pull out that honing device once in a while because the edge retention seems to be more on the average side.
- The grip design is excellent, with great control and excellent balance all-round.
- It has formidable strength and is highly anti-corrosive.
- The blade edge loses its sharpness after a while and sometimes gets shipped slightly blunt.
Nanfang Brothers Chinese Chef Knife
In our best knives list, this cleaver ranked as a best Chinese chef knife, from design and manufacturing; to the blade’s finish and ergonomics. It is made from 67 layers of high-quality VG-10 Japanese steel, with an HRC of 58 – 60, ensuring an immense blade edge sharpness level. The extreme razor-sharp edge comes at the cost of sturdiness.
The blade can tend to be brittle, so if you don’t take the utmost care of this knife, for instance, if you want to cut through bone, this might not be a good choice. The knife comes at a price, but if you’re looking for a top-of-the-range cleaver with fabulous performance and a lively robust design, this shouldn’t let you down.
- The handle is full tang, triple-riveted, and made from micarta wood, giving it a sleek black finish and making it extra strong.
- The knife is delivered with a storage box for extra protection.
- The handle has a synthetic anti-slip grip for additional safety.
- The steel’s hardness makes the knife very fragile, requiring vast amounts of care to be taken.
Main Features to Look for When Searching for Chef Knives
When it comes to kitchen knives, or more particularly, Chinese chef’s knives, you might be thinking that there’s no need to fuss about all the small details because “a knife is a knife”, plus they pretty much all look the same anyway.
Yes, you’re right; they may look the same in some cases. But if you’re fed up with buying things that don’t last, despite how good they look, then you could benefit hugely from taking a few minutes to uncover what makes a knife good or bad.
The hardness rating or HRC, as previously mentioned, will show you two main things: How durable and sturdy the knife might be and how well the blade will keep its sharpness. The harder the blade, the more brittle it becomes, so it’s more prone to damage. If you’re capable of taking good care of a knife, then buying an HRC 58+ will be a great bet.
It should peel away those vegetables like child’s play and might save you a trip to a physiotherapist to reset your wrist. Just be careful to keep your fingers far away from the edge of the blade; otherwise, you’ll soon find yourself in the ER.
If you’re looking for a hardier, unyielding knife, then you’ll maybe want to go with something a little closer to 55 or 56 HRC, but do keep in mind that you might require a sharpening stone some time or another.
It goes without saying that what you put in is what you get out. So it would be wise to check out what quality raw materials are used, in this case, steel. No-stain, or more commonly, stainless steel is the route you might want to go.
It would be a bad idea to use anything that’s not stainless, mainly because rust and corrosion will pick the blade apart in weeks. But also because it won’t have a nice shine to it. High carbon German steel and Japanese steel are two better types of material for knives. Another essential thing to explore is the make of the handle.
Is it made from plastic, steel, or wood? If it’s made from plastic, the handle’s strength might be reduced because plastic is known to split or crack quite easily. If it’s made from wood, it will be more solid and last longer; however, this will mean that the knife might be heavier than you want.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What Does ‘Full Tang’ Mean?
A: The tang of a knife refers to how much of the steel blade is extended into the handle. A full tang is an extension of the blade that stretches the entire length of the handle.
Q: What Is X30Cr15?
A: This is the chemical composition of the steel used in the knife. It contains 0.30% Carbon and 15% Chromium. Carbon improves the hardness of steel, and Chromium increases edge retention and corrosive resistance.
Choose What’s Best for You
There are many impeccable knife brands out there, but many of which you would pay an arm and a leg for, only to get a knife of a quality that you could get for half the price somewhere else. It’s probably a good idea to do some research of your own to find out any more in-depth details about the Chinese chef’s knife, but this is a great start.
Try not to be persuaded but the attractiveness of a knife only. But go the extra mile to find one that is excellent quality. Also, consider the extreme of only looking for more long-term sturdier blades. Simply because a blunt blade can be quite dangerous, so yes, you might be able to keep a specific knife for many years. But if you don’t sharpen more durable blades frequently, then you’re asking for trouble.
So this list of best Chinese chef knives hopefully will provide you with an insight into a range of diverse choice options that would best suit you and your needs. Happy knife hunting.