If you’ve never used or heard of an ulu knife, you’re in for a surprise. Despite not being widely known, these knives are incredibly versatile and capable in the right hands. Originating in the arctic, they were used for everything from cutting blocks of snow for building igloos to cutting children’s hair and chopping vegetables.
Today, they are not used as nomadically but are still utility powerhouses in the kitchen. They’re mostly used in the Arctic, Alaska, Canada, and some Northern European countries. We’re going to take a look at what makes these knives so versatile, where you can get one, and why they’re worth paying attention to, and much more.
By the end of this guide and review, you’ll be ready to choose an ulu knife that matches your needs, skills, and budget – all while having realistic expectations and a keen sense of what the best ulu knife can do for you and your kitchen! Let’s get started!
Top 7 Best Ulu Knife Reviews in 2023
We’ve selected 7 ulu knives (sometimes called Mezzaluna knives) we think to have a great balance between price, performance, durability, usability, and versatility. Some of the knives we’ve chosen to look at come with bowl-shaped cutting boards to fit the curve of the blade. Others come with holding blocks or various unique features.
We’re going to take a look at what stands out about each knife, why it’s worth considering, and what we did and didn’t like about each of the options. By the time we’re done, you’ll have all the information you need to choose an ulu knife that’s perfect for your budget and your needs.
You’ll also learn about the features and value you can expect at different prices, and what to keep an eye out for. We want you to get a knife that makes your time in the kitchen more enjoyable – saving you time and money, helping you prepare even better meals than before! Let’s jump into our best ulu knife reviews!
Alaskan Ulu Legendary Knife
To kick off the review, here’s one of the most popular ulu knives on the market. The low price means you’re getting fantastic value for money without sacrificing too much quality. You don’t get a bowl with this ulu knife, which is unfortunate, but it’s not that hard to find one if you need one. It comes with a holding block that you set the knife into while you’re not using it.
Be careful as it comes extremely sharp out of the box and ready to cut. The block helps to keep this cutting edge safely away from your fingers and keeps the edge away from damage. Both the storage block and the handle are crafted from high-quality and attractive walnut. It’s been treated for extra resistance to bacteria and swelling/cracking.
It’s also made in Alaska and held to high manufacturing standards. It stays true to the traditional Ulu and gives you a realistic experience of what the original knife was like. Overall, considering the price, it’s a top pick for the best ulu knife with this level of popularity and performance – well worth the money!
- Very affordable
- High-quality walnut
- Comes very sharp and ready to use
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Doesn’t come with a cutting bowl
- The handle can be a little slippery
Alaska Cutlery Ulu Knife and Bowl Set
Here’s another widely known Ulu knife. It’s made in Alaska and is a very sturdy knife thanks to the thicker steel connecting it to the handle. We love that it comes with a bowl that’s shaped to perfectly match the curvature of the knife. It’s just deep enough to be functional while still giving you plenty of room for chopping and mincing.
The bowl is very well made and robust enough to last for ages. It’s smooth to the touch and has an attractive wood grain finish. It doesn’t slip and slide on the countertop and sits steady even when it’s being used for heavier chopping. In terms of price, it’s a little higher than a lot of other Ulu knives in this review, but considering you’re getting a great quality bowl, we think it’s an excellent deal.
Although the blade is a little on the small side, it’s still very versatile. You’ll find it’s still comfortable to hold despite the smaller size and easy to work with. The lightweight build gives you increased accuracy while still being able to handle heavier chopping when necessary.
- Lightweight and compact
- A great looking bowl that’s well-shaped
- Bowl doesn’t slip and slides on the countertop
- Comes very sharp out the box
- The blade is a little on the short side
- Not fantastic for heavy meal prep
Arctic Circle Alaska Ulu Knife
Getting an ulu knife and a chopping bowl set at this price point is quite a good deal. Even though this set is not authentically made in Alaska, the knife is still engraved with an Alaskan map, making a good gift. The knife that comes with this set is reasonably practical. You can chop herbs and veggies with it quite well.
Some users complained of a dull blade, but that can be taken care of with a sharpener. It’s also suitable as a skinning knife. The wooden bowl is a bit shallow. You can only cut a small amount of ingredients at a time. However, it does come with a slot on it for storing your ulu knife after using. That is an excellent feature to have.
- Standard ulu knife
- An Alaskan map on the blade
- Shallow but useful bowl
- It doesn’t have the authentic Alaskan quality
LAMSON Walnut Ulu Knife
This Lamson Ulu knife is an incredibly versatile kitchen tool. At 6.25”, the blade is more than capable enough for cutting thicker vegetables and cheese, large fish, and extensive food prep. The steel is hard and tough thanks to the 420HC stainless steel. This also gives it all the corrosion resistance you’d expect from a higher-end Ulu knife.
You’ll find the half-tang to be exceptionally sturdy and secure. The knife doesn’t feel like it’s going to snap any second. The tang is riveted twice to the handle with attractive and seamless rivets. You can easily hold the thicker handle as its inner edge (knife side) is straight and the outer edge is rounder.
It fits comfortably into your palm, even if you have large hands. The cutting edge is razor-sharp and holds relatively well. It combines excellently with the robust walnut handle to bring you one of our favorite picks for the best ulu knife for the money!
- Comfortable and ergonomic handle
- The treated walnut build is very robust
- Excellently sharp cutting edge with great retention
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Doesn’t come with a cutting bowl
- Isn’t very sharp right out the box and needs a touch-up
Arctic Circle Rustic Bear Ulu Knife
If you want an ulu knife that has a unique look and feel – here’s an excellent choice. You get the branded Alaska stamped onto the handle and it’s one of the most imported ulu knives on the market. The handle is quite a bit taller than many of the options we’ve looked at in this review. This helps you get a firm and comfortable grip for heavier chopping or for demanding food prep.
We love the look of the light-colored handle and storage block. It matches the slight golden finish of the steel and gives the ulu an overall classy look. The cutting edge has a wider bevel that’s ground at a slightly narrower angle. This gives you one of the sharpest cutting edges on an ulu, made even better by the fact that it’s so affordable.
It’s slightly shorter at 5.34”, but still plenty for all your meal prep, chopping, and mincing uses. You’ll find it’s effortless to chop and dice with for extended periods without fatiguing your hands. Overall, you’re getting one of the best ulu knives on the market at an exceptionally affordable price.
- Excellent value for money
- Easy to use for longer sessions
- Attractive and unique appearance
- The taller handle is very functional
- A little tougher to sharpen quickly
- Doesn’t come with a chopping bowl
R Murphy Ulu Mincing Chopping Knife
420HC steel gives this knife plenty of corrosion resistance and does an excellent job at hiding scratches from normal wear. One of our favorite features of this knife is the contoured handle.
It’s slightly curved along its inner edge (blade-side) whereas most ulu knives have a straight inner edge. This helps to raise the handle a little further away from the blade to give larger hands more space to work with and to allow different types of grips.
The blade has been cryogenically treated to greatly improve edge retention and cutting performance, without leaving it prone to chipping or snapping. You’re getting a wider-than-usual cutting edge with tons of functionality, making this one of the most versatile and capable professional ulu knives on the market.
- Premium quality build and performance
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Fantastic edge retention
- Contoured handle
- Pointy tips on either side of the blade can get caught or scratch the sharpening bowl
- Quite expensive
Holland Bowl Mill Chopping Ulu Knife Set
If you want premium performance and are happy to pay a more premium price, then this ulu knife and bowl set might be perfect for you! You’re getting a large full-sized 12” bowl that isn’t too bulky or heavy to fit into the standard kitchen. It’s easy to use while still being hefty enough to hold steady during heavier chopping and dicing.
You’ll also get an ulu knife with a functional and versatile blade that sits a little taller than most others. Its half-tang is double-riveted into the handle to improve the robustness and balance of the build. It’s an incredibly durable ulu knife that you’ll be able to keep around for years – so long as you remember to hand wash between uses and to keep it dry.
The bowl has been turned from a single piece of wood so you don’t need to worry about it splitting down the middle. It’s also been oiled and treated to keep it looking and feeling new well after you’ve bought it. We love the simple yet effective cutting edge. There is no flashy designs or finishes, just an exceptionally sharp and practical cutting edge.
While this ulu knife might not be the best choice for the complete beginner, it’s still worth considering if you’re willing to spend a little extra. For the enthusiast or experienced ulu user, you’ll get tons of utility from this knife. It’s impressively reliable and easy to use – even with its taller blade and solid construction.
- Very durable and robust build
- High-quality bowl derived from a single piece of solid wood
- Versatile and practical
- Top-end performance and cutting power
- Not very easy to sharpen the knife
What to Look for in the Best Ulu Knife
The Ulu knife is a traditional and multi-functional knife that several people don’t know. This all-purpose tool was initially made for cleaning and dressing animals. Now, it is used for a variety of uses that you might not even think of. Like other knives, choosing the best ulu knife might be difficult if you don’t know the factors to check. This ulu knife guide will show you the necessary factors to consider when buying an ulu knife.
Handle and Build Material
At first, the ulu knife’s blade was made with slender and slim rocks or slate, while the handle was with bone, ivory, or wood. Now, several ulu knife blades are made with stainless steel, and the handle comes with hardwood. Also, there are some models designed with plastic handles that assure durability.
It would help if you got an ulu knife that is easy for you to maintain. For this purpose, you need an ulu knife that you will sharpen occasionally. The sharpening process is an outstanding and maintenance feature that should be done with either a hard or steel stone.
The size of any ulu knife you buy affects its usage and performance. If you get an ulu knife with a small blade, it would be suitable for cutting small items. On the other hand, if you have heavy-duty tasks, it would be ideal for getting a bigger-sized model. Hence, you need to know what your needs are before you opt for any ulu knife.
The purpose behind getting an ulu knife is closely related to its size as well. The use of ulu knives has gone beyond what they were created for. However, if you need a versatile kitchen knife to perform almost all activities, then getting an ulu knife would be a good decision.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who Invented the Ulu Knife?
A: Rather than a person, the ulu knife was invented by the Native Alaskan people. They’ve been using this for more than five thousand years.
Q: What Do You Use an Ulu Knife for?
A: Traditionally, Eskimo women used ulu knives for preparing fish. Nowadays, in a modern kitchen, you can use an ulu knife for preparing all sorts of ingredients. An ulu knife can be used as a great pizza cutter, much like a mezzaluna knife.
Q: How Do You Sharpen an Alaskan Ulu Knife?
A: First of all, you shouldn’t be using regular knife sharpeners to sharpen an ulu knife. There are specialized sharpeners for ulu knives. Although, you can also use whetstones or generic leather strops. Only sharpen the bevel of the ulu, and leave the flat side alone.
We’ve looked at 7 ulu knives that are worth paying attention to. We’ve covered why each one is unique and how it compares to others in its price range and performance level. You should have a very good idea of what you need in your next ulu, where you can find it, and how to get the best value for your money. You’re ready to take your cooking to the next level and get the best ulu knife for you!