Sharing their name with the razor-blade equipped knives used by workmen all over the world, kitchen utility knives are an important knife for any kitchen to have. While chef knives are designed for cutting and disjointing meat, slicing herbs, and dicing vegetables, utility knives serve different purposes. They’re designed for slicing buns and bagels, cutting sandwiches, and doing more light-duty kitchen work. That makes them an invaluable tool for any home chef to have in their collection. It’s also the reason why we decided to review the ten best utility knives for the kitchen currently available. Let’s examine some of the knives that we like and then do a more in-depth discussion on the subject after our top list.
List of the Best Kitchen Utility Knives
- Best Overall: Wusthof Classic 4.5-Inch Utility Kitchen Knife (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value: Sunnecko 5-Inch Kitchen Utility Knife (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider (Best Value): Sky Light 6-Inch High-Carbon Kitchen Knife (Amazon) – Review
- Best Affordable: Home Hero 5-Inch Kitchen Utility Knife (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Wusthof Classic 4.5-Inch Utility Kitchen Knife
Regardless of whether the home chef needs to chop up small vegetables, cut bagels or sandwiches, or even pare fruit, this utility knife is up to the task. It’s made by Wusthof, a company that’s known around the world for making quality cutlery, and they have designed this kitchen knife with the utmost care and attention. This knife is approximately 10-inches long counting its blade and handle, and its blade has a total length of 4.5 inches. This knife’s blade also has a full tang that’s triple riveted to its handle for durability and stability. All of which makes this German-made knife one that’s extremely well made.
The next thing that we liked about this knife was how it felt in our hands. This is an exceptionally well-balanced knife that’s been precision-forged from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel. This makes it a joy to use and one that’s capable of being used for long periods without it wearing out the user’s hand. And if all of that isn’t enough for the consumer to consider using this knife, then they might also want to consider that it’s a utility knife that’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty. In other words, Wusthof stands by each of their knives and guarantees their quality.
Best Value: Sunnecko 5-Inch Kitchen Utility Knife
Let’s be real, there are a lot of utility knives in the $25 to $60 range, and not all of them are very good. We’d say the vast majority of them probably aren’t worth their price tags. Fortunately, this knife is one of the ones in this price range that consumers should consider. That’s because, despite its lower price tag, this knife is made to be durable, sharp and to last a long time. The manufacturer of this knife started by giving it a blade with a Japanese VG-10 core and then cladding it in thirty-six layers of stainless steel on each side. It’s then forged using an ancient Japanese method to create Damascus steel that’s even more advanced than high-carbon steel knives.
This knife’s blade isn’t the only thing worth mentioning about this quality knife. It’s also how the knife is balanced and put together which makes it worth owning. This 5-inch knife has a curved handle that’s easy to hold and use, and the entire knife is balanced perfectly. And another thing worth mentioning is that this knife is sharp from the first moment it’s used and stays sharp for quite some time. When it is time to sharpen it, it’s very easy to put an edge on it with very little effort. All of this comes together to make this knife great for chopping vegetables, slicing pieces of bread and just about anything else it can be called on to do.
Also Consider (Best Value): Sky Light 6-Inch High-Carbon Kitchen Knife
This value-priced kitchen utility knife is designed to be the workhorse of any kitchen. What we mean by that statement is that it’s designed not to do one job extremely well but is instead designed to do just about any job well. It’s a 6-inch utility knife that’s made with a German high-carbon stainless steel blade that’s resistant to rust and stains. This blade has a Rockwell Hardness level of 58, which means that it’s an extremely durable blade that should handle frequent use quite well. This high-quality blade is then honed to an ultra-sharp 15-degree angle on each side. It’s an edge that can just about cut through anything quickly and easily.
Another thing that we liked and were frankly quite surprised to find in this knife’s price range, is that it has a full-tang construction. The entire knife is one piece, and the ergonomic handle is riveted to it using three rivets. This not only helps to make the knife more durable and flexible but also helps to keep it balanced. And because this knife is backed by a 100% manufacturer’s warranty, consumers can rest assured that this knife is free from all defects in workmanship. That makes it a good choice for anyone looking for a quality utility knife that can be used for mincing, paring, or slicing.
Best Affordable: Home Hero 5-Inch Kitchen Utility Knife
Okay, let’s start off by saying that these utility knives aren’t going to win any awards for construction. That’s because it lacks a full-tang construction that many of the best utility knives have. It’s also because it’s handle has a cheap feel to it that’s immediately outclassed by more expensive knives. So, why is this knife on this list, you ask? It’s because this knife is one of the most inexpensive knives available that’s just good enough to get the job done. This knife is capable of slicing, chopping and cutting through meats, bread, fruits, and vegetables, and do a decent job at it.
The fact of the matter is that anyone looking for a high-quality knife isn’t going to choose a knife that’s under $10 like this one. That means that most chefs and consumers who are looking for a knife to use regularly aren’t going to want to buy this knife. However, for people who only cook occasionally and don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen is going to like the affordability and usefulness of this knife. It’s also a good knife for someone who is just starting off with their first apartment or home and don’t have the money to lay down on a $30+ utility knife.
The Home Cook’s Guide To Kitchen Utility Knives
Okay, we’ve gone over a selection of some of the best utility knives out there, now we want to take a few moments and talk about what our readers should look for when choosing a new utility knife. To talk about that, however, we’re going to have to do a closer inspection of what makes these knives useful in the first place. Having said that, let’s begin with the jobs that utility knives excel at and then work our way from there.
What Jobs Do Utility Knives Excel At Doing?
As promised, we’re going to talk about some of the jobs that these knives can perform. After all, not everyone understands the difference between these knives and chef knives, so we decided to talk about what these knives are designed to do.
Utility Knives Are Designed For:
- Slicing herbs, meat, bagels, and buns.
- Cutting sandwiches in half.
- Light vegetable chopping.
- General cutting and slicing tasks.
Utility Knives ARE NOT Designed For:
- Slicing loaves of bread.
- Peeling or mincing fruits and vegetables.
- Cutting through bones.
Choosing The Best Utility Knife
Now that we know the jobs that utility knives are capable of doing, let’s turn our attention to the features we need to look for when choosing a new knife. Below are some of the things that consumers should think about before they buy a new utility knife for their kitchen.
First Step: Think About The Construction Of The Blade
Probably the first thing the consumer is going to want to do is to think about the blade and what it’s made out of. Although there are a variety of different metals used to make knives nowadays, we feel that Damascus Steel and High-Carbon Steel are the best choices for a utility knife. Let’s examine each of these two different types of steel and find out what’s good about them and what’s bad about them. That way, you can make an educated decision on what works best for your kitchen.
Although it seems like every manufacturer makes Damascus steel in a slightly different way, the basic concept behind it is that the manufacturer folds together many different layers of iron and steel together. This is an attempt at replicating the durability and strength of traditional Damascus steel blades that were often used for making swords. The effect is that the iron in the blade allows it to cut easily, while the softer steel is there to act as a shock absorber. This has both positive and negative effects on the blade–effects that we’ll examine below.
- Increased blade strength
- They retain a sharp edge very well
- They have a beautiful, almost artistic surface
- They are more likely to stain or rust than high-carbon blades
- They tend to be more expensive than high-carbon blades
High-carbon steel is a type of steel that has a minimum of 2.1% carbon in its composition. These knives mix this percentage (or higher) of carbon with a variety of other alloys that help to strengthen and increase the versatility of the blade. Some of the other metal alloys that might be incorporated into the mixture include manganese, silicon, copper, nickel, titanium, chromium or tungsten. The thing to remember with carbon steel is that the higher the amount of carbon in the mixture, the stronger and harder the steel will be. Below are some of the pros and cons of this metal in kitchen utility knives.
- These blades are strong and hard
- They have sharp edges
- They retain their edges longer and they require less sharpening
- Easy to sharpen with ordinary sharpening tools
- More durable and easier to maintain than Damascus blades
- They don’t have as nice as an exterior as Damascus blades
- They’re prone to discoloration from acidic foods
Step Two: Choose Blade Length
The next thing that the consumer should do is to choose the right blade length for their needs. As a general rule, utility knives are available in the 4-inch to 7-inch range, so consumers have a wide selection to choose from. Smaller utility knives tend to be better for peeling and chopping small fruits and vegetables, while larger utility knives are better for bigger chopping jobs or general cutting use.
Step Three: Choose A Full-Tang Blade
We can’t emphasis the importance of choosing a full-tang blade enough. A full-tang blade is a one-piece blade that has the handle attached to it by rivets. This way of constructing a knife will ensure that the blade doesn’t break off of the handle and will make the knife more durable. It also contributes greatly to the balance of the blade and makes a better knife. Of course, if you have to buy a knife that doesn’t have a full-tang blade because it’s cheaper, then go ahead. However, the blade is not going to be as durable or as well made as one that has a full tang blade.
Tips For Maintaining A Kitchen Utility Knife
Once the consumer has procured the utility knife of their dreams, it’s time to talk about keeping that knife performing well day in and day out. With proper care, the consumer will be able to get the most mileage even out of the cheapest knife on the market. But even a premium knife is going to need to be properly cared for if the consumer expects it to last. That’s why we’ve assembled a small list of things that consumers can do to keep their utility knives working like new for as long as possible.
Utility Knife Dos:
- Do hand wash a utility knife.
- Do dry it the knife immediately after washing.
- Do make sure the knife is sheathed or stored in a knife block.
- Do sharpen the knife’s blade regularly.
Utility Knife Do Not’s:
- Do not wash the knife in a dishwasher.
- Do not use the knife for cutting through bone or frozen foods.
- Do not throw the knife in a drawer with other knives.
- Do not leave moisture on the knife’s blade.