When it comes to tackling small-scale kitchen tasks, a utility knife is the go-to tool of choice. The best kitchen utility knives have sharp blades and feel comfortable in your hand.
Blade material should be your first consideration. Most kitchen utility knives are constructed from stainless steel, which combines chromium with steel for a durable blade that resists corrosion. Stainless steel is less prone to chipping and also retains its edge longer than other materials — perfect for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to invest in a strict knife maintenance routine. Unadulterated carbon steel utility knives have a stronger and harder blade; however, they require regular sharpening and run the risk of rusting if they aren’t treated with food-grade mineral oil. Many knives are advertised as “high-carbon stainless steel,” which marries the best characteristics of both materials. There are also utility knives made with ceramic, which are a great option for cooks who want a lightweight blade that maintains its razor-sharp edge.
The blade’s shape is also important. Straight edges are the most common, all-purpose choice, but serrated edges are helpful for sawing through delicate items like ripe fruit and bread while preserving their shape.
As for length, kitchen utility knife blades are typically between 4 and 9 inches. The best knife comes down to whichever size blade is easiest for your particular hand to maneuver.
Also, be sure to choose a handle that works best for you. The most common materials used for utility knife handles are plastic and thermoplastic elastomers, which are easy to clean and resist warping. Note that brands use a range of names for their handle materials — such as Fibrox or polyoxymethylene — but these are all different ways of saying they’re durable synthetics. For those who prefer a natural material, there are utility knives with handles made from a range of exotic woods. These are eye-catching, but keep in mind that they require regular oiling or waxing to maintain their shape and functionality.
Most importantly, kitchen utility knives should feel good in your hand while you slice and dice. Many knife aficionados put a premium on balance and weight distribution between the blade and handle. This often requires a full-tang design, in which the blade tapers and extends all the way to the end of the handle. Half-tang blades limit leverage and force while cutting, but the trade-off is that they’re lighter, more affordable, and still perfectly serviceable for simple tasks. Comfort ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some may want an ergonomic handle for an easy grip, or prefer a lightweight blade to reduce hand fatigue. Others may favor the feel of thicker, heavier handles and blades.
If you’re ready to add a new workhorse to your knife block or kitchen drawer, scroll down to find the best kitchen utility knives on Amazon right now.