Knives have always been the best companion for a chef. These sober-looking tools would go to any extent (like getting their blades blunt) to get a chef the most out of his dish. And choosing the right companion is what determines your destiny.
In simpler words, deciding the best steel for kitchen knives is quite crucial as most of the kitchen chores revolve around one or the other kind of knives. But choosing the right steel knife is not simple as it may look because like every other product, kitchen knife markets are too looking for an opportunity to confuse the buyers by offering a vast range of products.
KITCHEN KNIVES MARKETS – heard of this industry before? If not, let’s begin with a glimpse of what the global kitchen knife markets look like along with some facts that a kitchen knife buyer must know in 2021.
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Knife
ZOLEYA high carbon kitchen knife
Zelite Infinity Kiritsuke Chef Knife (9 inches)
Sunmei 8 inch high carbon steel chef kitchen knives
Zelite Infinity Kiritsuke 9” Alpha Royal Series
Kitchen Knife Allezola Professional Chef Knife
Santoku 7″ Japanese Kitchen KnifeProduct Name
Becozier 8” professional kitchen knife
Best Steel For Kitchen Knives – A Glimpse Of The Global Kitchen Knives Market
The market of kitchen knives is a full-fledged industry, offering a bunch of opportunities for existing and new sellers. Here is an overview of the global kitchen knife markets.
- The global kitchen knives market has been on a gallop with its 2018 valuation being USD 1.17 billion USD.
- Also, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is expected to be 8.6% by 2025.
- Stamped blade knives were responsible for generating 75% of the total revenue from kitchen knives in 2018.
Factors affecting the growth of the kitchen knives industry
What’s making these kitchen knives gain such immense popularity? We are listing some prominent factors that have been prime agents in developing the kitchen knives industry.
1. The popularity of cooking-based reality shows
Reality shows have been among the trendiest forms of entertainment. And undoubtedly, these are wholesome sources of joy, suspense, awareness, and much more.
Reality shows like MasterChef, Top Chef, etc have created a wave of cooking among young enthusiasts and are responsible for bringing out immense potential from chefs all around the world. Cooking-based reality shows have redefined this field, which has resulted in increased derived demand for kitchen knives.
2. Cooking as a career opportunity
Cooking has become a wholesome career opportunity. This has been a result of increased awareness related to the field of cooking, global platforms for showing potential in cooking, comprehensive professional chef courses, inclination towards degrees like Hotel Management, and much more. And unquestionably, this popularity has been responsible for higher demand for kitchen knives.
3. Inclination towards visually appealing dishes
Presentation is the prime area of emphasis of every chef. And this is also required to a significant extent as the trend of visually appealing dishes is hovering around the cooking industry. For instance, you might have seen chefs serving a dish in uncommon shapes like Julienne, Chiffonade, Macedoine, etc. These shapes are made using various types of kitchen knives and hence, this is yet another factor responsible for increasing demand for kitchen knives.
The popularity of this trend can be made much more evident through the following examples.
- Launching of Elmax (an 8.6-inch kitchen knife for better cutting) in 2019 by Artisan Revere
- Launch of Colorado 14ers chef knife by Peak Knife Company in 2019
4. Demand for kitchen chores
Kitchen knives are not only demanded where the user is a professional chef but are also demanded in kitchens as most of the cooking chores revolve around these kitchen knives.
5. Demand for restaurants, eateries, and outside food
Dining out is again a prominent trend witnessed in this decade, which is responsible for the increasing demand for kitchen knives. Also, the chaos of corporate life has led to the popularity of cafeterias and eateries.
Best Steel For Kitchen Knives – Buying Guide
Choosing a kitchen knife is not as easy as it may seem to most of the buyers. If you read further, kitchen knives vary in types, build material, prices, and several other attributes. Talking about types of knives, on one hand, where stamped knives are carved out of a single sheet of steel and are less durable, on the other hand, forged knives are premium knives that are much more durable, sharp, and stable than stamped knives.
If we look at the build quality, we can find that there several varieties of steel that you can find in the market. The most common of these varieties are stainless steel and high carbon steel. On the one hand, where stainless steel makes budget knives with considerable durability and handling, on the other hand, the best carbon steel kitchen knives are finer knives with much higher durability and better stability.
So to ease out the process of selection, here is a list of factors that a buyer must look at so he can get the best kitchen knife for his kitchen.
Factors to look for while buying a kitchen knife
- Sharpness and re-sharpening: sharpness is among the most influential factors that a buyer should definitely look at while buying a kitchen knife as it will define your experience with the knife. The ease of re-sharpening defines the lifespan and durability of the knife.
- Handling: A buyer should go for a slip-resistant grip so that he/she can enjoy a hassle-free chopping.
- Blade material: blade material will describe the durability and texture of the knife. Stainless steel kitchen knives are sober, minimalistic, and affordable kitchen knives, while high carbon steel blades make finer knives.
- Storage: Some knife manufacturers offer a leather sheath or a box for storing the knife, which plays a significant role in determining the life of your kitchen knife.
Product-Based Differentiation of Kitchen Knives
Since we are looking out for the best steel for kitchen knives, it’s important to look at the varieties of kitchen knives available in the market and which among them has performed well in the past. Thus, here are the product-based statistics of kitchen knives along with their contribution to the total revenue from kitchen knives.
Stamped blade knives
A stamped knife is one of the most common forms of kitchen knives you’ll find in the market. These knives are carved out of a single piece of flat metal. Stamped knives are much cheaper than other types of blades (like forged knives) as they are less durable, sharp, and also lack in hardness. Besides, these knives also lack real bolsters, which reduces their stability and balance.
Stamped knife generated the highest percentage of the total revenue generated by the industry. According to the reports, stamped knives were responsible for 75% of the total revenue earned by all types of knives together in 2018. This popularity is a consequence of their flexibility and lightweight, which makes them an excellent option for filet and boning knives.
Hand-forged knives are a one-stop destination if a buyer is planning to upgrade in quality. These knives are manufactured out of a single steel bar. It is then heated and pounded by skilled craftsmen or machines to give it the desired shape. Forging has been known to strengthen the steel and hence, forged knives are much stronger than stamped knives. Forging also facilitates much better re-sharpening.
Unlike stamped knives, forged knives possess a bolster, which helps in stabilizing the knife by adding weight to the center of the knife. And thus, these knives are heavier and more stable than stamped knives. According to the reports, hand-forged knives are expected to be the most rapidly growing type of knives, experiencing a CAGR of 8.9% by 2025.
Kitchen Knife Sizes – a Concise Report
Kitchen knives are available in various sizes and definitely, choosing the right size is as crucial as choosing the best steel for chef knives. The kitchen knives industry has been segregated into kitchen knives of the following sizes.
- 3-5 inches
- 5-7 inches
- 7-9 inches
- 9-12 inches
Now, since there are 4 sizes of kitchen knives available in the market, which size would be the best for you?
Though the choice of size is quite subjective, if we look at past performance, segment 5-7 inches has been the most superbly performing segment in the market. Also, it is expected that the segment may experience the largest share in the market by 2025. Segment 5-7 inches is the ideal size for cutting garnishes, peeling vegetables, removing seeds, and much more.
Another immensely popular knife size segment is 7-9 inches. This segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% by 2025. This segment includes some popular knife varieties like bread knives, ham slicers, etc as they have broad blades.
Scouting the Best Steel for Kitchen Knives
Before giving any verdict about the best steel for chef knives, let’s look at the different varieties of steel used in making knives. Here is a list of steels that kitchen knife manufacturers use to carve kitchen knives.
1. 1055 culinary knife steel
Ruling the market for culinary knife steel for ages, 1055 is the strongest and the most top-notch steel known to knife manufacturers, making it the best kitchen knife material. An experienced knife manufacturer can’t deny the fact that it’s extremely hard to break a 1055 steel blade (the reason being the hardness of 55 HRC).
1055 composition includes 0.55% carbon and a little bit manganese and thus, it can be found in many meat cleavers, machetes, and many other types of knives.
2. 1095 High Carbon steel kitchen knives
1095 high carbon kitchen knives make the best meat cleaver when sharpened correctly. This type of steel lacks manganese, which makes the blade much stiffer than 1055 steel. Possessing the Rockwell hardness of 56 HRC, 1095 is prominently-used steel in axes, machetes, tomahawks, meat cleavers, etc.
3. Damascus steel kitchen knives
The best Damascus chef knife is yet another variety of premium steel that can be found in the market. They are recognized by their watery light and dark pattern. The property that made this steel a “go-to product” is its ability to maintain a razor-like edge along with its hardness and flexibility.
Damascus steel is more often used in making weapons as it makes much stronger weapons than iron.
4. 4166 Krupp Kitchen Knives
4166 Krupp is among the most top-notch varieties of stainless steel. It is manufactured by Thysen Krupp over precise standards and the formula is still a secret.
4166 Krupp is not found in ordinary mid-range knives. This is generally used for manufacturing premium knives. Besides, they are also used in surgical equipment like scalpels.
These knives are known for their ideal balance between rust resistance, toughness, and edge retention, with its Rockwell hardness of 57 HCR. 4166 Krupp is used by reputed knife manufacturers like Sabatier, Wustoff, and many others and if you got tempted by these knives, be ready to spend USD100 or even more!
5. 420J Steel Kitchen Knives
420J kitchen knives are used for manufacturing affordable or low-budget kitchen knives. But that doesn’t make it an inferior quality of steel. This quality of steel is completely rust-resistant, making it a maintenance-free knife material.
420J is not that tough to sharpen but it lacks somewhere when it comes to durability, which is the prime reason behind its use in low-budget knives. The knives made out of this steel may roll from the edges when subjected to repeated blows (420J has reported the Rockwell hardness of 55HRC).
Though the knives made out of this steel are quite cheap but still, many buyers like to make 420J knives a part of their kitchen’s culinary set.
SK5 has replaced Carbon V steel. Its Rockwell hardness of 63 HRC, makes the steel extremely durable with sheer hardness. But this steel is not generally used in kitchen knives, but used in coconut splitters, yuccas, processing pineapples, etc.
The list of steel qualities in the market that are used for manufacturing kitchen knives is not confined to the above-listed varieties. We have several other varieties of kitchen knife materials like AUS8, Sandvik 12C27, and many others. These varieties of steels possess different characteristics that make them suitable for one or the other types of kitchen knives.
Best Steel for Kitchen Knives – Reviews
Choosing the right kitchen knife has much more than it meets the eyes. Markets offer a humongous variety of steels for kitchen knives (for instance, 1055, 1095 high carbon, 420J, etc.), and thus, choosing the best kitchen knife material becomes mind-draining for most of the buyers.
Thus, for guiding you regarding which is the best steel for kitchen knives, we have shortlisted some of the best kitchen knives that you can definitely go for if you too are looking for a decent kitchen knife.
1. Victorinox Fibrox Pro Knife
Victorinox Fibrox is genuinely the most aristocratic knife you can spot in the market. Designed with the finest quality of stainless steel, the product deserves to be a member of your kitchen’s culinary set. Victorinox Fibrox possesses the ideal weight and dimensions i.e. it weighs 7.5 ounces with dimensions 17 x 4 x 1.25 inches, making it a worthy kitchen knife.
- Victorinox Fibrox is the ideal knife for professionals as well as amateurs because of its hand-crafted, razor-edged stainless steel design.
- The laser testing technology has made this product master all the cooking chores, being chopping, cooking, dicing, etc.
- Ruling the market with its Swiss quality since 1884, the chef knife is the one-stop destination for the buyers who look for extravagance in every product.
- The manufacturer is known for its lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
- The TPE ergonomic handle facilitates a no-slip grip for easy handling.
- the knife lies in one of the most demanded segments of kitchen knives i.e. 7-9 inches and thus, it’s ideal for almost every category of users.
2. ZOLEYA high carbon kitchen knife
Here is one of the most elite high carbon steel kitchen knives that received a warm welcome from the buyers. The matte black design of the blade and handle drips out the utmost minimalism and would undoubtedly enhance the ambiance of your kitchen.
- Carved out of the most premium high carbon X50CrMoV15 stainless steel that is known for resisting discoloration, rust, and corrosion.
- ZOLEYA’s BO oxidation coating technology offers a chemical-free carbonized coating, which makes the knife non-stick, rust & discoloration resistant, and durable at high temperature.
- The 2.5mm razor-edged blade makes the high carbon chef knife an essential product for fine chopping, mincing, dicing, etc.
- The ergonomic handle is known for the smoothest and the most comfortable grip that you can find in a kitchen knife, making it the best carbon steel kitchen knife.
- The design of the handle resists cracking and shrinkage and promotes extreme stability even while cutting the toughest objects and thus, the knife is ideal for cutting paper-thin slices.
- The knife set comes with an elegant box that makes it a worthy gift option.
3. Zelite Infinity Kiritsuke Chef Knife (9 inches)
Designed with the reliance of Zelite Infinity, the 9 inches chef knife is an elegant stainless steel forged knife that will leave you astonished with its shine and extravagance. Kiritsuke professional knife, being the most trustworthy companion of a chef, has been designed to be visually stunning and minimally slicing resistant with its razor-sharp blade.
- The product is among the best Japanese steel knives, designed for slicing every food item, being fish, vegetables, meat, etc.
- Carved out of ThyssenKrupp high carbon steel, Zelite Infinity Kiritsuke Chef Knife is one of the most durable knives, offering rust and discoloration resistance along with the Rockwell hardness of 56 HRC.
- The ultra-thin 48mm blade possesses outstanding edge retention and sheer hardness.
- The handle is extremely comfortable as its full-tang, ergonomic design and rare tapered bolster make it suitable for every form of cutting.
- Zelite Infinity provides a lifetime risk-free warranty on this product.
4. Sunmei 8 inch high carbon steel chef kitchen knives
If you’re searching out for the best high carbon steel chef kitchen knives, Sunmei 8 inch high carbon knife can surely be an excellent alternative. The product offers an aesthetic vibe with its black stainless steel blade and triple-riveted brown handle combination.
- The product is designed to be extremely durable through its 7 inches high carbon 5Cr15MoV stainless steel.
- Sunmei’s American Cherry wood handle is known for offering a no-slip grip, reducing hand and wrist fatigue, and smoothest handling.
- The best carbon steel chef knife is coated with a non-stick coating that prevents food from sticking on the knife and also enhances the durability of the blade.
- The kitchen knife has been designed so beautifully that it can undoubtedly be an excellent gift option.
5. Zelite Infinity Kiritsuke 9” Alpha Royal Series
Zelite’s Alpha Royal series is the finest chef knife series offered by the manufacturer. The professional knife is carved out of the most premium stainless steel i.e. AUS10 super steel, making it one of the best Japanese steel knives.
- The 9-inch traditional Japanese blade is extremely effective in trimming meat, chopping vegetables, and doing every other type of cutting.
- The 67-layered high carbon AUS10 high carbon stainless steel with tsunami rose Damascus pattern makes the knife visually stunning.
- The blade is designed for sheer endurance (the knife’s Rockwell hardness is recorded to be 61 HRC).
- Zelite Infinity’s Alpha Royal series shows superb edge retention, sharpness, and rust resistance.
- The round, military-grade G10 triple-riveted handle makes it stand out among other knives.
6. Kitchen Knife Allezola Professional Chef Knife
Allezola is all set to serve the buyers with a minimalistic yet elegant 8-inches professional knife, crafted out of superior quality high carbon stainless steel to endure repeated blows. The premium blade is suitable for chopping, mincing, and dicing vegetables, fruits, meat, and other food items.
- The knife is designed out of 100% German Solingen stainless steel, which is known for its no crack and rust properties.
- The ergonomic fish belly wood handle is designed for sheer comfort and durability.
- The product possesses the ideal weight as it weighs merely 200g, which reduces wrist fatigue.
- The laser-tested blade can penetrate through the toughest vegetables and meat.
- The manufacturer offers 30 days replacement on this product.
7. Santoku 7″ Japanese Kitchen Knife
YTUOMZI is a sober knife that will shine bright to capture everyone’s attention towards it. The Asian knife is known for its Japanese design, which can pierce through the toughest vegetables.
- The extremely sharp, high quality German stainless steel blade is designed to cut meat and vegetables.
- Santuko’s technology has made a rust-resistant 2.5mm handcrafted blade that is also discoloration and corrosion-resistant.
- The hollow edge design prevents sticking of food on the knife which automatically helps it in retaining its shine.
- The Pakkawood ergonomic design provides an extremely comfortable no-slip grip that is known for its property of preventing fingers and wrist fatigue.
- The product holds a lifetime warranty and thus, you can try it without any risk.
8. Becozier 8” professional kitchen knife
Setting several benchmarks among the German knives, Becozier is ready to present you with its 8 inches professional kitchen knives so that the knives in your culinary set find a new companion. The knife is loaded with extravagance and won’t fail to grab a person’s attention.
- Designed with the finest quality of ThyssenKrupp, the kitchen knife is one of the most premium knives out there in the market.
- The manufacturer has used G10 (Fiber Glass 10), which is much denser than an ordinary wooden handle.
- Exhibiting the sharpness rating of 11N, the knife can cut meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables into paper-thin slices.
- The product is insulated, moisture, and crack proof, which is yet another appreciable highlight of the product.
- The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on this product and thus, you can it without any risks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What steel is best for kitchen knives?
1055 steel is the best quality steel for kitchen knives. This variety of steel is extremely popular among the knife manufacturing companies and they won’t hesitate in calling 1055 the best quality of steel for making premium kitchen knives.
1055 steel possesses insane hardness i.e. its Rockwell hardness is reported to be 55 HRC, which is yet another reason behind their popularity among the knife manufacturers. Experienced knife manufacturers claim that it’s extremely hard to break a 1055 steel blade.
Talking about the composition, 1055 steel comprises merely 0.55% carbon and a small quantity of manganese and thus, you can find them in machetes, meat cleavers, etc.
2. What are the highest quality kitchen knives?
The highest quality kitchen knives are manufactured out of carbon steel, AUS10, and ThyssenKrupp.
3. What metal makes the sharpest knife?
Carbon is responsible for making the sharpest knives. This is also the prime reason why kitchen knife manufacturers love to go for high carbon stainless steel as it helps them make a high carbon steel chef knife.
Skilled knife manufacturers say that 1095 high carbon steel, when sharpened skillfully, make up the sharpest and the most premium meat cleavers and kitchen knives. 1095 high carbon steel lacks manganese, which makes high carbon stainless steel knives much stiffer and more stable than 1055 steel.
1095 high carbon steel has reported Rockwell hardness of 56 HRC and is also used in axes, meat cleavers, tomahawks, and much other equipment.
4. What is the hardest steel for knives?
High Carbon steel is the hardest steel for knives and thus, this variety of steel enjoys insane popularity among knife manufacturers.
This type of steel is extremely durable and endures the toughest blows. If you ask a professional manufacturer, high carbon steel blades are so durable that it is extremely difficult to break them, and thus, they make up the most durable and sharpest kitchen knives.
1095 high carbon steel possesses a Rockwell hardness of 56 HRC and hence, it is also used in axes, meat cleavers, tomahawks, and many other types of equipment, making it an excellent material for making the best carbon steel chef knife.
5. Is Damascus steel strong?
Yes, Damascus steel is extremely strong (but not actually the strongest) and undoubtedly, the best Damascus chef knives are yet are used for designing premium steel knives. This variety of steel can be characterized by its watery light and dark patterns.
Damascus steel kitchen knives are known for their ability to maintain their sharpness, hardness, and flexibility. Talking about other varieties of Damascus steel like carbon Damascus, it is softer but it becomes harder than steel once it is hardened.
Damascus steel is also used in designing weapons as it makes much stronger weapons than iron.
6. Is stainless steel or carbon steel better for knives?
High carbon steel is much stronger than stainless steel, which is yet another reason why carbon steel is much more popular among kitchen knife manufacturers as compared to stainless steel knives. High carbon steel can be called a better alternative than stainless steel because of the following two reasons.
• Carbon steel is characterized by its property of retaining its edge for a much longer time as compared to stainless steel due to its toughness i.e. it can retain its sharpness for a longer time.
• High carbon kitchen knives can be re-sharpened much easily as compared to stainless steel, which gives them an upper hand over stainless steel knives.
7. What steel does Zwilling use?
Zwilling is among the most reputed kitchen knife manufacturers, known for their finest alloy chef knives. The manufacturer uses high carbon stainless steel knives for manufacturing knives. In fact, this alloy was pioneered by Zwilling only.
The prime reason behind resorting to high carbon steel chef knives is their sheer hardness that is a result of their property of edge retention, which is much better than the ordinary stainless steel. Also, these knives can be sharpened again, which makes them a one-time investment.
8. Does VG10 steel rust?
VG10 is a popular material for kitchen knives and the prime reason behind this is – this variety of steel doesn’t rust easily. But that doesn’t mean that the steel doesn’t rust. In other words, the quality of steel is rust-resistant (not rust-proof).
This still makes it an outstanding variety of steel for manufacturing kitchen knives as its rust-resistant properties provide decent durability to the knife. Many knife manufacturers may use a waterproof non-stick coating on these knives, which makes VG10 steel very less prone to rusting, corrosion, or discoloration.
It is advised to clean or oil the knives made from VG10 steel to enhance their lifespan.
9. What is the sharpest blade?
Undeniably, the sharpest knife blades are carved out of high carbon steel. Experienced knife manufacturers can’t deny the fact high carbon steel chef knives make the best knives with extreme durability and sharpness.
These blades are quite easy to re-sharpen and can retain their sharpness and hardness.
10. Is D2 steel better than 1095?
If we try to compare D2 and 1095 steel, we should look at various attributes before giving a verdict regarding which steel is better. D2 is tool steel, which implies that this variety of steel is much harder and automatically, it is difficult to sharpen this steel. Besides, this variety of steel has much better edge retention than 1095 steel and is more brittle.
On the other hand, 1095 steel possesses a higher carbon concentration and is much softer than D2. In addition, this steel is more flexible and quite vulnerable to rusting, corrosion, and discoloration. Thus, we can say that D2 holds an upper hand in durability, while 1095 wins when it comes to re-sharpening.