A Beginner's Manual: Kitchen Knife Styles And The Most Reliable Brands

December 17, 2021

Knives are an essential tool for any cook. But with different kitchen knife shapes, sizes, and brands to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. In this beginner's manual, we will explore the different types of knives available, their uses, and some high-quality options that would make great additions to any kitchen arsenal. 

There are many good reasons why choosing the best kitchen knives (and not just any type you think looks good) matters, and we'll talk about that, too. As a beginner in the kitchen, recipes are not the only must-haves—you need a good set of ingredients preparation tools, too.

Different Types Of Kitchen Knives

The first thing to remember is that kitchen knife are not all equal. They may share the same features and look alike in photos, but they don't have the same quality or performance. There are many different types of kitchen knives for all kinds of needs. Check out these basics to help you. 

Chef's knife/Santoku Knife

Go for the chef's knife or Japanese kitchen knife styles' santoku for your all-around slicing, mincing, and dicing needs in the kitchen. The former is the western style featuring a tapering edge and a blade that measures 6-12 inches. At the same time, the santoku is the Asian/Japanese knife counterpart with a flat edge and blade dimples to prevent ingredients from sticking. 

Boning Knife

For the particular task of deboning, you should have a knife that is robust to slice through tough meats, tendons, and ligaments. Nonetheless, it should also be flexible enough to curve a bit to reach bone corners and nooks. While its primary purpose is for meat deboning, you can also use a boning knife for slicing vegetables and fruits. Meanwhile, when it comes to chopping bones, a cleaver-style kitchen knife is the best used. 

Fillet Knife

Fish is another staple ingredient in the kitchen, and fillet is the standard recipe made for it. With meat as tender as fish, you need a razor-sharp knife and a blade specially designed for it—a fillet knife. For this knife style, you can either go for the traditional manual ones or electric fillet knives if you have more fish to fillet. 

Paring Knife

Small but mighty is the suitable description for a paring knife. Despite its short blade of 2-4 inches long, it is a reliable tool for peeling small fruits and vegetables—a difficult task to perform with knives with longer blades. Making your meals more delectable is also made easier with a paring knife that creates garnishes from fruits and vegetables. 

Carving Knife

Hours are spent preparing a perfectly roasted chicken or turkey, so give them the perfect slicing once the dinner table is set through a carving knife. This knife can get the job done in just a single slice with thin or thick slices because of its long 8-15 inches blade.

Bread Knife

You can always slice bread using a regular knife, but there is no promise that you'll get a perfect piece each time. So better use a bread knife specially designed for the task. With a bread knife, you can cut through the bread crust while maintaining its fresh look. 

There are more kitchen knife styles and uses you need to familiarize yourself with, like the following:

  • Steak knife
  • Cheese knife
  • Butcher knife
  • Slicing knife
  • Petty knife
  • Butter knife
  • Tomato knife

Nonetheless, knowing and having the six basic styles above can get you started in your cooking journey. 

japanese kitchen knife styles

Best Brands To Buy From

For your cutting needs, high-quality kitchen knives are a must. They can be expensive, but they are worth every dollar you invest in them because of the ease they bring to work and how long they last. Here's an overview of some best brands with great products.


Bring rich knife history to your kitchen corners with Buck Knives, which began their knife manufacturing in 1902. From a chef's knife to a knife set with 7 to 13 pieces inclusion, you can count on Buck Knives to assist you in kitchen slicing and dicing. If you are looking for outdoor knives, this is also a brand you can rely on. 

Old Hickory

Match a kitchen that has a vintage setup with knives that bring the same classic vibe through the knife sets from Old Hickory. Even in its early beginning in 1924, the signature looks of Old Hickory knives already included wood handles, and that is something you'll still get today. 


Let us go to a more modern one from brands that have stood the test of time. The kitchen knife shapes from Core include the following:

  • Nakiri
  • Paring knife
  • Utility knife
  • Santoku 
  • Chef's knife
  • Bread knife
  • Carving knife
  • Steak knives

You can get them in a set or separately. 


Japanese knives are one of the Class A knife styles, and you can get the best Japanese kitchen knives from Spyderco. Familiarize yourself with the following kitchen knife types from the brand, which are robust Japanese steel and feature a unique design. 

  • Santoku/Chef's knife
  • Bunka bocho/All-around knife
  • Funayuki/Fish knife
  • Gyuto/Meat knife
  • Nakiri/Vegetable knife


From Asian knives, consider adding to your kitchen knife arsenal a brand that roots its origin in the City of Blades—Solingen, Germany. This brand has continued manufacturing since 1814 because of the unparalleled quality of its kitchen knives. You'll find all types of knives here, forged or stamped, Western or Asian styles—the brand has it all. 

Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Zwilling J.A. Henckels is the oldest among these reliable brands, being established in 1731 in Solingen, Germany. Until today, it brings pride to the City of Blades with the different knife collections and knife styles under its belt. Zwilling J.A. Henckels began as a manufacturer of powerful swords. Until now, you can find the same signature strength on their knives. 

To have a good cooking experience, you need the right tools. Choosing from these different knife brands can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time buying them. But knowing that there are reliable kitchen knives will help narrow down your choices and eventually find what's perfect for you based on its price or quality.

cleaver style kitchen knife

Reasons You Need Good Knives

As a beginner in the kitchen, you may believe that any knife is okay as long as it cuts. If you are planning to take cooking seriously, you must have a reliable stockpile of knives to give you these advantages:

  • Having quality knives ensures your safety. The knives have handles you can comfortably hold and are even added with bolsters to ensure that you won't cut your fingers if your hand slips. 
  • Knowing the different knife types will allow you to use the correct one for specific kitchen tasks, making you efficient. 
  • Your goal for creating an aesthetically pleasing kitchen will also be satisfied with picking the right knife or sets. You can go for classic knives with wooden handles or modern-looking ones.
  • Durability and strength are also great reasons why you need good knives. Having proper knowledge of blades allows you to choose the ones made with high-quality materials. 

In a nutshell, using the correct knives and picking the best brands will bring you safety, beauty, and knives you can use for a long time. 

Final Thoughts

All of this information is important to know, but with so many brands and styles on the market, it can be challenging to decide. If you've found yourself looking for kitchen knives without knowing where to start your search, we hope this article has helped you find the right knife type from a reliable brand. Remember that good-quality knives are safer and last longer than cheap ones, which means they invest in long-term efficiency! 

Armed with this knowledge enough to serve as a kitchen knife buying guide, you can now brave the knife market as you know which exactly to pick in the face of a wide variety. 

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