Choosing your kitchen knife

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There is a wide variety of kitchen knife choices. They come in different designs, steel, form, size, patterns, and the list goes on and on.


Finding a suitable kitchen knife

Before finding a suitable kitchen knife, you have to specify what you plan to do with it. In most cases, you will be cooking a wide variety of dishes at home, but the menu at a restaurant decides what knife style is suitable for a professional cook.

The Chef’s knife or also called the all-purpose knife

The most recommended kitchen knife is an all-purpose knife, a knife suitable for a wide variety of cuisines. But, of course, each cuisine and cook have its preference. Therefore I recommend an all-purpose knife which is usually ideal for a wide variety of tasks. However, each cuisine has its so-called all-purpose knife, and each of those knives will shine more than another for that particular cuisine.  

Note: The Chef’s knife or also categorized as an all-purpose knife, has many variations. The strength of these kinds of knives is the versatility that the knife has. The following knives can be categorized as all-purpose knives: Nakiri, Chinese Vegetable Cleaver/Slicer, Chinese Dual Purpose Cleaver, Santoku, Bunka, Gyuto, (Western) Chef knife.

Nakiri, Chinese Vegetable Cleaver, Santoku, Bunka, Gyuto, Chef knife
Nakiri, Chinese Vegetable Cleaver, Santoku, Bunka, Gyuto, (Western) Chef knife.

Info: The Nakiri knife is advertised as a vegetable knife, but that does not mean it can’t be suitable for another task than vegetables. It is a slimmed-down Chinese vegetable cleaver which we call the “Chinese Chef’s knife,” but then with a different steel type and most likely has a rounded front.


Different Cuisines

You will have your preference for what you plan to cook at home. It can be Italian, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc. The cuisine you plan to cover has a significant impact on which knife is more suitable for you. An easy example to see the differences in cuisines is with the fish dishes. In Japan, they eat raw fish (not pre-seasoned or smoked), requiring extreme sharpness to keep the fish fresh. That is why Japanese knives go for sharpness over durability. In western cuisine, we mostly eat cooked fish filets with no heads attached and only the filet with all the bones removed. Since the fish is cooked, we don’t need extreme sharpness to preserve the raw fish textures. In China, they don’t eat raw fish. Even cucumbers are mostly cooked before they eat them. Their fish is scaled, and they will steam or deep fry the complete fish with skin, head, tail, and all the bones still intact. For presentation purposes, they even chop the head off.

Note: This is a small example to explain the differences in traditional cuisines and how it impacts the knife preference. Now with modern cuisine, we smoke raw fish. And also, with the fusion cuisines, we can now see a shift in flavor palates. Even in China, they are currently serving salads in their fusion kitchens. Mostly the “Millennials” are shifting towards a fusion cuisine. Traditional cuisines still have their place, but you will see more and more fusion cuisines. Traditional cuisines are getting slimmer and slimmer, and if nobody want’s to take the tradition over, it will eventually die out. For example, the Millenials in Japan still love sushi, but they also love Italian food. So they modified their Pizza with the flavor palate of Japanese people, and therefore it is a fusion between Italy and Japan.


Fusion cuisines and knives

With the fusion cuisines, we now see many modified knives suitable for a wider audience. For example, we are slowly shifting to the Japnese-made knives in the West, and the Japanese cuisine became more popular across the western countries. Still, in Japan, the home cooks are cooking more and more western-style dishes, so the western-influenced Japanese-made knives are getting more popular in Japanese households (you will slowly see more western fusion cuisines). With this shift in preference, we can choose between a fusion of western knives with Japanese or Chinese-styled knives. 

Info: When I first started as an apprentice Sushi cook in Europe, it was pretty much impossible to buy a good traditional Yanagiba. With the rise in Japanese Sushi and Ramen popularity in Europe, we can finally buy more traditional knives. We had to bulk order and import it directly from Japan in 2008. Years later (approximately 8 years later), we could finally buy more traditional Japanese knives. Still, we shifted from traditional sushi to a fusion sushi & grill restaurant adding California rolls, chicken in your sushi rolls, etc., to accommodate the western flavor palette. Nowadays, we slowly shifted to double-ground knives since the menu has been changed drastically.

A Japanese kitchen knife for every function

The depth and variety of Japanese cuisine are reflected in the knives that the Japanese chef use. They have a specific knife for the sole purpose of preparing a specific Japanese specialty: sushi, grilled eel, buckwheat noodles, etc. And they also have a variation of knives based on the region and how they prepare the specialty. You have Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Kyushu, Kansai, Kanto-styled knives, and knife techniques.  

Info: Other countries like China also have regional knives specifically designed for a specific region.

Fusion knives

Japanese professional chefs have a variety of specialized knives (Usuba, Deba, Yanagiba) specifically designed to prepare a Japanese specialty dish. As Japanese Chefs prefer sharpness over durability, you see that the specialized knives are all single ground sharpened on only one side. But with the fusion of western influence and Japanese tradition, they now have double-ground knives sharpened on both sides for added durability. The double-beveled knives are more suitable for a wider audience.

What knife style is good for you?

Western chefs and home cooks don’t need those specialized knives. Therefore we can now choose other styled knives like the Western Chef’s Knife/Gyuto, Chinese Vegetable Cleaver/Slicer, Chinese Dual Purpose Cleaver, Santoku, Bunka, Nakiri. 


Maintenance & safety

It is essential to keep your knife sharp. You will perform your task faster. It is also safer since you have more control and less resistance. You can hone your knife with a honing rod or sharpening it with a whetstone. A honing rod is a quick and simple solution to maintain your knife sharpness. Since a honing rod does not sharpen but realign the edge, the sharpening effect will eventually fade away. Your only solution is to recreate a sharp edge with a whetstone or let a professional do it for you when that happens.

Never put your knives in a dishwasher! Hand wash them and dry them with a kitchen towel and let them air dry before storing them.

Note: A complete Maintenance Guide is coming soon…

You can leave your questions in the comment section below.

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29 Comments

  1. Was looking at the santokuknives.co.uk. I just wanted your feedback on what you thought of them and the pricing on them. If they are a legitimate company with quality blades. Thanks for your help!

    1. I wrote an article about it. The knives they sell are all made in China (every single knife they offer).
      Most of the shown knives cost around $30 if you order them directly on AliExpress.

      Everything indicates that the website is a drop shipper and tries to be Japanese.

      For more information visit this article: ”Japanese knife scam

      I hope that this helps. Feel free to ask more.

      1. Thank you for your response. Appreciate all the work and information you put out on the site. One last question, as a professional chef, what knives would you recommend that are great quality and not trying to rip you off?

  2. Hi Chef!
    First thing first, let me tell you that you’ve done an AMAZING job with both website and YouTube channel. This place is really a Bible for coutlery infos, well explained and detailed.
    I have a question for you.
    Since 7cr17mov knives are often advertised as 440c on aliexpress( and we know that is more similar to 440a), do you think that the 440c steel used by Xinzuo is really 440c, or not?
    Where is usually produced the 440c?
    Thanks again for your amazing work!

    1. Sorry for the late reply. 440C from Xinzuo is a 440C. Indeed, they also offer other steel-types, but Xinzuo is a brand that is sold by multiple retailers/resellers.
      They usually import foreign raw materials and then heat treat and produce the knife at a factory as many other brands use the same factory but then under a different brand name.

      Since you can order what types of steel you want and what quality control you want on the knives, it is hard to jump on a new brand and know what you get.
      After speaking to multiple manufacturers, they also told me that some brands add a logo on the blade with a claimed VG10, but in reality, it is the Chinese version ”10cr15comov”. The manufacturer fulfills orders for the brand, so the brand is responsible for informing the customers.

      And for this reason, it is hard to pinpoint a brand that sells good knives. Even when one knife is good, the other series may differ in quility. (so for this reason, I decided to review new brands and only review the knife I received, so if I like a knife, I only recommend the knife I personally have tested and can’t say that the same quility will be the same for each knife line that they sell).

      As for 440C, I find them to have better edge retention, better toughness, and better stainless properties over 7cr17mov. While some brands do a good job and come close to a 440c when heat treated correctly but because of the steel composition, 440C is better than 7cr17mov.

  3. Hi,
    Just to start – your site and videos are great. No generalisations, like „this steel is better than the other”, very nice table with comparisons of sharpness, toughness and edge retention, easy to sharpen tells you also – per analogiam – wear resistance). So great site and approach!

    Currently I have got a basic all round chef knife from X50CrMoV15 steel, HRC57-58 probably, bought it for $20 maybe in … IKEA Poland. It has exactly the same shape a Global G2, which I bought for my daughter, Global has slightly different handle and is 8g lighter, but the same 58HRC.

    So I had contact with 57-58 HRC steels – these are nice, no worries about maintenance and brittle, but I thought I wanted to try sth next, for now no carbon white or blue, not SG2/R2 yet so maybe VG10/AUS10, HRC60 +/-1 chef’s knife around 200-210 mm, as current one. And my problem is after doing the learning and research at the same time, I realized like a kiritsuke shape, but western adopted so with a little curved shape/belly, I like octagonal wa handle, and with the budget of $200 there is not so many options (compared to standard chef’s) for
    Kiritsuke Wa Gyuto 210mm from VG10/AUS10.
    And I would prefer non-damascus (I like it simple).

    I have found the following:

    $140 Yoshihiro, 210mm, VG10, HRC60, 340g?? https://www.echefknife.com/product/yoshihiro-vg-10-16-layer-hammered-damascus-stainless-steel-kiritsuke-multipurpose-knife-7/

    $170 Shun Classic, 200mm, VG-Max, HRC 60-61 https://www.cutleryandmore.com/shun-classic/kiritsuke-knife-p130553
    $199 Jikko, 200mm, VG10, HRC 60-62, 181g https://www.japanny.com/products/jikko-vg10-17-layer-kiritsuke-gyuto-japanese-knife-200mm-mahogany?_pos=26&_sid=5530c6e4e&_ss=r

    $159 Sakai Takayuki, 190mm VG10, HRC?, 216g, https://www.japanny.com/products/sakai-takayuki-vg10-damascus33-layer-damascus-kiritsuke-santoku-japanese-chef-knife-160mm-1?_pos=40&_sid=5530c6e4e&_ss=r

    $179 Sakai Takayuki, 190 mm, VG10, HRC?, 151g (just different handle) https://www.japanny.com/collections/vg10/products/sakai-takayuki-vg10-33-layer-damascus-kengata-gyuto-japanese-chef-knife-190mm-with-american-cherry-handle

    There is even less in AUS10.

    I have found also an equivalent of 6A, VG2 or 12C27 steel (DSR-1K6 mono)(based on http://www.zknives.com), very nice:

    $145, Hitohira Imojiya 147g, HRC 57-59 normally for the steel but one retailer claims 60HRC, 210mm https://hitohira-japan.com/products/aaa-651-01-fb210?variant=33051647639687 C$210 https://en.staysharpmtl.com/product-page/hitohira-imojiya-th-kiritsuke-gyuto-210mm-bois-de-pakka-wa

    And a VG1 steel, mono (no cladding I understand), also very nice but VG1…, slightly over budget (theoretically, not available anymore), Ghessin Uraku, $220, 210mm, HRC 60, 124g! https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/kiritsuke/products/gesshin-uraku-210mm-stainless-kiritsuke-wa-gyuto

    I have read there are differences in VG1, VG2 and VG10 although but in your table they have the same properties… ?

    Is there any differece between these producers in quality? I like Sakai with traditional handle but maybe a little short (190 mm)? By the look I would pick Hitohira, than Ghessin and Sakai. But only Sakai is VG10 being shorter at the same time (190mm). Is DSR-1K6 ok?

    If a damascus knife costs $170, so how much is the very knife (edge) worth as damascus requires some labour to be paid for?

    I would be gratefull for any recommendation as I am not yet that deep to see the difference between Yoshihiro, Sakai Takayuki, Jikko, Hitohira? Shun you are mentioning And there is also Tojiro DP3 Kiritsuke Gyuto 210mm at $100 or so. Not all of them have wa handle but at this budget choice is limited.

    On top I will probably buy deba for fish and chicken treatment.

    1. Hi Grzegorz,

      Thank you for the comment, the list is based on my personal experience, and of course, there are slight differences per steel-type.
      But those differences are so small that the majority of the home cooks won’t be able to tell.

      Let’s say that X brand and knife has the same Rockwell but a different core material.
      One with VG10 and another with AUS10 same Rockwell of 60.

      You see a few differences on the list, but sharpness I have stated the same. However, VG10 is slightly sharper than AUS10 while AUS10 is more durable the sharpness difference is so small that the overview shows the same sharpness.
      The list is just a quick overview of differences and does not detail the steel composition and the benefits of the material.

      While VG1 and VG10 have a slight difference, the difference is so small that you need to detail the composition used, which makes a quick overview complicated.
      However, the biggest difference I noticed during my time with steel is the Rust resistance. VG10 has a better Rust resistance property.

      Since I have never used a VG2, I have not listed that steel-type in the overview.
      But then you asked something about A6, 12C27 steel, DSR-1K6. Each of them has a low carbon content. This means that the knives are quite soft.
      The low carbon reveals that the knife Rockwell would sit between 54/58 (dependent on the heat treatment).

      But without trying the A6, 12c27, DSR-1k6 steel personally, I can’t say anything about it.

      Now onto your knife selection. You like the shape of a Kiritsuke, but then western adopted with a curved profile.
      You also say that you like the octagonal Wa-handle. Why do you like them? Have you used them or only read about them?

      So the current indication I have is that you like a rounder profile, but why do you like it? (what is your primary gripping style and cutting style)
      You say you like Wa-handle. This indicates to me that you prefer a blade pinch grip.

      With a preference for the curvier profile, you indicate that you are more of a rocker than forwarding chopping/slice and don’t slice that much.
      Is this correct?

      And the knives you linked indicates something different than that you described in your preference.
      I understand that Wa-Handle is harder to find, but some of the linked knives’ blade profile is straighter.

      Yoshihiro VG-10: The profile for this knife shows me it is more of a slicer. Slicing motion or sawing motion is the main purpose.
      While you can make a forward cutting motion, the knife length indicates more slicer sawing or longer slicing strokes.

      Shun Classic Kiritsuke: This shows me a profile that is more in line with your preference. The shape of a Kiritsuke, a tip for scoring or slicing while having a curve for a rocking motion. Keep in mind that this is a D-shaped handle, so make sure you buy the correct handle for your primary hand (left or right-handed handle are available)

      Sakai Takayuki VG10 Kiritsuke: Due to the length of 190mm, it looks more curved, but it is also quite straightforward and most likely a lot straighter than the Shun. So this knife is still more in line with the Japanese cuisine.
      Sakai Takayuki VG10 Kengata: Same profile as above.

      Hitohira Imojiya TH Stainless Kiritsuke Gyuto: It is a traditional Gyuto profile where the western chef’s knife is great for rocking this Gyuto is more for slicing. In contrast, you can still rock slicing is preferred.
      GESSHIN URAKU: a more pronounced curve indicating a more fusion Gyuto than the standard traditional Gyuto profile. (most likely a knife that has been custom ordered by the store to accommodate the western customers)

      Remember a knife is only good if you maintain it, therefore it is more important to find a knife with the correct balance point and the correct profile and handle to accommodate your personal preference.

      Here is why I find the balance point of a knife very important:

      As for the balance, it is still hard for me to explain it, but I did change how I view the balance on video (showing the balance point in a pinch grip).
      The point where you naturally hold (grip) the knife is how I determine the balance point of a knife.

      Giving you the following:
      The fingertip grip: thumb, and middle finger determine the balance.
      Thumb grip: where the knife rest at the pointing finger determines the balance.
      Pinch grip: Thumb and pointing finger determine the balance.

      And then comes the following factor of where you want the balance point, more critical for cooks at work since they prep for hours doing the same task for 1 to 2 hours with the same knife.
      If the balance point is working against them, then they should look for a new knife.

      Yanagiba: slicing knife front heavy.
      Western Chef Knife: main style rocking: Back heavy, middle balance is ok. (I prefer Back)
      Gyuto: Mainly slicing in Japanese cuisine front or middle balance is ok. (I prefer Middle)
      Santoku: up and forward motion, middle balance is the best (I prefer it middle) front-heavy is acceptable.
      Nakiri cleaver styled knife: and middle balance is ok but preferable front heavy.
      Chinese Cleaver: Front heavy since the first half is the most used and the curved belly in the middle prevents you to use the middle for the majority of the task.
      Paring knife: back heavy, since it is used off the cutting board and in the air.
      Utility knife: Middle or front (you are still on the cutting board unlike the paring knife).
      Boning knife: depends on what you debone if it is chicken, I prefer middle/front (Japanese style Honesuki).

      But with a boning knife, I would prefer a knife with a wider comfortable balance zone.
      Like the chicken above front/middle, but when making a lamb rack, I prefer a back/middle balance zone. (so by a simple handle grip switch the balance shift with you)
      I call it ”wider balance zone”, don’t quote me on that. There is probably a better word for it. 😅 (but the handle need to be flexible enough so that it will still feel comfortable by a shift in grip)

      And once you know the knife style, what you intend to use it on, then you can decide what balance point you would personally prefer.
      After that, we look at the handle, the style I want, the balance point I want, but does the balance point feel comfortable with the handle and how I intend to use it.

      So for boning knives, we use it on and off the cutting board all the time we are maneuvering around the meat, so a wider balance zone is preferable unless you want something specific.

      Hope that this helps feel free to ask more 🙂

  4. Excellent write up and it’s very informative even for homecooks! I saw a knife set in Amazon claiming to be Japanese 7Cr17mov steel with 58HRC… is there such a thing since you mentioned crmov is Chinese steel and the 7cr goes up to 57HRC only? Or it’s just advertising? And how do you test for HRC? I saw some of your knife review on Youtube and you’re saying the knife is advertised as 58HRC but feels more like a 56 or 57. How do you feel the HRC?

    Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Cr steel-type is usually unknown steel (in other words you can’t track the manufacturer so not exclusive to Chinese manufacturers).
      What a manufacturer can do with HRC depends on heat treatment so it is possible to even reach 58.

      Since I work in a restaurant I can measure knife-edge retention better than a home cook.
      Since we do basically the same prep work every single week for hours a day.
      While a home cook needs just one cucumber to be sliced, we at the restaurant need 100+ a day.

      Of course, the following things plays a huge role in getting an estimate of the Rockwell knife weight, style, and design.
      Since the style/profile can impact the edge the same for the weight etc.

      As a general guideline just so that others can measure I made the following chart that I plan to add in a new article/page since a lot of people want to know an estimate edge retention:

      HRC 56 – 1/2 months
      HRC 57 – 2/3 months
      HRC 58 – 3/4 months
      HRC 59 – 4/5 months
      HRC 60 – 5/6 months
      HRC 61 – 6/7 months
      HRC 62 – 7/8 months
      HRC 63 – 8/9 months

      months with regular honing with a honing rod before needing whetstone maintenance.

      Professional kitchen

      Rockwell 56: Knife died after approx. 30/45min. (Victorinox is one that manages to reach 45min some other cheaper brands manage to survive 30 min despite the claim of a Rockwell of 56)
      Rockwell 57/58, They manage to get the job done longer but a hone is needed after the prep was done (approx. 1.5/2 hours).
      Rockwell 60/61, It managed to survive 4 hours but a hone is needed.
      Rockwell 63+, it survived for 2.5 days (10 hours before a hone).

      This is an estimate but as I said knife weight, style, profile, etc all can affect the edge. (one of the reasons why manufacturers won’t give an estimate since every person use the knife differently)
      But as you can see there is a huge fluctuation in my chart as well since I specify with 1/2 months (since every person uses the knife differently and the knife steel-type and heat treatment plays a role too).

      So how do you feel for HRC? I compare it with knives where the HRC is known and by repetition doing it over and over again every single day you get a feel of each knife and the edge retention.
      Of course, this is not possible to achieve when you just do one single dish at home vs a restaurant setting.

      The above chart is for general/all-purpose knives only since specialized knives have different measurements. Since a Yanagiba that we use at work is mainly used for raw fish and nothing else (which has its own estimate of edge retention).

  5. Hi ChefPanko,

    Your website is amazing and incredibly helpful.

    I wonder what you think of the Robert Welch signature knives? Have you ever used them or heard any opinions on them for homecooks/home chef hobbyists?

    Thanks.

    1. Thank you I still try to add more information to the guide/ trying to complete the guide.

      I personally did not try Robert Welch’s signature knives so I can only base my opinions on the pictures and information on their website. The curved cap will be ideal for a blade pinch grip. The chef’s knife profile is interesting it focusses a lot on rocking motion due to the curved blade profile. The handle has an upper curve which will sit nicely in your palm.

      As for the Steel-type, German DIN 1.4116 the Rockwell hardness will be around 56 which is quite soft and the edge retention would not be held for a longer period than 1 or 2 months with regular honing. This means that after 1/2 months you need to resharpen the knife again. (also decreasing the lifespan) These knives are made to be replaced after 1/2 years so that they can sell you another knife.

      Looks great for home cooks but the price is quite steep for a German DIN 1.4116.
      Especially since it is stamped, which many cheap knives are made from. Even with the added design aspect, the knife is very pricy for 60/70 euros. The red dot design awards tell nothing other than that they won because of the design and not because of the functions, edge retention, etc.

      Nothing wrong with the knife, design looks good but just highly overpriced for a German DIN 1.4116 with a Rockwell of 56. I would pay max 30 euro and that includes the design change. Otherwise 20 euro max. And I’m pretty sure they let the knives be made in China, but then designed in a different country.

  6. Hi ChefPanko I’ve been trying to find the holy grail from your advice I’ve digested, without any success. Do you know where I can get an aus10 8.5 inch Xinzou preferably fancy hammered Damascus?

  7. Thanks again! Gonna look into the shun (just scared of it chipping since I want an all purpose chef knife) And gonna do some research on end grained board! Love your channel btw

    1. Your welcome, Durable all-purpose chef’s knife is the Wusthof or the Xinzuo 440C.
      You just have to get over the hump of being afraid of chipping (it is hard to explain the great edge retention and sharpness of a Japanese knife but once you try it you will understand why you want one even when it is more brittle), I’m planning to make a sharpening guide that also includes restoring chips. Just look it in this way every time you chip you learn what to do and what not to do. It is more the impact so let the knife do the work for you and don’t force your way into something or twisting instead of fully cutting through.

      Thank you for the comment 🙂

  8. Thanks for straight forward information. Just got into cooking since of the quarantine thing and was looking for chef knife. Decide of picking up a wusthof classic! I’m a pinch grip and heard great things about it being a well rounded knife.

    1. The Wusthof Classic is a well-rounded knife, definitely durable and great as an all-purpose knife.
      While the front cap is not nicely fleshed out like the Zwilling it would not really affect the comfort if you ping grip at the blade area. The knife is back heavy wich accommodates the knife profile and use, the Wusthof is personally fixing my blade pinch grip habit and teaches/ slightly forces you got to for a handle pinch grip. It feels more natural but it took a while to unlearn a blade pinch grip habit. (Especially with an 8-inch version it wants you to pinch at the handle).

      I did a review about the Wusthof Classic ”Ikon”:
      https://www.chefpanko.com/wusthof-ikon-clasic-review/

      In the picture, you can see the gripping point. This is more pronounced with the ”Ikon” version.
      The Classic without ”Ikon” 8-inch is quite similar in where it wants to be gripped, but the blade pinch grip should work perfectly fine.

      You made a good choice I like the Wusthof, only the price is quite steep so I hope that you found a great sale!

      1. Actually I returned it for the IKON because I’ve been hearing people don’t knife the bolster. So waiting on for that to arrive. Also been eyeing on the shun classic 8in since its on a really good sale but I feel like you have to baby that knife since its more brittle?

        1. I agree that you should not buy the one with a full-bolster. Most of the time the one with a full-bolster is usually the one that is on a huge Sale.
          (Wusthof also sells a half-bolster which is the one I recommend but definitely hunt for a discount).
          The Wusthof is a good knife the price is the only thing that is very steep especially if you are from the USA.
          The Shun classic is a VG-Max which is indeed more brittle.
          As long as you don’t use it on bones or frozen food, hard bread, cheese then you should be fine.
          Just as an example an accidental hit with the cutting edge on the metal sink can cause a microchip or bent on the cutting core.
          But the VG-Max has longer edge retention while still maintaining a very good rust-resistant property.

          1. Thanks for the advice! Hopefully the ikon is all I need, don’t want to baby too much. But the shun looks really great and a lot of Michelin chef’s swear by it. Anyways do you have any great recommendations on a good cutting boards that would be a good investment?

            1. The Shun is a good knife and it seems like the pricing went down to a very reasonable price (at least for the classic series).
              As for cutting boards, I love the feeling of an end-grain cutting board there is no other that can replace the feeling of that very soft to your knife edge (and also suitable for heavier Chinese cleavers).
              Edge-grain boards are fine too, but harder on your knife edge but a great contender and won’t warp that fast or easy as the end-grain does.
              Of course, both are natural products so they can warp with temperature swings and even crack. If you want wood definitely buy it at a store with a good warranty and return policy.
              (It is a natural product no matter what brand the chances of cracking and warping remain the same). Also, I would use 2 different boards one for veggies and another one for raw meat.
              Since they may kill a lot of bacteria because of the wood’s natural bacteria-killing effect, the odor and taste remain on the board.
              Therefore my suggestion to get at least 2 since you don’t want to make a salad bowl where you prepared meat on the other day.

              Currently, I like my Hasegawa synthetic rubber cutting-board, they added a wooden plank in the middle to prevent it from warping. This also means that Hasagawa with the wood in the middle is the only rubber cutting board that you can sanitize with boiling water. There is a downside for this board and that is that heavier knives like a Chinese all-purpose and bone cleavers or a Deba are not suitable for rubber boards (you can’t use hacking force on the board since that will damage it). And they are extremely expensive since you have to import it from Japan via eBay and you have to pay import taxes on it too. The Hasegawa with wooden core also has a great side indication so both sides are usable one for raw protein and the other side for veggies (White and Transparent side indication).

              Currently, I use end-grain and rubber boards the most.

              Bamboo is quite hard on the knife-edge therefore not recommended especially for Japanese knives with a high Rockwell of 60+ (there is no use for longer edge retention since the bamboo will reduce it anyways).
              Plastic is fine too but definitely look at the thickness (2cm minimum), a flimsy thin one will not reduce the impact and therefore not great for the knife edge.
              Plastic needs replacement after a period of time hard to restore.

              Hope that this can push you in a direction for a board that will suit your needs feel free to ask more questions 🙂

  9. Very good summary. was actually lookin into buying a chinese made knife.
    wanted to research first so this helped a lot

    1. Glad that it helped you, I also do individual reviews about some of the Chinese brands.
      Keep in mind that I like certain brands but I do not like all their knife line-ups.

      For more videos visit my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/chefpanko

      Thank you for commenting 🙂

  10. Wow, just came across your website and I love it, so much information!

    I am a home cook, but a serious one, and I am prepared to take good care of my knives, so I want to try japanese knives, but I cook different cuisines (japanese, peruvian, mediterranean) so after reading your article I think AUS-10 will be better for me than VG-MAX?

    1. Both will be suitable as long as you don’t go through frozen food or bones.
      AUS10 is in my opinion slightly more durable (but you lose some edge retention for the durability over the VG-10/Max).

  11. Excellent write up on knife selection! Helps me decide which will be my next knife purchase. I would like to know more about knife sharpening and maintenance techniques. Great site!

    1. A maintenance guide and knife techniques are planned.
      A video and a dedicated page will be uploaded on the website and YouTube channel.
      If you want a specific topic/subject to be covered feel free to suggest it, I will try my best to cover them in the video 🙂

  12. I finally updated this page, and now I’m opening the comment section for those that have extra questions or want some help in choosing their knives. Also, make sure to visit the ”types of knife” page so that you can get a better overview of the knives that are available. I will be adding more videos about each of the knife types on that page.

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