Whether you’re whipping up a quick meal after work or preparing for a dinner party, save time in the kitchen by investing in a set of high quality knives. You want a knife that is sharp, comfortable to hold and designed to slice and dice its way through the toughest ingredients.
The one you’ll use the most is a vegetable (or paring) knife, which is designed specifically for precision tasks, peeling veg and slicing though everything from eye-watering onions to mushrooms. A chef’s (or cook’s) knife is also a must-have; it’s built to tackle hard veg like squash, prepare meat, as well as finely chop herbs or other vegetables.
Next you’ll want a utility knife, which has a longer blade than a vegetable knife and can cope with everyday jobs such as cutting different size fruit and veg. And a santoku knife is worth investing in if you have the budget. This Japanese-style blade is designed to slice, dice and chop anything into thin slices. It’s also particularly good with sticky food and very quick and efficient to use.
Other types you may require are a bread knife, filleting knife and boning knife but that depends on how much you carry out these tasks in the kitchen.
Here, we’ve focused on the main types of knives you’ll need in your collection. Watch out for cleaning instructions, some are dishwasher safe but others need to be washed in warm soapy water. And kitchen knives can cost hundreds of pounds, so we’ve kept it to less than £120, to keep it in most people’s budgets.
1. Robert Welch Signature Santoku Knife 14cm: £45.99, Lakeland
You may have already come across Robert Welch, as it has a large collection of high quality kitchen utensils, but if you haven’t then this santoku knife is a good place to start, and is well worth the investment. Its wide blade makes light work of cutting though fruit and veg, while the scalloped indentations mean food is pushed away once sliced, leaving nothing stuck to the blade. It’s made from fully forged German stainless steel, making it strong and balanced, and the handle is comfortable to hold with its ergonomic design. Once you’ve tried this knife you’ll struggle to go back to using anything else. It’s also dishwasher safe.
2. Le Creuset Vegetable Knife: £60, ECookshop
A brand known for its quality cookware, this 9cm vegetable knife is sharp, precise and compact. Slicing through potatoes, onions and carrots with ease, the ergonomic handle makes for a comfortable hold, meaning you can chop, dice and slice veg for hours free from sore fingers. The blade is made from Damascus steel and the handle stainless steel, so it’s a strong knife that should last for years. It also comes in a smart and stylish presentation box, making it the ideal gift for any keen cooks. Beware though, it’s hand-wash only.
3. Lakeland Fully Forged Stainless Steel All-Purpose Knife: £14.79, Lakeland
A good all-rounder, this knife can tackle chopping meat and vegetables with its long, thin blade. It has good grip and makes easy work of slicing through everything from tomatoes to chicken. The blade is made from stainless steel and it’s dishwasher safe. Considering its reasonable price, it’s worth adding to your collection.
4. Joseph Joseph Elevate 8 Bread Knife: £18, Joseph Joseph
This one is part of Joseph Joseph’s Elevate range, where each knife has been designed with a weighted handle that turns into a tool rest when you place it on your work surface. This means the blade is always raised when not in use, making it a more hygienic and less messy option. We picked out the bread knife for its stylish design – a black knife with a solo orange stripe around the top of the handle – and its ability to slice through bread with ease. The serrated edge is sharp so there’s minimal effort required, which is ideal when cutting through thick loaves of bread. There’s also a handy protective sheath for keeping your knife safe when it’s left in the drawer.
5. Oxo Good Grips Pro Slicing Knife: £28, John Lewis
This long and sleek-looking slicer is made by a brand that has been developing kitchen utensils for more than 25 years. As the name suggests, the grip is sturdy and comfortable, while the stainless steel blade works well slicing through meat, chicken and fish. Hand-wash only, it’s a good knife to have in the kitchen, making quick work of any mealtime prep.
6. Global Knives GNM-07 15cm Vegetable Knife: £119.95, Milly’s Kitchen Store
OK, so this one is expensive but it’s well worth the money. Made in Japan from cromova stainless steel, this knife is weighted to give you the best balance in your hand, which we could not fault. Global Knives designs all its products based on the workings of a Samurai sword, with this vegetable chopper effortlessly gliding its way through everything from sweet potatoes to cucumber. To keep this super-sharp knife in tip-top condition you’ll need to sharpen it using a waterstone or ceramic stone regularly and hand wash it after use. Considering how often you’ll be using this, we think it’s worth splashing out on.
7. Robert Welch Signature Cook’s Knife 16cm: £47.99, Lakeland
We couldn’t resist adding another Robert Welch knife into this round-up, as its cook’s knife is another safe and reliable kitchen tool. The Japanese-style blade is sharp and precise, crafted from strong German stainless steel. It feels sturdy in your hand and there’s no slip as you chop. We tried it out on hard fruit and veg, including a pineapple, as well as on chicken and it worked well for both. We think it will last you for years too, and it’s dishwasher safe.
8. Anolon Advanced Utility Knife SureGrip 15cm: £25, John Lewis
Designed with the home cook in mind, Anolon has been producing kitchenware since the 1980s. We picked out its utility knife for its versatility – it can slice its way through most food and is light and comfortable in the hand. The blade is made from Japanese steel to stop rust from forming over time and to maintain its sharpness. The longer blade makes chopping fruit and veg an easy task. It’s a useful tool to have in the kitchen drawer.
9. John Lewis Design Project by John Lewis No.095 Paring Knife: £32, John Lewis
This polished paring knife is the ideal tool for finely chopping up veg. It’s super-sharp (we did accidently cut our finger), so it’s probably better for the more experienced cook but it did make easy work of meal preparation. Its design is influenced by the Samurai sword, with the blade made from Damascus steel, while the handle is smooth and secure to hold. It’s hand-wash only though, but should last you for a good few years.
10. Joseph Joseph Slice & Sharpen Paring Knife: £18, Joseph Joseph
Another pick from Joseph Joseph, this paring knife is so reasonably priced and does an excellent job we had to include it too. Coming with a knife sharpener at the end of the protective sheath, you can keep the small stainless steel blade sharp over time. And its stylish black design will look great in your kitchen. Like most on this list, it’s extremely versatile, cutting through vegetables with ease. The handle is reasonably comfortable and it’s dishwasher safe. Also in the range is a santoku and chef’s knife, and you can also buy the two-piece set (paring and chef’s knife). It’s a good option for beginners.
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