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I need help choosing a kitchen knife!!!!!?

Hi, Im moving into dorms in two weeks but i need a good kitchen chef knife. I would like to know what the best (on a college students budget) knife that i could get. I would use it for cutting meat, veggies and if it cuts frozen food thats also a plus.

7 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I've tried a bunch of different knife brands. For a college student, if you have a little extra money to spend, then my top recommendation would either be a Wusthof Classic 8 inch chef/cook's knife or a LamsonSharp 8 inch chef/cook's knife. Both are quite good knives and both will run you slightly over $100 at about $120. I'd probably put the Wusthof at the top of the list. The Wusthof is a knife that cut well, won't get little rust spots on you and will last you for years and years.

    Wusthof is a brand that many chef's love to use. And it is right around my favorite. My absolute favorite is a Japanese brand called RyuSen, but they are a little harder to find and Japanese knives can be a little more tricky to sharpen. And as a college student you'd need to be a little more careful with a Japanese knife. They have a little more brittle edge and are sharper. And sometimes they are hand specific, usually for a right handed person.

    The next step down from that for about half the price I'd recommend the Mercer 8 inch chef/cook's knife.

    Mercer is a German knife brand that is often given to students going into culinary school. It's a good quality knife at a cheaper price (about $50), but probably not up on the level of a Wusthof.

    If you want to go cheaper than that, you can get a descent knife for around $19-25. At that range you are going to get into a bunch of lesser named knife companies. But I'll tell you things you want to look for.

    1. The very most important thing is to get a knife that has a full tang. That means the metal of the knife blade goes all of the way through the entire handle. Some knives have what they refer to as a "rat tail" where the blade only sits about 1 inch deep into the handle. This can cause the blade to break out of the handle and come flying up at you if you are cutting hard, which is very bad and dangerous. And those kind of knives are usually very cheaply made and you don't want to own one.

    2. Go for a forged knife instead of a stamped knife. A stamped knife is made out of sheet metal that comes on a roll. It is then stamped and then heat treated and sharpened. A forged knife is made out of steel that is beaten into the desired shape. And they are usually a much better knife. A forged knife will also have the bolster, which is the thick piece of metal that is where the front of the handle and cutting portion of the blade meet. The bolster helps keep water from wicking up between the handle and the blade which can cause bacteria to nest in that crack like in a stamped blade.

    3. Go for a classic handle. Look at the handle on the Wusthof and Mercer knives. The sides are flat. The handle is riveted on. And that shape is a classic handle shape. You get into these fancy ergo knives and many of them are designed to to feel good for an improper cutting grip. Then when you learn a proper cutting grip they feel awkward and not ergonomic at all. And many of the ergo ones are weighted improperly. A simple classic grip will feel comfortable for both an improper grip and a professional pinch grip.

    4. Look at the amount of Chromium in it. You'll usually see Cr followed by a number which is usually the percentage. I recommend if you are going to get a knife and you don't want it to rust, get over at least 10% chromium. Less than that and you're definitely going to see rust spots. If you do get rust, on your knife, the easiest way to get it off without blemishing the finish of the blade is to get so baking soda and wet it into a paste. Place it on the blade then use a cloth or paper towel to rub it into the the blade to polish the rust off. This way the knife will not look like you've scrubbed at it roughly with streaks. Wusthof is very good at rust resistance and they have 15% chromium.

    5. Avoid serrated blades. Some companies will market the serrated blades like they will never get dull. Look how well it cuts this tomato!!! Etcetera. Serrated blades are good for two things only. They are good for cutting bread and good for cutting tomatoes and maybe a cooked steak. While straight edge knives will get dull after a while, they will cut far better in most situations, except like bread than a serrated knife will. The thought with a serrated knife is that the tips of the serrations will get dull, but not the recesses because the tips take the cutting abuse, not the dips in the knife. Stick with a straight edge for a chef's knife and just hone and sharpen it every so often. It works much better.

    There's some brands you'll likely hear people recommending and you might wonder why I didn't recommend them. Well, here's why:

    1. Cutco - They use steel that is very rust resistant, but it is soft. And the serrated edges just don't work too well.

    2. Henckels - A good brand, often touted as highly as Wusthof. However the balance of their knives is not nearly as good as Wusthof. And they seem a little cheaper made. Also, Henckels has some Chinese specials that aren't made in Germany but are rather made in China and aren't nearly the quality of the ones made in Germany.

    3. Shun - Don't by into the hype. This is an over-hyped knife brand. They use a very good quality steel that I like which is VG10 steel. The only steel I like better is SG2. However, their handles are made quite cheaply. They don't have a good balance to them. You might have notice I meantioned that once before. By balance I mean the weight of the cutting portion of the blade compared to the weight of the weight of the handle. A good balanced blade should have those weighted about the same so you can put your finger close to where the handle and blade meet and it balances there. The more off the balance is, the more work your hand and wrist has to do to lift and lower the blade. Many Shun blades are not tapered properly. The cutting edge is very sharp. However, because the taper is too steep, it causes the knife to typically get hard to cut through about halfway through a cut of a thick carrot or root vegetable. A good tapered knife will slice right though well with an even pressure and not get harder to cut the further you cut in.

    Now some people will recommend a Santoku as compared to a chef or cooks knife. For a beginner I'd recommend a chef's knife although I do like a good Santoku if it is a really good one like a RyuSen. Most companies don't make a really good Santoku knives though. A chef's knife also gives you that pointed tip which a Santoku really doesn't. That pointed tip is good for getting into tight spots to make cuts. A Santoku is a Japanese knife that is really good for chopping. The name is composed of 3 Japanese syllables that state what it is good for: meat, vegetables and fish. Although I'm not sure I got the order right.

    If you have the money, get the Wusthof. If not, the Mercer is a good knife. If you want cheaper yet that you can afford to lose and don't mind polishing rust off on occasion then a $19-25 knife won't do too bad.

  • 7 years ago

    an 8" shun or wusthoff would serve you for many, many years. But expect to spend about $110 for the knife and steel.

    However, since you're on a college budget, JA Henckels has an 8" on amazon for $55. Make sure you pick up the honing steel too, another $18.

    I have a 10" Shun Classic and the matching steel. Total, they are $200, plus a $10 sheath for the knife. I do not regret buying this one bit.

    Remember, wash your knife by hand and dry after each use. I keep a soft bristle brush that I use only for the knife.This, along with a steel, will make your knife go 2 years w/o needing sharpened professionally. Even then, that costs less than $10.

    While you're spending money on the knife, remember, it results in much less eating out.

  • 7 years ago

    Look for "Saber" knives. Every knife is $7/inch.

    The guy who started the company had cooking students in mind.

    Real chef's - do not use 'hobby' knives like Shun. You need good knives you can abuse, loose but keep on working.

    They sell them on Amazon as well as direct.

  • 7 years ago

    I think you should look for an 8 - 10 inch "Santoku" knife and a small paring knife.

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  • 7 years ago

    you can choose between a short vegetable size knife or a larger heavier one, without serrated edge. i suggest a man-made handle that's smooth and easy to grip is the most hard wearing and comfortable to use.

  • 7 years ago

    Just go to a dollar store near you. They have what you need on your budget

  • 7 years ago

    choose something japanese. their knives are the best!

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