Ask a group of chefs to name the most essential piece of kitchen equipment, and most will reply “a good knife.” That’s because the right knife will make prep a breeze, while a bad one will not only slow you down but also actually make you less safe. That goes for adult chefs and emerging chefs, too. One company’s 8-inch chef’s knives have risen to the top of our best knives lists for years. The 6-inch version topped our ranking of knives for smaller hands (including kids).
Still the best—and a bargain—after 20 years, this knife had a “supersharp” blade that was “silent” and “smooth,” even as it cut through tough squash, and retained its edge after weeks of testing. Its textured handle felt secure for a wide range of hand sizes, and thanks to its gently rounded edges and soft, hand-polished spine, we could comfortably choke up on the knife for “precise,” “effortless” cuts.
WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
EASE OF USE ★★★
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated July 2018
The smaller sibling of our favorite 8-inch chef’s knife, this model was especially popular with our 12- and 13-year-old testers. It’s an excellent knife that’s sized just right for them. Its blade is sharp, so it never surprised our testers by bouncing off food. Kids reported that it made “good, clean cuts” through fibrous celery and that they “liked the blade a lot.” It had a comfortable, grippy handle that made the children feel safe and in control.
8-INCH Blade Angle: 15 degrees Material: High-carbon stainless steel Handle Material: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) Dishwasher Safe: Hand washing recommended Made in Switzerland ITEM NUMBER: ATKFCK TEM WEIGHT 8-INCH: 0.53 pounds
6-INCH Blade Angle: 15 degrees Material: High-carbon stainless steel Handle Material: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) Dishwasher Safe: Hand washing recommended Made in Switzerland ITEM NUMBER: ATKVC6 ITEM WEIGHT 6-INCH: 0.25 pounds
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How We Tested Chef's Knives
We tested ten 8-inch knives (the most all-purpose size) priced at $50 or less, including a “consumer” version of our previous winner, a model that will eventually be available only commercially. We enlisted six testers with varying hand sizes and levels of kitchen ability; each spent weeks hacking, dicing, and chopping their way through 10 whole chickens, 10 butternut squashes, 10 onions, and 10 bunches of parsley.
We tested six knives in a lineup that included a mix of serrated and straight-edged knives with blades made from plastic or metal. After eliminating two models for safety and performance issues, we asked kid testers aged 8 to 13 to test the remaining four models. Some kids had cooking experience; others had never held a knife before. The kid testers diced vegetables, minced herbs, and sliced cheese and tomatoes.
Winning Traits of the Victorinox 8-Inch and 6-Inch Chef’s Knives:
Exceptional cutting ability
Slim 15-degree edge so minimal force is required to push through food
Retains its edge after weeks of testing
Handle made from bumpy nylon material offers secure grip