What To Look For!
Not all kitchen knives are created equal, and if you’re purchasing a set of quality knives, you will likely be using them every day. So it’s good to know what you’re buying before you invest. That's why here, we are going to look, in detail, at how to buy great kitchen knives!
We want to make sure you’re only buying knives that will provide durability, strength, good handling, and endurance. Here is a great step-by-step guide to shopping for those great kitchen knives...
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Before starting your shopping, make sure you consider the type of knives that you will need in your kitchen. Knives come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, and weights.
Kitchen knives can be used for a huge variety of purposes. - They can bone and mince. Slice and dice. And of course, the range of knives you select needs to reflect your particular cooking style and habits.
Do you need a chef’s knife (probably), and in what size/s?
Will you use a boning knife or a cleaver a lot? Do you need a paring knife and a utility knife? Also, look at the range of knives that you have already. Notice the sizes, think about why you gravitate towards using a certain knife over another?
Try to come up with a draft list of what 5-7 knives you might like/need most in your kitchen. Or do you need a full set? Will you benefit from the savings made buying a knife block complete with all the knives? Can you afford a complete knife block? Or are you aiming to build your set one knife at a time?
Try before you buy!
When you are buying knives make sure you either -
a) - hold each knife in your hand and simulate the chopping/slicing action you will use with that knife.
b) - or if shopping online, read the reviews - there are websites (like this one), that provide great reviews. Or you can read customer experience reviews, on sites like Amazon. Every topic, and question under the sun, is covered there!
Amazon also has a customer question section, where you can read answers to all the questions, that other customers, just like you have had - so useful!
If you are going to be using knives most days you want to make sure that the grip is comfortable.
That it sits well in your hand. Don’t rely on the shop assistants judgment here, what one person finds comfortable does not necessarily mean it will be comfortable for you.
Test for yourself, or read up, to make sure you’re really getting what you want.
“It is quality rather than quantity that matters ”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Quality and quantity!
Before you purchase a knife for your home, have a look at how much steel is in the knife?
Where the steel is located. You want to notice any signs of joining or welding, particularly in the hilt of the knife as this/these will be the weakest spots in the knife. If they are located in the hilt, then the knife is probably not going to be as robust as you would like it to be, nor as long lasting.
The best knives on the market are made from one single piece of steel, which has been hand-forged. These types of knives are rarer and often cost a great deal.
But if you can afford one at a time, perhaps collecting them over a few years, they will be something you can pass down to your children (if properly taken care of).
Cheap knives, on the other hand, tend to be thin, with insubstantial hilts and handles, covered thickly in plastic, which cracks or breaks.
Look for forged steel and buy the best you can afford!
Not all kitchen knives are created equal.
If you’re purchasing a set of quality knives, you will likely be using them every day, so it’s good to know what you’re buying before you invest.
We already talked about deciding on the types of knives you will want, testing before buying, and the make of knives. Now I will be taking you through the rest of the things you need to consider when shopping for great kitchen knives.
Feel the weight of the knife!
A lightweight blade can be very handy for cutting with speed and precision.
Whereas a heavy knife requires a lot more work. So when you are cutting something light you probably want something light, and when you are cutting something heavy – a carcass perhaps, ginger knobs, or thick sweet potatoes – you need something with heft.
When you’re testing out the knives before buying, make sure you’re researching for a variety of weights and sizes.
Is It balanced?
Most good quality knives have been made with good balance in mind.
Chefs use knives all day long and many knife companies consult with chefs when designing knives. This ensures comfortable use and practicality. The way to test if a knife you’re looking at has good balance is to place your finger on the handle.
Just where the hilt and blade meet. Then holding the knife horizontally, with the cutting edge down, see if it will balance on your finger without tipping. A well-balanced knife will balance and not fall off.
Note: Please be careful when doing this test!
You may also be wondering why you would need to consider the balance of a knife? Well, the answer is that a well-balanced knife makes any cutting action easier, as it requires less effort for you.
The balance affects the leverage point – like the middle on a seesaw - and it has to be perfect or it will be difficult and unbalanced. Especially if you are using the knife a lot, for large quantities of ingredients, you will be happy you bought something with balance.
How’s the handle?
Look at the hilt / handle of any knife you are considering buying and make sure it is easy to clean.
Is it well joined and most importantly, comfortable to hold? For most knives, the handle will be the most solid part of the knife, and it is where your hand does most of the work.
Of course, if the handle is thin or poorly designed, or worse - covered in plastic – then you will probably regret buying that knife.
Is the blade worthy of you?
Have you considered the blade itself, what is it made of, and how has it been made?
Ceramic knives are very sharp. Because of this, they can be sharpened to scalpel quality, but also because of this, they are fragile and can break easily.
Therefore, I recommend a good hand-forged steel knife!
And you will want to consider how well it will keep its edge? Also, if it is going to corrode (rust), and how resistant it is going to be to chips or cracks?
So, now we have covered the important features of how to buy great kitchen knives - so have fun shopping!
Of course, remember to look after your knives well, and to use your honing steel, and whetstone!
Hopefully, you feel well equipped now, to go and find the special knives, or knife set, that will best suit you, and your kitchen!
Here's to you, and many happy home-cooked meals to come!
We also have some other articles you may be interested in - so have a look at your leisure, hopefully, you will find something of interest!
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