Best Kitchen Knife Designs of 2021
Explore Designer Chef Knives for Inspiration
A good set of kitchen knives can be the most important purchase you’ll make in equipping your modern, minimalist kitchen. Of course, quality is important -- knives must stand the test of time. Those used most often, like the standard chef’s knife or utility knife, could get used nearly every day depending on how much home cooking you do. That’s a lot of chopping, slicing, and dicing, not to mention washing. You want your knives to stay sharp and durable through that kind of usage.
Best Kitchen Knife Designs for This Year
Like anything else, some knife designs seem created just to attract attention. You hardly wonder if it’s even possible to chop an onion with some of them. But then there are the truly great designs, the ones that combine performance with appeal. Here are three of our favorites.
Type 301 Chroma, Designed by F.A. Porsche
Yes, that F.A. Porsche, the name behind the iconic and beautifully styled sports cars. They may look like they’re constructed from the same material throughout, but they aren’t. While the handles are made from relatively standard stainless steel, the blades are pressed from even higher quality 301 steel, which helps them stay sharper longer. These materials are so expertly forged together, it’s impossible to tell that the handle and blade are different. Another key design feature is the ‘pearly’ that helps define where the blade stops and the handle starts. It isn’t just visually appealing, it helps with more control and precise cutting.
The stunning appeal of these knives will make them the perfect complement to any modern, minimalist kitchen. And their all-black color scheme will work well with just about any decor. Just look at those handles. Could you even resist picking up one of those knives and trying it out? You’ll be looking for vegetables to slice, just so you can grip those handles and feel the smooth edges in your hand. The steel cutting edges of these knives are laser-infused with titanium carbide, helping them stay sharp up to 300 times longer than traditional steel blades. They even come with a lifetime sharpness guarantee.
It’s like the concept car that draws all of the attention at the auto show. However, unlike the vast majority of those designs, we actually hope this one makes it to production. Designed for a potential partnership with Audi, this beautiful design aims to match the aesthetic of Audi’s automobiles. It’s key design feature is the blended volume that transitions smoothly from the wide handle to the narrow blade. We’d love to get our hands on one of these and try it out. Here’s hoping it sees the light of day somewhere down the road!
Kitchen Knife Design
There are several important aspects to kitchen knife design that should be considered when shopping for a set that will both look and perform great.
Stainless and carbon steel are the most common. Both are strong, hard, and corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel tends to lose its edge and need more frequent sharpening. Carbon steel blades stay sharper longer, but are more expensive. There’s a classic tradeoff between initial cost and maintenance. You can also find knives made of more exotic steels, ceramic, and even titanium. Each material will have its own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and read third-party reviews.
A knife’s handle is likely its most important feature. It needs to provide plenty of grip, while keeping your fingers away from the blade. It needs to be bulky enough that you can get a nice, firm grasp, but not so bulky that it becomes unwieldy. A poorly-designed knife handle won’t just be frustrating to use, it can be dangerous. There are generally two styles of handle -- assembled and single-piece. Assembled handles are typically either wooden, plastic, or composite material. A typical assembled handle is shown in the image on the left -- the 8-inch chef’s knife by R. Murphy Knives. The handle material “sandwiches” the thin metal portion, called the ‘tang’, which is an extension of the metal that forms the blade. The handle is then attached via rivets or another style of fastener. With single-piece knives, as shown in the image on the right (Hast edition 8-inch chef’s knife), there is no separate handle material and no assembly. The entire knife is forged or pressed from a single piece of steel. Both styles of handle can perform great. But when it comes to modern, minimalist design, assembled knives don’t even come close to the looks and appeal of unibody knives.
High quality kitchen knives are as balanced as a well-designed sports car. This has a bigger impact on the feel of the knife than the visual appeal, but is still an important factor. Well-balanced knives are easier to hold on to and easier and safer to use. And they have that indescribable sense of just “feeling right” in your hand that makes them a joy to use. Unfortunately it’s difficult to judge balance prior to purchasing, especially if you’re buying online. Make sure to read the reviews, and to understand the return policy before you buy.