7 Best Professional Chef’s Knives


When you want the best, it’s usually a good idea to look at what the professionals use. They are designed for durability and great comfort.

In this article I’m going to explore my favorite professional chef’s knives.

I’m going to be looking at this through the lens of what works in a professional kitchen, but the truth is that all these knives are also fantastic choices for home cooks who love cooking and want to use the best available tools.

My strongest recommendation for the best professional chef’s knife would be the Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. When it comes to classic western knives Wüsthof really are the kings and they have been making high-quality, traditional chef’s knives for decades. As a result, they are one of the most popular brands among professional chefs.

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You can take a look at the Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife on Amazon here (opens new tab).

If the Wüsthof knife doesn’t quite hit the mark for you then I have 6 other fantastic recommendations below.

Whether you’re looking for something traditional or a bit more unique, I’m sure you’ll be able to find your perfect cooking partner from one of them.

7 Best Professional Chef’s Knives

Here’s the full list of my 7 recommendations.

For a review of each knife just scroll down the article.

NamePriceCheck current price
Zwilling J.A. Henckels 8 Inch$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Shun Classic 8 Inch$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Messermeister Oliva Elite 8 Inch (best design)$170 – $190Link to Amazon
Mac Mighty 8-Inch Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife$160 – $180Link to Amazon
Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife (my top pick)$150 – $170Link to Amazon
Global 8-Inch Chef’s knife$150 – $170Link to Amazon
Mercer Culinary Renaissance 10-Inch Chef’s Knife$50 – $60Link to Amazon

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro S 8 Inch

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Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro S 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (Very durable German steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsDurable materials and classic design

Zwilling is one of the world’s giants of German-style chef’s knife manufacture. They make knives which are classic in design and this 8-inch chef’s knife certainly has that traditional western style design.

The steel used is a friodur steel using X50CrMoV15. This is the process of ice-hardening steel by putting it through a four-step process in which it is frozen to -94°F. This process makes steel exceptionally hard and corrosion-resistant. The steel is also a high carbon German stainless steel and all these features combine to make an extremely durable blade that can be sharpened to a very fine angle and has fantastic edge retention.

Talking of the edge, the blade is sharpened to a 15-degree angle which is pretty much as good as you can get on a western-style knife and it will feel razor-sharp, most chef’s knives are sharpened to an angle closer to 20 degrees.

The blade has a full bolster and full tang going into the handle. The handle is very classic in design with rounded edges so no single part digs into your hand. It is triple riveted and black in color and made from a thermoplastic called Polyoxymethylene, this makes it very resistant to any water damage or temperature changes and adds to the durability of the knife.

The balance between the blade and the handle is perfect and although it comes with a full bolster and full tang the knife doesn’t feel particularly heavy. It looks like a professional chef’s knife as it uses some of the best materials and knife making techniques you’ll find in western style knives.

Shun Classic 8 Inch

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Shun Classic 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeVG-MAX (Durable and hard Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 61
Factory edge16 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPakkawood (wood/resin composite)
ProsVery sharp and extremely rust resistant

If you would like a knife in a traditional Japanese style which has been crafted to fit the western market then you can’t do much better than this Shun Classic 8 Inch knife.

The blade is made using a steel type exclusive to Shun, VG-MAX. It’s a western twist on classic Japanese steel. As you would expect with Japanese steel it is high in carbon which makes it extremely strong, giving it a super sharp edge with excellent edge retention.

The western twist is that Shun has added more chromium to the blade, the element which makes stainless steel knives resistant to rust and corrosion. As a result, you end up with the blade having Japanese strength with increased durability.

The blade edge is more curved than many traditional Japanese knives and more similar to the western chef’s knife, allowing for rock chopping and resulting in the western user being able to get to grips with the knife easily, traditional Japanese knives with a very straight edge require a different technique when slicing and chopping.

The blade has a partial bolster and a full tang going down the handle. The handle is crafted in a beautiful traditional Japanese style, with a tapered cylindrical shape using pakka wood as the material. This wood is often used for quality knife handles as it’s renowned for its durability and attractive natural appearance.

This is an excellent knife and has a great reputation in the knife world. It offers you something a little bit unique and uses all the traditional features which make Japanese knives so great with a few western ideas to make it easier for the western user to work with.

Messermeister Oliva Elite 8 Inch (best design)

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Messermeister Oliva Elite 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (Very durable German steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialOlive wood
ProsDurable materials and incredibly beautiful design

There are a number of very classic western chef’s knives on this list. They are brilliant knives and I’m sure 80% of people would prefer that classic look, but I also wanted to include some knives which have that classic influence, as well as their own unique bit of design, for those other 20% of people who want something a bit different.

This Messermeister Elite 8 Inch is another knife on my list of recommendations which takes its design from the classic western chef’s knife style but incorporates a stunning olive wood handle instead of opting for the traditional riveted black handle.

Messermeister makes a range of terrific knives, and many are very classic like their elite 8 Inch knife with a black handle which you can see on Amazon here. But I just love this Oliva version of their Elite line.

The steel used for the blade is a german stainless steel called X50CrMoV15. As you would imagine it is very durable and resistant to rust and corrosion as well as having great edge retention.

The cutting edge is very well curved allowing for an easy rock chopping motion. The blade has a partial bolster connecting the handle and a full tang so it’s a very strong knife overall.

The handle is made from Italian olive wood, shaped into a classic ergonomic style, it is well rounded, comfortable and absolutely beautiful. Olive wood is not as durable as pakka wood or thermoplastic handles so I would advise that you take a bit better care of cleaning this knife, don’t leave it soaking in water at don’t put it in the dishwasher (it is actually advertised as dishwasher safe but honestly I would strongly recommend against that).

It is certainly durable enough to last for a very, very long time if properly maintained though, so unless you just want a super-durable knife (Like the Global 8 Inch knife below) then I wouldn’t let it influence your buying decision.

Mac Mighty 8-Inch Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife

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Mac Hollow Edge 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeVG-5 (Top quality Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 59-61
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPakkawood (wood/resin composite)
ProsSuper sharp with great edge retention

The Mac 8 inch knife is made in Japan. You can start to see this from the blade of the knife which is a mix between the traditionally straighter Japanese styles and the curved cutting edge of the classic western chef’s knife.

The steel used for this knife is a very high-quality Japanese steel called VG-5. It’s an extremely hard steel with more durability and resistance to rust and corrosion than many other Japanese steels. However, this steel, like most Japanese steels, is not as durable as quality german steels.

This is mainly due to the high carbon content which increases the strength of the knife, allowing for a sharper cutting edge and better edge retention. But it comes at a cost, there’s less chromium in this knife which is the element that provides rust resistance. It won’t cause you an issue if you ensure you wipe the blade dry after every use, but it’s an important thing to know.

The blade has hollowed dimples along the surface, these prevent sticky foods such as potatoes from sticking to the blade when slicing. The blade has a partial bolster and full tang into the handle. The handle is classic western in style, black in color with a triple rivet. The material used for the handle is pakka wood, a wood commonly used for quality knife handles due to its durability, you’ll find a lot of Japanese knives using pakka wood for the handle.

The edges of the handle are rounded to prevent any single part digging into your hand during use and the classic style is always going to be comfortable. There’s a very generous heel on the knife leaving plenty of space for your knuckles whilst chopping.

It’s a great knife using a super hard Japanese steel, it might need a bit more care than some other knives on this list but in return, you get one of the sharpest edges in cooking.

Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife (my top pick)

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Wüsthof Classic 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureGermany
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (Very durable German steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 57
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsOne of the most durable knives available

We go straight from the Japanese style of the Shun to a classic western style knife made by the world’s best-known producer of western-style knives, Wüsthof. I really don’t think anyone who’s looking for a quality chef’s knife could be disappointed with their Classic 8-inch knife.

The steel used for the blade is a German stainless steel called X50CrMo15. This is a steel frequently used for quality knife blades as its high carbon content makes the blade strong, with great edge retention, and the high chromium content makes it very resistant to rust and corrosion, increasing the durability.

The blade has a perfectly curved edge for rock chopping, with a full bolster connecting the handle and a full tang down the length of the handle. The handle is triple-riveted and black in color for that classic appearance. The material used for the handle is a thermoplastic called Polyoxymethylene, this makes it extremely resistant to water and temperature changes as well as being a very strong material. The handle is designed classically and rounded at the edges for comfort.

The balance between the blade and the handle is perfect and this knife is very comfortable to use, feeling lightweight even with the full bolster and full tang.

It is a strong and durable knife, embracing all the best features of the classic chef’s knife design and merging them with quality modern materials.

Global 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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Global 8 Inch Review Table

Country of manufactureJapan
Steel typeChromova18 (high rust-resistant Japanese steel)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 58-60
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialSteel
ProsIncredibly rust-resistant and lightweight

I’ve added this Global 8 Inch knife to the list because not only is the knife-edge razor-sharp and made from top-quality steel, but the whole knife is made from the same block of steel making it extremely durable. Often the first thing to go wrong with a knife can be the handle, and that just will not happen with this one piece of steel Global knife.

Global uses highly durable steel for this knife. It’s also high in carbon which gives the knife more strength and allows for a sharper and longer-lasting cutting edge.

The steel used is Cromova 18. The 18 stands for 18% chromium. Chromium is the element that makes stainless steel knives resistant to rust and corrosion. 15% chromium is considered to produce highly rust-resistant steel so 18% means that you’ll struggle to find a high-quality chef’s knife with better rust and corrosion resistance to this one.

Since the blade and the handle are made from one block of steel there is no bolster. The handle has been completely covered in a molded dimpled surface to ensure that you can still grip the handle well. The handle is a tapered cylinder in shape.

The knife is very lightweight, especially considering it is all steel. One reason for this is that the handle is actually hollow, making the balance between the handle and the blade fantastic.

This is an extremely durable knife and could continue to perform well even after some pretty rough treatment. All the knives on this list are very well built and durable, but I’d say this knife is the best one if you’re looking for ultimate durability.

Mercer Renaissance 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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Mercer Renaissance 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review Table

Country of manufactureTaiwan
Steel typeX50CrMoV15 (German steel that’s ideal for durability)
Rockwell hardnessHRC 56-58
Factory edge15 degrees (double bevel)
Handle materialPOM (thermoplastic)
ProsDurable and low price

Mercer isn’t a company steeped in history, but the benefit they do have is they produce their knives at a low cost in Taiwan using good quality materials, mixed with good design, to create knives that are up to half the cost of knives using the same materials but produced in Europe.

I’m a fan of Mercer knives and I’ve seen them become slowly more popular because people are genuinely surprised by the quality they offer at such a low price.

The blade used forged X50CrMoV15 steel with a half bolster, going full tang into the triple riveted handle. It’s a material and design more commonly seen in knife two to three times the price.

The handle is POM, a trusty thermoplastic often used for kitchen knife handles because it’s extremely durable and resistant to most temperature and moisture fluctuations.

It’s a super knife and the fact that it’s the lowest priced item on this list certainly doesn’t make it any less worthy.

Mercer use great materials and classic design for their Renaissance range and I don’t think you could be disappointed with this knife.

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