A good quality chef’s knives can make food preparation and cooking a joy. A well-balanced, sharp and comfortable knife will save you time in the kitchen and put more strain on your wrist. They are the kitchen knife all-rounder, the knife which can perform 95% of your kitchen tasks, so it’s worth taking your time to find a knife which is comfortable for you personally.
A lot of this comfort depends on the size of the knife, and whether it suits the size of the person using it. No matter how high quality a pair of shoes might be, if they are double the size of your feet they will never be comfortable, the same is true of kitchen knives, and in particular chef’s knives.
People come in all different shapes and sizes, luckily enough so do chef’s knives. There is a particular set of chef knife specifications that you should look out for if you have small hands and if you choose the wrong type of knife it can be very uncomfortable to use.
That’s why I’ve written this article, to list out some of the best chef’s knives for people with small hands. All these knives are made from top quality materials and I want to show you a range of different styles of knives from great manufacturers, all of which should be a dream to use for the small-handed cook.
But let’s cut straight to the chase with my overall favorite recommendation for users with small hands if you want to see my other recommendations then continue reading the article.
I would recommend the Global 6-inch chef’s knife for users with small hands. This knife ideal for smaller hands as it’s made from one piece of steel there is no weighty bolster. The handle is hollow which reduces weight and has added non-slip dimples to improve grip.
In a hurry?
You can take a look at the Global 6 Inch chef’s knife on Amazon here.
How to choose knife length
For the smaller handed user, the right knife length is most likely going to be somewhere between 6 and 8 inches.
The easiest way to determine which knife length is right for you is to measure your forearm. If you have a knife then lay it against your forearm with the heel at your wrist and tip point to your elbow, you’re looking for a knife with the same length as your forearm.
If you don’t have a knife then you can just do this process with a measuring tape.
This is a great, quick video which shows the forearm test method:
Most knife producers who make a 6-inch chef’s knife will also make an 8-inch one.
Not all producers who produce 6-inch knives make 8-inch ones though.
Therefore in this list, I’m going to focus mainly on knives shorter than 8-inches which I think will best suit smaller handed people.
Best chef’s knives for small hands
Here is my list of the top 7 chef’s knives for smaller handed users. I’ve gone for mostly 6 Inch knives with one 7-inch knife.
All these producers also have 8 Inch (or similar) variations of these knives so if your forearm test measurement I explained above indicates that an 8 Inch would be the right size then I have provided a second table below showing the best 8-inch variations, so you should still be able to find a suitable knife.
Less than 8 inch length recommendations
|Name||Price||Check current price|
|Zelite Infinity 7 Inch Santoku Knife||$130 – $150||Link to Amazon|
|Zwilling J.A. Henckels 6 Inch Chef’s Knife||$110 – $130||link to Amazon|
|Global 6 Inch Chef’s Knife||$100 – $120||Link to Amazon|
|Dalstrong Shogun 6 Inch Chef’s Knife||$90 – $110||Link to Amazon|
|Ferrum Estate 6 Inch Chef’s Knife||$90 – $110||Link to Amazon|
|Shun Classic 6 Inch||$80 – $100||Link to Amazon|
|Mac 6 Inch Santoku||$70 – $80||Link to Amazon|
For 8 Inch variations of these knives, I would specifically recommend the Global chef’s knife for users with small hands. These knives are lightweight and have no bolsters. I think they are still well proportioned for small-handed users even though the blade is a little longer.
8 inch length recommendation
|Name||Price||Check current price|
|Global 8 Inch chef’s knife||$150 – $170||Link to Amazon|
Now let’s take a look at the full list in more detail. I’m going to go in price order as all these knives are made by quality manufacturers using quality materials, so your choice of knife only really needs to be personal preference rather than finding the ‘best’, all these knives are great.
Having said that, my personal recommendation would be the Global 6 or 8 inches as I think both sizes are suitable for smaller handed users. That means that you can have an 8-inch Global knife in a household and anyone should be able to use it comfortably. To learn more about this knife read my review on it below, it’s third in the list.
Zelite Infinity 7 Inch Santoku Knife
The first knife is probably the most unusual looking on this list. That’s because it’s not a classic chef’s knife, this is a Santoku knife, a Japanese style of knife which is very popular in western cooking, you’ll actually find it in the majority of western kitchen knife sets. Japanese style knives are often a great choice for those with smaller hands. Since historically the average size of the Japanese population is smaller than western countries their knives are traditionally designed for smaller users.
The reason I like this knife for small-handed users is that the blade is short, just 7 inches, but it’s also nice and wide with a good-sized heel and comfortable handle. It gives it just enough bulk so that it feels like a good all-rounder knife, rather than a step up from a paring knife as 7-inch knives can often feel.
The steel is of very high quality. Its high carbon content makes it very hard, giving a sharp cutting edge with great edge retention, but it also contains molybdenum, vanadium and cobalt which gives the knife flexibility and stops it from being brittle. There’s also a very good amount of Chromium (15%) which is the element that makes stainless steel rust-resistant so it is a very durable blade.
Due to the Japanese style the cutting edge is relatively straight compared with a more curved chef’s knife, this means that slicing down on the food is more effective than the rock chopping technique. There is a small partial bolster and full tang going into the handle. The handle is very well designed to be ergonomic and Zelite excels at creating superb handle comfort.
It’s comfortable and easy to hold even for the small-handed user due to the curvature of the handle. There’s a generous heel on the knife, leaving plenty of room for your knuckles as you slice.
This is a Japanese style knife made from top quality materials. It feels like a knife which has been designed to be smaller in the first place, rather than an 8-inch knife which was later adjusted. For that reason, it’s a great choice for the small-handed cook.
You can take a look at the Zelite Infinity 7 Inch Santoku Knife on Amazon here.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels 6 Inch Chef’s Knife
Zwilling is one of the largest kitchen knife manufacturers in the world and they produce classically western style knives. This 6-inch version of their chef’s knife is no different and is much better suited to the small-handed user than their 8-inch alternative.
The steel used for the blade has gone through a process of ice-hardening 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. It is high carbon German stainless steel, as a result, it’s extremely durable and keeps a sharp cutting edge. In fact, it’s very sharp, 15 degrees, that’s about as sharp as you will get on a western-style kitchen knife and can only be beaten by the super-high carbon Japanese steels; however, these are less durable since high carbon content makes the steel more brittle.
The blade is well curved and has a full bolster and full tang going into the handle. The handle is classic in style, triple-riveted with black color. The material used for the handle is a thermoplastic called Polyoxymethylene, this makes it very resistant to any water damage or temperature changes.
The 6-inch version of the knife has still kept a good-sized heel. It has more or less kept all the same features as their 8-inch version. Due to the full bolster and long handle, I would not recommend the 8-inch version for small-handed users, but this 6-inch model is perfect for anyone who wants a chef’s knife in that classic style, which is still easy enough to control for those with smaller hands.
You can take a look at the Zwilling J.A. Henckels 6 Inch Chef’s Knife on Amazon here.
Global 6 Inch Chef’s Knife (and 8 inch)
This knife is my personal favorite recommendation for those with small hands because of two main reasons.
Firstly, the handle is great for smaller hands, it has no heavy bolster, it is slender and it is covered in non-slip dimples making it easy to grip.
Secondly, I think both the 6-inch and 8-inch versions are comfortable knives for the small-handed user. I wouldn’t recommend the 8-inch versions of some of the knives on this list but the Global 8 inch is still easy to handle even with small hands.
The knife is made from one piece of steel, this has the added benefit that it’s extremely durable. Often the first thing to go wrong with a knife is the handle and that just can’t happen with this Global knife. The steel type is chosen for durability too. It’s called Cromova 18 and the 18 represents the 18% Chromium in the mix. Chromium is the element that makes stainless steel knives resistant to rust and corrosion and 15% is generally regarded as a good amount, so this Global knife is particularly resistant.
The cutting edge of the blade is well curved allowing for rock chopping. The blade merges straight into the handle as one chunk of steel so there’s no heavy bolster. The handle itself is hollow so this knife is very lightweight even though it is super durable. The handle is nice and thin with a non-slip covered surface meaning that it can be easily held with small hands.
The handle tapers inward to create a heel on the knife. Unfortunately, the heel isn’t as distinct as the other knives on this list and it’s the only real drawback of this knife as personally I like a decent sized heel, but I think they have created just enough of a heel for it not to be too much of an issue.
It’s extremely durable and both the 6 and 8-inch versions would be suitable for users with small hands.
You can take a look at the Global Chef’s knife on Amazon here.
Dalstrong Shogun 6 Inch Chef’s Knife
This Dalstrong offers a knife with a bit of a different style than many others on this list. It has a heavily Japanese influenced design and uses very high-quality materials to produce a fantastic knife. I wouldn’t recommend the 8-inch version as I think it would be too hard to control for smaller handed users, but this 6-inch knife is ideal.
The steel used for the blade is a well respected and quality steel called AUS-10. It’s got a high carbon content, as you might expect from a Japanese influenced knife. High carbon content increases the risk of the knife being brittle, so to counteract that this steel has a mixture of nickel, manganese, silicon, vanadium, chromium and molybdenum which all combine to not only make the blade more flexible but also to increase it’s resistant to rust and corrosion. What results is a durable knife with a super sharp cutting edge with great edge retention.
The blade is well curved allowing for the rock chopping technique. The blade is decorated with Dalstrong’s ‘tsunami-rose’ pattern made from the Damascus layers of the steel. There is a half bolster and full tang going down the length of the handle. The handle is double-riveted and made using a firbe glass-like material called G-10 Garolite. This means the handle is light and incredibly durable, chemically inert and resistant to water and temperature changes, it’s therefore extremely durable and night and light to handle.
There is a great sized heel on the knife, leaving plenty of room for your knuckles. The balance between the handle and the blade is perfect and this is an all-round great knife for the small-handed user. It also comes with a blade sheath to protect the blade from damage when it’s being stored.
You can take a look at the Dalstrong Shogun 6 Inch Chef’s Knife on Amazon here.
Ferrum Estate 6 Inch Chef’s Knife
Ferrum is a small independent American knife manufacturer and they produce such beautiful knives with fantastic designs. You can see that in this 6-inch version of their chef’s knife. The 8-inch version is a brilliant knife but for the smaller handed user, I would recommend this 6 inch one. You can see Ferrum has not simply made a smaller version of their 8-inch, they have put thought into the design of the blade to make sure it is still a very effective knife.
The blade for their 6-inch knife has been given a much more curved cutting edge, this lets you use the rock chopping technique very effectively. Often manufacturers just make a smaller replica of their 8-inch knives for their 6-inch ones, I often find that this results in an inadequate curve since the angle stays the same but the knife gets shorter, Ferrum, however, has completely designed the shape of the blade to be suitable for its 6-inch length.
The steel for the blade is made using a technique more commonly used in the medical device industry to forge the steel for their blades. They use a method of mixing different types of powdered metals and shaping the blade in a similar fashion to injection molding. They claim to be the first cutlery producer in the world to use this method and it results in a sharper edge with better edge retention.
It certainly is a sharp knife, with a 16-degree angle on the blade. Western chef’s knives will commonly have an angle around 20 degrees, so this knife is exceptionally sharp.
The blade has a partial bolster and full tang. The handle is a thing of beauty, using maple wood as the material. It’s a strong, durable wood so it’s practically a good choice, but it also has the added benefit of being quite stunning. The handle has been well rounded and is also very comfortable to use.
This is a knife designed to be 6 inches rather than modified to be, that’s why I think it’s a brilliant option of a chef’s knife for those with smaller hands.
You can take a look at the Ferrum Estate 6 Inch Chef’s Knife on Amazon here.
Shun Classic 6 Inch
Shun is a Japanese knife manufacturer, but they also have this chef’s knife which has been designed as a mixture between Japanese and western styles. The Japanese influence is clean, with the Damascus patterned blade and tapered cylindrical handle, but the blade itself has a curve to the cutting edge much more similar to that of the western chef’s knife.
The blade is made using a steel type exclusive to Shun, VG-MAX. It’s high carbon so the blade is extremely strong, giving a sharp edge with great edge retention. This steel also has added Chromium, the element which makes stainless steel rust and corrosion resistant, as a result, this knife has increased durability as well as its great strength.
The blade is nicely curved allowing for an easy rock chopping technique. The blade also has a partial bolster and fill tang going into then handle. The thin cylindrical handle is well suited for smaller hands. In fact, Japanese knives often are well designed in general for those with smaller hands due to the historically smaller average size of its population compared to western countries.
The handle is very attractive and made from pakka wood, a timber commonly found in quality kitchen knife handles. It’s a durable and strong wood and has great natural aesthetic qualities.
There is a well-sized heel to the knife allowing for plenty of room for you knuckles whilst you chop. Overall this is a very comfortable knife for users with smaller hands and a great choice for those who would like a Japanese style knife.
You can take a look at the Shun Classic 6 Inch knife on Amazon here.
Mac 6 Inch Santoku
As the lowest-priced knife on my list, here’s another Japanese style Santoku. Mac produces a range of Japanese influenced knives using high-quality materials. For a Mac knife, this 6-inch Santoku is quite a bargain, you would usually find Mac knives are more costly than this.
The steel used for this knife is AUS-8, it’s the same steel used in the Dalstrong which I listed above and has a great reputation in the knife world. It’s Japanese steel with very high carbon content, making it extremely strong. It also has a mixture of other elements (nickel, manganese, silicon, vanadium, chromium and molybdenum) which increase its flexibility and improve its resistance to rust and corrosion. It certainly isn’t as durable as some knives on this list, such as the Global, but for Japanese steel, this knife does have a great standard of durability and of course, it’s extremely hard, so it has a very sharp edge with great edge retention.
As is standard with Santoku knives the cutting edge is less curved than a classic chef’s knife, which means you need to slice down when chopping rather than use the rock chopping technique. There is no bolster and the handle is triple-riveted for extra strength and uses pakka wood as the handle material.
There’s a very well sized heel on the knife and overall this is a lightweight knife with a nice, small handle which is very easy to control. It’s a great choice for the small-handed user and its great value for money for a quality knife made by Mac.
You can take a look at the Mac 6 Inch Santoku on Amazon here.
Important parts of a knife for small hands
The length of the knife is measured only by measuring the actual blade of the knife. So an 8-inch knife has an 8-inch blade, the handle length is not taken into consideration.
The length of the knife is the most important factor to consider when finding one suitable for small hands. Typically, larger people can handle larger knives and knives come in a whole range of sizes to reflect that.
Generally, someone with smaller hands will find a knife length between 6 – 8 inches comfortable, depending on some other factors which we’ll discuss.
The handle is a really important consideration when finding a knife for small hands. Many chef’s knife handles are large and bulky, made purposefully to feel robust when you’re holding it but often these handles are too large for smaller hands and make it hard to properly control the knife.
The heel of the knife is the distance between the handle and the cutting edge. Essentially it’s the space that your knuckles will have between the handle and the cutting board.
This is an important and often overlooked feature. I like to have a well-sized heel on my knife so that my knuckles have enough room and don’t keep hitting the cutting board when rock chopping. Unfortunately, many smaller knives which might seem like a good choice for those with smaller hands are made with a tiny, or almost non-existent heel, which can really decrease the comfort for smaller handed users.
In my list of recommendations below all the knives have a decent sized heel.
This is the big chunk of metal where the blade and the handle connect. It only appears on forged steel knives and is a sign that the knife is strong and robust. That’s great for a lot of reasons, but one thing to know is that the bolster adds weight, so if you get a normal-sized knife with a full bolster it might be a little harder to control for the smaller handed user.