6 Best Carbon Steel Chef Knives of 2020

Last update: Nov 23, 2020

Having a good chef knife is important as it not just helps you chop things better but also remains your good mood while cooking. Out of many blade material options, carbon steel is considered the most durable to try.

Here are the best carbon steel chef knives you can buy in 2020:

  • Ultra-Sharp: imarku Chef Knife
  • Best For Cutting Bones: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch
  • Best For Cutting Meat: Kiaitre Cleaver Knife 7 Inch – High Carbon German Steel Chinese Chef Knife
  • Best For Serious Home Cook: Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4"
  • Best For Delicate Detail Work: DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" - Gladiator Series
  • Best For Large Food Piles: EUROLINE 34941-203 Carbon Collection
6 Best Carbon Steel Chef Knives
Ultra-Sharp
imarku Chef Knife
    Best For Cutting Bones
    Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch
      Best For Cutting Meat
      Kiaitre Cleaver Knife 7 Inch – High Carbon German Steel Chinese Chef Knife
        Best For Serious Home Cook
        Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4"
          Best For Delicate Detail Work
          DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" - Gladiator Series
            Best For Large Food Piles
            EUROLINE 34941-203 Carbon Collection

              Ultra-Sharp: imarku Chef Knife

              imarku Chef Knife
              imarku Chef Knife
              9.2Outstanding
              Pros
              • Sharp - the latest German engineering
              • Durable and tough – HRC of 56-58 & made of metal composition materials
              • Comfortable and stable to hold – Pakka handle
              Cons
              • Require sharpening right away upon opening

              Start with the chef knife that we like the most.

              It’s very nice, incredibly sharp, and easy to hold that cutting fruits and veggies, tough meat, or removing flesh from bones isn’t a thing for it.

              No big surprise because this carbon chef knife is added 16%-18% chrome, giving it not just a glossy look but also decent corrosion and anti-tarnish properties. Together with the latest German engineering applied, its sharpness is further boosted, which feels like worth $60.

              The handle is another notable thing that we’d like to talk about.

              It is constructed from Pakka – an Africa-originated material, known for its superior stability, strength, and comfort.

              Therefore, even if you hold it and use it for heavy-duty cutting tasks, your fingers and wrists hardly feel numb or fatigue.

              imarku Chef Knife Specifications

              Dimension

              13 x 3 x 1 inches

              Length

              8”

              Weight

              12.8 ounces

              Highlight Features

              The latest German engineering
              HRC of 56-58 & made of metal composition materials
              Pakka handle

              Verdict

              Striking a nice balance across all of our rating metrics, the imarku Chef Knife has persuasively brought home our Best Overall Choice Award.

              Best For Cutting Bones: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch

              Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch
              Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch
              9.6Outstanding
              Pros
              • Good at discoloration, corrosion and rust resistance - made of stain-resistant x50 Cr Mo V15 forged steel from Germany
              • Hold the edge well - the taper-ground edge
              • Good balance - full-tang design
              • Reliable - NSF certificated
              Cons
              • Not aesthetic handle design
              • No sleeve

              This is a specialized knife for cutting bones.

              It features a 6” blade that’s made of stain-resistant x50 Cr Mo V15 forged steel from Germany, known for its superb discoloration, corrosion, and rust resistance. Compared to other boning knives in the industry, it’s considered one of the toughest.

              Additionally, its full-tang design gives the whole knife a very good balance to hold while the taper-ground edge keeps the blade from getting dull fast as well as makes it easier to hone.

              Another bonus is this chef knife is NSF certificated for comfort and safety.

              Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Chef’s Knife, 6 Inch Specifications

              Dimension

              2 x 1 x 11 inches

              Length

              6”

              Weight

              8.4 ounces

              Highlight Features

              Made of stain-resistant x50 Cr Mo V15 forged steel from Germany

              Taper-ground edge
              Full-tang design
              NSF certificated

              Verdict

              Our testers were totally blown away by the sharpness, strength, and durability of this boning knife regardless of its lightness offering, which is also the reason we gave it the Best Buy for Cutting Bones Award.

              Best For Cutting Meat: Kiaitre Cleaver Knife 7 Inch – High Carbon German Steel Chinese Chef Knife

              Kiaitre Cleaver Knife 7 Inch – High Carbon German Steel Chinese Chef Knife
              Kiaitre Cleaver Knife 7 Inch – High Carbon German Steel Chinese Chef Knife
              9.4Outstanding
              Pros
              • Sturdy and strong yet thin - The premium HC German stainless steel blade
              • Easy to hold - the ergonomic Pakkawood handle
              • Ultra-sharp – 15-degree blade edge
              Cons
              • Not have an ideal heft
              • Not really sharp out of the box

              Move on to this meat cleaver knife from Kiaitre.

              The premium HC German stainless steel on this knife is very sturdy and strong yet thin in addition to the ergonomic Pakkawood handle so it’s easy to hold.

              Taking a closer look, you’ll see that its blade edge is sophisticatedly honed to reach 15 degrees per side, meaning that it is greatly sharper than those 20-22° knives. For that reason, it is able to chop vegetables, carve turkey, or slice raw meat like a champ.

              Also can cut tomatoes thin.

              The best thing is this product is manufacturer backed by a 100% satisfaction warranty. Another bonus is it comes with a protective case.

              Kiaitre Cleaver Knife 7 Inch – High Carbon German Steel Chinese Chef Knife Specifications

              Dimension

              14.21 x 6.73 x 2.36 inches

              Length

              7”

              Weight

              7.7 ounces

              Highlight Features

              Premium HC German stainless steel blade
              Ergonomic Pakkawood handle
              15-degree blade edge

              Verdict

              Designed with decent sharpness, the Kiaitre Cleaver Knife will be a great addition to anyone’s kitchen and you’ll find yourself using it more than any other knife (for cutting meat).

              Best For Serious Home Cook: Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4"

              Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4
              Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4"
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • Versatile and multifunctional – able to cut fish, veggies, fruit, and meat
              • Require rarely honing - purely made from high-grade carbon steel using the traditional Japanese knife-making techniques
              • Super-sharp and easy to cut - 70:30 asymmetrical bevel
              Cons
              • Prone to discolor
              • Require manual sharpening – feature a non-symmetrically-sharpened blade

              The Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4" is definitely a workhorse in the professional kitchen.

              It arrives razor-sharp and keeps that way with rarely honing, even after mincing and primping a 50-pound bag of carrots. To refresh, it just needs some quick strops and done. If you want to know the secret, this chef knife has two standout features.

              First, its blade is purely made from high-grade carbon steel applied with the traditional Japanese knife-making techniques.

              And secondly, this blade is concentrated on the surface at a steeper angle than on the back, featuring 70:30 asymmetrical bevel, enhancing its sharpness up to 2-3 times than the ordinary chef knives.

              Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4" Specifications

              Dimension

              15.5 x 2.7 x 1.2 inches

              Length

              9.4”

              Weight

              12.8 ounces

              Highlight Features

              Purely made from high-grade carbon steel using the traditional Japanese knife-making techniques
              70:30 asymmetrical bevel

              Verdict

              Able to prepare Western cuisine, like cutting vegetables, fish, and meat, the Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Gyutou 9.4" is a perfect choice for serious home cook or professional kitchens.

              Best For Delicate Detail Work: DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" - Gladiator Series

              DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8
              DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" - Gladiator Series
              9.4Outstanding
              Pros
              • Give a satisfying heft and grip to hold – Pakkawood handle
              • Deliver a comfortable pinch grip – smooth spine
              • Flexible, strong yet thin, and sharp - high-carbon German steel blade with HCR of 56+ and a 14-16-degree edge
              Cons
              • Not NSF approved

              Featuring an ultra-smooth 3 rivet laminated Pakkawood handle and a highly polished blade, the DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" is a dream to use.

              You’ll love its handle which comes with satisfying heft and grip to hold. The spine is smooth and polished allowing for a comfortable pinch grip. The biggest selling point lies in its blade material and shape.

              It has a tall height for practical knuckle clearance and is tapered carefully to reach a 14-16-degree edge for minimal slicing resistance while improving flexibility and hardness. As made of high-carbon German steel, its HCR is 56+.

              The lightness and perfect balance also make it exceptionally maneuverable and comfort for delicate detail work.

              DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" - Gladiator Series Specifications

              Dimension

              16.93 x 4.06 x 1.42 inches

              Length

              8”

              Weight

              8 ounces

              Highlight Features

              Smooth spine
              High-carbon German steel blade with HCR of 56+ and a 14-16-degree edge

              Verdict

              The satisfying heft, comfortable grip, and thin, ultra-sharp blade make the DALSTRONG Chef Knife - 8" a wonderful option for delicate detail work.

              Best For Large Food Piles: EUROLINE 34941-203 Carbon Collection

              EUROLINE 34941-203 Carbon Collection
              EUROLINE 34941-203 Carbon Collection
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • Easy to handle large food piles – extended height and razor-shape blade
              • Strong and durable – the straight carbon steel 52100 blade
              Cons
              • The carbon discolors and can leave rust stains

              Designed in Seki, Japan to the exacting specifications of Master blade Smith Bob Kramer, the EUROLINE 34941-203 highlights not just an artistic allure but also well-engineered construction to last you a lifetime.

              Its blade is made of straight carbon steel 52100 to be super-sharp, so it slices easily through anything.

              The extra height is good to prevent your knuckles from hitting the board. Meanwhile, it allows you to handle large food piles effortlessly.

              The balance of the knife is perfect while its handle fits our hand and is easy to grip. Overall, this is a very sharp and comfortable knife to work with.

              EUROLINE 34941-203 Carbon Collection Specifications

              Dimension

              17 x 5 x 2 inches

              Length

              8”

              Weight

              1 pound

              Highlight Features

              Extended height and razor-shape straight carbon steel 52100 blades

              Verdict

              If you’re in the market for a truly excellent straight carbon blade with extended height for large food piles, give this option some thoughtful consideration.

              How To Choose The Best Carbon Steel Chef Knive?

              Size

              Usually, there is a set of knives with different sizes to chop and cut different sizes or amounts of food.

              For instance, with a 6-inch knife, you can chop and cut things fast and easily, but this size is not convenient if you need to cut large food or a big amount at the same time.

              Meanwhile, the 8-inch knife size is the most used by home cooks for its versatility and the 10-inch one will handle food of large sizes or volumes.

              Therefore, when choosing knives, remember what size you are looking for, a large, medium, or a small one, or all of them?

              Blade Design

              In terms of the blade design, you need to keep in mind one simple rule: the bigger the blade, the larger the food. That means a bigger blade is suitable for cutting vegetables, fruits, and chopping while smaller ones are better for peeling and cutting raw meat.

              However, we all want to cut food without having to use force, which is why sharpness is the key. A sharp knife is often thinner and more sensitive than others in tasks like slicing fish or opening a coconut.

              So, depending on your need, you can choose between a big or small blade. But make sure it’s thin, sharp, and sensitive.

              Balance

              You can judge the balance of a knife by gripping it by the handle.

              If the knife feels weighted toward either the blade or the handle, it doesn’t have a perfect balance. An unbalanced knife requires you to use more force and can result in unpredictable movement while cutting or chopping.

              The balance between the two sides of the knife should be considered too. But all in all, a good knife should fee stable in the hand and you should be able to use it effortlessly.

              Which Brands Make The Best Carbon Steel Chef Knive?

              Mercer Culinary

              Mercer Culinary is a well-respected brand for making good knives for the price. Their knives are made from high-quality Japanese and German steel.

              Its products are not all fancy products but the brand is definitely a strong competitor regarding the relation between quality and price. That’s why this brand is a smart choice for those who need good affordable knives.

              Misono

              While Mercer Culinary comes from the US, Misono is a leading brand of kitchen knives from Japan. It makes high-quality products by combining its time-tested traditional tech with the latest technologies.

              Misono has achieved its reputation for cutting efficiency, superior durability, as well as edge retention than other competitors’.

              DALSTRONG

              This is another great brand that has been chosen by more than 350,000 cooks from across the world. Founded in 2012, Dalstrong has built its reputation by working continuously to improve and upgrade its products with the aim of enhancing the culinary experience for cooks.

              FAQs

              Are carbon steel knives better than stainless?

              This comes down to your preference, but there are two reasons why carbon steel knives are preferred by chefs.

              First, carbon steel knives stay sharp for a longer time than stainless knives.

              And secondly, while carbon steel is harder than stainless steel, it’s much easier to sharpen a carbon steel knife than a stainless steel one.

              Are carbon steel knives worth it?

              Compared to other knife blade materials, carbon steel is the sharpest, hardest, and easiest to sharpen. Not to say that it remains its sharpness very long.

              But there is one problem with this material, it rusts and stains easily, which means for regular, extra care to maintain its quality. Besides, you will have to sharpen it eventually.

              The answer to this question is based on what you need and how effort you are willing to spend on taking care of your kitchen tools.

              Is high carbon steel strong?

              Yes, it is. High carbon steel normally contains from 0.6 to 1.5 percent carbon, making it very strong and hard, but less ductile.

              Which is better carbon steel or Damascus?

              While modern carbon steel knives are favored for sharpness, Damascus knives are bought for historic merits, and probably their unique look due to the combination of material.

              However, overall, carbon steel knives are still better as they are sharper, more durable, and a better fit for the kitchen.

              How much carbon is in stainless steel?

              Stainless steel has between 0.1 and 0.2 percent carbon, compared with 0.6-1.5% carbon in high carbon steel.

              Conclusion

              Choosing the best carbon steel chef knife is one of the key elements to help you optimize your cooking experience in the kitchen.

              Aside from the factors listed out in this article, you should also think of a price range that you’re ready to pay, a favored material, as well as how you will use and maintain the new knife.

              Knives are among the tools that will stay in your kitchen for a long time, so make careful considerations.


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