How to Differentiate Kitchen Knives

Chances are that, although you might not know it, you own different types of knives that are actually designed for specific purposes. It’s extremely important to be well educated on the matter of what differentiates all types of kitchen knives from each other, not only because this way you will use each of them for their specific purpose but because you will be better informed when making new purchases as well.

Therefore, if you don’t want to take chances anymore when you go shopping for a new kitchen knife, being in danger of buying a bread knife instead of a boning knife, read the following lines to inform yourself about what actually differentiates all of these cutlery pieces. Here, we will give you a small presentation of each kitchen knife and we hope that with the help of the images provided and the info given, you will be more aware of what knives you actually have in your collection and what you need to buy next.

Paring Knives

They are small sized and perfect for tasks where a high level of precision is required, such as slicing and peeling small fruits and vegetables. Know that they come in different styles, each style having its own particular function.

Boning Knives

These types of knives vary in width and stiffness, so you will see different types of models that all fall into this category. What sets them appart from others is the fact that they have sharp and flexible blades that guarantee complete control when removing meat from the bone.

Chef’s Knives

These types are the most commonly used in kitchens, being perfect for a wide variety of tasks and making you feel like a veritable master chef. Generally, they are used for chopping, slicing, mincing, and dicing fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Utility Knives

These kitchen knives are smaller than chef’s knives and larger than paring knives. They are an excellent option when doing daily tasks such as slicing meat, cutting bread, coring fruits, and almost anything else that you can imagine.

Bread Knives

As their name says it, these knives are the perfect cutlery for slicing bread. But don’t think that this is their only purpose, these models actually being perfect for slicing cakes, poultry, meats, fruits, and vegetables as well due to their long and narrow blades.

Slicing/Carving Knives

When you’re dealing with cooked poultry, meats, or fish, and you have to cut them into small pieces, these types of knives are the type of cutlery that you must turn to. They are effective at such tasks due to their long and thin blades.

Steak Knives

Regardless whether you’re looking at a serrated model or one that has a straight edge, this type of knife is ideal for cutting steak and any kind of rough meat as it is the only model that is both sharp enough for the task and easy to handle as well.

Santoku Knives

You might own such a knife without even knowing it. Santoku models are quite different design-wise, combining traits from chef’s knives and cleavers to deliver a product that it actually great for many different purposes such as slicing, dicing, and mincing.

Tomato Knives

The tomato knives have a very distinctive design, the tip of their blades being split. Also, they have small serrations that guarantee the skin of the tomatoes won’t tear when they’re being sliced. This makes the cutlery perfect for citrus fruits as well.

Nakiri Knives

The distinct design of Nakiri models makes them stand out from all the other kitchen knives. Their shape resembles that of a slim cleaver, and they are definitely the go-to choice when you have to slice vegetables.

Honesuki Knives

Another type of knife that most don’t know much about is the honesuki. This triangular blade model features a pointed tip that makes it perfect for tasks such as cutting the joints in poultry. When working with it, you will surely appreciate the unique design better.

Meat Cleavers

Although these cleavers might be tough to handle as they as heavier than classic kitchen knives, they are the best option when cutting through meat and bones. A single stroke suffices to cut through anything you throw at such a cleaver.

Vegetable Cleavers

These cleavers have a much finer blade than meat cleavers, meaning that they are easier to handle as well because they’re not as heavy. As stated in the name, the design of the blade makes them perfect for chopping and slicing vegetables of all kinds.

Cheese Knives

This fancy looking type of kitchen knife is perfect to use when cutting slices of cheese. What makes it such a great choice for all types of cheese is the fact that it features perforations on the blade that ensure it won’t stick, and the rounded tip makes it perfect for spreading soft cheese on bread.

Hardy Slicers

These slicers are compact and very easy to use, being recommended for cutting through cheese, small pumpkins, pepperoni, and more. What makes them the go-to choice in such cases is the fact that they have a thick blade and an even thicker edge.

Salmon Knives

As you can see, this type of kitchen knife has a thin and sharp blade that has the needed flexibility to remove the skin from the salmon. Of course, you can use it for other delicate tasks as well, such as getting fillets of other fish, for example.


  1. Dianne says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this article. When I go shopping for a new kitchen knife, I always get overwhelmed by the numerous types of knives that sit in front of me, and I can’t make up my mind easily as I simply don’t understand if I’m making the right purchase or not. Now, I have a clearer understanding of what sets these knives apart!

    • Jean Tanner says:

      We are glad that our article helped you make smarter and better choices. To find out more about knives and how to care for them or to simply learn more about them, check out the rest of our website as well.

  2. Jerry says:

    I knew there were was a variety of kitchen knives, but I never knew there were so many different types! Thanks for the useful article, it really comes in handy.