TOP 4 WAYS TO SPOT A QUALITY KNIFE
Posted on June 06 2022,
How Top Spot A Quality Knife
Here at Katto we know that, with so many options available, choosing the right knife for you can be a tricky task.
Indeed, the most common question we get asked is “What is the right knife for me?”; as well as “How do I know if a kitchen knife is good quality?”. In fact, we get asked these questions so often that we’ve put together this very simple quiz to help you identify the ideal knife for your cooking style and ability.
Thankfully, the answers to both questions are pretty simple. Indeed, by remembering a few short pointers, you should be able to spot a high quality knife which is perfect for you.
Of course, the first challenge is to decide which blade size and shape would suit you. Generally speaking our two most popular knives are our chefs knives and our santoku knives.
Both feature our distinctive AUS-10 Japanese steel blades and both are great all rounders. However, they do have slightly different uses. If, for example, you’re looking for a knife which is capable of undertaking light butchery, you might benefit from the chef’s knives’ slightly longer blade.
Alternatively, if your focus is finding a knife which is perfect for smaller, more intricate tasks then the santoku might be a better fit. The term 'santoku,' which means "three virtues" or "three uses," is supposed to refer to the knife's capacity to accomplish three fundamental functions: cutting, dicing and mixing.
But regardless of the knife’s size, the most important thing is its quality. Here are some top tips for spotting high quality knives:
1. CONSTRUCTION IS KEY
Keep an eye out for any welded parts or joining, especially in the hilt of a knife. If there is steel running through the back of the hilt and there is either welding or joining involved, this will likely be a weak point in the knife’s construction.
This also indicates that the knife has been made with multiple pieces of steel, whereas the best knives are often hand-crafted and made from a singular piece of steel.
2. MATERIALS MATTER
The best knives are made using good materials. Indeed, everything from the choice of blade steel, to the handle material will impact on the feel and performance of a knife.
Plastic handled knives, for example, tend to struggle for balance versus wooden or metal handles because of their lightness. Similarly, whilst ceramic knives can look great and start off being very sharp, they’re also much more prone to chipping than metal blades.
If you do opt for a metal bladed knife - obviously - the most important thing is the quality of the steel. You want a steel which combines flexibility, durability and resistance to corrosion. Which is why at Katto we use AUS-10 Japanese steel with a Rockwell rating of 58-60 HRC. We think this offers the perfect blend of hardness and durability.
3. BLADE DESIGN
Blade design has a huge impact on how effective the knife is to use, and a well-designed blade can increase the knife’s lifespan and capabilities.
As a general rule ,western designed knives tend to be heavier and more robust than finer bladed Japanese knives. Although, if the steel is of good quality, then both types will be able to perform a variety of tasks.
When it comes to aesthetics, though, we much prefer the elegance and beauty which you tend to find with Japanese designs (although we’re biased of course!).
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it’s crucial to understand a knife’s sharpness (or potential for sharpness). As discussed above, using a great quality steel is a huge part of this. But so is the tapering of the edge and the blade’s ability to remain sharp through heavy use. After all, it’s no good buying a knife which is super sharp when you first buy it; but blunt as a spoon after using it a few times. Which is why at Katto we offer a 100-day return policy for all our knives to let you get a real feel for their quality and durability.