Knives Buying Guide
Purchasing a Knife
Consider the following when shopping for knives:
- Shop for knives according to your cooking skills and your diet. Vegetarians, for example, are unlikely to get much use from a boning knife.
- If possible, try using a variety of knives before making a purchase. You may find it easier to work with blades of a particular length and weight.
- Knives are made from a range of different materials. Opt for the lightest and most durable knives that you can afford.
- All knives need to be sharpened at one point or another so remember to factor the cost of a knife sharpener into your budget.
Knife block sets are affordable, save space and help you care for the blades. A good knife block will contain a minimum of the following knives:
- Chef’s knife: a great all-rounder, chef’s knives feature a curved blade so you can rock the knife while cutting for increased speed and precision.
- Paring knife: a small knife with plenty of uses, a paring knife is great for chopping, peeling and any task that is too intricate for a chef’s knife.
- Bread Knife: bread knives have a long, serrated blade. They are ideal for cutting soft food as they require less pressure.
Types of Knives
A chef’s knife is essential kitchen equipment. They come in a variety of sizes to suit your preference and the kind of ingredients you like to work with.
- Chef’s knives feature a curved, sharp blade for completing a host of chopping, cutting and dicing tasks.
- If you are going to invest in any one knife, we recommend that you make it a chef’s knife as they are hugely versatile and a good one will last for years.
- If possible, try using a few different sized chef’s knives before committing to a purchase as some users may not enjoy working with larger blades.
A paring knife (sometimes referred to as a vegetable knife) is one of the most versatile knives in a cook’s arsenal.
- Paring knives are smaller than many other knives (most feature a 7cm blade) making them ideal for seeding and coring fruit or trimming vegetables.
- Paring knives are also equipped with a sharp, pointed end for removing pips.
- You don’t need to invest heavily in a paring knife to get great results so consider spending the bigger sums elsewhere.
Bread knives are designed to allow you to cut through foods with a soft centre without squashing them beyond all recognition.
- Bread knives feature either serrated edges, scalloped edges or combination of both. Opting for a bread knife with both will increase the versatility of the blade.
- Bread knives cut through the crust without tearing at the bread so you get the perfect slice every time.
- A bread knife requires less pressure to cut though food than other knives. This means they can also be used to cut the likes of tomatoes.
Carving knifes are ideal for anyone who likes to cook and serve large cuts of meat.
- A carving knife features a flexible blade with a sharply pointed tip — the ideal configuration for freeing meat from the bone.
- Carving knives are available with a straight or a serrated edge. Your choice between them should be guided by the existing knives in your collection.
- When used correctly carving knives produce the perfect slice of meat so your dishes will look as good as they taste.
Santoku knives are ideal for slicing, dicing and chopping. Unlike a chef’s knife, which works best with a rocking motion, a Santoku knife should be used with singular downward cuts.
- Santoku knives have a broad blade with a blunt end. They are extremely sharp so you can make light work of cutting most ingredients.
- Almost every Santoku knife features granton edges (hollow shapes) to ensure the easy release of thin slices or sticky foodstuffs.
- Santoku knives are usually very light. This makes for quicker cutting and reduced strain on your hands and joints.
The prefect all-rounder, the utility knife sits between the paring knife and the chef's knife in size.
- A utility knife is another kitchen essential. They can be put to a large number of uses with outstanding results.
- Utility knives feature a serrated blade making them perfect for cutting soft and harder foods.
- An average blade length of around 13cm makes utility knives extremely easy to handle.
The material that a knife is made from can have a big impact on its longevity, effect and cost.
- Stainless steel knives tend to be the most affordable but they require regular sharpening. Carbon steel is more expensive but it is also more durable.
- Ceramic knives are much harder and lighter than carbon steel knives. They do not require regular sharpening, however they can be prone to chipping.
- Titanium offers the best weight to strength ratio of any metal. Titanium is often used in conjunction with other materials like ceramic to make a first-rate knife.
Caring for your knives increases their lifespan. Use the following equipment and techniques to keep your knives in like-new condition.
- Honing (straightening) a knife's cutting edge removes notches and irregularities for a smoother cut.
- Blade sharpeners re-define the cutting edge of a knife into an extremely sharp "V" shape. Most knives need sharpening once every 3-6 months.
- Shopping for a knife block or a set of knives with sleeves prevents the blades from getting blunted by coming into contact with other utensils.
A chopping board helps you prepare ingredients without damaging your surfaces or crockery. Certain model feature anti-bacterial qualities for increased food hygiene.
Complete your cooking in the kitchen with a range of pans, pots, steamers, fryers and mixing bowls with Harvey Norman's range of cookware.
A knife sharpener ensures your blades are always at their best. Effective and easy-to-use, sharpeners can help you get the very most from your investment.