Select Page

Knives 101

exploring types and uses

A knife is a knife is a knife…

You might be reading this wondering what the fuss is all about. I mean to say, “a knife is just a knife – right?”


Chances are, if you spend any time at a kitchen bench, chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, scooping – you will quickly realise that knives are not just something you use in the kitchen, they are indispensable tools that you simply cannot do without! 

“”A kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.” 

~ Masaharu Morimoto

cooking in the kitchen

Shop Kuvings Quality Knives

From $15.00

Tradesmen are only as good as the tools they use…

We’ve all heard that quote, but what does it mean and what does it have to do with knives?

Well, you might not be a Chef working ridiculous hours in a commercial kitchen, but chances are you are a cook that likes to produce delicious, quality food.

So, everyone knows you need the right tools for the job. Whether you cook occasionally or multiple times a day – having the right tools at your disposal will make the whole experience way more enjoyable and so much easier!

You might think that any old knife will do. And, maybe that is perfect for you. But, this is about equipping you with the right information so you can make good decisions around what knife to use for what.

Knives are not all created equal. They each have a size, shape and sharpness and of course, material that they are made out of. Knives are destined for great things, if only the one holding them, knew what that was…

So, who are they, what’s the difference between their materials and what are they best used for?

Knife Types & Sizes

  1. Pairing Knife (3.5in)
  2. Utility Knife (5in)
  3. Santoku Knife (7in)
  4. Carving Knife (7-9in)
  5. Cleaver Knife (9-12in)
  6. Nakiri Knife (7in)
  7. Chef’s Knife (8-8.5in)
  8. Bread Knife (7-12in)

Firstly, let’s explore what each of them is best suited for…

Plating food in the commercial kitchen

Paring Knife (3.5 inch)

The Baby. Don’t be fooled by the size, this mini chef’s knife has a small blade that allows you to get the job done quickly and easily.

The blade is short, 3.5 inches to be exact. It is ideal for holding in your hand and moving around small fruits and vegetables. If you don’t like peeling vegetables with a peeler, then grab your paring knife and it will easily go to work.

Paring Knives are best suited for:

  • Small, tender fruits – strawberries, kiwi, apricot, peach
  • Small vegetables – ginger, garlic, peeling potatoes
  • Intricate cutting – garnishes, delicate foods
  • Precision work – deseeding fruits, deveining prawns

Paring Knives are not suited for:

  • Preparing or slicing meat
  • Carving, deboning meat/fish
  • Cutting larger and tougher vegetables (like pumpkin)
  • Slicing bread

Trustpilot Product Review - Leonie

Paring Knives

From $15.00

Utility Knife (5 inch)

I Am Versatile. The blade of a utility knife measures between 4 & 7 inches long, so it is smaller than a chef’s knife, but bigger than a paring knife. It is an all rounder that can be used for a multitude of kitchen tasks. They are equally as versatile as a paring knife, with a bit more grunt!

Utility Knives are best suited for:

  • Cutting mid-sized fruits and veggies – carrots, zucchini, avocado, peppers, mushrooms
  • Dicing potatoes, celery, onions, carrots
  • Slicing sandwiches and rolls
  • Cutting ingredients for a photo-worthy charcuterie board

Utility Knives are not suited for:

  • Carving tough meats or cleaving meat bones
  • Slicing loaves of bread
  • Smaller precision tasks
  • Shaping pastry


Trustpilot Product Review - Michael Pilkington

Utility Knives

From $15.00

Santoku Knife (7 inch)

I Have 3 Uses. The longer blade on this knife suits people with all types of experience. Slightly shorter, lighter and more narrow than a chef’s knife, but equally as versatile and strong. They are predominantly used for cutting, slicing and chopping and tend to have a straight bevelled edge (they are traditionally sharp on one side) and a curved tip. These guys originated from Japan, unlike the chef’s knife that originated in Germany and France.

Santoku Knives are best suited for:

  • Slicing, dicing or chopping fruits, vegetables and nuts
  • Mincing herbs and meat
  • Cutting meat and boning fish (some varieties)
  • Scooping food off a chopping board
  • Creating fine vegetable and seafood slices

    Santoku Knives are not suited for:

    • Small precision tasks
    • Slicing bread
    • Cleaving meat bones (not typically)


    Trustpilot Product Review - Duane Leaf (1)

    Santoku Knives

    From $59.00

    Carving Knife (7-9 inch)

    I Am Niche. These guys like to be put to work carving up a roast, or for when you need to slice through wide pieces of fruits and vegetables. They can be long and narrow with a tapered sharp tip and can have small indentations in the blade which helps with slicing.

    Carving Knives are best suited for:

    • Carving all roasted meats
    • Slicing through larger fruits and vegetables, such as melons and spaghetti squash
    • Cutting cakes and slices

    Carving Knives are not suited for:

    • Small precision tasks
    • Slicing bread
    • Cleaving meat bones


    Trustpilot Product Review - Patricia Evans

    Carving Knives

    From $89.00

    Sashimi Knife (7-9 inch)

    I Love To Fillet. The Sashimi Knife is all about slicing and cutting delicate foods. Think raw fish, sushi or filleting fish. They are razor-sharp and have a long, slim blade that is perfect for slicing.

    Sashimi Knives are best suited for:

    • Slicing long pieces of fish
    • Filleting fish
    • Slicing raw fish
    • Preparing Sushi

    Sashimi Knives are not suited for:

    • Cutting fruits and vegetables
    • Chopping meat
    • Slicing bread
    • Cleaving meat bones


    Trustpilot Review - Sarah

    Sashimi Knives

    From $69.00

    Cleaver Knife (9-12 inch)

    The Tough Guy. They look almost axe-like with their wide, flat and rectangular shaped blade. They are quite the workhorse and can make chopping up raw meat and hacking through soft bones easy. They do have a gentile side for crushing garlic or ginger against a chopping board and they have been known to make easy work of a large Jap Pumpkin or a young coconut.

    Cleaver Knives are best suited for:

    • Cutting raw meat into smaller portions
    • Cutting open large, hard vegetables & fruits such as pumpkin and young coconut

    Cleaver Knives are not suited for:

    • Slicing meats, vegetables, fruits
    • Small precision tasks
    • Slicing bread


    Trustpilot Product Review - Michael Stephenson

    Cleaver Knives

    From $79.00

    Nakiri Knife (7 inch)

    The Pristine Performer. They may look similar to the Santoku Knife, but they have a flat blade to allow you to cut right through to the chopping board, without needing the rocking motion like the Santoku. It has a slightly long, rectangular blade so it is great for controlling your cuts and using it for long, rounded/thin vegetables.

    Nakiri Knives are best suited for:

    • Chop and dice vegetables (celery, onions, leeks, carrots, eggplant etc..)
    • Cutting fruits
    • Precision cutting with softer fruits/vegetables

      Nakiri Knives are not suited for:

      • Butchering bones or meat
      • Carving meat
      • Slicing bread


      Trustpilot Product Review - Joshua.

      Nikiri Knives

      From $129.00

      Chef’s Knife (8-10 inch)

      The Ultimate Professional. These guys look the part. They have a broad, sharp blade that can be used for a variety of tasks. It’s the go-to knife for any type of cutting, chopping and dicing fruits, vegetables and meat. The blade is rounded at the tip and they enjoy the rocking motion as they make light work of anything you give them!

      Chef’s Knives are best suited for:

      • Cutting, chopping, dicing vegetables & fruits
      • Cutting shapes in pastry and cookie dough
      • Chopping and mincing herbs and spices
      • Scooping food off of the chopping board
      • Chopping and preparing meats
      • Crushing garlic
      • Scaling fish

        Chef’s Knives are not suited for:

        • Butchering bones or meat
        • Carving meat
        • Slicing bread


        Trustpilot Product Review - Stephanie Parker

        Chef’s Knives

        From $59.00

        Bread Knife (7-12 inch)

        I Love To Saw. Bread knives have a long, serrated blade that can be used to saw through softer items like bread, rolls, baguettes, bagels and it makes light work of cakes. But, did you know you can use a bread knife for preparing pineapple and tomatoes and if you have nothing else, you can even use it to carve a roast!

        Bread Knives are best suited for:

        • Slicing bread, bagels, rolls, brioche, biscuits, baguettes etc..
        • Levelling off a cake for decorating
        • Slicing through pineapple
        • Cutting tomatoes
        • Carving meatloaf or a roast

          Bread Knives are not suited for:

          • Butchering bones or meat
          • Precision tasks
          • Chopping fruits and vegetables


          Trustpilot Product Review - L McLaughlin (1)

          Bread Knives

          From $69.00

          Does the material make a difference?

          In a word, yes. The material that a knife is made from can make all the difference in the world. It can change it from an okay kitchen knife to a quality chef tool.

          So, when you are thinking about a new knife, or set of knives – it’s important to also consider the material the knife is made from and the type of handle it has.

          With a handle, you want something that grips well and feels good in your hand.

          Wood is excellent as it offers a good grip, however it can be a bit heavier than its alloy/titanium or stainless steel counterparts.

          With a blade, you want something sharp. That’s the whole purpose of a knife…right! 

          You also want to factor in whether you want to sharpen your knife or not. If you want a stay-sharp, light-weight knife, then ceramic is probably your best option, however if you are happy to sharpen your blade, then you have a multitude of options.

          At Kuvings, our blades are made from the following materials:

          Knife Materials

          1. Ceramic
          2. Damascus Steel
          3. Cerasteel

          Let’s explore what each of them is best suited for…

          knives in block

          Ceramic Blade

          I AM SUPER LIGHT BUT FRAGILE. Ceramic is a great option for a knife blade because it stays razor-sharp and it doesn’t need sharpening. They won’t rust, or oxidise your food and you won’t have miniscule particles of metal ending up in your food. And, they are usually a cheaper knife to purchase! 

          They can be great for keeping freshness in fruits and vegetables once cut, with no metal touching the produce, it will naturally stay fresher than when cut with a metal blade.

          You can also complete precision work with a ceramic knife and being super lightweight, they are ideal if you have smaller hands.

          The only down side is you can’t treat them too roughly, they don’t stand to be dropped on a hard kitchen floor!


          Trustpilot Product Review - MARIA

          Ceramic Knives

          From $15.00

          Damascus Steel Blade

          I AM STRONG, SHARP AND BORN TO CUT. A well-made Damascus Steel blade will retain its sharpness for longer than most quality blades due to the way their metals are forged.

          Anciently, Damascus Steel was what was typically found in weapons. But, today, we don’t forge the materials in the same way, however with modern technology, a Damascus Steel Blade is still a far superior product.

          Damascus Steel Knives are durable, flexible and stain resistant. They are high carbon forged steel (VG-10) and recognisable by their wavy patterned design and exceedingly sharp edge!

          They tend to be more expensive than other stainless steel knives, but if you treat it as an investment, you will surely get your money’s worth.

          Trustpilot Product Review - Stephanie Parker (1)

          Damascus Steel Knives

          From $39.00

          Cerasteel Blade

          I AM NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY. Cerasteel is made by combining Ceramic (Cera) and Metal (Steel) to create CeraSteel. 

          They are next-generation, high-quality knives made under a high-temperature process to give you a Cerasteel cutting edge blade that has a lifetime guarantee.

          Using this technology in kitchen knives, is a revolution for knife making. Adding the Cerasteel to the edge can substantially increase hardness, abrasion resistance, heat resistance and corrosion resistance.

          They won’t chip or break and they will remain sharper than other kitchen knives.

          They have the same high tenacity and shock resistance as a steel knife which means the cutting edge doesn’t easily chip like a ceramic knife.

          Trustpilot Product Review - Allison Mcnulty (1)

          Cerasteel Knives

          From $59.00

            Your Cart
            Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop