Best chef’s knives of 2020

Best heavy knife

Wusthof Classic

Wusthof’s 8-inch classic chef’s knife is a workhorse in the kitchen. It’s one of the weightiest knives we tested, which helps it slice more delicate foods such as tomatoes as effortlessly as warm butter and cut through more robust foods like butternut squash without exertion. The weight helps guide the blade in consistent movements as you use it, but the Wusthof isn’t so heavy that you ever feel controlled by the blade. The Wusthof, which you can find for about $120 was our initial pick for best overall knife, until we had a chance to try the Mac knife, and it still stands up as a top-of-the-line option. The only shortcoming of the Wusthof is the slightly softer steel used for its blade, which makes it not quite so razor-sharp as the Mac.

Best midprice knife

J.A. Henckels’ Zwilling Gourmet

For $50, J.A. Henckels’ Zwilling Gourmet 8-inch chef’s knife is a great budget option. It doesn’t have the heel of a heavier-duty knife like the Wusthof or J.A. Henckels Classic, but it’s well-balanced and makes clean cuts on tomatoes and herbs, makes quick work of dicing onions, and breaks down a chicken with relative ease. The Zwilling Gourmet is a stamped blade, rather than a forged one, which means it probably won’t hold its edge as long as the Wusthof. It’s also lighter, which means your hand won’t be guided quite as well through a tomato or similarly delicate food. All that said, the Zwilling’s cuts were consistently clean, it felt comfortable in hand, and for this price, we’d be more than happy to add this knife to our kitchen.

Best overall

Mac Professional Series

This Japanese-style chef’s knife lies at the higher end of the price spectrum at $145, but it rests at the top of most best lists online for a reason: it’s a fantastic product. Not only is it super sharp (it slides through tomatoes without any tearing whatsoever), but its blade is thinner than heavier knives like Wusthof’s, which makes slicing snappier veggies like carrots feel like cutting a ripe banana with a butter knife. No exaggeration. Mac’s most popular knife is perfectly balanced, so you never feel at risk of losing control of the blade. Its belly is also comfortably rounded, which makes the rocking motion while mincing feel natural.

These Cnet staff members contributed to this report: David Priest, Jim Hoffman and Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit