Which paring knifes is best?
Finding the right tools in your kitchen is always vital for the best results, but it’s probably most important when it comes to your knives. In particular, a paring knife is one of the most versatile, useful knives you can have, so selecting the right one can make all the difference for your prep work.
A paring knife has a small blade that makes it ideal for tasks that require precision. It works especially well for peeling the skin off fruits and veggies, but it can also be used for chopping and slicing harder foods. If you’re looking for a pro-grade paring knife that features durable construction, the Wusthof Classic Paring Knife is the top option.
What to know before you buy a paring knife
Paring knives can have two types of blades: stamped or forged.
- Stamped blades are pressed from a single sheet of metal and have a fairly thin, flat design. These paring knives tend to be more affordable because they’re thinner and flimsier. Unfortunately, they’re more likely to bend and snap, too, so there can be some risk of injury. Stamped blades are lighter, though, which can prevent fatigue when you need to use your paring knives for longer periods.
- Forged blades have a tapered design, so the blade is widest at the handle. They’re heavier and cost more than stamped knives, but they feature a highly reinforced design, so they’re less likely to bend or snap. However, the heavier weight of a forged blade may cause fatigue if you’re using your paring knife for an extended period.
Paring knives typically have stainless steel or high-carbon steel blades. You can find some with ceramic blades, but there aren’t as many options with a non-metal blade.
Paring knives with stainless steel are very sturdy and don’t bend easily. They’re more affordable than high-carbon steel or ceramic knives too.
High-carbon steel blades are even sturdier and harder than stainless steel paring knives, but that can cause them to snap more easily. They have an extremely sharp edge, though.
Paring knives with ceramic blades are usually affordable and incredibly sharp. A ceramic blade is extremely hard, though, so it can snap like a high-carbon knife. As a result, ceramic paring knives usually work best for slicing and don’t have the same versatility as metal knives.
A knife tang refers to the part of the blade that extends down into the knife’s handle.
A partial tang blade only goes partway down into the handle, so it’s easy to break or snap off the blade. A full-tang knife’s blade goes all the way down to the end of the handle, which helps prevent it from breaking and provides a more balanced feeling in your hand.
You’ll pay more for a full-tang paring knife, but it’s usually more durable and a better value in the long run.
What to look for in a quality paring knife
You can generally choose from four types of paring knives.
- Spear-tip paring knives are the most traditional option and feature a curved design for the edge and spine. These knives are incredibly versatile as they can peel, chop and core fruits and veggies.
- Bird’s beak paring knives have a concave design and feature a thicker blade for improved strength. These knives work best for peeling and intricate carving.
- Sheep’s foot paring knives have a flat edge and a rounded tip. These knives work best for julienning.
- Serrated paring knives come in the three other blade types but are designed for cutting harder, tougher foods.
Handle design and material
A paring knife with a thicker handle usually provides the best grip, so it’s not as likely to slip or move around in your hand. Oval-shaped handles are a better option than round handles because they won’t spin in your grip. A square handle isn’t likely to spin either, but it usually doesn’t fit as comfortably in hand.
When it comes to the handle material, plastic is an excellent option because it’s affordable and offers a solid grip. Plastic handles are lightweight, too, so they aren’t as likely to cause fatigue. Wooden handles look and feel good, but they don’t offer as solid a grip as plastic. Metal handles aren’t as porous as plastic or wood, so they’re very easy to clean. They can be heavy, though, and don’t offer a good grip.
A paring knife should feel balanced in your hand, so you have control over it as you’re cutting.
You may prefer a knife with most of the weight in the blade or feel more comfortable with a knife that carries the bulk of its weight in the handle. It may require trying a few different paring knives to see what type of balance feels most comfortable and functional in your hand.
How much you can expect to spend on a paring knife
Paring knives usually cost between $5-$100. Lightweight knives with stamped blades and plastic handles typically go for $5-$20, but for $20-$40, you can find full-tang paring knives with plastic or wooden handles. However, if you want a knife with a forged, full-tang blade, you’ll likely spend between $40-$100.
Paring knife FAQ
How can I use a paring knife?
A. A paring knife is a pretty versatile tool. You can use it to peel, slice, core, mince and remove seeds from fruits and vegetables. It can also work well to trim the fat from meat, carve small cuts of meat, devein shrimp and fillet small fish.
How often does a paring knife require sharpening?
A. That depends on a variety of factors, including how often you use the knife. Whenever you notice that the blade is having trouble cutting through or slipping over your food, it’s time to sharpen the knife.
What’s the best paring knife to buy?
Top paring knife
What you need to know: This pro-grade paring knife is a restaurant-quality tool that features durable steel construction that works for various tasks.
What you’ll love: It features an extremely sharp German steel blade with a triple-riveted full tang. It’s also cut from one continuous piece of high-carbon stainless steel. Its handle feels comfortable and balanced in hand, too.
What you should consider: It’s one of the pricier knives that we reviewed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top paring knife for the money
What you need to know: This affordable paring knife offers a sharp, easy-to-use blade, making it an excellent value.
What you’ll love: It has a 3.5-inch blade made of Japanese steel. It also comes with a protective cover. Its handle has an ergonomic design and a textured grip to prevent the knife from slipping. It’s backed by a 5-year warranty, too.
What you should consider: Some buyers find the textured grip feels somewhat uncomfortable in hand.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This popular paring knife offers excellent quality at a great price, so it’s the perfect option for beginners.
What you’ll love: It features a very sharp blade made of high-carbon Japanese steel. The handle features an ergonomic design and textured finger points for a solid grip. It sharpens very easily and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
What you should consider: Its handle may be a disappointment for people who prefer a wooden handle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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