What Are the Different Knife Types?

Knives are one of the most fundamental tools in the kitchen, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for specific tasks. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, understanding the different knife types and their uses is crucial for efficient and precise food preparation. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of knives, exploring the various knife types, their unique characteristics and the tasks they are best suited for.

Chef’s knife

The chef’s knife, also known as a cook’s knife or French knife, is arguably the most essential knife in the kitchen. It typically has a broad, triangular blade with a pointed tip. Chef’s knives come in various lengths, but the 8-inch and 10-inch versions are the most common.

Purpose: The chef’s knife is incredibly versatile and is suitable for a wide range of tasks, including chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing.

Savernake suggest: Our take on a mid-sized European chef’s knife, The Classic.

Santoku knife

The Santoku knife is a Japanese multipurpose knife that features a shorter, wider blade than a traditional chef’s knife. It often has a hollow edge design, known as Granton edge, to reduce sticking.

Purpose: Santoku knives are excellent for slicing, dicing and chopping, making them a versatile choice for a wide range of ingredients, particularly for Japanese and Asian cuisine.

Savernake suggest: Our DNA SN17 Santoku for chopping, slicing and cutting.

Bread knife

The bread knife has a long, serrated blade designed to cut through bread without crushing it. The serrations help grip and slice through crusty or soft bread with ease.

Purpose: Bread knives are specifically for slicing bread, but they can also be used for delicate tasks like cutting tomatoes or cakes.

Savernake suggest: Our DB26 Bread Knife can tackle everything from a crusty sourdough to a soft white loaf.

Utility knife

A utility knife is a smaller, nimbler knife with a sharp, pointed tip. It falls between a paring knife and a chef’s knife in terms of size.

Purpose: Utility knives are versatile tools that can handle a variety of tasks, such as slicing small fruits, trimming meat or making small, precise cuts.

Savernake suggest: Dice and slice with our lightweight NC12 Utility Knife.

Boning knife

Boning knives have a thin, flexible blade that is ideal for separating meat from bones.

Purpose: They are primarily used for boning poultry, fish and meat, making them essential for butchers and home cooks who often work with whole cuts of meat.

Savernake suggest: Our Useful Boner is perfect for detailed boning work.

Fillet knife

A fillet knife is a thin, flexible knife with a pointed tip, designed to fillet fish with precision.

Purpose: It’s perfect for removing skin and bones from fish while minimising waste. Fillet knives are commonly used in seafood preparation.

Savernake suggest: Your new flexible friend, our Long Filleter.


Cleavers are hefty, broad-bladed knives with a rectangular shape. They have a thicker spine and are primarily associated with Chinese cuisine.

Purpose: Cleavers are designed for heavy-duty tasks, such as chopping through bones and tough vegetables. They are a staple in Chinese cooking and are versatile for other kitchen tasks.

Savernake suggest: It gets no better than our Classic Cleaver or Astounding Cleaver.

Nakiri knife

The Nakiri knife is a Japanese vegetable knife with a rectangular, double-edged blade. It’s designed for precision vegetable preparation.

Purpose: Nakiri knives are perfect for slicing, dicing and chopping vegetables, making them an excellent choice for those who enjoy Japanese cuisine and vegetarian dishes.

Savernake suggest: Three is the magic number with our Nakiri Trio.

Steak knife

Steak knives are typically small, serrated knives used at the dining table to cut through cooked meats, particularly steak.

Purpose: Steak knives are meant for cutting through cooked meats with ease, allowing diners to enjoy their meal without struggling with tough cuts.

Savernake suggest: Our 10” Butcher’s Steak Knife has a signature concave blade.

Carving knife

A carving knife is a specialised kitchen knife designed for a very specific purpose: carving or slicing cooked meats and poultry.

Purpose: The primary purpose of a carving knife is to achieve clean, precise cuts and present large cuts of meat in an attractive and appetising manner.

Savernake suggests: Nothing comes close to Pip’s Carver for filleting, slicing and fine work.

Gyuto knife

The Gyuto knife is a versatile and multi-purpose kitchen knife originating from Japan. An all-around workhorse in the kitchen, this knife is an indispensable tool for professional chefs and home cooks alike.

Purpose: Chopping, slicing and dicing, mincing and trimming are all easy with the right Gyuto in your hands.

Savernake suggests: Meat, vegetables and herbs can be tackled with our versatile Gyuto knife.

Cheese knife

Cheese knives come in various shapes, but they all have one thing in common: they are designed to cut and serve cheese with precision.

Purpose: Cheese knives are perfect for cutting through various types of cheese without sticking, crumbling or smearing the cheese.

Oyster knife

Oyster knives have short, thick blades with a pointed tip and a sturdy handle, designed for opening oysters.

Purpose: Oyster knives are specifically for prying open oysters safely and efficiently.

Outdoor knives

Available in all shapes and sizes, outdoor knives are typically used on outdoor excursions such as camping or hiking, as well as bushcraft.

Purpose: Versatile tools designed for various tasks and activities in outdoor settings.

Savernake suggest: Our outdoor knives range boast six different blades to suit your needs.

In the world of culinary arts, understanding the various knife types and their specific purposes is fundamental. Different knives are tailored to perform distinct tasks, and using the right knife can greatly enhance the efficiency and precision of your food preparation. Whether you’re a professional chef or a passionate home cook, a well-equipped kitchen with an assortment of knives will empower you to tackle a wide range of culinary challenges, from slicing, dicing, and chopping to filleting, carving and beyond. Browse all of our custom knives today and elevate your collection of blades.