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No matter how hard you try to avoid it, the truth is that the necessity of specialized knives will become obvious at some point or another. Technically, you can do pretty much any job with any knife. You can cut bread with a butcher knife if you want, but the final result is less likely to satisfy you.
The same rule applies when interested in finding a cleaver knife. Indeed, you do not necessarily need it, but it will definitely improve your results and make your job much easier. It sounds easy, and the market is overwhelming as you start browsing, but the truth is finding the best cleaver knife will require more than just a simple search over the Internet.
Ideally, you should opt for a top-rated item. Why? Simple! When thousands of people give it four to five stars out of five, there must be something good about it. Some cleaver knives will cost five times more than the others. It does not necessarily mean they are five times better. Instead, you have to hunt a good rating and value for money.
So, what should you know before discovering the best cleaver knife out there?
2023’s 3 Best Cleaver Knives Reviewed
Imarku Cleaver Knife
Imarku’s best cleaver knife will not disappoint you. It is a multifunction tool that will work wonders on any operation in your kitchen. Basically, this knife will mince, dice, slice, and chop with no issues at all. Its Rockwell hardness scale is rated at 62.
The edge is super sharp out of the box, so be careful as you unpack it. It is likely to maintain its sharpness over time. After all, it is made of German stainless steel. It will easily resist abrasion, rust, and corrosion. Plus, it is very simple to maintain – wash it manually (never in the dishwasher) and dry it before storage.
The handle is worth a bit of attention too. The knife comes with a pakka handle. It is comfortable to hold, but it also features a non-slip surface. The handle will most easily withstand the test of time. All in all, you should know the blade measures seven inches in length, while the whole knife weighs just over 13 ounces.
- Multifunction tool
- Easy maintenance
- Well balanced
- Durable sharpness
- Suitable for small and medium bones only
Aroma House Meat Cleaver
Aroma House does not fool around with quality – this knife comes with a lifetime warranty. The premier unit is made of carbon stainless steel and features a 58-60 RHC hardness level. It also has elements of vanadium, molybdenum, and chromium for extra strength.
The handle is ergonomic and comfortable (no pressure on your thumb) and comes with a full tang design. The non-slip surface prevents accidents, even if your hands are wet or sweaty. Plus, to top all these up, it also looks good.
The knife is suitable for chopping, cutting, deboning, dicing, and so on. It works with light and medium bones, as well as fruits and veggies. The mirror-polished blade is seven inches in length, while the knife weighs 1.21 pounds.
- Multifunction design
- Comfortable handle
- Mirror polished by hand
- Requires no effort to cut
- Needs sharpening more often than other knives
Kiaitre Cleaver Knife
Kiaitre may not be the biggest name on the market, but its knives have always stood out in the crowd through their versatility and quality standards. The brand’s best cleaver knife features a seven-inch long blade and a slightly unusual shape with a pointy tip.
The blade is made of German stainless steel, so it will work on fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables. The knife is not so efficient on medium and large bones, so avoid them. Its HRC hardness rating is about 56. Back to the blade – 15 degrees on each side, so it is much sharper than most alternatives out there.
The pakka wood handle is ergonomic and guarantees a comfortable grip. It also has a non-slip surface, so it can prevent accidents. Furthermore, the knife weighs about 7.7 ounces, so it is not as heavy as other units in this segment, but just heavy enough for any operation that does not involve bones.
- Made to last
- Super sharp
- Great weight and balance
- Not suitable for bones
Types of cleaver knives
This is one of the most versatile knives one can get. You can always find a use for it in the kitchen. From many points of view, it is similar to a chef knife. However, there are not too many classifications of it. There are, however, a few different types out there.
You will find cleaver knives with different blades out there – even from the same manufacturer. This is because they have different purposes. For example, you might find a cleaver knife with a light and thin blade. This option is quite rare, but it does have its purpose as well.
Such knives are ideal for fine slicing. In other words, this is not the aggressive type of knife that you can chop anything with. Instead, you will use it for finer cuts that actually require a bit of shape and attention – good for the overall look of your dishes.
On the other hand, you will also find heavier blades. You cannot tell by the looks, so you will need to pick the knife up and feel it. These blades are obviously heavier as well, and just like the thinner alternatives, they have their own roles.
A heavy blade cleaver knife is excellent for butchery. You do not need to be a professional – they are suitable for medium-duty activities. You can break down poultry, not to mention splitting it – the same goes for fish heads.
You can find medium-weight blades too, which are somewhere in the middle. They work in both directions, but they are not specialized. All in all, no matter which option you choose, you will end up with a versatile unit that nothing can beat.
Over the past centuries, cleaver knives have been used for different purposes in particular parts of the world. For example, most people refer to Chinese chef knives as cleaver knives because they are similar. But then, these knives are normally thin and designed for multiple purposes. They can slice meats, dice, and even mince veggies.
There is also a heavier cleaver knife in Chinese cuisine, which is similar to the one people use in western countries.
In Japan, the cleaver knife is known as deba bocho. It is most commonly used to cut fish heads and does not really look like a western cleaver knife. Therefore, when ordering, make sure you are aware of these considerations based on the location or cuisine.
How to Choose the Best Cleaver Knife
You know you can leave yourself in good hands if you buy a reputable manufacturer’s best cleaver knife. After all, when something works for thousands of buyers, chances are it will work for you too. But at the same time, it does pay off knowing what to look for when about to buy a knife.
When you consider the material, everything is about the metal. You want to know what the blade is made of and how long it will last you. While the handle is also important, all the magic is in the blade. Ages ago, cleaver blades used to be made of carbon steel. It is still a popular material today. However, it is not perfect.
In fact, it has a few major flaws. Most importantly, it can get rusty pretty fast, so the value for money is not that great. Second, it tends to give food a metallic taste, which some people will notice.
These days, knives are mostly based on stainless steel. Even professional chefs and cookbook authors recommend stainless steel. You can also find a mix of stainless steel and carbon, which is just as good. The material is resistant to rust, corrosion, and abrasion.
Other than that, it is worth noting that the material will not really affect the efficiency of your cleaver knife, but improve its durability and add to its value for money.
From many points of view, a Chinese cleaver knife looks like a butcher knife. Unlike most expectations, you cannot use it for the same operations though. For example, a basic cleaver knife should not be used for heavy chopping operations that involve bones. A so-called Chinese cleaver knife should be used to deal with veggies and meat only. Otherwise, you can ruin its blade.
The point is that appearance is not everything, as more types of knives look the same, but should not be used for the same operations.
Comfort should be one of your main priorities. Ask two different chefs for their favorite cleaver knife, and you will get different replies. This is because choosing the right knife is a personal aspect. You need to find something well built and durable, but it should feel comfortable and easy to use.
At this stage, what works for some people will not work for everyone else. The cleaver knife is solid, but not super heavy. If you feel the strain after using the knife for a few minutes, chances are you need a different model.
Last but not least, never overlook sharpening. You need to sharpen a cleaver knife regularly. Otherwise, your chopping activities will have terrible results – not to mention potential accidents. With all these, the best cleaver knife will be able to maintain its sharpness for a long time. If it gets dull after each use, you probably have the wrong unit. Here is our guide on knife sharpeners.
Care and maintenance go in the same category. Do not expose your knife to too much stress or damage. Wash it manually with soapy water and dry it before storage. The blade should be clean as soon as you are done – especially if you use it for acidic foods, like tomatoes.
Can I clean a cleaver knife in the dishwasher?
Some cleaver knives can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Some of them come with maintenance tips and instructions, and according to their manufacturers, they are dishwasher safe. With all this, you should avoid it.
Hand washing cleaver knives – as well as other stainless steel knives – will preserve the blade and maintain the sharpness for longer. Besides, it prevents water from gathering into small and inaccessible places, such as screws.
What is the hole in the blade responsible for?
Some cleaver knives come with a hole in the blade – you will spot it in one of the corners. Some others do not have it. The hole is there to hang the knife on the wall. Decades or centuries ago, butchers could not hang their knives by their handles due to the risk of cutting something. Imagine walking inside a dark room and slicing your ear off because of an invisible knife.
More and more butchers requested knives to have small holes, so they would hang by their blades instead. Today, the modern kitchen has more sophisticated storage opportunities, so the hole is slowly losing its popularity.
Why choose a cleaver knife over a regular knife?
The cleaver knife is heavier, more balanced, and makes the job easier for you. Back in the day, cleaver knives were used to chop large dead animals. These days, they can be used for anything – including chopping veggies. They get most of the job done by themselves, as you only have to guide them in the right direction.
In the end, choosing the best cleaver knife is entirely up to you. You know better what you need and what your personal preferences involve. Make sure the knife feels good, has a good reputation, and comes from a reliable manufacturer though. These rules are quite general.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.