Choosing the right knife can be daunting. There are so many brands and types of knives available. With the following guide, we hope to help you find a combination of knives that fits both your budget and needs perfectly.
The guide is split into two sections.
Essential Knives – if you’re starting a collection simply choose based on our recommended priorities - you're unlikely to go wrong.
Types of Knives – If you are looking for more specific information on each style of knife to help you choose - this section is for you.
The guide is applicable to any knife brand but as we exclusively stock Rada knives the guide also highlights the best choices for this brand.
If you can only afford one knife then we recommend starting with a Chef Knife, it's the essential knife of any busy kitchen as it will do most kitchen preparation duties very well. A good Chef Knife is amazingly versatile - you can slice, dice and mince. Working well for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. It's often the knife that is permanently on a cutting board in the kitchen.
If you're on a budget and looking for one general kitchen knife just for general use then the other option would be to go for the Rada Kitchen Knife. It's not going to be as good for extended meal prep duties but we have several customers who swear this is the only knife they need.
Being able to afford two knives gives you the opportunity to purchase knives which are slightly more specialised (but still very versatile). The ideal would be to have a Paring Knife for small, intricate meal preparation duties (i.e. cutting fruit) and a larger knife for serious evening meal preparation tasks.
The combination of a Paring Knife and Chef Knife will give you amazing flexibility in the kitchen with only two knives !
If you are looking for the best choice with 3 knives our recommendation starts very similar to the 2 knife recommendation - that being a Paring Knife and Chef Knife. The next essential knife would be a good long serrated bread knife, as even the sharpest traditional knife does a terrible job on fresh bread.
If you did want another knife we would recommend the mid-sized Rada Kitchen Knife - this would then give you a small, medium and large knife and would cover 95% of your meal preparation requirements.
The following is not an exhaustive list of all the types of kitchen knives available but will give you a quick snapshot of the most important ones offered on this site and what their key uses are.
For - Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Herbs, General Prep
One of the most important knives in the kitchen and the workhorse of most meal preparation duties. Chef knives can do it all pretty well: mince, chop, dice and slice. They are characterised by a long deep slightly curved blade, allowing large deep cuts to be made but also mincing and chopping ingredients very finely using a rocking motion. The size allows for greater leverage and the depth of the blade also make it easier to push ingredients of the edge of a cutting board into a pot or pan.
With a long, deep and gently curved blade combined with a larger handle a chef knife can be used for most meal preparation duties including slicing meats, dicing vegetables and fruits as well as finely mincing herbs.
The larger size of a chef knife blade helps to minimise fatigue and the need to make frequent small cuts. The gentle curve allows for a nice rocking motion with minimal effort.
What’s the magic number size wise? The general recommendation is for a chef knife of around 8” (about 20cm). This length striking a good balance between the efficiency and leverage of using a larger blade without it being so large that it becomes unwieldy to use. This will, of course, depend on the size of the person wielding the knife !
If you like a “big” knife with plenty of heft and a thicker blade than your best to look into one of the traditional Western-style knife brands. If you prefer a lighter knife with a thinner blade than many of the Japanese-style knife brands will suit.
The Rada Chef Knife finds a nice balance between the two – it’s has a large, deep 21cm blade but is reasonably thin and lightweight. The hollow ground blade makes slicing an absolute pleasure and the lighter weight helps minimise fatigue.
For - Fish, Poultry, Bone-in-meat Carving
Boning and filleting knives have a long, thin and sometimes flexible blade to aid in removing meat from bone and for filleting fish. The shape and flexibility provide cutting precision around a bone while still achieving a long, deep cut.
This type of knife can also vary depending on the application. For heavier meats such as a leg of lamb, the knife can be shorter and stiffer while for poultry and especially fish a longer thinner flexible blade is preferred.
The Rada Boning & Filleting Knife is the thinnest and most flexible of their long knives and is suitable for all of the above tasks and is especially recommended if you eat a lot of poultry and fish.
For - Fresh Bread
The reasons for why a bread knife is required are fairly obvious. Placing pressure with a traditional knife on a loaf of fresh bread will simply crush it, whereas a sharp serrated blade will enable you to use a gentle sawing motion and cut through the outer crusty layer with little downward pressure.Regardless of how big or small your knife collection is a Bread Knife is essential.
Regardless of how big or small your knife collection is a Bread Knife is essential. The Rada Bread knife is long and has small razor sharp serrations making it perfect for bread.
For - Slicing Meat for Serving
For anyone who is regularly serving up roast meats, then a carving knife is essential. In general, they are a relatively long and thin style knife. The length is needed to slice through larger meats in one motion and a thin blade allows for precise slices. This long blade can make them less than ideal for general kitchen duties but ideal for making perfect long slices.
Ideally, a Carving fork will be used in conjunction with the Carving Knife to hold the meat and then serve slices to each plate. The Rada Carving knife fits this description perfectly, being long and thin but with less flex than their Boning & Filleting knife.
For - Grapefruit and Oranges
The list of speciality knives available is huge and impossible to be covered in a few words. The one which we stock is a traditional Grapefruit knife. This is a small serrated knife with a curved tip - it's designed to cut close to the rind of a halved grapefruit or large orange. The fruit can then be taken out and eaten or eaten out of the rind like a cup. The Rada Curved Grapefruit knife fits the above description perfectly - it's certainly not an essential knife but if you eat a lot of oranges or grapefruits it will be a worthy addition.
For - Fruit, Vegetables, Meats, General Preparation
While the name may suggest nothing special a good Kitchen Knife will probably get more use than any other knife in the kitchen. Size wise they rest between a Chef Knife and a Paring Knife with a shorter blade for control and a full sized handle for leverage and comfort on extended meal preparation duties. They can be used for just about any kitchen task and perform well.
Rada's Kitchen Knife fits the bill perfectly for being highly versatile and a great all-rounder.
For - Fruit, Vegetables, Intricate tasks
Paring knives are small knives with numerous uses in the kitchen. The variety of styles and sizes is huge but in general the small blades allow for precise control while cutting. Smaller paring knives give more control for peeling fruit while a large paring knife with greater leverage will be better suited for extended vegetable preparation duties. A good paring knife is essential for any kitchen and should always be one of the first knives purchased.
Rada's paring knives are their top sellers and are probably the knives that they are most famous for. Their thin razor sharp blades are perfectly suited to the requirements of paring knives.
For - Slicing Meats at the Table
A steak knife replaces a normal knife at the table while eating meat dishes. The size of a steak knife can vary but in general, they are about the same size or slightly larger that a normal cutlery knife but much sharper. They can come with either a standard blade or serrated. Normally purchased as a set of 4 or 6 knives.
Rada offers sharp serrated steak knives which will make slicing any meat extremely easy. They are only medium sized so the whole family will be able to enjoy them.