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I like knives. They’re handy for any number of purposes; slicing, chopping, separating bones from meat, slapping garlic, and a good knife can even make a half-decent spatula in a pinch.
But finding which knife you need and what best suits you can be difficult. There’s a knife for particular cuts like in prime rib, brisket or chicken, and many do multiple, but what we’re primarily going to be talking about today are slicing or carving knives, which serve a very singular purpose: cutting something (usually meat) into nice, thin slices.
There are a lot of carving knives out there, and most of them are good. But which are the best? And how do you tell?
That’s what we’re going to go over today, with some of my favorite models followed by a quick buying guide.
Our Top Choice...
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 11 Best Knives for Slicing and Carving Meat (2021)
1. TUO Cutlery Slicing Carving Knife
One last knife, this time a really nice carving knife from TUO. It had a nice 12” length that comes to a neatly tapered point; perfect for more precision cuts and spearing meat for transferring from platter to plate.
The blade itself is a good German steel, high carbon stainless with a good hardness and edge retention.
The pakkawood handle has a very nice swirled pattern on it, and the handle’s shape feels very good in the hand.
For the price range it’s at this is by far my favorite carving knife. It’s not the best one on the market in terms of sheer quality, but it gives you great value, even more than the Kessaku model which is around the same price.
It has a nice subtle curve to aid in slicing anything you’d care to use it for, making it even better as a multipurpose knife than most of these carving knives.
Nice long blade (12”).
Tapered tip is great for precision cuts and spearing food.
Good German high carbon steel blade.
Hardness could stand to be a bit better.
2. Paudin Pro 8 inch Chef Knife
This is a beautiful faux Damascus knife, though I want to reiterate that this is NOT an actual Damascus steel blade, or even a good imitator of that method of knife creation. The wave pattern is etched on (either with a laser or acid bath, the manufacturer does not specify) and is not an indicator of higher steel quality.
However, it is still a good high carbon steel, which holds an excellent edge and can be honed to a razor sharpness. The blade is a nice, long 8” chef knife, which is perfect for food prep of all kinds, so long as it fits your hand and cutting style.
The handle is very comfortable and ergonomic, and made of a nicely polished pakkawood (a cheaper but usually more durable wood core with layers of nice wood on top) that gives you a good mix of aesthetics and durability.
The knife isn’t to my particular tastes, since I prefer a different kind of prep knife (I’ve been using a santoku knife for so long standard chef’s knives just feel unwieldy to me now) but it is an objectively high quality knife that looks great in a matching block or rack.
Good quality high carbon stainless steel blade.
Good pakkawood handle.
Ergonomic and easy to hold.
Very pleasing to the eye; makes as good of a decorative feature as a useful knife.
Manufacturer makes it difficult to spot the “lie” of its waved pattern, subtly misleading customers.
3. BLACK+DECKER 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife
power. Each blade is a solid 9 inches long as well, giving it a good balance and length for cutting through those big roasts and birds.
The handle is comfortable, falling easily into the hand and giving you a good grip on the knife while it runs, maximizing your ability to control the cuts and get a good even slice off of whatever you want.
The trigger is easy to reach and depress, with a nice safety lock on it so it can’t turn on when you don’t want it to.
The length (a total 18 inches with the knives and handle included) is a bit awkward to handle at first, but that’s something it shares with all knives of this type, and it’s something you’ll get used to eventually. The cord is comfortably long, letting you use it across your kitchen with ease.
It’s very focused on that convenience factor, which is something you absolutely want in a knife like this. It’s dishwasher safe, easy to use, comfortable to hold, doesn’t need to be constantly unplugged and replugged or recharged to move it around, and it comes in at a very low price.
Black and Decker have a real winner with this one.
Safety lock trigger.
Good 9” stainless steel blades.
Easy to use
A bit awkward to use until you get used to it.
4. Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicing Knife
This knife gets by not on gimmicks like electric cutting power, but on sheer blade quality. Made for slicing tomatoes (and other difficult fruits and vegetables which tend to get crushed rather than be sliced). This knife has very large, rough serrations that let it tear through almost anything you throw at it.
The blade itself is excellently made of a high carbon T420 stainless steel, which is extremely hard and holds an edge better than just about anything out there.
In terms of blade quality this knife is second to none. The main problem I have with it comes down to the handle, not the blade. It’s not bad, but is a fairly run of the mill cheap resin compound that I’ve never liked the feel of in my hand.
The shape of it is nice, however, with an excellent grip for your finger and a shape that should comfortably fit the hand of most people, unless you have unusually large hands.
The price is more than reasonable for what you get, though I’d gladly pay more for a better, more aesthetically pleasing and (more importantly (durable) handle.
Overall though this knife gives you everything you need. A nice durable and razor sharp serrated blade that’s perfect for slicing up pretty much anything you like.
Holds a great edge.
High quality, high carbon T420 stainless steel.
Overall meh resin handle.
5. Dalstrong Gladiator Series 12” Slicing/Carving Knife
This is another good carving knife shaped like a paddle for whatever reason. I get that it makes it harder to score the bottom of your roasting pan or what have you if you want to carve inside the pan, but that’s such a minor benefit for the overall lack of utility a pointed or forked tip gives you that I don’t think it’s worth the tradeoff.
Everything else though is stellar; no complaints from me. The blade is a good high carbon German stainless steel that sits around the 56 Rockwell hardness scale range. It holds an edge well (in this case somewhere between the 14 and 16 degree range on both sides) and slices through most things with ease.
The handle is a nicely comfortable pakkawood. It has a good curve to it and a smooth finish, wicking away moisture and falling into most hands with ease.
The only sticking point is the price. It’s a quality knife but it is extraordinarily expensive for a single knife, costing a much as some sets (which are themselves pretty high quality) and only being a little bit cheaper than some of the best sets I’ve ever looked at.
Sharp, hard, high carbon stainless steel blade (German made).
Good pakkawood handle; comfortable and moisture wicking.
6. Cangshan TN1 Series Carving Knife
This knife is a refreshing change from the last few on the list, with a carving knife design I tend to prefer overall.
The more rounded, gently curved shape with a sharp point for convenient poking is nice for a lot of different kinds of meats and the slightly shorter blade (9 inches as opposed to the 12 inch standard of most of the rest of the blades we’ve seen) makes it a bit more maneuverable and better for cutting vegetables or cheeses.
The steel is top notch, a Swedish made “Sandvik” steel, with a high carbon content and an impeccable edge.
The handle is comfortable but not really to my taste; I’ve never liked the handles with bits cut out of them design. It lowers the overall weight of the knife and gives a good handhold, but throws off the balance ever so slightly.
The sheath is excellent, a very nice wood with a magnetic backing (industrial strength for extra grip). It looks great and completely secures the blade for safe transportation.
As a nice bonus, you get a good fork to go with it for serving and making even cutting easier.
Excellent Swedish Sandvik steel; high carbon and holds a great edge.
Excellent aesthetically pleasing and utilitarian sheath.
Good added fork.
High price (though fair for the steel’s quality).
7. Mairico 11 inch Stainless Steel Carving Knife
This is an exceptionally long knife from Mairico; well over a foot from tip to the end of the handle, with a massive 11 inch blade.
This is the perfect carving knife for large roasts and turkeys, giving a long and even slice across the entirety of even the largest meats.
The blade itself is nothing special, being made of standard stainless steel. I’m also not crazy about the design. Normally on a carving knife like this you have a bit of a curve and a fork on the end, giving you a bit more slicing power and a convenient way to transfer meat to a plate. The rounded end of this one I just weird and serves no discernible purpose.
The handle is comfortable but a cheap resin, which is sturdy but again nothing special.
Overall the knife is pretty good but way overpriced for what you’re actually going to get out of it. Given the relatively average materials and construction, I’d recommend getting a cheaper knife that serves the same role over this one.
Long 11” blade.
Cuts well and holds a decent edge.
Nothing particularly special about it.
Weird design (no forked tip).
A bit overpriced for a single knife of this quality.
8. Dalstrong Shogun Series 12” Carving Knife
On the one hand, this knife is pretty high quality. It is made of a good high carbon steel, and holds a good edge (the same edge as the Dalstrong Gladiator knife above). The pakkawood handle looks nice and feels perfect in the hand; they clearly have a very good idea of what the human hand likes to hold onto.
It’s long, with the blunted tip I’ve already belabored above; I don’t like it but I’m not going to bump off a ton of points for it. It’s not a huge deal.
What is, is this knife charging the exorbitant price it does while claiming to be a “Damascus” steel blade.
Damascus steel does sort of exist in this day and age, though is more technically referred to as pattern welded steel; it’s a number of distinct metal plates or layers welded together and then repeatedly folded (usually until it has about 300 layers).
This is not that. This knife has “Damascus” cladding, which is basically just a decorative pattern added onto the knife. This does absolutely nothing for the knife’s quality. It makes it neither better nor worse.
What it does do is drive up the price significantly, and quite frankly I think the way it has been done here looks terrible. Rather than give you that nice wavy pattern that some Damascus cladding or etching gives, it makes the metal look warped and twisted.
So in short they have gone out of their way to make the knife look ugly and have decided to charge you extra for the privilege. And then have also gone out of their way to obfuscate that this is just cladding and not an actual Damascus blade.
Sharp edge; high carbon steel hold sit well.
Very nice pakkawood handle.
Absolutely hideous Damascus cladding.
Dishonest “Damascus knife” designation.
Unnecessarily large price for the quality.
9. Kessaku Samurai Series Slicing and Carving Knife
This is a good budget knife that still provides some really good performance. It’s got a good edge on it (16 degrees on either side) and is a high carbon stainless steel, though based on its hardness (58 on the Rockwell hardness scale) it’s not a super high carbon content and sits at just barely more than standard stainless steel.
Still, given the price that’s more than good enough.
The blade is a solid 12 inches with that paddle-like tip that I still don’t like very much. It’s a bit better than some of the others, as it’s clearly got a bit of an edge on the bottom of the tip that makes it resembles a way longer santoku knife.
Overall it’s just a very good knife for the price, even if it isn’t very special.
High carbon steel blade (though only barely).
Good long knife.
Nice, if simple, pakkawood handle.
Nothing particularly makes this knife stand out.
10. Dalstrong Phantom Series Sashimi Knife
Dalstrong comes to us with another offering, this time with a sashimi knife. It looks excellent; nice and shiny with the perfect mix of a razor sharp tip for side precision cuts and just enough curve to make chopping a possibility, even if slicing is definitely its main goal.
The handle is an excellent small but well shaped pakkawood handle to go with its high carbon steel blade and (as they put it) “mercilessly” sharp edge; a 13 to 15 degree single bevel edge that’s perfect for slicing things into paper thin slices.
The sheath is nice but simple; an odd choice for such an otherwise beautiful blade, but that’s a small point against it. For such a high quality (and specialized knife) the price (which is equivalent to the other Dalstrong knives we’ve covered on this list) is more reasonable.
The entire Phantom series shares this level of quality, making it my favorite line of knives Dalstrong offers of the ones we’ve looked at today.
Extremely sharp single beveled edge.
Specialized sashimi knife is perfect for its intended purpose.
High carbon steel hones great and keeps an edge longer.
Nice pakkawood handle.
Fair price for what you get.
Sheath is a bit basic for such a nice knife.
If you don’t make a ton of sashimi, avoid. It is not a very versatile knife.
11. Professional 10” Meat Cutting Knife
As far as cheap knives go, this is okay, but I’d rather shell out the extra for the Kessaku, which is more than worth the doubled price tag.
This knife is made of a standard (not high carbon) stainless steel that holds a decent edge, though you’ll have to work it a bit to get it there (it’s a bit thick out of the box).
The handle is a standard resin with a few simple rivets; nothing really special to talk about there as it’s the most common knife handle design around. It’s not bad, just reflects this knife’s role as a budget carving and slicing knife.
That’s really the sticking point with this knife as a whole. In every respect it’s good but not great, and not really cheap enough (I’d say it’s a good deal at about $10 cheaper than it is) to justify not shelling out the extra for a better knife which will work better, last longer, and look nicer than a knife like this.
All that can really be said to recommend it is that as a regular stainless steel blade, it IS way easier to maintain, as you never have to worry about it rusting (which an improperly maintained high carbon blade can).
Holds a decent edge.
Fairly average in every regard; meh steel, okay handle, decent edge, no sharp point. Nothing about this knife stands out.
Most of these knives are quite good, though you want to make sure the knife you choose is within your price range.
The good high carbon steel models here, including the Cangshan, and Dalstrong Phantom knives are usually going to be a better pick. But I choose TUO slicing carving knife as my top choice
If you know what you’re doing any of these knives are going to work perfectly for you, though I personally would suggest steering well clear of Dalstrong’s Shogun series knife, which is simply ugly and way overpriced for what it offers. Other than that, everything else here is good to use.
How Do I Choose The Right Cutting Knife?
Choosing a knife is at once a simple and complex task. The hardest is already done for you: choosing the right kind for different meat like beef, turkey and more. We’re talking about slicing and carving knives today, which narrows down their features quite a bit.
In a general sense what you look for in every knife is the same: good steel, a sharp edge, and a good handle; that’s really it.
But what is good steel?
The best steel is going to be “high carbon” steel. It’s exactly what it sounds like; there’s a higher concentration of carbon in the steel than normal.
More carbon gives you increased hardness; this makes the knife easier to sharpen and makes it retain an edge longer, though does introduce a few elements of risk:
First, a high carbon knife is more likely to be brittle. You must be more careful with it than you might be a cheaper knife.
Second, a high carbon steel is able to rust, unlike a pure stainless steel might.
This means care and maintenance of a high carbon steel knife is important, as they also tend to be more expensive than stainless steel knives, and destroying one can set you back a pretty penny.
The increase in performance is well worth these drawbacks, but if you’re someone that likes to be rough on their knives, you might want to look into getting a cheaper knife; you’ll lose a bit of performance but gain peace of mind.
Keep in mind also that there’s a lot of variation in high carbon steels; “high carbon” refers to any percentage of carbon past a certain threshold, so not all high carbon steels are made equal. When in doubt look at the hardness.
Knife hardness is measured using the Rockwell Hardness Scale.
On average the hardness of a good knife starts at 56, and everything higher than that is considered good. An absolute top quality super high carbon steel knife would have a hardness of around 66, but generally you’re not going to find a knife like that on the market; it would need to be custom made, and likely for an exorbitant price.
Knife prices can fluctuate wildly, with a decent one running you around $20, and a good one costing over $100. Everything on this list falls roughly in that price scale.
Keep in mind that more expensive doesn’t mean better; some companies charge you just for aesthetics.
A lot of knives out there try to pass themselves off as “Damascus steel” by putting a wavy cladding on their knife. This makes a cool pattern on the knife, but does nothing for its quality (for good or ill) and often jacks the price up a lot. Keep an eye out for that scam.
In terms of aesthetics, a good knife will typically make do with giving you a very nice handle instead.
Generally for knife handles you have a choice of 2 materials: resin and pakkawood.
Resin is a composite material used to make most standard cheap knife handles. It’s serviceable, cheap, and can look pretty nice, but lacks in flair and might be a bit smooth in the hand, which can potentially lead to slippage.
Pakkawood is instead used on a lot of mid price range knives, and even some high end ones. It uses a hard core of some cheap wood that then has a more expensive, decorative wood layered over it; this saves in cost, increases durability, and still provides a very nice, grippy handle.