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Our Top Choice...
Our pick for the best paring knife is the Zwilling JA Henckels Pro "S" Paring Knife. It is sharp right out of the box, and holds its sharpness for a long time. For the price it is a great investment for any kitchen.
The paring knife often overlooked by chefs, but likely to be the second most handy knife in your kitchen. Yes, the workhorse of your kitchen is the chef’s knife, but if you want a versatile knife that will do a host of tasks, you’ll really want to invest in a paring knife.
What is a paring knife for? If you’re new to working in the kitchen or if you really want to have a set of versatile cooking tools, you need a paring knife. These lightweight, thin blade knives are made for tasks that require a sharp edge and precision. We use the paring knife for deveining shrimp, hulling strawberries, and peeling fruits. They are a maneuverable tool that takes on the work that a chef’s knife just won’t handle.
Many chefs feel that the paring knife is a disposable tool. When it comes to paring knives, you really do get what you pay for. Small, inexpensive knives, don’t stay sharp long, and aren’t made to be sharpened. However, at such a reasonable price, it doesn’t feel so bad to toss a dull paring knife and purchase a new one.
If you don’t want to constantly purchase a new paring knife, perhaps you want it to be a quality investment or you just want to do what’s best for the environment, you should consider a higher quality product. All of the best knife manufacturers make a quality paring knife that is made to last, and to be honed and sharpened as needed. They will cost you more, but their quality is made to last.
Here is the list of the best kitchen paring knives to buy:
- Best Overall - Zwilling JA Henckels Pro "S" Paring Knife
- Runner up - Wusthof Classic Clip Point Paring Knife
- Best Budget - Mercer Culinary Millennia Paring Knife
- Best Serrated - ZYLISS Serrated Paring Knife
- Best Handle - Henckels Definition 4 in. Paring Knife
- Best Set - Victorinox 4-Piece Set of Swiss Classic Paring Knives
- Best High–End - Miyabi Kaizen Paring Knife
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 7 Best Paring Knives (2021 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Zwilling JA Henckels Pro "S" Paring Knife
Easy to handle 4 inch blade
Great bolster with finger hook
Blade is very sharp
- Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel & Plastic
- Size: 4 inch
- Dimensions: 75 x 2.75 x 1.50 inches
- Weight: 38 ounces
While not a budget option, our pick for the best paring knife is a great product that can last you a long time.
Zwilling JA Henckels Pro “S” paring knife is a really great knife and will fit well with an existing knife set. We like the full tang and comfortable balance of this knife. It is simply styled with a high carbon stainless steel blade and polycarbonate handle.
This paring knife has a blade that can be honed or sharpened, which means that when cared for properly, this knife will last much longer than many other paring knives. It does have a higher price tag, but considering the quality of the knife, and the ability to sharpen, this one knife will easily out last many other options.
This knife is dishwasher safe, for easy cleaning. However, we do prefer to hand wash knives of this quality, simply because it increases the life of the blade, and handle.
We really don’t think you can go wrong with a high quality paring knife like the Zwilling JA Henckels Pro “S” paring knife. This product is made to last you years, instead of settling for a disposable, lower quality option. Super sharp out of the box and ready to use, this is the perfect option for any chef.
2. Runner up - Wusthof Classic Clip Point Paring Knife
Blade is full tang high carbon Stainless Steel
Has a classic Clip Point
Comfortable non-slip handle
Features a full bolster and finger guard
Hand Wash Only
- Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel & Plastic
- Size: 5 inches
- Dimensions: 40 x 0.70 x 0.50 inches
- Weight: 19 ounces
Our runner up for the best paring knife is another high quality knife that will last for years in your kitchen. The Wusthof Classic clip point paring knife is another wonderful full tang, stainless steel paring knife.
The clip point shape is unique but makes tasks like peeling garlic or removing the skin from fruits nearly effortless. The polycarbonate plastic handle was comfortable to hold, and didn’t slip around even when our hands were wet.
The blade of this knife was sharp right from the box, and is able to be honed or sharpened for increased longevity.
Our one complaint about this knife is that it isn’t dishwasher safe. Wusthof does recommend washing their knives by hand. This is better for the blade and will keep the handle in good condition longer.
3. Best Budget - Mercer Culinary Millennia Paring Knife
Easy to hold ergonomic handle
Very light and maneuverable
Non-staining steel resists rust, corrosion, and discoloration
NSF certified and comes with a limited lifetime warranty
Very sharp, use caution
- Material: Japanese steel & polypropylene
- Size: 5-Inch
- Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 11 inches
- Weight: 6 ounces
The Mercer Culinary Millennia paring knife is our pick for the best budget paring knife. While there are other, cheaper options on the market, we think that this knife is a good combination of affordability and quality.
The Mercer paring knife is super sharp right out of the box. The blade is made from Japanese high carbon steel, so it keeps its sharp edge for quite a while. We do wish that this knife was a forged blade, instead of stamped. The polypropylene plastic handle is ergonomically designed, comfortable to hold and non-slip. Our one complaint about the construction of this knife is that it looks a little cheap. Yes, it’s an affordable option, but you do trade on looks for a better quality blade.
4. Best Serrated - ZYLISS Serrated Paring Knife
Easy to hold ergonomic handle with soft touch rubber grip
The serrated blade flawlessly controls cutting
Comes with a safety blade guard
Dishwasher safe and a 5 Year guarantee
More prone to rust
Not as versatile
- Material: High-carbon stainless steel & rubber
- Size: 4 inches
- Dimensions: 25 x 4.25 x 0.56 inches
- Weight: 82 ounces
Serrated paring knives add a level of versatility that you won’t get from a smooth blade paring knife. Use this knife to slice through hard cheeses, or easily cut through tomatoes without smashing them. Because they are flexible to use, chef’s use them to pit cherries and core apples.
The Zyliss serrated paring knife is made from high carbon stainless steel and has a fun, brightly colored, non-slip handle. We like that this knife comes with its own sheath, which is a great feature, especially since this knife is quite sharp right out of the box.
This knife is slightly larger than others we reviewed. We think that this extra length makes this knife a bit more versatile, and gives you more blade for larger fruits and veggies.
5. Best Handle - Henckels Definition 4 in. Paring Knife
Nice comfortable well balanced handle
Very lightweight, full tang design
Not as quality steel
Is stamped not forged
- Material: Stainless Steel & Plastic
- Size: 4 Inch
- Dimensions: 10 x 3.8 x 1 inches
- Weight: 8 oz.
The Henckels Definition line is an affordable way to get high quality knives into your kitchen. The Definition 4-inch paring knife is a great product, at a reasonable price.
We found that of all of the knives that we tested this one felt the most comfortable. Its unique handle shape felt really natural in our hand, and it is non-slip so even when our hands were wet, it felt secure.
One thing we didn’t love about this knife, but weren’t surprised by it, considering the price, is that the blade is stamped instead of forged. It is a full tang blade which adds some extra strength, but we do prefer a forged blade.
You will find that while this knife can be honed a few times, this is really a disposable option, and you can feel OK about tossing it and buying new, when the blade gets dull.
6. Best Set - Victorinox 4-Piece Set of Swiss Classic Paring Knives
4 multi-purpose knives
Very bright fun colors
Great ergonomically designed handles
Has a lifetime warranty
Handles are thinner
Not as quality steel
- Material: Stainless steel & plastic
- Size: 25 Inch
- Dimensions: 7 x 5.5 x 0.62 inches
- Weight: 6 ounces
The Victorinox Swiss Classic 4-piece set is our pick for the best set. These four knives come with bright colored handles to add a splash of fun to your kitchen.
The Victorinox knives are quite a nice product for the price. The set of four is just under $35. At less than $10 per knife, you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of these knives. Right out of the box, these knives are sharp and ready to use. They make quick work of peeling an apple, and also sliced through garlic and other veggies with ease.
These knives have a nice, non-slip handle so you can easily maintain control of your knife. The finger guard is also nice for protecting against accidental cuts.
If you are one of those chefs that see paring knives as a disposable kitchen tool, this set gives you four knives for the price of one of the higher end options. Victorinox does stand behind the quality of their product, with a lifetime warranty against material and workmanship defects.
7. Best High–End - Miyabi Kaizen Paring Knife
Easy to handle authentic thin Japanese blade
Very intricate traditional design
Great heft and well balanced
Has exceptional sharpness and durability
- Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel & Plastic
- Size: 5 Inch
- Dimensions: 12 x 1 x 3 inches
- Weight: 4 ounces
To round out our list, we give you our pick for the best high end paring knife. This tiny but exceptional option from Miyabi Kaizen is everything you expect from a high quality Japanese steel blade. This knife was nearly perfect when it came to peeling fruits, and made quick work of trimming beans.
This full tang, forged Damascus steel blade is exceptionally sharp right from the box. We like that it held its sharpness through many uses, and could be honed and sharpened for extra life.
The Miyabi Kaizen paring knife works great but also looks great. Though the handle is plastic, it does have a nice wood-grain finish which adds a bit of class and style to the knife.
We didn’t love the price tag on this knife, but understanding that some chefs like a higher end, higher quality blade, this knife is well worth the money that you’ll spend.
When it comes to a great paring knife, our pick is the JA Henckels Pro “S” Paring Knife. It is reasonably priced, and performed well straight out of the packaging. It held its sharp well, and felt nice in our hand. If you want a good combination of performance and price, this is the pick for you.
A paring knife is the right hand man to the chef’s knife. It does the tiny, delicate tasks that you just wouldn’t consider your chef’s knife for. For any kitchen it’s a handy tool, that can be disposable or part of a set of quality knives.
How to Choose the Best Paring Knife
When it comes to selecting a great paring knife, there are some buying features that you’ll want to consider. Even if you are of the mindset that a paring knife is disposable, and a cheap option is fine, you’ll want to take a moment to make sure that you’re aren’t buying a tool that won’t last you one meal.
That’s where our buying guide comes in. We’ve compiled a list of the buying features that we think are the most useful to consider when shopping for a paring knife. This list is great for selecting a high quality paring knife or an inexpensive option that will work well for a reasonable amount of time.
When it comes to selecting the materials of your paring knife, you’ll want to consider what the blade and the handle are made from. To be honest however, you won’t find as much diversity in blade material from brand to brand, it’s in the handle where you’ll need to make some decisions.
Most paring knives are made from stainless steel or carbon steel. We like Japanese and German steel for knives, even inexpensive knives, because in a pinch, they can be honed for just a bit of added life. The quality of the blade material that you select, is directly reflective of the price of the knife. Spend more, get a better quality blade. Spend less, well… don’t expect it to last for years and years.
When it comes to handle material, we found that there is some variety, and what you select is a matter of preference, and how hard you want to work, to care for your knife. We like plastic or polycarbonate handles. They are durable, easy to care for and feel lighter and more comfortable in our hands.
If you want to spend some cash, we did find some paring knives with wood handles. They take a bit of effort to care for, and weren’t as durable as other options. However, they are attractive, and if you want to use your paring knife on your cheese board when entertaining, wood might be a nice option.
You’ll not find a ton of variety in blade size with paring knives, however, you should consider which size is most comfortable for your particular needs.
In general you’ll find that most paring knives have a 3-inch of 4-inch blade. The three inch blade is great for close up work like peeling veggies, or removing the skin from shallots or garlic. The 4-inch blade option is great for filleting, hulling berries, and slicing medium to larger fruits or veggies like cutting mangoes or jackfruits.
When it comes down to it though, the size you select is really about how comfortable the knife feels in your hand. Some chef’s just prefer a shorter blade to their paring knife. For them, it is easier to handle the knife and complete other tasks at the same time, with a shorter blade. Other chef’s swear that a longer blade is more versatile.
You will find some variability in the weight of paring knives. Most of this difference comes from the materials that the knife is made from. If you are selecting a knife made from a higher quality steel, you’ll find that it feels heavier than a knife made from a lower quality metal.
Likewise, you’ll need to consider the handle material carefully if you want a lighter weight knife. Plastic or polycarbonate are great options for keeping the weight of your paring knife minimal, but also they are great for comfort and durability.
Ease of cleaning
We love a knife that can go in the dishwasher. Hands down, if we can find a high quality knife, with the words, “dishwasher safe,” on the box, we’re a fan.
Many mid to low price paring knives are just fine to be tossed in the dishwasher. This is a great feature, and really makes cleaning up after preparing a meal or dessert a breeze. However, using the dishwasher also tends to dull the knife quicker. If you are looking for a knife that will last longer than other options, select a higher quality steel, and spend the time to hand wash, to save your blades and your pocketbook.
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