The Best Paring Knives to Buy in 2021

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Most professionals, myself included, will argue that you simply actually solely want three knives to full most kitchen duties: a chef’s knife, serrated knife, and paring knife. (Of course want and need are two various things!) But you’re right here, studying this put up, so you recognize I’m going to give attention to that final knife for now: the tiny-yet-mighty paring knife. 

Paring knives are nice for prep duties, like slicing fruit, cheese, shallots, and extra. And due to their small, skinny blades, they’re exact, making them preferrred for deveining shrimp, coring tomatoes, peeling apples, and hulling strawberries. When you need accuracy and dexterity, a paring knife is the suitable selection for the job. 

Not all paring knives are the identical, although. Some are greater than others. Some have giant handles or barely-there grips. And some are far too uninteresting, even proper out of the field. Which is why I rounded up dozens of paring knives from a few of the high manufacturers on the market and put them to the check. I evaluated how sharp the knives have been, how maneuverable they have been, and the way comfy they have been to maintain. Here’s what I came upon. 

I’m the Tools Editor at Kitchn and a professional kitchen equipment tester. I beforehand labored at America’s Test Kitchen and my critiques on subjects like stand mixers, induction burners, toaster ovens, and multicookers have been printed in Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and on the America’s Test Kitchen web site. My work has additionally been featured on America’s Test Kitchen’s and Cook’s Country’s tv packages. I even have a slight obsession with kitchen knives.

How Sharp & Maneuverable Is It?

For kitchen duties that require precision, like mincing shallots, deveining shrimp, and peeling fruit, you need a knife that’s sharp and stays that manner. To gauge how initially sharp the knives have been, I held a bit of copy paper tightly in one hand and tried to slice by it with every knife (getting a brand new piece of paper every time, in fact). A pointy knife ought to simply glide by the paper. I repeated this check on the finish of testing, too, to see which knives retained their edge. 

The greatest paring knives are razor-sharp and keep that manner. They are ready to not solely cleanly slice paper, but in addition tomatoes with out squishing the fruit. They also needs to find a way to peel apples, and peel and section oranges. They even have sharp, pointed suggestions that simply hull strawberries. 

An amazing paring knife has to be nimble, too, to match the small duties their stature excels at. The size of the blade has loads to do with this. I discover knives which have 3.25- to 3.50-inch blades to be the best size. Anything shorter and it’s too small to simply slice by a complete tomato; something bigger and it’s too troublesome to peel fruit or hull strawberries. 

There are another elements that additionally affect dexterity: the lightness of the knife, flexibility of the blade, and the thickness and width of the blade. As far as I’m involved, the lighter the paring knife, the higher and simpler it’s to use. A blade that’s barely versatile can also be useful, because it actually hugs the curve of fruit and is in a position to match into tighter, exact areas. A thick knife blade provides weight and makes the knife really feel unwieldy in hand. And a wider knife blade is simply too giant for delicate duties, like hulling strawberries or peeling apples. 

How Comfortable Is the Handle? 

Among all the paring knives I attempted, there have been loads of completely different deal with kinds. Some have large, thick handles, whereas others have squared corners or super-slim handles. Of these, I just like the latter essentially the most, as they really feel essentially the most comfy in hand. Thicker and/or longer handles make the knife really feel much less dexterous and add weight. However, that is additionally a matter of non-public desire — as some individuals (like my 6’8” husband) dislike the texture of a featherlight paring knife in hand, and would reasonably have one thing a bit bulkier to maintain onto.

What We Look for in a Paring Knife

I judged all the paring knives on the next standards, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being the very best).

Best Overall: Victorinox Straight Edge Paring Knife

This knife is cheap, tremendous sharp, and, greenback for greenback, the greatest paring knife you should purchase. It has a skinny, nimble blade that simply slices by tomatoes and peels apples and peels and segments oranges. It additionally has an agile, pointed tip that simply hulls strawberries. Its skinny, pretty lengthy plastic deal with feels comfy in fingers of all sizes and is straightforward to choke up on and securely grip. It’s ergonomic and feels prefer it was molded simply to your hand. Is it fancy? No. But it really works extremely effectively.  

Who it’s greatest for: Anyone in want of a nimble, cheap paring knife. 
Good to know: This knife is also available in enjoyable coloured handles, like pink, orange, inexperienced, and yellow — all of that are lower than $9. 

Best for Small Hands: Global Classic Paring Knife

Like virtually all Global knives, this paring knife has a dimpled deal with. This model could be polarizing — and I discover individuals both actually like or actually don’t prefer it. Personally, I find it irresistible. While the knife is heavier than the Victorinox, the deal with is tremendous grippy and has an inlet that’s comfy to your fingers to relaxation in. It’s additionally extremely sharp and works effectively for slicing, peeling, and hulling. If you’re a fan of Global knives, you received’t be disillusioned by this man.

Who it’s greatest for: Those who’re followers of Global knives or would really like to check out a deal with that’s completely different from the norm.
Good to know: This knife is also available in a 3-inch measurement.

I additionally need to name out this knife, which is completely completely different in contrast to the Global choice above, however continues to be extremely comfy to maintain. It has a skinny, rounded deal with that’s comfortable and grippy. It’s light-weight, sharp, and nimble and it’s simple to slice and peel with. Its tip curves barely upwards, which suggests it takes extra finesse to hull strawberries and that the blade feels a bit brief for slicing tomatoes. However, it’s nonetheless an extremely nimble, unbelievable paring knife. 

Who it’s greatest for: If you’d like a light-weight paring knife with a rounded, comfy deal with.
Good to know: This knife’s deal with is available in some cool colours, like Lilac Grey and Blue Grey. If you need a set of knives with matching handles, Material additionally makes a serrated knife and chef’s knife.

Best Heavier Option: Misen Paring Knife

For those that would favor a heavier, extra substantial-feeling paring knife, this is a superb selection. Its blade is wider and its deal with bulkier, which makes it tougher to maneuver throughout extra dexterous duties, like hulling strawberries. However, you could effectively like a knife with slightly heft. And that being stated, it’s nonetheless super-sharp, pretty light-weight, and nimble. And whereas it’s not practically as low-cost because the Victorinox, it’s moderately priced at $30. I additionally actually just like the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro 3-Inch Paring Knife, which has a shorter and barely wider blade, however is in any other case comparable to the Misen in phrases of design. 

Who it’s greatest for: If you’d desire a knife with some heft over one which’s featherlight. 
Good to know: This knife is obtainable as a part of a knife set

Best for Big Hands: Shun Classic Paring Knife

If you may have giant fingers and discover shorter paring knives too, ahem, brief (or simply desire a much bigger knife) a barely longer paring knife might be an excellent match. This mannequin by Shun has a rounded, comfy deal with that feels comfy in hand and grippy. Its blade is wider, however nonetheless nimble, and it has a pointy, pointed tip that’s nice for hulling strawberries. Because it’s longer, it feels much less maneuverable at instances. However, its barely bigger measurement means it simply slices by entire tomatoes. This knife is also available in a 3 1/2-inch blade, which is worth it to try, too.

Who it’s greatest for: If you’d desire an extended paring knife as an alternative of, or in addition to, a shorter one.
Good to know: This knife is certainly a splurge price-wise, however I’ve had a Shun paring knife for about 7 years and am extremely pleased with its high quality. (And it’s my husband’s go-to!)

Kitchn’s Best List Promise

We will do our homework, going wildly in depth with our testing. But we’ll condense the information into simple, breezy summaries, as a way to see what we picked and why, after which transfer on together with your life. Because we all know you’re busy!

Do you may have a query about paring knives? Leave it in the feedback!

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Lifestyle Editor, Tools

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the Tools Editor at The Kitchn. An expert kitchen gear tester, she’s labored for America’s Test Kitchen, ConsumingWell, and Food52. Her aim: to discover the very best gear to your kitchen so you do not waste time or cash on the rest. She lives in Boston, MA together with her two canine.

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