The knife is without a doubt one of the most important tools in the kitchen.
And the chef’s variant – named precisely as such because it is used by professionals around the world – is the ultimate workhorse.
Since it comes in many sizes – from 6 to 14 inches – it is quite understandable that this is being asked by new home cooks.
So … what’s the right length for you?
Perform the forearm test
The easiest way to know what length of chef’s knife to get is to do the forearm test. This is done simply by measuring your forearm – from the edge of your elbow to the heel of your wrist – and matching it up with a blade of the same length.
According to blacksmiths and kitchen profiles, it is necessary to adjust the length of the blade to your size to prevent you from straining too much while making your plates.
This is a good rule of thumb if you are going to a store to choose from as you can just grab several types of chefs and place them close to your forearm for comparison.
If you shop online, just measure your arm using a ruler and order it with the nearest length.
Check out this size guide
This would be a good guide if you are buying a knife as a gift for a family or friend.
If you know how tall (or short) they are, you can still get them a piece that fits them well.
• 5 feet and 4 inches or shorter = 6 inches
• 5 feet and 5 inches to 6 feet = 8 inches
• 6 feet and 1 inch and taller = 10 inches
Other factors to consider
Let’s get one thing straight: length is important, yes.
But this is not the only feature to consider when choosing a boss type in general.
1. Heel size
This is the part of the blade that does not touch or is not connected to the handle.
It is important to check this too because this is essentially the distance your fingers are from the cutting board.
If the heel is too short, your bones are likely to hit the board when you cut.
This is the thicker part of the blade that connects the blade and the handle.
The support increases the weight of the knife and helps the user with maneuverability.
Larger, longer cook blades often have heavier supports. These are best suited for larger individuals.
This feature is also a sign of good quality.
Thick, solid bolts are an indicator of full pliers, meaning the blade does not just fall off the handle like cheap marks.
3. total weight
The length of the knife, the distance of the heel and the thickness of the bolster all point to two important factors that you need to consider when going on a knife hunt: weight and balance.
People who like heavy knives will often go for longer wings, wider heels and thicker supports. More often than not, these are completely counterfeit variants.
Even with the new technology that blacksmiths use today, including stamping and cold pressing, larger knives are heavier and heavier than smaller ones.
To be honest, weight is more subjective. Some like it heavy, others want it light.
This is why, after assessing the weight of the piece in your hand, it is important to check the balance next.
One way to do this is to place the lifting knife an inch above the board with your index finger on the boulder.
A well-balanced blade will not swing. If it tilts towards the sharp point, the blade is too heavy. If it tilts towards the other end, the handle is too heavy.
Whether it’s a stamped or a fully forged piece, make sure your boss’s knife is well balanced.
Brands to watch out for
Some companies offer chef’s knives in different lengths. To be honest, they are the ones who care about their users as they understand the need for variety.
Here are some brands that you can trust when it comes to this kitchen-must-have.
• Wusthof Classic – 6, 8, 10 and 12
Zwilling JA Henckels Five Star – 6, 8, 10 and 12
• Shun Premier – 6, 8 and 10
Below are cheaper options – each piece costs just under $ 50.
• Victorinox Fibrox – 6, 8 and 10
• Mercer Culinary – 6, 8, 10 and 12
• YOUR COOKERS – 6 and 8
At the end of the day, it’s all about preference
The guide above helps a lot, especially when you are a confessed beginner in the kitchen.
But the feeling of the knife in your hand is still the most important thing to be aware of.
The best suggestion professionals will give is to go to the store and try the chef’s knives of different lengths.
Aside from matching it with your forearm, try using it.
Good stores allow you to cut and slice different foods so you can choose your purchase well.