Judith is a fairy in the world of writing: she manages to turn any topic (far not only a kitchen-related) into an entertaining text that is so easy and educating to read. Fond of gardening, reading, and cooking, of course.
Emily has over 10 years of professional experience using, testing and comparing kitchen appliances. Her knowledge helps to easily and naturally solve everyday problems. She is also the owner of the lifestyle blog emilyreviews.com
Last updated: August 22, 2021
How do you go about choosing the best paring knife? And what is a paring knife, anyway? Why do you need one of those? To be frank, our editors are simply amazed that you have managed to get around the kitchen without a paring knife in your arsenal. Or perhaps you already have a paring knife but are looking to purchase another one that offers you much better quality and value. Whatever your case may be, we are here to help you pick the best paring knife to suit your needs, so you can handle all your small fruit and vegetable kitchen tasks with aplomb.
We’ve selected the nine best paring knives and reviewed them in detail for you. But if you don’t have time to read the whole article, it’s a safe bet to go with our Editor’s Choice, the Hammer Stahl Paring Knife. Its combination of quality, usability, durability, comfort, and beauty at a reasonable price makes it our most highly recommended knife.
In our reviews, we considered a number of the most important features of paring knives, such as the blade length, the blade material, the handle material, and the weight of the knives. The blade length is important because a knife with a blade that is too long will be unwieldy and potentially dangerous for those small, precision kitchen tasks, and a blade that is too short may be a bit limited in its applications. We have found that 3.5 inches are pretty much the perfect length for a paring knife, although we did pick a few knives that are shorter or longer. The blade material speaks to its quality, sharpness, hardness, edge retention, and durability. The handle needs to be ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to handle, or else the knife will not be pleasant to use for long periods of time. And the knife must also be lightweight to keep it comfortable and maneuverable. We go through each of these features and more in the article, including a table for easy reference, in-depth reviews of each knife, and a buying guide at the end.
Our top pick, this paring knife from Hammer Stahl, boasts the highest quality materials, exceptional construction, and supreme balance, comfort, and usability, all for a fairly reasonable price. It takes the legendary German knife making tradition and makes it decently affordable. For these reasons, this model from Hammer Stahl receives our Editor’s Choice award for the best paring knife.
One of the most important factors when it comes to knives is, of course, the quality of the steel used. And Hammer Stahl is no slouch in this category, manufacturing its paring knife from German X50CrMoV15 high carbon stainless steel, a variety of the highest quality. As with all premium, high-quality knives, these paring knives are forged by hand and tempered to a 55 to 57 Rockwell hardness. It boasts a 20-degree cutting angle as well as a quad tang design (exposing the steel of the handle on all four sides), which offers superior balance and exceptional comfort.
The knife blade is 3.5 inches in length, making it the perfect length for all your paring needs and contributing to its exceptional handling and maneuverability, and the handle is made from Pakkawood for durability and beauty. This knife comes with a lifetime warranty.
Wusthof is a name synonymous with German quality and is perhaps one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to premium knives. This paring knife from Wusthof, although expensive, is worth every penny in our view, possessing all the features, exceptional construction, quality, and usability you would expect from a company of this caliber. This is why the Wusthof Paring Knife is our Premium Pick.
Wusthof has been producing cutlery of the highest quality for over 200 years and was founded in Solingen, Germany, a town that has long been called “the City of Blades.” True to form, this Wusthof paring knife is precision forged in Solingen from premium German high carbon stainless steel, tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 58, and sharpened with Precision Edge Technology which renders the blade 20% sharper and gives it two times the edge retention.
The 3.5-inch length of this carbon steel paring knife is simply perfect for all your precision kitchen tasks, and the full tang is riveted in three places to the durable and comfortable polyoxymethylene handle to give it a traditional feel. The blade also boasts a full bolster and a finger guard for maximum comfort and safety.
What are its best features?
Made from premium German high carbon stainless steel
This Japanese paring knife from TUO, a maker of Japanese knives in the traditional manner, is a beauteous sight indeed. It is gorgeous, easy to handle, the perfect length, high quality, and supremely comfortable. What’s not to like?
The 3.5-inch blade is forged with AUS-10 Japanese super steel as its base, and then 44 layers of steel are added to the sides of the AUS-10 steel in order to generate the beautiful and eye-catching Damascus patterns on the blade, its most noticeable feature. It is tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 62. The knife is sharpened using the ancient, traditional three-step Honbazuke method, a method for honing originating from traditional Japanese knife making, and it results in an 8 to 12-degree cutting edge, which is maximally sharp and retains its edge well no matter what the skill level of the knife wielder is.
The knife possesses a full tang G10 military-grade high-density handle for the greatest amount of durability, and the ergonomic design of the handle contributes to the premium look of the knife, as well as its comfort and excellent handling.
Why is it special?
Forged from 45 layers of AUS-10 Japanese super steel
This paring knife from PAUDIN looks rather simple, but its simplicity does not detract at all from the fact that it is elegant, functional, and beautiful.
This knife has a blade length of 3.5 inches, which, as we discussed before, is basically the perfect length for a paring knife, able to fulfill all of your small fruit and vegetable needs. The blade itself is made from high quality German 5Cr15MoV stainless steel, which has a Rockwell hardness of 56 and is sharpened to edge thickness of .25 mm. The knife edge stays sharp for quite a long time (as long as a year) and can be sharpened like any other kitchen knife, with a sharpening rod, knife sharpener, or sharpening stone. The lovely wave patterning on the side of the blade is not real Damascus but is instead laser etched for your viewing satisfaction.
The knife possesses a full tang for maximum durability, and the handle is made of Pakkawood and possesses a very comfortable, ergonomic shape to make handling and cutting as effortless as possible. The combination of the wave patterns on the steel, and the elegant handle give this knife a simple yet undeniable beauty while at the same time offering excellent control, stability, and ease of cutting.
This paring knife from Linoroso, with its fancy, modern design and premium quality, looks much more expensive than it actually is. Not only is it already an amazing knife for the price, but it even comes with a beautiful oak knife tray to protect it and remove the headache that comes with storing knives purchased by themselves! With this, an already excellent and high-quality knife makes itself even more desirable, making this model from Linoroso our pick for a Best Value paring knife.
The knife is expertly forged from German ThyssenKrupp 1.4116 high carbon stainless steel and tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 58. Each knife is sharpened using an automatic grinding machine, which is able to achieve an angle of 11 to 12 degrees to provide superb sharpness and lasting edge retention.
This knife has a 4.5-inch blade, which makes it the longest on the list but is still quite usable for most of your paring knife needs, as it will still handle all but the smallest fruits and vegetables. The full tang integrated forged handle is made with an anti-slip ABS material. The handle design is sleek, modern-looking, and ergonomic, designed to offer maximum comfort, control, and agility. Also, the included oak knife tray keeps the knife stored safely and protects its edge, making this knife an even better deal than it already is.
Why are we impressed?
Affordable and high quality
Forged from German ThyssenKrupp high carbon stainless steel
Modern, sleek, elegant, anti-slip full tang ABS handle
What negatives must you be aware of?
4.5-inch length may be a bit too much for some paring knife uses
This paring knife from Koto Satori, a knife manufacturer from Japan, is a gorgeous, ergonomic, and highly functional knife. To sweeten the deal, it also includes a saya knife sheath made out of acacia wood that is custom-fitted to your particular paring knife blade, ensuring that your knife will remain well protected (and will be safer for you and the members of your household) and also protecting the edge of the blade and keeping it sharp for much longer instead of banging around in the drawer with all the other cutlery).
The blade is of a perfect 3.5-inch length to maximize your maneuverability and precision in the kitchen, and it is forged from certified Japanese VG-10 super steel. This VG-10 Japanese steel makes it possible to create the beautiful clean lines of the Damascus silk pattern, which is the most difficult Damascus pattern to achieve and enhances the overall beauty of the knife. It possesses a hardness of 58 to 62 and is sharpened to an 8 to 12-degree cutting angle.
This Japanese paring knife includes a military-grade G10 handle that will not crack or shrink and is designed ergonomically with a subtle curve to provide greater stability.
This paring knife from DALSTRONG is, like basically every other knife on this list, made from premium materials and is an excellent combination of durability, comfort, quality, and outstanding craftsmanship. And it’s definitely easy on the eyes as well.
This paring knife has a blade precision-forged from single piece high carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel, which is engineered and tempered precisely to a Rockwell hardness of 56 or more. The edge is hand polished to 14 – 16 degrees per cutting edge side. The knife also comes with a protective Dalstrong PerfectFit sheath to protect that edge and keep it sharp for as long a period of time as possible.
The knife boasts a full tang and is one of the few knives on the list to offer a full bolster and a finger guard as well, due to the height of the blade, which provides a welcome knuckle clearance and makes cutting with this knife a safer task. The handle itself is ergonomically shaped, comfortable to wield, durable, and beautiful thanks to its Pakkawood material. The full tang is riveted in three places for maximum stability. The steel end of the handle not only gives it optimal balance but enhances the overall beauty of the knife as well.
We come to our only ceramic entry on this list, the Kyocera Ceramic paring knife. But don’t count this one out; it may be the perfect knife for your needs. Ceramic has distinct, such as the fact that it makes knives supremely lightweight and it retains its edge and sharpness for a longer period of time than steel, but its disadvantage is that when it does need sharpening, you will usually need to purchase a specialized sharpener or send it back to the company to be professionally sharpened. Also, if you are not careful, ceramic can shatter or crack.
As for this particular ceramic paring knife, it has an amazingly sharp 3-inch blade made of Zirconia Z206, a proprietary ceramic developed by Kyocera. You will be hard-pressed to find a paring knife that is lighter or sharper than this one. This blade will also never rust due to its material. It will never be affected by acids from certain foods.
The fact that it is 3 inches long makes it the shortest entry on our list, but it is still suitable for almost all of your paring knife needs since its length and lightweight construction makes it exceedingly maneuverable. It will also be easier to use than a lot of steel knives since the extreme sharpness will make cutting into food practically effortless.
This paring knife from Kuhn Rikon is a fun and colorful addition to your arsenal of kitchen cutlery. The most noticeable thing about this knife is the fact that the entire knife is one color, including the blade. The blade itself is coated in a non-stick covering that provides a better release from foods—so your foods will not stick to the knife as you are cutting. Unfortunately, we all know that non-stick coating, if not cared for properly, may wear off eventually (and potentially end up in your food). If this happens, it is probably best to dispose of the knife, which won’t be too big of a deal since it is fairly inexpensive.
The blade itself is made of Japanese stainless steel, and each knife comes with a safety sheath to protect that edge and the non-stick coating. This makes the knife an easy choice in terms of cutlery to bring with you while camping or cooking outdoors. And the bright colors will mean that your knife is easy to find and will add a pop of color to your kitchen.
What stands out?
Non-stick coating on the blade provides better food release
A colorful addition to any kitchen
What cons did we manage to find?
Colors may not be to your taste
The non-stick coating may wear off eventually
Things to Consider
The products reviewed above represent the top choices in paring knives available on the market today, selected painstakingly by our editors. The following buyer’s guide includes a little about paring knives and the elements we consider most important when buying a paring knife, the things you should look for and consider when purchasing a paring knife.
Why do you need a paring knife?
A paring knife is an essential tool in the kitchen for a chef of any level. In fact, its supreme versatility and the ease with which you can handle a good paring knife make it a go-to knife for a wide variety of kitchen tasks. There are many tasks which a standard 8-inch chef’s knife simply cannot handle with accuracy and safety; indeed, trying to use a chef’s knife for those tasks would end up being awkward at best.
When it comes to tasks like chopping garlic, deveining shrimp, hulling strawberries, or peeling apples, you will definitely want to use a paring knife. The tasks in the kitchen that require more detail and your focused attention will necessitate the pinpoint accuracy that a paring knife can offer you. A paring knife is also perfect for those tasks for which you decide not to use a cutting board, that is when you hold the item right in the palm of your hand to do your knife work.
Features to consider before you buy a paring knife
The key features to look for when buying a paring knife are the blade length, the blade material, the handle material, and the weight. We go over each of these in detail below.
The blade length is critical because a knife with a blade that is too long will be unwieldy and potentially dangerous for those small, precision kitchen tasks, and a blade that is too short may be a bit limited in its applications. We have found that 3.5 inches are pretty much the perfect length for a paring knife (like our Editor’s Choice, the Hammer Stahl Paring Knife, or our Premium Pick, the Wusthof Paring Knife), although we did pick a few knives that are shorter or longer.
We wouldn’t recommend a paring knife with a length of fewer than 3 inches, and we also would not recommend a paring knife with a length of 5 inches or more (the shortest blade we recommended is the 3-inch Kyocera Ceramic Paring Knife, which is ceramic and thus has its own set of unique virtues, and the longest blade we recommended is the Linoroso Paring Knife, which is 4.5 inches but is just too awesome of a deal in terms of price, durability, ergonomics, and quality to pass up). A 5-inch knife is getting into utility knife territory, which is not covered within the scope of this article. A paring knife with a blade length of 5 inches or more may severely hinder the handling, maneuverability, and balance of the knife and may make those precision kitchen tasks significantly more difficult.
When it comes to the material of the blade, you want to look for a knife made out of steel of the highest quality (unless you go for a ceramic knife, like the Kyocera Ceramic Paring Knife mentioned above).
Ceramic has its own advantages, such as the fact that it retains its edge and sharpness for a longer period of time than steel, but its disadvantage is that when it does need sharpening, you will usually need to send it back to the company to be sharpened or purchase a specialized sharpener. Also, if you are not careful, ceramic can crack or shatter.
If you want to go the traditional route of a steel knife, German high carbon steel is usually the best, although Japanese steel may not be far behind. Look for a knife with a Rockwell hardness of at least 55; this will allow it to retain its edge longer. Forged blades are almost always higher quality than stamped blades.
The handle needs to be ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to handle because otherwise, the knife will not be good to use for long periods of time. That is why the knife handle material is a key item to consider.
The knife handle also contributes significantly to the overall aesthetic appeal of the knife, which may not be the most important factor when it comes to knife buying, but it is something to consider since you will likely be using the knife on a daily basis.
A resin or high-density plastic material (like Pakkawood, polyoxymethylene, or ABS) will make your knife durable while keeping it lightweight, balanced, and easy to handle. And make sure the handle shape is ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to grip. Consider your own needs. For instance, if you prefer to use a pinch grip to hold your paring knife, make sure you get one with a stable pinching point.
The paring knife must also be as lightweight as possible (while still being made of high quality, durable materials) to keep it comfortable and maneuverable.
A knife that is on the heavier side will become difficult and uncomfortable to hold after a while.
Since you will be using your paring knife quite often for tasks that require a high degree of precision, making sure that your knife is lightweight will allow you to continue performing those precision tasks for as long as your need to without causing any muscle strain or fatigue.
The champions of the weight competition are the Kyocera Ceramic Paring Knife (weighing in at a mere 1.44 ounces) and our Premium Pick, the Wusthof Paring Knife (weighing in at 1.6 ounces). None of the other knives come close to touching these two in terms of being lightweight.
In order to choose the best paring knife, consider the following: the blade length, the blade material, the handle material, and the weight. You want a knife that is durable, high-quality, sharp, and long-lasting, but you don’t want a knife that is heavy or uncomfortable to handle in any way. Look for a lightweight yet balanced forged blade made of high-quality steel that offers a full tang and a comfortable, ergonomic handle made of durable material. A length of 3.5 inches is ideal, but a slightly shorter or longer blade can also work.
A paring knife can be used in the kitchen to do any kitchen tasks or knife work that require a high degree of focus, precision, and accuracy. Handling tasks such as slicing garlic, deveining shrimp, hulling strawberries, peeling apples, or dealing with smaller fruits and vegetables, in general, will almost certainly require the use of a paring knife rather than a chef’s knife or any other type of kitchen cutlery. You can also use your paring knife to slice through any type of hard cheese, to remove the tough ends of Brussel sprouts and other such vegetables, and to release a baked good from the pan.
In most cases, a paring knife can be sharpened like any other kitchen knife, using a sharpening rod, a sharpening stone, or a knife sharpener. This is the case for pretty much all knives made of stainless steel. However, a knife with a blade made from a different material, such as ceramic, may require a different sharpening procedure, such as purchasing a specialized ceramic knife sharpener from the manufacturer. You can also just send the knife back to the manufacturer to be sharpened (this is usually the case for knives made out of steel as well).
When it comes to the best paring knife, we can easily recommend our Editor’s choice, the Hammer Stahl Paring Knife, which is the overall best combination of price, quality, ergonomics, design, durability, comfort, and aesthetics. Of course, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can go with our Premium Pick for the best paring knife, the Wusthof Paring Knife. With this choice, you are getting the best steel Germany has to offer. And for the Best Value hands down, you can go with the Linoroso Paring Knife, which offers a knife of supremely high quality at a stunning price and throws in an oak tray knife holder to boot. We hope this guide has been helpful in allowing you to choose the best paring knife for your needs. Happy chopping!