A cleaver is an essential tool that you will find not just in professional chefs’ kitchens but also in almost any kitchens. To choose the best meat cleaver, you must know all about how a cleaver works and what all benefits it has. Well, luckily for you, I have listed here all the information you will need to choose the best cleaver knife. Yes, this is surely going to a long read, but at the end of this article, I’m sure that you will be an expert on choosing the best kitchen cleaver.
Best Meat Cleaver Reviews
Since there are many types of cleavers available in the market, you might have difficulty choosing the right one for you. But once you have understood how a cleaver works, what type of cleaver is best, and which one will suit your needs perfectly, then choosing a meat cleaver will be a piece of cake.
When looking for a good cleaver knife or the best kitchen cleaver, understand that even though cleavers can be used to cut anything from vegetables to meat. The primary purpose of a meat cleaver always remains to cut through large pieces of meat easily, hence you should keep that in mind. However, here is my best meat cleaver review with the top 10 items that will help you to select the best one.
01. Dalstrong 7″ Cleaver Knife – Best Overall
- Weight 2.2 pounds
- 7-inch cleaver blade
- Product dimension 46 x 0.1 x 3.27 inches
- Hand sharpened edge with 14-16° per side
Made with the latest technology and excellent craftsmanship, this 7-inch Dalstrong Cleaver knife is my favorite model for various reasons. There is basically nothing this cleaver can’t cut through as it is made from premium grade high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel and chromium. The steel helps to make the knife razor-sharp, while the chromium gives protection from stains. This makes chopping a very easy task with this cleaver.
From cutting thick and heavy pieces of meat to slicing it ultra-thin, this cleaver can do it all for you. And speaking of ergonomic designs that appeal to users, this knife is the epitome of comfort. It has a polymer handle and a grip that is triple riveted, which allows for smooth holding and chopping without straining your hands.
You can also sharpen the knife easily, when it starts to show signs of wear. The knife’s edges have a blade angle of 14 degrees to 16 degrees, which allows for precision during cutting. This is also the reason why professional chefs around the world swear by this product.
02. Henckels 6″ Meat Cleaver – Best Kitchen Cleaver
- Product dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 15.2 inches
- Weight 14.4 ounces
- 6″ blade
With a fine-edge blade and extra lasting sharpness, this Henckels 6″ meat cleaver is surely one of the best meat cleavers. The blades are extra sharp, making it very easy to cut, chop or dice any kind of meat to thin slices or thick pieces, depending on how you want them. You can also chop through the small bone pieces effortlessly to prepare the best-minced meat you’ve ever had.
Even though it is smaller than other standard sized blades, which come at 7″, this 6″ blade still functions quite well, being sturdy and all. From butchering any type of poultry, dicing down even the largest pieces of meat is easy. Once you’ve finished using the blade, you can hang it with the hole’s help inside the blade.
This is a very high-quality meat cleaver is made from premium German stainless steel. It has a fully forged construction, which makes it not only durable but comfortable to use also. Its overall comfortability and price range will make happy any chef and cook.
03. Global 6 ½” Cleaver – Best Japanese Meat Cleaver
- Dimensions: 0. 0 in x 11. 75 in x 0. 0 in
- Weight 1 pound
- Hand sharpened edge at 15-degree angle
With Japanese made technology, this 6 ½ “meat cleaver from Global is definitely on the best. It has a square-shaped blade, making it easier to butcher any type of meat, including cutting through bones. From cutting large pieces of meat and bone to slicing and dicing it up real nice, this cleaver knife is preferred and recommended by many, including top chefs worldwide.
The knife is quite sharp yet soft enough to be sharpened with a whetstone. And the secret behind this quality is that the blades are made with high-grade Cromova 18 stainless steel; with a mixture of molybdenum, chromium, and other elements.
The chromium helps the blade to make it extra sharp and thereby last longer. The blades are hand sharpened and have a 15 degrees blade angle, making it just perfect enough to use smoothly without tiring your hands.
04. Wusthof 6″ Classic Cleaver – Best for Chefs
- Dimensions 11 x 4 x 1 inches
- Weight 1 pound and 4 ounces
- 6″-long blade
- 5 1/4″-long handle
Forged from only a single piece of sturdy high-carbon steel, this cleaver knife is as sharp and sturdy as it comes. The carbon steel is also laser tested for precision and even cutting. Being a household name for culinary products for more than a decade. It’s no wonder that this cleaver knife by WUSTHOF is also a consumer favorite, from normal people to professional chefs and culinary artists.
The blade comes with a precision edge technology and has a 20 percent sharper cutting edge. It also has a full tang that provides extra durability to the product and comes in a triple-riveted form. This blade also has twice the edge retention for the best cutting experience.
With a 14-degree blade angle, you can cut even finer pieces and large chunks of meat with bones quite effortlessly. The polypropylene handle of the blade also provides a comfortable grip. It is one of the best professional quality kitchen cleavers.
05. TUO Chopping Knife – Best Chinese Cleaver
- Rockwell hardness: 56±2
- Product dimension 8 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
- Weight 1.54 pounds
- Blade size 7 inch
Chosen as one of the best kitchen knives globally, this cleaver knife has many attractive features that make it so special. It is a full tang Chinese meat cleaver made with high carbon German stainless steel. The knife’s edges are sharpened by hand by skilled craftsmen such as knife smiths, so this ensures that you can easily use the blades without causing yourself any fatigue.
Unlike wooden handles, this handle is made from pakkawood and has quite an ergonomic design. Pakkawood being dense and waterproof gives an easier handle and grip to the product. There is basically nothing that this blade won’t be able to chop through. Each side of the blade is honed at 18 degrees, and the knives have been sharpened using the 3-step Honbazuke method.
06. Juvale Store 8″ Chopping Knife – Best For Balance
- Dimensions 14 x 4.5 x 1 inches
- Weight 2.1 pounds
- 8″ blade
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty meat cleaver, then this is the one for you. It has a relatively thick spine, one of the main characteristics you should look for if you want a heavy-duty cleaver. The cleaver knife is made with 100% stainless steel, which ensures the blade’s sharpness and will also protect it from any cracks.
Another attractive feature is that unlike many cleavers that need to be washed by hand, this one is dishwasher-safe. Hence, you do not need to worry about the cleaning process. With the large chopping knife that this cleaver has, your meat cutting tasks are about to get very easy and effortless.
Being 8″ in width, the edges are also quite sharp, so you can do anything from cutting through bones to chopping vegetables to a fine texture.
07. Lux Décor 7″ Kitchen Cleaver – Budget-Friendly
- Dimensions 94 x 4.65 x 0.91 inches
- Product weight 1.08 pounds
- 7″ blade
Be it for your home or your restaurant, this cleaver knife from Lux Décor definitely has some great features to it. Made from high carbon stainless steel, the knife is very durable and can also be used as a butcher knife. Therefore from chopping your everyday vegetables to cutting through your meat like a pro, this large chopping knife would an excellent choice for you.
With the full tang that this knife offers, you don’t have to worry about the knife falling off from the handle or breaking down. The knife is made from stainless steel also protects it from any corrosive stains.
Being dishwasher safe and having an ergonomic handle design, this is easily one of my favorite meat cleavers for many reasons. Even though the product is dishwasher safe, it is still recommended to hand wash the knife to retain the durability of the product.
8. SHI BA ZI ZUO – Best For Cutting & Slicing
- Material: 40Cr13, C: 0.35-0.45, Cromium: 12.00-14.00
- Hardness: 55-57 HRC
- 8-inch blade
- Dimension 11.02 x 2.99 x 0.79 inches
- Weight 8.4 ounces
This heavy-duty Chinese cleaver knife from SHI BA ZI ZUO Store is beautifully crafted to give its user one of the best experiences in handling meat cutting and other uses. It can be used for various purposes, such as slicing, dicing, mincing, chopping, etc. It has a well-polished and full-length tang handle and a blade with an extended finger guard.
With a 55-57 HRC hardness, this Chinese chef knife can be used in multitudes of ways. Its handle is also quite attractive because it is made from biomechanical rosewood, which makes it comfortable to hold and provides exceptional grip, making it anti-slip. Therefore, this ergonomic handle also provides quite the cutting action and power required from a knife.
09. Winco 8″ Cleaver – Best Affordable Meat Cleaver
- Dimensions 75 x 3.5 x 0.75 inches
- Weight 1.08 pounds
- 8-inch knife blade
With a sleek and stylish design, this one definitely is one of those cleavers with enough power and resistance. From everyday chopping duties to cutting large and whole chunks of meat and poultry, this meat cleaver is quite a good one too.
It has an 8-inch blade that is made from 100% high-quality stainless steel. Therefore, the knife is also exceptionally corrosion-resistant and, consequently, can endure even the hardest of cuts without any trouble or lessening the product’s durability.
While the handle length measures stand at 5 inches, the blades measure 8 inches in length and 3.5 inches in width. The knife, even though it has a relatively large blade, the wooden handle optimizes the weight. Therefore you can comfortably hold it with excellent grip too.
10. Aroma House – Best For Home Cook
- Dimensions 11.22 x 2.95 x 0.98 inches
- Item Weight 19 pounds
- 7-inch blade
If you’re looking for the most high-quality kitchen cleaver with premium-grade characteristics, then this is the one for you. Definitely last but not least, this is an amazing cleaver knife from the aroma house store. Made from high-carbon stainless steel, the cleaver is quite sharp, strong, and has excellent anti-rust as well as anti-corrosion properties.
The blade is made from stainless steel with a mix of molybdenum and chromium, which increase the durability and power of cleaver knives; homemakers and professional chefs alike can use this. The knife has an ergonomic handle design with no-slip properties to improve the cleaver’s strength and performance when you are working in the kitchen.
Another attractive feature is that you can use it for many reasons: slicing, boning, cleaving, cutting, dicing, chopping, etc. The list is endless! You can do so many things in the kitchen with just this 7-inch meat cleaver.
What Is a Meat Cleaver Used For?
Basically, a cleaver is a large knife used to cut all kinds of meat and poultry. From splitting large pieces of meat to cut through the soft bones, a cleaver will make your life easier in the kitchen. From cutting meat to other purposes such as slicing, dicing, mincing, even chopping vegetables, a cleaver has several uses. Most cleaver knife designs have one handle part and the other knife part.
The edges are tough to withstand the repeated cutting on hard boards; therefore, this will ensure that the cleaver doesn’t show wear and tear with just a few uses. Some cleavers also have a hole on them, making it easier to hang them once you finish using them.
Although primarily used to cut meat, many people now use cleavers to slice hard vegetables. In some cultures, it is even used to crack coconuts.
Why Do You Need a Meat Cleaver?
If you think you don’t need a cleaver knife, you should probably think again. Without a meat cleaver in the kitchen, you might likely end up spending countless hours in the kitchen, just cutting through large chunks of meat. Yes, we know that this doesn’t sound so exciting. This is precisely why you should get yourself a good quality meat cleaver.
From helping you chop through the meat quickly to help you get the right shape for the meat pieces, be it chopping, slicing, or dicing, a meat cleaver enables you to do it all easily, whether you’re a chef or a non-chef.
You will be able to chop through the bones and carcasses quite easily and without the risk of any injury, which small knives may possess. Therefore, always make sure that you always invest in a professional quality kitchen cleaver.
Types of Meat Cleavers
Unlike regular cleavers, Japanese are not very thick or very big. They have hard and brittle blades but are able to cut through most things. Much more delicate than other cleavers, these Japanese cleavers go by the name “Chuka Bocho”. They have thin but sharp edges and are made with high-end steel.
Even though a Chinese cleaver only has the cleaver name, it doesn’t exactly function as a meat cleaver. More than chopping large chunks of meat, Chinese cleavers are more often used for chopping, slicing, mincing, and dicing. While they can slice through meat, Chinese cleavers aren’t meant for breaking through bones. They also have a thinner spine part.
European cleavers, unlike both the Chinese cleaver and the Japanese cleaver, are meant to cut through large and thick pieces of meat, including cutting through soft bones. They are large with thick edges and a thick spine.
Benefits Of Using a Meat Cleaver
A meat cleaver has so many benefits that by the time you finish reading, you will have many reasons to go and get one for yourself.
01. Cut through bone easily
It’s a well-known fact that meat cleavers can be used to chop meat, but what also makes them quite special is that they can effortlessly cut through the bones also, thus giving you the perfect type of meat you wanted.
02. Used to chop vegetables and other food items
Can’t find the small knife or your chopper with which you grind down your veggies? Well, just take out your meat cleaver. Using a smooth downward motion, cut the vegetables, then slightly lift the cleaver before putting it back down. Repeat this process, and you’ll have to yourself an entire bowl of chopped veggies.
03. Crushing several ingredients
Looking to crush your garlic or ginger? Just take the base part of the knife and press it on your ingredients. You’ll have them crushed and in the perfect consistency within no time. However, to crush through them effectively, make sure that your ingredients are placed on a cutting board and that the wide side of the cleaver is placed flat.
04. To transfer ingredients
No more taking another bowl to transfer your veggies from the cutting board and then again transferring them to your cooking dish. Just gently scoop up all your ingredients with the cleaver knife and easily transfer them to the bowl of your choice—just that simple.
How Is a Meat Cleaver Different Than a Knife?
A meat cleaver is quite different from a normal knife, and the differences are quite visible too. While a meat cleaver is heavy with a thick spine and sharp edges, a knife basically has a much thinner spine and many versatile shapes.
Another difference lies in the fact that while you can use a meat cleaver to do what a knife does, the vice versa doesn’t apply. You can only use a knife to cut vegetables, chop, slice, dice, etc., and not cut meat, while a cleaver can do all of the above. With normal knives, however, you will need different sets of knives for different types of ingredients.
Difference Between Western And Chinese Cleavers
While a Western cleaver has a point to it, a Chinese cleaver clearly does not. Western cleavers have more of a thick spine and belly, while Chinese cleavers are comparatively thinner and do not have much belly width.
Chinese cleavers are usually about 8 inches long, while western cleavers remain around the length of 6 to 7 inches. The center of the knife’s weight can be experienced on your hand itself with a Chinese cleaver.
Still, for a western cleaver, the center of the weight will be shifted towards the edge of the square tip. With a western cleaver, it is challenging to crush through ingredients like garlic and ginger, whereas a Chinese cleaver can easily crush them.
How To Use a Meat Cleaver?
Here’s a step by step guide on how you can use the meat cleaver.
- The first step is to make your cutting board ready. Make sure that you’ve got a sturdy board that sits tightly wherever you’re placing it.
- Plan how you would use the cleaver. For some ingredients, you may need to leverage the cleaver’s entire weight, while for others, you only need to slice or chop through.
- Hold your hand on the handle by wrapping your fingers around the handle. To give you more power while cutting or chopping, you can try putting your thumb on the spine of the knife. This will definitely make a difference.
- Once you’ve got a balanced and comfortable grip on the handle of the cleaver, push forward the chopping or cutting motion with your wrist. The rest of the work, including cutting, will be guided automatically by the cleaver’s weight.
- If you’re a first time user, you can try slicing again to get the meat or vegetables in your required consistency. This will also help to slice through the remaining pieces of the poultry.
How To Sharpen a Meat Cleaver?
When sharpening a meat cleaver, make sure to sharpen it right from the heel to the tip. However, since cleavers might have different properties, it is best to sharpen them according to those characteristics.
For European steel or slightly used meat cleavers, they usually have a large and heavy blade section. Therefore, only a bit of sharpening is required, such as a 300 grit whetstone, which will be more than sufficient. Sharpening should be done at a slight angle for it to be most effective. Once you have finished sharpening, wipe the cleaver, rinse it, and then it is ready for use again.
For a blunt cleaver, however, first, do profiling of the cleaver against a hard stone before sharpening it. It is best recommended that used cleavers are sharpened at a 22-degree angle. By sharpening them symmetrically, you can increase the durability of the cleaver as well. This will also make the bevel widths even. Once the bevel widths have become uniform, sharpen the cleaver again at a 30-degree angle.
How You Should Choose The Best Meat Cleaver?
In the market, you’ll find a lot of different types of knives for cutting meat. But if you want a very high-quality meat cleaver, you should look at some features. Here are few things which you should consider before buying a meat cutting knife.
The blades of different cleavers depend upon their type, and while a western-style cleaver has more of a thick and wedge-like shape, a Chinese cleaver will have tin tapered blades. Western blades typically have cutting edges that range from 13 degrees to about 25 degrees.
You should also consider the blade thickness and blade width while choosing a cleaver. Most standard sizes cleavers have a width of about 6 inches, with 16 inches being the maximum. Always go for cleavers with longer widths since these will allow you to chop even large chunks of meat easily.
As for blade thickness, go for thicker blades since these will only provide the kind of blunt force required for chopping. A cleaver with a thicker blade and edges of about 15-17 degrees is best preferred.
The handle is just as important as any other part of the cleaver knife so make sure that you always choose a handle with an ergonomic design, provides enough grip, and is the most comfortable to use.
Ergonomic handles are always preferred more than straight handles, which may not be effective while cutting or chopping. Also, make sure that the handles are not too short, too thick, or too clumsy. Very thick handles will reduce your balance and grip on the knife, while cleavers with long handles may be too clumsy to hold. A wooden handle is also recommended.
The design of the cleaver should be in such a way that it has the right balance and grip while holding the cleaver. It should also be able to help the user slice and cut through even large chunks of meat without giving them fatigue.
A thick sine is always essential to ensure that you get the right cut; hence make sure that your cleaver has a spine that measures at least 1/4th to 3/16th of inches. Some blades may have a top edge that swoops up to a rounded peak. This will help in the batoning process, which is largely preferred for cutting meat.
Whether the edges of the cleaver are blunt or sharp depends on the brand and manufacturer of the product. While cleavers with blunt edges don’t require any sharpening and are therefore easy to use, sharp blades often need to be re-sharpened repeatedly to make them last longer.
Even though blade thickness and width are of primary importance, you should also not forget to consider the blade length, which also plays an important role. For cutting through large chunks of meat, a higher length is always preferred. A recommended length would be between 7 to 7.75 inches.
Most often than not, the weight of a cleaver is directly proportional to its blade length. The longer blade, the heavier the cleaver will weigh. Ensure that the cleaver and blades aren’t too heavy that you cannot comfortably use them. It is best recommended to go for cleavers that weigh around 1 pound to get the best of both powers as well comfort while using it.
Blunt edged cleavers last long, while sharp edges cleavers may need them to be re-sharpened repeatedly. Therefore, depending on how often you want to re-sharpen the cleaver, you can choose them either blunt or sharp.
Ease of cleaning
Once all the work is done, and you just want some rest, cleaning the cleaver might looks a tedious task. Therefore, make sure that you buy a cleaver that can be easily cleaned in simple steps and does not have any stains or other particles sticking to it.
Frequently asked questions
What does a meat cleaver look like?
Meat cleavers are completely different from normal kitchen knives. Not only are they bigger and thicker, but they also have a rectangular hatchet on them along with a sharp and tough edge. This makes it easier to cut through even the largest chunks of meat. Even though the cleavers may vary in shape and size, generally, most cleavers have a rectangular bladed hatchet.
What’s the difference between a meat cleaver and a butcher knife?
A cleaver has a much heavier and thicker blade than a butcher’s knife, and here is the main difference. Other differences include the variations in the blade’s thickness, the sharpness of the edges, length and width of the handle, etc. However, both are quite similar; they do have some visibly obvious differences.
Why in a meat cleaver have a whole?
The hole in a meat cleaver serves many purposes. Primarily, it helps to safely hang the cleaver in a place since it might be dangerous to leave the cleaver lying around, especially in a house full of kids. Another benefit is that providing air through the hole can help to lighten the friction while cutting. The hole also helps to cut through the bone pieces easily while you can hold the upper part of your cleaver with your fingers.
Which cleaver should you choose, Chinese or European?
This will totally depend on people’s personal choices regarding cutting down and chopping meat and other items. If you are looking for a bulky cleaver with a rather thick spine, you should go for a European cleaver, and if you want something lightweight, then the Chinese cleaver is the best option.
I have listed the top 10 meat cleavers which one can use for both professional and personal purposes. Choosing the best cleaver knife may not be as easy as you think. Still, with this guide’s help, you can get the basics right, distinguish the differences between each type of cleaver, understand different types of a cleaver, and make the most informed decision. Always go for what suits you best rather than selecting a cleaver purely based on aesthetic or advertising reasons.
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I’m a food and cooking enthusiast and I love testing new kitchen gadgets almost as much as I love eating new, different exciting foods. Most of the time I try to taste new recipes even sometimes I cook. But if I don’t then I go to my computer and start writing for my blog or research for other kitchen products manually. I believe the kitchen and food are an important part of our everyday life. That’s why I spend tons of time on it and learned a lot about it.