A paring knife often has a blade that is 3-4 inches long, and it is probably one of the commonly used utensils in any kitchen.
These short blades are commonly used in multiple different situations that require more precision than a big chef’s knife can offer.
This includes peeling fruits and vegetables, as well as cutting up smaller items of food, from prawns to berries.
You may think that a knife is a very simple implement and that there isn’t much difference between the varying brands.
However, this isn’t the case, different knives will vary greatly in their composition, design and the type of steel used to forge the blade.
Buying a poor quality product will lead to it breaking much sooner than you would like.
Since your paring knife is such an important tool in your kitchen, you want it to be reliable.
If your paring knife breaks, you could end up attempting fiddly tasks with a large cleaver, which is inefficient and dangerous.
In this article, we will be showing you some of the best paring knives you can buy online.
We will also give you some top tips for judging the quality of a blade, so you can get the best product for your kitchen.
Best Paring Knives
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
If you are looking for something simple and cheap, then you can’t go wrong with this paring knife made by Zyliss.
This knife has a 3in long blade with a classic shape that makes it great for trimming and dicing.
It is made from high carbon steel to ensure it will keep its edge for a long time after it has been sharpened.
Thanks to the ergonomic handle, this knife is comfortable to hold while you are preparing food.
This means you will have great control over the blade and what it does for intricate tasks like peeling or trimming.
The handle also has a rubber grip to prevent the knife slipping in your hands and to make it even more comfortable.
This knife is dishwasher safe, but it is recommended to wash it by hand to prevent it being damaged.
It even comes with a plastic sheath, which means you can safely take it with you when traveling.
However, you need to be careful when putting the knife in the sheath as the bottom of the blade may scratch your finger.
- Ergonomic handle with rubber grip.
- Made from high carbon steel for better edge retention.
- Comes with a plastic sheath to protect the blade.
- The knife may scratch your finger when you put it back in the sheath.
Also available at: Zyliss
This knife has a flat, sheep’s foot blade that makes it great for dicing fruits and vegetables as well as trimming the fat off meat.
The blade is made from three layers of steel to give a Rockwell hardness of 60.
With a layer of cobalt alloy VG-10 steel sandwiched in between two layers of 13 chrome stainless steel, this knife has excellent edge retention.
While it will keep its edge for a long time, the hardness of the knife may make it a little harder to sharpen.
However, with the right tool, you should be able to keep this blade razor sharp with minimal effort.
The steel is also resistant to rust and corrosion, so you won’t have to worry about your blade degrading over time.
Thanks to the full tang, you will have complete control over the blade and what it does.
When combined with the triple riveted handle, this feature makes the knife very durable, even when dropped from a high height.
The handle is a little on the short side, and as such may not be the best for those with very large hands.
- Made from three layers of steel for better durability.
- Keeps its edge for a long time once sharpened.
- Triple riveted handle and full tang reduce the chance of the blade snapping off.
- The handle is a little short for those with large hands.
Also available at: CutleryAndMore
Those shopping on a tight budget will love this awesome paring knife made by Faberware.
Once again, it has a blade made from high quality carbon steel that is designed to resist rust and keep its edge for a long time.
Not that you will ever need to worry about this knife being dull thanks to the incredible EdgeKeeper sheath it comes with.
The sheath for this knife not only allows you to take it traveling and protect it from damage, but it can also sharpen the blade.
Pressing the red button will push two small metal blocks up against the edge of your knife to sharpen it as you draw it out.
As such, every time you take this knife out of its sheath, the blade will be slightly honed.
One of the best things about this feature is that it means you will spend way less time maintaining your knife and more time cooking with it.
To give you good control over what you cut, the handle has an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to hold.
The blade doesn’t have a full tang, though, which means the knife may snap off its handle if you push down too much while cutting.
- Ergonomic handle
- Blade made from high carbon, rust resistant steel.
- Comes with a sheath that sharpens the knife every time you draw it out.
- The blade does not have a full tang.
Also available at: Walmart
If you are looking for something a little more extravagant than our last item, then consider this beautiful paring knife made by Shun.
This knife has a beautiful hand-hammered finish known as ‘Tsuchime’ in Japanese.
As well as making the knife look incredible, this finish reduces drag while chopping, so vegetables won’t stick to the knife.
The core of this knife is made with VG max steel, with layers of Damascus cladding over the top.
This layering not only creates the stunning wavy effect that makes the knife look so good, but it also makes it much stronger.
The layers of steel protect the core and allow it to hold its edge for much longer, so you won’t need to spend as long sharpening it.
Suffice to say that this knife is sharp from the moment that you take it out of the box.
Some users may find it too sharp, as it is easy to accidentally cut yourself when working with this blade.
However, with a handle made from gray pakkawood, this paring knife is a great piece of kit that will stay in your kitchen for many years to come.
- Beautiful mottled blade with gray pakkawood handle.
- Holds its edge for a long time once sharpened.
- Vegetables will not stick to the knife while you are chopping.
- May be too sharp for less experienced chefs.
Also available at: SurLaTable
Most of the products we have looked at so far have had straight edges for trimming, dicing and peeling.
However, there may be times when you need a smaller knife with a serrated blade for cutting through tougher types of food.
That’s exactly what this knife from Victorinox is built for, with a 3.25 in serrated blade that can cleanly slice through almost anything.
The teeth of this knife are very shallow, so you can still use it for peeling and other delicate tasks that a regular serrate blade wouldn’t be suitable for.
At first glance, this blade may seem a little too small, but its size makes it incredibly accurate and easy to use.
This knife is made in Switzerland and uses only high quality materials to ensure it will be chopping your food for a very long time.
The handle is ergonomic and extra long to accommodate those with large hands. Since the handle is made from rosewood, it is resistant to crack and won’t discolor over time.
One issue with this knife is that it has a rat tail tang, which means that the blade may snap if you put too much pressure on it.
- Long handle made from rose wood.
- The serrated edge makes it easy to slice through tough soft fruits such as tomatoes.
- Comes with a sheath to protect the blade.
- Rat tail tang means the blade may snap if you put too much force down.
Also available at: Target
Sleek, stylish and highly effective, this product made by Misen has everything you could want from a good paring knife.
The full tang blade offers excellent control and precision when making delicate cuts, and it is made from premium AICHI AUS-10 steel.
Thanks to its composition, this knife comes out of the packet sharp and holds its edge for a long time.
With a 15° blade angle, this knife is perfect for making very small, precise cuts.
This makes it an excellent tool for coring, dicing and peeling fruits and vegetables.
The uniquely shaped bolster encourages you to hold the knife in a pinch grip, which is another factor that makes it so easy to control.
The handle is simple yet very ergonomic and comfortable to hold in your hand.
While the steel used for this knife has double the carbon content of some competitors, it is not stainless by a long stretch.
As such, don’t expect your knife to be completely free from discoloration unless you clean it very regularly.
- Full tang construction for better durability.
- Made from high quality steel for a razor sharp edge.
- 15° blade angle makes it easy to perform precise cuts.
- The steel is not stainless and may discolor over time.
Also available at: Misen
There is a lot more to a paring knife than initially meets the eye. Buying the right paring knife can make preparing food significantly faster, although picking the wrong blade may only slow you down.
In this section, we will highlight some of the most important things to consider when shopping for a new paring knife.
The hardness of a knife indicates how likely the steel is to gradually erode with multiple uses.
It is measured using the Rockwell scale, and generally the higher a knife’s Rockwell hardness, the longer it will hold its edge.
Softer knifes will become dull after just a bit of light cutting, while harder blades will stay sharp for much longer without needing to be sharpened.
As such, you want to look for a knife with a good hardness rating to cut back on the amount of time you have to spend honing it.
Since sharpening a knife gradually eats away at the blade, buying one made from harder steel will increase the overall longevity of your product.
There are three common shapes encountered when shopping for a paring knife. The ‘classic’ shape is the blade we are all probably the most familiar with and looks like a miniature chef’s knife with a belly and a curved edge.
Some knives will have a ‘Sheep’s Foot’ blade which is completely flat. These knives may have a slightly narrower tip, which makes them good for precise tasks like coring or removing the eyes from potatoes.
Other products may have a curved ‘Bird’s Beak’ blade, which is great for peeling fruits and vegetables.
Each of these different blade shapes have their advantages and disadvantages, so which one you pick will largely depend on what you plan to use your paring knife for.
The blade angle is how thick or narrow the edge of your knife is, and plays an important role in how well it cuts.
Most western knives have a blade angle between 17 and 20°, while Asian knives may have an angle as acute as 15°.
The smaller the blade angle, the more precise your blade will be when performing delicate cuts.
A knife with a smaller blade angle will be much better for peeling, since it will be able to remove skin from a vegetable without taking away too much of the flesh underneath.
As such, if you use your paring knife for fiddly tasks like peeling and coring, then it may be a good idea to buy one with a narrow blade angle.
A knife’s balance is created by both its tang and its bolster. The tang is the part of the blade that protrudes into the handle of the knife, while the bolster is the part where the handle merges with the blade.
Ideally, you want a full tang blade with a tapered bolster that will allow you to hold the knife in a pinch grip.
This grip will give you better accuracy and control when using the knife, but won’t be as effective if the knife is unbalanced.
If the blade is lighter than the handle, then you will need to put down more force to cut with it, which may cause the knife to break.
On the other hand if the blade is too heavy, you may struggle to control it, and again it may snap off when you try to cut things.
Edge & Steel Quality
You want to buy a knife that is made from a high carbon steel, as this will mean it is much harder. Having a harder knife will mean it will keep its edge for much longer, reducing the amount of times you need to hone the blade.
Higher grades of steel will also be more resistant to rust or corrosion. This is essential if you don’t want your blade to discolor or develop rust from being exposed to moisture.
After all, most knives will need to be regularly washed and won’t be of much use if they rust after being cleaned.
You also want to think about what type of edge you want your blade to have. Flat or curved edges are great for most tasks including slicing, dicing and peeling.
However, serrated blades can also be useful if you frequently handle soft fruit such as tomatoes. Having a blade that is serrated will allow you to cut through tougher food without having to use as much force.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does It Mean When A Knife Has A Full Tang?
The tang is the piece of metal attached to a blade that extends into the handle. A full tang is when this piece of metal goes all the way to the end of the handle. Knives that have a full tang are more durable and easier to control.
Can I Put A Paring Knife In The Dishwasher?
Most paring knives are dishwasher safe, however it is still advised to clean them by hand when possible.
You should never place a knife in the dishwasher in a way that exposes the blade to other pieces of cutlery.
Doing so may cause your knife to become scratched or otherwise damaged while it is being cleaned.
If you are worried about your knife being broken, then always hand wash it in warm soapy water and wipe it dry before returning it to its sheath.