Best Meat Cleaver: Hack Like a Samurai with the Sharpest Meat Cleaver
When it comes to the scariest kitchen implement, I believe nothing would come close to the meat cleaver. This rugged and ancient piece of tool survived the test of time and still finds usefulness even in a modern kitchen. The sheer size and structure of this tool are enough to intimidate the faint of heart.
But despite its scary appearance, this tool is the most abused of all kitchen implements. What do you use to cut through tough flesh? The meat cleaver. What do you use to break those fossil-like bones? The meat cleaver. Because of this, this tool needs to be tougher than everything you throw its way.
If you have spent your share of time in the kitchen, you know that you can’t stand the challenge without the help of a trusty meat cleaver. So how do you pick when you need one?
||Sato Forged Heavy-Duty Meat Cleaver||
||Vegetable Cleaver, Chinese cleaver||
||Imarku 7-Inch Stainless Steel Chopper Cleaver||
||Professional Stainless Steel Butcher Knife||
||Dexter-Russell (S5288) 8″ Heavy-Duty Cleaver||
||Chicago Cutlery Belmont 6 1/2-Inch Cleaver Knife||
||Kiwi #504 3″ Mini Cleaver||
Forged or Stamped? Which Meat Cleaver Should You Get?
As far as construction is concerned, there are two ways in which a cleaver is made–forging and stamping. Although I tend to prefer forged blades over stamped ones, there are advantages and disadvantages to both and at the end of the day, it’s really up to you choose your blade.
- MANUFACTURING DIFFERENCES
- QUESTION OF QUALITY
- WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU GET?
A forged cleaver is created from a heated single bar of steel that is pounded into shape. The process makes steel stronger because the shaping of the molecules makes it less flexible. This results in the cleavers ability to hold the edge longer.
Stamped cleaver, on the other hand, is made from a sheet of steel that is formed into shape by “stamping” or cutting out, then honed, sharpened and heat-treated to hold the edge. Forged cleavers are usually heavier and stronger than stamped ones.
Why Would You Need a Meat Cleaver?
While professional cooks may need to hack on huge carcasses, would a home cook need a cleaver? The answer is a definite yes. You might not always find the need to use this humongous tool, but when you do, you should have one. That is the primary reason to need a cleaver at home.
Like I said, if you have spent your share of time in the kitchen, you definitely used a cleaver at one time or another.
Some cook would even go on to say that the cleaver is the only knife that you need in the kitchen. While this is a bit extreme, I would rather be left with a cleaver than a regular knife if I have no other cutting tool.
With a cleaver, not only can I cut huge chunks of meat into smaller portions, I can mince spices with it as well. It can be an all-around, cutting, mincing, hacking and chopping tool because it won’t hiccup when any of these jobs are thrown its way.
So do you think you need a cleaver? I believe you already want one right now.
My Top 7 Best Meat Cleavers
If you have been looking for a meat cleaver to add to your kitchen implements, you might find yourself in a quandary because there’s just too many to choose from. Not only do you need to weed out the low-quality items, you also have to choose wisely among the good brands. To make your life easier, here are my 7 best meat cleaver picks.
1. Sato Forged Heavy-Duty Meat Cleaver
This cleaver is made of forged stainless-steel guaranteed to hold the edge longer and does not require constant sharpening. The walnut wood full tang handle fits the hands well, it’s like an extension of it. The blade’s entire dimension is 8″ x 4″ x 3.5 mm, big enough for all cutting and hacking purposes. While this cleaver is so good at the job it is designed for, it also looks great just sitting on your kitchen rack.
- Weight is perfect for all cutting jobs
- Great for both household and professional use
- Aesthetics is also great
- Might be too heavy for leaner people
2. Vegetable Cleaver, Chinese Cleaver
It has a full tang and its handle is triple riveted for strength. It’s easy to clean and since it’s tarnish resistant, the possibility of bacterias contaminating your food is greatly reduced.
- Heavy duty and tarnish resistant
- Full tang and triple riveted to the handle
- Made from stainless steel
- Highly affordable compared to other cleavers of the same quality
- Since it’s lightweight, you will need a little more effort when cutting through larger bones
3. Imarku 7-Inch Stainless Steel Chopper Cleaver
It’s not as heavy as I would like, but this cleaver can deal with any cutting job that you throw its way. The blade is 7 inches in length and the handle is 5 inches, giving you a total length of 12 inches. This size is big enough to deal with vegetables and meat if you want to reduce them to smaller sizes.
The Pakka wood is known to have some anti-bacterial effect, and the blade is made of stainless steel, you can be sure that no bacteria will contaminate your food through your cleaver.
- Forged steel so it holds the edge longer
- Easy to clean
- Very nice to look at
- The Pakka wood tends to break when cutting very hard materials like bones
4. Professional Stainless Steel Butcher Knife
But even if this is a stamped cleaver, it’s capable of holding the edge for a long time and you don’t need to sharpen it often. With its blade at 7 inches, you can hack away at anything and this cleaver won’t hiccup.Unlike other cleavers, this one is dishwasher safe. You don’t have to wash it by hands and potentially cut your hands while doing it.
- Holds the edge like forged blade
- The weight is just right for heavy duty work
- Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
- Unbelievably affordable
- The cleaver came dull so you have to sharpen it yourself
5. Dexter-Russell (S5288) 8″ Heavy-Duty Cleaver
If you are looking at heavy duty hacking, this cleaver has enough heft to cut through bones and meat without too much effort on your part. The 8-inch long blade is heavy enough for some serious cutting and its made from high-carbon stainless steel.
Pork, beef and tuna are no match for this blade, you don’t have to avoid them in your next grilling schedule.
The handle is so comfortable to hold and it’s made from Rosewood which it’s triple riveted to ensure strong attachment to the tang.
- Designed for professional use
- The weight is perfect for some serious hacking
- This is a really strong full tang blade
- To big and heavy for home use.
6. Chicago Cutlery Belmont 6 1/2-Inch Cleaver Knife
It has a full tang that provides strength and a bolster that provides better balance for precision cutting. The polymer handle is a bit slippery to hold especially when your hand is oily. But on the plus side, this handle reduces bacterial contamination to the food.
You can keep the blade clean with a little hand washing since it’s made from stainless steel.
- Full tang and bolster ensures good balance and strength
- Forged blade and made from high carbon stainless steel
- Polymer handle may break
7. Kiwi #504 3″ Mini Cleaver
If you are only looking at cutting smaller meat sizes, this is the best blade for the job. But if you’re looking at taking down bigger carcasses, you would do well to look for the real deal.
Despite its smaller form factor, this cleaver is well balanced and its handle is double riveted to the tang.
- Nice piece for decoration
- Small form factor for smaller hands and lighter work load
- Not as useful as larger cleavers
That being said, the stamped blades that I have reviewed here are also good. If I would be looking at professional cutting and hacking purposes, I would go for the Dexter-Russell (S5288) 8″ Heavy-Duty Cleaver. This thing is one serious blade. It is a bit of an overkill for home use and you might even find it too heavy for cutting smaller meat sizes typical of home dining.
If you’re are only looking for some light hacking and cutting, the Kiwi #504 3″ Mini Cleaver would be sufficient. The only reason I rated it the lowest here is that it’s too small for most of my purposes. But if you’re the kind who has small hands and you have no plan of using a cleaver professionally, this one is perfect.
What kind of meat cleaver do you use professionally or at home? Do you use any of the ones reviewed here? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section below