We pick our top five small knives that are useful for fruit and vegetable preparation and more delicate kitchen jobs.
Best... budget blade
Victorinox 10cm paring knife
Best bits: Great price and extra-sharp laser tested blade
Comments: You don't need to spend a fortune to get great results as this practical knife, from the makers of the first Swiss Army Knife proves. With its razor sharp, laser tested cutting edge blade (which you won’t ever need to sharpen) this will be such a great friend to you in the kitchen. The fact that it is low priced also means that you will use it to tackle most jobs, then you’ll sling it in the dishwasher afterwards. It is made from stainless steel with a non-slip polypropylene handle and comes in black as well as fun colours like orange, yellow, pink and green. If you prefer a slightly longer blade, go for the 11cm tomato knife for the same price.
Best... fail-safe branded knife
Best bits: An affordable price for a renowned knife brand with a buyer's warranty
Comments: If you are after a respected, world famous brand at an affordable price you can’t go wrong with Sabatier. This paring knife comes from a new premium range where Sabatier have joined with Judge and offers a high grade, full tang stainless steel blade that is sharp and easy to use. The handles are black and traditional with riveted handles for added strength. They are also dishwasher safe and backed by Judge’s 25 year guarantee.
Best... ceramic blade
Best bits: A low maintenance blade that stays sharper for longer
Comments: With a blade made from black mirror-polished zirconium ceramic and a smooth tactile black handle, this is lighter in weight than most steel knives. The advantage with ceramic knives is that they retain their cutting edge so will rarely, if ever, need sharpening - ideal if you want a knife that is low maintenance. That said, ceramic knives do need to be treated with a little more care as if they are misused bent or dropped the blade can chip. So if you like to crush garlic with the side of the blade this isn’t for you. Comes with a protective sheath for storage.
Best... handle design
Best bits: A brilliant all-rounder with a full tang (blade that runs right down the handle)
Comments: It’s not surprising that this knife is award-winning because when you use it, it just feels so right. A huge amount of research and fine-tuning has gone into making this, in consultation with professional chefs, especially into the type of steel, which combines the benefits of both Japanese and German steel to guarantee an excellent hand-honed edge to the perfect 15 degrees. The handle made from DuPont™ material is moulded on the full tang (the metal section that runs right through the handle) which adds weight, balance and durability, but what this basically comes down to is it just feels incredibly tactile. Some of the other knives we tried felt quite uncomfortable, with sharp edges that dug into the hand. Although dishwasher safe, it is best washed by hand.
Best... blowout blade
Best bits: Reliable Japanese design and sturdy feel
Price: £87.95 for 10th anniversary gift set
Comments: For something a little different this professional knife certainly looks the business. Made from triple steel technology it boasts a reliable, hard blade that will keep its edge. Even slicing into a butternut squash, which is notoriously difficult was no challenge for this knife. The rectangular handle feels sturdy and comes with the distinctive scrolling on the black handle. However this is not just decorative it is an integral part of the handle to achieve balance and stability. This style of knife carries a little more weight than classic parers, but is still easy to use and feels well balanced. Not dishwasher safe.
A paring knife is the knife you will reach for the most, as it is invaluable in the kitchen for a huge amount of kitchen prep. It’s perfect for trimming, peeling and slicing fruit and veg as well as helping you with delicate jobs like deveining prawns, where a cook’s knife would be too large. We've picked our five favourite versions.
This review was last updated in April 2017. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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