Traditionally relied on by butchers to hack and slash through meat and bone, the humble meat cleaver has made its way into the kitchens of culinary enthusiasts all over the world. Having a meat cleaver in your arsenal makes so many essential tasks a breeze, plus let’s be honest, it looks and feels badass. We’ve put together the top 6 best meat cleavers found in the market and broken down why they stand out over all others.
Top 6 Best Meat Cleavers
Cutluxe Cleaver Knife 7 Inch German Steel
- Premium 56+ Rockwell hardness
- Versatile use
- Requires sharpening more often to keep the edge
The Cutluxe Cleaver Knife is hand sharpened at a precise 14°-16° edge for maximum sharpness. This means it’s sharp straight out of the box and stays sharp. Made with premium quality german steel, engineered at 56+ Rockwell hardness for strength and durability. A standard stainless steel kitchen knife usually measures in at 55 Rockwell hardness.
It’s strong and sharp, but it’s surprisingly lightweight for a large knife which makes it very versatile in its use. Strong enough for most bones but lightweight too which makes chopping up meat or vegetables an easy and satisfying task. Stays sharp through multiple uses but benefits from a semi-regular sharpening over time. Very affordable considering its quality. The Cutluxe rivals knives which are twice as expensive as it is, and it performs just as well.
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DALSTRONG Gladiator Obliterator Meat Cleaver
- Incredibly sharp, and stays sharp for longer
- Hefty and durable
- Stunning look & feel
- More expensive
One of the telltale signs of a quality knife is in its steel. The DALSTRONG Gladiator Obliterator is at 60+ Rockwell hardness which makes it incredibly durable for a German steel knife, and it helps with edge retention.
This 9 Inch beast of a meat cleaver, weighing in at 2.9lbs and holds enough power to chop through any size meat or bones with ease. To go along with its top-quality steel, hardness, and performance it also looks badass, let’s be honest here.
It is a bit more expensive than other meat cleavers, but it isn’t just for its looks. It performs in every area. it even comes with both a sheath AND a hand made acacia wood stand.
Utopia 7 Inch Cleaver Knife
- Very affordable
- Popular choice
- Simple but sturdy handle
- Dishwasher safe
- Requires sharpening more often
The Utopia 7 Inch Cleaver Knife is one of the most affordable, but still quality-made meat cleavers in the market. It’s certainly one of the most popular options, with consistently high reviews. Simple, easy, and definitely sharp enough for the average chef.
Although it is dishwasher safe, it’s always recommended to hand wash your steel knives. This helps stop them from blunting, wearing them down helps keep them long-lasting. The Utopia Cleaver Knife is well balanced, evenly weighted, and has a sturdy handle so you can use it for meat and vegetables with ease.
Imarku Cleaver 7 Inch German Steel
- High quality at an affordable price
- Durable and holds its sharpness
- Well balanced
- Some reports of problems with the handle
The Imarku Cleaver Knife is the perfect in-between of high quality and affordability. It’s designed to be multipurpose and with a 60-62 Rockwell hardness and quality made German steel it’s made to last. The solid wood handle is elegant and comfortable.
There are reports that over time the handle can warp and wear slightly which can make things more uncomfortable over time. But, there’s not much to fault in this knife, and its classic look, feel, and top-quality steel makes it a worthy contender.
Aroma House 7 Inch Butcher Meat Cleaver
- Multifunctional Chinese-style cleaver
- Well designed ergonomic handle
- Sharp and durable
- Slightly heavier for a 7” cleaver
The Aroma House Chinese Style Meat Cleaver is multifunctional, excelling at cutting, chopping, slicing, deboning, and cleaving through meat, vegetables, and even bone as it’s slightly heavier and hefty for a 7-inch knife. Its weight does make it slightly more strenuous to use, but it does the job well. One of the things most raved about is the feel and quality of the ergonomic handle.
Although the thickness and weight of the steel do tend to make it more durable, it’s also been engineered to 58-60 Rockwell hardness for extra strength and durability.
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SKY LIGHT 7 Inch Meat Cleaver German Steel
- Golden ratio arc-shaped edge
- Slightly thicker blade for added power and heft
- Anti-slip ergonomic handle
- Less suitable for chopping vegetables
The SKY LIGHT Meat Cleaver is a very traditional design, sacrificing sharpness for power and strength. Therefore, it’s much more suitable for hacking, chopping, cleaving, and cutting meat. It’s solid and thick blade back helps it easily cut through any bones with ease.
To go with its power it has a well balanced and weighted ergonomic anti-slip handle, which helps with the use and control of the knife. It has the same German steel applied by Wusthof & Zwilling Henckels, but its design is more traditional.
It is engineered to have a uniquely optimized golden ratio arc of the blade, which concentrates the force of the cut to help it cut easily and reduce stress on the hand and wrist.
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What Makes The Best Meat Cleaver?
Japanese vs. German Steel
The main types of steel you will come across when shopping around for knives are either Japanese or German steel. To be truthful, both have their merits, uses, and advantages.
The key difference between Japanese and German steel is density and hardness, measured on the Rockwell Hardness Scale where the higher rating reflects tougher and denser steel. German engineered steel tends to be a bit softer, from 56-58 Rockwell. Japanese steel tends to be 58+ Rockwell, which means the steel itself is tougher.
The toughness of the steel does not change the sharpness but tougher steel stays sharper for longer and softer steel is more easily sharpened. Depending on the task, you may require a more flexible knife, such as when trimming brisket.
German steel knives more often than not have the sharp edge of the blade running from tip to butt. This is known as full tang. Japanese knives on the other hand, often have three-quarter, or partial tang, with the blade tapering away before the butt of the knife. Although this doesn’t affect sharpness at all, it does have an effect on the structure of the knife.
Japanese knives do tend to be sharper as they are engineered at a 15-degree angle or less. Although German knives are usually sharpened at closer to the 20-degree level, you can find some sharper German steel meat cleavers. In both cases, Japanese and German steel knives are certainly sharp enough to do the job. German steel cleavers tend to be thicker and heavier, whereas Japanese cleavers tend to be more lightweight, but sharper.
Because of these reasons, German steel meat cleavers are more suitable to chop and cleave through meat & bones but can be used for vegetables, and Japanese cleavers are more suitable for slicing meat and vegetables more precisely.
If you often work with meat, study up on this guide for the best knives for cutting raw meat.
Another very important and sometimes overlooked feature is the feel and make of the handle. Particularly if you’re using the meat cleaver often or over longer periods of time. it’s important to use an ergonomically designed, non-slip, comfortable handle. This changes how easily and consistently it will cut through meat, bones, or vegetables, which has an overall effect on the experience.
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to break the bank on something that isn’t worth it. Consider how often you will be using the cleaver, and what you’ll be using it for. If you want something that will last a lifetime and love working in the kitchen, then hands down it’s worth forking out a bit extra to get a top-quality, durable, and long-lasting knife. However, if you won’t be using it too frequently and just need it to do the job then choose a cleaver with a good balance between quality and affordability