Common Knife Questions

When buying a knife, there are a handful of questions that are good to ask. Here's some of the more common questions and a discussion about the pluses and minuses of the different options.

Partial Tang or Full Tang

The tang of the knife is how far the steel of the knife protrudes into the knife handle. A "full tang" knife is one where the steel extends the full length of the handle. This helps with balance, durability, and heft of the knife. However, "partial tang" knives are normally cheaper.

Stamped or Forged Knife Blade

Forged knife blades are hand made through a process of heating and hand molding. Stamped knife blades are punched out of a sheet of metal using a template (similar to using a cookie cutter). Forged knife blades are normally heavier, more balanced, hold their edge better, and are higher quality knives. However, they are also more expensive than stamped knife blades.

Heavy or Light-Weight

Depending on what type of knife you are looking for you will want a different weight to it. When dealing with larger knives such as a chef's knife or cleaver the heavier weight will be very useful. When looking at knives requiring more fineness like a fillet knife or boning knife then a lighter weight, and more flexible, knife will be best.

Serrated Blade or Plain Blade

Serrated (or scalloped) blades are very good for bread knives or tomato knives. Plain knife blades, when properly maintained, will be effective on just about anything else. One negative of serrated blades is that they can only be sharpened by a profession with the proper tools, while a plain knife blade can be sharpened at home.

What Type of Knife Blade Material

See our full discussion of different knife blade materials.