What Are The Differences Between Japanese And German Chef Knives?

Different Chef Knives

If you’re looking to buy chef knives, whether for everyday or professional use, you may have noticed that many such knives are either called “Japanese” or “German” (or “European”). This may have you wondering: exactly what are the differences between Japanese and German chef knives? The following is a quick overview to help you decide on the best knife style for your kitchen.

Which Chef Knife Is Sharper ?

Based on experiences from chefs and home cooks alike, Japanese knives are generally sharper, but also more prone to chipping, since they are made from harder metals. The type of metal used in Japanese knives also means they are more likely to become rusty, so they do require a bit more maintenance. German knives, on the other hand, are made from softer metals, meaning they are thicker and more blunt, but also easier to sharpen.

Which Of The Knives Are Lighter ?

Japanese knives are lighter, which makes them easy to handle and gives them great blade control and precision. However, compared to the heavier German-style knives, many people think Japanese chef’s knives just feel a bit too flimsy for heavy-duty cutting, such as chopping through bones and cleaving large squashes. German knives, as opposed to Japanese knives, also usually have a bolster, which is a thick part of metal between the blade and the handle. Its absence in Japanese chef’s knives can feel like a lack of protection, which is appreciated in German knives during heavier chopping.

The Thinness Factor ?

The thinner, sharper edge of the Japanese-style knife does mean that they can easily make precise cuts and slices, also through softer foods, while the thicker German-style knife is often thought to be better for heavier cutting and hacking, while maintaining chopping comfort. The main contrast thus seems to be that Japanese-style chef’s knives offer more precision and delicacy, while needing more attention and maintenance, while German-style chef’s knives don’t need as much upkeep, and still remain suitable for robust work.

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