Best Paring Knife Reviews
By Bobby B. | Updated Jan. 1, 2021 | Knives
A paring knife is one of the most versatile and most used tools in a kitchen. The best paring knife is small, compact, sharp, and able to do more cutting tasks than almost any other knife you have. It’s perfect for small tasks like peeling and slicing small fruits and vegetables, but is also convenient to pull out, use, wash/dry, and then put back in storage without much fuss.
Just because paring knives are so popular to use doesn’t mean it’s any easier to determine which one is the best to buy. In fact, there are so many different paring knives on the market that it’s quite difficult to narrow the selection down and determine which are good, quality knives and which are cheap knock-offs.
We’ve spent countless hours researching and studying purchase data, customer feedback and reviews, and scouring online forums to determine which are the best choices for your money. No one likes buying something that doesn’t work or breaks shortly after you buy it. The intent of this page is to help assist you in finding a good paring knife at the best price, without sacrificing quality or longevity.
Our Top Paring Knife Picks for 2021
1. Best Paring Knife
Wusthof Classic Paring Knife, 4″
2. Best Overall Value Paring Knife
Dalstrong (Gladiator) Paring Knife, 4″
3. Best Quality Paring Knife
Zelite (Alpha-Royal) Paring Knife, 4″
4. Best Cheap Paring Knife
Victorinox Paring Knife, 4″
5. Best Japanese Paring Knife
Shun Paring Knife, 3.5″
6. Great value Paring Knife
Zelite Infinity Paring Knife, 3.5″
7. German Steel Paring Knife
Henckels Paring Knife, 4″
Why You Need A Good Paring Knife
It’s common to hear chefs say you don’t really need the best kitchen knife set as long as you have 3 good knives. Those include a high-quality chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. They recommend splurging on these 3 highly active tools for your kitchen and skimping on others if needed to balance out your budget to what you can afford. The great news with paring knives is that you can buy even the best paring knife for a reasonable price as they are often less than half the cost of a chef’s knife! That’s good to hear because as often as we use paring knifes in our kitchen, we have several nice ones and a few cheap ones too.
Since not everyone’s an expert at knives or is ready to spend hundreds of hours of research on them like the BladeAdvisor team does, we’ve compiled the following buying guide to help assist you with your purchase.
Paring Knife Buying Guide
Looking for a quick education on how to pick the best paring knife? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve done tons of research to find what’s popular (and what’s not) when it comes to consumers and the paring knives available to us. This inexpensive tool does so much in our kitchen, but there are so many to chose from when you search Amazon for “paring knife”. How do you chose the right one?
There are several things you should consider. The include physical things like the size, shape, comfort, and materials used in the knife. However, in addition, you should also pay attention to things like warranty, price-point, and online customer reviews. We’ll cover each of these criteria in depth, but first, let’s discuss a few basics like what a paring knife is and does. Towards the very end of this guide, we’ve also provided a video of how to efficiently cut with a sharp paring knife.
What is a Paring Knife?
It’s a shorter knife that’s perfect for all sorts of kitchen tasks. It can be used as a peeling knife or to cut fruits and veggies into small pieces. Their perfect for any detailed cutting, trimming, or small slicing that needs to be done in your kitchen.
Wondering why it’s called a paring knife? Paring means to cut down. To pare down would be to cut into smaller pieces, thus a paring knife is good at cutting away at something, like peeling a fruit or vegetable. Here’s a video with a good explanation.
Paring Knife Selection Criteria
Okay, now that you have an idea of what a paring knife really is, let’s cover the selection criteria we introduced above. We’ll go over each one in fine detail so you know what your options are and what to look for.
Types of Paring Knives
Most of us are probably familiar with the standard paring knife. We call it the “spear tip” paring knife. It has a short 3-4″ thin blade with a pointed tip. It’s your catch-all knife that performs numerous tasks. In addition to the standard, you’ll also find birds beak paring knives and sheep’s foot paring knives. Looking at the pictures below, it’s clear where the birds beak knife got it’s name. It looks a lot like a birds beak. But, does a sheep’s foot knife actually look like a sheep’s foot? Not really.
Bird’s Beak Paring Knife
Our Favorite Bird’s Beak Paring Knife: Wusthof Classic 2.75″ Peeling Knife
A bird’s beak paring knife is the perfect tool for peeling or coring fruits and some vegetables. Its rounded blade ensures minimal waste by allowing its user to cut as closely as possible to the peeling. The only potential downside to the bird’s beak is the difficulty in using an electric knife sharpener to keep it sharp. Unless you’re a professional chef, you’ll probably only need one bird’s beak paring knife, so we recommend buying a good one that will likely last a lifetime. The Wusthof Classic pictured above is a great choice for this task!
Sheep’s Foot Paring Knife
Our Favorite Sheep’s Foot Paring Knife: Wusthof Classic 4000-7
Unlike the curved blade on the standard or bird’s beak types, the sheep’s foot paring knife blade is completely flat. Its shape reminds me of a santoku knife blade. Flat across the bottom and rounded nose coming down to a point towards the bottom. These are good for more of a chopping motion or more commonly, they are used for julienne. Like above, you probably only need one sheep’s foot paring knife, so why not get a good one. Our recommendation is the Wusthof Classic again.
Serrated Paring Knife
Our Favorite Serrated Paring Knife: Wusthof Classic 4003-7
As you probably know from reading other knife reviews at BladeAdvisor, serrated knives serve a specific purpose. They allow the person cutting to use a sawing action, allowing the knife to do the work rather than smashing your food by pushing down so hard. Serrations also allow for the sharp parts of the blade to not make contact with the cutting surface, increasing the edge retention time. They are common in both steak knives and bread knives.
The Paring Knife Set
Perhaps you’re already aware, but there are paring knife sets available for purchase. They come in different shapes and sizes. You can get sets of multiples of the same knife, maybe even the same knife in different color handles. While we think these are fine, they are not a necessity. Where we do think you could benefit from a paring knife set is when you don’t yet have the odd-ball types like the sheep’s foot and bird’s beak paring knife types above. While you’re in need of a couple different paring knives, buying a set that includes them all is a great idea. It gives you a variety and some added functionality in the kitchen. Here are a couple sets we recommend considering if you’re in the market for a paring knife set.
Dalstrong Paring Knife Set
Wusthof Paring Knife Set
Paring Knife Materials
No different than any kitchen knife, the materials and craftsmanship make the knife and display its quality level. A knife made of cheap materials will not hold up as well or last as long as those made with higher-quality components.
Blades made with high quality steel alloys, typically high-carbon steels from Germany (like the one shown above from Wusthof) or Japan, will stand the test of time and retain their edges much longer than those made of cheaper steels found in the $10 knives you see. These blades will rust, break, and chip much more easily than better alloys. What about ceramic paring knives? The benefit is that they aren’t metallic so they won’t rust, but the are brittle and otherwise fragile. They can break if dropped on a hard surface and should only be used on softer foods like fruits and vegetables, nothing with bones.
Handle materials vary greatly. The key here is comfort and something that can get wet while being used or in washing. There are numerous plastics and steel alloys as well as pakkawood that all make great handles.
Paring Knife Lengths
There’s nothing ground breaking here. Paring knives come in a variety of blade lengths that range from 2″ to 4″, with the most common sizes being 3.5″ and 4″. As you can see from our best paring knife reviews above, we prefer the 4″ length, but really believe you should have one, or some, of both sizes. The shorter sizes are less common and can often be replaced with a bird’s beak paring knife.
Of course this is true for all knives, but especially those you will be using all the time like your paring knives. If a knife doesn’t feel good in your grip, you won’t use it and you won’t like it. Many of the higher-end knives focus not only on the materials used, but also the comfort in your hand and the shape of the grip. Reading online reviews can help you choose a kitchen paring knife with a comfortable grip.
Warranty / Price / Customer Reviews
Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to look at the warranty, price, and reviews from customers who have actually purchased the peeling knives you’re looking at. The warranty is a good indication of the manufacturer’s confidence in the knife’s longevity. The best kitchen knife brands offer lifetime warranties on their knives, showing they truly stand behind the materials and craftsmanship used. Those that have no stated warranty or just 90 days are likely afraid they won’t stand the test of time.
Not many of use buy anything that costs more than a few bucks without at least considering the price. No one likes to overpay for anything, but as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. That holds true with paring knives. A high-end Shun paring knife for close to $100 is probably made of better materials and constructed in a better manner than a cheap $10 Victorinox paring knife. Go into your purchase with a budget and be just flexible enough to get something that will last, but not break the bank.
One of the most important tools we use in our product reviews, and you should too, are real customer reviews of each paring knife. In this internet-age, consumers are motivated to share their experiences with products and let others know if they were happy, disappointed, or indifferent with their purchase. This is great and includes a ton of good information that everyone should use when making a purchase!
Paring Knife Uses
Paring knives are versatile tools for your kitchen, not unlike kitchen shears. There are so many tasks they can be used for including skinning and peeling fruits and vegetables, quickly opening a package, or slicing an apple. What do you use your paring knives for?
How To Use a Paring Knife
Are you looking for some additional tips and tricks to hone your paring knife skills? As you now know, there are many was to use this versatile kitchen knife. The video below goes briefly into some pointers on how to use a paring knife. There are also many other placed on the web that offer more info on paring knife techniques.
Best Paring Knife Review: The Final Slice
Thank you for taking the time to read through our best paring knife list above as well as our educational buying guide. We hope you found some value in the these items and feel better prepared to go out and purchase some new paring knives! If there is anything you think we may have overlooked, or if you have some differing opinions, we’d love to hear from you.
There are many deserving paring knives available to purchase. Of course we believe the list above is the best place to start. As a reminder, our favorite overall paring knife is the Wusthof Classic Paring Knife. Here are a few others we like as well.