If you like to make your own cuts of meat then you probably need a meat cleaver in your kitchen. However, with the many brands available on the market today, it’s a bit bewildering to choose the right one. That’s why I have shortlisted your choices to five products and I’ll reveal my pick for the best meat cleaver at the end of this article.
Living with a family of culinary experts, I have always seen them using a meat cleaver. Nothing can beat a meat cleaver when slicing thick slabs of meat. To get you started with your shopping list, check our guide and reviews.
What Is A Cleaver Knife?
Before we go to the real deal, let’s describe what a meat cleaver truly is. A meat cleaver is a valuable asset in the kitchen if you like to chop tough ingredients. Its torque and dedicated edge can cut through thick slabs of meat, dense cartilage, and even bones.
A cleaver features a square blade that’s often connected to a wooden handle. As compared to other types of knives, a clever is designed with a hard edge to endure constant heavy blows. Its made of soft steel and thick blade.
Wait, soft steel?
Ironically, soft steel or mild steel doesn’t damage easily. Its thickness can handle any impacts as compared to thin, hardened steel. This enables you to use blunt force instead of relying on the sharpness of the blade.
2 Types Of Cleavers
There are actually two types of meat cleavers available on the market- Chinese cleavers and Western Cleavers.
* Western Cleavers
A typical Western cleaver has a wide-blade design. Its thick spine along with its weight can easily cut through poultry or meat bones. These varieties do a better job in chopping bones and meat than a Chinese cleaver.
This type of cleaver is great for medium and small sized bones. If you’re working for large bones, you may need to use a band saw or ax first then chop the meat into smaller pieces with a meat cleaver.
* Chinese Cleavers
The Chinese variety also has rectangular wide blades but they have a narrower spine than Western cleavers. This makes them suitable for removing meat from bones. Their thinner blades also make them perfect for softer foods.
If you might notice, Chinese cleavers are graded from 1-4. If you want the thickness to be as close as the regular Western cleaver, choose grade 1.
Watch how meat cleavers perform in this video:
What To Look For Buying Your Best Meat Cleaver
Some cleavers are made not only for slicing through the meat but also for other cutting functions. For instance, CPK Elite is also good for cutting, mincing, and dicing vegetables. This versatility can save you the cost of getting another knife.
* Ergonomic, Non-Slip Handle
For comfort and safety, make sure that the handle of the cleaver is ergonomically designed. It should support your wrist and allows you to do a powerful cutting motion without the extra weight.
Also, make sure that the handle is not slippery. The last thing you need is to have the blade of the cleaver slip from your hands and end up slicing your finger instead of the meat.
If you like having an antibacterial effect, look for a Pakka wood handle which is also comfortable to use.
Just like with any other purchase, durability is key in choosing the best meat cleaver. Usually, full tang knives are very strong because they come in one solid piece.
Investing on a rust-proof blade, like stainless steel, can make a big difference because you’ll be using the cleaver mostly in heavy-duty applications.
* Built-In Hole
A meat cleaver may consume a bit of room in your drawer. For this reason, look for a cleaver with a built-in hole. The hole allows you hang your cleaver on a rack or wall.
All of the cleavers I reviewed below have holes on them except for the Dalstrong Cleaver. You might wonder why the hole is built on the blade, not on the handle. The answer is simply for safety.
You don’t want the blade hanging freely because it might bump into your kitchen walls or worse slice your finger.
* Ease Of Maintenance
You may look for a dishwasher-safe cleaver if you don’t want to risk your finger in manually cleaning the blade. Although manual washing is recommended, there’s nothing more convenient than letting your dishwasher do the job.
Usually, a stainless steel blade is easy to maintain because it resists rust and washes rather easily.
Contrary to popular belief, expensive doesn’t always mean a good thing. For the case of meat cleavers, the cheaper models are alright since they don’t need to be razor sharp. Selecting expensive German or Japanese cleavers may be unwise since a cleaver is meant to get beaten up.
* Money Back Guarantee
I always look for a money back guarantee when buying a kitchen appliance or equipment because it allows me to ask for a replacement or a refund. I suggest that you do the same so you get peace of mind in case you bought a defective model.
Before you purchase the cleaver make sure that you check the manufacturer’s return policy so you get the refund or replacement as promised.
Top 5 Best Cleaver Knives Reviewed
Now that you read the guide, let’s review each of the contenders for the best meat cleaver.
With its sharp and heavy blade, it cuts through the toughest meat and even capable of precision cuts. This cleaver has a full tang design making it one solid piece from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle.
You can bet that the blade won’t fall off incidentally. The handle is ergonomically designed to be non-slip and comfortable. Aside from the knife, this package also includes a free odor removing soap.
This cleaver is carefully tapered to improve flexibility and hardness. I like its Pakka wood handle because it gives a good grip and great maneuverability. It’s triple riveted so the handle stays securely in place even with some constant heavy beating.
The ergonomic handle is made of ABS + 430 material to give that good grip and easy maneuver. This multipurpose knife can be used to cut through big slabs of meat, fruits, and vegetables.
Although handwashing is recommended, this knife is dishwasher-safe meaning that you can put in the dishwasher for hassle-free cleaning. It’s full tang so the blade stays together with the handle in one piece for durability.
4. iMarku 7-Inch Stainless Steel Chopper-Cleaver
The iMarku Cleaver is a multi-use knife which can also be used for several cooking methods, such as mincing, dicing, and slicing. While it slices meat easily, it can also chop vegetables into small cubes. The lightweight design allows you cut items in high speed.
The best feature of this cleaver is its ergonomic Pakka handle which gives an antibacterial effect on your hands. The stainless steel blade is rust-resistant and seems to hold its edge for a very long time.
Although this isn’t dishwasher-safe, cleaning is easy because the mirror polishing of the blade can be washed with mild soap and water.
5. Product Stop Professional Stainless Steel
This Professional Stainless Steel Butcher Knife is a heavy duty Japanese meat cleaver that can also cut vegetables, fish, and fruits. It’s dishwasher-safe so cleaning will be fast and easy. The whole knife is made of stainless steel for rust resistance and durability.
It comes with a lifetime guarantee to provide refunds or replacements if you feel unsatisfied with the product. The opposite side with the ridges is meant to break bones easily.
It has a built-in hole on the blade so you can hang it in your kitchen but keep it away from the kids and pets because the blade is very sharp.
My Best Meat Cleaver
Looking at the reviews above, it’s easy to point that my pick is the CPK Elite Stainless Steel Professional Cleaver Knife. This is because it meets the criteria of being the best meat cleaver.
CPK Elite is versatile, easy to maintain, made of an ergonomically-designed handle, offers a money back guarantee, and best of all durable.
As compared to the rest of the products, CPK Elite includes a nice package and an odor removing soap. This makes this a nice gift to your family and friends.
Did you have fun reading the reviews for the best meat cleaver? You should consider getting a meat cleaver if you like chop through thick meats with bones. Of course, take heed of my advice because I don’t want you to throw away the money to something poor in quality.
If you’ve tried any of these meat cleaver brands or want to suggest a better brand, post them here in the comment section. Please share this article with your friends if you like it.