For many chefs and home cooks, the petty knife (a.k.a. utility knife) is one of the most important tools in the kitchen.
This handy blade can do everything from slicing tomatoes and dicing small vegetables to trimming boneless meat and cutting bread. It’s perfect for everyday use.
That’s why the Mercer Utility Knife is one of the best kitchen utility knives in my opinion. It’s versatile, has great reviews, and hits that sweet spot between performance and affordability.
But there are a wide range of utility knives out there. Some features depend on your personal preference. Read about each knife’s material and design so you can pick the right tool for the job.
Which kitchen utility knife is right for you? Keep reading to learn more.
At a Glance
Utility Knives: Reviews
Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-inch Utility Knife: Overall Best Petty Knife
The Mercer Culinary Genesis series features German high-carbon stainless steel for extra durability. This 5-inch Utility Knife is a classic Western utility knife that’s ideal for all types of kitchen tasks.
This knife’s blade has a taper-ground edge for increased efficiency while increasing edge retention. The forged construction delivers long-lasting performance, while the full tang provides balance.
This Mercer petty knife is ideal for everyday use, including fruit, cheese, apples, small veggies, or cutting sandwiches.
The synthetic Santoprene handle offers an ergonomic design and a comfortable slip-resistant grip. You can use this knife safely, even with wet hands.
This Mercer kitchen utility knife has a straight blade that can be sharpened with a knife sharpener. The blade shape is well-suited for chopping.
Carefully wash your Mercer petty knife with warm water and mild soap. Dry immediately with a soft towel to prevent rust. This knife is not dishwasher-safe.
Customers were impressed with the sharpness and the sturdy stainless steel blade. They used it for all sorts of cutting tasks.
The Mercer Culinary Genesis Petty Knife is not the least expensive knife on my list, but it’s still very affordable. I would say this is the best-value utility knife.
- Razor-sharp blade
- Forged construction
- High-carbon stainless steel blades
- Comfortable slip-resistant handles
- Good shape for chopping
- Durable Western-style knife
- Hand wash only
Mercer Culinary Millennia 6-inch Utility Knife: Runner-Up Overall
This Mercer Culinary Millennia Utility Knife is a slight step down from the Genesis knife, but it’s still good quality and offers a lot of functionality.
It has a blade length of 6 inches (15.2 cm), so it can handle slicing tomatoes, dicing vegetables, and trimming meat with equal ease.
This Mercer knife is crafted with a single piece of high-carbon Japanese stainless steel for edge retention and easy maintenance.
The ergonomic handle has textured finger points to provide a non-slip grip with additional comfort and safety. It offers good balance and weight, as well.
This is a great tool for cutting bread, slicing pickles and cheese, peeling apples, or dicing fruits and vegetables. It offers versatility for home cooks.
To get the most out of your Mercer utility knife, you should wash the blade by hand with warm water and mild detergent. Do not put this knife in this dishwasher or soak it in water for long. It will rust if you do.
Your utility knife will also perform better for a longer period of time with regular sharpening. You can use a sharpening rod after each use, as well.
The Mercer utility knife is affordable, so you don’t have to break the bank to get a good-quality knife.
- High-carbon stainless steel blade
- Longer blade length for heavier tasks
- Comfortable non-slip handle
- Straight blade for easy sharpening
- Lighter weight
- Needs frequent sharpening
- Not best for smaller hands
OXO Good Grips 5-inch Serrated Utility Knife: Best Serrated Utility Knife
Slice tomatoes without bruising or crushing them with the OXO Good Grips 5-in Serrated Utility Knife. This petty knife features a stainless steel, serrated blade with a sharp edge.
The blade length is perfect for a variety of tasks, from cutting small vegetables to trimming chicken breasts.
The rubber handle is comfortable and provides a secure non-slip grip. All of OXO’s Good Grips products feature the same handle material, which is one of the reasons this line won the Tylenol/Arthritis Foundation Design Award.
Customers had high praise for the comfortable handle. They liked the lightweight design and the versatility. They used this knife for a wide range of kitchen tasks.
Another nice perk is that this knife is very affordable. It’s a budget-friendly kitchen knife.
But you will have to hand wash this OXO knife after use. It’s not safe for the dishwasher. You also can’t sharpen the blade with a whetstone.
But since this utility knife is so affordable, you’ll come cheaper by just replacing it once it dulls.
- Serrated blade is great for sawing
- Comfortable grip
- Soft, water-resistant rubber handle
- Sharp edge
- Hand wash only
- Can’t sharpen it
Cuisinart 5-inch Serrated Utility Knife: Best Budget Serrated Petty Knife
If you’re looking the most affordable utility knife, you can’t beat this Cuisinart 5-Inch Utility Knife. This blade is the best petty knife for your budget but still brings a lot to the table.
The high-carbon stainless steel blade is sharp for precision and accuracy. The forged, extra-wide safety bolster gives you perfect stability and control.
The serrated edge is ideal for sawing cuts like with tomatoes and bread. It’s not as effective for chopping or small cuts. The serration is larger, so you’ll experience a bit more drag than with other knives.
The full-tang means the blade extends through the length of the handle for added durability. And the stainless steel rivets secure the blade to the handle.
Speaking of the handle, it’s made of a synthetic material that’s water-resistant and non-porous. It’s ergonomically designed to give you a secure, easy grip.
This knife comes with a blade guard for convenient, safe storage. And with most Cuisinart products, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
This Cuisinart utility knife won’t last a lifetime. It’s too brittle and easy to crack for it to last that long. However, with proper care and maintenance, it could last several years.
And since this knife is so budget-friendly you’ll most likely get your money’s worth long before it’s time for a replacement.
- Stainless steel blade is sharp
- Full-tang with safety bolster
- Comfortable handle
- Good balance
- Includes a blade guard
- Not as durable
- Not as fine of serration
Chicago Cutlery 6-inch Utility Knife: Best Utility Knife with Wooden Handle
This Chicago Cutlery Utility Knife has a blade length of 6 inches (15.2 cm) and has a classic appearance with solid performance.
The stainless steel blade is rust-resistant, stain-resistant, and pit-resistant. It’s perfect for enthusiastic home cooks. The 25° taper-grind edge is razor-sharp for cutting efficiency.
The straight blade means you can maintain the blade at home with a sharpening tool or honing rod.
This utility knife features full tang construction, so the blade extends through the handle. The triple brass rivets add strength, balance, and control for safe handling during meal prep.
The handle material is walnut wood. The shape gives you a firm grip for stability. Since wood is a porous material, it’s important to keep the handle dry.
After using the knife, wash it with warm water and mild soap. Dry with a towel immediately to avoid warping or expanding the wooden handle.
Chicago Cutlery offers a limited warranty on this utility knife for peace of mind.
Customers were happy with the appearance and cutting ability of this knife. They liked the cutting performance and the edge retention.
However, several had complaints regarding the handle. Many found it uncomfortable to hold when cutting, while others had issues with misaligned or loose rivets.
Many compared this newer version to their older Chicago Cutlery kitchen knives, and the newer blades came up short.
This Chicago Cutlery utility knife is not a forever knife. If you’re drawn to it because of the brand name, thinking it will last a lifetime, you’ll be disappointed.
However, if you expect it to be a good value knife that will require a little maintenance and babying, you’re right over the target. I recommend this knife, but only for those who are prepared for what they’re getting.
- Full-tang construction
- Beautiful walnut handle
- Triple-riveted for sturdiness
- Razor-sharp edge
- Can be sharpened at home
- Hand wash only
- Handle design could be improved
Farberware Edgekeeper 4.5-inch Utility Knife: Best Budget Straight Edge Petty Knife
The Farberware Edgekeeper Utility Knife has a blade length of 4.5 inches (11.4 cm), so it’s a bit on the smaller side. Still, it’s great for smaller hands and cutting small fruit, vegetables, and other tasks.
The blade material consists of high-carbon stainless steel for extra precision when cutting.
One of my favorite features about this utility kitchen knife is the self-sharpening blade cover. The sheath is designed to sharpen your knife with every use, making it easier to maintain the edge.
The polypropylene handle has an ergonomic shape for stability and a comfortable grip. This blade is great for dicing, chopping, and mincing a variety of fruits and vegetables.
When it comes time to clean your blade, wash it with warm water and mild soap. Rinse and dry immediately. Wipe the protective cover with a damp, clean cloth as needed.
The user reviews were mixed. Several users were pleased with the sharpness and the lightweight feel. They were happy with their results, especially considering what a bargain this knife is.
Others, however, felt that the knife lacked quality. A common refrain was, “You get what you pay for.” It’s not full-tang, and it does have a thinner blade.
If you want top-of-the-line, this Farberware utility kitchen knife is not it. If you want a good value (or if you’re new to kitchen knives), this blade can handle a variety of smaller kitchen tasks with no problem.
- Ergonomic handle
- Self-sharpening sheath for easy sharpening
- Stainless steel blade
- Lighter weight
- Shorter blade length
- Not ideal for larger hands
Henckels Classic Utility Knife: Best Mid-Range Utility Knife
When you think of kitchen knives, Henckels probably comes to mind. This Henckels Classic Utility Knife has a blade length of 6 inches (15.2 cm) and offers a lot of value and style.
Henckels is a German brand, and the blade material is a high-quality German stainless steel, but the knife is made in Spain. It features fully-forged construction and a full-tang for superior quality and safe performance.
Slicing strawberries, mincing garlic, and cutting cheddar are easy with this kitchen utility knife. Take on any everyday task with this blade.
The handle is polypropylene and is triple riveted with stainless steel rivets for extra durability. The full bolster provides a seamless transition from blade to handle and adds a measure of safety.
This is easy to clean, as well. Of all the utility knives listed, this is the only one that’s dishwasher-safe. Of course, I still recommend hand washing your knives if possible. Store your knife in a knife block or a protective sheath to maintain the edge.
Users found this knife to have good weight distribution and excellent performance. They had high praise for the Henckels petty knife.
This knife is on the pricier side, but if you want something to make food prep easier, this will do it. With proper care and maintenance, the Henckels Classic utility knife should last for several years to come.
- Long-lasting sharpness
- Triple riveted handle for stability
- High-quality stainless steel blade
- Ergonomic design, easy to hold
- Forged construction and full-tang for safety and control
- Non-porous handle
- On the pricier side
Shun Premier 6.5-inch Utility Knife: Best Splurge Utility Knife
Shun knives have a reputation for being top-of-the-line, and it’s not hard to see why. The Shun Premier Utility Knife is preferred by both cooking enthusiasts and professional chefs for its quality, durability, and gorgeous appearance.
This blade is handcrafted in Japan. It features 68 layers of polished Damascus-patterned stainless steel and a VG-MAX cutting core. The core has higher carbon content for strength and hardness, while the outer cladding is rust-resistant and makes it easier to sharpen.
It has a double bevel, meaning the edge is sharp on both sides of the blade. It’s also forged and full-tang, all marks of meticulous craftsmanship.
The Shun Premier knife is sturdy and long enough to handle heavy-duty tasks. We’re talking carving boneless meats, slicing vegetables, cutting fruits, and even mincing herbs. No task is too much for this versatile knife.
The polished Pakkawood handle is contoured and resists moisture. It has a walnut finish and is comfortable to hold. The handle sports a stainless steel end cap and a full safety bolster.
The length of the blade is the perfect in-between size, smaller than a Chef’s knife and larger than a paring knife.
Users had rave reviews for this utility knife, as well. They loved the cutting performance on all types of food, and they liked the weight and balance of the knife. Plus, the durability means this knife can last a lifetime.
The only downside? It’s priced as a forever knife. You’ll need a flexible budget for Shun knives. However, if you’re looking for your last utility knife, you might just find it’s worth the extra cost.
- Gorgeous appearance
- Comfortable Pakkawood handle
- Superior edge retention
- Full-tang knife
- Long-lasting durability
Victorinox Swiss Classic 4-Piece Knife Set: Best Kitchen Utility Knife Set
Last but not least is the Victorinox Swiss Classic 4-Piece Knife Set. Victorinox advertises these knives as a paring knife set, but their material, blade length, and design match the description of utility knives.
This set of utility knives is great for making food prep light and easy. The super sharp serrated blade makes quick work of slicing tomatoes or bread. And the colorful handles make it easy to designate each knife for a different task.
If you’re keeping a Kosher kitchen, these are the best kitchen utility knives for avoiding cross-contamination.
They appear to be stamped, partial tang blades. They’re also on the thinner side. That means they won’t have the long-lasting durability of other knives, but these are also budget-friendly, so it’s a trade-off.
But don’t think that their affordability means you have to sacrifice value. These Victorinox kitchen utility knives are lightweight, easy to use, comfortable to hold, and great for food prep.
If you want kitchen utility knives for easy, low-maintenance use, these kitchen utility knives are great. If you want a forever knife that’s top-notch, you may prefer a different option.
- Includes four knives
- Lightweight, easy to handle
- Colorful handles easy to distinguish
- Super sharp serrated blade
- Comfortable rubber grip
- Thinner blade
- Not as durable, long-term
Petty Knives Buying Guide
How Is a Petty Knife Different Than a Chef’s Knife?
While they’re both versatile, a petty/utility knife blade is shorter than a Chef’s knife. Your average utility knife will be anywhere from 4.5 to 6 inches (11.4-15.2 cm), while a Chef’s knife usually comes in at 8 inches (20 cm).
The petty knife also sports a straighter blade, compared to the curved blade of the typical Western Chef’s knife.
How to Sharpen a Petty/Utility Knife
Even the sharpest knife will need to be sharpened after a while. The best way to sharpen a utility knife depends on the edge. The best way to sharpen straight edges is with a whetstone.
Lay the blade at a 45° angle against the whetstone, with the edge of the blade facing away from you. Hold the knife in your dominant hand and move the knife in a back-and-forth motion. It helps to work in sections along the blade.
Once you’ve passed the knife over the whetstone 10-15 times, flip over the whetstone and repeat the process on the side with the finer grit. In-between sharpening, use a honing rod after each use for everyday maintenance.
For a more detailed guide on sharpening with a whetstone, check out this article.
If your blade has a serrated edge, I recommend sending the knife to a professional for sharpening.
How is a Petty Knife Different Than a Paring Knife?
Paring knives are smaller than utility knives, typically around 3 inches long (7.6 cm). A paring knife features a straight edge that’s designed to cut around items like strawberries and apples. It’s used for peeling and paring but not for up-and-down chopping.
What to Look for In a Petty Knife
The handle material and design are essential to the functionality of a kitchen utility knife.
The most common knife handle materials are wood, Pakkawood (composite), and rubber. Each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages. Wood handles are beautiful and durable, but they can expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.
Pakkawood is a composite of wood and resin material. It’s durable, smooth, and resists moisture. However, it’s not dishwasher-safe and requires some maintenance. Apply tung oil to the handle to mitigate fading.
Silicone handles are soft, heat-resistant, and easy to grip. There is a wide range of quality among rubber handles, however. Some will break down easily, while others can withstand everyday use.
When it comes to holding the knife, a comfortable grip is essential. A bulky tube handle is not as easy to grip as a curved, ergonomic handle. You also want a knife with good balance.
When it comes to utility knives, the sharper, the better. A razor-sharp blade is not only crucial to making clean cuts, but it’s also safer than a dull knife.
Sharpness is typically expressed with the angle used to hone the blade. The smaller the number, the sharper the blade. But with most budget brands, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the exact angle.
Thinner, more flexible blades are suited for delicate tasks and for breaking down chicken since they can slide easily between the bone and the meat.
Slightly more curved blades are ideal for rocking cuts. They’re great for shallots, peppers, mincing herbs, and more. These are generally not as nimble as the thinner blades, so they’re not as good for precision cutting.
Both types are valuable in the kitchen, but the best type boils down to your personal preference.
Best Kitchen Utility Knife: Conclusion
When it comes to the best kitchen utility knives, I would go with the Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-Inch Utility Knife.
It has excellent reviews, is made of quality materials, and balances that with affordability. It can work for beginners or cooking enthusiasts alike.
If you feel like splurging, the Shun Premier Utility Knife is a beautifully superb blade that can last a lifetime.