How to Choose a Chinese Cleaver

For dedicated meat lovers and those who take cooking seriously, a high-quality Chinese meat cleaver is an essential knife in their kitchen. As we all know, it’s really terrible to cut the meat without a great Chinese meat cleaver. But before further investment, you should know some basic knowledge about Chinese meat cleavers.

How to select the best Chinese cleaver

1. Blade Materials

Everyone knows blade materials are important for effortless cutting and sharpening. Generally, Chinese meat cleavers have thicker knife blades than other knives. It is made of sturdy steel which allows you to go through tough pieces of meat without the worry of breaking or chipping. The sharpness and the edge retention both are vital for a butcher knife, so, it’s better to choose high carbon stainless steel, which is famous for holding its sharpness for a long time.

In addition, the blade could be straight or curved. A straight-style blade is more traditional and effective at cutting tough meat, tendon, and insert between bones. However, a curved blade is good at boning but requires more practice to master the cutting techniques.

2. Handle

The knife handle is another important factor that should be considered. It’s difficult to avoid messy when butchering, for example, blood, fat, and juices will often end up on the handle. If the handle is slippage, it’s very dangerous. Thus, it’s important to find a handle that has a textured surface or some kind of material that reduces slipping. Nylon, wood, polymer, and other synthetic materials have their own particularly effective at assisting with a non-slip grip.  Which one to choose is a preference issue. please note that Wooden handles require more maintenance because they can get rough over time. So remember rub wooden handles with mineral oil to help preserve them after washing and drying it.

Moreover, comfort is also an essential factor. Choose an ergonomically designed knife that fits comfortably in your the same time, It should also provide you with plenty of space between the blade and the kitchen counter.

3. Size

Most Chinese meat cleavers range in length from 6-inch to 14-inch and it’s a perfect size for cutting all kinds of meat. If you are a beginner, we recommend choosing a small cleaver that you can handle easily. The smaller cleaver is good for smaller pieces of meat, like poultry or chops. Of course, it’s convenient and portable for outdoor uses such as hunting or camping.

If you are a professional chef with a lot of experience in butchering, a long cleaver may be your better choice. The larger cleaver knives are good for bigger hunks, like venison, and best for skinning in one long swipe.

Generally, 8 to 10-inch Chinese meat cleavers are perfect for home chefs, while the larger sizes are more commonly loved by professional chefs.

4. Weight

According to the cleaver need to handle all your heavy duties, thus, Chinese meat cleaver is typically a little bit heavier than other kitchen knives. what’s more, some outdoor campaigns like caping will use this kind of knife for meat preparation. A lighter-weight knife is good for cutting steak or roasted meat. A heavier-weight knife is good at cutting something large or strong. It depends on where you will use it and how heavy the cutting tasks.

5. Balance

A person who needs to prepare food knows how important the balance is. All knives feel different from their handle to their heft.

Generally, full-tang knives can fit in your hand better and easier to offer balance. A well-balanced knife provides more control over the knife and safer for cutting, allowing you to fully finish all your butchering tasks.

6. Easy Maintenance

Don’t overlook the maintenance required to keep your knife in good condition.  Some blades are easier to sharpen than others due to the style of the blade. The straight style edges are much easier to sharpen than curved style blades.

In addition, compared with stainless steel, carbon steel can last longer without the need for sharpening.

7. Ease of Cleaning

As any cook knows, cleaning is a painful task especially when you handle raw meat and fish. however, we have to clean our knife well every time we use it to ensure pure convenience and safety. you may prefer a dishwasher-safe butcher knife, but we recommend a hand wash to make sure your knife always performs well.

8. Sturdiness and Durability

We believe that you will want to make sure your cleaver knife lasts as long as possible. The knife should be sturdy and durable and resist both rust and stains well whatever it is made of.

Generally, Stamped blades are cut from a whole piece of stainless steel, so, it is lighter weight but less anti-rust and less durable either. If you are new to knife working or with a limited budget, you can try stamped knives as they are more cost effective.

If you are professional chefs or have enough budget, we recommend trying forged blades that have been physically forged from layers of steel and then shaped to form an actual blade. Knife makers have to spend more time and expertise on the forged process, it requires more experienced craftsmanship and keeps stronger and more durable, thus, forged blades tend to be more expensive.

9. Warranty

Ideally, it should be supplied with a long warranty, thus, we can replace our Chinese meat cleaver trouble-free when an issue occurs during a warranty.

10. Aesthetics

Looks are important. If you’re going to spend money on a quality knife, you need to be satisfied with its visual appearance. It’s hard to offer advice because it’s a personal preference issue. The key is to find a visually pleasing butcher knife and with good maintenance to keep its value. Don’t let your knife stain and rust.

11. Safety

If you need to make food preparation in the kitchen, you have to worry about your own safety. Don’t let kitchen knives damage you.

Ideally, there should be a special notch in the blade handle to rest your finger in to protect your finger. It will be good if the knife comes with a special sheath.

How to Choose a Chinese Cleaver

Other Frequently asked questions

1. How do I sharpen a Cleaver knife?

In terms of sharpening, there are a variety of options. The best choice is whetstone: hold the blade at a 10 to 15-degree angle to the stone and push the knife backward and forwards about 5 times. Knife sharpeners and sharpening steel is another choice for sharpening. if you don’t have a professional sharpening tool in your kitchen, you can also find replacement tools for sharpening, more details visit how to sharpen knives whetstone.

2. Can a Chinese meat cleaver be used to cut any bones?

A Chinese meat cleaver is suitable for cutting meat, cartilage, sinew, tough skin, and bones.

If you are interested in finding some best meat cleaver knives, refer to our article: The 8 best cleaver knife of 2021.

A meat cleaver has some special power on meat cutting, chopping, and slicing. Hope you have a better understanding of the factors that should be considered when you buy a cleaver knife. With the right cleaver knife, enjoy a better kitchen life.


Evan Riddle
I'm a cooking enthusiast, I enjoy making different dishes when I'm free. I've tried different recipes. And this blog is where I share my opinion on kitchen knives and cooking ideas.

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