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Feb 2, 2011 03:43 PM

Paring/utility knife recommendations?

Looking for a cheap paring knife and some type of utility serrated knife for tomatoes and things that my chefs knife and the paring knife aren't made for.

Any recommendations on something cheap? For the paring knife, what is more common, 3.5'' or 4''? Was looking at the Victorinox and Dexter-Russell knives in 3.25'' for around $5-8. Also saw the Wusthof Classic 3.5'' knife, for $40.. that much better for $30+ more than the cheap commercial knives?

Also saw some reviews on the F Dick 7'' Offset utility knife - around $25.. any opinion on this knife, or something better for the same price point or lower?

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    1. For cheap paring knives, both Victorinox and Dexter-Russell work just fine. I have a Dexter-Russell. That said, there are cheap Henckels Twin and Wusthof paring knives too, not forged of course. Here is an example:

      I have a Wusthof Blackwood Ikon paring knife - not cheap. For some tasks, it is better. For others, it is no better than my cheaper paring knives.

      Another paring knife to consider is the Kuhn Rikon. I don't own one, but many people like it:

      The only thing I am not sure is why do you say "Looking for a cheap paring knife and some type of utility serrated knife for tomatoes and things that my chefs knife and the paring knife aren't made for."

      What do you mean by your Chef's knife is not made for? Unless you are peeling a tomato, your Chef's knife is exactly the right tool for cutting a tomato

      10 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        "What do you mean by your Chef's knife is not made for? Unless you are peeling a tomato, your Chef's knife is exactly the right tool for cutting a tomato"

        Only if it's sharp, a dull Chef's knife will make tomato juice.

        1. re: mikie

          True, but then the problem is not the design of the Chef's knife.

          1. re: mikie

            While do not understand your knife issues ( I have sharpness issue so pretty much anything I own that I think can cut something is ultra sharp); I do like kuhnrikon knives as they are making them now. I think they are fun and not intimidating. My Mom does not share my knife interest, but I subtly brought in 2 kuhnrikon knives (a 7 in and a 10 in) that she now uses. ( If I could only "innocently" throw out her ultra dull, but favorite other knives)
            Beside that point, in terms of personal issues, a great chef knife is my hand, but a paring knife is several fingers working in tandem

            Some of us here are knife Ausrberger types. My Mom made me understand the "I just want a knife".

            I think kuhnrikon are a good start off place and T.J.Max (how that chain is called in your area may vary) sells them pretty cheap. Try one (they even come in 4 packs) out.

            I am a knife snob, oh geesh am it! But understand folks who just want a knife. I am suggesting the best I know for the first mentioned.

            Chemical.....not all folks are us.

            1. re: Quine

              can you sharpen those kuhn rikon knives just like a normal knife? wondering because of the nonstick coating.

              1. re: jrad

                I tk but am not sure that KR makes a sharpener for them.

                I just got a set for kick-around use and i love them - cuts well for small jobs, low maintenance, and colorful/fun. wish all knives came with a protective sheath - makes a huge difference (for me, anyway).

                EDIT: This KR sharpener apparently sharpens nonstick:

                  1. re: Quine

                    yes. :-) (and agree they're not shuns, but good enough for random things)

                1. re: jrad

                  "Edge" is non-coated. sharpable. They work well, really. And I do have Knife-Asbergers.

                  I am saying these are better than alot but sure are not Shuns.

                2. re: Quine

                  One of my best purchases at TJMaxx was a set of kuhnrikon knives, a set that had several serrated knives. One of those looks like a small bread knife with a rounded tip. It's great for cutting sandwiches and smaller pieces of bread. I have at least a half dozen small knives in various shapes. Some are sharper than others, some shapes are just better for certain tasks.

                  I keep one of the sheathed KR knifes at the dinning table, for the occasional task that needs something sharper than the tableware.

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                My experience is that a serrated "tomato knife" does cut a tomato more reliably than my chef's knife, though maybe the chef's knife would be superior if I were to get it sharpened. And the tomato/serrated utility knife is very handy for all kinds of other prep tasks: if it has a round end, it makes a good spreader and then slicer of sandwiches, especially ones made with crusty bread. I got a nice Wusthof one (the Gourmet 4101 12 cm) for $22. at a not-discount kitchen shop last week, and wondered why I hadn't done it sooner.

              3. I have a set of 4 little Henckels knives I got at Target for < $20. I've had them for about 5 years and they've been great! One is serrated and perfect for tomatoes. I hope this link works:

                1. I use my chef's knife for ALMOST everything but at times a paring knife is just the ticket. The Nogent 2 1/2" is so good I would recommend springing for it unless someone else makes something cheaper that is as nimble and takes as good an edge. It is very pointed and precise.

                  1. Maybe try cutcos? ::runs away::

                    I joke, I joke. Just get yourself a forschner/victorinox or two. Here's their tomato knife.

                    And their paring knife:
                    The wusthof will look and feel nicer than the forschner, but it won't cut any better. You can decide if that's worth it to you. The wusthof is also stiffer and heavier, which is not necessarily an improvement. Haven't tried the Dexter-Russell.

                    As paring knife length goes, either 3.5" or 4" are both common - one's not really any more standard than the other. It comes down to what you prefer. I like a shorter paring knife, but I only use em for paring and off-board work. If you intend to use one also as a utility knife, longer might be better for you.

                    As for the f dick - some people use offset serrated knives for pretty much everything. I'm not one of them, but if I were I would pick a longer knife, space permitting. Makes it more useful for bread and also as a slicer, for meats and such. They're essentially disposable - most people throw em away once dull and buy another. I have no experience with that particular knife, but F Dick generally makes good, functional knives at a decent price.

                    Or, possibly even better, get yourself a cheap-but-easy-and-effective sharpener and use your chefs knife to cut tomatoes. This should work well enough.
                    Pretty much everything you make in the kitchen will go easier with a sharper chefs knife. If your chefs knife is cheap enough, it may not take much of an edge even with sharpening - a forchner or dexter russell or f dick chefs knife should be reasonably affordable and sharpen up just fine.