The knife length plays a significant role in your knife’s functionality and handling. Therefore, it’s important to figure out how your knife length is measured. But, does knife length include the handle?
Generally, most manufacturers don’t include the handle length when measuring the knife length. However, in rare cases, you may find some that do.
This guide shares everything there is to know about knife lengths for a better understanding of these kitchen cutting tools before investing in one.
How Is a Knife Length Measured?
Generally, the knife length is measured through its blade length, from tip to handle. This means that length doesn’t include the handle length. But, rarely, you can find manufacturers that use both blades and handle length for the knife length.
Why Is Knife Length Important for You?
The length of a knife determines its functionality and comfort when handling it. A bigger knife can handle more value when it comes to cutting, allowing it to cut more and handle larger and tougher food items, like large meat cuts or fruits like watermelon.
A smaller knife is less intimidating and easier to handle, making it better for beginners and amateur cooks. It is also great for cutting smaller and delicate food items, such as smaller vegetables like onions or small fish.
Are Kitchen Knives Measured by Blade Length?
Most kitchen knives are measured by blade length. So, for example, if you see a kitchen knife advertised as a “6-inch knife”, it means that it is fitted with a 6-inch blade. Rarely will you find a manufacturer that measures a kitchen knife using both the blade and handle length.
What Is the Standard Length of a Perfect Kitchen Knife?
The standard length of a perfect kitchen knife should be around 8-inches. This size is popular amongst home cooks due to its versatility and ease of handling. Yet, the size allows it to handle different food volumes, whether a small fish or cabbage head.
Moreover, an 8-inch kitchen knife is fine-tuned to pair well with any home kitchen equipment, whether a standard chopping board or countertop.
Related Post: How Big Should a Chef’s Knife Be?
How Long Should a Knife Handle Be?
The ideal knife handle size should be about 5.5 inches long. This length is specially designed to fit comfortably on your hand and to make cutting easier without accidentally hitting yourself during the cutting process.
Are Smaller Knives Easy to Handle?
Smaller knives are typically easier to handle since their small size allows them to fit on the hand and are much lighter. This means that you can use them for a long period without feeling any strain on your hands.
The downside to using smaller knives is that they only do well for small food items. The knife may not yield the best results for larger foods such as a big fish, a cabbage head, or a pumpkin.
Are Bigger Knives Difficult to Handle?
Large knives can be a little difficult for beginners to handle as they can feel heavy and put a strain on the hands. However, seasoned and professional chefs have enough training and experience to easily navigate the design of big knives, making it easier for them to handle. Nonetheless, whether a beginner or expert, a big knife feels heavy on the hands.
How to Choose the Best Size Kitchen Knife?
Here’s what to look for when choosing the ideal size for a kitchen knife;
The ideal kitchen knife should measure at least 8 inches (13 to 13.5-inches plus handle length). This size works best for cooks of all levels, thanks to the versatility it offers. The size allows the knife to cover different food volumes, from small to large items. Yet, it remains light enough for smoother cutting.
Alternatively, you can get a little more traditional. Typically, a knife length similar to the size of your forearm will be more comfortable to use. So, place the knife on a flat surface with the heel positioned by your wrist. Next, measure the knife from the tip, blade, and heel against your forearm. If the size corresponds, the knife is the ideal size.
Some of the best kitchen knives are made using high carbon stainless steel, stainless steel, or German steel blades. Of the three, high carbon stainless steel offers the best quality.
Its stainless steel composition gives it an incredible resistance to stand, rust, and corrosion. On the other hand, its carbon composition makes it more robust with a sharper and longer edge retaining blade.
The perfect handle should offer a comfortable and secure grip. Yet, you don’t want to feel like you are staining your hands when holding on to it.
Additionally, it should offer knuckle clearance, ensuring your knuckles don’t come in contact with any part of the handle during the cutting process. Some handles even come with molding to fit ergonomically with your hand grip for better comfort.
You can opt for a wooden, plastic, or metal handle. However, a plastic and metal handle may cause your hands to slip when wet. On the other hand, a metal handle may be susceptible to corrosion while a wooden one is susceptible to damage when untreated and left wet for a long period.
Single Edge or Double Edge
A single-edge kitchen knife is sharpened on one side of the blade while a double edge is sharpened on both sides. A single edge produces a finely sharpened edge, making it ideal for cutting delicate food items like fish and vegetables. It is also much easier to sharpen a single edge than a double-edge knife.
A double-edge knife is more versatile thanks to its dual sharpening, handling more demanding cutting tasks. However, it can be a little tricky to sharpen. Whether you go for a single or double bevel entirely depends on your kitchen needs.
Full Tang or Half Tang
A full tang means that the knife blade is fitted to run the length of the handle while a half tang is partially fitted into the handle. Even a full tang tends to be a better option due to the balance and stability it gives the knife. A full tang knife blade is also less likely to snap when in use.
A pointed tip on a blade comes in handy when executing certain cutting tasks. You should prioritize a knife with a pointed tip if you plan on using it for fine mincing, dicing, and quick slicing.
The pointed tip allows the knife to swiftly execute these tasks without its end leaving the cutting board. In turn, it produces faster and perfect results.
Weight and Balance
Weight plays a significant role in the function of your knife. A heavy knife easily cuts through food since its weight allows it to fall more freely. But, a lighter knife is easier to handle and maneuver. A lighter knife makes it easy to continue honing your knife skills since it’s easy to handle.
Ultimately, you want to find a balance between the two. However, if you are still a beginner, you don’t want to focus much on the perfection of each cut. You are better off with a light knife that is easier to handle and to learn with.
The balance refers to how the knife rests comfortably on the hands when you grab the handle. You don’t want the knife to be weighted too much towards the blade or handle. As a general rule of thumb, make sure the knife feels aligned on both four sides, i.e. front, back, left, and right.
The knife length seldom includes the handle length. However, both sizes are pretty important in determining how comfortable and functional your knife will turn out to be. In addition to the knife length (blade length), it is important to figure out the handle length of your knife.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is knife length?
In general, the length of a knife refers to the distance from its tip to the handle’s base. In California, there isn’t a defined maximum length restriction for knives. However, there are specific rules for certain types of knives. Take, for example, switchblade knives – the legal maximum length for them is 2 inches. If you consider other knives, such as daggers or dirks – they aren’t allowed to be carried around in a concealed manner. Laws have also been put in place against carrying knives that are purposely designed for concealment. Personally, as a veteran outdoorsman, I consistently check and adhere to my area’s local and state knife laws. It’s important for safety, and it just helps you avoid any unnecessary trouble when you’re out in the wilderness.
Where is a knife measured from?
When measuring a knife, it is generally done from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle. The length of a knife includes both the handle and blade; however, the length of the blade alone is often considered by some. For example, when I’m fishing, and I need to measure my fillet knife, I usually measure the length of the blade alone because it’s the part that does the cutting and is most significant to me.
What type of knife comes in 4 and 7 inches in length?
The type of knife that commonly is made in lengths of 4 to 7 inches is a Serrated utility knife. They might resemble bread knives, which a lot of people would recognize, but they’re considerably shorter and sharper. These come in handy quite often in my kitchen, because they manage to cut through soft fruits and vegetables without causing any unnecessary damage. And for small tasks like slicing a bagel or grinding sandwich ingredients, they’re just perfect. They’re such a versatile tool – you can even use them for tasks outside the kitchen like cutting cords or small ropes.
What is the length of a kitchen knife approximately?
When you visit a store or purchase online, you’ll find that the most commonly available length for a chef’s knife is 8 inches, which is approximately 20 cm. The reason it’s so common is that it’s just the right size for the average home cook – not too long, not too short. It caters to most kitchen needs efficiently. But remember, there’s no universal size for everyone. I learned that the hard way when I first started cooking. I initially bought an 8-inch knife because it was the standard, but eventually, I had to switch to a shorter knife because it better suited my needs and felt more comfortable in my hands. So, choose the length that best suits your comfort, kitchen tasks, and handling style.
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