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Top 7 Meat Cleaver Knives for Any Kitchen

Finding the best meat cleaver is a big decision for chefs and home cooks alike.

meat cleaver with wooden handle

As a versatile and large knife, a meat cleaver can tackle big and small jobs. From butchering a large meat carcass to slicing a tough pineapple, the cleaver can make short work of it all.

By investing in a high-quality cleaver, you can have endless options for preparing proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

The precision of these blades also allows for finely slicing vegetables big and small. It is a truly adaptable knife.

The cleaver offers many unique and familiar uses, earning it a rightful spot on many chefs’ lists of kitchen essentials.

We have gathered the best meat cleavers below with key features to satisfy your needs. Check out our favorites and add one to your kitchen!

Wüsthof 6-inch Classic Cleaver

If you are looking for a blade that boasts both power and durability, look no further than the Wüsthof 6-inch Classic Cleaver.

This cleaver can make your preparation of meat, bones, and tough fibers seem easy. I trust the strength and sturdiness of this knife. I also recommend this cleaver for its synthetic handle, making for easy cleaning.

Pros:

Strength – the rigid steel can withstand the toughest foods

Balance – with a sturdy handle to match the blade, this cleaver is designed to be well balanced

Cons:

Expense – one of the higher-priced items on this list


Dexter-Russell 8-Inch Heavy Duty Meat Cleaver

As an American-made product, the Dexter-Russell 8-Inch Heavy Duty Meat Cleaver prioritizes craftsmanship and quality in this powerful blade.

With an 8 inch blade and 6-inch handle, this cleaver offers 14 total inches of heavy-duty kitchenware. I appreciate the high-carbon, stain-free steel, which gives me confidence in every cut of meat and fish with this cleaver.

Pros:

Precision – specially-designed edge-geometry of this blade allows it to maintain high precision for years 

Classic design – stands out with its traditional wooden handle that provides a firm, comfortable grip with a classic look

Cons:

Size – the heft of this cleaver is best for those prepared to wield 10 inches of power


Dalstrong Gladiator Series Cleaver

The Dalstrong Gladiator Series Cleaver certainly lives up to its name as Ravager. This ergonomically designed cleaver offers many possible uses, from meat to vegetables.

Featuring a functional Garolite handle and a razor-sharp blade, this 9-inch cleaver is intentional from tang to tip. I recommend this blade for its unique construction and sleek design.

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Pros:

Unique shape – curved edge of this blade allows you to make precise cuts beneath skin and scales

Hygienic – sanitary build and easy-to-clean surface make it ideal for bustling kitchens

Cons:

Weight – has been reported to be slightly heavy for some users 


HENCKELS Meat Cleaver, 6″, Black/Stainless Steel

Forged in Spain, the HENCKELS Meat Cleaver is a seamless and powerful tool. The 4.75-inch triple-riveted handle balances the strong, 5.75-inch blade.

It is even safe to clean in the dishwasher. The satin-finished surface gives a polished look while maintaining sharpness for years to come.

Pros:

Affordable – materials that are high quality but accessible to modest chefs

German steel – offers the finest stainless steel blade

Cons:

Size – rings in at around 10 inches, making it a smaller model


Shun Classic 7-Inch Cleaver

This Shun Classic 7-Inch Cleaver is a high-quality option for a lightweight but powerful cleaver. This thin blade cuts through thick vegetables such as cabbage and all proteins.

I especially admire this product for its beautifully designed Damascus steel layers. This blade will naturally release food, resist stains, and last for a lifetime.

Pros:

Authentic – handcrafted blade from Japan

Lightweight – with a thin profile and razor-sharp edge

Cons:

Vegetable Cleaver – limits the ability to slice through dense bones or joints


Zwilling Pro Meat Cleaver

If you’re looking for a high-end German blade, the Zwilling Pro Meat Cleaver will not disappoint.

Made from a single piece of high-carbon steel, this cleaver will stay sharp longer. My favorite feature about this product is the unique curved bolster grip. When working with this special handle, you can exercise precision with ease.

Pros:

Ice-hardened blade – ensures the highest durability and strength

Curved bolster grip – allows a professional pinch grip to maintain maximum comfort and control

Cons:

Less affordable – the many special features of this cleaver raise its value as the most expensive option on this list


Zelite Infinity Cleaver 

For a budget-conscious knife with an intentional design, the Zelite Infinity Cleaver checks all the boxes.

The German steel gives the proper weight and power to chop through means, vegetables, hard fruits, and light bones.

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I recommend this cleaver for home cooks or recreational barbecuers who need a hefty knife to take care of big meals effortlessly.

Pros:

Affordable – allows beginners or chefs alike to try the power of a cleaver

Ergonomic – designed to match the curvature of your hand

Cons:

Less durability – some users note the sharpness waning with use


What is a Meat Cleaver? 

A meat cleaver is one of the biggest knives a chef can possess in their knife collection.

However, many testify that their home kitchens only need a cleaver and a paring knife for every possible culinary task. Unlike other chef’s knives which cut with a rocking motion, a cleaver chops using a hammer-like stroke.

A defining feature of the cleaver is the rectangular surface of steel forming the blade. Paired with a strong tang and handle, this balanced weight helps chefs and butchers to slice straight through joints and bones all at once. 

Since cleavers are usually made from high-carbon steel, they are designed to last the owner a long time.

When looking for which cleaver to buy, one that is well-balanced between blade and tang will ensure safety and comfort. Cleavers also can be found in slightly different shapes to allow skinning, slicing, and hammering capabilities.


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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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