Do you want to enjoy the best ingredient preparation in your home kitchen? A good-quality Chinese cleaver is the way to go. Also known as Cai Dao’ or Chinese chef’s knife, a Chinese cleaver offers excellent versatility and cost-effectiveness. Like in Chinese culture, you can use a Chinese cleaver for various cutting tasks.
You can use it for slicing, dicing, and mincing meat and vegetables. Its large rectangular blade with an upper edge that extends to the handle makes it easy for anyone to handle while extending its functionality.
It’s not always easy to identify the right knife for your kitchen needs. After all, you can come across many good-quality Chinese cleaver options on the market.
So, we’ve conducted in-depth testing on some of the market’s top-rated options, looking at factors like quality and functionality.
Ultimately, we were able to round up our recommended list of the best Chinese Cleaver options for this year so you can find a suitable model for your kitchen.
01. Shun Classic 7-inch Cleaver
The Shun Classic Cleaver offers a versatile and all-around design for all vegetable cutting needs. The classic vegetable cleaver incorporates a 7-inch blade ideal for vegetable prepping, while its razor-sharp edge is effective for slicing. Its ultra-wide blade makes it easy to crush food items like garlic.
The cleaver for vegetable cutting features a VG-Max steel cutting core with an extra blend of cobalt, chromium, carbon, and tungsten. In turn, the cleaver has a super steel finish with a solid feel for multiple cutting tasks.
Its solid steel construction makes it strong enough to handle ingredients like cabbage and precise enough for smaller ingredients.
Additionally, the Chinese steel cleaver features a D-shaped Ebony Pakkawood handle infused with resin. This construction allows for a water-resistant and durable handle finish.
02. Zwilling Twin Signature Chinese 7-inch Chef Knife
The Zwilling Twin Sign Signature Chinese Chef Knife is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy maximum control.
We noticed that the premium knife offers an ultra-light performance during our testing process compared to knives of the same specs.
We also noticed that the knife features a single-piece precision blade which helped to complement its lightweight finish.
Yet, it still maintains great strength and functionality thanks to its special formula of high carbon stainless steel. Furthermore, the blade has undergone a Friodur ice-hardening process to keep it sharp for longer while maintaining superior resistance.
The cleaver’s precision-honed blade and laser-controlled edge allow for precision cutting, whether slicing meat or chopping onions.
The lightweight cleaver is fitted with an ergonomic polymer three-riveted handle in the full tang for optimal control and durability to complement its lightweight function.
03. Mercer Culinary Asian Chef’s Knife
Thanks to its blade design, the Mercer Culinary Asian Chef’s Knife is specially built for vegetables. The knife integrates a thin yet solid and stiff finish to handle different vegetable cutting tasks.
The blade’s high tensile finish tackles the most delicate vegetables like cucumber and, at the same time, handles tougher ingredients like coconut.
Its non-stick surface also offers an impressive food finish. You can finally use it to prepare your favorite Asian garnish, whether you use cucumbers, daikon, or beets. Furthermore, the knife has a slightly heavier finish, making it easy to handle for several vegetable cutting needs.
The heavier build throughout the knife gives it outstanding balance between the handle and blade for long-lasting comfort.
When you physically observe the knife, you will notice it’s thick around the spine but gets remarkably thinner as you move up for a more streamlined performance.
04. Victorinox 7-inch Chinese Classic Chef’s Knife
The Victorinox Chinese Classic Chef’s Knife is a perfect choice for those looking for the ultimate butcher knife. The cleaver features an ultra-thin but stiff blade that allows you to effortlessly cut through meat, debone it, and slice it. Nonetheless, this is not all the cleaver does.
The versatile and multipurpose butcher cleaver also allows a selection of slicing, mining, and chopping jobs, whether working on meat or vegetables.
You can also use it to scrape, smash, and scoop processed ingredients. The cleaver is fitted with stainless steel, giving rust, corrosion, and a discoloration-resistant finish.
Its stainless steel blade also maintains a delicate and sharp edge for longer while remaining light. This blade design makes the knife perfect for beginners and experts. On the other hand, its thermoplastic rubber handle improves its grip and water-resistant function.
05. TUO 7-inch Chinese Vegetable Cleaver
The Tuo Chinese chef knife offers excellent value for low-budget customers. While it comes with a budget-friendly price tag, the Chinese cleaver still maintains great functionality and quality for most cutting tasks. The cleaver integrates a curved blade profile with a sharp tip for easy vegetable cutting.
The middle part has a wide and flat surface fit smashing garlic, while the bottom is ideal for mincing meat. Its 7-inch blade size makes it perfect for chopping, mincing, and cutting your ingredients while maintaining incredible power and motion performance.
The blade features a high-quality premium forged high carbon German stainless steel construction. Combined with its High Tech Vacuum Heat Treatment, the cleaver’s blade archives an HRC56. Each edge is also sharpened at an 18-degree angle to give you an ultra razor-sharp performance.
06. Imarku 7-inch Cleaver Knife
The Imarku Cleaver Knife offers the ultimate comfort to allow for longer use. The Chinese cleaver is built with a wooden handle made from Pakkawood for excellent corrosion resistance, durability, and hygiene. The handle’s streamlined design allows for comfortable grip and maneuverability.
This handle design also prevents slippage and accommodates both left and right-handed individuals. On the other hand, the cleaver knife is built with a comfortable-to-use blade. The hand-sharpened German steel blade has an 18-degree angle on both sides with a thin and wide finish.
The artisan-crafted blade design allows fingers to work perfectly away from the cutting surface for added safety and comfort. Additionally, this blade design lets the knife cut through larger and small food pieces.
07. Aroma Chinese 7-inch Meat Cleaver
Integrating a thicker and wider blade design, the Aroma Chinese Cleaver is a great option for meats. The professional-style cleaver is built with high-quality materials to make it an ideal option for both home and commercial kitchens.
The cleaver is built with a high-quality carbon stainless steel blade which gives it a hardness of 58 to 60. It combines chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium elements for even better strength and sharpness while remaining rust and corrosion-resistant.
Additionally, the blade features hand-sharpened edges at 17 degrees and handmade grooves, preventing greens or meat residues.
This blade design also allows ultra-thin slicing and dicing with minimal effort. The chef cleaver knife comes housed in a stylish case to make it a great gifting option.
08. Mueller 7-inch Cleaver Chef Knife
Integrating a highly powerful and versatile blade design, the Mueller cleaver knife is ideal for home and professional kitchen use.
The Mueller brand is known for delivering premium quality German stainless steel blades. This is not different from the premium professional Chinese cleaver. The blade maintains an ultra-sharp edge, rust, corrosion, and discoloration-resistant finish.
It also offers a solid and high tensile finish. Yet, it is still easy to clean, resharpen, and maintain. Furthermore, the professional cleaver comes with a multipurpose finish thanks to its durable construction. You can use it for anything from chopping a lettuce chiffonade and small herbs to breaking a fresh coconut.
On the other end of the cleaver is a Pakkawood handle made with stacked layers of wood for a dense yet compact finish.
The blade design is also waterproof and split-proof. Its streamlined design mitigates premature hand fatigue, allowing you to use the cleaver for longer for different cutting tasks.
09. LUX Decor Chinese 7-inch Cleaver for Meat
The Lux Décor Cleaver is amongst the cheapest Chinese cleavers in the market. Nonetheless, it still offers great functionality to make a great option for home kitchens and beginners. The ultra-cheap Chinese cleaver is made from stainless steel to give it a lightweight and weather-resistant finish.
Its blade also integrates a non-sticky finish, allowing food to glide through easily. Furthermore, the versatile blade can be used for various cutting tasks, whether chopping or slicing vegetables or meat. On the other hand, the knife integrates a stainless steel handle with an ergonomic design.
Thanks to this design, the handle offers a comfortable and long-lasting grip. The stainless steel finish gives the handle a perfect balance, scratch-free, rust-resistant finish. The blade’s ergonomic design accommodates both left-handed and right-handed users.
10. JapanBargain 7-inch Chinese Chopping Knife
The JapanBargain Chinese Chopping Knife is designed to cater to all skill levels. The Japan-made knife features a simple 7-inch blade made from high carbon stainless steel for excellent functionality. The carbon stainless steel blade is infused with molybdenum, giving it a rust-resistant finish.
Additionally, the blade material gives the cleaver a longer-lasting edge and solid ruggedness for a multipurpose performance.
You can use the cleaver for chopping, mincing, and slicing. The blade’s smooth finish allows for a seamless back and forth motion.
This, in turn, allows food to glide through easily and without sticking. To enhance safety, the knife is fitted with a streamlined plastic bolster. Its wooden handle is stylish and allows for comfort and control.
11. Shi BA ZI ZUO Chef Chinese Cleaver
The Shi BA ZI ZUO Chef Chinese Cleaver offers superior flexibility for multipurpose use. The flexible cleaver integrates a well-ground blade edge for impressive sharpness and an upward tip design. In turn, this allows for incredible rocking, slicing, mincing, and dicing of various ingredients.
Additionally, the blade features a non-stick coating on the edge to prevent food from sticking. We used different ingredient profiles, including coconut, squid, and herbs, to test out the knife’s non-stick coating, and it impressed with every ingredient.
However, flexibility and maneuverability are not all the blade offers. While maintaining a lightweight and easy to control build, the blade features 3 layers of laminated stainless steel which gives it a heavy-duty finish.
In fact, this heavy-duty and durable build makes the Chinese chef knife ideal for both home and professional kitchen use.
12. Winco Blade 6.75-inch Chinese Cleaver
The Winco Blade Chinese Cleaver is an excellent option for those who like style. The vegetable cleaver integrates a distinctive-looking, premium wooden handle with a golden bolster and wide brushed carbon stainless steel blade.
But, style is not all this cleaver offers. The blade is constructed from carbon stainless steel for a high tensile and solid finish.
While it may not be the best option for heavy items like bones, the cleaver still offers great performance on multiple food items.
It also maintains a razor-sharp edge for finer precision on smaller ingredients. The blade measures about 6.75 inches long and 3.5 inches wide to tackle various cutting needs.
This size also makes the cleaver ideal for individuals with small and large hands. On the other hand, the dishwasher-friendly cleaver’s wooden handle offers incredible grip and control, even in wet conditions.
What Is a Chinese Cleaver?
Also known as a vegetable cleaver of CAI DAO, a Chinese cleaver is a larger knife with a rectangular-shaped blade used for multiple cutting tasks. Primarily, a Chinese cleaver slices, dices, and minces, both meat and vegetables.
The cleaver generally has a finer and thinner blade with a balanced and curved handle to give it an excellent grip. In addition to its origin in twentieth-century China, this knife is referred to as a Chinese cleaver due to its versatile function. In Chinese culinary culture, a single knife is typically used for most kitchen tasks.
Benefits of Using a Chinese Cleaver
A Chinese cleaver comes with multiple benefits in addition to its versatility. Its unique design allows you to use it for multiple tasks and ingredient prep techniques. Here are the common benefits;
- The topside edge allows you to mince and tenderize meat
- Sharp edge lets the knife cut anything from soft to hard foods
- Wide blade surface crushes food items like garlic and ginger. You can also use the surface for scooping items from the board to the cooking utensil or storage container.
- Handle blunt end can be used as a pestle to quickly crush and pound ingredients like spices, garlic, and ginger
How to Choose the Best Chinese Cleaver?
Here are the common features to look out for when choosing the best Chinese cleaver for your kitchen.
Your knife blade’s material is an essential factor to focus on as it determines the overall performance. Generally, carbon steel and stainless steel are more favorable options. Carbon steel packs sustainable and durable properties while maintaining edging.
However, it can easily leech onto your food. On the other hand, stainless steel remains lightweight while offering rust, corrosion, and discoloration resistance. Unlike carbon steel, stainless steel will not leach your food items.
A Chinese cleaver will feature stainless steel, wooden, or molded plastic handle. Wood is the most expensive option, but it offers great quality, firmer grip, and appearance.
However, untreated, it can easily absorb water in wet conditions and easily damage. Stainless steel and plastic also offer a good grip. Unlike wooden handles, they also boast a natural water-resistant finish.
Unlike standard knives, a cleaver will use more blade material for its wider build. Therefore, you should generally expect a cleaver to be slightly heavy.
Nonetheless, you don’t want it to be too heavy that weigh down your forearms and wrists. Your cleaver has to offer a balance between the blade and handle. As a beginner, you are better off with a much lighter cleaver and work your way up as you go.
Like weight, comfort should be a priority when using a cleaver. For one, a comfortable cleaver means you can use it for longer without hand fatigue or compromising safety.
To achieve optimal comfort, you have to consider several factors. This includes the blade (how it affects maneuverability and cutting motion) and handles design (is it ergonomic?).
A Chinese cleaver should be around 6.75 to 7 inches in length. This length allows it to be versatile and accommodate different ingredients.
The thickness of a Chinese cleaver is grouped into three main categories. These include a 2mm, 3-7mm, and 8mmthickness. 3mm thick blades are ideal for making fine cuts, ideally for vegetables or skinning fish.
A 3 to 7mm thickness serves mid-range needs like cutting through soft chicken bones or smashing garlic and ginger. On the other hand, an 8mm thickness caters to more demanding tasks, like cutting through bones, meat chunks, or wedging.
A Chinese cleaver should have an angled edge of better 15 and 20 degrees for the best results. This build helps promote its multipurpose design, whether it’s chopping vegetables or mincing meat.
An ergonomically designed Chinese cleaver improves its performance and comfort. To gauge this factor, you have to look at factors like the handle design (does it offer good grip and comfortable handling?), blade design, and blade material. An ergonomically designed cleaver should allow effortless strokes while promoting a comfortable and balanced grip.
Ease of Sharpening
A Chinese cleaver that maintains long-lasting edging and sharpness is what you should aim for when choosing the right option. Nonetheless, you want to invest in an option that is easy to sharpen when you need to do so.
You will find it a little challenging to sharpen a double-edged cleaver. However, this effort is slightly simplified when made from materials like stainless steel.
The best Chinese cleaver should be easy to maintain. These knives typically come with long-lasting edge retention, meaning you don’t have to sharpen it from time to time. In fact, you want to stay away from cleavers that require frequent sharpening.
Sharpening your knife with a whetstone will ultimately reduce the blade quality and bluntness while increasing the chances of rust and corrosion.
A well-balanced cleaver is easier and more comfortable to use. To gauge whether or not your cleaver is comfortable, focus on the blade and handle designs.
You are more likely to enjoy balance with a full tang and lightweight cleaver. You also want to look at factors like the size and overall quality.
Even the best quality cleavers advertised as being dishwasher friendly should always be hand washed. This is because tossing the cleaver in a washer more frequently will damage the sharpness and increase the risks of rusting over time.
Instead, you want a cleaver that is easy to clean with water and mild soap. Also, choose a non-stick blade, so food residues don’t stick to it. During cleaning, such blades are much easier to handle.
Price and Warranty
The best Chinese cleaver will cost you between $35 on the low end and $300 on the high end. Remember, a higher price doesn’t mean quality. It simply means that your knife may be designed with higher quality and premium materials.
But, if you are on a budget, you can still score a good quality cleaver. Make sure you go for a model that comes with a warranty to protect you from any manufacturer defects. Aim for a cleaver that has a 5 year to a lifetime warranty.
The best Chinese cleavers stand out for their versatility and cost-cutting properties. When you score a good quality option, there’s no need to pack your kitchen with multiple specialty knives. Instead, a single multipurpose cleaver can cover all your cutting needs.
It’s now time for you to upgrade your kitchen and eliminate unwanted clutter with any of the 13 best Chinese cleavers above. Our detailed buyer’s guide offers excellent assistance for beginners when it comes to cleavers.
I’m a writer, food lover, and certified culinary expert. I cook for my family and I enjoy it so much. My favorite tools are modern kitchen appliances that make cooking a simple task. I’m a passionate writer and I share only cooking tips, recipes, and what cooking appliances would best for beginners, enthusiasts, and home chefs. I learned a lot from my family and also in my university days. My biggest strength has always been my insatiable appetite to discover new food recipes and try to share them with others.