What comes to your mind when you think about paring knives? Well, in general, these knives are known to be small in size. And for that reason, they are quite commonly used for tasks such as pitting, peeling, and above all paring.
What’s paring? That’s a present participle form of the verb pare. So, to pare is to trim something or peel it. When you cut the outer skin of a fruit, that’s paring.
Therefore, the best paring knife is one that’s capable of doing jobs that involve peeling off, trimming off, stripping off or even shaving off things.
Unique Characteristics of Paring Knives
There are two unique aspects of these knives. The first one is that they have short, narrow blades and handles. Above all, their tips are typically pointed.
Their special design makes them ideal for tasks such as the following ones:
- Hulling strawberries
- Devening shrimps
- Peeling garlic
- Sectioning citrus fruit
Without further ado, let us go ahead to present you with a list of what we think are the top-rated paring knives out there. We hope you’ll enjoy the read.
10 Popular Paring Knife 2021 – Comparison Chart
Don’t have the time to read through this entire article? Worry not. We’ve got you covered in the following short and precise list.
Here are the best paring knives ranked, in 2021:
1. Mercer Culinary M20003 3.5” Paring Genesis Forged Knife
When you buy a high-quality kitchen tool, you have made a lifetime investment. This knife is a brand of Mercer, a renowned manufacturer of cutlery and other kitchen utensils. In addition to that, it is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
The reasonably priced Mercer Culinary Paring M20003 3.5” is a low-risk purchase that is covered by the manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.
The blade is crafted from a nonstain, high-carbon German steel, which means that it won’t rust, discolor or corrode no matter what foods you are preparing. More so, the blade has a taper-ground edge which is easy to hone and it retains its sharpness for long.
Besides, the knife can withstand extreme temperatures-hot or cold.
When it comes to ergonomics, first and foremost the knife is lightweight at only 4 ounces and, therefore, is easy to use for tasks requiring paring without getting fatigued.
Its 3.5 inches length is also short enough and ideal for paring. It is because most paring tasks are held-held and not done on the cutting board. Secondly, the Santoprene handle is non-slip even with wet hands and comfortable.
Noteworthy, this is a bolster and tang knife which enhances the balancing of the knife while bolster adds to its durability.
- The knife comes at an affordable price
- Limited lifetime warranty
- The blade is durably constructed from a non-corrosion material
- Sharp blades that stay sharp for long
- The handle is ergonomically designed for control and comfort
- It is a bolster and tang knife
- It is easy to balance the knife
- It doesn’t come with a protective sheath
2. Global GS38 3.5″ Paring Knife, Western Style
You can use this knife for a variety of kitchen cutting tasks namely coring, peeling and paring. The knife is designed in a western style. It has an elegant style, with the blade and handle looking the same.
The knife has a suitable length and weight for a paring knife at 3.5 inches and 4.2 ounces. The knife has a hollow handle filled with sand to provide the ideal weight for perfect balancing. It fits and balances well in the hands and therefore it is possible to use the knife for extended periods of time.
On the other hand, the blade is made from a Cromova 18 stainless steel that is of high quality, as such, it doesn’t rust, in addition to that, it is durable. The edges are ice-hardened and have a convex shape which makes them sharp and also enables the blade to retain their sharpness for long.
The handle, on the other hand, is ergonomically designed. The molded handle has a dimples pattern. it is therefore non-slip and comfortable, suitable for using for extended periods of time.
When it comes to maintenance, the knife is easy to clean and hone.
- The elegant design makes it a great addition to your kitchen cutlery utensils
- It has the right length and weight for a paring knife
- The blade is durably constructed from a high-quality steel
- Ultra sharp blade that retains its sharpness for long
- The handle is ergonomically designed with dimples for a good grip
- The handle is hollow for perfect balancing
- It is pricey
- No protective sheath provided
3. Victorinox 47600 3.25-Inch Paring Knife Straight Swiss Army Cutlery
This knife is manufactured by Victorinox, who have been making knives for over 130 years.
This paring knife boasts of various features. First and foremost, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg because it comes at quite a bargain price. Additionally, it weighs 1.6 ounces and its length is 3.25-Inch as such it is short and very light in weight.
The small size and light weight makes weighted and balanced and perfect at doing cutting tasks that are hand-held and not necessarily done on a cutting board.
The knife is designed as a multi-purpose paring knife that can handle versatile kitchen cutting tasks including peeling, seeding fruits, mincing, garnishing and slicing.
Most importantly, the knife has a stainless steel blade for durability.
Noteworthy, the handle is ergonomically designed and textured giving it non-slip features even when wet. However, the handle is plastic which is not as durable as handles made with other materials.
And although it is dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends washing it by hand to retain the blade’s edge retention. What’s more, it is covered by Victorinox’s lifetime warranty.
- It is the perfect size and weight for a paring knife
- It is very inexpensive and it has the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
- It is dishwasher safe
- The blade is durable, constructed from a rust proof material
- It is balanced and weighted
- It has an ergonomic handle that is textured for grip
- It feels a bit flimsy in the hands
- The plastic handle may not last as long as handles made with other materials
- A protective sheath is not provided
4. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Classic 4-inch Paring Utility Knife 31160-101
You need a paring knife for detailed tasks that a chef’s knife cannot handle. As such, you can use this knife for shaping fruits and vegetables and peeling and cutting tasks.
This knife is made in Spain by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, a global knife manufacturer who has been making knives since 1895. The manufacturer is based in Germany.
The blade is crafted from ford stain-resistant carbon steel, a high-quality steel and therefore rustproof and durable. It is hot drop forged to enhance its sturdiness and to give it a long lifespan.
It is a fully-forged knife, a characteristic that gives it sturdiness and durability. At a length of 4 inches, it is a bit longer than other paring knives that are usually 3.5 but still within the acceptable length size and that’s why it can double up as a utility knife too. The good thing is that the knife is light in weight to give you full control and comfort when working.
Although the knife is dishwasher safe, it is advisable to hand wash it with a mild cleanser. The knife has a moderate price point and it is covered by the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.
- It has a lifetime warranty
- It is made from a rust-proof and non-discoloring German steel
- It can double up as a paring and utility knife
- It is ergonomically designed with lightweight features
- It is fully-forged
- It is dishwasher safe
- It is not a budget knife
- The steel is not as high quality as the one used in making premium knives
5. WÜSTHOF 4022-7 Gourmet 3″ Paring Knife
You will love this knife because of its thin blade which makes precise cuts. It can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks including mincing vegetables and fruits, dicing and coring.
The knife is a product of WÜSTHOF, a renowned German organization that is over 200 years old.
It is a double riveted knife that is only 3 inches long and it weighs only 1.28 ounces. Which makes the knife short and lightweight. It is easy to hold the knife in the hand for kitchen cutting tasks that take a long duration and are not done on a cutting board.
The handles are constructed from synthetic polypropylene, the material doesn’t discolor and it resists heat, impact, and fading.
The blade is crafted from a composite of high-carbon steel and a stain-resistant alloy for durability. It has a spear point edge which makes peeling vegetables and fruits convenient Besides, the knife has a sharp blade that retains its edge for long. And what’s more, honing the knife is fast and easy.
Noteworthy, the knife is not dishwasher safe. The knife is affordably priced, to add to that, it has the manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.
- The blade is thin for precise cuts
- It is competitively priced plus it has a limited lifetime warranty
- The blade is rust proof for durability
- The handle is sturdily built to resist heat, discoloring, and fading
- It is a sharp knife that retains its edge
- It is a handwashing knife
- It is not easy to cut hard stuff like carrots with the thin blade
- A protective sheath is not provided
6. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 4-Inch Paring Knife
The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star 4-Inch Paring Knife 31070-103 is manufactured with cutting edge technology.
We can focus on some of the knife’s features on its blade and handle. Firstly, the knife is a four inch and has a weight of 0.64 ounces which is an appropriate length for a paring knife. Noteworthy, the knife is light in weight for ergonomics.
The knives are designed with a seamless transition from the knife’s bolster to its handle for ease of use making the knife ideal for using for extended periods. Also, the handle is bonded to the blade without gaps for longevity.
The blade is Sigmaforged from a single piece of high carbon solid steel that doesn’t stain. It is then ice-hardened through a process called Friodur to make the edges retain their sharpness for long. As such, it has a 57 Rockwell hardness.
In addition to that, the blades are laser sharpened in the factory. The blade’s edges are sharpened at an angle of 15 degrees for ultra sharpness. What’s more, the blade has a sharp tip suiting some tasks like peeling fruits.
The handle is made from polypropylene material for durability. The handle is also ergonomically designed to give you a good and comfortable grip.
As for affordability, the knife is moderately priced, the good news is that the product has a full warranty from the manufacturer.
For those who prefer dishwashing, indeed, the knife is dishwasher safe although the manufacturer recommends handwashing.
- The blade is constructed from one piece of metal for durability, it won’t break easily
- The knife is light in weight for ergonomics
- The blade boasts a 57 Rockwell hardness
- They are ultra sharp and they retain their edges for long
- It is ultra light
- It has the manufacturer’s full warranty
- It is dishwasher safe
- A protective sheath is not included
- It is a bit pricey
- Very light in weight which may feel a bit awkward
7. Wusthof 4851-7/9 3-1/2-Inch Pro Paring Knife,
To be effective in meal preparation you need to find the right cutlery for a particular task. The Wusthof 4851-7/9 3-1/2-Inch Pro Paring Knife is a pocket-friendly paring knife designed sturdy for use in a commercial kitchen.
It is one of the Wusthof brands. The knife is different from other Wusthof brands because of its low price point. Worth noting is that the knife is approved by NSF.
With a length of 3.5 inches and a weight of only 1.6 ounces, the knife is very light in weight and can be used for handheld cutting tasks taking long durations. Nevertheless, the lightweight may feel strange at first.
The blade is made from a stainless steel alloy for a rust-resistant unit. The blade is designed thin for delivering precise cuts. Moreover, the blades are sharp and are designed to retain their edges for long. However, the knife’s blade is a bit short in comparison to other paring knives.
The knife’s handle, on the other hand, is crafted from a poly material for durability. In addition, the handle is ergonomically designed to give you a good and comfortable grip.
The knife is dishwasher safe and therefore easy to maintain, although it is always advisable to hand wash knives to extend their lifespan.
- It is very affordable
- It comes ultra sharp from the box
- It is approved by NSF
- It is recommended for commercial kitchens
- The blade is durably constructed from a stainless steel material
- The handle is non-slip and comfortable to hold
- It is dishwasher safe
- No protective sheath
- It is too light in weight and it takes time to get used to such a knife
8. Kuhn Rikon 2817 4-Inch Paring Knife Colori Nonstick, Black
Its good to have paring knives among your collection of knives. This knife is a brand of Kuhn Rikon, a reputable Swiss organization that specializes in making innovative kitchen products since 1926.
This paring knife has a length of 4 inches and it weighs a mere 2.08 ounces. As such, the knife has an appropriate length for a paring knife and the weight is also substantial and not at all on the higher side for a lightweight unit.
The blade is constructed from a Japanese stainless steel carbon for a sharp cutting tool that retains its sharpness for long. Additionally, the blade has a color coat for a non-stick blade that allows sticky foods to slide off.
Moreover, a protective sheath is provided to prevent accidents when the knife is not in use. The protective sheath also makes it portable for the outdoors for example camping, backpacking or fishing trips.
The handle is ergonomically designed with a soft grip.
Although the knife is dishwasher safe, it is advisable to handwash the knife.
Besides that, the knife is very inexpensive and it has a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. It is, therefore, a low-risk purchase for your peace of mind.
- Very affordable plus it has the manufacturer’s two-year warranty
- A protective sheath is included
- It is light in weight for easy handling
- The blade is razor sharp and it retains its edge for long
- Non-stick blade
- Dishwasher safe
- Ergonomic handle
- Very Sharp blade that has to be handled carefully to prevent accidents
9. Wusthof Classic 13637 3.5 Inch Paring Knife
This knife will enhance your kitchen arsenal. It is a premium knife that comes at a high cost. The good thing is that it is covered by the manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.
The knife is manufactured by Wusthof a renown cutlery manufacturer. The knife is designed for doing small cutting tasks effectively and for other special cutting tasks like making decorative slices. It is a 3.5-inch paring knife weighing 2.08 ounces. Because some paring tasks are handheld and not necessarily done on a cutting board, the size and weight are ideal for paring.
The knife has a full-tang design, a sharp tip and a triple-riveted handle for sturdiness, performance, stability, and durability.
The blade goes through a complex manufacturing state of the art computer technology process to produce a high-end piece. It is hand-forged through 38 manufacturing processes by skilled craftsmen. Then the blade is hardened after that.
The blades are made from a high carbon stainless steel for a rustproof, sturdy and durable blade. In addition to that, each side of the blade is sharpened to 14 degrees to deliver an ultra sharp blade from the factory. The edges also retain their sharpness for long.
Apart from that, the handle is ergonomically designed for control, balance, and comfort.
- It is manufactured by a legendary firm in cutlery, Wusthof
- It is manufactured using the latest knife technology
- The knife has a perfect balance, thanks to its weight and length
- Durable handle and blade
- Ergonomic handle
- A sharp blade that stays sharp for long
- It is expensive
- A protective sheath is not included
10. Mac Knife PKF-30 3-1/4-Inch Pro Paring Knife Silver
A paring knife is indispensable to professional chefs. The Mac Knife PKF-30 3-1/4-Inch Pro Paring Knife is made in Japan. This knife is a workhorse and ideal for both professional and home kitchens.
This paring knife is designed with a length of 3-1/4-Inches and a weight of 3.2 ounces for optimum hand balance. The knife’s short length pointed tip and a thin blade of 2mm works well in detailed kitchen tasks.
You can use the knife in hand work or on a cutting board to do a variety of cutting tasks including coring small fruits, peeling fruits or vegetables among other functions.
The blade is constructed from high carbon steel to resist rust. Apart from that, the blade is sharp for effortless cutting. What’s more, it retains its sharpness for long.
The handle, on the other hand, is double riveted, ergonomically designed and handcrafted from pakkawood. The pakkawood gives the knife an elegant look. Moreover, pakkawood is light in weight to make the knife comfortable to handle for extended periods of time.
However, the knife is quite expensive, the good news is that it comes with a 25-year manufacturer warranty. Additionally, it is highly advisable to hand wash the knife and avoid using a dishwasher.
- Exceptionally sharp, retaining its edge for long
- Elegant pakkawood handle
- The handle is ergonomically designed
- It is light in weight
- The thin blade manages detailed tasks effectively
- Well balanced in the hands
- No protective sheath
- It is not dishwasher safe
How To Use A Paring Knife
It is important that you are armed with the right skills on how to use paring knives. In that case, we highly recommend keeping the following tips in mind.
How To Use The Edge
The edge of a paring knife is best suited for making precise incisions. You can use it to carefully slide the knife over fruit or vegetable. But be sure to use just enough pressure so that only the skin is removed.
When using the edge, it is better to peel using just your hands rather than on a board. So, hold your knife in one hand and the fruit on the other.
How To Use The Point
The point is the second part of a paring knife that you can use in the kitchen. Its job is to pierce through food and also make incisions especially when you need to apply lots of pressure.
The best way to use the point is by placing the food item on a board and having the knife comfortably held in the palm.
Unique Benefits of Paring Knives
So, why do you need to specifically invest in a paring knife and not just any other knife type? Well, the first benefit is convenience.
Typically, these knives have blades that fall within the length range of 4-inch to 6-inch. They are, therefore, just small enough to serve as utility knives.
Most of the knives we’ve reviewed on the list above are made from high-carbon steel, ceramic or stainless steel. So, once again, you can rest assured to get great durability when using any of them.
Yet another outstanding feature of these knives is that they have ergonomic handles. These handles provide you with just enough grip to peel through any fruit or vegetable in the kitchen. In particular, the handles provide you with excellent thumb control so you can peel off with great precision.
How To Choose The Right Knife For The Job
Now, onto the best part of this review – the buying guide for paring knives. And here we’ll present you with the most detailed buying guide for paring knives available on the interwebs currently.
Quality of the Handle
This is a highly important part of the knife and that’s because it determines the handling experience. You need to ensure that the handle is comfortable enough and non-slip so you’re able to peel off fruits even with wet hands.
Also, it is important to remember that some knives have handles that break down when exposed to kitchen oils! So, don’t gamble with this. The higher the quality of the handle gets, the better.
Balance is key when it comes to choosing knives. There are several factors that determine if a knife is well-balanced or not. The first one if the length of the blade. The second most important one is the stability of the handle.
In general, you want to go for a knife that provides you with a neutral center of gravity. Worth noting is that the longer the blade, the more imbalanced a knife is likely to be since the handle is expected to cushion a lot more weight.
Be on the lookout for knives that look oddly out of proportion. Don’t just focus on the aesthetics. Both the blade and the handle should form a pleasant profile especially when viewed from the side.
Every chef knows that the quality of the blade can make or break the entire knife. So, before you settle for any knife, be sure to check the exact kind of material used to make the blade. Remember, each material has its benefits and potential drawbacks.
Carbon Steel Material
This is the gold standard as far as knife blade materials are concerned. It is known for its ability to withstand rust and corrosion. Unfortunately, it easily gets discolored and should.
Stainless Steel Material
Although it’s closely related to the carbon steel family, it is made up of a slightly different chemical composition. It is also cheaper and probably the most common type of material. Its major downside is that it loses its edge from time to time and may not be as resilient to corrosion as carbon steel.
This is a non-metallic material that’s used to make knives. Unfortunately, it is not as popular and is, therefore, rare to find ceramic paring knives. The main benefits of ceramic are that it is corrosion resistant and long-lasting.
However, the material is brittle. And, therefore, it can easily break into pieces of accidentally dropped after many years of use.
Titanium Blade Material
The carbon steel material may be the gold-standard but titanium is just titanium. It is the toughest material that can be used to make knives. It is classy and long-lasting.
It, however, is a highly expensive material. So, unless you are specifically looking for a really tough knife, chances are that you won’t be needing all that it has to offer.
Paring Knives FAQs
Have been having burning questions about paring knives? We shall now be talking about those and a lot more in the next few lines.
Why do I need a paring knife?
You need this knife when you want precision. Note that a paring knife can also be a multipurpose knife although they’re mostly designed for peeling off fruits and removing seeds etc.
Serrated paring knives vs straight-edge ones – which one is better and why?
Both edge designs are okay only that they are meant for different roles. Serrated knives are ideal for cutting tasks e.g. cutting peppers and tomatoes. Straight-edged ones are better at peeling off fruits skins and removing seeds.
How do I ensure that I am taking good care of my paring knife?
There are several care and maintenance tips that we’d like to recommend for you. The first one of those is that you need to ensure that the blade is always kept sharp. If possible keep them in a knife block instead of simply throwing them inside a drawer.
If you want to keep the handle intact, for longer, be sure to lubricate it every so often using vegetable oil (avoid olive oil). We also generally hand cleaning for paring knives as opposed to having them cleaned using a dishwasher.
Our Best Pick
Our favorite paring knife is none other than the Mercer Culinary M20003 3.5” Paring Genesis Forged Knife. It is quite well-balanced and comes with a grippy handle. What’s more? Its blade is made from high-carbon steel which is quite durable.
These knives may be small in size but they indeed play a huge role in the kitchen. And it’s for that reason that we decided to review 10 of the top paring knives we could find. The idea is to help you find the right one for your kitchen and budget.