How Are Kitchen Knives Measured? Types and Methods

A knife is a cook’s most beloved friend, and you know what they say about choosing friends? “Choose your friends wisely.” A good kitchen knife should help you slice those tomatoes efficiently and look good on your hand. So what makes a good kitchen knife; high carbon and low chromium stainless steel? Yes, but also a straight-laced measurement. The measurement of kitchen knives plays an important role here. Firstly, with different sizes come distinctive uses. I mean, it would look silly if you try to peel onions with a Cleaver. Secondly, the measurement of kitchen knives is essential because your hand needs to be comfortable while holding the handle and requires proper consent from the chopping board when using the knife.

The essential factor one must inspect before putting a kitchen knife in their bucket is to get one that feels comfortable for their hand and wrist. In further paragraphs, we will discuss How kitchen knives are measured? Different sizes and shapes of kitchen knives. At the end of the article, you shall have a precise idea of what knife you need to keep in your kitchen.


Kitchen Knives Measuring Process

Generally, the length of a knife is measured in terms of blade length. A 7-inch knife will have a 7-inch blade, not including a handle. Kitchen knives vary in length from 6 to 14 inches. The size which is suited for you depends on your preference and your own size.

Let’s look at most common kitchen knives varying in type and length as well as use.

Kitchen Knives by Type

Utility Knife

Also called Sandwich Knife, Utility Knife comes in both a serrated and a straight blade style. The length of this knife ranges from 4-7 inches. Utility Knives being an ideal tool for food prep, are used for:

  • Chopping Vegetables
  • Slicing Herbs
  • Slicing Buns
  • Slicing Meat
  • Cutting Sandwiches

They can also come in use when no other kitchen knife is available, however, not for cleaving meat bones or slicing loaves of bread.

Chef’s Knife

Sometimes referred to Cook’s Knife, Chef’s Knife is a sturdy all-rounder—and It offers a variety of services. What makes it the most versatile knife in a kitchen is its popular shape and edged blade. The Chef’s knife holds a blade 8 inches in length (20 centimeters). The knife’s length ranges from 6-14 inches. Having a good Chef’s knife can make cooking a joy. A Chef’s knife is supreme for:

  • Cutting Meat
  • Disjointing Large Cuts
  • Chopping Nuts
  • Dicing Vegetables

However, It is a multi-purpose knife designed to marvel at many tasks; there is a limit. It can’t be used for carving dense meat.

Slicing Knife

The length of a Slicing Knife ranges from 8-14 inches. Slicing Knife renders a thin or long blade with a pointed or round tip. It has the most flexible edge If compared to other kitchen knives. Other than to cut thin slices of any protein, Slicing Knife can come in use to:

  • Prepare Fruits or Salad
  • Prepare Vegetables
  • Slice and carve small cuts of meat

As their blade is slightly flexible, they would not be ideal for peeling and mincing.

Vegetable Knife

The straight-edged Japanese Nakiri Bocho is exclusively intended to help you cut vegetables as no other knife can. The length of a Vegetable Knife ranges from 5-7 inches. And as the name suggests, It is ideal for:

  • Cutting Vegetables
  • Chopping Vegetables
  • Slicing Vegetables
  • Dicing Vegetables

Paring Knife

This small knife holds a short but sharp and precise blade. The length of the Paring Knife fluctuates from 2.5 to 4 inches. Because of Its short edge, it is sometimes called “bird’s beak knife.” Although It is a short-blade knife, It covers a good number of tasks such as:

  • Deseeding Fruits
  • Cutting and Peeling small fruits and vegetables
  • Cutting Vegetables and Herbs
  • Deveining Prawns

Its short blade shows Paring Knife won’t be an ideal to slice, carve meat or cut large and robust vegetables.


Mostly observed in big meat stores, a Cleaver is also famous for “Butcher’s Knife.” It supports an obtuse and sharply sloped blade. The thickness of the blade is what makes Cleaver cut through those solid bones. Furthermore, the diameter of the blade can drastically fluctuate, depending on the planned cut. The length ranges from 6-12 inches. Cleaver is primarily ideal for:

  • Separating Meat from Bones
  • Splitting Larger and Thick Vegetables

With that enormous blade, a Cleaver will not be ideal for small tasks such as delicate slicing of fruits and vegetables or quick cutting to prep salad or fruit.

A large knife will be hard to control If your hand is not comfortable holding it, and this could easily lead to wrist strain and increase the chances of arm injury. The most used kitchen knives are 8-10 inches. Following is the table that gives some estimates for how various kitchen knife lengths may suit different people.

Blade LengthUser's Height
14 Inches6.5 ft
12 Inches6.3 ft
10 Inches5.10 ft
8 Inches5.4 ft
6 InchesLess than 5 ft


The above table can come handy, buying a knife for yourself or someone else. If you find the table imprecise, there is another quick and easy way to measure the kitchen knife—the forearm test.

Forearm test:

Measure the knife from the top of the blade to the heel of the blade facing your forearm, heel at your wrist. You will be comfortable using a knife that is equal in length to your forearm.  If it’s longer or shorter than your forearm, It may not feel much comfortable in your hand.

Final Verdict:

Although, with different sizes and types, It can get overwhelming to choose a kitchen knife. If you are armed with measurement and precision, the most demanding task can be done effortlessly. With the right blade, you can control and make many cooking tasks easy. The key to keeping enjoying a knife that suits you is to sharpen it frequently after 3-4 uses.


Back to top button