It’s no secret that chefs — both amateur and professional — love a clean, extra-sharp knife for their work. That’s especially important when cutting thicker materials, like that fresh steelhead fillet you just bought, whole cooked chicken, or your latest sourdough project.
Electric knives (no, not the kind from late-night TV) are designed to make these cutting projects easier. They use a reciprocating blade — it moves back and forth really fast — to mimic a high-speed sawing motion that can quickly cut through all kinds of foods. While they may be best known for carving up the Thanksgiving turkeys and hams, they actually have many other uses around the kitchen. Here are our favorite models and why we like them.
Best overall electric knife
- Safety lock and quick-release features
- Bamboo cutting board included
- Not too expensive
- Blade may be slightly too short for some chefs
Cuisinart's electric knife is the complete package, an all-purpose model that can perform many tasks in a busy kitchen. It includes a blade and one carving fork to help out with larger meat projects, although you can also choose bundles with two blades. Either way, a beautiful bamboo cutting board is included, as well as a mounting board to keep the handle and blades on.
In addition to the micro-serrated blade, the knife includes a quick-release button for the blade (which you can wash in the dishwasher), a safety lock to prevent unwanted activation, and a three-year warranty in case the knife fails. The blade is a little short for the largest projects like carving a turkey, but otherwise, this knife is an excellent starter model for multiple carving jobs.
Waring Commercial WEK200
Best cordless electric knife
- Durable, cordless design
- LED for low-light conditions
- Comes with multiple blade options and a carrying case
Many electric knives are designed to be plugged into a nearby outlet. But that’s not always possible, especially if you are on the go and can’t guarantee a nearby outlet, a common scenario for caterers and others working at venues or outdoor grills. This cordless knife solves that problem with a rechargeable battery that powers a DC motor.
The knife also comes with two blades and a case to carry everything when you’re all cleaned up. The handle has a hold-down button for activation and an LED light for those times when you’re working in low-light conditions and need a little more illumination.
Best electric knife for bread and cheese
- Ergonomic design
- Display block for storage
- Two knives included
- While there is a carving blade included, it may be too small for some meat dishes
Few carving knives look as good as this NutriChef model, which comes with its own wood display stand to store the handle and the two stainless steel blades. A safety lock keeps the blades in place while you are working, and the handle is ergonomically designed for comfort. However, the thin, 5-inch blades are on the small side and may not be able to easily tackle the largest cuts of meat. However, they’re perfect for smaller projects, like slicing up that eggplant or carving a block of cheese.
Bubba Cordless Electric Fillet Knife
Best fillet electric knife
- Cordless design made for fillet work
- Four different blade options
- LED indicator for battery life
- Not nearly as useful if you don't frequently fillet
Gutting a fish and filleting the meat afterward can be a slippery, potentially dangerous business. You need a sharp knife and careful hands to get the job done — but this cordless fillet knife can help, too. It sports a non-slip grip and a duel-rivet blade design made to power through a variety of fillet projects, making it easier to get your fish ready fast without worrying as much about your fingers.
The knife includes an ergonomic trigger and an LED battery indicator so you know when it’s time to charge again. It also comes with multiple blade options, including a 7-inch blade, two 9-inch blades, and a 12-inch blade, each with its own specialties. You don’t need to use it just for fish!
Hamilton Beach Electric Knife
Best budget electric knife
- Budget model
- Includes serving fork
- Versatile enough for many projects
- Limited design and features
Those with an eye on an affordable purchase will love this budget Hamilton Beach knife. The cord-based model includes 7.5-inch knife blades and a 12-inch carving fork, along with a case to store everything. There aren’t a lot of extra features here, but you get a solid electric knife that’s versatile enough for many different projects without needing to empty your wallet.
Yes, they can cut all kinds of meat and especially excel at turkeys, hams, roasts, and certain steak dishes. Most of the models you'll see on our list include both a bread knife and carving knife attachment. Make sure you use the carving knife version when tackling meat.
The handle can usually last for several years of consistent use. The blades can grow dull over time like other knives, but they can be sharpened or replaced to extend longevity.
Always think about what projects you'll actually use the electric knife for and what you cook right now. Large meat dishes will require larger carving blades. Lots of fish dishes mean that you'll benefit from a fillet model. If you frequently cook with vegetables like eggplant or butternut squash, a smaller blade will be more suitable.
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