Why the Chinese Cleaver is the Best All-Purpose Kitchen Knife

A Chinese cleaver (also known as an Asian cleaver) is an all-purpose kitchen knife that you can use to cut up vegetables, cartilage, and even tough meats. If you’re looking for an effective and versatile tool to help you in the kitchen, then it’s hard to go wrong with this trusty device. With this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the history of the Chinese cleaver, as well as its main pros and cons – so keep reading!


The Chinese cleaver (or Chinese chef’s knife) has a long history of use in China and neighboring Asian countries. According to one legend, it was invented by Zhuge Liang during a military campaign against enemies in central China around 220 CE. While at war, Liang noticed that his cooks had trouble cutting meat with their swords, so he designed what he believed to be an easier kitchen tool.

The Size Advantage

If you’re preparing a meal for a large number of people, or if you often find yourself slicing up hefty hunks of meat like whole chickens or pork shoulders, then a bigger knife may be more appropriate. You don’t want to be using your chef’s knife to cut up that Christmas ham; instead, use a cleaver designed to handle bigger pieces of food. The size advantage also allows you to maneuver chunks more easily over your cutting board.

Strength Advantage

High quality Chinese cleavers are forged from high carbon steel, giving them a sharp edge that stays sharp and lasts for years. The blade edge on many other knives are actually sharper out of the box, but will dull down over time due to inferior construction and quality. High carbon blades can also be sharpened over and over again without breaking. Overall, a solid investment that will pay itself off with time!


A knife with a single purpose isn’t very useful in a kitchen. The best Chinese cleaver knife cuts everything, from meat to fruit and vegetables. This usually means going for something bigger, heavier, and more powerful than you need if you plan on using it for cutting up watermelons or pineapples. You can make do with a smaller blade if you’re cooking exclusively Western cuisine.

What They Are Made Of

The quality of your cleaver can depend on what it’s made of. Many traditional Chinese cleavers are made with carbon steel, as they hold an edge better than stainless steel and other materials. However, these steel blades are not indestructible; they should be kept sharpened and out of contact with acids (which can break down their structure). If you’re looking for a more durable product, look for stainless or ceramic varieties.

Where To Buy

If you don’t already have a cleaver in your kitchen, chances are you won’t find one at your local cutlery store. But you will almost certainly find them online at any number of well-known knife retailers, including brands like Wusthof and Zwilling. At these retailers, prices will vary widely—from $25 to $250.

Maintenance Tips

Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your cleaver in tip-top shape: Store it properly: When not in use, keep your cleaver on a magnetic rack to protect its sharp edge. Make sure that you don’t hit any other steel or non-magnetic utensils when storing. Never leave it in standing water. Keep it dry and clean to prevent rusting, which dulls and weakens blades.


The Chinese cleaver has been around for centuries, and to date, there’s not a single knife that can replace it. In order to understand why it’s so great, you need to understand what it can do—and that’s more than most other knives on the market. Below are five things that make Chinese cleavers superior to most other kitchen knives

Leave a Reply