The Best Electric Knives for Easy Cutting and Carving
A good chef's knife can do just about anything in the kitchen, but an electric knife can be useful when you're tasked with carving large roasts or slicing up homemade sandwich bread. The earliest version of this device dates to 1964, when inventor Jerome L. Murray created a knife to cut even slices of steak or brisket without the manual sawing motion that could potentially damage the delicate fibers of cooked meat.
Today, electric knives hold a lot of nostalgia for many, evoking a time when gathering around a roast was part of a weekly routine. For Angie Mar, executive chef and owner of Les Trois Chevaux in New York City, childhood Sundays included prime rib. "I have the fondest memories of my father standing in the kitchen with his electric carving knife, slicing the rib. I would always stand at his side, waiting for him to slice off a fat-laden piece for me," Mar told us. The electric carving knife still has a place at holiday tables to carve a Thanksgiving turkey or slice of holiday ham. Additionally, an electric knife can slice through loaves of bread without compromising the integrity of the interior crumb — even fluffy brioche can maintain its airy texture when sliced this way.
The attributes we considered in electric knives include wattage, blade length, handle comfort, ease of cleaning, included pieces, and versions with cords versus cordless electric knives. We concluded that the Cuisinart CEK-41 Electric Knife Set With Cutting Board offers the best performance, regardless of what needs slicing. Whether you're a beginner cook or an experienced chef, you'll find a model worth adding to your kitchen arsenal here. Read on for the best electric knives of 2022.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Cuisinart CEK-41 Electric Knife Set With Cutting Board
- Best Value: Hamilton Beach Electric Knife
- Best Cordless: Elite Gourmet EK9810 Cordless Electric Knife
- Best for Fish Fillets: Bubba Lithium-Ion Cordless Fillet Knife
- Best Set: NutriChef PKELKN16 Electric Knife Set
Best Overall: Cuisinart CEK-41 Electric Knife Set With Cutting Board
Best Value: Hamilton Beach Electric Knife
Best Cordless: Elite Gourmet EK9810 Cordless Electric Knife
Best for Fish Fillets: Bubba Lithium-Ion Cordless Fillet Knife
Best Set: NutriChef PKELKN16 Electric Knife Set
Choosing an electric knife will depend largely on what you're using it for, how you want to store it, and how much you want to spend. For a model that comes with everything you need to carve and serve, we like the Cuisinart CEK-41 Electric Knife Set With Cutting Board. For a budget friendly-option that also comes with a serving fork and storage case, the Hamilton Beach Electric Knife is an excellent pick.
Factors to Consider
Look for at least 100 watts of power to be able to properly slice through most cuts of meat. Weaker motors may not slice as cleanly or quickly.
A good quality electric knife will have serrated stainless steel blades that hold their edge for a long time. Blades that are about 8 to 9 inches long are ideal, but slightly shorter blades (7.5 to 8 inches) are still perfectly functional. Some models will come with one universal blade while others will have separate blades for meat and bread.
Corded or Cordless
Deciding on whether you want a corded or cordless model will depend largely on where you're planning to use your electric knife. If you like to carve at the dinner table, but don't have an outlet nearby, opt for a cordless model. Planning on carving in the kitchen? A corded design might suit you just fine—just be sure the cord length is adequate for your space.
How the knife feels in the hand is one of the most important considerations, since you want to feel secure and in control when using it. Look for an ergonomic design that won't make your hand cramp as you carve a turkey for your extended family, and if you're left-handed, be sure the model you choose can be used with your dominant hand.
Ease of Cleaning
Many of the options note that the blades are dishwasher safe, in which case, you can certainly run them through a dishwashing cycle to clean. Note that automatic dishwashers can often dull blades faster than hand washing, so it's best to wash by hand whenever possible. Ensure that the blades of your electric knife are easy to clean with minimal joints that need extra scrubbing and detailing.
Storage cases, different blades, and carving forks are additional pieces that are included with some electric knives. If these are important to you, be sure to choose a model that has the options you are looking for.
Our product reviews expert researched the topic and, drawing on her own expertise in kitchen tools and cutlery, scoured the market for the best options available. She selected options based on performance, value, and ease of use.
Q: Do chefs use electric knives?
A: Most chefs will opt to rely on their knife skills in the kitchen, but an electric knife can come in handy for caterers or large-scale restaurants specializing serving in serving up a big volume of prime rib, steak, or roast turkey. An electric knife is also often used to cut gyros, doner kebab, and al pastor so the slices are very thin and uniform. In a commercial kitchen, you may see a cook using a restaurant-grade electric knife to cut frozen meat or fish, but as a whole, a good chef's knife is used instead.
Q: Can you sharpen electric knives?
A: Ideally, electric knife blades should be professionally sharpened, or just entirely replaced. The smooth edge of a chef's knife is easy to sharpen at home, but the serrated blades of an electric knife need to have each serration sharpened individually, making the process tedious and difficult for amateurs. If you still want to sharpen your blades yourself, you can do an at-home sharpening job using a tapered honing rod designed for serrated blades.
Q: Can an electric knife cut bone?
A: It depends on the knife. Commercial-grade knives may be powerful enough to do so, but most models are designed only for meats, cheeses, and breads. Check with your knife's manual to verify if cutting through bone is advisable with the model you have.
Bernadette Machard de Gramont is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine, and kitchen products. She has worked in the wine industry since 2009, and uses her expertise to advise clients on how to collect, store, and sell prized vintages.