These Are the Best Paring Knives for Every Home Cook

Our testers picked the Misen Paring Knife as the winner.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Misen Paring Knife
Photo: Misen

Every home cook knows that a solid chef's knife is essential, but paring knives are an often-overlooked tool that can help streamline kitchen prep and optimize efficiency. Paring knives can help peel vegetables, hull strawberries, minced garlic, and other small tasks.

To find the best paring knife, we called on expert Food & Wine product testers Elizabeth Mervosh and John Somerall to run 12 paring knives through a series of tests to assess everything, including the functionality, look and feel, durability, and brand promises.

While there were a few winners during our tests, after taking all of these factors into consideration, we chose the Misen Paring Knife as the best overall pick. Read on for the full list of the best paring knives, according to our culinary experts.

Our Top Picks

  • Best Overall: Misen Paring Knife
    Durable, sturdy, and sharp, this knife brings incredible quality for the price.

Best Overall: Misen Paring Knife

paring knife
Courtesy of Misen

Pros: A long handle and sloped bolster make this knife particularly easy to maneuver.
Cons: The handle is slightly heavier than some of the others.

Our testers ranked this knife as their favorite thanks to its sharp blade, easy-to-grip handle, and affordable price.

The sloped bolster provides somewhere to rest your finger while peeling, and it makes for a comfortable pinch grip while dicing. Though the tip of the knife was the sharpest point, it glided effortlessly through our tester's paper slicing test, and the length of the blade made mincing shallots easy. Our testers did find that the handle is a bit heavier than the blade, but they agreed it was well-balanced and easy to maneuver. In terms of durability and care, the brand notes that this paring knife must be hand-washed to maintain its quality.

Overall, our testers said the quality to price ratio hits a sweet spot, ranking this knife as the overall best.

Best Splurge: Shun Cutlery Premier Grey 4-inch Paring Knife

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: The blade boasts a hammered finish to reduce drag while slicing.
Cons: It's the most expensive knife we tested.

The Shun paring knife is as elegant as it is functional. Consistently sharp from tip to belly, the blade has a hammered finish that helps reduce dragging and gives the knife a unique, eye-catching look. The sharp edge slipped through paper with ease, and the dicing process was effortless and accurate dicing, which is the true goal of a great paring knife. The handle is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to maneuver, and our testers loved the squared-off heel between the blade and the handle, which allows you to rest your finger when peeling. The Shun blade is ideal for serious home cooks who don't mind investing in a more costly knife.

Best Set: Zyliss Comfort 2-Piece Paring Knife Set

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: These knives are comfortable and lightweight.
Cons: Though they are dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended.

If you're looking for a pair of knives to add versatility and efficiency to your cutlery collection, this set from Zyliss is an excellent option. The set includes two ultra-sharp knives: one standard paring knife and one serrated paring knife. Both slid easily through paper and made easy work of mincing shallots. The teeth on the serrated knife are pointed, deep, and sharp, which makes slicing through things like bread and tomatoes a breeze. Thanks to the lightweight handle and rubberized non-slip grip, our testers loved the maneuverability of both knives.

Other Knives We Tested

Global GS-38 3.5-inch Paring Knife

Williams Sonoma Global Classic Paring Knife, 3 1/2"
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Though our testers noted that this knife felt lightweight and balanced in their hands, they also noted that the metal handle became slippery when wet, lacking the sturdy grip that's ideal for knifework. This knife slices easily through paper, but the belly of the blade was not as sharp as expected during the mincing process.

Made In Paring Knife

Made in Cookware Paring Knife
Courtesy of Made In

Our testers loved that this is an authentically full tang knife, which means that the blade extends to the end of the handle, making it sturdy and more durable than some others. However, the straight handle is not as comfortable to hold as a contoured handle, which could make large cutting jobs more difficult. Be careful if you like to choke up on your knives for more precision—our testers found themselves catching their fingers on the blade throughout the testing process. This knife performed well in our tests, and we found that the blade's tip slid easily through paper. However, the belly of the blade snagged slightly. For $79, our testers would prefer a sharper knife.

Material Kitchen the Almost 4-inch Knife

Material Kitchen The Almost 4" Knife
Courtesy of Material

Though this knife is weightier, we found that it was completely balanced and felt sturdy rather than heavy. Our testers love that this knife has a super sharp and pointed tip, making detailed and precise tasks easier to manage while also boasting a long blade belly that's ideal for peeling and chopping. We found that the blade was pleasantly sharp from heel to point, and the knife glided through paper without snagging. Though the blade's handle is attractive to look at, our testers found it slightly slippery.

Zyliss Comfort Pro Paring 4.5-inch Paring Knife

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

Our testers found that this knife was one of the sharpest of the bunch, and it passed our paper test with flying colors. The belly and tip of the blade are equally sharp, and it's lightweight enough to easily maneuver in air. However, our testers found that the handle was too small, causing their knuckles to hit the cutting board when mincing.

Zwilling Twin Signature 4-inch Knife

ZWILLING TWIN SIGNATURE 4-INCH, PARING KNIFE
Courtesy of Zwilling

The Zwilling knife is comfortable, lightweight, and easy to maneuver, and the super-sharp blade makes it easy to achieve accurate, clean slices. We did find that this blade is more flexible than most, which can be both a pro and a con. Flexibility is helpful when peeling vegetables is helpful, but it can also be a hindrance when slicing hard foods like parmesan cheese or carrots.

Kuhn Rikon 3.5-inch Knife

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

This knife is comfortable to hold, and the blade and handle are well balanced. Our testers found the blade to be wider than the other knives in the group, making it feel sturdy and easy to maneuver. Our testers found this knife easy and comfortable to use, and were pleasantly surprised by the quality to value ratio.

Sasaki Matsuta 3.5-inch Paring Knife

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

This full tang knife is heftier than some of the others. Still, our testers weren't bothered by the weight, and found it beneficial for certain tasks like mincing shallots. Overall, this is a sharp knife that is easy to maneuver and comfortable to hold. If you're looking for something that feels more like a small chef's knife than a paring knife, this is a great option.

Victorinox 3.9-inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

Our testers did not find the handle of this knife to be particularly comfortable but did note that it felt balanced and slip-resistant, thanks to a textured surface. Though it did slice through paper, our testers had to push harder to get it to glide. It's important to note that this knife is the lightest in the group, making it a viable option for someone looking for an ultra-lightweight knife.

Zyliss 3.25-inch Paring Knife with Cover

paring knife
Courtesy of Amazon

The rubber handle on this knife ensures a safe, sturdy grip that's ideal for peeling or maneuvering in the air. Our testers found this knife incredibly well-balanced, with a long, tapered handle that ensures added comfort. The blade is sharp from tip to heel, and it easily cut through paper. Unfortunately, the blade's curve didn't make consistent contact with the cutting board when mincing, which made it feel a bit awkward.

The Tests and Factors to Consider

When choosing the best paring knife for you, it's essential to consider how sharp the blade is, how easy it is to clean and care for, and how comfortable it feels in your hand. Just like a chef's knife, a paring knife should feel sturdy and balanced with a sharp blade that doesn't dull easily. There should be ample space to grip, and the tip of the blade should be just as sharp as the belly of the blade.

Functionality

To test the quality of each knife, we assessed size, shape, weight, sharpness, and durability. To do so, we ran each knife through two tests. To test sharpness out of the box, we used each knife to slice through a sheet of paper from top to bottom. A sharp knife should glide effortlessly through paper without snagging, and you shouldn't have to rock or saw the blade back and forth.

To test weight, feel, and functionality, we used each knife to peel and mince shallots, a common task for which paring knives are often used. A good paring knife should have a sharp tip that easily slices through smaller fruits and vegetables, and it should be easy to grip with one hand when peeling the skins off things like onions and garlic.

Look and Feel

When shopping for a paring knife, weight, balance, and grip size are three main factors to consider. Our testers did this by peeling shallots off the cutting board, to see how each knife felt in mid-air. By peeling the shallots in-air, our testers were able to assess how easy the handles are to grip, how heavy they are and how comfortable or cumbersome they might feel over time. They then minced the shallots against the cutting board to determine how sharp and balanced each knife felt, from handle to tip. Our testers considered how heavy each handle felt and how the handle weight felt in comparison to blade weight. Though some knives were heavier than others, our testers didn't necessarily see weight as a problem, as long as the handle and blade felt balanced.

Durability and Brand Promises

When assessing each knife, we considered any brand promises or specific manufacturer instructions. If a knife was labeled dishwasher-safe, our testers ran it through the dishwasher on five cycles, then repeated the paper test to determine if dishwashing affected how sharp the blade was. If a knife was not labeled dishwasher safe, our testers washed it by hand with soap and water between each use to determine if washing affected functionality.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles