What Should I Consider When Buying a Paring Knife?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 11 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Every cook uses knives at some point. Some do every job with a long chef’s knife, but a paring knife is often the only utensil needed for a small job. A paring knife has a short, sharp blade. It may be serrated or not, depending on the manufacturer. Most paring knives also have a sharp point.

Almost every kitchen knife set includes a paring knife, but what should a person consider when buying one? Function, quality and price are the three aspects most people think about when buying knives in general and a paring knife in particular.

The average paring knife has a relatively short blade of three to four inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters). This allows a cook to do many smaller jobs, such as peeling and slicing apples or lemons, chopping onions, garlic or nuts, trimming herb leaves, coring apples and so on. Such tasks comprise most of what a cook will do when using a knife on a daily basis. So, for a cook just stocking a kitchen, a paring knife is probably the first knife to buy. Sometimes, when people have lived in one place for a while or have been married for several years, their kitchen utensils break, wear out or get thrown away, and they may realize that the paring knife was the most used knife in the drawer and must be replaced.


A paring knife can be made of mostly plastic, or of top-quality stainless steel or even forged steel. A paring knife with a plastic handle probably won’t last very long, but if the cook simply needs a cutting implement, it will do nicely. For longer wear and better performance, a cook is well-advised to buy a higher quality paring knife. These knives often have sturdier handles, perhaps of wood or metal, and sharp, durable blades.

The buyer should also purchase a knife sharpener, since knives become dull after a while. Most stores that sell kitchen supplies also sell some kind of cheaper paring knife. A high-quality knife may need to be ordered online or purchased at an upscale kitchen store such as Williams-Sonoma.

Price is another consideration when buying a paring knife, and it almost always relates directly to quality. A paring knife may cost anywhere from 5 US dollars (USD) to over 60 USD. It all depends on the quality and the manufacturer.

Someone replacing a knife in a set of high-quality cutlery will probably want to replace the paring knife with a similar item. However, it is not a bad idea to have a low-end paring knife and a more expensive one, depending on the job to be done. When a cook reaches for a knife, it will frequently be a paring knife.



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