The Best Meat Cleaver: A Complete Guide To Choose The Right One



Your kitchen needs the best meat cleaver. If you don’t have a meat cleaver, you’ll spend countless hours in the kitchen trying to chop through slabs of meat. Meat cleavers are designed to withstand hard chops from a chef without breaking in the process.

Small kitchen knives should never be used to chop meat.

You can use a serrated knife to cut through a piece of steak. But when you need to separate wings or cut through a thick roast, nothing beats a trusty meat cleaver.

We’re going to explain why everyone needs a meat cleaver in their kitchen.

My Favorite Meat Cleavers:

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Why Every Cook Needs a Meat Cleaver

Meat cleavers are very useful in the kitchen.

Every cook needs a meat cleaver – it’s that vital for a top chef. But I’m not going to lie and say that a meat cleaver is the only knife you need in the kitchen. There are five additional knives you’ll need for a complete set:

Large and broad-faced, a meat cleaver allows a cook to chop up a carcass at lightning fast speed. Blades are constructed to avoid buckling and shatter. The blades are blunt, and the cutting comes with the chef’s overhand swing.

If you’re a vegetarian, a meat cleaver may sit in your kitchen drawer with little use. But if you cook a lot of meat, there’s nothing better than a meat cleaver. You’ll be able to:

  • Separate chicken thighs
  • Chop through beef bones
  • Chop through carcasses

This is work that a standard kitchen knife will buckle or break over. Never use a small, thin knife to try and chop through meat – you risk serious injury.

The Best Meat Cleaver: Wusthof Classic Heavy Cleaver

My top choice. I’ve been using it for almost 5 years.

The Wusthof Classic heavy cleaver is my favorite – period.  Chefs choose this cleaver over the competition due to its balanced and thicker design, which enables the cleaver to chop through bone for easy meat separation.

A single piece of German stainless steel adds to this cleaver’s quality and high-end design.

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You never have to worry about the blade breaking, as the handle has a full-tang cleaver.


  • 5” blade
  • Single piece of stainless steel
  • 3 rivet handle
  • Laser tested edge
  • 9-pound weight
  • Blade height of 4”

Wusthof is a brand with over 190 years of experience in crafting the finest quality blades in the world. And over the near two-century existence of the brand, they’ve perfected blade-making like no other company in the world.

The Classic Heavy Cleaver depicts the quality that only master blade smiths can offer.

A three-riveted synthetic is easy to hold and fits in the user’s hand comfortably, even after hours of chopping. The cleaver’s full-tang design ensures the blade never breaks away from the handle, and it allows for better overall balance.

Hefty and thick, this cleaver weighs 1.9 pounds, but the balance and weight allow users to chop through bones and meat with little effort.

Spare ribs and chicken, among other cuts of meat, won’t withstand the chops of the Wusthof Classic.

Wusthof utilizes laser technology to ensure that the blade’s edge is uniform and allow for cuts that other cleavers can’t make. Uniform blade cutting further adds to the blade’s durability, allowing users to enjoy their Classic for many years to come.

You never have to worry about blade edges breaking or chipping.

High-carbon stainless steel is used in the construction of the Classic Heavy Cleavers. This steel is stain resistant with a bolster. A 58 Rockwell hardness allows this blade to withstand some of the hardest materials on earth without breaking.

Sharpness longevity is unmatched thanks to the PEtec edge. What PEtec offers is a 20% sharper blade that’s rated to last twice as long as the competition. Wusthof backs all their cutlery with a lifetime warranty, so consumers can be confident that their blade will last a lifetime, or it will be replaced.

Each side of the blade offers a 14-degree cutting edge. The angle reduces drag when cutting, allowing for faster, precise cuts that other cleavers can’t offer.

When receiving the blade, it’s razor sharp and features a buffed and polished exterior. All blades are buffed and polished by hand, so you never have to worry about your blade being damaged by machinery while still in the warehouse.

The blade is a quarter-inch thick at the spine.

Width or height of the blade is slightly under 4”. The longer width allows users to place the blade on its side to break through garlic or other vegetables with ease.


  • Impeccable quality
  • Thick and heavy blade
  • Cuts through spare ribs and chicken easily


  • Higher priced

The Wusthof Classic is a true icon in the cleaver industry. German perfection, the company’s 190-year history allows them to craft the best cleavers and knives in the world. The quality of Wusthof allows their knives to be used for decades without fear of breakage.

And when this cleaver can chop through everything from melons to spare ribs and chicken, it easily excels in the kitchen. The PEtec design makes the blade even more impressive and holds an edge far longer than competing cleavers.

If you’re a big meat eater who needs to separate meat from bone often, you owe it to yourself to buy a quality meat cleaver that makes quick work of meat and bones.

Global G-12 Meat Cleaver Review

Global offers the impressive G-12, which is a 6.5” cleaver (larger than most cleavers), and its square blade allows chefs to butcher through bones with ease. Stainless steel is the material of choice for the blade, and there is a full edge to use.

The 15 percent angle allows for a razor sharp edge that slices meat effectively.

The handle of the Global Cleaver is well balanced.

The handle is part of the blade, so you never have to worry about the handle breaking away from the blade. No rivets are used to hold the handle in place – it’s a solid piece of steel. But the handle is hollow to allow for better balance.

Black synthetic grips on the handle allow for a stronger, non-slip grip.

Handwashing is preferred for this blade to ensure that it holds its edge. Standard cleavers have a hefty, thicker blade that’s often blunt. The bluntness of the standard blade allows for dishwasher usage.

Sharper blades get dull faster in the dishwasher.

Chefs use this cleaver to cut through frozen meat, too. But remember that proper use of this knife means not trying to chop through thick, frozen bones that will destroy most knives. Poultry and thinner bones can be chopped with ease.

Global offers one more thing to consumers: a lifetime warranty.

If the knife is defective or breaks, send it back and you’ll get a replacement. Defects do happen in every company’s products, but few offer the guarantee that Global offers to satisfy their customers.

Shun DM0767 Classic 6-Inch Review

Shun’s DM0767 is a 6-inch meat cleaver that’s able to cut through thin and soft bones. Sinew and hard vegetables can be cut through fast and efficiently with the DM0767. This is a Japanese blade featuring a 16-degree angle to be sharper than traditional Western meat cleavers.

The angle allows the blade to be used for peeling, too.

VG-10 stainless steel with 32 layers of high carbon stainless steel adds to the blade’s durability. A black, laminated D-shaped handle provides a secure grip and added comfort.

Two handle rivets keep the blade firmly attached to the handle.

A full-tang design adds to the knife’s durability and longevity. The main issue with the cleaver is that it is fragile – you can’t cut through thicker cuts as easily as you would with a traditional meat cleaver.

But you’ll be able to cut through:

  • Chicken (bones, too)
  • Lobster claws
  • Thicker meat cuts

A sharper blade will benefit the chef, too. This allows the cook to cut under the skin of the meat, which is something that a lot of cleavers don’t offer.

You’ll also notice that the knife is slightly lighter than other cleavers. This cleaver weighs 15.4 ounces. A lighter weight provides users with flexibility when chopping, and faster cuts result from this light weight.

J.A. Henckels International Classic 6-inch Cleaver Review

J.A. Henckels International offers a popular, 6-inch cleaver that’s often low on stock – it sells out quickly for a reason. The manufacturer is an industry leader, and this heavy 6-inch blade allows chefs to chop through:

  • Joints
  • Bones
  • Hard vegetables

Engineered with high-carbon German stainless steel, this blade offers a full-tang design with a triple-rivet handle.

Full-tang is the ideal choice for a meat cleaver. Even if the handle separates from the blade, the user suffers less risk of injury from a projectile blade.

Henckels offers a lifetime limited warranty.

An everyday blade, this meat cleaver can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher saving users time when cleaning up after cooking.

When you grip the handle, you’ll note that the handle curves down to allow for an ergonomic grip. When chopping through chicken drumstick bones, the cleaver never slips causing injury. Balance and natural heft allow chefs to cut through a whole chicken in as little as four strokes.

The blade is sharp, unlike others, and it can be used to peel skin off potatoes and ginger – it’s that versatile.

Benefits of Owning a Meat Cleaver

With the right cleaver, cutting through large cuts of meat is easy.

Meat cleavers have one job: chopping through meat. Novice chefs often believe that a good meat cleaver is sharp, but these blades are blunt. The bluntness of the blade allows for safe chopping of the meat.

Don’t misunderstand, these knives are sharp enough to cut through meat, but they don’t offer the sharpness of, say, a filet knife, which cuts through meat like butter.

Chef’s know the real benefits of these meat cleavers when they cut through meat daily. The benefits that chefs boast about most are:

  • Crushes preparation food on the broadside, such as crushing garlic
  • Cuts through thin bone easily
  • Can be used to separate ribs or bone
  • Cuts through tough vegetables

You can’t cut through thick, solid bones with a meat cleaver. Poultry bones are obliterated with a meat cleaver, but cutting through a solid, thick bone requires a bone saw.

But as long as you’re not a butcher, you won’t come across the type of bones that you can’t chop through with a meat cleaver. Chefs or just everyday people that cook meat often will find preparation is made simple with a meat cleaver.

Conclusion: Find The Right Cleaver For You

If you don’t have a meat cleaver yet, we’ve provided you with our top picks for the right model. These are some of the top meat cleavers you can find. And since they’re all affordable, there’s a cleaver on the list above for every type of chef.


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