The 10 Best Meat Cleaver Knives for 2021

by Chris Johns | Updated: November 16, 2021

Best Meat Cleaver

Meat cleaver knives are often associated with heavy-duty butcher work, but they are actually well-rounded knives that give the standard chef’s knife a run for its money.

Meat cleaver knives glide through dense meat, bone, and cartilage. Yet, they are also helpful in crushing fresh garlic, transferring meat and onions, scaling fish, and dicing dense fruits and veggies like cabbage and pineapple.

There’s a meat cleaver knife out there for every style of cooking. So whether you’re looking for a well-rounded tool that can debone, slice, and dice, or a heavy-duty cleaver for powering through thick bone, you’re sure to find it here.

The Best Meat Cleavers for 2021

Here is my list of the top meat cleaver options for the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. in 2021. I’ll start with the five best choices in terms of value, convenience, design, and cost.

Click on the name to read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to read the entire list by clicking here.

Best Meat Cleaver Knife Reviews

Here are the complete reviews of the ten best meat cleavers in 2021. Keep reading after the reviews for a guide on what to look for when choosing a meat cleaver.

1. Dalstrong Obliterator 9-Inch Meat Cleaver – Best Overall Choice #1

DALSTRONG Obliterator Meat Cleaver - 9" - Gladiator Series R - Stand and Sheath Included - Razor Sharp Massive Heavy Duty - 3lbs - 6mm Thickness - 7CR17MOV High Carbon Steel - NSF Certified

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The Dalstrong Obliterator 9-Inch Meat Cleaver earns the Best Overall Choice Award thanks to its premium carbon steel construction, razor-sharp edge, and consumer-friendly price tag.

There’s a lot to admire here. To start, this meat cleaver is forged from premium high-carbon 7CR17MOV steel and heat-treated to 60 HRC to maintain its cutting edge.

At 2.9 pounds, this meat cleaver earns its “obliterator” status. The combination of weight and a sharp blade allows you to glide through thicker bones and sinew with scalpel-like precision.

I also like that both sides of the 9” blade are cut at 18-degrees and tapered, ensuring the perfect balance between sharpness and resilience.

Dalstrong uses only the highest-quality German stainless steel to construct this cleaver knife. And to top it all off, they used an ancient Honbazuke method to sharpen the blade.

The process begins by coarsely grinding the blade using a vertically rotating sharpening stone. Next, the German stainless steel blade is finely honed and then polished using a leather stropping block.

I also like that this meat cleaver comes with a full-tang, military-grade G10 handle for life-long durability. G10 is a non-porous fiberglass-like material that is heat-, cold-, and moisture-resistant, so go ahead and put this meat cleaver to the test.

If you’re looking for a handsome, tough, and heavy-duty cleaver knife that comes with a budget-friendly price tag, check out the Dalstrong Obliterator 9-Inch Meat Cleaver.

DALSTRONG Obliterator Meat Cleaver - 9' - Gladiator Series R - Stand and Sheath Included - Razor Sharp Massive Heavy Duty - 3lbs - 6mm Thickness - 7CR17MOV High Carbon Steel - NSF Certified
1,412 Reviews
DALSTRONG Obliterator Meat Cleaver - 9" - Gladiator Series R - Stand and Sheath Included - Razor Sharp Massive Heavy Duty - 3lbs - 6mm Thickness - 7CR17MOV High Carbon Steel - NSF Certified
  • The Gladiator Series R 'Obliterator' cleaver serves a single ferocious purpose - to obliterate any culinary obstacle in...
  • Incredibly razor sharp edge, full-tang, Forged from premium high-carbon 7CR17MOV Steel and heat treated to 60HRC, this 9"...
  • Award winning design, with satisfying heft, premium materials and quality feel. The blade's edge is razor sharp, allowing for...

2. Tuo 7-Inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife – Best Overall Choice #2

TUO Cleaver Knife - 7 inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife - Chinese Cleaver - German HC Steel - Full Tang Pakkawood Handle - BLACK HAWK SERIES with Gift Box

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The Tuo 7-Inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife may be one of the most affordable Chinese cleaver units on the market, yet this knife can still hang with the best.

If you’re new to Chinese meat cleavers, they are unique in that they are lighter than traditional butcher knives and have a thinner steel blade. That’s because these cleaver knives are intended to slice and dice vegetables, fruits, and softer meats rather than hack through bone.

This Chinese cleaver features a 7” inch cleaver blade that’s made from high carbon stainless steel.

The blade is vacuum treated during production and then given a cryogenic nitrogen tempering to ensure hardness, flexibility, and long life.

I also like that the blade is manufactured with a three-step Honbazuke method at 14-16 degrees per side. This improves hardness and ensures the vegetable cleaver retains its cutting edge longer.

What’s more, the blade is full-tang, so it’s cut from a single piece of steel that extends from tip to handle. I also like that the wooden handle is made from ergonomic Pakkawood and triple riveted for extra durability and looks.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly vegetable cleaver that’s made from high-quality materials and comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, check out the Tuo 7-Inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife.

TUO Cleaver Knife - 7 inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife - Chinese Cleaver - German HC Steel - Full Tang Pakkawood Handle - BLACK HAWK SERIES with Gift Box
2,959 Reviews
TUO Cleaver Knife - 7 inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife - Chinese Cleaver - German HC Steel - Full Tang Pakkawood Handle - BLACK HAWK SERIES with Gift Box
  • 🔪【PERFECTED CLEAVER KNIFE】The Black Hawk Cleaver Knife 7-inch is perfect for meats, vegetable with ease while the...
  • ✅【PEAK PERFORMANCE】Our experienced knife smiths hand sharpen the phenomenally sharp edge with traditional 3-step...
  • ✅【ERGONOMIC DESIGN】Every curve and angle of the handle is ergonomically designed for a comfortable and...

3. Shun Classic 7-inch Classic Meat Cleaver

Shun Classic 7 Inch Cleaver Ebony PakkaWood Handle and VG-MAX Damascus Clad, Blade Steel Ultimate Tool for Chopping or Slicing Vegetables, DM0712, Silver

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The Shun Classic 7-Inch Classic Meat Cleaver is a high-end cleaver that earns a solid rating thanks to its sturdy construction, nimble feel, and stick-resistant blade.

Like the Tuo 7-Inch knife, this cleaver is best suited for chopping vegetables, fruits, and softer meats. I like that this cleaver knife comes with a wide 7” steel blade, which makes it easy to smash thick garlic cloves or glide through thick heads of cabbage and lettuce.

Upgraded from the traditional VG10 formula, this unit comes with a VG-MAX steel blade containing a stronger cobalt, chromium, carbon, and tungsten blend. So this cleaver butcher knife is tough, razor-sharp, and maintains its edge.

The textured blade not only looks great; it also reduces sticking and allows you to make swift, smooth cuts with minimal friction and resistance.

I also like that the cleaver comes with a D-shaped handle made from ebony Pakkawood. So it has a look and feel of traditional hardwood, but with increased durability, water, and corrosion resistance.

If you’re looking for a high-end vegetable cleaver that is sturdy, comfortable in hand, and highly agile, check out the Shun Classic 7-Inch Classic Meat Cleaver.

Shun Classic 7 Inch Cleaver Ebony PakkaWood Handle and VG-MAX Damascus Clad, Blade Steel Ultimate Tool for Chopping or Slicing Vegetables, DM0712, Silver
204 Reviews
Shun Classic 7 Inch Cleaver Ebony PakkaWood Handle and VG-MAX Damascus Clad, Blade Steel Ultimate Tool for Chopping or Slicing Vegetables, DM0712, Silver
  • Shun Classic Vegetable Cleaver has a 7” wide, square blade, ideal for vegetable preparation; razor-sharp edge perfect for...
  • The Shun Vegetable Cleaver has a solid feel, yet offers nimble execution of slicing and dicing; powerful enough to handle...
  • VG-MAX steel cutting core is a proprietary Shun formula, an innovative upgrade from the VG10 version, with increases of...

4. Zwilling Twin Signature 7-Inch Chinese Cleaver Knife

ZWILLING Twin Signature 7-Inch Chinese Chef Knife, Chinese Cleaver Knife, Stainless Steel, Black

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The Zwilling Twin Signature 7-Inch Chinese Cleaver Knife is another great mid-priced Chinese cleaver.

This cleaver is well-rounded so that it can be used in almost any culinary activity. The wide, 7” inch blade makes it easy to smash garlic cloves.

I also like the increased blade width for chopping through cumbersome vegetables like lettuce and cabbage heads.

I also like that the sharp blade is full-tang, so it’s constructed from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel that extends from tip to handle. It also has a 15-degree edge to reduce friction.

To increase durability, Zwilling manufactured the blade from a unique high-carbon steel formula and precision-honed it with a laser for extra sharpness and durability.

The thin, Pakkawood handle is slim and cut with a slight wave for comfort and increased grip. I also like that it is triple riveted to the blade.

Unlike many Chinese cleavers, this one is dishwasher safe, corrosion- and chip-resistant.

If you’re looking for a good meat cleaver with a consumer-friendly price tag, you’ll like the Zwilling Twin Signature 7-Inch Chinese Cleaver Knife.

On Sale
ZWILLING Twin Signature 7-Inch Chinese Chef Knife, Chinese Cleaver Knife, Stainless Steel, Black
753 Reviews
ZWILLING Twin Signature 7-Inch Chinese Chef Knife, Chinese Cleaver Knife, Stainless Steel, Black
  • QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Manufactured in Germany. Special formula high carbon no stain steel. Sigma forge knife is forged from...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & STRONG: One piece precision stamped blade for a lighter weight knife without sacrificing strength
  • RESILIENT BLADE: Ice-hardened FRIODUR blade starts sharper stays sharper longer and has superior resilience

5. Henckels 7-Inch Santoku Knife

HENCKELS Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel

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While the Henckels 7-Inch Santoku Knife may look like a regular old knife, this handy cutter excels at making quick chops and precision cuts. So it can be used in tandem with a chef’s knife rather than replacing it.

This Santoku knife comes with a 7-inch blade with a 15-degree bevel. The edge is flat, which allows you to make quick, accurate cuts with minimal effort. As you’ll notice, this Santoku knife has a thin handle, so it’s ideal for those with smaller hands.

I like using my traditional chef knife for disjointing raw chicken. Then, when I want to prepare sides or slice and dice vegetables, I switch to my Santoku knife, ensuring that I maintain a steady workflow.

There’s a lot to admire here. I like that the blade is manufactured from high-quality German stainless steel. The blade also has a lovely satin finish and maintains its edge.

The handle is thin and comfortable in hand, which allows you to work quickly. I also like that the bottom end of the handle is curved to reduce slipping.

While this high carbon stainless steel knife can act as a replacement for your chef’s knife (especially if you have small hands), you’ll find that the Henckels 7-Inch Santoku Knife is an excellent companion piece, especially when you consider the price.

On Sale
HENCKELS Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel
1,341 Reviews
HENCKELS Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black, Stainless Steel
  • QUALITY MANUFACTURING: Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel. Made in Spain
  • PRECISE CUTTING: Professional, satin finished blade boasts precision cutting and is finely honed for long lasting sharpness
  • BALANCED BLADE: Ergonomic, traditional triple rivet handle offers balance and comfort

6. Aroma House 7-Inch Kitchen Meat Cleaver

Meat Cleaver 7 Inch Cleaver Knife Chinese Chef Knife German Steel Chopper Cleaver Butcher Knife for Home Kitchen or Restaurant

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The Aroma House 7-Inch Kitchen Meat Cleaver is another popular Chinese cleaver. This unit earns high marks for its generous lifetime warranty, sleek non-stick handle, and multi-functional design.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the top portion of the cleaver butcher knife blade is covered with hand-made grooves. These look great, but they also reduce sticking and friction when you’re chopping meat, veggies, and fruits.

This is a Chinese-style butcher’s knife, so it is well-rounded. While the high-quality carbon stainless steel blade is strong enough to cut through tendons and smaller chicken bones, it truly excels at cutting veggies and meat.

The sharp blade is made from a blend of chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium to provide superior strength, hardness, and rust and corrosion resistance.
I also like the sleek Pakkawood handle, which covers the full-tang blade, riveted, and capped with stainless steel.

The beauty of Pakkawood is that it looks and feels a lot like natural hardwood, but with a bonus: it’s water-resistant and won’t crack, even if it remains submerged in water.

If you’re looking for a sleek, heavy-duty knife that holds its own alongside most meat cleavers, you’ll like the Aroma House 7-Inch Kitchen Meat Cleaver.

Meat Cleaver 7 Inch Cleaver Knife Chinese Chef Knife German Steel Chopper Cleaver Butcher Knife for Home Kitchen or Restaurant
5,183 Reviews
Meat Cleaver 7 Inch Cleaver Knife Chinese Chef Knife German Steel Chopper Cleaver Butcher Knife for Home Kitchen or Restaurant
  • Premier Meat Cleaver➦An ideal Gift for any Home or Professional Kitchen Cook,High-quality Carbon Stainless Steel greatly...
  • No-slip Ergonomic Handle ➦Ergonomically designed handle is Full Tang, which can prevent the blade of this chefs cleaver...
  • Mutifunctional Meat Cleaver Knife ➦ The Chinese meat knife is Perfect for Cutting, Chopping, Slicing, De Boning, Cleaving...

7. Mueller 7-inch Professional Meat Cleaver Knife

Mueller 7-inch Meat Cleaver Knife, Stainless Steel Professional Butcher Chopper, Stainless Steel Handle, Heavy Duty Blade for Home Kitchen and Restaurant

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The Mueller 7-Inch Professional Meat Cleaver Knife is another excellent addition to any knife collection.

This lightweight cleaver is one of the most affordable meat cleavers on the market, but it is surprisingly well-rounded and made with a lot of care and attention to detail.

To start, the blade is made from stainless steel, so it is rust- and corrosion-resistant. Plus, it is easy to clean and sharpens easily.

While this multi-purpose knife is not ideal for powering through dense bone, it’s still well-rounded. You’ll find that it is ideally suited for removing meat from thick bones, slicing it, and chopping veggies and fruit.

The blade is cut to 18 degrees, so it is incredibly sharp and maintains its edge well.

I also like the straight, ergonomic handle, which is thicker than many Chinese meat cleavers but thinner than the average knife. So this is one of the best cleaver knives for those with short fingers.

If you’re new to Chinese-style meat cleavers, the Mueller 7-Inch Professional Meat Cleaver Knife is a great unit to start with. It’s ridiculously affordable, durable, and well-rounded, making it an excellent addition to any knife collection.

Mueller 7-inch Meat Cleaver Knife, Stainless Steel Professional Butcher Chopper, Stainless Steel Handle, Heavy Duty Blade for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
2,294 Reviews
Mueller 7-inch Meat Cleaver Knife, Stainless Steel Professional Butcher Chopper, Stainless Steel Handle, Heavy Duty Blade for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
  • Premium Durability And Quality - Mueller Super Sharp Cleaver Knife is made of high-quality stainless steel that resists rust,...
  • Multi-purpose Cleaver’s Knife - Designed to be multipurpose knife for professional applications and it can be used for your...
  • Extremely Sharp Edge - Sharpness is key to achieving the best cuts and this is evident in the knife's blade which is quite...

8. Imarku 7-Inch Meat Cleaver Knife

Cleaver Knife - imarku 7 Inch Meat Cleaver - 7CR17MOV German High Carbon Stainless Steel Butcher Knife with Ergonomic Handle for Home Kitchen and Restaurant, Ultra Sharp

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The Imarku 7-Inch Meat Cleaver Knife is another great budget-friendly heavy-duty meat cleaver. This one earns high marks for its sturdy construction, ergonomic design, and lifetime warranty.

This hefty cleaver features a 7” blade length that’s made from high carbon stainless steel and angled at 18-degrees for maximum sharpness and strength.

This well-rounded knife can be used for slicing, boning, and cutting vegetables and fruits. Because the blade is wider than many western blades, it also works well when smashing garlic and ginger.

I also like that the blade has a slight curve, so it will naturally fall forward on the cutting board and away from your fingers. I was also happy to see that the blade is full tang, so it’s manufactured from a single piece of 7CR17MOV steel that extends from the tip to the base of the handle.

The Pakkawood is also an excellent addition. Unlike other butcher knives with wood handles, this one is water-resistant and will not crack, even when submerged in water.

If you’re looking for a consumer-friendly, heavy-duty cleaver that’s backed by a generous lifetime warranty, check out the Imarku 7-Inch Meat Cleaver Knife.

On Sale
Cleaver Knife - imarku 7 Inch Meat Cleaver - 7CR17MOV German High Carbon Stainless Steel Butcher Knife with Ergonomic Handle for Home Kitchen and Restaurant, Ultra Sharp
2,485 Reviews
Cleaver Knife - imarku 7 Inch Meat Cleaver - 7CR17MOV German High Carbon Stainless Steel Butcher Knife with Ergonomic Handle for Home Kitchen and Restaurant, Ultra Sharp
  • Multi-purpose Cleaver: The classic 7" Chinese kitchen knife easily handles your everyday kitchen needs such as chopping,...
  • Professionally Ground Sharp Blades: Hand sharpened by experienced artisans. This kitchen knife has an 18° angle on both...
  • Extremely HC Outstanding Stainless Steel from Germany: This imarku Meat Cleaver is forged from excellent German imported high...

9. Dalstrong Shogun Series 7-Inch Cleaver Knife

DALSTRONG Cleaver Knife - 7" - Shogun Series X - Razor Sharp - Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel - Damascus - Hammered Finish - Sheath Included

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The Dalstrong Shogun Series 7-Inch Cleaver Knife is a beautiful, high-quality 7-inch cleaver that earns high marks for its versatility and sturdy construction.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the bone saw blade is hammered and covered with a swirling texture. These are eye-catching features, but they also help reduce friction and sticking.

This medium-duty unit is ideal for deboning, slicing, and dicing softer foods like meat, veggies, and fruits.

The blade is made from a single piece of AUS-10V, a material known for its corrosion resistance, strength, and ability to hold an edge.

I also like that the shorter blade is cut at an 8 to 12-degree angle on each size using the Honbazuke method. Following this three-step process, the blade is nitrogen cooled for enhanced hardness and flexibility.

I also like that this unit comes with a lovely gift box and a lifetime warranty.

In total, you get 66 layers of premium high-carbon stainless steel to ensure maximum strength. I also like that the blade is full-tang and covered in an ergonomic, military-grade G10 handle.

Because the handle is made from a non-porous fiberglass-like material, it is impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.

If you’re looking for a handsome, high-quality cleaver, check out the Dalstrong Shogun Series 7-Inch Cleaver Knife.

DALSTRONG Cleaver Knife - 7' - Shogun Series X - Razor Sharp - Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel - Damascus - Hammered Finish - Sheath Included
904 Reviews
DALSTRONG Cleaver Knife - 7" - Shogun Series X - Razor Sharp - Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel - Damascus - Hammered Finish - Sheath Included
  • A Dalstrong culinary revolution combining outstanding and award-winning craftsmanship, cutting-edge breakthrough technology,...
  • Unrivalled Performance: A multi-purpose culinary titan, this Chinese style cleaver is one of the most popular blade types in...
  • Dalstrong Power: An ultra sharp AUS-10V, Vacuum Sealed Japanese super steel cutting core at 62+ Rockwell hardness:...

10. Zelite Infinity 7-Inch Cleaver Knife

Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife 7 Inch - Comfort-Pro Series - German High Carbon Stainless Steel - Razor Sharp, Super Comfortable

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The Zelite Infinity 7-Inch Cleaver Knife may be one of the most affordable units on the list, but this is a surprisingly high-quality meat preparation tool.

There’s a lot to admire here. To start, the blade is constructed from a single piece of ThyssenKrupp carbon stainless steel (CRMOV 15). Because it is full-tang, the steel extends from the tip of the thinner blade all the way to the handle for increased durability.

The blade is hand sharpened and comes with an 18-20 degree blade to ensure maximum strength and sharpness.

I also like the thin, rounded handle, which has a tapered bolster. This ergonomic handle provides a secure grip, comfort, and balance while remaining thin for maximum control.

This is a medium-weight cleaver, so while you want to avoid using blunt force to power through thick bone, you’ll find that this unit is well-rounded. Use it to cut, chop, slice, debone, and cleave light bone or prepare veggies, fruits, and other meats.

This unit is also backed by a generous lifetime warranty and comes with a handsome gift box.

If you’re looking for an affordable, well-rounded cleaver that is sturdy, well-balanced, and comfortable in hand, check out the Zelite Infinity 7-Inch Cleaver Knife.

On Sale
Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife 7 Inch - Comfort-Pro Series - German High Carbon Stainless Steel - Razor Sharp, Super Comfortable
734 Reviews
Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife 7 Inch - Comfort-Pro Series - German High Carbon Stainless Steel - Razor Sharp, Super Comfortable
  • BEST IN CLASS: Razor Sharp, Visually Stunning, Satisfying Heft, Premier Meat Cleaver, an ideal Gift for any Home or...
  • QUALITY GERMAN STEEL: Unlike a lot of the competition who use cheap steels that will rust, dent and wear out, we use...
  • EXTREME COMFORT: Full Tang, Ergonomic, Big Forged Rounded Black Handle, Rare Tapered Bolster, Perfect Forward Balance...

Why buy a meat cleaver knife?

There are a few essential knives to have in every collection: a chef’s knife for everyday multi-use cutting, brisket knives, a good set of steak knives, a serrated knife, and a well-rounded meat cleaver.

While home chefs commonly associate cleavers with heavy-duty butcher work, many cleavers are versatile cutters designed to glide through dense meat, smaller bones, cartilage, and tough produce like potatoes, cabbage, and pineapple.

If you’re new to meat cleavers, here are a few reasons to add one to your knife collection.

Crushing

Meat cleavers have wider, thinner blades, making them particularly useful for crushing up fresh garlic and ginger without peeling. To crush, simply turn the 7-inch cleaver on its side, cover the garlic, and use your palm to crush. Now separate the peel and move along.

Transferring

Cleavers tend to have a wider blade than most knives, so they allow you to scoop vegetables from the cutting board and drop them into pots or bowls quickly and with minimal spillage.

Sectioning meat from the bone

Meat cleavers are known for their ability to cut through bone – and they do this well. That’s partially because they are heavier than most knives, are wider, and provide increased leverage.

Thanks to the cleaver’s wide blade, you can set your blade on the meat and use your other hand and a little bodyweight to push down on the top part of the blade.

Scaling fish

Because meat cleavers have wide blades with a thin edge, they are ideally suited for scaling thick pieces of fish in one fell swoop.

To do this, place the fish on a cutting board, hold the head with one hand, and use the other to guide the cleaver up and down the fish at an angle. Now watch the scales fly quickly and with minimal effort.

How do I use a meat cleaver?

Meat cleavers may look intimidating, but they’re incredibly easy to use.

Start by holding the handle close to the blade and curl your remaining fingers around the handle.

If you’re doing light work, you can increase agility by placing your thumb on one side of the stainless steel blade and your index finger on the other.

The chopping motion should come from the wrist, but the key is to let the weight of the cleaver do most of the heavy lifting for you.

What is the hole in a meat cleaver for?

Traditionally butchers used this hole to hang the cleaver on a hook or nail. Less commonly, chefs use the hole to attach the cleaver to a belt loop.

How long does a meat cleaver last?

Most meat cleavers are made from heavy-duty stainless steel and have synthetic or Pakkawood handles that are non-porous and water-resistant.

So cleavers are highly durable as well as rust- and corrosion-resistant. That said, not all cleavers are designed for hacking through thick bones and may chip if you misuse them.

To increase the lifespan of your meat cleaver, I suggest hand washing them and drying them immediately.

What to look for in a meat cleaver

There are several features to consider when shopping for a meat cleaver. These include length, balance, blade profile, weight, and the additional features below.

Length

Blade length is one of the most essential features to consider as it impacts dexterity. In my experience, a 7”, slightly curved blade is most efficient.

At this length, you can glide through thick items like cabbage, whole fish, and thick steaks. A 7” blade also gives you ample weight and a long spine to leverage with your free hand.

Balance

Most cleavers are blade-heavy. In other words, the blade is much heavier than the handle, which causes the blade to fall forward naturally.

In my experience, the ideal meat cleaver is well-balanced without too much weight in the blade.

The blade should be heavier than the handle but not so heavy that it inhibits aim and control.

Blade profile

Meat cleavers come with various blade profiles. Some are thick and wedge-like. Others are thin and tapered.

Cleavers with a hatchet-style taper are durable and heavy-hitting, allowing you to power through meat and bone without damaging the blade. That said, these blades are typically harder to control.

Chinese-style blades are thin and ground to a tighter angle, making them ideal for delicate cuts.

Cleavers with a wedge shape are slightly less sharp than other blades and rely on blunt force. So these are best suited for cutting through thick bone and sinew.

Weight

In general, the longer the blade length, the heavier the cleaver. In my opinion, cleavers that clock in at around one pound provides ample power and control with minimal fatigue.

Spine

Part of the appeal of cleavers is that they are heavier than chef’s knives and have a thicker spine, which allows you to use one hand to hold the knife and the other to apply downward pressure on tough cuts of meat and dense veggies.

Warranty

While even the most budget-friendly meat cleavers should last a lifetime with proper use and care, many units do come with limited lifetime warranties for added protection.

To extend the life of your meat cleaver, I suggest hand washing and drying them.

What is the best meat cleaver for you?

The answer to this depends on your budget, needs, and preferences. However, if I only had to choose one unit, it’d be the Dalstrong Obliterator 9-Inch Meat Cleaver.

DALSTRONG Obliterator Meat Cleaver - 9' - Gladiator Series R - Stand and Sheath Included - Razor Sharp Massive Heavy Duty - 3lbs - 6mm Thickness - 7CR17MOV High Carbon Steel - NSF Certified
1,412 Reviews
DALSTRONG Obliterator Meat Cleaver - 9" - Gladiator Series R - Stand and Sheath Included - Razor Sharp Massive Heavy Duty - 3lbs - 6mm Thickness - 7CR17MOV High Carbon Steel - NSF Certified
  • The Gladiator Series R 'Obliterator' cleaver serves a single ferocious purpose - to obliterate any culinary obstacle in...
  • Incredibly razor sharp edge, full-tang, Forged from premium high-carbon 7CR17MOV Steel and heat treated to 60HRC, this 9"...
  • Award winning design, with satisfying heft, premium materials and quality feel. The blade's edge is razor sharp, allowing for...

This cleaver is forged from premium high-carbon 7CR17MOV steel and heat-treated to 60 HRC to maintain its edge.

Unlike other high-rated meat cleavers, this one earns its “obliterator” status. The combination of weight (nearly three pounds) and a sharp blade allows you to glide through thicker bones and sinew with scalpel-like precision.

Dalstrong uses only the highest-quality German stainless steel to construct this cleaver knife. And to top it all off, they used an ancient Honbazuke method to sharpen the blade.

I also like that this meat cleaver comes with a full-tang, military-grade G10 handle for life-long durability.

G10 is a non-porous fiberglass-like material that is heat-, cold-, and moisture-resistant, so go ahead and put this meat cleaver to the test.

If you’re looking for a handsome, tough, and heavy-duty cleaver knife that comes with a budget-friendly price tag, check out the Dalstrong Obliterator 9-Inch Meat Cleaver.

4.7/5 - (18 votes)

Chris Johns is the founder of The BBQ Report® and has been an avid barbecue fan for over 20 years. His mission is to make grilling and smoking the best food possible easy for everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people with grilling, smoking, and barbecue recipe recommendations.