When it comes to knives, a lot depends on personal preference — hand size, wrist strength, level of comfort wielding a sharpened piece of metal — but for this price tier, the consensus was overwhelming: All of our testers selected the Victorinox as their favorite. It was the sharpest right out of the box and sliced through our (slightly mushy) tomatoes, the food that reliably tripped up its competitors, with ease. It was also made short work of potatoes, onions, garlic, and basil.
In addition to sharpness, the Victorinox’s handle was comfortable to hold, a must when you’re prepping in any kind of volume. The handle is made of textured plastic, which lived up to its non-slip promises. Looking at the knife’s handle, you might notice that, unlike our other top picks, the Victorinox has a “partial tang” as opposed to a “full tang.” A knife’s tang is the piece of metal inside the handle. Besides being a great drag name, “full tang” means that the metal extends the entire length of the handle (you’ll frequently see a stripe of metal down the handle of a full-tang knife).
You may often hear that a full tang is a marker of a high-quality knife, and that buying one with a partial tang would be akin to buying suede rain boots. The truth of the matter, though, is that while a full tang can improve a knife’s balance, it’s far from the end-all, be-all of knife qualifications. Jesse Szewczyk, BuzzFeed food writer, culinary school grad, and one of our testers, describes a quick and easy way to test a knife’s balance: “If you ease up on your grip, it shouldn’t just tip forward and fall immediately.”
Although it has a partial tang, the Victorinox passed the balance test for all of our testers. You might also hear that a knife with a full tang is more durable than one with a partial tang, though in reality, unless you’re using your chef’s knife to julienne petrified wood, a partial tang will do the job just as well (plus, the Victorinox has a lifetime warranty). A number of Amazon reviewers attest to the durability of this knife, raving that it has been their faithful sidekick (er, sidechop) for years. A few reviewers even noted that their Victorinoxes were still sharp after one to two years without a sharpening.
At 7.5 ounces, this was the second-lightest knife we tested in this category, and every one of our testers found it to be the easiest to maneuver across a variety of chopping tasks, both rough (I’m looking at you, potatoes) and delicate. If you’re a nervous or inexperienced knife user, the Victorinox makes you feel like you’re in control. And if you’re a bona fide expert? Don’t worry — Szewczyk told us that the Victorinox is a favorite in restaurant kitchens because it’s a high performer that doesn’t require the kid-glove care that more expensive knives often do. Whether you trust us or the knife’s more than 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with this little slicer.