Top 5 Best Knives for Carving Pumpkins (2020 Review)

You could go out and buy a cheap pumpkin carving set from the grocery store before Halloween.

And buy another one next year.

And the year after that.

Or you could invest in a higher quality carving knife and have a set that lasts for years.

Plus, better tools mean better carving.

If you’re looking to impress your friends and family in the next jack-o’-lantern competition, you need a better kind of tool.

I love it all, but I have to say that one of my favorite parts of Halloween is seeing if can create an even better jack-o’-lantern than last year.

I’ve learned the hard way that grocery store tool kits just won’t cut it when it comes to the more complicated and advanced designs. The plastic is just too fragile, and it takes too much work to get the job done.

Not to mention that all that sawing with ineffective cutting tools breaks down my pumpkin’s walls. As the walls get softer it gets harder to get the fine details I’m looking for.

So, I think it’s worth investing a little more to get a better kind of pumpkin carving tool. I’ve found some of the better pumpkin carving kits out there, but I’ll also talk about how you can use regular kitchen knives for carving, and what style works best overall.

If you’re looking for a detailed carving kit that will let you create a ton of fun textures and fine details, check out the pumpkin carving kits, and consider supplementing with a paring knife for larger details. Of course you can just use a paring knife for simpler pumpkin designs.

Read More >> Top 7 Best Knives for Cutting Vegetables

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to Find a Great Pumpkin Carving Kit
  • Why it’s Important to have high quality tools for Pumpkin Carving
  • And much more!

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Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools with Carrying Case
  • Specialized Tools
  • Durable Steel
  • Lots of Carving Options
  • Specialized Tools
  • Durable Steel
  • Lots of Carving Options
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Mercer Culinary 9-Piece Carving Set
  • Tons of Carving Tools
  • Culinary Stainless Steel Design
  • Comfortable Handle Design
  • Tons of Carving Tools
  • Culinary Stainless Steel Design
  • Comfortable Handle Design
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Bettli Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit Sturdy Stainless Steel Pumpkin Carving Tool
  • Affordable
  • Stainless Steel Blades and Scoop
  • Good for Detail Carving
  • Affordable
  • Stainless Steel Blades and Scoop
  • Good for Detail Carving
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DALSTRONG - Shogun Series - Damascus - AUS-10V Japanese Super Steel
  • High Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Great Bite and Serration for Carving
  • Good for Removing Lots of Pumpkin Quickly
  • High Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Great Bite and Serration for Carving
  • Good for Removing Lots of Pumpkin Quickly
View on Amazon
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Victorinox Swiss Stainless Steel Paring Knife 3.25 Inch Serrated Blade, Spear Pointy (Set of 4)
  • 4 pack
  • Perfect for Hosting Pumpkin Carving Parties
  • Small Enough for Detail Work
  • 4 pack
  • Perfect for Hosting Pumpkin Carving Parties
  • Small Enough for Detail Work
View on Amazon

My Overall Top #1 Pick: Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools with Carrying Case

This carving set made my top pick because it’s a good blend of different serrated knives and specialized carving tools.

I know I just warned you off buying a cheap grocery store carving set. That isn’t what this is.

The first big difference with this set?

The tools are all made from high-quality stainless steel.

They also have longer, better designed handles than the sets you can purchase at the store. Those longer handles give you better leverage and greater overall durability.

I also appreciate that the specialized scoop means that you won’t have to bend any soup spoons or sacrifice a ladle to scraping out your pumpkins for carving.

This is also a useful set if you’re going to any pumpkin carving competitions this year, since the carry case makes it easy to pick up the whole set and take them with you.

It’s nice to see a pumpkin carving set that’s properly sharp and well designed. That said, the other weakness of these carving knives is that they are both too thick… and not thick enough.

But, Heather, how can a knife be both too thick and not thick enough? Well, it depends entirely on how you use these knives.

For some people, the various saws and blades may be too thick to get a truly tight curve in one slice. For others, the blades are just thick enough to give them too much confidence, leading to bent and even broken metal.

The truth is that any knives this small would have the same problems, so I don’t think that those issues are anything bad about the actual design. Instead, consider whether these knives sound like they are a good fit for your pumpkin carving style.

Don’t worry, I’ve looked at knives from several different styles. I’m confident at least one of these knives will be a good fit for you.

Top 5 Best Knives for Carving Pumpkins

In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these knives for carving pumpkins.

  1. Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools with Carrying Case (My Top Pick)
  2. Mercer Culinary 9-Piece Carving Set (Best High-End)
  3.  Bettli Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit Sturdy Stainless Steel Pumpkin Carving Tool (Best Budget)
  4. DALSTRONG – Shogun Series – Damascus – AUS-10V Japanese Super Steel
  5. Victorinox Swiss Stainless Steel Paring Knife 3.25 Inch Serrated Blade, Spear Pointy (Set of 4)

What are the Advantages of a High Quality Knife for Carving Pumpkins? 

High quality carving knives open a whole new world of pumpkin carving. When you have a good carving knife to work with you’re limited only by your own creativity and skill. Not by the durability and design of the knife you’re working with.

High quality knives also tend to cut faster and with less work. That’s important for timed carving competitions and well as saving you time and fatigue while you’re carving.

Getting a better knife or knife set also lets you experiment with new techniques.

Take a look at this stunning carved pumpkin. Those thinned sections of gourd are critical to getting the most impressive carvings, but they are almost impossible with lower quality pumpkin carving knives.

If you want to create beautiful pumpkin art like this, you need one of the best knives for carving pumpkins.

Of course, you also need to know how to carve a great pumpkin. Here are some tips from a pumpkin carving master to help you get started.

The last big benefit of getting one of the best carving knives for pumpkins is that they last longer.

I don’t know about you, but I like saving money wherever I can. But, when it comes to knives, I know that spending more up front and often mean saving money in the long run. Pumpkin carving knives are exactly the same.

Buy a better set now and you’ll ultimately save money because you won’t need to replace your tools every year or two.

Plus, if you keep your pumpkin in good condition you can even use the leftover chunks to make delicious purees or add them to an autumn squash soup.

Read More >> How to Puree Food in a Blender

How to Pick the Best Knives for Carving Pumpkins

Now, I want to look at how you pick the best knives for carving pumpkins. If you’ve read my other knife articles, and especially my complete guide to kitchen knives, you know that choosing the right knife is often a matter of choosing the right knife for you. There is no such thing as a perfect knife for everyone.

Because pumpkin carving is such a delicate and unique process, it’s even more important to choose the right knife for you, not just the best knife.

Here are some of the most important features to consider before you decide on a pumpkin knife.

Size: 

Size is one of the most important aspects of your pumpkin carving knives. Your knife should fit comfortably in your hand while you work.

If you’re carving pumpkins with your family, that probably means that everyone will need different knifes. Kids that are old enough to start carving a pumpkin with assistance will still have smaller hands than the adults who are helping and supervising.

Why is size so important?

Because it impacts your grip and leverage.

Pumpkin carving isn’t exactly easy work. You’re working with a tough gourd and trying to create a detailed carving without overworking the gourd and ruining your carving.

While adults can use a longer handled larger knife for carving, little kids should have a knife and scraping tool that’s designed for their grip.

In fact, you may want to change what tools you use if you have particularly large or small hands yourself.

Read More >> The Complete Guide to Kitchen Knives

Material: 

When it comes to knife material there is only one good option. Steel.

Personally I prefer stainless steel for pumpkin carving unless the knife I’m using can be part of my regular kitchen cutlery as well.

I just don’t think that the advantages of high carbon steel are worth their higher maintenance requirements and cost. Especially not for a knife that I’m only likely to use in October.

So, look for knives with stainless steel blades. The handles should be made of moisture resistant plastic or wood. I personally prefer poly grip handles because I don’t have to worry about maintenance for them.

Design: 

There are three kinds of knives that work well for pumpkin carving.

  1. Pumpkin Carving Specialty Knives/Saws
  2. Vegetable Paring Knives (serrated works better)
  3. Culinary Food Carving Kits

You can also make utility knives work in a pinch, but the extra length of a utility knife tends to get in the way.

Why are these three knife types the best options?

Because they are all small, easy to maneuver, and designed to cut vegetables easily. That’s exactly what you need to make pumpkin carving much easier.

Flexibility:

This is one category where you might want a range of knives. Sometimes a stiffer knife will work well for pumpkin carving. Other times you’ll want something with a little more flex that will bend through a curve.

That’s one of the main reasons I included a couple of pumpkin carving sets in this kit instead of listing more paring knives. When it comes to knife flexibility, a carving kit will give you a lot more options than a paring knife.

Stainless steel is also more flexible than carbon steel or plastic blades. That’s another reason it’s so important to make the upgrade to a stainless steel set.

My Reviews of the Best Knives for Carving Pumpkins

Now that we’ve covered why you need one of the best knives for pumpkin carving, and how to choose a pumpkin carving knife, let’s look at my top picks.

1. Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools with Carrying Case

I’ve already talked a bit about my top pick set for pumpkin carving, so let’s get into the details.

This kit includes a large scraper with serrated sides.

Those serrations let you carve some texture into the inside of your pumpkin for interesting light effects.

The long poker helps with pattern transfer and making it easier to carve your pumpkin accurately.

The small chisel attachement helps you create surface textures and thin the outside of the pumpkin. You can really carve into your pumpkin to play with lighting and add another dimension to your jack o lantern.

The carrying case is just a bonus on this set, especially when you consider the several different knives that are included.

Overall, I think that this set really shines thanks to it’s durable steel construction, variety of tools, and clearly purpose-built design.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Durable steel construction
+ Comes with several different blade types
+ Great for carving the outside of the pumpkin
+ Comfortable handles
– Blade thickness may not be a good match for all users
– I would have liked a few more tools for carving the outside of the pumpkin
– Another smooth-blade option would add a lot to this set

2. Mercer Culinary 9-Piece Carving Set

For my high end pick I strayed from pumpkin carving sets. This food-carving set is designed for people who really want to decorate their plates.

That doesn’t mean it won’t work just as well for pumpkins.

I will say that I think this set works best in combination with a serrated paring knife.

Still, if you’re looking for impressive pumpkin carving and a combination of see-through and lightly carved areas, this set is a great way to go.

Because these tools are designed for highly technical culinary use they are also incredibly durable. The stainless steel is easy to use and take care of, and each of the tools arrives very sharp.

This set can take a little while to master, but the practice and effort is definitely worth it. I recommend this set to advanced pumpkin carvers who are looking to take their skills to the next level.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Durable Stainless Steel
+ Lots of specialized carving tools
+ Perfect for detailed carving
+ Comfortable handles
+ Comes with it’s own case
– Needs a paring knife or carving saw
– Has a high learning curve
-Not a great set for beginning carvers

3. Bettli Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit Sturdy Stainless Steel Pumpkin Carving Tool

If you’re looking for a good set that doesn’t cost as much out of pocket, this slimmed down pumpkin carving kit is a great choice.

The scraper, carving saw, chisel, and poker are all designed specifically for pumpkins.

That means durable steel that can handle the strength of the pumpkin. The thin saw blade is flexible and durable enough for most carving.

The smaller design also makes carving through curves a lot easier.

While this set doesn’t have as many specialized tools as a more premium kit, it has everything you’ll need to get started.

The durable handles are comfortable, moisture resistant, and easy to grip. All of that means more leverage and less slipping in your hand while you carve.

All in all, despite being a more affordable option, this knife set will still let you carve truly stunning pumpkins.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Highly Affordable
+ Stainless Steel
+ Comfortable handles
+ Includes a chisel for outside work
– Not as many tools as some kits
– Saw is a little too flexible, you’ll want to thin your pumpkin a little more

4. DALSTRONG – Shogun Series – Damascus – AUS-10V Japanese Super Steel

If you’ve read my other knife buying guides, you’re probably familiar with the Dalstrong Shogun Series.

I keep coming back to these knives as an excellent option because of their incredible quality.

Not only do these knives look excellent in your knife collection, they work.

These knives are incredibly sharp. They’re made from a durable high-carbon blend of stainless steel.

That gives them their distinctive layered patterns and their long-lasting edges.

This paring knife is a great choice for pumpkin carving thanks to it’s high quality edge and nicely serrated design. This knife isn’t n great for more detailed carving work where you need a thinner saw.

But, if you’re looking for a good knife for larger sections or to complement a carving set, this knife is a good bet.

I also appreciate that this is knife you can use year-round and still expect it to be sharp and effective next Halloween.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Durable layered high-carbon stainless
+ Beautiful craftsmanship
+ Very sharp
+ Ergonomic handles
+ Comes with a knife cover
– Not good for fine details
-Very sharp, takes a steady hand to avoid accidental carving mistakes

5. Victorinox Swiss Stainless Steel Paring Knife 3.25 Inch Serrated Blade, Spear Pointy (Set of 4)

The last of my best knives for carving pumpkins is actually a set of four much more affordable paring knives.

Like the other paring knives on this list, I think that these work best in combination with a specialized pumpkin carving kit.

That said, I wanted to include a multipack because pumpkin carving parties are a ton of fun.

The problem with those parties is that buying all of the equipment can be expensive, and asking people to bring their own equipment never quite seems to work. This four-pack of paring knives give you a good, workable set of pumpkin carving knives without the price take.

These knives are small, with effective serration, and thin blades that work well for pumpkin carving.

I also think that these knives are a good choice for families with a lot of kids, especially if they aren’t looking to start carving super detailed jack o lanterns quite yet.

These paring knives do have a few problems though. Their plastic handles aren’t very moisture resistant and can get slick while you’re working. They also aren’t very good for a lot of detail work without the addition of a food carving or pumpkin carving kit.

Still, if you’re looking for an affordable way to get a lot of pumpkin carving knives at once, this set is a good bet.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ 4 pack of knives
+ Effective serration
+ Very sharp edge with a thin, flexible, blade
+ Comfortable plastic handle
– Handles can get slippery when wet
– Points aren’t very sharp

My Top Pick: Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools with Carrying Case

Of all of the kits and knives on this list, I still think that the Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools with Carrying Case is easily the best fit for most pumpkin carvers.

The steel construction is durable and long lasting. The variety of blades give you more options than a paring knife alone, and more cutting power than a food carving kit.

A good pumpkin carving kit is also safer for your hands, thanks to the thinner blade design.

Still, I think that a paring knife is a good partner for this kit, which is part of why I wanted to get a couple of paring knife options on this list as well.

If you’re looking to take your pumpkin carving to the next level, but don’t want to spend a ton of money to get there, this reasonably priced kit is a great first step.

Final Thoughts On The Best Knives for Carving Pumpkins 

Pumpkin carving is a great way to have fun with friends and family this holiday season. It’s creative, relaxing, and teaches patience and work ethic. I think pumpkin carving is a great activity whether your 5 or 50.

With these tools in your hands, I’m confident that you’ll be able to enjoy the fun of pumpkin carving for yourself. These knives are more effective, more durable, and more specialized for pumpkin carving, that’s what makes them the best.

I hope you have a great time carving your next pumpkin. Go ahead, try that more challenging design this time around.

And, no matter what time of year it is, Happy Halloween!

Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

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Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

About My Kitchen Culture

Here at My Kitchen Culture, I review the best kitchen gadgets and appliances so that you can get everything you need to create your favorite foods in your kitchen. 

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