Top 5 Best Knives for Cutting Bone (2020 Review)

Looking to start preparing more of your own meat instead of relying on the grocery store or butcher shop?

Preparing your own cuts of meat can be a great way to save a little money and get high quality meat at the same time.

But you need to have the right tools to get the job done.

That means you’ll need some knives designed to handle bone in addition to knives for the meat itself.

I’m talking knives that will cut through bone, knives that will let you cut right next to bones, and knives that will let you separate bones.

Don’t worry if that sounds like a lot. I’ve got you covered in this guide. I’ve picked some of the best and more reliable knives for all your bone related needs. I’ll also talk through how you can use each knife to make sure you’re getting the most from your cutlery.

Read More >> Complete Guide to Kitchen Knives

 In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What are the different kinds of knives for cutting bone?
  • What are the most important features in a knife for bone?  
  • And much more!

Below is a quick list of my favorite knives for cutting bone. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the most suitable knife for your bones.

ImageProduct
digital-business-prep-table__image
Wusthof Gourmet 7" Cleaver
  • High carbon stainless steel
  • Tall cleaver profile
  • Sharp edge for cutting through bone
  • High carbon stainless steel
  • Tall cleaver profile
  • Sharp edge for cutting through bone
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Wusthof CLASSIC Butcher Knife
  • Classic rounded Butcher knife design
  • High quality steel
  • Perfect for cutting through bone or near bones
  • Classic rounded Butcher knife design
  • High quality steel
  • Perfect for cutting through bone or near bones
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Chef’s Knife - PAUDIN Pro Kitchen Knife
  • Very versatile
  • Full tang chef's knife
  • Affordable
  • Very versatile
  • Full tang chef's knife
  • Affordable
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
DALSTRONG Butcher's Breaking Cimitar Knife
  • Unique longer butcher's knife
  • More versatile than traditional butchers knives
  • Granton edge for reduced friction
  • Unique longer butcher's knife
  • More versatile than traditional butchers knives
  • Granton edge for reduced friction
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Victorinox - Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Curved Boning Knife
  • Narrow design good for smaller bones
  • Incredibly sharp
  • Durable, slick-resistant handle
  • Narrow design good for smaller bones
  • Incredibly sharp
  • Durable, slick-resistant handle
View on Amazon

My Overall Top #1 Pick: Wusthof Gourmet 7″ Cleaver

When it comes to cutting directly through bones there are very few knives that are up to the job.

Cleavers are your best option when it comes to creating the perfect bone-in cuts of meat.

Not to mention that they can help with some of your larger vegetables and other challenging kitchen chopping.

But if you want a cleaver, you need to make sure you’re buying a high-quality version of the knife. Lesser steel will quickly dull and may even warp or break while you’re cutting bone.

That’s why this Wusthod Gourmet 7″ Cleaver is my top pick for this list. Its high-quality stainless steel is designed to last with even the worst you can throw at it. It’s easy to maintain the edge on this blade, and it’s designed with heavy chopping in mind.

I’ll go over this knife in a little more detail in my main review. If you’re in a hurry and just want the best knife for cutting through bones — go with this knife. Its high-quality craftsmanship and impressively strong German steel make it one of the best possible knives for cutting bone.

Top 5 Best Knives for Cutting Bone

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

  1. Wusthof Gourmet 7″ Cleaver (My Top Pick)
  2. Wusthof CLASSIC Butcher Knife (Best High-End)
  3. Chef’s Knife – PAUDIN Pro Kitchen Knife (Best Budget)
  4. DALSTRONG Butcher’s Breaking Cimitar Knife
  5. Victorinox – Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Curved Boning Knife

What are the Advantages of a High Quality Knife for Cutting Bone?

Bone is one of the toughest materials you can expect any knife to cut. Not only is bone extremely hard, but it also has a grain. That combination make bone especially hard on your knives, since both traits will dull your knives faster.

Bone can easily break a knife that isn’t up for the job. In fact, some of the most common knife-ruining accidents happen either while chopping through the bone or while separating a joint for different cuts of meat.

Getting a high quality knife to help you handle cutting through bone and cutting meat off a bone is critical. Not only will you get better results and more meat, high quality knives just last longer.

Read More >> What are the Top Knives for Trimming Brisket?

How to Pick the Best Knives for Cutting Bone?

When it comes to cutting directly through bones there are only a few knives that are really up to the job. You can get away with a chef’s knife for smaller bones, especially chicken bones, but you’ll want something heavier for larger bone.

Butcher’s knives and cleavers are a better option for thicker bones and if you’re regularly going to be cutting through bone or dealing with bone-in cuts of meat.

That’s because those kinds of knives are intentionally made of thicker, more durable steel.

Read More >> The Best Meat Cleavers for Cutting Bone

Not sure how to use a cleaver? This short video does a great job of showing one of the safest and most effective techniques.

Material:

When it comes to knives, you’ve probably heard me say this before. There are only two really great materials for the best knives — carbon steel and stainless steel.

That’s because those two materials are the strongest, carry the best edge, are more durable than other varieties of steel, and have the most flex.

When it comes to knives for cutting through and working near bones, I’d recommend stainless steel. While carbon steel can certainly get sharper than stainless, it also needs more care and maintenance.

You can meet in the middle and go with a high-carbon variety of stainless. These hybrid metals are still more like stainless than high carbon steel, but they are a little more durable. You can also get a slightly sharper edge.

Design:

There are a handful of knife styles that will work with bone, but the list of effective knives for cutting bone is much shorter.

I recommend cleavers and butcher’s knives for actually cutting through bone, and cleavers are the better of the two.

Butcher’s knives and chef’s knives are great for separating bone in larger joints, and for cutting meat off the bone. Butcher’s knives have a slight advantage here, but a good chef’s knife will handle the job well.

The last knife design I recommend are boning knives. Boning knives can only cut through the smallest bones, but these knives are small, sharp and maneuverable. That makes them the ideal choice for de-boning smaller cuts of meat like poultry, and even useful for detailed trimming near larger bones.

Handle:

The last thing you really need to consider in getting a great knife for cutting bone is a great handle. Look for polypropylene handles with an ergonomic design. Wooden handles also work, though they can take a little more maintenance.

Avoid shiny plastic or metal handles. While those materials do work they tend to get very slick when you’re working with fresh meat and bone. A slick handle is a recipe for an accident, so it’s better just to avoid them.

How to Use a Knife for Cutting Bone?

The main thing you need to worry about when you’re cutting directly through bone is that you have a stable platform and nothing is in the way. When you have a good cleaver there isn’t much that will stop that chop, so much sure your hands are completely clear of the blade.

The best way to do that is to set the cleaver directly on what you want to cut. Ideally sink the blade in just enough to give yourself a groove to hold the knife steady. Then, place your off-hand on top of the cleaver blade and push down to chop through.

Even with a cleaver you probably won’t want to cut through bones more than an inch or two in thickness. Bones thicker than that will need a larger professional cutting too to break them down.

Stick to reasonably small bones, and try to cut at the thinnest point to make your cleaver more effective.

Remember that you need to keep your cleaver very sharp to keep it working well.

Read More >> How to Remove Rust From a Knife

My Reviews of the Best Knives for Cutting Bone

1. Wusthof Gourmet 7″ Cleaver

The Wusthof 7″ Cleaver is made from high quality German stainless steel.

Its slightly higher carbon content means that this knife maintains an impressive edge, which is important for cutting through bone.

The high profile design of this cleaver also makes it easier to work with larger cuts of meat. You have plenty of space to work and keep your off-hand clear, making it easier to apply pressure.

I also love that this knife, like all Wusthof Knives, has a full tang for added durability. The handle is ergonomically designed to rest comfortable in most hands. It’s also made from a poly blend plastic that’s less likely to get slick (and therefore dangerous) than many alternatives.

All together this is one of the better cleavers you can get.

Read More >> The Best Cleavers for Cutting Bone for my other recommendations.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ High Carbon Stainless Steel
+ Tall profile
+ Arrives very sharp
+ Full Tang
– Less versatile than other knife designs

2. Wusthof CLASSIC Butcher Knife

For my high-end pick I wanted to include at least one butchers knife option.

These knives are a little less common than the other styles of knife in this guide, but that doesn’t make them less useful.

The wide belly and incredibly sharp edge both combine to make this knife one of the best options if you’re wanting to purchase a side of beef or other large section of meat and break it down yourself.

The Granton on the edge also helps reduce friction and gives you a more seamless slice. You’re much less likely to snag on meat and connective tissues with this design.

I also appreciate the wide guard near the handle for this knife. That’s not to protect your hand so much as to prevent fat and stray bits of meat coming back at you while you’re working.

The thicker tip on a butcher’s knife is a huge part of why they are a better knife for working next to and through bone than a chef’s knife. That added thickness adds durability and helps them last longer.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Perfect for breaking down a lot of meat
+ More durable than most chef’s knives
+ Easy to clean and sharpen
+ Granton reduces friction
– Not good for cutting vegetables or fruits
– Can’t cut bones as thick as a cleaver can

3. Chef’s Knife – PAUDIN Pro Kitchen Knife

A chef’s knife is the obvious pick for a budget option. You’ll get significantly more versatility out of this knife than you will from any other knife style in this guide.

That makes a good chef’s knife a great option if you’re looking to save a little money.

This chef’s knife is a roughly mid-range option that works well for most people, but doesn’t have the price tag of a more premium brand.

The steel quality is still there, and a beautiful wood handle adds a touch of elegance.

While the wavy pattern on this knife is more decorative than a result of high-quality forging techniques, it’s still a nice detail. The knife fits comfortably in your hand, and is long enough to work as your main chef’s knife.

This knife is good for smaller red meat bones (about finger width) or poultry. I wouldn’t recommend trying to tackle any bones larger than that with this knife.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Very versatile design
+ Beautiful details
+ High Quality Steel
+ Comfortable Handle
– Not specialized for bones
– Mostly good for poultry and fish bone

4. DALSTRONG Butcher’s Breaking Cimitar Knife

This Dalstrong take on a butcher’s knife is a slightly different design — falling somewhere between a butcher’s knife and a fillet knife.

The long blade and up-curved tip make this a great knife for cutting meat off the bone, and even de-boning smaller meats.

It’s long design also helps make this knife a little more versatile than your typical butcher’s knife.

You can use this knife on large fruits and vegetables, for instance.

The added versatility does come with a cost though. Since the blade is long instead of deeply curved or thick it’s best for smaller bones.

Still, this knife is a great option for people who mostly eat poultry, fish, and small-bone cuts of meat like pork chops and bone-in steaks.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Full Tang
+ High quality steel
+ Granton edge reduces friction
+ Comfortable Handle Design
+ Slightly more versatile than other Butcher’s knives
– Best for smaller bones

5. Victorinox – Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Curved Boning Knife

For my last pick of this list I wanted to include at least one boning knife.

This affordable knife is made by the same people behind the iconic Swiss Army Knife.

That dedication to functionality really shows in this boning knife. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some of the knives on this list, but that’s because it’s designed purely for function.

The handle is probably the best of the handles on this list. It’s lightly textured to give you better grip in addition to being a good fit for most adult hands.

This thinner knife design is perfect for de-boning poultry and working in smaller spaces next to bones. You won’t miss any scraps of meat with this knife.

The blade is also incredibly sharp, just like you’d expect from a knife from Victorinox.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Textured handle
+ Narrow blade for tight areas
+ Incredibly sharp
+ Easy to care for
– Not suitable for cutting through large bones

My Top Pick: Wusthof Gourmet 7″ Cleaver

For really cutting through bone, a cleaver is your best bet. This high quality cleaver combines the best steel with a purpose-built design and an ergonomic handle for one of the most functional knifes you can get.

Plus, since it’s backed by Wusthof, you know that you’re working with a company that not only cares about their knives, but also cares about their customer service.

Final Thoughts on The Best Knives for Cutting Bone

There are tons of reasons to keep knives designed for working with bones around your kitchen. I know I reach for these knives every time I accidentally by bone-in chicken thighs or discover a stray bone in my roast.

While these knives might be more specialized than most they bring a lot to the table. Not least that your chef’s knives will last longer when they aren’t doing all the heavy lifting.

Of course, the people who really need these knives are hunters, home butchers, and farmers and ranchers that process their own meat. But I think cleavers and butcher’s knives are a great addition to any meat-eating family home too.

There’s just nothing quite like bone broth and stock. Not to mention that bone marrow can be a tasty addition to many meals. Just think about all the things you could make if you were confident about working with meat bones!

Happy cooking!

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!

Leave a Comment

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. 

Recently Published Guides