Everything you need to know when shopping for a new knife

Good knives are some of the best tools any cook can have. When you have great knives to cook with, cooking is actually easier and more fun because most cutting tasks become so much breezier. While knives can be quite expensive and it can be tempting to buy a set, you really only need three knives. That includes a chef's knife, which is larger and can be used to cut a lot of different things from meat to large vegetables, and a paring knife, which is perfect for cutting smaller items such as coring tomatoes. It's also important to have a serrated knife to cut things like crusty bread (via The Spruce Eats).

Though it's easy enough to find these three knives, there are a few characteristics you need to be aware of while shopping. First of all, you want to look for a forged knife, which is the best quality kind of knife. These are made from a single piece of metal and formed under high heat which makes them heavy, durable, and balanced knives with a long-lasting sharp edge. Stamped knives are cut from a flat piece of metal and are lighter and more flexible, which makes them less of a quality product.

Finally, you need to consider the tang, or the extent to which the metal part of the knife extends into the handle. A full tang knife is sandwiched between the handle making it heavier and more stable. There are varying levels of tang, though (via The Spruce Eats).

What to look for in a knife

One of the most important features of a knife is the kind of metal that it is made of. Carbon steel is one option, but it isn't particularly popular or recommended because it requires a lot of care and maintenance. Carbon steel rusts easily and can react with acidic foods, causing them to be discolored too.

Likely the most common and definitely one of the most popular metals is stainless steel because it tends to be durable, easy to sharpen, and doesn't stain easily. This alloy is typically made of some combination of iron, carbon, chromium, and other metals. However, if the company that made the knife doesn't share the steel they used, they're probably not proud of it and might be hiding it (via Bon Appetit).

High carbon stainless steel is another good option because it has the perks of stainless steel, but it is more durable and sturdy. When it comes to blades, you definitely want one that's durable.

Ceramic is another option, that some people like. The drawback is that it can shatter if it's dropped or chip if it isn't used properly, but ceramic tends to be lightweight, incredibly sharp, and doesn't dull quickly.

So keep your cooking preferences in mind when shopping as well as hallmarks of quality knives. Combined, it will help direct you to the right buy.