There are some struggles that only left-handed people can appreciate. While most home cooks take their cutting tools for granted, southpaws have different ideas of knives, scissors, and other apparatuses, most of which are designed with right-handers in mind. While it’s true that most Western cutlery is double-sided, there’s no doubt that single-edged Japanese knives reign in the culinary world. With Michelin chefs like Gordon Ramsey leaving us southpaws no excuse to fall behind, we set out to find the best left-handed knives. Here are our top 10 picks of 2020 and a quick guide on what it took for these left-handed pieces of cutlery to make the cut.
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This Japanese chef’s knife feels like a natural extension of the hand. The Hasegawa is a must-have for any southpaw chef or restaurateur. It is designed and produced in Hasegawa, Japan. The cutting surface is sharpened and beveled on its right side only. The blade is 10.6 inches long and 3 millimeters thick. It’s attached to a 5.5-inch wedge wood handle. Its smooth arc sets the stage for efficient rock chopping.
Most cooks were wowed when they witnessed improvements this piece of cutlery had to offer. The metal stays sharp even after several intense cutting sessions. As such, it is one of our top picks for filleting and deboning fish. However, this piece also serves as a reliable tool for dicing and slicing fruits and veggies. While we probably wouldn’t use this knife to through thick meat bones, it can still be utilized for just about every other meat carving job.
We’d happily slice and dice for hours with this piece of cutlery backing up. We love the way the pale wood handle, black machi (collar), and soft silver blade come together to create an undeniably Japanese aesthetic. It’s easy to appreciate the blade’s well-defined ridgeline. We love the contrast created between the slate gray spine and the pale silver cutting edge. The manufacturer’s attention to detail is captured in the knife’s neck-top engraving.
Were you wondering what to give that special lefty in your life this holiday season? This Japanese knife comes in a gorgeous black and gold gift box.
- Durable single-edge stainless steel blade with a left-handed orientation
- Beveled and sharpened on the right side so that it is suitable for left-handed users only
- Perfect for sashimi, sushi, and other difficult seafood creations
- 3 millimeter thick cutting surface
- Made in Hasegawa, Japan
- Natural wood handle and Japanese engraving
- Requires regular maintenance
Debas are Japanese carving knives that are engineered to fillet and debone fish. Fuji Cutlery’s Narihira #9000 is a left-handed Deba that offers unmatched precision and durability. It is one of the few pieces of cutlery on this list that could actually handle the hellfire of industrial kitchens. It boasts a 280 millimeter long, 2.5-millimeter thick stainless steel cutting surface, a natural wood handle, and a polypropylene resin kakumaki. The knife weighs approximately 0.31 pounds. The right side is beveled and sharpened so that it is ready for a southpaw.
It is a genuine piece of Japanese cutlery. The country’s high standard of the manufacturer is noticeable from the knife’s tip to its handle. The edge stays sharp for extended periods. Moreover, the kitchen tool is incredibly balanced. The knife boasts a rigid 1 3/8-inch tang. As such, you don’t need to worry about the blade coming loose. It can handle complex jobs, including filleting fish and deboning meats. Just take care when washing this piece, and you should set for a lifetime.
- the 28-inch blade is perfect for cutting fish and other complex ingredients.
- High-quality Japanese manufacturing
- Durable and attractive polypropylene kazura
- Stainless steel blade with right-side blade and bevel
- Lengthy tang ensures a strong, reliable connection between the blade and handle
- Must be washed and dried to avoid the development of rust and other imperfections
- Not to be confused with Fuji’s right-handed debas
Shun’s proprietary high-carbon cutting blades are some of the best the cutlery world has to offer. This starter set of lefty-approved cutlery includes an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 6-inch utility knife, and a cutlery storage box. The Western-style knives are beveled and sharpened on both sides. The chef’s knife boasts a hollow steel blade that releases food all too easily after chopping. The utility knife boasts a small blade that’s perfect for mincing, shaving, and garnishing.
These knives were handcrafted in Japan. They arrive with razor-sharp, 16-degree edges. The 16-layer high-carbon cutting cores produce a gorgeous wave pattern across the belly of the blade. The cutleries’ unique aesthetic is held together with the help of an ebony black PakkaWood handle.
These knives are likely lighter, sharper, and more durable than the ones your run-of-the-mill cutlery. Lefties, Shun is one of the few cutlery companies that present you with the opportunity to become a kitchen samurai.
It’s important to note that carbon steel is softer than the stainless steel used in most kitchen knives. As such, you may find that you need to sharpen your knives more often. Keep in mind that this chef’s knife should never be placed in the dishwasher or left to soak.
- Double-edged knife set that is perfectly suitable for left-handed individuals
- Made from high-quality carbon steel
- Comes with a chef’s knife and a utility knife
- Premium storage box included with your purchase
- Made in Japan according to the highest manufacturing standards
- Double-edged cutlery that doesn’t fall short
- The softer steel dulls at fast rate.
Next up is yet another reliable double-edged chef’s knife. This Daddy Chef knife’s core boasts 67 layers of high-quality Damascus steel. Thirty-three layers of stainless steel have been forged over 17 layers of soft white steel and 12 layers of rugged high-carbon steel. After which, each side is hand-sanded. The end result is an incredibly rigid tool with a razor-sharp V-shaped cutting edge.
We’d have no qualms cutting meat, fish, cheese, fruit, or veggies with this knife. The sandalwood handle is strong, comfortable, and moisture-resistant. This knife is quite balanced despite that it is a double-edged cutter. You can smooth and sharpen the blade with the help of a wheel grinder.
- 67-layer Damascus steel cutting core is seen on the belly of the blade
- Hammered finish is super sleek
- Thick, unbendable 55-millimeter blade
- Hand-polished double-edged cutting surface that is truly razor-sharp
- Hand-finished using the three-step Hondbazuke Method
- Ideal for chopping, carving, and precision cutting
- Dual-edged rather than left-hand specific
Mercer’s Left-Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife is just what sushi-loving lefties need in their lives. This traditional piece of Japanese cutlery boasts a National Sanitation Foundation-approved D-shaped Santoprene handle and a razor-sharp high-carbon German steel blade. The blade is ground until it has a well-defined 15-degree taper on one side and 5-degree taper on the other.
You’ll find the Mercer and NSF logos engraved on the butt-end of the blade’s belly. The tang is partially exposed. However, there is a sanitation-sealed collar between the handle and the cutting surface.
You can hammer out paper-thin slices of fish and meat with a little help from this Japanese-style chef’s knife. The balanced body reduces hand and wrist fatigue. The high-quality German steel resists rusty, corrosion, and discoloration.
The blade maintains a sharp, stain-free edge much longer than conventional cutlery. However, it is not dishwasher-safe. It does carry an NSF certification and a limited lifetime warranty. We strongly advise that you store this knife in a sheath or cutlery block. Moreover, you should use a water block to restore and sharpen the cutting surface.
- NSF-certified, slip-resistant handle
- Double-edged cutting surface is suitable for both left- and right-handed chefs
- Traditional Japanese design
- D-shaped santoprene handle is comfortable during extended prep sessions
- German-made high-carbon steel resists rust and discoloration
- No sheath
- Not dishwasher-safe
Aroma House’s 8-inch chef’s knife has a double-edged blade, a full tang, and an ergonomic Pakkawood handle. It comes with a gorgeous gift box and a complimentary knife sharpener. The knife’s non-slip polymer coating prevents common types of finger and wrist discomfort and fatigue. Best of all, it doesn’t take away from the Pakkawood’s rich patina. The well-balanced tool makes kitchen work enjoyable. The manufacturer even backs this popular product with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can always return it.
The 8-inch cutter is suitable for use in both residential and professional kitchens. It’s a multipurpose tool that works well as a chopper, dicer, and mincer.
We love that these knives maintain their sharp edges even after long and grueling cutting sessions. They slide through hard vegetables and fibrous fish with ease. We’d even be confident using them as meat cleavers.
- A Pakkawood handle with military-grade high polymer handle
- Tapered bolster with full tang
- German high-carbon stainless steel
- 17-inch angle on each side
- Suitable for right- and left-handed cooks
- Backed by a satisfaction guarantee
- Not dishwasher-safe
This incredible Dynasty Series chef’s knife will automatically improve the look of your mise en place. It has a stunning octagon-shaped African rosewood handle and a two-toned face. While it has a traditional Japanese shape, it has a Western-style, lefty-approved double-edged blade. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better chef’s knife at this price point, let alone a knife with an even blend of so many Western and Japanese attributes.
The Finding-Dynasty chef’s knife comes razor-sharp and ready for action. If you’re easily fatigued, you’ll appreciate its ergonomic shape and expert center of balance. The slip-resistant handle is easy to grip. It doesn’t even matter if your hands are wet.
- This 8-inch chef’s knife is suitable for a wide range of cutting tasks
- Gorgeous Dynasty Series octagonal handle made from African rosewood
- Suitable for everyday use
- Shape of the blade allows for full manipulation
- Weighted front makes for more comfortable rock chopping
- Traditional Japanese blade
If you’re a left-handed culinary professional, you’ll have no trouble appreciating the craftsmanship on this Sakai Takumi (white steel) Ajimasa knife. This cutlery comes to us from Sakai, Osaka. It boasts a white steel center and a high-carbon steel exterior. The blade is just 6.5 inches long. It has a lovely magnolia wood handle and durable buffalo horn bolster.
While this Deba is a bit shorter than your typical chef’s knife, it still performs better most top-tier knives in the same category.
- Buffalo horn bolster and Japanese magnolia wood handle
- A sealed collar for cleanliness and style
- Left-hand blade and bevel
- Constructed of Hitachi Metals’ white steel
- Low price point for a traditional and well-made chef’s knife
- Does not come with a traditional saya (wooden cover)
Yoshihiro’s left-handed fish fillet knife is a must-have for southpaw cooks. This Kasumi-grade Deba (butcher knife) is made from Shiroko white steel and high-carbon steel. It has a left-handed blade with a super-sharp cutting edge. The blade measures 6.5 inches from tip to handle. Yoshihiro also makes 6- and 8.25-inch models, should you be looking for something that’s a little different.
We love this knife’s rounded shitan handle, Japanese engraving, and a buffalo horn bolster. The artisan knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Like most Japanese chefs’ knives, it requires a bit of advanced maintenance. Sharp and oil this knife regularly, and it should be good for a lifetime of cutting.
- Comes with a high-quality buffalo horn bolster and a wooden sheath
- Boasts a traditional natural wood handle and black collar
- Japanese engraving on blade belly
- A single-edged cutting surface with a left-handed orientation
- 6 inches in length (other lengths available)
- The high price makes it suitable for professional chefs and those with big budgets only.
The long, narrow shape of this Yanagi knife makes it an excellent contender for professional and aspiring sushi chefs. The knife boasts a high-carbon SK-5 steel cutting surface. The blade has been expertly sharpened with left-handed chefs in mind. The blade has a nearly 15-degree angle. As such, it glides through fibrous raw fish and other hard-to-cut ingredients. Most chefs find SK-5 easier to sharpen than high-carbon and Damascus steels. Just be sure to rub yours down with a bit of oil when you’re finishing washing and drying it. Otherwise, you can expect it to develop a bit of rust.
- Left-handed alloy steel blade
- Traditional Japanese yanagi shape (single-edged with sharp, pointed tip)
- Durable and sharp cutting edge that responds well to sharpening
- Blade is 10 ¼ inches long
- Made by Kotobuki in Japan
- The tang can be seen between the handle and the blade.
- Rusts without proper maintenance
How to Choose the Best Left-Handed Chef Knife
Are you still wondering what makes one left-handed chef’s knife better than the next? Here’s what we looked for when making our selections.
Most Western knives boast sharpened edges on both sides of the blade. Technically, these knives are suitable for both right- and left-handed individuals. However, many professional chefs argue that these knives do not offer the same level of surgical precision and expert balance provided by the single-edge alternatives. Of course, V-shaped blades rock very well. If you’re already using a conventional Western kitchen knife, you’re not going to notice much of a difference.
Of course, many left-handed cooks prefer to use single-edge cutlery. Single-edge knives are usually Japanese in origin. While the designs and shapes of these knives tend to vary, most boast long blades, sharp tips, and single-side bevels.
What to Look for in Chef Knife
When it comes to chef’s blades, you definitely want to invest in high-quality steel. Stainless steel is a long-lasting and resilient material that resists rust and staining. Many chefs prefer the feel of mixed alloys. White steel, which combines softer stainless steel and high-carbon steel, is a popular foundation for both German- and Japanese-made cutlery. This material tends to be more flexible. Plus, it is easier to sharpen.
Handle composition choice is a matter of comfort, safety, and personal preference. While wooden handles are aesthetically pleasing, many professional cooks prefer to use more sanitary plastic alternatives. A full tang and sealed collar (or bolster) are essential parts of any quality knife. A good chef’s knife should never feel slippery. A non-slip grip and easy-to-clutch angles are essential safety elements.
Standard Western chefs’ knives are 8 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. They usually weigh between 40 and 70 grams. A good chef’s knife should have a bit of girth. You should be able to rock it back and forth without it bucking out the weight of your body.
A good’s chef knife should have a rounded cutting edge. You should be able to rock the knife back and forth without interruption. The blade should be slightly wider at the tang end. However, the blade should have a consistent width from tip to tang. Keep in mind that Japanese-style chef’s knives are often referred to as Gyuto blades.
Quality chefs’ knives range from $40 to $200. You should be able to find a quality piece regardless of your budget. Whenever possible, set some money aside for a whetstone (for sharpening) and a protective sheath. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and your chef’s knife should last you a lifetime.
Put it to the Test
Does your knife come with a satisfaction guarantee? Feel free to it through a grueling kitchen test. See how it performs on different ingredients. Choose foods that are hard, soft, and fibrous. Pay close attention to the weight and balance of the cutlery. Keep in mind that chefs tend to have their own opinion of what feels right.
Don’t let your left-handedness keep you from the finer things in life. It didn’t stop Jimi Hendrix from writing All Along the Watchtower or Leonardo de Vinci from painting the Mona Lisa. There’s no good reason it should keep you from dicing, slicing, chiffonading, and julienning an all-star lineup of ingredients. After careful consideration, we’re happy to name the KS&E Hasegawa 10-Inch Stainless Steel Left-Handed Knife our top pick. This Japanese cutter is expertly sharpened and beveled on the right side. It has a quality wood handle and a full tang. We’re confident that it can put up with the abuses of both residential and commercial kitchens. That does it for our list of the best left-handed chefs’ knives. Drop all your knife-related comments and questions in the section below!